Notes on the State of Virginia (1802)/Query 06
A NOTICE of the mines and other ſubterraneous riches; its trees, plants, fruits, &c.
I knew a ſingle inſtance of gold found in this ſtate. It was interſperſed in ſmall ſpecks through a lump of ore, of about four pounds weight, which yielded ſeventeen pennyweight of gold, of extraordinary ductility. This ore was found on the north ſide of Rappahannoc, about four miles below the falls. I never heard of any other indication of gold in its neighbourhood.
On the Great Kanhaway, oppoſite the mouth of Cripple creek, and about twenty five miles from our ſouthern boundary, in the county of Montgomery, are mines of lead. The metal is mixed, sometimes with earth, and ſometimes with rock, which requires the force of gunpowder to open it; and is accompanied with a portion of ſilver, too ſmall to be worth ſeparation under any proceſs hitherto attempted there. The proportion yielded is from 50 to 80lb. of pure metal from 100lb. of waſhed ore. The moſt common is that of 60 to the 100lb. The veins are at ſometimes moſt flattering; at others they diſapear ſuddenly and totally. They enter the ſide of the hill, and proceed horizontally. Two of them are wrought at preſent by the public, the beſt of which is 100 yards under the hill. Theſe would employ about 50 labourers to advantage. We have not, however, more than 30 generally, and theſe cultivate their own corn. They have produced 60 tons of lead in the year; but the general quantity is from 20 to 25 tons. The preſent furnace is a mile from the ore bank, and on the oppoſite ſide of the river. The ore is firſt waggoned to the river, a quarter of a mile, then laden on board of canoes, and carried acroſs the river, which is there about 200 yards wide, and then again taken into waggons and carried to the furnace. This mode was originally adopted, that they might avail themſelves of a good ſituation on a creek, for a pounding mill: but it would be eaſy to have the furnace and pounding mill on the ſame ſide of the river, which would yield water, without any dam, by a canal of about half a mile in length. From the furnace the lead is tranſported 130 miles along a good road, leading through the peaks of Otter to Lynch's ferry, or Winſton's, on James' River, from whence it is carried by water about the ſame diſtance to Weſtham. This land carriage may be greatly ſhortened, by delivering the lead on James' River, above the Blue ridge, from whence a ton weight has been brought on two canoes. The Great Kanhaway has conſiderable falls in the neighbourhood of the mines. About ſeven miles below are three falls, of three or four feet perpendicular each; and three miles above is a rapid of three miles continuance, which has been compared in its deſcent to the great falls of James' River. Yet it is the opinion, that they may be laid open for uſeful navigation, ſo as to reduce very much the portage between the Kanhaway and James' River.
A valuable lead mine is ſaid to have been lately diſcovered in Cumberland, below the mouth of Red River. The greateſt, however, known in the weſtern country, are on the Miſſiſippi, extending from the mouth of Rock River 150 miles upwards. Theſe are not wrought, the lead uſed in that country being from the banks on the Spaniſh ſide of the Miſſiſippi, oppoſite to Kaſkaſkia.
A mine of copper was once opened in the county of Amherſt, on the north ſide of James' River, and another in the oppoſite country, on the ſouth ſide. However, either from bad management or the poverty of the veins, they were diſcontinued. We are told of a rich mine of native copper on the Oubache, below the upper Wiaw.
The mines of iron worked at preſent are Callaway's, Roſs's, and Ballendine's, on the ſouth ſide of James's River; Old's on the north ſide, in Albemarle; Miller's in Auguſta, and Zane's in Frederic. Theſe two laſt are in the valley between the Blue ridge and North mountain. Callaway's, Roſs's, Miller's, and Zane's, make about 150 tons of bar iron each, in the year. Roſs' makes alſo about 1600 tons of pig iron annually; Ballendine's 1000; Callaway's, Miller's, and Zane's about 600 each. Beſides theſe, a forge of Mr. Hunter's, at Frederickſburg, makes about 300 tons a year of bar iron, from pigs imported from Maryland; and Taylor's forge on Neapſco of Patowmac, works in the ſame way, but to what extent I am not informed. The indications of iron in other places are numerous, and diſperſed through all the middle country. The toughneſs of the caſt iron of Roſs's and Zane's furnace is very remarkable. Pots and other utenſils, caſt thinner than uſual, of this iron, may be ſafely thrown into, or out of the waggons in which they are tranſported. Salt-pans made of the ſame, and no longer wanted for that purpoſe, cannot be broken up, in order to be melted again, unleſs previouſly drilled in many parts.
In the weſtern country, we are told of iron mines between the Muſkingum and Ohio; of others on Kentucky, between the Cumberland and Barren rivers, between Cumberland and Taniſſee, on Reedy creek, near the Long iſland, and on Cheſnut creek, a branch of the Great Kanhaway, near where it croſſes the Carolina line. What are called the iron banks on the Miſſiſippi, are believed, by a good judge, to have no iron in them. In general, from what is hitherto known of that country, it ſeems to want iron.
Conſiderable quantities of black lead are taken occaſionally for uſe from Winterham, in the county of Amelia. I am not able, however, to give a particular ſtate of the mine. There is no work eſtabliſhed at it; thoſe who want, going and procuring it for themſelves.
The country on James' River, from 15 to 20 miles above Richmond, and for ſeveral miles northward and ſouthward, is replete with mineral coal of a very excellent quality. Being in the hands of many proprietors, pitts have been opened, and, before the interruption of our commerce, were worked to an extent equal to the demand.
In the weſtern country coal is known to be in ſo many places, as to have induced an opinion, that the whole tract between the Laurel mountains, Miſſiſippi, and Ohio, yields coal. It is alſo known in many places on the north ſide of the Ohio.—The coal at Pittsburg is of very ſuperior quality. A bed of it at that place has been a-fire ſince the year 1765. Another coal hill on the pike-run of the Monongahela has been a-fire ten years; yet it has burnt away about twenty yards only.
I have known one inſtance of an emerald found in this country. Amethiſts have been frequent, and cryſtals common; yet not in ſuch numbers any of them as to be worth ſeeking.
There is very good marble, and in very great abundance, on James' River, at the mouth of Rockfiſh. The ſamples I have ſeen, were ſome of them of a white as pure as one might expect to find on the ſurface of the earth: but moſt of them were variegated with red, blue, and purple. None of it has been ever worked. It forms a very large precipice, which hangs over a navigable part of the river. It is ſaid there is marble at Kentucky.
But one vein of lime-ſtone is known below the Blue ridge. Its firſt appearance, in our country, is in Prince William, two miles below the pig-nut ridge of mountains; thence it paſſes on nearly parallel with that, and croſſes the Rivanna about five miles below it, where it is called the South-Weſt ridge. It then croſſes Hard-ware, above the mouth of Hudſon's creek, James River at the mouth of Rockfiſh, at the marble quarry before ſpoken of, probably runs up the river to where it appears again at Roſs's iron-works, and ſo paſſes off ſouthweſtwardly by Flat creek of Otter river. It is never more than one hundred yards wide. From the Blue ridge weſtwardly, the whole country ſeems to be founded on a rock of lime-ſtone, beſides infinite quantities on the ſurface, both looſe and fixed. This is cut into beds, which range, as the mountains and ſea-coaſt do, from ſouthweſt to north-eaſt, the lamina of each bed declining from the horizon towards a paralleliſm with the axis of the earth. Being ſtruck with this obſervation, I made, with a quadrant, a great number of trials on the angles of their declination, and found them to vary from 22° to 60°; but averaging all my trials, the reſult was within one third of a degree of the elevation of the pole or latitude of the place, and much the greateſt part of them taken ſeparately were little different from that: by which it appears, that theſe lamina are, in the main parallel with the axis of the earth. In ſome Inſtances, indeed, I found them perpendicular, and even reclining the other way: but theſe were extremely rare, and always attended with ſigns of convulſion, or other circumſtances of ſingularity, which admitted a poſſibility of removal from their original poſition. Theſe trials were made between Madiſon's cave and the Patowmac. We hear of lime-ſtone on the Miſſiſippi and Ohio, and in all the mountainous country between the eaſtern and weſtern waters, not on the mountains themſelves, but occupying the vallies between them.
Near the eaſtern foot of the North mountain are immense bodies of Schiſt, containing impreſſions of ſhells in a variety of forms. I have received petrified ſhells of very different kinds from the firſt ſources of the Kentucky, which bear no reſemblance to any I have ever ſeen on the tidewaters. It is ſaid that ſhells are found in the Andes, in South-America, fifteen thouſand feet above the level of the ocean. This is conſidered by many, both of the learned and unlearned, as a proof of an univerſal deluge. To the many conſiderations oppoſing this opinion, the following may be added. The atmoſphere, and all its contents, whether of water, air, or other matters, gravitate to the earth; that is to ſay, they have weight. Experience tells us, that the weight of all theſe together never exceeds that of a column of mercury of 31 inches height, which is equal to one of rainwater of 35 feet high. If the whole contents of the atmoſphere then were water, inſtead of what they are, it would cover the globe but 35 feet deep; but as theſe waters, as they fell, would run into the ſeas, the ſuperficial meaſure of which is to that of the dry parts of the globe, as two to one, the ſeas would be raiſed only 52 feet and half above their preſent level, and of courſe would overflow the lands to that height only. In Virginia this would be a very ſmall proportion even of the champaign country, the banks of our tide waters being frequently, if not generally of a greater height. Deluges beyond this extent then, as for inſtance, to the North mountain or to Kentucky, ſeem out of the laws of nature. But within it they may have taken place to a greater or leſs degree, in proportion to the combination of natural cauſes which may be ſuppoſed to have produced them. Hiſtory renders probable ſome inſtances of a partial deluge in the country lying round the Mediterranean ſea. It has been often ſuppoſed, and is not unlikely, that that ſea was once a lake. While ſuch, let us admit an extraordinary collection of the waters of the atmoſphere from the other parts of the globe to have been diſcharged over that and the countries whoſe waters run into it. Or without ſuppoſing it a lake, admit ſuch an extraordinary collection of the waters of the atmoſphere, and an influx of waters from the Atlantic ocean, forced by long continued weſtern winds. The lake, or that ſea, may thus have been ſo raiſed as to everflow the low lands adjacent to it, as thoſe of Egypt and Armenia, which, according to a tradition of the Egyptians and Hebrews, were overflowed about 2300 years before the Chriſtian æra; thoſe of Attica, ſaid to have been overflowed in the times of Ogyges, about five hundred years later; and thoſe of Theſſala, in the time of Deucalian, ſtill 300 years poſterior. But ſuch deluges as theſe will not account for the ſhells found in the higher lands. A ſecond opinion has been entertained, which is, that in times anterior to the records either of hiſtory or tradition, the bed of the ocean, the principal reſidence of the ſhelled tribe, has by ſome great convulſion of nature, been heaved to the heights at which we now find ſhells and other remains of marine animals. The favorers of this opinion do well to ſuppoſe the great events on which it reſts to have taken place beyond all the æras of hiſtory; for within theſe, certainly none ſuch are to be found; and we may venture to ſay further, that no fact has taken place, either in our own days, or in the thouſands of years recorded in hiſtory, which proves the exiſtance of any natural agents, within or without the bowels of the earth, of force ſufficient to heave, to the height of 15,000 feet, ſuch maſſes as the Andes. The difference between the power neceſſary to produce ſuch an effect, and that which ſhuffled together the different parts of Calabria in our days, is ſo immenſe, that, from the exiſtence of the latter we are not authorized to infer that of the former.
M. de Voltaire has ſuggeſted a third ſolution of this difficulty (Queſt. Encycl. Coquilles.) He cites an inſtance in Touraine, where, in the ſpace of 80 years, a particular ſpot of earth had been twice metamorphoſed into ſoft ſtone, which had become hard when employed in building. In this ſtone ſhells of various kinds were produced, diſcoverable at firſt only with the microſcope, but afterwards growing with the ſtone. From this fact, I ſuppoſe, he would have us infer, that beſides the uſual proceſs for generating ſhells by the elaboration of earth and water in animal veſſels, nature may have provided an equivalent operation, by paſſing the ſame materials through the pores of calcareous earths and ſtones: as we ſee calcareous drop-ſtones generating every day by the percolation of water through lime-ſtone, and new marble forming in the quarries from which the old has been taken out; and it might be aſked, whether it is more difficult for nature to ſhoot the calcareous juice into the form of a ſhells than other juices into the forms of cryſtals, plants, animals, according to the conſtruction of the veſſels through which they paſs? There is a wonder ſomewhere. It is greateſt on this branch of dilemma; on that which ſuppoſes the existence of a power, of which we have no evidence in any other caſe; or on the firſt, which requires us to believe the creation of a body of water and its ſubſequent annihilation? The eſtabliſhment of the inſtance, cited by M. de Voltaire, of the growth of ſhells unattached to animal bodies, would have been that of his theory. But he has not eſtabliſhed it. He has not even left it on ground ſo reſpectable as to have rendered it an object of enquiery to the literati of his own country. Abandoning this fact, therefore, the three hypotheſes are equally unſatisfactory; and we muſt be contented to acknowledge, that this great phenomanon is as yet unſolved. Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is leſs remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
There is great abundance (more eſpecially when you approach the mountains) of ſtone, white, blue, brown, &c. fit for the chiſſel, good mill-ſtone, ſuch alſo as ſtands the fire, and ſlate-ſtone. We are told of flint, fit for gun-flints, on the Meherrin in Brunſwick, on the Miſſiſippi between the mouth of the Ohio and Kaſkaſkia, and on others of the weſtern waters. Iſinglaſs or mica is in ſeveral places; loadſtone alſo; and an Aſbeſtos of a ligneous texture, is ſometimes to be met with.
Marle abounds generally. A clay, of which, like the Sturbridge in England, bricks are made, which will reſiſt long the violent action of fire, has been found on Tuckahoe creek of James' River, and no doubt will be found in other places. Chalk is ſaid to be in Botetourt and Bedford. In the latter county is ſome earth believed to be gypſeous. Ochres are found in various parts.
In the lime-ſtone country are many caves, the earthly floors of which are impregnated with nitre. On Rich creek, a branch of the great Kanhaway, about 60 miles below the lead mines, is a very large one, about 20 yards wide, and entering a hill a quarter or half a mile. The vault is of rock, from 9 to 15 or 20 feet above the floor. A Mr. Lynch, who gives me this account, undertook to extract the nitre. Biſides a coat of the ſalt which had formed on the vault and floor, he found the earth highly impregnated to the depth of ſeven feet in ſome places, and generally of three, every buſhel yielding on an average three pounds of nitre. Mr. Lynch having made about 1000lb. of the ſalt from it, conſigned it to ſome others, who have ſince made 10,000lb. They have done this by purſuing the cave into the hill, never trying a ſecond time the earth they have once exhauſted, to ſee how far or ſoon it receives another impregnation. At leaſt fifty of theſe caves are worked on the Greenbriar. There are many of them known on Cumberland river.
The country weſtward of the Alleghaney abounds with ſprings of common ſalt. The moſt remarkable we have heard of are at Bullet's lick, the Bigbones, the Blue licks, and on the North fork of Holſton. The area of Bullet's lick, is of many acres. Digging the earth to the depth of three feet, the water begins to boil up, and the deeper you go, and the drier the weather, the ſtronger is the brine.
A thouſand gallons of water, yield from a buſhel to a buſhel and a half of ſalt, which is about 80lb. of water to 1lb. of ſalt; but of ſea-water 25lb. yield 1lb. of ſalt. So that ſea-water is more than three times as ſtrong as that of theſe ſprings. A ſalt ſpring has been lately diſcovered at the Turkey foot on Yohoganey, by which river it is overflowed, except at very low water. Its merit is not yet known. Dunning's lick is as alſo yet untried, but it is ſuppoſed to be the beſt on this ſide of the Ohio. The ſalt ſprings on the margin of the Onondago lake are ſaid to give a ſaline taſte to the waters of the lake.
There are ſeveral medicinal ſprings, ſome of which are indubitably efficacious, while others ſeem to owe their reputation as much to fancy and change of air and regimen, as to their real virtues. None of them having undergone a chemical analyſis in ſkilful hands, nor been ſo far the ſubject of obſervations as to have produced a reduction into claſſes of the diſorders which they relieve, it is in my power to give little more than an enumeration of them.
The moſt efficacious of theſe are two ſprings in Auguſta, near the firſt ſources of James's River where it is called Jackſon's River. They riſe near the foot of the ridge of mountains, generally called the Warm ſpring mountains, but in the maps Jackſon's mountains. The one is diſtinguiſhed by the name of the Warm ſpring, and the other of the Hot ſpring. The Warm ſpring iſſues with a very bold ſtream, ſufficient to work a griſt mill, and to keep the waters of its baſon, which is 30 feet in diameter, at the vital warmth, viz. 96° of Farenheit's thermometer. The matter with which theſe waters is allied is very volatile; its ſmell indicates it to be ſulphurous, as alſo does the circumſtance of its turning ſilver black. They relieve rheumatiſms. Other complains alſo of very different natures have been removed or leſſened by them. It rains here four or five days in every week.
The Hot ſpring is about ſix miles from the Warm, is much ſmaller, and has been ſo hot as to have boiled an egg. Some believe its degree of heat to be leſſened. It raiſes the mercury in Farenheit's thermometer to 112 degrees, which is fever heat. It ſometimes relieves where the Warm ſpring fails. A fountain of common water, iſſuing within a few inches of its margin, gives it a ſingular appearance. Comparing the temperature of theſe with that of the Hot ſprings of Kamſchatka, of which Krachininnikow gives an account, the difference is very great, the latter raiſing the mercury to 200° which is within 12° of boiling water. Theſe ſprings are very much reſorted to in ſpite of a total want of accommodation for the ſick. Their waters are ſtrongeſt in the hotteſt months, which occaſions their being viſited in July and Auguſt principally.
The ſweet ſprings are in the county of Botetourt, at the eaſtern foot of the Alleghany, about 42 miles from the Warm ſprings. They are ſtill leſs known. Having been found to relieve caſes in which the others had been ineffectually tried, it is probable their compoſition is different. They are different alſo in their temperature, being as cold as common water: which is not mentioned, however, as a proof of a diſtinct impregnation. This is among the firſt ſources of James' River.
On Patowmac River, in Berkley county, above the North mountain, are medicinal ſprings, much more frequented than thoſe of Auguſta. Their powers, however, are leſs, the waters weakly mineralized, and ſcarcely warm. They are more viſited, becauſe ſituated in a fertile, plentiful, and populous country, better provided with accomodations, always ſafe from the Indians, and neareſt to the more populous ſtates.
In Louiſa county, on the head waters of the South Anna branch of York River, are ſprings of ſome midicinal virtue. They are not much uſed however. There is a weak chalybeate at Richmond; and many others in various parts of the country, which are of too little worth, or too little note, to be enumerated after thoſe before mentioned.
We are told of a ſulphur ſpring on Howard's creek of Greenbriar, and another at Boonſborough on Kentucky.
In the low grounds of the Great Kanhaway, ſeven miles above the mouth of Elk River, and 67 above that of the Kanhaway itſelf, is a hole in the earth of the capacity of 30 or 40 gallons, from which iſſues conſtantly a bituminous vapor, in ſo ſtrong a current, as to give to the ſand about its orifice the motion which it has in a boiling ſpring. On preſenting a lighted candle or torch within 18 inches of the hole, it flames up in a column of 18 inches diameter, and four or five feet height, which ſometimes burns out within 20 minutes, and at other times has been known to continue three days, and then has been ſtill left burning. The flame is unſteady, of the denſity of that of burning ſpirits, and ſmells like burning pit-coal. Water ſometimes collects in the baſon, which is remarkably cold, and is kept in ebulition by the vapor iſſuing through it. If the vapor be fired in that ſtate, the water ſoon becomes ſo warm that the hand cannot bear it, and evaporates wholly in a ſhort time. This, with the circumjacent lands, is the property of his excellency general Waſhington and of general Lewis.
There is a ſimilar one on Sandy River, the flame of which is a column of about 12 inches diameter, and three feet high. General Clarke, who informs me of it, kindled the vapor, ſtaid about an hour, and left it burning.
The mention of uncommon ſprings leads me to that of Syphon fountains. There is one of theſe near the interſection of the lord Fairfax's boundary with the North mountain, not far from Brock's gap, on the ſtream of which is a griſt-mill, which grinds two buſhels of grain at every flood of the ſpring: another, near the Cow-paſture River, a mile and a half below its confluence with the Bull-paſture River, and 16 or 17 miles from the Hot ſprings, which intermits once in every twelve hours: one alſo near the mouth of the North Holſton.
After theſe may be mentioned the Natural Well, on the lands of Mr. Lewis in Frederic county. It is ſomewhat larger than a common well: the water riſes in it as near the ſurface of the earth as in the neighboring artificial wells, and is of a depth as yet unknown. It is ſaid there is a current in it tending ſenſibly downwards. If this be true, it probably feeds ſome fountain, of which it is the natural reſervoir, diſtinguiſhed from others, like that of Madiſon's cave, by being acceſſible. It is uſed with a bucket and a windlaſs as an ordinary well.
A complete catalogue of the trees, plants, fruits, &c. is probably not deſired. I will ſketch out thoſe which would principally attract notice, as being 1. Medicinal, 2. Eſculent, 3. Ornamental, or 4. Uſeful for fabrication; adding the Linæan to the popular names, as the latter might not convey preciſe information to a foreigner. I ſhall confine myſelf too to native plants.
|1. Senna. Caſſia liguſtrina.|
|Arſmart. Polygonum Sagittatum.|
|Clivers, or gooſe-graſs. Galium ſpurium.|
|Lobelia of ſeveral ſpecies.|
|Palma Chriſti. Ricinus.|
|(3) James-town weed. Datura Stramonium.|
|Mallow. Malva rotundifolia.|
|Syrian mallow. Hibiſcus moſchentos.|
|Indian phyſic Spiria trifoliata.|
|Pleuriſy root. Aſclepias decumbens.|
|Virginia ſnake-roct. Ariſtolochia ſerpentaria.|
|Black ſnake-root. Actæa racemoſa.|
|Seneca rattleſnake-root. Polygala Senega.|
|Valerian. Valeriana locuſta radiata.|
|Gentiana, Saponaria, Villoſa & Centaurium.|
|Ginſeng. Panax quinquefolium.|
|Angelica. Angelica ſylveſtris.|
|Caſſava. Jatropha urens.|
|2. Tuckahoe. Licoperdon tuber,|
|Jeruſalem artichoke. Helianthus tuberoſas.|
|Long potatoes. Convolvulas batatas.|
|Granadillas. Maycocks. Maracocks. Paſſiflora incarnata.|
|Panic. Panicum of many ſpecies.|
|Wild oat. Zizania aquaticia.|
|Wild pea. Dolichos of Clayton.|
|Lupine. Lupinus perennis.|
|Wild hop. Humulus lupulus.|
|Wild cherry. Prunus Virginiana.|
|Wild crab-apple. Pyrus caronaria.|
|Red Mulberry. Morus rubra.|
|Perſimmon. Dioſpiros Virginiana.|
|Sugar maple. Acer ſaccharinum. |
|Scaly bark hiccory. Juglans alba cortice ſquamoſo. Clayton.|
|Common hiccory. Juglans alba, fructu minore rencido. Clayton.|
Paccan, or Illinois nut. Not deſcribed by Linnæus, Millar, or Clayton. Were I to venture to deſcribe this, ſpeaking of the fruit from memory, and of the leaf from plants of two years growth, I ſhuld ſpecify it as the Juglans alba, foliolis lanceolatis, acuminatis, ſerratis, tomentoſis, fructu minore, ovato, compreſſo, vix inſculpto, dulci, putamine tenerrimo. It grows on the Illinois, Wabaſh, Ohio, and Miſſiſippi. It is ſpoken of by Don Ulloa under the name of Pacanos, in his Noticias Americanas. Entret. 6.
|Black walnut. Juglans nigra.|
|White walnut. Juglans alba.|
|Cheſnut. Fagus caſtanea.|
|Chinquapin. Fagus pumila.|
|Hazlenut. Corylus avellana.|
Grapes. Vitus. Various kinds though only three deſcribed by Clayton.
|Scarlet Strawberries. Fragaria Virginiana of Millar.|
|Whortleberries. Vaccinium uliginoſum.|
|Wild gooſeberries. Ribes groſſularia.|
|Cranberries. Vaccinium oxycoccos.|
|Black raſpberries. Rubus occidentalis.|
|Blackberries. Rubus fruticoſus.|
|Dewberries. Rubus cæſius.|
|Cloudberries. Rubus Chamæmorus.|
|3. Plane-tree. Platanus occidentalis.|
|Black poplar. Populus nigra.|
|Aſpen. Populus tremula.|
|Linden, or Lime. Telia Americana.|
|Red flowering maple. Acer rubrum.|
|Horſe-cheſnut, or buck's-eye. Æſculus pavia.|
|Catalpa. Bignonia catalpa.|
|Umbrella. Magnolia tripetala.|
|Swamp laurel. Magnolia glauca.|
|Cucumber-tree. Magnolia acuminata.|
|Portugal bay. Laurus indica.|
|Red bay. Laurus borbonia.|
|Dwarf-roſe bay. Rhododendron maximum.|
|Laurel of the weſtern country. Qu. ſpecies?|
|Wild pimento. Laurus benzoin.|
|Saſſafras. Laurus ſaſſafras.|
|Locuſt. Robinia pſeudo-acacia.|
|Honey-locuſt. Gleditſia. 1. β|
|Dogwood. Cornus florida.|
|Fringe or ſnow-drop tree. Chionanthus Virginica.|
|Barberry. Berberus vulgaris.|
|Redbud, or Judas-tree. Cercis Canadenſis.|
|Holly. Ilex aquifolium.|
|Cockſpur hawthorn. Crataegus coccinea.|
|Spindle-tree. Euonymus Europæus.|
|Evergreen ſpindle-tree. Euonymus Americanus.|
|Elder. Sambucus nigra.|
|Papaw. Annona triloba.|
|Candleberry myrtle. Myrica cerifera.|
|Ivy. Hedera quinquefolia.|
|Trumpet honeyſuckle. Lonicera ſempervirens.|
|Upright honeyſuckle. Azalea nudiflora.|
|Yellow jaſmine. Bignonia ſempervirens.|
|American aloe. Agave Virginica.|
|Sumach. Rhus. Qu. ſpecies?|
|Poke. Phytolacca decandra.|
|Long moſs. Tillandſia Uſneoides.|
|4. Reed. Arundo phragmitis.|
|Virginia hemp. Acnida cannabina,|
|Flax. Linum Virginianum.|
|Black, or pitch pine. Pinus tæda.|
|White pine. Pinus ſtrobus.|
|Yellow pine. Pinus Virginica.|
|Spruce pine. Pinus foliis ſingularibus. Clayton.|
|Hemlock ſpruce fir. Pinus Canadenſis.|
|Arbor vitæ. Thuya occidentalis.|
|Juniper. Juniperus Virginica (called cedar with us.)|
|Cypreſs. Cupreſſus diſticha.|
|White cedar. Cupreſſus Thyoides.|
|Black oak. Quercus nigra.|
|White oak. Quercus alba.|
|Red oak. Quercus rubra.|
|Willow oak. Quercus phellos.|
|Cheſnut oak. Quercus prinus.|
|Black jack oak. Quercus aquatica. Clayton.|
|Ground oak. Quercus pumila. Clayton.|
|Live oak. Quercus Virginiana. Millar.|
|Black birch. Betula nigra.|
|White birch. Betula alba.|
|Beach. Fagus ſylvatica.|
|Elm. Ulmus Americana.|
|Willow. Salix. Query ſpecies?|
|Sweet gum. Liquidambar ſtyraciflua.|
The following were found in Virginia when firſt viſited by the Engliſh; but it is not ſaid whether of ſpontaneous growth, or by cultivation only. Moſt probably they were natives of more ſouthern climates, and handed along the continent from one nation to another of the ſavages.
|Maize. Zea mays.|
|Round potatoes. Solanum tuberosum.|
|Pumkins. Cucurbita pepo.|
|Clymings. Cucurbita verrucoſa.|
|Squaſhes. Cucurbita melopepo.|
There is an infinitude of other plants and flowers, for an enumeration and ſcientific deſcription of which I muſt refer to the Flora Virginica of our great botaniſt, Dr. Clayton, publiſhed by Gronovius at Leyden, in 1762. This accurate obſerver was a native and reſident of this ſtate, paſſed a long life in exploring and deſcribing its plants, and is ſuppoſed to have enlarged the botanical catalogue as much as almoſt any man who has lived.
Beſides theſe plants, which are native, our farms produce wheat, rye, barley, oats, buck wheat, broom corn, and Indian corn. The climate ſuits rice well enough, where the lands do. Tobacco, hemp, flax, and cotton, are ſtaple commodities. Indigo yields two cuttings. The ſilk-worm is a native, and the mulberry, proper for its food, grows kindly.
We cultivate alſo potatoes, both the long and the round, turnips, carrots, parſnips, pumkins, and ground nuts (Arachis.) Our graſſes are lucerne, ſt. foin, burnet, timothy, ray and orchard graſs; red, white, and yellow clover; greenſwerd, blue graſs, and crab graſs.
The gardens yield muſk-melons, water-melons, tomatas, okra, pomegranates, figs, and the eſculent plants of Europe.
The orchards produce apples, pears, cherries, quinces, peaches, nectarines, apricots, almonds, and plumbs.
Our quadrupeds have been moſtly deſcribed by
Linnæus and Mons. de Buffon. Of theſe the
Mammoth, or big buffalo, as called by the Indians, muſt
certainly have been the largeſt. Their tradition is,
that he was carnivorous, and ſtill exiſts in the northern
parts of America. A delegation of warriors
from the Delaware tribe having viſited the
governor of Virginia, during the revolution, on
matters of buſineſs, after theſe had been diſcuſſed and
ſettled in council, the governor aſked them ſome
queſtions relative to their country, and among
others, what they knew or had heard of the animal
whoſe bones were found at the Saltlicks on
the Ohio. Their chief ſpeaker immediately put
himſelf into an attitude of oratory, and with a
pomp ſuited to what he conceived the elevation of
his ſubject, informed him that it was a tradition
handed down from their fathers, ‘That in ancient
times a herd of theſe tremendous animals came to
the big-bone licks, and began an univerſal
deſtruction of the bear, deer, elks, buffaloes, and
other animals which had been created for the uſe
of the Indians: that the Great Man above, looking
down and ſeeing this, was ſo enraged, that he ſeized his lightning, deſcended on the earth,
ſeated himſelf on a neighboring mountain, on a
rock of which his ſeat and the print of his feet
are ſtill to be ſeen, and hurled his bolts among
them till the whole were ſlaughtered, except the
big bull, who preſenting his forehead to the
ſhafts, ſhook them off as they fell; but miſſing
one at length, it wounded him in the ſide;
whereon, ſpringing round, he bounded over the
Ohio, over the Wabaſh, the Illinois, and finally
over the great lakes, where he is living at this
day.’ It is well known that on the Ohio, and in
many parts of America further north, tuſks, grinders,
and ſkeleton of unparalleled magnitude, are
found in great numbers, ſome lying on the
ſurface of the earth and ſome a little below it. A
Mr. Stanley, taken priſoner by the Indians near
the mouth of the Taniſſee, relates, that, after
being transferred through ſeveral tribes, from one to
another, he was at length carried over the
mountains weſt of the Miſſouri to a river which runs
weſtwardly: that theſe bones abounded there;
and that the natives deſcribed to him the animal
to which they belonged as ſtill exiſting in the northern
parts of their country; from which deſcription
he judged it to be an elephant. Bones of the
ſame kind have been lately found, ſome feet below
the ſurface of the earth, in ſalines opened on the
North Holſton, a branch of the Taniſſee, about
the latitude of 36° 30′ north. From the accounts
publiſhed in Europe, I ſuppoſe it to be decided,
that theſe are of the ſame kind with thoſe found
in Siberia. Inſtances are mentioned of like animal
remains found in the more ſouthern climates
of both hemiſpheres; but they are either ſo looſely mentioned as to leave a doubt of the fact, ſo
inaccurately deſcribed as not to authorize the claſſing
them with the great northern bones, or ſo
rare as to found a ſuſpicion that they have been
carried thither as curioſities from more northern
regions. So that on the whole there ſeem to be
no certain veſtiges of the exiſtence of this animal
further ſouth than the ſalines laſt mentioned. It
is remarkable that the tuſks and ſkeletons have
been aſcribed by the naturaliſts of Europe to the
elephant, while the grinders have been given to
the hippopotamus, or river horſe. Yet it is
acknowledged, that the tuſks and ſkeletons are much
larger than thoſe of the elephant, and the grinders
many times greater than thoſe of the hippopotamus,
and eſſentially different in form. Wherever
theſe grinders are found, there alſo we find the
tuſks and ſkeleton; but no ſkeleton of the hippopotamus
nor grinders of the elephant. It will not be
ſaid that the hippopotamus and the elephant came
always to the ſame ſpot, the former to depoſit his
grinders, and the latter his tuſks and ſkeleton. For
what became of the parts not depoſited there? We
muſt agree then that theſe remains belong to each
other, that they are of one and the ſame animal, that
this was not a hippopotamus, becauſe the hippopotamus
had no tuſks nor ſuch a frame, and becauſe
the grinders differ in their ſize as well as in the number
and form of their points. That it was not an
elephant, I think aſcertained by proofs equally
deciſive, I will not avail my ſelf of the authority of the
celebrated anatomiſt, who, from an examination of
the form and ſtructure of the tuſks, has declared they were eſſentially different from thoſe of the
elephant: becauſe another  anatomiſt, equally
celebrated, has declared, on a like examination,
that they are preciſely the ſame. Between two
ſuch authorities I will ſuppoſe this circumſtance
equivocal. But, 1. The ſkeleton of the
mammoth (for ſo the incognitum has been called)
beſpeaks an animal of five or fix times the cubit
volume of the elephant, as Mons. de Buffon has
admitted. 2. The grinders are five times as large,
are ſquare, and the grinding ſurface ſtudded with
four or five rows of blunt points: whereas thoſe
of the elephant are broad and thin, and their grinding
ſurface flat. 3. I have never heard an
inſtance, and ſuppoſe there has been none, of the
grinder of an elephant being found in America.
4. From the known temperature and conſtitution
of the elephant, he could never have exiſted in
thoſe regions where the remains of the mammoth
have been found. The elephant is a native only
of the torrid zone and its vicinities: if, with the
aſſiſtance of warm apartments and warm cloathing,
he has been preſerved in life in the temperate
climates of Europe, it has only been for a ſmall
portion of what would have been his natural period,
and no inſtance of his multiplication in them
has ever been known. But no bones of the
mammoth, as I have before obſerved, have been ever
found further ſouth than the ſalines of the Holſton,
and they have been found as far north as the Arctic
circle. Thoſe, therefore, who are of opinion
that the elephant and mammoth are the ſame,
muſt believe, 1. That the elephant known to us
can exiſt and multiply in the frozen zone; or, 2. That an eternal fire may once have warmed thoſe regions, and ſince abandoned them, of which, however, the globe exhibits no unequivocal indications; or, 3. That the obliquity of the ecliptic, when theſe elephants lived, was ſo great as to include within the tropics all thoſe regions in which the bones are found: the tropics being, as is before obſerved, the natural limits of habitation for the elephant. But if it be admitted that this obliquity has really decreaſed, and we adopt the higheſt rate of decreaſe yet pretended, that is of one minute in a century, to transfer the northern tropic to the Arctic circle, would carry the
the exiſtence of theſe ſuppoſed elephants, 250,000 years back; a period far beyond our conception of the duration of animal bones left expoſed to the open air, as theſe are in many inſtances. Beſides, though theſe regions would then be ſuppoſed within the tropics, yet their winters would have been too ſevere for the ſenſibility of the elephant. They would have had too but one day and one night in the year, a circumſtance to which we have no reaſon to ſuppoſe the nature of the elephant fitted. However, it has been demonſtrated, that, if a variation of obliquity in the ecliptic takes place at all, it is vibratory, and never exceeds the limits of 9 degrees, which is not ſufficient to bring theſe bones within the tropics.—One of theſe hypotheſiſes, or ſome other equally voluntary and inadmiſſible to cautious philoſop ſophy, muſt be adopted to ſupport the opinion that theſe are the bones of the elephant. For my own part, I find it eaſier to believe that an animal may have exiſted, reſembling the elephant in his tuſks, and general anatomy, while his nature was in other reſpects extremely different. From the 30th degree of ſouth latitude to the 30 of north,
are nearly the limits which nature has fixed for
the exiſtence and multiplication of the elephant
known to us. Proceeding thence northwardly to
36 30 degrees, we enter thoſe aſſigned to the
mammoth. The further we advance north, the
more their veſtiges multiply as far as the earth
has been explored in that direction: and it is as
probable as otherwiſe, that this progreſſion
continues to the pole itſelf, if land extends ſo far. The
centre of the frozen zone then may be the achmé
of their vigor, as that of the torrid is of the elephant.
Thus nature ſeems to have drawn a belt of
ſeparation between theſe two tremendous animals,
whoſe breadth indeed is not preciſely known,
though at preſent we may ſuppoſe it about 6 and
half degrees of latitude; to have aſſigned to the
elephant the regions ſouth of theſe confines, and
thoſe north to the mammoth, founding the conſtitution
of the one in her extreme of heat, and that of
the other in the extreme of cold. When the
Creator has therefore ſeparated their nature as far as
the extent of the ſcale of animal life allowed to
this planet would permit, it ſeems perverſe to
declare it the ſame, from a partial reſemblance of
their tuſks and bones. But to whatever animal
we aſcribe theſe remains, it is certain ſuch a one
has exiſted in America, and that it has been the
largeſt of all terreſtrial beings. It ſhould have
ſufficed to have reſcued the earth it inhabited, and
the atmoſphere it breathed, from the imputation of
impotence in the conception and nouriſhment of
animal life on a large ſcale; to have ſtifled, in its
birth, the opinion of a writer, the moſt learned too
of all others in the ſcience of animal hiſtory, that in the new world, ‘La nature vivante eſt beaucoup
moins agiſſante, beaucoup moins forte:’ that
nature is leſs active, leſs energetic on one ſide of the
globe than ſhe is on the other. As if both ſides
were not warmed by the ſame genial ſun; as if a
ſoil of the ſame chemical compoſition, was leſs
capable of elaboration into animal nutriment; as if
the fruits and grains from that ſoil and ſun, yielded
leſs rich chyle, gave a leſs extenſion to the ſolids
and fluids of the body, or produced ſooner in
the cartilages, membranes, and fibres, that rigidity
which reſtrains all further extenſion, and terminates
animal growth. The truth is, that a pigmy
and a Patagonian, a mouſe and a mammoth,
derive their dimenſions from the ſame nutritive juices.
The difference of increment depends on
circumſtances unſearchable to beings with our
capacities. Every race of animals ſeems to have
received from their Maker certain laws of extenſion
at the time of their formation. Their elaborative
organs were formed to produce this while proper
obſtacles were oppoſed to its further progreſs.
Below theſe limits they cannot fall, nor riſe above
them. What intermediate ſtation they ſhall take
may depend on ſoil, on climate, on food, on a
careful choice of breeders. But all the manna of
heaven would never raiſe the mouſe to the bulk of
The opinion advanced by the Count de Buffon, Is, 1. That the animals common to both the old and new world, are ſmaller in the latter. 2. That thoſe peculiar to the new are on a ſmaller ſcale. 3. That thoſe which have been domeſticated in both have degenerated in America: and 4. That on the whole it exhibits fewer ſpecies. And the reaſon he thinks is, that the heats of America are leſs, that more waters are ſpread over its ſurface by nature, and fewer of theſe drained off by the hand of man. In other words, that heat is friendly, and moiſture adverſe to the production and developement of large quadrupeds. I will not meet this hypotheſis on its firſt doubtful ground, whether the climate of America be comparatively more humid? Becauſe we are not furniſhed with obſervations ſufficient to dicide this queſtion. And though, till it be decided, we are as free to deny, as others are to affirm the fact, yet for a moment let it be ſuppoſed. The hypotheſis, after this ſuppoſition, proceeds to another; that moiſture is unfriendly to animal growth. The truth of this is inſcrutable to us by reaſonings á priori. Nature has hidden from us her modus agendi. Our only appeal on ſuch queſtions is to experience; and I think that experience is againſt the ſuppoſition. It is by the aſſiſtance of heat and moiſture that vegetables are elaborated from the elements of earth, air, water, and fire. We accordingly ſee the more humid climates produce the greater quantity of vegetables. Vegetables are mediately or immediately the food of every animal; and in proportion to the quantity of food, we ſee animals not only multiplied in their numbers, but improved in their bulk, as far as the laws of their nature will admit. Of this opinion is the Count de Buffon himſelf in another part of his work; “en general il paroit ques les pays un peu froids convíennent mieux á nos boeufs que les pays chauds, et qu'ils ſont d'autant plus groſs et plus grands que le climat eſt plus humide et plus abondans en paturages. Les boeufs de Danemarck, de la Podolie, de l'Ukraine et de la Tartaire qu habitent les Calmouques ſont les plus grands de tous.” Here then a race of animals, and one of the largeſt too, has been increaſed in its dimenſions by cold and moiſture, in direct oppoſition to the hypotheſis, which ſuppoſes that theſe two circumſtances diminiſh animal bulk, and that it is their contraries, heat and dryneſs which enlarge it. But when we appeal to experience, we are not to reſt ſatisfied with a ſingle fact. Let us therefore try our queſtion on more general ground. Let us take two portions of the earth, Europe and America for inſtance, ſufficiently extenſive to give operation to general cauſes; let us confider the circumſtances peculiar to each, and obſerve their effect on animal nature. America, running through the torrid as well as temperate zone, has more heat collectively taken, than Europe. But Europe according to our hypotheſis, is the dryeſt. They are equally adapted then to animal productions; each being endowed with one of thoſe cauſes which befriend animal growth, and with one which oppoſes it. If it be thought unequal to compare Europe with America, which is ſo much larger, I anſwer, not more ſo than to compare America with the whole world. Beſides, the purpoſe of the compariſon is to try an hypotheſis, which makes the ſize of animals depend on the heat and moiſture of climate. If therefore we take a region, ſo extenſive as to comprehend a ſenſible deſtinction of climate, and ſo extenſive too as that local accidents, or the intercourſe of animals on its borders may not materially affect the ſize of thoſe in its interior parts, we ſhall comply with thoſe conditions which the hypotheſis may reaſonably demand. The objection would be the weaker in the preſent caſe, becauſe any intercourſe of animals which may take place on the confines of Europe and Aſia, is to the advantage of the former, Aſia producing certainly larger animals than Europe. Let us then take a comparative view of the quadrupeds of Europe and America, preſenting them to the eye in three different tables, in one of which ſhall be enumerated thoſe found in both countries; in a ſecond, thoſe found in one only; in a third, thoſe which have been domeſticated in both. To facilitate the compariſon, let thoſe of each table be arranged in gradation according to their ſizes, from the greateſt to the ſmalleſt, ſo far as their ſizes can be conjectured. The weights of the large animals ſhall be expreſſed in the Engliſh avoirdupoiſe pound and its decimals; thoſe of the ſmaller, in the ſame ounce and its decimals. Thoſe which are marked thus,* are actual weights of particular ſubjects, deemed among the largeſt of their ſpecies. Thoſe marked thus,† are furniſhed by judicious perſons well acquainted with the ſpecies, and ſaying, from conjecture only, what the largeſt individual they had ſeen would probably have weighed. The other weights are taken from Meffrs. Buffon and D'Aubenton, and are of ſuch ſubjects as came caſually to their hands for diſſection. This circumſtance muſt be remembered where their weights and mine ſtand oppoſed: the latter being ſtated, not to produce a concluſion in favor of the American ſpecies, but to juſtify a ſuſpenſion of opinion until we are better informed, and a ſuſpicion, in the mean time, that there is no uniform difference in favor of either; which is all I pretend.
A comparative View of the Quadrupeds of Europe and of America.
I. Aboriginals of both.
|White bear. Ours blanc|
|Elk. Elan. Original palmated|
|Red deer. Cerf||288.8||*273|
|Fallow deer. Diam||167.8|
|Glutton. Glouton. Carcajou|
|Wild cat. Chat sauvage||†30|
|Lynx. Loup cervier||25.|
|Red fox. Renard||13.5|
|Grey fox. Iſatis|
|Water rat. Rat d'eau||7.5|
|Flying ſquirrel. Polatouche||2.2||†4|
|Shrew mouſe. Muſaraigne||1.|
II. Aboriginals of one only.
|Sanglier. Wild boar||280.||Tapir||534.|
|Mouflon. Wild ſheep||56.||Elk, round horned||†450.|
|Bouquetin. Wild goat||Puma|
|Deſman. Muſkrat||oz.||Cougar of N. America||75.4|
|Ecureuil. Squirrel||12.||Cougar of S. America||59.|
|Souris. Mouſe||.6||Sloth. Unau||27.25|
|Whabus. Hare. Rabit|
|Great grey ſquirrel||†2.7|
|Foxſquirrel of Virgini||†2.625|
|Indian pig. Cochon d'Inde||1.6|
|Leſſer grey ſquirrel||†1.5|
|Sarigue of Cayenne|
III. Domeſticated in both.
I have not inſerted in the firſt table the phoca nor leather winged bat, becauſe the one living half the year in the water, and the other being a winged animal, the individuals of each ſpecies may viſit both continents.
Of the animals in the 1ſt table, Mons. de Buffon himſelf informs us, [XXVII. 130. XXX, 213.] that the beaver, the otter, and ſhrew mouſe, though of the ſame ſpecies, are larger in America than Europe. This ſhould therefore have corrected the generality of his expreſſions XVIII. 145. and elſewhere that the animals common to the two countries, are conſiderably leſs in America than in Europe, ‘& cela ſans aucune exception.’ He tells us too [Quadrup. VIII. 534. edit. Paris, 1777] that on examining a bear from America, he remarked no difference, ‘dans la forme de cet ours d'Amerique comparé a celui d'Europe;’ but adds from Bartram's journal, that an American bear weighed 400lb. Engliſh, equal to 367lb. French: whereas we find the European bear examined by Mons. D'Aubenton, [XVII. 82] weighed but 141lb. French. That the palmated elk is larger in America than Europe we are informed by Kalm, a naturaliſt who viſited the former by public appointment, for the expreſs purpoſe of examining the ſubjects of natural hiſtory. In this fact Pennant concurs with him. [Barrington's Miſcellanies.] The ſame Kalm tells us that the black mooſe,or renne of America is as high as a tall horſe; and Cateſby, that it is about the bigneſs of a middle-ſized ox. The ſame account of their ſize has been given me by many who have ſeen them. But Mons. D'Aubenton ſays that the renne of Europe is but about the ſize of a red deer. The weaſel is larger in America than in Europe, as may be ſeen by comparing its dimensions as reported by Mons. D'Aubenton and Kalm. The latter tells us, that the lynx, badger, red fox, and flying ſquirrel, are the ſame in America as in Europe: by which expreſſion I underſtand, they are the ſame in all material circumſtances, in ſize as well as others: for if they were ſmaller, they would differ from the European. Our grey fox is, by Cateſby's account, little different in ſize and ſhape from the European fox. I preſume he means the red fox of Europe, as does Kalm, where he ſays, that in ſize ‘they do not quite come up to our foxes.’ For proceeding next to the red fox of America, he ſays ‘they are entirely the fame with the European ſort:’ which ſhows he had in view one European ſort only, which was the red. So that the reſult of their teſtimony is, that the American grey fox is ſomewhat leſs than the European red; which is equally true of the grey fox of Europe, as may be ſeen by comparing the meaſures of the Count de Buffon and Mons. D'Aubenton. The white bear of America is as large as that of Europe. The bones of the mammoth which have been found in America, are as large as thoſe found in the old world. It may be aſked, why I inſert the mammoth, as if it ſtill exiſted? I aſk in return, why I ſhould omit it, as if it did not exiſt? Such is the economy of nature, that no inſtance can be produced, of her having permitted any one race of her animals to become extinct; of her having formed any link in her great work ſo weak as to be broken. To add to this, the traditionary teſtimony of the Indians, that this animal ſtill exiſts in the northern and weſtern parts of America, would be adding the light of a taper to that of the meridian ſun. Thoſe parts ſtill remain in their aboriginal ſtate, unexplored and undiſturbed by us, or by others for us. He may as well exiſt there now, as he did formerly where we find his bones. If he be a carnivorous animal, as ſome anatomiſts have conjectured, and the Indians affirm, his early retirement may be accounted for from the general deſtruction of the wild game by the Indians, which commences in the firſt inſtance of their connexion with us, for the purpoſe of purchaſing matchcoats, hatchets, and fire-locks, with their ſkins. There remain then the buffaloe, red deer, fallow deer, wolf, roe, glutton, wild-cat, monax, viſion, hedgehog, marten, and water rat, of the comparative ſizes of which we have not ſufficient teſtimony. It does not appear that Meſſrs. de Buffon and D'Aubenton have meaſured, weighed, or ſeen thoſe of America. It is ſaid of ſome of them, by ſome travellers, that they are ſmaller than the European. But who were theſe travellers? Have they not been men of a very different deſcription from thoſe who have laid open to us the other three quarters of the world? Was natural hiſtory the object of their travels? Did they meaſure or weigh the animals they ſpeak of? or did they not judge of them by ſight, or perhaps even from report only? Were they acquainted with the animals of their own country, with which they undertake to compare them? Have they not been ſo ignorant as often to miſtake the ſpecies? A true anſwer to theſe queſtions would probably lighten their authority, ſo as to render it inſufficient for the foundation of an hypotheſis. How unripe we yet are, for an accurate compariſon of the animals of the two countries, will appear from the work of Monſieur de Buffon. The ideas we ſhould have formed of the ſizes of ſome animals, from the imformation he had received at his firſt publications concerning them, are very different from what his ſubſequent communications give us. And indeed his candor in this can never be too much praiſed. One ſentence of his book muſt do him immortal honor. ‘J'aime autante une perſonne qui me releve d'une erreur, qu'une autre qui m'apprend une verité, parce qu'en effect une erreur corrigée eſt une verité.’ He ſeems to have thought the cabiai he firſt examined wanted little of its full growth. ‘Il ne'etoit pas encore tout-a-fait adulte.’ Yet he weighed but 46 and half lb. and he found afterwards, that theſe animals when full grown, weighed 100lb. He had ſuppoſed from the examination of a jaugar, ſaid to be two years old, which weighed but 16lb. 12oz. that when he ſhould have acquired his full growth, he would not be larger than a middle ſized dog. But a ſubſequent account raiſes his weight to 200lb. Further information, will doubtleſs, produce further corrections. The wonder is, not that there is yet ſomething in this great work to correct, but that there is ſo little. The reſult of this view then is, that of 26 quadrupeds common to both countries, 7 are ſaid to be larger in America, 7 of equal ſize, and 12 not ſufficiently examined. So that the firſt table impeaches the firſt member of the aſſertion, that of the animals common to both countries, the American are ſmalleſt, ‘et cela ſans aucune exception.’ It ſhows it not juſt, in all the latitude in which its author has advanced it, and probably not to ſuch a degree as to found a diſtinction between the two countries.
Proceeding to the ſecond table, which arranges the animals found in one of the two countries only, Mons. de Buffon obſerves, that the tapir, the elephant of America, is but of the ſize of a ſmall cow. To preſerve our compariſon, I will add, that the wild boar, the elephant of Europe, is little more than half that ſize. I have made an elk with round or cylindrical horns an animal of America, and peculiar to it; becauſe I have ſeen many of them myſelf, and more of their horns: and becauſe I can ſay, from the beſt information, that in Virginia, this kind of elk has abounded much, and ſtill exiſts in ſmaller numbers; and I could never learn that the palmated kind had been ſeen here at all. I ſuppoſe this confined to the more northern latitudes. I have made our hare or rabbit peculiar, believing it to be different from both the European animals of thoſe denominations, and calling it therefore by its Algonquin name, whabus, to keep it diſtinct from theſe. Kalm is of the ſame opinion. I have enumerated the ſquirrels according to our own knowledqe, derived from daily ſight of them, becauſe I am not able to reconcile with that the European appellations and deſcriptions. I have heard of other ſpecies, but they have never come within own my notice. Theſe, I think, are the only inſtances in which I have departed from the authority of Mons. de Buffon in the conſtruction of this table, I take him for my ground work, becauſe I think him the beſt informed of any naturaliſt who has ever written. The reſult is, that there are 18 quadrupeds peculiar to Europe; more than four times as many, to wit, 74, peculiar to America; that the firſt of theſe 74 weighs more than the whole column of Europeans; and conſequently this ſecond table diſproves the ſecond member of the aſſertion, that the animals peculiar to the new world are on a ſmaller ſcale, ſo far as that aſſertion relied on European animals for ſupport; and it is in full oppoſition to the theory which makes the animal volume to depend on the circumſtances of heat and moiſture.
The 3d table comprehends thoſe quadrupeds
only which are domeſtic in both countries. That
ſome of theſe, in ſome parts of America, have
become leſs than their original ſtock, is doubtleſs
true; and the reaſon is very obvious. In a thinly
peopled country, the ſpontaneous productions of
the foreſt and waſte fields are ſufficient to ſupport
indifferently the domeſtic animals of the farmer,
with a very little aid from him in the ſevereſt and
ſcarceſt ſeaſon. He therefore finds it more
convenient to receive them from the hand of nature in that indifferent ſtate, than to keep up their ſize
by a care and nouriſhment which would coſt him
much labor. If on this low fare, theſe animals
dwindle, it is no more than they do in thoſe parts
of Europe where the poverty of the ſoil, or poverty
of the owner, reduces them to the ſame ſcanty
ſubſiſtence. It is the uniform effect of one and
the ſame cauſe, whether acting on this or that ſide
of the globe. It would be erring therefore
againſt that rule of philoſophy, which teaches us to
aſcribe like effects to like cauſes, ſhould we impute
this diminution of ſize in America to any imbecility
or want of uniformity in the operation of nature.
It may be affirmed with truth, that, in thoſe
countries, and with thoſe individuals of America, where
neceſſity or curioſity has produced equal attention
as in Europe, to the nouriſhment of animals, the
horſes, cattle, ſheep and hogs of the one continent
are as large as thoſe of the other. There are
particular inſtances, well atteſted, where individuals
of this country have imported good breeders from
England, and have improved their ſize by care in
the courſe of ſome years. To make a fair
compariſon between the two countries, it will not
anſwer to bring together animals of what might be
deemed the middle or ordinary ſize of their ſpecies;
becauſe an error in judging of that middle or
ordinary ſize would vary the reſult of the compariſon.
Thus Monsieur D'Aubenton conſiders a
horſe of 4 feet 5 inches high and 400lb. weight
French, equal to 4 feet 8.6 inches and 436lb.
Engliſh as a middle ſized horſe. Such a one is deemed
a ſmall horſe in America. The extremes muſt
therefore be reſorted to. The ſame anatomiſt diſſected a horſe of 5 feet 9 inches height, French
meaſure, equal to 6 feet 1.7 Engliſh. This is
near 6 inches higher than any horſe I have ſeen:
and could it be ſuppoſed that I had ſeen the largeſt
horſes in America, the concluſion would be,
that ours have diminiſhed, or that we have bred
from a ſmaller ſtock. In Connecticut and Rhode
Iſland, where the climate is favorable to the
production of graſs, bullocks have been ſlaughtered
which weighed 2500, 2200, and 2100lb. nett;
and thoſe of 1800lb. have been frequent. 1 have
ſeen a hog weigh 1050lb. after the blood,
bowels, and hair had been taken from him. Before
he was ki
iled, an attempt was made to weigh him
with a pair of ſteel-yards, graduated to 1200lb.
but he weighed more. Yet this hog was probably
not within fifty generations of the European
ſtock. I am well informed of another which
weighed 1100lb. groſs. Aſſes have been ſtill
more neglected than any other domeſtic animal in
America. They are neither fed nor houſed in the
moſt rigoro ns ſeaſon of the year. Yet they are
larger than thoſe meaſured by Mons. D'Aubenton, of 3 feet 7 and quarter inches, 3 feet 4 inches,
and 3 feet 2 inches and half, the latter weighing
only 215.8lb. Theſe ſizes, I ſuppoſe, have
been produced by the ſame negligence in Europe,
which has produced a like diminution here.
Where care has been taken of them on that ſ tde of
the water, they have been raiſed to a ſize bordering
on that of the horſe; not by the heat and
dryneſs of the climate, but by good food and ſhelter.
Goats have been alſo much neglected in America. Yet they are very prolific here, bearing twice or
three times a year, and from one to five kids at a
birth. Mons. de Buffon has been ſenſible of a
difference in this circumſtance in favor of America. But what are their greateſt weights, I cannot
ſay. A large ſheep here weighs 100lb. I
obſerve Mons. D'Aubenton calls a ram of 62lb. one
of the middle ſize. But to ſay what are the
extremes of growth in theſe and the other domeſtic
animals of America, would require information of
which no one individual is poſſeſſed. The weights
actually known and ſtated in the third table
preceding will ſuffice to ſhow, that we may conclude,
on probable grounds, that, with equal food and
care, the climate of America will preſerve the races
of domeſtic animals as large as the European
ſtock from which they are derived; and
conſequently that the third member of Mons. de
Buffon's aſſertion, that the domeſtic animals are
ſubject to degeneration from the climate of America,
is as probably wrong as the firſt and ſecond were
That the laſt part of it is erroneous, which affirms that the ſpecies of American quadrupeds are comparatively few, is evident from the tables taken together. By theſe it appears that there are an hundred ſpecies aboriginal of America. Mons. de Buffon ſuppoſes about double that number exiſting on the whole earth. Of theſe Europe, Aſia, and Africa furniſh ſuppoſe 126; that this, the 26 common to Europe and America, and about 100 which are not in America at all. The American ſpecies then are to thoſe of the reſt of the earth, as 100 to 126, or 4 to 5. But the reſidue of the earth being double the extent of America, the exact proportion would have been but 4 to 8.
Hitherto I have conſidered this hypotheſis as aplied to brute animals only, and not in its extenſion to the man of America, whether aboriginal or tranſplanted. It is the opinion of Mons. de Buffon that the former furniſhes no exception to it. ‘Quoique le ſauvage du nouveau monde ſoit á peu prés de même ſtature que l'homme de notre monde, cela ne ſuffit pas pour qu'il puiſs faire une exception au fait général du rapetiſſement de la nature vivante dans tout ce continent: le ſauvage eſt foible & petit par les organs de la génération; il n'a ni poil, ni barbe, & nulle ardeur pour ſa femelle. Quoique plus léger que l'Européen, parce qu'il a plus d'habitude à courir, il eſt cependant beaucoup moins fort de corps; il eſt auſſi bien moins ſenſible, & cependant plus craintif & plus lâche; il n'a nulle vivacité, nulle activité dans l'ame; celle du corps et moins un exercice, un mouvement volontaire qu'une néceſſité d'action cauſée par le beſoin; otez lui la faim & la ſoif, vous détruirez en meme temps le principe actif de tous ſes mouvemens; il demeurera ſtupidement en repos ſur ſes jambes ou couché pendant des jours entiers. Il ne faut pas aller chercher plus loin la cauſe de la vie diſperſée des ſauvages & de leur éloignement pour la ſociété: la plus précieuſe étincelle du feu de la nature leur a été refuſée; ils manquent d'ardeur pour leur femelle, & par conſequent d'amour pour leur ſemblables: ne connoiſſant pas l'attachment le plus vif, le plus tendre de tous, leurs autres ſentimens de ce genere, ſont froids & languiſſans: ils aiment foiblement leurs pères & leurs enfans; la ſociété la plus intime de toutes, celle de la méme famille, n'a donc chez eux que de foibles liens; la ſociété d'une famille à l'autre n'en a point du tout: des lors nulle réunion nulle republique, nulle ètat ſocial. La phyſique de l'amour fait chez eux le moral des moeurs; leur cœur eſt glacé, leur ſociété & leur empire dur. Ils ne regardent leurs femmes que comme des fervantes de peine ou des bêtes de ſomme qu'ils chan gent, ſans ménagement, du fardeau de leur chaſſe, & qu'ils forcent, ſans pitié, ſans reconnoiſſance, à des ouvrages qui ſouvent ſont audeſſus de leurs forces: ils n'ont que peu d'enfans; ils en ont peu de ſoin: tout ſe reſſent de leur premier défaut; ils ſont indifferents parce qu'ils ſont peu puiſſants, & cette indifference pour le ſaxe eſt la tache originelle qui flétrit la nature, qui l'empâche de ſ'épanouir, & qui détruiſant les germes de la vie, coupe en même temps la racine de la ſociété. L'homme ne fait donc point d'exceprion ici. La nature en lui refuſant leſs puiſſances de l'amour l'a plus maltraite & plus rapetiffe qu'aucun des animaux.’ An afflicting picture, indeed, which, for the honor of human nature, I am glad to believe has no original. Of the Indian of South America I know nothing; for I would not honor with the appellation of knowledge, what I derive, from the fables publiſhed of them. Theſe I believe to be juſt as true as the fables of Eſop. This belief is founded on what I have ſeen of man, white, red, and black, and what has been written of him by authors, enlightened themſelves, and writing amidſt an enlightened people. The Indian of North America being more within our reach, I can ſpeak of him ſomewhat from my own knowledge, but more from the information of others better acquainted with him, and on whoſe truth and judgment I can rely. From theſe ſources I am able to ſay, in contradiction to this repreſentation, that he is neither more defective in ardor, nor more impotent with his female, than the white reduced to the ſame diet and exerciſe: that he is brave, when an enterprize depends on bravery; education with him making the point of honor conſiſt in the deſtruction of an enemy by ſtratagem, and in the preſervation of his own perſon free from injury; or perhaps this is nature; while it is education which teaches us to honor force more than fineſſe: that he will defend himſelf againſt an hoſt of enemies, always chooſing to be killed, rather than to ſurrender, though it be to the whites, who he knows will treat him well: that in other ſituations alſo he meets death with more deliberation, and endures tortures with a firmneſs unknown almoſt to religious enthuſiaſm with us: that he is affectionate to his children, careful of them, and indulgent in the extreme: that his affections comprehend his other connections, weakening, as with us, from circle to circle, as they recede from the centre that his friendſhips are ſtrong and faithful to the uttermoſt extremity: that his ſenſibility is keen, even the warriors weeping moſt bitterly on the loſs of their children, though in general they endeavour to appear ſuperior to human events: that his vivacity and activity of mind is equal to ours in the ſame ſituation: hence his eagerneſs for hunting, and for games of chance. The women are ſubmitted to unjuſt drudgery. This I believe is the caſe with every barbarous people. With ſuch force is law. The ſtronger ſex therefore impoſes on the weaker. It is civilization alone which replaces women in the enjoyment of their natural equality. That firſt teaches us to ſubdue the ſelfiſh paſſions, and to reſpect thoſe rights in others which we value in ourſelves. Were we in equal barbariſm, our females would be equal drudges. The man with them is leſs ſtrong than with us, but their women ſtronger than ours: and both from the ſame obvious reaſon; becauſe our man and their woman is habituated to labor, and formed by it. With both races the ſex which is indulged with eaſe is leaſt athletic. An Indian man is ſmall in the hand and wriſt, for the ſame reaſon for which a ſailor is large and ſtrong in the arms and ſhoulders, and a porter in the legs and thighs.—They raiſe fewer children than we do. The cauſes of this are to be found, not in a difference of nature, but of circumſtance. The women very frequently attending the men in their parties of war and of hunting, child-bearing becomes extremely inconvenient to them. It is ſaid, therefore, that they have learned the practice of procuring abortion by the uſe of ſome vegetable; and that it even extends to prevent conception for a conſiderable time after. During theſe parties they are expoſed to numerous hazards, to exceſſive exertions, to the greateſt extremities of hunger. Even at their homes the nation depends for food, through a certain part of every year, on the gleanings of the foreſt: that is, they experience a famine once in every year. With all animals, if the females be badly fed, or not fed at all, her young periſh: and if both male and female be reduced to like want, generation becomes leſs active, leſs productive. To the obſtacles then of want and hazard, which nature has oppoſed to the multiplication of wild animals, for the purpoſe of reſtraining their numbers within certain bounds, thoſe of labor and of voluntary abortion are added with the Indian. No wonder then if they multiply leſs than we do. Where food is regularly ſupplied, a ſingle farm will ſhow more of cattle, than a whole country of foreſts can of buffaloes. The ſame Indian women, when married to white traders, who feed them and their children plentifully and regularly, who exempt them from exceſſive drudgery, who keep them ſtationary and unexpoſed to accident, produce and raiſe as many children as the white women. Inſtances are known, under theſe circumſtances, of their rearing a dozen children. An inhuman practice once prevailed in this country, of making ſlaves of the Indians. It is a fact well known with us, that the Indian women ſo enſlaved produced and raiſed as numerous families as either the whites or blacks among whom they lived.—It has been ſaid, that the Indians have leſs hair than the whites, except on the head. But this is a fact of which fair proof can ſcarcely be had. With them it is diſgraceful to be hairy on the body. They ſay it likens them to hogs. They therefore pluck the hair as faſt as it appears. But the traders who marry their women, and prevail on them to diſcontinue this practice, ſay that nature is the ſame with them as with the whites. Nor, if the fact be true, is the conſequence neceſſary which has been drawn from it. Negroes have notoriously leſs hair than whites; yet they are more ardent. But if cold and moiſture be the agents of nature for diminiſhing the races of animals, how comes ſhe all at once to ſuſpend their operation as to the physical man of the new world, whom the Count acknowledges to be ‘à peu près de mème ſtature que l'homme de notre monde,’ and to let looſe their influence on his moral faculties? How has this ‘combination of the elements and other phyſical cauſes, ſo contrary to the enlargement of animal nature in this new world, theſe obſtacles to the developement and formation of great germs,’ been arreſted and ſuſpended, ſo as to permit the human body to acquire its juſt dimenſions, and by what inconceivable proceſs has their action been directed on his mind alone? To judge of the truth of this, to form a juſt eſtimate of their genius and mental powers, more facts are wanting, and great allowance to be made for thoſe circumſtances of their ſituation which call for a diſplay of particular talents only. This done, we ſhall probably find that they are formed in mind as well as in body, on the ſame module with the  ‘Homo ſapiens Europæus.’ The principles of their ſociety forbidding all compulſion, they are to be led to duty and to enterprize by perſonal influence and perſuaſion. Hence eloquence in council, bravery and addreſs in war, become the foundations of all conſequence with them. To theſe acquirements all their faculties are directed. Of their bravery and addreſs in war we have multiplied proofs, becauſe we have been the ſubjects on which they were exerciſed. Of their eminence in oratory, we have fewer examples, becauſe it is diſplayed chiefly in their own councils. Some however, we have of very ſuperior luſtre. I may challenge the whole orations of Demoſthenes and Cicero, and of any more eminent orator, if Europe has furniſhed more eminent, to produce a ſingle paſſage, ſuperior to the ſpeech of Logan, a Mingo chief to lord Dunmore, when governor of this ſtate. And, as a teſtimony of their talents in this line, I beg leave to introduce it, firſt ſtating the incidents neceſſary for underſtanding it.
‘In the ſpring of the year 1774, robbery was
committed by ſome Indians on certain land
adventurers on the River Ohio. The whites in
that quarter, according to their cuſtom, undertook
to puniſh this outrage in a ſummary way.
Captain Michael Creſap, and a certain Daniel
Greathouſe, leading on theſe parties, ſurpriſed,
at different times, travelling and hunting parties
of the Indians, having their women and children
with them, and murdered many. Among theſe
were unfortunately the family of Logan, a chief
celebrated in peace and war, and long diſtinguiſhed
as the friend of the whites. This unworthy
return provoked his vengeance. He accordingly
ſignalized himſelf in the war which enſu ſed.
In the autumn of the ſame year a deciſive battle
was fought at the mouth of the Great Kanhaway,
between the collected forces of the Shawaneſe,
Mingoes and Delawares, and a detachment
of the Virginia militia. The Indians were
defeated and ſued for peace. Logan, however,
diſdained to be ſeen among the ſuppliants. But
leſt the ſincerity of a treaty ſhould be diſtruſted,
from which ſo diſtinguiſhed a chief abſented
himſelf, he ſent, by a meſſenger, the following
ſpeech, to be delivered to lord Dunmore.
‘I appeal to any white man to ſay, if ever he
entered Logan's cabin hungry, and he gave him
not meat: if ever he came cold and naked, and
he cloathed him not. During the courſe of the laſt long and bloody war Logan remained idle in
his cabin, an advocate for peace. Such was my
love for the whites, that my countrymen pointed
as they paſſed, and ſaid ‘Logan is the friend of
white men.’ I had even thought to have lived
with you, but for the injuries of one man.
Colonel Creſap, the laſt ſpring, in cold blood, and
unprovoked, murdered all the relations of
Logan, not even ſparing my women and children.
There runs not a drop of my blood in the veins
of any living creature. This called on me for
revenge. I have fought it: I have killed many:
I have fully glutted my vengeance: for my
country I rejoice at the beams of peace. But
do not harbor a thought that mine is the joy of
fear. Logan never felt fear. He will not turn
on his heel to ſave his life. Who is there to
mourn for Logan?—Not one.”
Before we condem
d the Indians of this continent
as wanting genius, we muſt conſider that
letters have not yet been introduced among them.
Were we to compare them in their preſent ſtate
with the Europeans, north of the Alps, when the
Roman arts and arms firſt croſſed theſe
mountains, the compariſon would be unequal, becauſe,
at that time, thoſe parts of Europe were ſwarming
with numbers, becauſe numbers produce
emulation, and multiply the chances of improvement,
and one improvement begets another. Yet I may
ſafely aſk, how many good poets, how many able
mathematicians, how many great inventors in arts
or ſciences, had Europe, north of the Alps, then
produced? And it was ſixteen centuries after this
before a Newton could be formed. I do not mean
to deny, that there are varieties in the race of men, diſtinguiſhed by their powers both of body and
mind. I believe there are, as I ſee to be the caſe
in the races of other animals. I only mean to
ſuggeſt a doubt, whether the bulk and faculties
of animals depend on the ſide of the Atlantic on
which their food happens to grow, or which
furniſhes the elements of which they are compounded?
Whether nature has enliſted herſelf as a Cis
or Trans-Atlantic partiſan? I am induced to
ſuſpect, there has been more eloquence than ſound
reaſoning diſplayed in ſupport of this theory; that
it is one of thoſe caſes where the judgment has
been ſeduced by a glowing pen; and whilſt I render
every tribute of honor and eſteem to the
celebrated zoologiſt, who has added, and is ſtill
adding ſo many precious things to the treaſures of
ſcience, I muſt doubt whether in this inſtance he
has not cheriſhed error alſo, by lending her for a
moment his vivid imagination and bewitching
So far the Count de Buffon has carried this new
theory of the tendency of nature to belittle her
productions on this ſide of the Atlantic. Its
application to the race of whites, tranſplanted from
Europe, remained for the Abbé Raynal. ‘On
doit etre etonné (he ſays) que l'Amerique n'ait
pas encore produit un bon poëte, un habile
mathematicien, un homme de genie dans un ſeul art,
ou une ſeule ſcience.’ 7. Hiſt. Philos. p. 92. ed.
Maeſtrich. 1774. ‘America has not yet produced
one good poet.’ When we ſhall have exiſted
as a people as long as the Greeks did before they
produced a Homer, the Romans a Virgil, the
French a Racine and Voltaire, the Engliſh a
Shakespeare and Milton, ſhould this reproach be ſtill true, we will enquire from what unfriendly cauſes
it has proceeded, that the other countries of
Europe and quarters of the earth ſhall not have
inſcribed any name in the roll of poets. But
neither has America produced ‘one able mathematician,
one man of genius in a ſingle art or a ſingle
ſcience.’ In war we have produced a
Waſhington, whoſe memory will be adored while liberty
ſhall have votaries, whoſe name will triumph over
time, and will in future ages aſſume its juſt
ſtation among the moſt celebrated worthies of the
world, when that wretched philoſophy ſhall be
forgotten which would have arranged him among
the degeneracies of nature. In phyſics we have
produced a Franklin, than whom no one of the
preſent age has made more important diſcoveries,
nor has enriched philoſop
ly with more, or more
ingenious ſolutions of the phenomena of nature.
We have ſuppoſed Mr. Rittenhouſe ſecond to no
aſtronomer living: that in genius he muſt be the
firſt, becauſe he is ſelf-taught. As an artiſt he has
exhibited as great a proof of mechanical genius as
the world has ever produced. He has not indeed
made a world; but he has by imitation approached
nearer its Maker than any man who has lived from the creation to this day. As in phyloſophy
and war, ſo in government, in oratory, in
painting, in the plaſtic art, we might ſhow that
America, though but a child of yeſterday, has
already given hopeful proofs of genius, as well of
the nobler kinds, which arouſe the beſt feelings of
man, which call him into action, which ſubſtantiate
his freedom, and conduct him to happineſs,
as of the ſubordinate, which ſerve to amuſe him
only. We therefore ſuppoſe, that this reproach is
as unjuſt as it is unkind; and that, of the geniuſes
which adorn the preſent age, America contributes
its full ſhare. For comparing it with thoſe
countries, where genius is moſt cultivated, where
are the moſt excellent models for art, and
ſcaffolding for the attainment of ſcience, as France
and England for inſtance, we calculate, thus:
The United States contain three millions of
inhabitants France twenty millions; and the Britiſh
iſlands ten. We produce a Waſhington, a Franklin,
a Rittenhouſe. France then ſhould have half
a dozen in each of theſe lines, and Great-Britain
half that number, equally eminent. It may be
true, that France has: we are but juſt becoming
acquainted with her, and our acquaintance ſo far
gives us high ideas of the genius of her inhabitants.
It would be injuring too many of them to
name particularly a Voltaire, a Buffon, the
conſtellation of Encyclopediſts, the Abbé Raynal himſelf, &c. &c. We therefore have reaſon to
believe ſhe can produce her full quota of genius.
The preſent war having ſo long cut off all
communication with Great-Britain, we are not able to
make a fair estimate of the ſtate of ſcience in that
country. The ſpirit in which ſhe wages war, is
the only ſample before our eyes, and that does
not ſeem the legitimate offspring either of ſcience
or of civilization. The ſun of her glory is faſt
deſcending to the horizon. Her philoſophy has
croſſed the channel, her freedom the Atlantic, and
herſelf ſeems paſſing to that awful diſſolution,
whoſe iſſue is not given human foreſight to ſcan. Having given a ſketch of our minerals,
vegetables, and quadrupeds, and being led by a
proud theory to make a compariſon of the latter
with thoſe of Europe, and to extend it to the man
of America, both aboriginal and emigrant, I will
proceed to the remaining articles comprehended
under the preſent query.
Between ninety and an hundred of our birds have been deſcribed by Cateſby. His drawings are better as to form and attitude, than coloring which is generally too high. They are the following.
BIRDS OF VIRGINIA.
|Linnæan Deſignation.||Cateſby's Deſignation.||Popular Names.||Buffon|
|Lanius tyrannus||Muſcicapa coronâ rubrâ||1.55||Tyrant. Field marten||8.398|
|Vultur aura||Buteo ſpecie Gallo-pavanis||1. 6||Turkey buzzard||1.246|
|Falco leucocephalus||Aquila capite albo||1. 1||Bald eagle||1.138|
|Falco ſpaverius||Accipiter minor||1. 5||Little hawk. Sparrow hawk|
|Falco columbarius||Accipiter palumbarius||1. 3||Pigeon hawk||1.338|
|Falco furcatus||Accipiter caudâ furcatâ||1. 4||Forked tail hawk||1.286.312|
|Accipiter piſcatorius||1. 2||Fiſhing hawk||1.199|
|Strix aſio||Noctua aurita minor||1. 7||Little owl||1.141|
|Pſitticus Carolinienſis||Pſitticus Carolinienſis||1.11||Parot of Carolina; Perroquet||11.383|
|Corvus criſtatus||Pica glandaria, cærulea criſtata||1.15||Blue jay||5.164|
|Oriolus Baltimore||Icterus ex aureo nigroque varius||1.48||Baltimore bird||5.318|
|Oriolus ſpurius||Icterus minor||1.49||Baſtard baltimore||5.321|
|Gracula quiſcula||Monedula purpurea||1.12||Purple jackdaw. Crow blackbird||5.134|
|Cuculus Americanus||Cuculus Carolinienſis||1.9||Carolina cuckow||12.62|
|Picus principalis||Picus maximus roſtro albo||1.16||White bill woodpecker||13.69|
|Picus pileatus||Picus niger maximus capite rubro||1.17||Large red-creſted woodpecker||13.72|
|Picus erythrocephalus||Picus capite toto rubro||1.20||Red-headed woodpecker||13.83 |
|Picus auratus||Picus major alis aureis||1.18||Goldwinged woodpecker. Yucher||13.59|
|Picus Carolinus||Picus ventre rubro||1.19||Red bellied woodpecker||13.105|
|Picus pubeſcens||Picus varius minimus||1.21||Smalleſt ſpotted woodpecker||13.113|
|Picus villoſus||Picus medius quaſi-villoſus||1.19||Hairy woodpecker. Spec. woodpc.||13.111|
|Picus varius||Picus varis minor ventre luteo||1.21||Yellow bellied woodpecker||13.115|
|Certhia pinus||Parus Americanus luteſcens||1.61||Pinecreeper||9.433|
|Trochilus colubris||Mellivora avis Carolinienſis||1.65||Humming bird||11.116|
|Anas Canadenſis||Anser Canadenſis||1.92||Wild goose||17.122|
|Anas bucephala||Anas minor purpureo capite||1.95||Buffel's head duck||17.356|
|Anas ruſtica||Anas minor ex albo & fuſco vario||1.98||Little brown duck||17.413|
|Anas discors||Querquedula Americana variegata||1.10||White face teal||17.403|
|Anas discors||Querquedula Americana fuſca||1.99||Blue wing teal||17.405|
|Anas ſponsa||Anas Americanus criſtatus elegans||1.97||Summer duck||17.351|
|Anas Americanus lato roſtro||1.96||Blue wing ſhoveler||17.275|
|Mergus cucullatus||Anas criſtatus||1.94||Round creſted duck||15.437|
|Colymbus podiceps||Prodicipes minor roſtro vario||1.91||Pied bill dopchick||15.383 |
|Ardea Herodias||Ardea criſtata maxima Americana||3.10||Largest creſted heron||14.113|
|Ardea violaeca||Ardea ſtellaris criſtata Americana||1.79||Creſted bittern||14.134|
|Ardea cærulea||Ardea cærulea||1.76||Blue heron. Crane||1.131|
|Ardea virescens||Ardea ſtellaris minima||1.80||Small bittern||14.142|
|Ardea æquinoctialis||Ardea alba minor Carolinienſis||1.77||Little white heron||14.136|
|Ardea ſtellaris Americana||1.78||Brown bittern. Indian hen||14.175|
|Tantalus loculator||Pelicanus Americanus||1.81||Wood pelican||13.403|
|Tantalus alber||Numenius albus||1.82||White curlew||15.62|
|Tantalus fuſcus||Numenius fuſcus||1.83||Brown curlew||15.64|
|Charadrius vociferus||Pluvialis vociferus||1.71||Chattering plover. Kildee||15.151|
|Hæmatopus oſtralegus||Hæmatopus||1.85||Oyſter catcher||15.185|
|Rallus Virginianus||Gallinula Americana||1.70||Soree. Ral-bird||15.256|
|Maleagris Gallopavo||Gallopavo Sylveſtris||xliv.||Wild turkey||3.187.229|
|Tetrao Virginianus||Perdix Sylveſtris Virginiana||3.12||American partridge. Amer. quail||4.237|
|Urogallus minor, or a kind of Lagopus||3.1||Pheaſant. Mountain partridge||3.409|
|Columba paſſerina||Turtur minimus guttatus||1.26||Ground dove||4.404|
|Columba migratoria||Palumbus migratorius||1.23||Pigeon of paſſage. Wild pigeon||4.351|
|Columba Carolinienſis||Turtur Carolinienſis||1.24||Turtle. Turtle dove||4.401|
|Alauda alpeſtris||Alauda gutture flavo||1.32||Lark. Sky lark||9.79 |
|Alauda magna||Alauda magna||1.33||Field lark. Large lark||6.59|
|Sturnus niger alis ſuperné rubentibus||1.13||Red-winged Starling. Marſh blackbird||5.293|
|Turdus migratorius||Turdus pilarus migratorius||1.29||
|Turdus rufus||Turdus rufus||1.28||Fox-colored thruſh. Thruſh||5.449|
|Turdus polyglottos||Turdus minor cinereo albus non maculatus||1.27||Mocking bird||5.451|
|Turdus minimus||1.31||Little thruſh||5.400|
|Ampelis garrulus||Garrulus Carolinienſis||1.46||Chatterer||6.162|
|Loxia Cardinalis||Coccothrauſtes rubra||1.38||Red bird; Virginia nightingale||6.185|
|Loxia Cærulea||Coccothrauſtes cærulea||1.39||Blue groſs beak||8.125|
|Emberiza hyemalis||Paſſer nivalis||1.36||Snow bird||8.47|
|Emberiza Oryzivora||Hortulanus Carolinienſis||1.14||Rice bird||8.49|
|Emberiza Ciris||Fringilla tricolor||1.44||Painted finch||7.247|
|Tanagra cyanea||Linaria cærulea||1.45||Blue linnet||7.122|
|Fringilla erythrophthalma||Paſſer niger oculis rubris||1.34||Towhe bird||7.201|
|Fringilla triſtris||Carduelis Americanus||1.43||American goldﬁnch. Lettuce bird||7.297|
|Fringilla purpurea||1.41||Purple finch||8.129 |
|Muſcicapa crinita||Muſcicapa criſtata ventre luteo||1.52||Creſted flycatcher||8.379|
|Muſcicapa rubra||Muſcicapa rubra||1.56||Summer redbird||8.410|
|Muſcicapa rutucilla||Rutucila Americana||1.67||
|Muſcicapa Carolinienſis||Muſcicapa vertice nigro||1.66||Cat bird||8.372|
|Muſcicapa nigreſcens||1.53||Black-cap flycatcher||8.341|
|Muſcicapa fuſca||1.54||Little brown flycatcher||8.344|
|Muſcicapa oculis rubris||1.54||Red-eyed flycatcher||8.337|
|Motacilla Sialis||Rubicula Americana cærulea||1.47||Blue bird||9.308|
|Motacilla regulus||Regulus criſtatus||3.13||Wren||10.58|
|Motacilla trochilus.||Oenanthe Americana pectore luteo||1.50||Yellow breaſted chat||6.96|
|Parus bicolor||Parus criſtatus||1.57||Creſted titmouſe||10.181|
|Parus Americanus||Parus fringillaris||1.64||Finch creeper||9.442|
|Parus Virginianus||Parus uropygeo luteo||1.58||Yellow rump||10.184|
|Parus cucullo nigro||1.60||Hooded titmouſe||10.183|
|Parus Americanus gutture luteo||1.62||Yellow throated creeper|
|Parus Carolinienſis||1.63||Yellow titmouſe||9.431|
|Hirundo pelaſgia||Hirundo cauda aculeata Americana||3.8||American ſwallow||12.478|
|Hirundo purpurea||Hirundo purpurea||1.51||Purple marten. Houſe marten||12.445|
|Caprimulgus Europæus||Caprimulgus||1.8||Goatſucker. Great bat||12.243|
|Caprimulg. Europæus||Caprimulgus minor Americanus||3.16||Whip poor Will||12.246|
Beſides theſe, we have,
The Royſton crow. Corvus cornix.
Crane. Ardea Canadenſis.
Houſe ſwallow. Hirundo ruſtica.
Ground ſwallow. Hirundo riparia.
Greateſt grey eagle.
Smaller turkey buzzard, with a feathered head,
Greateſt owl, or night hawk.
Wet hawk, which feeds flying.
Water pelican of the Miſſiſippi, whoſe pouch holds a peck.
Duck and Mallard.
Sheldrach, or canvas back.
Didapper, or Dopchick.
Spoon billed duck.
Red bird, with black head, wings and tail.
And doubtleſ many others which have not yet been deſcribed and claſſed.
To this catalogue of our indigenous animals, I
will add a ſhort account of an anomaly of nature,
taking place ſometimes in the race of negroes
brought from Africa, who, though black
themſelves, have, in rare inſtances, white children, called
Albinos. I have known four of theſe myſelf,
and have faithful accounts of three others. The
circumſtances in which all the individuals agree
are theſe. They are of a pallid cadaverous white,
untinged with red, without any colored ſpots or
ſeams; their hair of the ſame kind of white, ſhort,
coarſe, and curled as is that of the negro; all of
them well formed, ſtrong, healthy, perfect in their
ſenſes, except that of ſight, and born of parents
who had no mixture of white blood. Three of
theſe Albinos were ſiſters, having two other full
ſiſters, who were black. The youngeſt of the three
was killed by lightning, at twelve years of age.
The eldeſt died at about 27 years of age, in childbed,
with her ſecond child. The middle one is
now alive in health, and has iſſue, as the eldeſt had,
by a black man, which iſſue was black. They are
uncommonly ſhrewd, quick in their apprehenſions
and in reply. Their eyes are in a perpetual
tremulous vibration, very weak, and much affected by
the ſun: but they ſee much better in the night than
we do. They are of the property of Col.
Skipwith, of Cumberland. The fourth is a negro
woman, whoſe parents came from Guinea, and had
three other children, who were of their own color.
She is freckled, her eye-ſight ſo weak that ſhe is
obliged to wear a bonnet in the ſummer; but it is
better in the night than day. She had an Albino
child by a black man. It died at the age of a few
weeks. Theſe were the property of Col. Carter, of Albemarle. A ſixth inſtance is a woman of the
property of a Mr. Butler, near Peterſburgh. She
is ſtout and robuſt, has iſſue a daughter, jet black,
by a black man. I am not i
uformed as to her
eye-ſight. The ſeventh inſtance is of a male belonging
to a Mr. Lee of Cumberland. His eyes are
tremulous and weak. He is tall of ſtature, and
now advanced in years. He is the only male of
the Albinos which have come within my information.
Whatever be the cauſe of the diſeaſe in the
ſkin or in its colouring matter, which produces
this change, it ſeems more incident to the female
than male ſex. To theſe I may add the mention
of a negro man within my own knowledge, born
black, and of black parents; on whoſe chin, when
a boy, a white ſpot appeared. This continued to
increaſe till he became a man, by which time it
had extended over his chin, lips, one cheek, the
under jaw, and neck on that ſide. It is of the Albino
white, without any mixture of red, and has for
ſeveral years been ſtationary. He is robuſt and
healthy, and the change of color was not
accompanied with any ſenſible diſeaſe, either general or
Of our fiſh and inſects there has been nothing like a full deſcription or collection. More of them are deſcribed in Cateſby than in any other work. Many alſo are to be found in Sir Hans Sloane's Jamaica, as being common to that and this country. The honey-bee is not a native of our continent. Marcgrave indeed mentions a ſpecies of honey-bee in Brazil. But this has no ſting and is therefore different from the one we have, which reſembles perfectly that of Europe. The Indians concur with us in the tradition that it was brought from Europe; but when, and by whom, we know not. The bees have generally extended themſelves into the country, a little in advance of the white ſettlers. The Indians therefore call them the white man's fly, and conſider their approach as indicating the approach of the ſettlements of the whites. A queſtion here occurs, how far northwardly have theſe inſects been found? That they are unknown in Lapland, I infer from Scheffers information, that the Laplanders eat the pine bark, prepared in a certain way, inſtead of thoſe things ſweetened with ſugar. ‘Hoc comedunt pro rebus ſaccharo conditis.’ Scheff. Lapp. c. 18. Certainly if they had honey, it would be a better ſubſtitute for ſugar than any preparation of the pine bark. Kalm tells us the honey-bee cannot live through the winter in Canada. They furniſh then an additional proof of the remarkable fact firſt obſerved by the Count de Buffon, and which has thrown ſuch a blaze of light on the field of natural hiſtory, that no animals are found in both continents, but thoſe which are able to bear the cold of thoſe regions where they probably join.
- Buffon Epoques, 96.
- Buffon, xviii. 122 edit. Paris, 1764.
- xviii. 100—156.
- viii. 134.
- It is ſaid, that this animal is ſeldom ſeen above 30 miles from ſhore, or beyond the 56th degree of latitude. The interjacent iſlands between Aſia and America admit his paſſing from one continent to the other without exceeding theſe bounds. And in fact, travellers tell us that theſe iſlands are places of principal reſort for them, and eſpecially in the ſeaſon of bringing forth their young.
- I. 233. Lon. 1772.
- Ib. 233.
- I. xxvii.
- XXIV. 162.
- XV. 42.
- I. 359. I. 48. 221. 251. II. 52.
- II. 78.
- I. 220.
- XXVII. 63. XIV. 119. Harris, II. 387. Buffon. Quad. IX. 1.
- Quad. IX. 158.
- Quad. XXV. 184.
- Quad. IX. 132.
- Quad. XIX. 2.
- Quad. IX. 41.
- The deſcription of Theodat, Denys and La Honton, cited by Mons. de Buffon, under the article of Elan, authorize the ſuppoſition, that the flat-horned elk is found in the northern parts of America. It has not however extended to our latitudes. On the other handy I could never learn that the round-horned elk has been ſeen further north than the Hudſon's River. This agrees with the former elk in its general character, being, like that, when compared with a deer, very much larger, its ears longer, broader, and thicker in proportion, its hair much longer, neck and tail ſhorter, having a dewlap before the breaſt (caruncula gutturalis Linnæi) a white ſpot often, if not always, of a foot diameter, on the hinder part of the buttocks round the tail; its gait a trot, and attended with a rattling of the hoofs: but diſtinguiſhed from that deciſively by its horns, which are not palmated, but round and pointed. This is the animal deſcribed by Cateſby as the Cervus major Americanus, the ſtag of America, le Cerf de l'Amerique. But it differs from the Cervus as totally, as does the palmated elk from dama. And in fact it ſeems to ſtand in the ſame relation to the elk, as the red deer does to the fallow. It has abounded in Virginia, has been ſeen, within my knowledge, on the eaſtern ſide of the Blue ridge ſince the year 1765, is now common beyond thoſe mountains, has been often brought to us and tamed, and its horns are in the hands of many. I ſhould deſignate it as the ‘Alces Americanus cornibus teretibus.’ It were to be wiſhed, that naturaliſts, who are acquainted with the renne and elk of Europe, and who may hereafter viſit the northern parts of America, would examine well the animals called there by the names of the grey and black mooſe, caribou, orignal and elk. Mons. de Buffon has done what could be done from the materials in his hands, toward clearing up the confuſion introduced by the looſe application of theſe names among the animals they are meant to deſignate. He reduces the whole to the renne and flat-horned elk. From all the information I have been able to collect, I ſtrongly ſuſpect they will be found to cover three, if not four diſtinct ſpecies of animals. I have ſeen ſkins of a mooſe, and of the caribou: they differ more from each other, and from that of the round horned elk, than I ever ſaw two ſkins differ which belonged to different individuals of any wild ſpecies. Theſe differences are in the colour, length, and coarſeneſs, of the hair, and in the ſize, texture, and marks of the ſkin. Perhaps it will he found that there is, 1. the mooſe, black and grey, the former being ſaid to be the male, and the latter the female. 2. The caribou, or renne. 3. The flat-horned elk, or orignal. 4. The round-horned elk. Should this laſt, though poſſeſſing ſo nearly the characters of the elk, be found to be the ſame with Cerf d'Ardennes or Brandhirtz of Germany, ſtill there will remain the three ſpecies firſt enumerated.
- Kalm II. 340. I. 82.
- The tapir is the largeſt of the animals peculiar to America. I collect his weight thus. Mons. de Buffon ſays, XXIII. 274. that he is of the ſize of a zebu, or a ſmall cow. He gives us the meaſures of a zebu, ib. 94, as taken by himſelf, viz. 5 feet 7 inches from the muzzle to the root of the tail, and 5 feet 1 inch circumference behind the fore legs. A bull meaſuring in the ſame way 6 feet 9 inches and 5 feet 2 inches, weighed 600lb. VIII. 153. The zebu then, and of courſe the tapir, would weigh about 500lb. But one individual of every ſpecies of European peculiars would probably weigh leſs than 400lb. Theſe are French meaſures and weights.
- VII. 432.
- VII. 474.
- In Williamſburg, April, 1769.
- VIII. 48. 55. 66.
- XVIII. 96.
- IX. 41.
- XXX. 219.
- XVIII. 146.
- Sol Rodomonte ſprezza di venire
Se non, dove la via meno è ſicura. Arioſto. 14. 117.
- In ſo judicious an author as Don Ulloa, and one to whom we are indebted for the moſt preciſe information we have of South America, I did not expect to find ſuch aſſertions as the following. ‘Los indios vencidos ſon los mas cobardes y puſilanimes que ſe peuden vér:—Se hacen inōcentes, ſe humillan haſta el deſprecio, diſculpan ſu inconſiderado arrojo, y con las ſúplicas y los ruegos dán ſeguras pruebus de ſu puſilanimidad.—ó lo que refieren las hiſtorias de la Conquiſta, ſobre ſus grandes acciones, es en un ſendito figuado, ó el character de eſtas gentes no es ahora ſegun era entonces; pero lo que no tiene duda es, que las Nacones dela parte Septentrionel ſubſiſten en la miſma libertad que ſiempre han tenido, ſin haber ſido ſojuzgados por algun Principe extrano, y que viven ſegun ſu régimen y coſtumbres de toda la vida ſin que haya habida motivo para que muden de character; y en eſtos ſe vé lo miſmo, que ſucede en los del Peru, y de toda la América Meridional, reducidos, y que nunca lo han eſtado.’ Noticius Americanas, Entretenimiento XVIII. §. 1. Don Ulloa here admits, that the authors who have deſcribed the Indians of South America, before they were enſlaved, had repreſented them as a brave people, and therefore ſeems to have ſuſpected that the cowardice which he had obſerved in thoſe of the preſent race might he the effect of ſubjugation. But, ſuppoſing the Indians of North America to be cowards alſo, he concludes the anceſtors of thoſe of South America to have been ſo too, and therefore that thoſe authors have given fictions for truth. He was probably not acquainted himſelf with the Indians of North America, and had formed his opinion of them from hear-ſay. Great numbers of French, of Engliſh, and of Americans, are perfectly acquainted with theſe people. Had he had an opportunity of enquiring of any of theſe, they would have told him, that there never was an inſtance known of an Indian begging his life when in the power of his enemies: on the contrary, that he courts death by every poſſible inſult and provocation. His reaſoning then would have been reverſed thus. ‘Since the preſent Indian of North America is brave, and authors tell us, that the anceſtors of thoſe of South America were brave alſo; it muſt follow, that the cowardice of their deſcendants is the effect of ſubjugation and ill treatment.’ For he obſerves, ib. §. 27. that ‘les obrages los aniquilan por la inhumanidad com que ſe les trata.’
- A remarkable inſtance of this appeared in the caſe of the late Col. Byrd, who was ſent to the Cherokee nation to tranſact ſome buſineſs with them. It happened that ſome of our diſorderly people had juſt killed one or two of that nation. It was therefore propoſed in the council of the Cherokees that Col. Byrd ſhould be put to death, in revenge for the loſs of their countrymen. Among them was a chief called Silòuee, who, on ſome former occaſion, had contracted an acquaintance and friendſhip with Col. Byrd. He came to him every night in his tent, and told him not to be afraid, they ſhould not kill him. After many days deliberation, however, the determination was, contrary to Silòuee's expectation, that Byrd ſhould be put to death, and ſome warriors were diſpatched as executioners. Silòuee attended them, and when they entered the tent, he threw himſelf between them and Byrd, and ſaid to the warriors, ‘This man is my friend: before you get at him, you muſt kill me.’ On which they returned, and the council reſpected the principle ſo much as to recede from their determination.
- XVIII. 146.
- Lynn. Syſt. Definition of Men.
- Has the world as yet produced more than two poets, acknowledged to be ſuch by all nations? An Engliſhman, only, reads Milton with delight, an Italian Taſſo, a Frenchman Henriade, a Portugueſe Camoens, but Homer and Virgil have been the rapture of every age and nation: they are read with enthuſiaſm in their originals by thoſe who can read the originals, and in tranſlations by thoſe who cannot.
- There are various ways of keeping truth out of ſight. Mr. Rittenhouſe's model of the planetary ſyſtem has the plaguiary appellation of an Orrery; and the quadrant invented by Godfrey, an American alſo, and with the aid of which the European nations traverſe the globe, is called Hadley's quadrant.
- In a later edition of the Abbé Raynal's work, he has withdrawn his cenſure from that part of the new world inhabited by the Federo-Americans; but has left it ſtill on the other parts. North America has always been more acceſſible to ſtrangers than South. If he was miſtaken then as to the former, he may be ſo as to the latter. The glimmerings which reach us from South America enable us only to ſee that its inhabitants are held under the accumulated preſſure of ſlavery, ſuperſtition and ignorance. Whenever they ſhall be able to raiſe under this weight, and ſhow themſelves to the reſt of the world, they will probably ſhow they are like the reſt of the world. We have not yet ſufficient evidence that there are more lakes and fogs in South America than in the other parts of the earth. As little do we know what would be their operation on the mind of man. That country has been viſited by Spaniards and Portugueſe chiefly, and almoſt excluſively. Theſe going from a country of the old world remarkably dry in its ſoil and climate, fancied there were more lakes and fogs in South America than in Europe. An inhabitant of Ireland, Sweden, or Finland would have formed the contrary opinion. Had South America been diſcovered and ſettled by a people from a fenny country, it would probably have been repreſented as much dryer than the old world. A patient purſuit of facts, and cautious combination and compariſon of them, is the drudgery to which man is ſubject by his Maker, if he wiſhes to attain ſure knowledge.
- 1. 126.