Rev. Timothy Alden Jr. was born August 28, 1771, to a ministerial family in Yarmouth, Massachusetts, the direct descendant of John Alden of Plymouth Colony he was the first president of Alleghany College (as the name was then spelled) and professor of oriental languages, ecclesiastical history, and theology until 1831; librarian until 1832; and trustee until his death on July 5, 1839.
THE GLORY OF America
DELIVERED AT THE
SOUTH CHURCH IN PORTSMOUTH,
IV JANUARY, MDCCCI.
TOGETHER WITH A NUMBER OF HISTORICAL NOTES, AND AN APPENDIX, CONTAINING AN ACCOUNT OF THE NEWSPAPERS IN THE STATE.
TO THE READER.
A few sentences, which seem, in some measure, malapropos to the solemnities of the Sabbath, were passed over, in the delivery, or have since together with the notes been added.
It is hoped that the errors which may discovered on perusing the subsequent pages, will be kindly veiled with a mantle of candor.
“Siquid, novisti, rectius istis, candidus imerti, si non, his utere mecum.”
The Glory of America
The desert shall rejoice and blossom like the rose. Isaiah, XXXV.I.
This is a beautiful description of that glorious epoch, which Christendom beholds with an eye of faith, and in which the world will finally rejoice.
The time is rapidly advancing, when the outcasts of Israel and the dispersed of Judah will be gathered together, from the four quarters of the glove, to the ancient land of promise. They will wail because of him, whom their forefathers have pierced, and will flee to the standard of the cross.
This great event will usher in the aurora of that happy day, which prophets, time immemorial, have predicted, and which poets, with raptures, have often sung.
The children of Abraham, who are now despised, as the mere off scouring of the earth, will then be revered as the favored of heaven. Ten men,[i]at that time, out of all languages of the nations, will even take hold of the skirt of him, who is a Jew, and will say to him, we will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.
The kingdoms of the world will become the kingdoms of Immanuel. The knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth, as the waters cover the depths of the sea. The great family of man will become a family of brethren, Every knee will bow in the name of Jesus. Every tongue will confess that he is Lord, to the glory of the God supreme. The fear of Jehovah will dwell in every heart, and tranquility and happiness in every dominion of the globe.
Agreeably to the ideas, which the speaker has been led to form, these are the outlines of that joyful period, which the followers of Jesus anticipate and which is elegantly prefigured in the language of the prophet. The desert shall rejoice and blossom like the rose.
Having, my Christian friends, touched upon the original and special import of the inspired passage, before us it will not be deemed an unwarrantable violence to improve it, on the present occasion, as a motto strikingly descriptive of that unparalleled glory, to which God, in his providence, has exalted this western world.
Upon entering a new century, there seems to be a propriety in taking a religious notice of the times, which are past. It is, therefore, our present design to animadvert on the great things, which God has done, to give us a name, among the nations of the earth, and to make the howling deserts of America to rejoice and blossom like the rose.
Without a formal division of our subject, we shall dwell considerably, on the two most important eras in the history of our country’ the first settlement of New England, and our deliverance from an ungenerous oppression. We shall then notice some of the special interpositions of providence. Finally, it will be our endeavor to make some miscellaneous reflections on our national prosperity, and, occasionally, to introduce a few historical facts.
There is, in many respects, a striking similarity between the fortune of the first settlers of New England and that of the children of Israel.
Like the chosen people our venerable, puritanic, progenitors were loaded, from time to time, with a rich exuberance of the most signal divine regard.
Like the chosen people, they fled from a land of tyranny and oppression, passed through clouds of difficulty and distress, were obliged to root out and destroy many barbarous and idolatrous nations, and at length possessed a land flowing with milk and honey.
Our pious ancestors, though conscious duty, forsook the endearments of friends and country, to gain the tranquil enjoyment of that holy religion, which descended from above.
For a few years, those who were destined in providence, to become the first settlers of the Old colony, sought an asylum in a hospitable city of Holland. Such, however, was the flagrancy of vice, in their neighbors, and such their apprehensions for the religious weal of their rising offspring, that, once more, they committed themselves to the mercy of an unstable element. After a most humble, serious, and melting address to the great Father of all, they sailed, in the midst of a thousand calamities, for the wilds of America.
At home, through the pragmatical frenzy of a weak and inconsiderate prince, they were persecuted. Abroad, though the irreligious deportment of those, with whom they sojourned, they were unhappy. On the wide Atlantic, they were often threatened with the most imminent danger. The dreary wilderness, for which they were destined, was peopled with tribes of unfeeling savages.
It was a zeal for the prosperity of Zion, which supported this little band of brothers, when overshadowed by the dark clouds of uncertainty and distress. Their trust was in the God of Abraham. On the land and on the deep, at home and abroad, his banner over them was love. They gloried in the cross of Christ. Like the primitive martyrs, they were ready to brave the storms of live, and even to die in the cause of heaven.
Perhaps it may be thought, that these observations are too minute, considering how small was the number, to whom they principally refer; but it may be asked, were not the first adventurers to New England a band of Christian heroes, who nobly dared to wage war with incalculable jeopardy? Were they not an important instrument, in the hand of God, in laying the foundation of this great and powerful empire?
It is worthy of notice, that, seemingly through a miraculous interposition, a most desolating[ii] pestilence, a little before the arrival of the first settlers of the Old colony, had swept away thousands of native Indians. If the way had not been prepared by this extensive destruction among the aboriginal tribes, the probability is, that our ancestors would have experienced on their first approach, the fatal vengeance of the tomahawk.
It is a historical fact, as handed down by unquestionable tradition, that the first adventurers, when they had reached the territory, destined for their settlement, stepped from their barge upon a ROCK,[iii] the identity of which is still ascertained. We may innocently consider this solid rock, as a sure prognostic, and a significant emblem of the permanence of the future faith, freedom, and independence of this western world.
The remarkable enterprise of the ancient colonist will continue to be a subject of the highest[iv] eulogy, so long as a spark of civil and religious liberty shall animate a soul of their posterity.
To form an idea of the hazardous adventure, on which we have descanted, we should bring to view the silken ties of kindred and country; the dangers of the long and tedious voyage; the uncultivated wilds of this distant land; the howling monsters of the extensive desert; and the unnumbered tribes of savages, who exulted in scenes of the most wanton barbarity.
We[v] have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us what works thou didst in their days, in the times of old; how thou didst drive out the heathen; fur they got not the land in possession by their own sword; but, it was by thy right hand, and thy arm, and the light of thy countenance; because thou hadst a favor unto them.
This national scion, ingrafted on the American stock, has ever been nurtured by the hand of Deity. Like the tree, in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, its height has reached the Heavens and its beauty the ends of the earth.
The early settlers of New England were the offspring of men, who had long been the guardians of a liberty, established by the word, and cemented with the blood of heroes. At the unhappy period of their departure, the helm of the British empire was guided by an unskillful pilot. They were doomed to flee from the impious scourge of a despot. They were obliged to bid adieu to their natural shore; but, thanks be to God, they retained and cherished that holy religion, for which they had suffered persecution, and that bravery and independence, which they had imbibed from their parent soil.
Planted in this remote and fertile territory; if England had ever been crowned with a ministry and a monarch, faithful to her interests; at length secure from the inroads of the savage foe; flushed with the bounties of nature; happy in the enjoyment of the true religion, and in defeasible rights of man; the Anglo-Americans would, for ages, have remained the loyal subjects of their parent empire. At some distant period, like the full ripe fruit, they would have gently dropped from their maternal stock, Then, collected in themselves, they would have stood an independent kingdom; but, oh the wretched tyranny of foolish, weak, and inconsiderate man! How fatal, to the glory of England, was that dreadful blow, which, since George the third ascended the throne, tor us asunder, never to join again!
There were not wanting friends, who in the cause of justice, opposed reason a and humanity to the base demands of a haughty, daring, and imperious ministry. In the cause of America, long did the British parliament resound, with the thunders of a Chatham. His majesty, said this nobleman, may wear his crown, but, the American jewel out of it, will scarce be worth the wearing.
On the part of America, justice innocence, and loyalty were urged in vain. While, in the most suppliant manner, we were prostrated at the throne of that monarch, who ought to have been the father of his loyal subjects, we were unnoticed, or spurned with scorn and contempt. In addition to a long and shameful neglect, and a series of insults, our mother country, at last, turned upon us the instruments of death, and we were forced into measures, which we viewed with abhorrence.
After a most devout and solemn appeal to the tribunal of unerring wisdom, we commenced that hazardous but glorious career, which, under a guidance from above, liberated us from the shackles of an ungenerous oppression, and crowned us with liberty and independence, while our enemy lost nearly a hundred thousand lives, and added many millions to her national debt.
The wonders, which we achieved, are the astonishment and the applause of the world. Under that almighty being, whose kingdom is over all, we had no reliance, but the justice of our cause, and the bravery, which we inherited from our fathers.
The enterprise, on which we have ventured a few sentiments, was big with the fate of millions. It was vast in design. It was fraught with the utmost hazard. Our situation was the most precarious possible. We were defenseless as the tender lamb. We were ignorant of the martial employment. Our enemy was unequalled in arts and arms. Her fleets had overspread the ocean. Her flag had waved triumphant in every quarter of the globe.
A green proportion of this society has heard, and many still recollect, with keen sensations, what scenes of rapine and plunder, fire and sword, bloodshed and carnage, distorted the face of this country from Georgia to Maine.
Our enemy was, at length, obliged to yield to the palm and to return, in shame, to reap the fruits of folly.
Let us never forget to give the glory and the praise to whom they are due. It was the God of armies, who lifted up his buckler, in excellency of his might, and gave us peace, liberty, and independence. By the blessing of heaven, “Under[vi] the banners of Washington and freedom, we fought conquered, and retired,” to enjoy the sweets of peace, the reward of valor, and the bounties of a rich and happy country.
It would be the height of ingratitude, the blackest stain in the catalog of guilt, not to acknowledge the repeated, special interpositions of God, on our behalf, from the earliest dawn of our national existence.
It was a kind and overruling providence, which conducted our pious forefathers to the howling wilds of America; gave them this goodly heritage; protected them, when their number was small; carried them from one degree of prosperity to another; and built them up, till they became a great and powerful nation. When our mother country threatened us with chains forged by the omnipotence of parliament, the heavens were melted at the voice of our complaint; liberated us from an ungenerous oppression; gave us peace, liberty and independence’ and crowned us with a form of government, which is admirably calculated to secure the rights, and promote the happiness of every order of citizens.
We have transiently adverted, my Christian friends, on the present occasion, to a number of historical facts, which are intimately connected with the two most important eras in the history of our country, in order to exhibit the unparalleled goodness of Jehovah to this western world. We shall now, in some measure, retrace the ground, with a design, as has already been proposed to notice more particularly, the special hand of heaven towards the American Israel. It is a pleasant thing to meditate on the loving kindness of our God. This is the least return, which we can make to him, whose mercies are as numerous, as the leaves of autumn or the stars of light. A thankful recollection of his unmerited favors is more acceptable, to him, than rivers of oil, or the incense of a thousand hecatombs. Has any people ever been under greater obligations to gratitude, than the American? Have we not planted, upholden, prospered, and raised high among the nations of the earth, by the special providence of God?[vii] Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land. Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.
If it had not been that God was on our side, the aborigines would have exterminated Every European, who should have dared to set foot on the American land.
When our ancestors had gained an establishment, in this territory, the bloodthirsty heathen would probably have spared neither root nor branch, but for the friendship and alliance of the good Massasoit.
At the time the great conspiracy, in 1630, John Sagamore became an instrument, in the hand of God, in delivering them from the jaws of destruction.
To all human appearance, it would have been an easy task for the New England tribes, with the artful and insidious [viii]Philip, the sachem of Mount-hope, at their head, to have affected the utter extirpation of the colonists, at the time, they combined for that nefarious purpose. The God of Israel, however, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, drove out these idolatrous nations, and gave our fathers this land for a possession forever.
We shall now turn out attention to the overtures of providence in later times.
The capture of Louisburg, in1745, is so remarkable a proof of a special overruling power, that we shall be indulged if somewhat minute.
This[ix] fortress was so strong as to be called the Dunkirk of America. It was, seemingly, as impregnable, as the rocks of Gibralter. It was oft the firs importance to France. In peace it was a safe retreat, and in war, a dreadful terror to her foes. The project for reducing this modern Carthage, originated in New England. It was at first rejected by the general court of Massachusetts, as a chimera. It is worth of notice, that the vote was finally obtained, in the absence of a number, known to be opposed to the expedition through the address of two influential characters, by a majority of only one.
The heavens and earth seemed to combine in aid of the undertaking. Our winters were usually severe. This was as mild, as the spring Rivers, which were commonly frozen, were navigable, in the month of February. The news of the expedition was considered, in Canada, as a mere idle report, and was altogether unknown in Nova Scotia. A fortunate concurrence brought together a number of British ships, from various parts of the continent at the most important juncture. It, afterwards, appeared that the garrison was in want of warlike stores and provisions, and was in a state of mutiny. The provincial forces were also in want of provisions, but prizes supplied the deficiency. The siege continued for forty-nine[x] days. At length, this celebrated fortress surrendered, to the astonishment of Europe, and to the joy of the American colonies. The weather was extremely favorable during the expedition, but directly after the surrendry, a terrible storm commenced, which continued for ten days. The pious acknowledged that they saw the immediate finger of Deity, in this train of fortunate coincidences.
Was there ever a more remarkable interposition of providence? When God is for us, wo, can be against us?
Equally worthy of our notice is the destruction of the Chebucto[xi] fleet, on the ensuing year. France was exasperated at the loss of Louisburg, and was determined on revenge, She, accordingly, raised a naval armament of seventy sail, by the aid of which, it was her design to recapture the formidable garrison she had lost and to subjugate the English colonies, or to lay waste, with the fire and sword, every settlement from Nova Scotia to Georgia. This fleet which was commanded by the duke of Anville, having taken its departure, was soon separated by a most tremendous storm. Some of the ships were so injured as to be obliged to return. Some were driven to the West Indies, and not more than on tenth arrived at the place of destination. In addition to this disaster, they were visited with sever sickness and mortality. Such, therefore, was the consternation of the duke that he put an end to his life. The second in command was equally discouraged, and fell upon his own sword. At length, the fleet, reducing to a very small number of ships, without effecting or even attempting a descent upon any part of the country, returned, like the messengersof Job, with a sorrowful tale.
Many of you, my Christian friends, still recollect the anguish and distress, which were portrayed in every countenance, in every countenance, at the awful vengeance, which was menaced the American colonies, by this formidable Gallic armada. [xii]“Never did that religion for which this country was settled appear more important, nor prayer more prevalent, than on this occasion. A God hearing prayer, stretched forth the arm of his power, and destroyed that mighty armament in a manner almost as extraordinary, as the drowning of Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea.”
What a series of providential interpositions distinguished us, in the various steps, by which we were carried through the late revolutionary war! Before it commenced, a military ardor, like an electric shock, had fired the colonies. The pulpit, the rostrum, and the press glowed with the warmest zeal, in the cause of liberty, which was justly deemed the cause of God. The contest begun, warlike implements and stores, in a remarkable manner, and frequently, at most critical junctures, poured into our hand from various parts of the world. The success of our forces at Trenton, and a Princeton; the capture of Burgoyne; the surrender of Cornwallis; the timely development of Arnold’s treason; in a word, the glory of our arms, under the victorious banners of Washington, are full demonstrations of a repeated providential interposition, in behalf of united America.
How often was every human probability against us! How often, were we on the very brink of despair! How often, did every face gather paleness, and every soul tremble, like the king of Babylon, for the fate of his country! No tongue can describe, they alone who have witnessed can conceive the awful distress of a land, overrun with veterans, scattering arrows, firebrands, and death.
To give a narrative of the multiplied interpositions of providence, in aid of the American cause, would require a volume. They are engraved deep on every grateful heart. Many of them were almost miraculous. Suffice it to say, the God of armies girded his sword upon his thigh, and rode upon the heavens for our help. He laid our enemies prostrate, at our feet, or he destroyed them with the thunder of his might.
How many have been the wonderful works of God! How great has been his loving kindness! How unabounded has been his goodness to his American Israel!
At the conclusion of the war, when, to our shame be it spoken, we had cheated our soldiers out of a great part of their scanty stipulations, why did they not turn their arms upon their cruel and ungrateful country, till indemnified for the toils, and the hazard which they had endured?
When we were without law and government, as it were, what prevented us from falling an easy prey to our enemies?
Is it not astonishing that Shays[xiii] and his numerous retinue, when they were in arms, and ready to shed the blood of their fellow citizens were put to fight, and the tumult quelled in the bud?
When the collected wisdom of our country had formed a national constitution, so various was the public opinion, doe it not seem a matter of equal astonishment, that it was not finally rejected, and our country ruined by civil commotions?
Is it not the hand of heaven, in a most eminent degree, which has so thwarted the machinations of enemies, at home, and enemies, abroad, as to preserve us from an implication in that awful war, which having lost its primary object, has burned with the unhallowed lust of universal domination, drenched Europe in the blood of millions, and even tinged the Nile with the stain of her guilt?
If, my Christian friends, we cannot see a special overruling providence, in these various mercies, and thousands of others, which have been poured upon us, like the manna upon ancient Israel, from the first landing of our fathers, to the present day, neither should we see it, we may be bold to assert, though transported to the joys of the heaven of heavens.
What shall we say! Has any people, without the interventions of miracles, ever been so highly favored as the American? Let him, who protects the feeble, debases the proud, and exalts the humble, have all the glory, the honor, and the praise. It is he, who has made this desert to rejoice and blossom, like the rose.
According to our original design, we shall now offer some miscellaneous reflections, which will, occasionally, be interspersed with a few historical facts, apropos to a retrospective view of the times which are past.
To the goodness of our God we are indebted for the establishment, continuance, and prosperity of our civil, literary, and religious institutions. Without a regular form of government, the situation of the tawny tribes, beyond the western mountains, would be infinitely preferable to that of man, polished and refined from the barbarisms of the savage State. There is an Arabic[xiv] proverb, which teaches us that a man, without learning, is like a body without a soul. The very life of a republican government depends upon a general dissemination of knowledge. In such governments, the voice of the people is the law of the land. It is, therefore, evident, that, unless their minds be enlightened, their judgment will be erroneous, and the consequence fatal.
The welfare of a nation, under such a form of government, is better secured by schools, academies and colleges, than by a Grecian phalanx. Religion, however, should ever be the wheel within the wheel of the government. General information is necessary, that the path of duty may easily be descried; but, a reverence for religion, or a general prevalence of moral and religious habits, is, at least, of equal importance, that it may be faithfully followed. A republican constitution, aided by these indispensable supports, may bid defiance to the blasts of demagogues and the fiery indignation of the powers of darkness. Although the world is exceedingly corrupt, and ignorance greatly abounds, we may safely assert that the prosperity of our country has depended, in no small degree, upon the prevalence of knowledge and of moral and religious habits. It is a matter of fact, as we conceive, that, in those parts of our country, where the people have been the most attentive to the education of youth, and the warmest patrons of religious institutions, there we, in general, find, not only the most profound regard for the rights of man and the laws of heaven, but the greatest prevalence of peace and plenty, harmony and love.
It deserves the highest strains of pious gratulation, that the sun of righteousness, having risen upon this western world, continues to shed his heavenly beams on every class of men.
As we can never do too much to promote, so we can never be too thankful that our country is so generally favored with a diffusion of useful science. In more than twenty different places, with the United States colleges[xv] have been established. Many of them are handsomely endued and are continually pouring into the bosom of our country, characters, who would be an honor, to any seat of science, or nation in the world. Schools and academies so universally abound, that, it may be said, in no part of the world is the education of both sexes, of every description, upon a better footing than in America.
Our national government with these inestimable advantages is admirably calculated to promote the lasting welfare and happiness of every order. If we abuse it, or if we be discontented, under it, we shall be as blameworthy, as were the children of Israel, when murmuring under a government immediately from heaven.
It was principally for the tranquil enjoyment of pure and undefiled religion that our ancestors hazarded their lives and every earthly comfort. To this end, they fixed themselves down, a little band of brothers, amid unnumbered tribes of savages and the howling monsters of the desert. Far from adopting the papistic maxim, that ignorance is the mother of devotion, they made early provision for the establishment of schools and colleges. Through the goodness of that God, who promised Abraham that his children should be as the stars of heaven, in number, this little family of Christian patriarchs and heroes is become a nation and has the means to cope with any power on earth. Here they ingrafted the olive branch of the gospel of peace. Under its benignant influence, this desert has been made to rejoice and blossom like the rose. Here, the rights of conscience remain inviolate. There, the holy[xvi] bible is open wide for the direction and comfort of every friend of God and man.
The century, which is just closed, and particularly the latter part of it, has been distinguished by many important discoveries[xvii] in various arts, many improvements in almost every science, and many great and deeply interesting events. To particularize, we should scarcely know where to begin, or where to end. Here, then, let those, who delight to blazon the historic page, bend their genius to deck with every flower, Parnassian fields can boast, the heroes, statesmen, literati, discoveries, improvements, and multifarious events, which render the eighteenth century illustrious, in the annals of this Western world.
It is now, my Christian friends, one hundred and eighty years, since the first permanent settlement of New England. How astonishingly rapid, beyond all calculation and conjecture, has been the growth of the United States! Who, among the first settlers of Plymouth could have believed, if they had been told, that, before their grandchildren should be laid in their graves, the inhabitants of these colonies would amount to millions? It is a matter of fact, that there were two[xviii] grandchildren of one, who came in the first ship, in 1620, living, so late as the year 1774. Our number was, at that time, supposed to be about three millions. In 1790, notwithstanding the ravages of the revolutionary war, our numbers had increased to nearly 3,950,000. In a few months, when the census, which is already begun, will again be completed, we shall probably find that the inhabitants of these United States amount to nearly five millions.
To give a minute account of the rise of this western empire, and of its various sources of increasing wealth and glory, is inconsistent with the limits of the present discourse. We must therefore, refer to the several[xix] histories of the different parts of the union. It is particularly worthy of remark , that the early history of no country is so well known as that of the American.
The subsequent facts relative to the state of New Hampshire, have a claim on our notice, on this occasion. The first settlements in this state, were as early as 1633. (NOTE there is a handwritten note here that says “earlier”) One hundred years ago, it contained only seven incorporated towns. Fifty years ago, the number was increased to thirty seven. At the present period, so rapid has been the population of this state, particularly, since the revolution, the number of incorporated towns has amounted to two hundred and seven.[xx]
The number of clergymen, of all denomination, in New Hampshire, is nearly one hundred and fifty. Of these, according to the best information, there are fifteen of the Baptist, seven of the Presbyterian, three of the Episcopalian, one of the Sandimanian, and the residue of the congregational order.
The increasing attention paid to[xxi] literature, in this state, affords a happy presage. Our college, although it be but thirty years since it was founded, through the zeal of the late pious and benevolent Wheelock, amid the trees of the forest, is already high in reputation among the seminaries of the United States. The situation and resources of this alma mater are such that it will undoubtedly continue to flourish, so long as a taste for the useful science shall characterize this western world.
Many things further might be said relative to the flattering prospects of New Hampshire. We will, however, only observe that the flourishing condition of our agricultural and mechanical interests, and the attention, paid to the establishment of bridges and[xxii] turnpikes, in the interior parts of this state, are a handsome evidence of the prosperity, wealth, and laudable enterprise of its industrious in habitants.
It would be a pleasing task, on entering the nineteenth century, to take a retrospective view of this town from its first settlement to the present period. Our data, however, are inadequate to the attempt. Such an undertaking naturally devolves upon age and experience. A few reflections must therefore suffice.
On the banks of the Pascataqua we are favored with one of the most pleasant situations in America.
It is remarkable, that no fire has ever laid waste a street, and rarely a single house, within the limits of Portsmouth.
We have one of the best harbors in the United States. Our commercial interests are in a very prosperous condition. We know of no town, where greater encouragement is given to the mechanic.
Among the most distinguished improvements, have here marked the close of the eighteenth century, we may mention the new market; the number of elegant houses lately erected; the aqueduct; the convenient pavements, on one side of most of our streets; and the beautiful rows of the Lombardy poplar, which begin to appear.[xxiii]
It would not be malapropos to suggest a few ideas relative to the welfare, which we have experienced , as a Christian society. This however, we will leave to a future consideration.[xxiv]
Before we proceed to our general inference, we would beg leave to inquire have not the various literary societies, established in many parts of the United States, had an ample share in adding to our respectability, in the view of the world? Have not the societies, which have been instituted and patronized for the purpose of ameliorating the distressed condition of slaves, in the southern states, and those for the benevolent purpose of restoring life to the apparently dead, and for administering comfort to mariners, cast upon desolate islands, been not only the happy instrument of gaining the blessing of thousands, ready to perish, but of insuring the smiles of heaven upon our country?[xxv]
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter through the unbounded goodness of Jehovah the desert has been made to rejoice and blossom like the rose.
In the Christian History we find the following extract from a sermon, delivered, before the general court, at Boston, in 1668, by William Soughton, who was, for several years, a preacher of the gospel, then a magistrate, and finally lieutenant governor of Massachusetts. “If any people in the world,” says this excellent character, “have been lifted up to heaven, as to advantages and privileges, we are the people. Name what you will, under this head, and we have had it. We have had Moses and Aaron to lead us. We have had teachings and instructions, line upon line, and precept upon precept. We have had ordinances and gospel dispensations the choicest of them, We have had afflictions and chastisements in measure. We have had the hearts, and prayers, and blessing of the Lord’s people everywhere. We have had the hearts, and prayers, and blessing of the Lord’s people everywhere. We have had the eye and hand of God watching and working every way for our good. Our adversaries have had their rebukes. We have had our encouragements and a wall of fire around us. What could have been done for us more than has been done already?”
Without a comment, we see the pertinence of these reflections, at the present period, which is one hundred and thirty-two years, since they were made relative to the inhabitants of this country.
Who, among our venerable Ancestors, ever dreamed of the unparalleled glory of this western world? Our land, like that of Canaan, flows with milk and honey. From Dan to Beersheba, we have seen the arm of Jehovah continually stretched out for the protection, the deliverance, and exaltation of his American Israel. We now behold, in various parts of our country, flourishing vineyards, towns, and cities, where, on the dawn of the century, which is just elapsed, wolves, bears, and catamounts burrowed, and the aboriginal tribes, in awful powwows, howled their superstitious orgies to the heavens. The beasts of the forest are fled and have given place to our flocks and herds. The savages are extinct, or have retired, beyond the high topped mountains, to enjoy the sports of hunting. There, they have ceased the dismal warwhoop; buried the hatchet; brightened the chain of friendship; and their humble wigwams are filled with the grateful odor of the calumet of peace. Through the smiles of heaven, a nation has here been born in a day. The riches of the deep are poured into our hands. Our coffers are heaped with the wealth of every clime. Our navy[xxvi] has already checked the daring presumption of the marauding sons of Europe. To view our internal resources, our rapid population, and enterprising spirit, one might venture to predict, that the period is advancing, when the wooden walls of America will be able to bid defiance to the world. Our country is become the soil of genius and the seat of science. The religion of Jesus, “The noblest gift of God to man,” prevails and triumphs, in this distant land, to the joy of angels and the happiness of millions. The desert has been made to rejoice and blossom like the rose.
Terque quaterque beati bona si sua nôrint Americani.
The subject before us is like an infinite series in mathematics. It is impossible to exhaust it.
As the most important inference from our various considerations, it may be said that A SURPRISING INTERPOSITION OF PROVIDENCE has often been exercised towards us, from the time, when the pilgrims of Leyden embarked for the wilds of America, to the present period. The same blessing was experienced, by the children of Israel for ages; but their ingratitude and rebellion, at length, armed the justice and entailed the wrath of heaven.
God only knows how long it will be, before we, for the abuse of his loving kindness and tender mercy, shall experience the awful frowns of his vengeance; become the prey of vaction, the sport of enemies; be doomed to drag the chains of slavery; or be cast off, broken to pieces, and our name erased from the catalogue of empires. From these dreadful judgments may the God in whom our fathers trusted, graciously preserve us.
Some of the friends of this country are alarmed at the cloud, which is gathering on our political horizon; but my Christian friends, why should we be anxious? The blackest cloud may discharge its thunder and its storm upon the wind; or, when it threatens terror and devastation, it may only distil a gentle and refreshing rain.
Let us, then, indulge the fond hope, that the same almighty arm, which has ever delivered us from danger, and, repeatedly, when every human probability was against us, will condescend to bless us still; to turn us from our sins; to bring good out of the evil, and light out of darkness; THAT THE GLORY OF America MAY BE THE JOYFUL THEME OF EVERY AGE, TILL TIME SHALL BE NO MORE.
Finally, my Christian friends, this is the last century sermon I shall ever preach, and no doubt, the last, which any of you will ever hear.
God grant that we, who are worshippers in this earthly temple, long before the commencement of another century, may all be worshippers in the temple, not made with hands, eternal in the heaves.
END OF THE SERMON.
Mr. Alden has it in contemplation to employ some of those interstitial moments, which can be spared from parochial and domestic duties, in preparing a history of this town, from its first settlement to the present period.
The work will require time, patience, and industry.
If the suggestion should meet the cordial approbation of the enlightened citizens of Portsmouth, it is hoped that they will occasionally, communicate such historical facts, as may comport with their convenience and aid the undertaking.
The writer of the foregoing pages having taken considerable pains to ascertain a few historical facts, relative to the newspapers, which have been printed, in New Hampshire, submits the fruit of his researches to the public.
- The first printing office, in this state, was erected for the use of Daniel Fowle. It is still standing and is at present improved as a dwelling house. Mr. Fowle came to Portsmouth, in 1756, and published the first number of THE NEW HAMPSHIRE GAZETTE, on the 7 October. Samuel Hall, who is a printer and bookseller in Boston, was with Mr. Fowle and executed the first impressions in the state. From the 25 May, 1776, to the 31 May, 1777 the paper was carried on under the superintendence of Benjamin Dearborn. It was then called THE FREEMAN’S JOURNAL this paper was at first conducted by Daniel Fowle, and then Daniel and Robert Fowle. Daniel Fowle, however, was ever the proprietor of the paper to the day of this death, which happened in 1787. For several years before this period, John Melcher carried it on for him. Upon his decease, Mr. Melcher became and has ever since continued the proprietor of the paper. This has ever been the state gazette. It is published every Tuesday. Motto. My country’s good shall be my constant aim. No 1 vol. 49, issued 30 December, 1800, and at that time the whole number was 2341. The above facts are mostly from the information of Mr. Melcher.
- The United States’ Oracle of the Day: Is published every Saturday morning by Charles Peirce printer of the laws of the United States, in New Hampshire. Motto. Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. Washington’s Legacy. No. 11, vol 11 27 December, 1800 and whole number 531. It was instituted 4 June, 1793, and was published, twice a week, till 1 January, 1796.
- The Republican Ledger: Was begun, in September, 1799. By George Jerry Osborne, who deceased last summer. It is now conducted by Nutting and Whitelock. It is published every Tuesday. Motto. When you shall these deeds relate speak of them as they are nothing extenuate nor set down ought in malice. No. 19, vol. 2, 30 December, 1800, and whole number 71.
- The Portsmouth Mercury and weekly Advertizer: Was printed in Portsmouth, by Thomas Furber and Ezekiel Russell in the years 1765, 6, and 7.
- The New Hampshire Mercury: Was published about four or five years, between 1780 and 1790, by Robert Gerrish.
- The New Hampshire Spy: Was published for five or six years and, most of the time, twice a week, by George Jerry Osborne, jun. and was discontinued early in 1793.
- The Federal Observer: Was begun 22 November, 1798, and ended 12 June, 1800. It was first printed by William Treadwell and Samuel Hart, and finally by Treadwell alone.
- The first who attempted to carry on a paper at Exeter, was Robert Fowle. He was succeeded in the business by Zechariah Fowle. Melaher and Osborne began the Exeter Chronicle in June, and ended in December, 1784. Ranlet and Lmson began a paper in 1784 and continued it for several years. Stearns and Winslow printed the American Herald of Liberty, about two years. Ranlet printed the Exeter Federal Miscellany about two years. Lamson and Odiorne printed the Weekly Visitor. Ranlet again printed a paper. This is the best account the writer can give and he is sensible of its imperfection.
- The Courier of New Hampshire: Is printed every Friday, at Concord, by George Hough, printer of the laws of the United States except those which relate to commerce, for the district of New Hampshire. No. 48 vol, 11, 26 December 1800, whole number 568.
- A few years since, a paper was printed at Concord for about two or three years, by Elijah Russel and Moses Davis.
- The Concord Morror: Was printed by Moses Davis. Our documents will not admit of being more exact.
- The first paper in Dover entitled the Political Repository and Strafford Recorder, was published by Eliphelet Ladd. It was begun, 15 July, 1790, and ended, 19 January, 1792.
- The Phoenix, under the same editor, was begun 23 January, 1792, and continued to 29 August, 1795. From March, 1794, to that time was published by Samuel Bragg, jun.
- The Sun Dover Gazette and Country Advertiser: Is published, every Wednesday, by the last mentioned editor. It was begun, 5 September, 1795. Motto. Here truth unlicensed reigns. No. 17, vol. 6, 31 December 800, and whole number 278.
- The Gilmantown Gazette and Farmer’s weekly Magazine: Is published every Saturday by Leavitt and Clough. Motto. By knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches. Moreover the profit of the earth is for all. The king himself is served by the field. Bible. No. 18, vol. 1, 26 December 1800.
- The Gilmantown Museum: Was published for six months, immediately before the Gazette, by Elijah Russell.
- The Village Messenger: Which is published every Saturday, was begun by William Biglow and Samuel Cushing, 9 January 1796. From 12 July, 1796, to 18 April, 1797, it was carried on by Cushing. Since that period it has been published by Samuel Preston. No. 1, vol. 6, 27 December, 1800, and whole number 261.
- The Amherst Journal and New Hampshire Advertiser: Was published, immediately before the Village Messenger, by Nathanael Coverly, and was begun 16 January, 1795.
- The New Hampshire Sentinel: Which was begun, in March, 1799, is published every Saturday, by John Prentiss. Motto. My country’s good, a faithful watch I stand. Vol 2, whole number 93. 27 December, 1800.
- The New Hampshire Recorder: Was published from August 1789, for about two years and a half, by James Davenport Griffith. The same editor published from 1 January, 1792, the Cheshire Advertiser, Which continued about one year.
- The Columbian Informer: Was published by Henry Blake, and Co. from 3 April, 1793 for two years. It was then carried on for four months by William Ward Blake.
- The Rising Sun: Was published from 4 August, 1795, till March 1798, by Cornelius Sturtevant, junior, and Co. From that time it was published three months, by Elijah Cooper.
- The Farmer’s Museum or Literary Gazette: Is published at Walpole, ever Monday, by David Carlisle, for Thomas and Thomas. It was till lately edited under the superintendence of Joseph Dennis, the reputed author of the Lay Preacher. Motto. “Hither, each week the pheasant shall repair To sweet oblivion of his daily care. Again the farmers’ news, the barber’s tale Again the woodsman’s ballad shall prevail.” Goldsmith. Vol. 8, 29 December, 1800, whole number 404. This paper was first called the Farmer’s Weekly Museum and New Hampshire and Vermont Journal. From February 1799, for one year, it was called the Farmers Museum, or Lay Preacher’s Gazette. Its proprietors were first Isaiah Thomas and David Carlisle, secondly Carlisle alone, and then Isaiah Thomas, and no Thomas and Thomas.
- Alden Spooner, now printer at Windsor, in Vermont, is said to have printed the first paper at Hanover.
- The Eagle or Dartmouth Centinel: Was published by Josiah Dunham, A.M. from 22 July, 1793, to 23 February, 1795. It was then published from 2 March, 1795, to 30 March, 1795 by John M. Dunham. From 6 April 1795, to 13 March, 1797, it was published by Dunham and True. From 20 March, 1797, to 24 July, 1798, it was published by Benjamin True, under the same name. From that period it was published by True, with the title of the Eagle, but under the superintendence of Moses Fiske, A.M. till the first week of June, 1799 when it was stopped.
- The Dartmouth Gazette,: Which commenced, 27 August, 1799, is published every Saturday. On the college plain, by Moses Davis. Motto. Here range the world, explore the dense and rare And view all nature in your elbow chair. Vol. 2, 27 December, 1800m, whole number 70.
- Some Years ago Nathanael Coverly published a paper for about six months at Haverhill. Three or four numbers of a magazine were, two or three years since, published by Moseley Dunham, at the the same place.
- In 1799 the prospectus of a paper which was to have been published at Charleston, was issued, but the paper was never carried into effect.
The foregoing historiette, in some instances, may perhaps be erroneous. It is however, as correct, as our materials would admit. In collecting data, the writer has been assisted principally by Mr. Charles Pierce, editor and printer of the United States’ Oracle of the Day.
King Philip’s scalp is said to be preserved in the museum of Rhode Island college.
Chebucto was the Indian name of Halifax, whither the fleet was destined to repair.
A college at Burlington in Vermont, was incorporated in 1791. It remains in statu quo.
Various obstacles having obstructed the efforts, heretofore made, for the establishment of a college, in this state, its legislature has lately passed an act incorporating a university at Middlebury. It is already endued with a handsome library and apparatus. The number of its students from this and the neighboring states, as also from Canada, is continually increasing. It bids fair to be minently useful to Vermont and the interests of science. See a late Vergennes Gazette.
Harvard college, at Cambridge, in Massachusetts, was founded in 0638. It is the most ancient college and the best endued of any in America.
Williamstown college, at Williamstown, in the western part of this state, was incorporated in 1793.
Rhode Island College, at Providence, in Rhode Island, received its charger from the legislative assembly, in 1764. It was at first established, at Warren, and was removed to its present location in 1770.
Yale College, in Connecticut, was founded at Killingworth, in 1700. It continued there till 1707. From this first period, it was stationed at Saybrook till 1716, when it was permanently fixed, at New Haven.
Columbia college, in the city and state of New York, was founded in 1754.
Union College, at Schenectady, in this state, was incorporated, in 1794.
Nassau Hall, or the college at Princeton, in New Jersey, Obtained its charter of incorporation, from George the second, in 1748. See the laws of the institution.
Dickinson College, at Carlisle, 120 miles to the westward of Philadelphia, was founded in 1783.
Franklin College, a German institution, was founded, at Lancaster, in the same state as the above, in 1787.
The University of Maryland consists of Washington College at Chestertown, founded in 1782, and St. John’s College at Annapolis, founded 1784.
The Roman Catholics have a college, at Georgetown, on the Potomac, in Maryland.
Cokesbury College, an institution for the Methodists, at Abington, in the same state, was founded in 1786.
William and Mary College, at Williamsburg, in Virginia, was founded in the time of the King William and Queen Mary.
Hampden Sydney College is in Prince Edward County of the same state.
The legislature of Virginia made handsome provision for a college in Kentucky before its separation from that state. Funds are collecting for the establishment of another college in it .
The University of North Carolina was instituted by the general assembly, in 1779.
Greenville College, in Green county; Blount College at Knoxville, and Washington College in Washington county, are established by law, in the state of Tennessee.
Three colleges have lately been incorporated in South Carolina. One at Charleston, one at Winnsborough in the district of Camden, and the other at Cambridge, in the district of Ninety-six. The last is at present no more than a grammar school.
A college, with ample enduements, is instituted at Louisville in Georgia.
A great part of the above, for which no authority is quoted is drawn from Doctor Morse’s Geography.
In 1730, a reflecting quadrant was contrived by Thomas Godfrey, of Philadelphia. It may be said of him as it was of Virgil, at a certain period of his life. Alter tulit honores. It is commonly known by the name of Hadley’s quadrant.
In 1750, the late Benjamin Franklin. LL. D. discovered the use of electrical rods.
In 1776 David Bushnel of Saybrook, in Connecticut, became the author of an invention for submarine navigation. The design of the machine, which was put in operation by the aid of the screw, was to blow up the British ships, which lay in the Delaware. The floating kegs were another ingenious contrivance of the same man. See a humorous account of their effects, in a poem, by the late Francis Hopkinson esquire.
Major Samuel Sewall, of York, in Maine, is the inventor of the machine for sinking the wooden piers of all the large bridges in America, and a number, in Europe.
Joseph Pope, of Boston is the inventor of the orrery , at Harvard college.
The late David Rittenhouse, LL.D. is the inventor of the orrery, at Princeton college.
The Reverend John Prince, LL.D. of Salem, is the author of a very great improvement in the air pump. See memoirs of the American Academy.
Apollos Kinsley, of Bridgewater, is the inventor of a patent machine for making bricks of an excellent quality and with great expedition.
Major Isaac Lazell, of the same town, is the inventor of a useful patent machine for raising and removing rocks.
Dean Howard is the inventor of a patent boot and shoe lathe, calculated to facilitate the operation of boot and shoe making. See New England Palladium.
Captain Michael Wigglesworth, of Newburyport, is the inventor of a patent improvement in the rope making business.
Jacob Perkins of the same place, is the inventor of a patent machine for making nails with cold iron. Upon his plan they are cut out of plates of iron, whose width determines their length. They are cut with astonishing expedition, but every nail must be handled separately, in order to form the head, which requires considerable time.
The Reverend Jonathan Newell, of Stow, in Massachusetts, is the inventor of a patent nail machine, which goes beyond anything of the kind heretofore discovered. It not only cuts but heads the nail at the same operation. The machine is moved by water. A lad of fifteen years of age may tend it with ease. It completes sixty five nails in a minute. With a full head of water, it has completed eighty in the same time. Its principles will serve for nails of any size. M S letter from the Reverend Nathaniel Hill Fletcher of Kennebunk.
Sears, of Dennis in Massachusetts, has a patent for his improvements in the construction of salt works.
The late Hattel Killey, Junior, of the same town, obtained a patent for a further improvement.
Benjamin Dearborn, of Taunton, is the inventor of a patent improvement in the steelyard.
Stephen Parsons, of Parsonsfield, in Maine, is the inventor of a patent machine, for making window sashes. It is said that a man with this machine will complete in a day, two hundred squares, which is eight days’ work.
Mark Jambard Brunel, of the city of New York, is the inventor of a penna duplex, or machine for writing with two pens at the same time. It is so contrived that, when one of the pens into one inkstand, the other is carried to another. When one moves the other moves correspondently. Its principal use is in copying drawings. The inventor has obtained a second patent in Europe.
Benjamin Wyncoop of Philadelphia, is the inventor of a patent machine for expelling foul air from the holds of ships at sea. Two of his ventilators which are sufficient for any ship do not occupy the space of four flour barrels. See the Medical Repository where several attestations to their great utility are given by some, who have experienced their good effects.
The Reverend Ezra Weld, of Braintree near Boston, has a patent for a washing machine, of his contrivance, which greatly facilitates and expedites the severe labor of washing clothes. It is a great improvement upon all other machines of the kind, and is coming into general use, in every part of the country. The foregoing notes are from various sources of information.
It is said, that a gentleman of respectability, in Rhode Island, has for a number of years been collecting materials for a history of that state.
The Reverend Samuel Miller, one of the Ministers of the United Presbyterian churches, in the city of New York, is preparing a history of the state of New York, from its first settlement to the present period.
It is ardently to be desired, that an example so laudable, may be followed, till the world shall be favored with an accurate history of every state in the union.
John Weelock, LL.D president and professor of history
Bezaleel Woodward, A.M. Professor of mathematics and philosophy, and treasurer
Nathan Smith, A.M. professor of medicine and lecturer on anatomy and surgery, theory and practice of physics
Lyman Spalding, M.B. lecturer on chemistry and materia medica.
Stephen Bemis, A.B. tutor.
About 800 have been graduated at this college. Its library contains upwards of 2000 volumes. The libraries of its several literary societies consist of about 700 volumes, the chief f which are some of the most useful productions.
Academies in New Hampshire.
Phillips Academy at Exeter, is better endued, than any other in America. It was founded by the late honorable John Phillips LL.D. in 1780, Instructors, Benjamin Abbot, A.M. preceptor, Samuel Dunn Parker, A.B. and gates Burnap, A.B., assistants.
Moor’s school, or the Hanover Academy, founded in 1754, at Lebanon, in Connecticut, by the late reverend Eleazar Wheelock, and removed to its present situation in 1770.
Newipswich academy, founded in 1789
Aurean Academy, at Amhers, founded in 1790
Charleston academy, founded in 1791
Chesterfield academy founded in –
Haverhill academy, founded in 1793
Gilmantown academy founded in 1794
Salisbury academy, lately founded
Several others are said to be in contemplation.
The first, for a turnpike road from Pascataqua bridge in Durham, to Merrimac river, in Concord, was passed, 16 June, 1796.
The second for a Turnpike road from the lottery bridge in Claremont, to the plain in Amherst, near the courthouse, was passed, 26 December, 1799.
The third for a turnpike road from Bellows Falls, in Walpole, on Connecticut river, through Keene, towards Boston, to the Massachusetts line, was passed, 27 December, 1799.
The fourth, for a turnpike road from the east bank of Connecticut river, in Lebanon nearly opposite the mouth of White river, eastwardly, to the west bank of Merrimac river, in Salisbury, or Boscawen, was passed, 8 December 1800.
According to the enumeration, made pursuant to an act of congress passed 9 July, 1798, there were in the town of Portsmouth six hundred and twenty-six dwelling houses. Of these eighty-six are one story, five hundred and twenty-four are two stories, and sixteen are three stories high. Since the enumeration, five houses of three stories, and several, of other dimensions, have been erected, in the town.
We have thirty-one streets, thirty-one streets, thirty-eight lanes, ten alleys, four roads, and three public squares.
The number of inhabitants in 1775 amounted to four thousand five hundred and ninety. In 1790, the number was four thousand seven hundred and twenty. It is supposed that in the last ten years there has been an increase of about a thousand.
In 1798, this town was visited with an alarming epidemic, the yellow fever, and dysentery. One hundred and seven died between 20 July and 6 October. It appears that fifty-five died with the fever and fifty-two with the dysentery and other disorders, but mostly with the dysentery. Among the fifty-two were twenty-nine young children. Forty-one persons who had the fever recovered. It is worthy of remark that the fever was confined to people, who either lived, or hand been employed in the north part of the town, and the dysentery, to those of the southern part.
A House of Mr. John Langdon father of the senator at congress of that name, at Sagamore’s Creek was burnt about sixty years ago. In 1745, the house of the honorable Richard Waldron, esquire, at the plains was demolished with fire and most of the probate courts records together with many other papers which belonged to the executive of the then province of New Hampshire. A house belonging to Nathaniel Rogers, esquire, in Pleasantstreet and occupied by James Nevin, esquire, which stood on the spot where now stands the house of the honorable John Langdon, was burnt about the year 1760. Many years before this, a house which belonged to the Reverend Nath. Rogers, and stood on the same ground was consumed with fire and a negro woman with it. Somewhere about the year 1750 or 1755, a barber’s shop which stood on the parade was burnt. In January 1761 a house belonging to James Stoodley, esquire, in Daniel street, was consumed with fire. In 1762, a barn belonging to the late Reverend Samuel Langdon, D.D. was burnt. In 1763, a house of George Jaffrey, esquire, in Washington street occupied by John Wendell, esquire, was reduced to ashes. A small house belonging to Mr. Philip Babb, was burt, at the plains. At another time, a house belonging to Mr. William Peyerly, was also burnt at the plains. In 1780, Mr. Samuel Sherburnes house was burnt at the plains. In the same year, a house of Mr. Volentine Nunes at Islington or the creek was also burnt. The most alarming fire, which this town has ever experienced was that in March, 1781, when the honorable Woodbury Langdon’s house, stable, large store, and the county gaol wwere destroyed. It is supposed that a great part of the town would inevitably have been laid waste, if the wind which was at first westwardly, had not veered to the northward. To check the progress of this fire a house of Mr. Richard Mills was torn down.
Twenty-eight ships, forty-seven brigs, ten schooners, two sloops and one barque, which are employed on foreign voyages belong to the town of Portsmouth. It is particularly worthy or remark that seventeen of the above, and mostly large vessels have been built in course of the year 1800. We have also about twenty coasting and more than that number of fishing vessels.
The Portsmouth pier was incorporated in December, 1795. The pier, or wharf, is three hundred feet in length and averages sixty feet in breadth. There is one building on it which is not equaled by anything of the kind in New England. It is three hundred and twenty feet in length and thirty feet in breadth. It is three stories high and is divided into fourteen stores. On the north side of the pier there is another building of the same height, which is designed into two stores. On the front of the pier is a large brick hotel.
The new market was built in 1800. The building is eighty feet long thirty feet wide, and two stories high. The lower story, which is designed for the market, is twelve feet high. The upper story, which is fourteen feet high, is intended for a commodious and elegant town hall. The bricks, used in the building, amounted to one hundred and forty-five thousand and were all laid in thirty nine days.
The Portsmouth aqueduct was incorporated, 19 December, 1797. In 1799 and 1800, it was brought into operation, so that 200 and 14 houses and stores are amply supplied with water of an excellent quality for every domestic purpose. Its source is a spring, within the limits of Newington at the distance of nearly three miles from the Portsmouth pier. Its ramifications lead into most f the streets in town. The premium from a family consisting of from six to ten persons to the proprietors, is five dollars per annum. There appears to be a sufficiency of water so a much larger number of inhabitants than Portsmouth contains. On the north side of the pier is a waterhouse with a pump, where ships and the inhabitants, at any time can be supplied with water at twelve cents and half per hogshead. In case of fire the aqueduct must be of vast importance to the town.
In Portsmouth we have but one street entirely paved. In course of a few years however one side of most of our streets have been paved very nice flat stones, brought from Durham, in such a manner that two or three persons can conveniently walk a breast.
The Lombardy poplars in Mr. Joseph havens front yard, were twigs of six inches, in length, in the spring of 1794. They now measure thirty six inches in circumference at the but. Joshua Bracker, M.D. and the honorable John Langdon, esquire, have some which are one or two years older, and were the first introduced in Portsmouth. The row on the south side of Pleasant street, was set out in 1798. The row before judge Langdon’s on the north side of Broad street was set out in 1799. The row on the north side of Deer street, extending from Madam Sherburne’s to Fore street, the row on the north side of Pleasant street, extending from deacon Penhallow’s corner to the south church, and the row on the south side of Jaffrey street, in front of Mr. John Pierce’s elegant new house were set out in the spring of 1800. It ought to be noted that all these rows of trees have been set out, and neatly boxed, throught the are and experience of public spirited citizens. As trees are allowed by philosophers and physicians to render the air more salubrious and as nothing can be more ornamental to a town, it is to be hoped that their laudable example will be followed till every street and vacant corner is replenished with the Lombardy poplar.
There seems to be a propriety in adding the following historical facts, although not immediately connected with our discourse.
It has often been observed that we have had less snow, of late years, than formerly. The most remarkable snow, ever known in New England, fell in the latter part of April (this is marked out and beneath it is hand written February) 1717. It was so deep, that in many instances, people were obliged to get out of their chamber windows. The writer has been told by aged people, in the county of Plymouth, if he mistake not, that it was supposed to be eight feet on a level. This has ever since been known by the name of the GREAT SNOW.
The aurora borealis, or northern light, has been frequent during a great part of the eighteenth century. The first ever noticed in New England, was on the 11 December, 1719, and was very remarkable. Flashes were continually heard. The hemisphere seemed to glow like a burning oven. Many thought that the end of the world was at hand and expected every moment to behold the Son of man coming in the clouds to judge the world. Ten years ago the aurorae borealis were common; but for a number of years, scarcely any have appeared which is a matter for curious speculation.
The dark day, as it was called, happened on the 19 May, 1780. The darkness extended throughout New England and was perceived fifteen leagues at sea. It is said to have been occasioned by an unusual quantity of vapor, which had been generated by great burnings in the western woods. The writer, who was then at Bridgewater, perfectly recollections that a total eclipse of the sun was said to be calculated for the succeeding day. As it was previously cloudy, when the darkness same on, it was concluded that there was a mistake in the almanac of one day relative to the eclipse. The people were therefore not alarmed. Candles were lighted at dinner. Fowls repaired to their roost. The whippoorwill was heard to sing, and everything had the semblance of night.
About the 2 June, 1638, a great earthquake was felt in New England. In about half an hour, there was a second shock, but with less severity. There is an account of it in the New England’s Memorial. In the same work, it is also said that there was a great earthquake in the year 1658 and another shutting in of the evening of 25 January 1653, which was very great. Another shock was felt in the course of the same night, and again, another on the 28of the same month about nine in the morning. After this, it is said that there were several light shocks of earthquakes, in different years, but none very considerable till the great earthquake, 27 October, 1727. This happened at a little more than half after ten, on the evening of the Sabbath. It was at that time considered, as the greatest this country had ever experience. It was observed that some towns, or almost every day for several weeks after, felt slight repetitions of the shock. The last great earthquake was on Tuesday, 18 November, 1755, at about a quarter after four, in the morning. There was another small shock an hour, and a quarter after this, and a third, on the Saturday evening ensuing, at twenty seven minutes after eight. There was another shock at ten on the evening of Friday, 19 December. It is said that there have been three or four earthquakes since that period. Two or three of them were between 1758 and 1770j. A slight shock was felt about the year 1784, 5, or 6. The newspapers have lately mentioned that an earthquake was perceived at Hanover, on Friday evening, 19 December, 1800, and again, on the Saturday evening ensuing and at Bolton, Concord, and other places. See discourses, by Foxcroft, Prince, Chauncey, and Winthrop.
The Royal Humane society in Great Britain was founded in 1774. Since that period so happy have been the effects of this benevolent institutions that about one hundred lives, a year, have been restored from apparent death to husbands, wives, parents, brothers, sisters, friends, and the world, who, but for this noble establishment would have been numbered among the dead.
Of these there are guns.
6 Frigates which carry 44 guns each 264
3 36 108
6 32 192
4 sloops of war 24 96
4 20 80
3 18 54
1 brig 18 18
3 16 48
3 14 42
2 schooners 12 24
Total number of guns 926
*Originally Posted: Dec. 26, 2016
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