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Travels through the United States of North America, the country of the Iroquois, and Upper Canada, in… La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt, François-Alexandre-Frédéric, duc de, 1747-1827 1800

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IN THE years 1795* 1796, and 1797 ;
HonDon :
Printed by T. Gitlet, Saliibury-Square,
'Jm-  Travels
; '•" '; ^f:    «   GANADA, &c.     : tfti^h- "-,-
IN THE YEARS  1796,   1796, AND  1797-
' . !^n^-      NORFOLK.     : - c---1-- ;'  'fl
r~ "^HERE do not frequently occur oppor-
A tunMes of obtaining a paflage from
Charleston to Norfolk : the feafon was too
far advanced to admit of travelling on horfe-
back through North-Carolina, and making in
that ftate a HifEcientlylong ftay to acquire good
information. After having: waited a week
for a veffel to convey me to Virginia, I had
engaged a birth in a (loop : but my Charlefton
fiiends thought it too much encumbered
with paffengers to allow of my being conveniently accommodated on board, belides its
being indifferently equipped ; and Mr. Grant,
Vol, IL B one one of thofe gentlemen from whom I had experienced the greàeft eâVilities at Charleftort,
invited me to give the preference to a fmall
veffel that was configned to him, which belonged to one of his frie&ds at Norfolk, and
which was to fail in two  days.    This veffel
was not to be laden, to carry no other paffengers than  the owners nephew and myfelf,
and to take us in three days to Norfolk.    Although I difliked the veffel on account of her
fmall fize, as fhe was but of twenty-nine tons
burden, yet the advantage of the other cir-
cumfïahees   counterbalanced  that   objection,
and I thahkfïmy accepted the offer: butjfcin-
ftêaà offtiling at thé expiration of two day$,
fhe tvfe delayed fix days logger : mftead of
havmg no cargo, fhe was laden with.cafes of
rice  even  to the very cabin :   inftead of a
îingîe fellow-paffenger, there were fbirr: ht-
: flead of being a good $!9.#r, fhè was as floW
as a Dutch dogger :   the captain was ignorant,  lazy, carelefs,  and une&fcjualhted wt&
the dinicult coafl df North-Carolma.
At length, after hkvine; encoi&ftered the
moil ferious dangers on the fho#ls of Cape
Fear and Cape Lookout, which we ought to
have north AMERICA, cAMAj^A, Sic,
have left at the diftancè of thiftV miles ; af-
ter haViilg had one of our mafts four times
fhâttered by the feverlty of the Weather : after
having i*utl aground during: the nîght on a
ixâîïk ill Chefapeak*Bay, from which we extricated ourfelves with difficulty at the ex-*-
pence of four hours' fevere labour ; after
having efcaped from federal other perils to
Which the ignorance and neglecT of our captain had ££pofed us ; and after a moft un-
pleafant voyage of eleven days, wë arrived at
Norfolk on the 29th of May.
Thus it often happens that the event is far
febm correfponcKng with the meafures plan>
ned by prudent forefrght : but inconveniences
and dangers are nothing when they are packed 1 and thofe attached to fea*-voyages leave a
lefs ftrong imprefiion on the mind than any
other. Befides, on fea, danger does not fub-
jedtfthe pafienger to any laborious exertions :
for in that fituation, beyond all others, he is
compelled to acknowledge hirnfelf fbbjéâ: to
the fway of uncontrollable neceflky. His
condition, however, is. not on that account
the more agreeable; far from it: but it affords
a fort  of melancholy confojàtion to a man
B z -already
already fatigued with untoward events, and
predifpofed to bear with patience thofe further croffes of which he is deitined to be the
On my paffage I learned that our little
veffel belonged to Colonel H * * * *, the
Britifh conful, and principal of one of th<
moft opulent commercial houfes in Norfolk,
whichy however, does not bear his name, but
that of his nephew, Thomas H**** : for by
the laws of England, and thofe of every'nation
who wifh that the duty of their envoy mould
be the primary object of his attention, a
conful is not allowed to carry on any fpecies
of commerce in the country where he is employed. But Colonel H * * * ■*, like fo many
others, thus eludes that regulation, and employs his capital on his own account under
the firm of his nephew, which he directs as1*
completely as if he were the avowed principal in the bufmefs. It was with Mr. Morgan
j—who is not the colonel's relative as Mr.
Grant had informed me, but one of the perlons employed under him for the affairs of
the confulate—that I failed : and from his
converfation I had a new opportunity of ob-
ferving NORTH AMERICA,   CANADA,  &C 5
ferving how uniformly all thofe who are employed by the * * * * miniftry, and all fuch
as have imbibed thH'f'principles, fpeakiof the
Americans with averfion and contempt. Such
a difpofition on their part feems as little likely
to furnifh motives that fhould render palatable the late treaty of amity and commerce, as
the articles of the treaty itfelf.
Since the revolution, * * * * has nominated, for her confuls in the United States,
Americans who had been profcribed in their
native country for having taken part in op- the caufe of independence ; fhe
has fent thither, as her miniftérs, men the
moft violent in their opinions, and in their
difcourfes. againft the American nation. In
the iirMft of peace fhe feizes her fhips, and
preffes her failors ; fhe renews thefe outrages
with! a?d^Etional violence at the very moment
of consludiahig the treaty of alliance ; and the
American government teftifies no refentment
of fuch proceedings. When we fee, as is
the cafe at the prefent period, that morality
and honefty are utterly difregarded in politics, it is eafy to account for the conduct of
T> H&.   $£■   ^i.   -fe
k 3 * * * * * *.* * in this particular ;   but that  of the
American rulers is wholly unaccountable.
In failing out of Charlefton-Bay, we croffed
the bar by the north paffage, near Sullivan's
Jfland : this is the narrower]; and fHalloweft
of all the paffages ; but it was more that!
fufficiently deep for our purpofe : we had a
good pilot on board : and thus with perfect
fafety we abridgeà our eourfe by a dozen of
miles, A few days before, a fhip from Jamaica, a valuable prize taken by a French
privateer, had been loft through the mi&
management of a drunken pilot, who ran
her aground in conducting her through the
middle paffage, which is the deepeft of all.
The nature of the fand which compofès the
bank is fuch, that in a few hours, it fwsdlows
up whatever touches upon it, and that; the
fhip in queftion, from which only albw bales
of coffee could be faved, totally difappeasred irj
twelve hours, hull and mails, ,fo that not a
veftige of her was any longer to be dif-
Thofe veffels which, as was the cafe with
ours, are bound for Norfolk, fleer to the left
after they have paffed between Cape Henry
and Cape Charles, which form the entrance
of the Chefapeak. On Cape Henry is erected a fort which is fe&n from a great diltance.
Behind it, and oppofite to the entrance of
this vaft bay, and a little to the left, is Hampton-Road. We approached within fight of
it in order to gain Kizabeth-River, after
havÎHg paffed by the mouths of James and
Nanfemond RiverSr
• Norfolk is built on Elizabeth-River, at
nine miles from the fpot where it difcharges
its waters into the bay. In the intervening
fpace there are few houfes, and tliofe few ai-
moft all prefent a wretched appearance. An
ajmoft uninterrupted fucceflion of pines are
the only object which meets  the voyager's
B 4 eye. a
eye^ Erancy Ifland lies nearly in the middle
of the river at a fhort diftance above its
mouth. Two points of land, which ap-»
proach within a quarter of a mile of each
other in front of Norfolk, are itrengthened
with forts which are capable of fuecefsfully
defending the entrance. That on the Norfolk
fide is in better condition than the other,
which, however, might be fpeedily repaired,
and at no great expence.
The town of Norfolk was entirely burned
at the commencement of the war, by order
of Lord Dunmore, who was at that time governor of Virginia for the king of England.
Not a fingle houfe remained Handing : and
the damage was eftimated at aixiillipn and half
of dollars. The Englifh who now inhabit
the town, afhamed of that act of barbarity,
affert that Lord Dunrnorp gave orders only
for the burning of the warehoufes on the
wharfs, for the purpofe of facilitating the defence qf the place, and that it was the Americans themfélves ^yho burned the remainder
of the town by order of the committee of
fafety of the legiflature of Virginia» It is not
forgotten how a few years ago the Jacobins
in France faid that the arîffcôcrats weretthem-
felves the perfons who fet fire to their own."
châteaux. Pârty-animoiity prompts^inien to
advance the ^roffeft^ckbôirditBes, and caufes.
them to be believed even by thofe who relate them.—Mankind are every where the
fame :—an obfervation, of which the truth is
univerfally acknowledged.
Portfmouth, a fmall affemblage of houfes'
on the oppofite fide of the river, did not
mare in the conflagration of Norfolk. From
its fituation it feemed entitled to expect all
the commerce of Elizabeth-River : at ksfcr
quays the greateft depth of water is found:
at the higheft tides, it is there twelve feet
deep, whereas it» is only fix at Norfolk : the>
pump-water at the former place is not brack-
ifh, as at the latter : the foil on which the
town is built is more dry, and the air more
falubïious. But, at the conclufion of the
peace, the inhabitants being incenfed againfi
the Englifh, refufed to admit any merchant
of that nation, or any new-comer whofe
political principles were liable to fufpkion.
To th.s rancorous difpofition was attributed
a. political motive of a lefs generous kind—-
an apprehenfiOQ on the part of the American
merchants who had regained at Portfmouth,
left the new traders who might come to fettle
among them, fhould, by the advantage of
bringing in greater capitals than they them-
felves poffeffed, be enabled to outdo them in
the line of commerce.
However this may be, the confequence has
been, that the inhabitants have removed to
the opp&fite fide ; that Norfolk has been rebuilt, and that its trade is twenty times more
coafiderable than that of Portfmouth : nay,
thé few merchants who ftill refide in the latter town, purchafe at Norfolk almoft all the
articles that conftitute their cargoes, and fome
of them even have their compting-houfes
Partfmouth* which, in a very great fpace,
contains at prefent only about a hundred
îtoufes, and whole ftreets run in very flraight
lines, wears the appearance rather of a town
recently traced out than of one already built.
A fmall market is held there, but it is indifferently fupplied : there is alfo an epifco^
palian church, a tolerably handfome building,
m which, as in all the churches of Georgia,
Carolina, and ^Srghria, a peculiar ftation 1%
allotted to <jke negroes^ who are not allowed
to mingle'with the whites,-
At'ithe ekffe of the year eighty-three there
were not yet twelve rcaufes rebuilt at Norfolk : at prefeaat the number is between feven
and eight hundred. It is one of the uglieft,
moft irregular, and moft filthy towns that
<can any-Where be found* I The hoiiies are
low and uafightly, aim oft aH conftructed of
wood, and erected without any attention to
make them regularly line with each othe?,$
<not twenty of them are built of brisk. The
ftreets are unpaved : the town is furr-ounded
by fwamps: the naftinefs and flench which
prevail in it are exceffive,and add to the natural insalubrity of the iituation, and of the
climate which is extremely hot. The magi*
Urates, ivis feid, have fometimes attempted
to introduce into the place a greater degree
of order, and efpecially of cleaalinefs : but
thefe regulations have not been attended to.|
and nobody is any longer walling to act as
From thefe concurrent fources of unhealth»
îiefs it refults that   difeafes are habitual at
' Norfolk t4f
Norfolk in fummer and autumn, and that
malignant epidemics are there frequent. Laft
year the yellow fever is faid to have carried
J' *
off there five hundred perfons from a.population of four thoufand. Three hundred died
at the time the diftemper prevailed ; the
others fell victims to its confequences. The
inhabitants of Norfolk, even thofe among
them who are the moft opulent, fancy that
the ufe j'of wine and ftrong liquors furnifhes
'them with a prefervative againft the infalu-
brity of the climate ; and they make liberal
TgÊè of the remedy. Previous to the war, the
town is faid to have contained eight thoufand inhabitants..- : §j|
Norfolk carries on a confiderable trade
With-Europe; the Antillesy and the Northern
Hates. Her exports are wheat, flour, Indian corn, timber of every kind, particularly
planks, ftaves, and fhingles, fait meat and
nfh, iron, lead, flax-feed, tobacco, tar, turpentine, hemp.-    All thefe  articles  are the
, produce of Virginia, or of North-Carolina,
which latter ftate, having no fea-ports, or
ndEfe that are good, makes her exportations
'1 prièeif ally through thofe of Virginia.
5fc If,
Norfolk is thîe onbp portgfor the foutbem
part of this ex'tenfive ftate. :• for, as no veflels
■above the burden of a hundred or a hundred
and twenty tons can go up to Peterfburg or
-Richmond, the produce- of the back cou&try
•which is brought to thofe places by land*
is for the moft part fent down in lighters to
Norfolk, whence it is exported. Thus, this
port almoft fingly carries on all the commerce
of that part of Virginia which lies fouth- of
the Rappahannoc, and of North-Carolina
far beyond the Roanoke.        jÉ^
They are at prefent forming a canal, which,
palling through the Difmal-Swamp, is to
unite the waters of the fouth branch of Elizabeth-River, or rather of Dup-Creekwhichialls
into it, with Albemarle-Sound, by the river
Pafkotank, and which will thus confiderably
fhorten and facilitate the communication between North-Carolina and Norfolk. This
canal, to which the two le^iflatures of North-
Carolina and Virginia have feverally given
their. fanction, is carried on by fubfcription :
it is three years fince it was begun ; and in
three years more it is expected to be finifhed.
^It is to be twenty-reight miles in length, and
If to run through a foil which is faid to be very
favourable for the purpofe, and eaftly worked*
miles of it aie already dug on the Vir*>
gïniâ fide, which I examined with fome care,
and thought very well executed i the fame
length is alfo dug on the fide of North-Carolina. The Difmal-Swamp has lefs folidity
than any other which I have ever yet feen ;
J Jt
but the earth which is dug for the pafiage of
the canal, hardens in the air, and makes an
excellent dike.
What muft appear very furprizing, is, that,
for this canal which already feems in fuch a
ftate of farwardnefs, no levels have been
taken. It is not yet known what number of
locks may be necefiary, and. even whether any
will be requifite : confequently it is impoflible
to afcertain what may be the expence of completing it, or even whether the fuccefs of the
undertaking can he depended on. It is thus
almoft all the public works are carried on in
America, where there is a total want of men
of talents in the arts, and where fo many'
able men, who are perhaps at this moment
unemployed in Europe, might to a certainty
make their  fortunes at the fame time that
they were rendering effential fervice to the
The exportatlbns from Norfolk amounted,
in 1/91, to 1,028,789 dollars—in 1 792, to
1,147,414—in 1793, to 1,045,525—in 1794,
to 1,087,194—In 1795> to 1,934,827—and
already to 1,088,105 dollars for the firsft
quarter of the current year (179Ô). When
weUconfider the increafe in the exports for
fome years back, we muft recollect that the
difl§ience is much more confiderajble in the
value than in the quantity. The neceflities
of Europe have more than doubled the price :
and although it be certainly a fact that the
clearing of new grounds augments the quantum of produce, that augmentation bears no
proportion to the difference of value preferitea
by the tables for three years back, fent in
from the different cuftom-houfes. In giving
a combined view of the details of the exportation of the three principal articles of the
produce of the country for the laft five years,
I furniih an additional proof of my affertion.
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Vol. II.
I cannot fuBjecT'the amount of the general
eftimates to the fame comparifon as thofe of
the wheat, Indian corn, and.timber.
Exclufive of the flour exported from Norfolk, there is drawn from the ftate, through
that and other ports, a great quantity of
wheat, which is t$ken by the merchants of
Philadelphia and New-York, or the millers
of Brandiwine, who manufacture it into flour
which they export to Europe. Good mills
are not very common in Virginia % and the
want of capitals to erect a fufficient number
of them does not allow the Virginians to enjoy" the great advantages ^rifmg from the
manufacture of flour, which they have
hitherto refigned to the -other ftates. The
high price of wheat this year, and the hope
that it would rife ftill higher, have kept in
Virginia a-confiderable quantity of that commodity : and, in confequence of this fpecula-
tion, which the prefent ftate of the market
fhews to have, been ill-founded, the planters
and the.millers have on hand a greater ftock
Of the article than they have ever had in the
preceding years at the fame feafon.
•    The fame is the cafe with refpecl to the
tonnage il H '
tonnage of the different American ports ; its
'fitereafe is in great meafure owing to the cir-
cumftances  of the war,  which  render  the
American bottoms the only vehfèîes that afford any tolerable fecurity for the tranfpdrta-
tion of thofe articles of American produce of
Wklch Europe and the colonies ftand in need*
and confine in their own ports the merchant
fhips of France, England, Holland, &c. until
the return of peace.    Ten years ago, Norfolk
could  not  reckon   ten large  veiTels  of her
own ; whereas at prefent fhe pofieffes fifty of
that defcription, exclufive of fifty others of
fmaller fize particularly employed in the trade
to the Weft-Indies.    Under the name of Norfolk are to be underftood Norfolk and Portfmouth; for thofe two places, though otherwife
diftibcl, conftitute but a fmgle port of entry/
and are both  fubjecT: to the fame cuftom-
houfe.    The prélent-tonnage of Norfolk is
15,36/ tons, exclufive of the ve$els employed
m the coaftinp; trade.
The danger of fmuggling which might be
carried on by vefTels coming from foreign
•Countries, and difcharging their cargoes in
James or York-River, induced the congrefs
to enact a law prohibiting vefTels bound ta
Richmond, Petersburg, or York-Town, from
entering thofe rivers without having on board
a cuftom-houfe-officer, whom the captain
comes or fends for to Norfolk. This precaution, which operates as a partial check on
that illicit trade, does not however entirely
reprefs it ; and I have been allured that it is
carried on to a considerable amount along
the fhores of the Chefapeak, norwithftanding
the vigilance of two fmall vefTels belonging to
the government cf the Union, which are con-
ftantly cruifmg with a view to prevent it.
The exportation of tobacco from Norfolk
has, by the diminution of the culture of that
article in Virginia, been reduced above one
third within the laft live years.- In 1793, it
amounted to 1.5,002 Jbogiheads—in 1£§/1, to
ï 1,052—and in 1795, to jQ^ôS. I have not
been able to procure, an accurate ftatement of
the quantities exported in l 791 and 1702.
Many - Englifh commercial houi^|Lre ef-
tabliihed at Norfolk ; and the merchants of
that nation hate the Americans here as well
as throughouffalmoft the whole of the United
States»-  They break out into invectives, and \r /-»
are iavifh of contemptuous expreffions, againft
the country which enrichies them..-, :;We ought
never to wonder at the effects é£ prejudice
and paflvon : yet, in older to account for this
prepofterjoiis .conduct, it is necefiary. to recollect that the -generality of thofe merchants,
who are but the agents of different honfes in
England, are men utterly deftitute of education : foydthe better fort of Enelifh mtahants
eftablifhed in America .are not .gijilty of uich \
blameable conduct.
The animofity of the Engiifh merchants
refiding at Norfolk is further exafperated by
the prefèhce of a conful who is a native of
America, a loyalift, who bore arms againft
feis country during the war between .the colonies and Britain, and who, in addition to
the politics of the Brîtifh cabmèt, feels the
fpur of perfonal refentment for the confif*
Rations he has fuffered. Public opinion how*
ever is unanimous in his favour with reject
to his conduct in the war, which was very
different from that of lèverai officers who fo
ibâkingly derogated from the honourable
character which the Englilh nation is generally allowed to pofTefs.
C 3 This ï^";
This year Fjngland procured   from Virginia a number of horfes; to mount the ca-
valfcy which fhe  propofed   to   lend   to   the
French iflands ; and thofe fupplies, which at
every former period had always been   con-
fidered as warlike flores, were by the Ame-
rican miniftry accounted ordinary merchandize : confequently their exportation was authorized by law, notwithftanding the remon-
ftrances of the French conful.*    But fordane
has  not proved fo favourable to the Brtlifh.
plans  as  the council of the United âteàtes :
for, of four hundred horfes already flapped
off, only one hundred and fifty lived \o reach
the  place   of their   deftination, afid  arrived
there in bad condition.    A veffel which had
about a hundred on board did not prefêrve a
fingle one of the number.    The pretautions,
taken for the tranfportation of three hundred
more that yet remain at Norfolk, being the
fame as  thofe adopted  with refpect to the
former, the fame refuît muft inevitably enfue;
and the fame will probaMy be the fate of five
hundred others now purchafmg  in  North-
Carolina. |3p$        |p
If the circle of Engliih merchants and the
creatures NORTH AMERICA,  CANADA,   &C
Creatures of the confel at Norfolk indulge in
angry invective againft the Americans and
the party attached to France, the ' merchants
and oliher members of the community who
have embraced the contrary party, fupport
3ttth' equal warmth : fo that nought but divi-
»fîbn reigjfts at No¥folk in coriïequence. But
the prevailing opinion there is in favour of
the French. This Warmth of animofity, as
m# as the ifhhealthinefs of the climate,
retèS^snthe increafe of Norfolk, where few
new merchants come to fettle, notwjthftand-
ing its advantageous Situation for commerce.
It cannot however be doubted that the temp-
t$t$&n held out by tWè hope of making a fortune will fooner or later counterbalance thofe
inconveniences, as it has, in the cafe of thofé
merchants who are already fettled there, prevailed oVer the probability of difeafes.—I
have every-where heard the Prefident of the
United States mentioned with great refpect.
In all Virginia there is but a hngle bank
eftabliihed—that of Alexandria, which con-
fequently affords to the commerce of Norfolk
no other aid than that of its paper, which in
every  part of the  ftate is   accepted as cafh,
when » ^M
when indorfed with a good name. In Nor*»
folk there are not many opulent houfes, very
few whofe commercial enterprizes are of çpn-
fiderable magnitude, but feveral that carry
on trade to a more limited extent,
Agriculture can hardly be faid to.exift in
Norfolk-County, or in that of Princefs Ann,
which borders on it.    Thefe two counties do
indeed produce fome  Indian corn : but the
lands would, from their nature, require great
attention and labour to render them produc-.
five of good crops, efpecially along the bor-^
ders of   the   Chefapeak and   the   fea-coaft.
The landed property is much divided; and
the inhabitants, who in general are not in very*
eafy circumftances, devote tjhemfelves rather
to the felling of timber than to the cultivation
of the foil.    Scarcely does the fize of their
gardens exceed   half a   fcore perches : they
cut   down   trees  on  their   own   lands   and
wherever elfe they find them of any value ;
and they fquander their whole  earnings on
ftrong liquors, as is the practice with all thofe
who lead that kind of life,    Yet they are in
the habit of gaining above a dollar per days
^edudion being maçle for the .conveyance of
the "* ^T^H1
the timber to the river-fide ; and the expence
of this tianfportation is about one half of the
value of the article thus tranfported.*r This
tfeber is purcieafed by merchants at NorfHkr
who derive a confiderable prolit either fibm
the employment or refale of it.
The plantations in the interior parts of thefe
counties, being fomewhat better cuMvated
than the borders of the Tea or of the rivers,
furnifh the Norfolk market with fait beef and
pork in fufficient quantity even for exportation.
In all thefe parts, land is: fold at from fix
to feven dollars per acre £ and often the value
of the timber which, it offers for the axe
amounts to four or five times the price of the
original purchafe.
from eighty to ninety veffels of different
dim enflons are annually btdlt at Néiftlk.
The price of building is, for the hull on
coming from the hanils of the carpenter,
twenty-four dollars per ton for thofe of above
a hundred and twenty tons. Ready for fea, "
they coft from fortyvfeven to fifty dollars per
ton. The prices have rifen above one fourth
4nring the laft three years.   The fhipwright's
|i i
wages are two dollars and three quarters per
day.—Veflels of inferior dimenfions are much
cheaper- A confiderable number of them are
fold at Philadelphia, and to great advantage.
Thefe.fmall vefTels are conftructed for quick
failing : but this port, in common with almoft
all thofe of the Chefàpeak, labours under the
inconvenience of worims which attack the vef-
fels from June to September, and do them
material injury.
The vicinity of Norfolk is abundantly productive of workmen of every kind—of failors,
of fea captaiiàiS—and Virginia is not in this
refpect dependent on the Northern ftates, as
are Carolina and Georgia. There is at Norfolk a tolerably good fchool for boys, but it
is lately eftablifhed : it is what is commonly
called a grammar-fchfiol. Forty dollars per
annum is the fum paidffor each pupil. There
is no fchool for girls, except thofe where they
learn to read :! and fuch parents as wifh to give
their daughters any further education, fend
them to WiUjimfburg or Baltimore..
Thet courts of the juftices of the peace for
the police of the city and its environs are
held at Norfolk ; the county-court is held at
Suffolk, NORTH AMKEftlGA,  CANADA,  &C.
Suffolk, another town about eight miles dif-
tant from the former. The prifons are fmall,
and ill conduced : there is no walk for the
prifoners : they are fed by thf jailor, who receives for each a fhilling per day.
The market at Norfolk is held every day,
but it is not well furnifhed. The bee% however,, is better here than at Charlefton : it
cofts ten pence the pound ; mutton, veal, &c.
a fhiHing ; flour, fourteen dollars the barrel.
A common workman is paid a dollar per day,
befides his board. The cord of fire-wood
cofts three dollars ; hggl£ory-wood, h^lf a dollar additional. The hire of a negro i& from
eight to ten dollars per month. The medium
Tate of houfe-rent is two hundred and thirty
dollars. The price of lots in the town is from
nine to ten dollars the foot in front, on a
depth of feventy feet. Pifh. is very abundant-
in the river and the bay. The Virginia cur*
rency is fix fhillings to the dollar, ten dollars making three pounds.
Mr. Plume, a native of Ireland, an active
and intelligent man, who fettled at Norfolk
before the American war, conducts there a
tannery and rope-walk, in which he employs
^MK^rtMttdtdMiii i
as workmen his own negroes. He manufactures to a large amount, furnifhes a great part
of the cordage confumed in the port, and
fends his leather to every part of America.
He procures almoft all his hemp from the
back parts of Virginia ; the remainder he delves from Ruiïia. The latter, without being
ftronger than that of Virginia, is more eafily
Wrought, 4iSd-more readily receives the dreiT-
ing. The country fupplies Mr. Plume nearly
with al} ^e-hides he has occafion for: he
neveftfeefefs gets fome from the heretofore
Spanifh part of Saint-Domingo.
-It was intended that Norfolk fhould build
one of the fix frigates of which the United
States* had determined to compofe their marine : but, fubfequent considerations having
influenced the Congrefs to adopt the refolu-
Ôon of reducing the number to three inftead
of fix that were voted two years ago, the
other three frigates have been countermanded.
That which was to have been built at Norfolk is among the number of the latter : it
wras begun at Gofport, a fmall dependency
©f Portfmouth, where there are dock-vards
ibr the conftrju&ion of the largeft veffels.    I
have feen the beginning of the intended con-
ftruction : only the keel and fome of the principal ribs are put together : but the timber
neceffary for completing the work is almofl
entirely collected on the fpot, where, it lies
without workmen and without protection.
It is confidently afferted that this collection
of fine timber, which has not been procured
without coniiderable trouble, and efpecially
an enormous expence, is going to be fold. It
might, one would think, be much more ad-
vantageoufly preferved for the ufe of the
United States, who appear, by this order for
its fale, difpofed to preclude themfelves from
even the poffibility of reverting to their former refolution.
The communication between Norfolk and
Portfmouth is continual : it is carried on by
fix row-boats belonging to a company, and
by three fcows in which horfes-*and carriages
are conveniently ferried over. The fare for
each paffenger is one-fixteenth of a dollar :.
but, on paying fix dollars, a perfon may become free of the paffage for twelve months..
Thefe boats are managed by negroes belongs
ing to the company.    It is not an unintereft-
-ThHir-'jr- '.'..Jiii>f!,l';wii|'"       - -^i^M •
me obfèrvattén to remark that one of thofe
negroes, named Semes, aged from thirty to
five and thirty years, has learned to read aàfâ
write by his owh unaided exertions. His
converfation announces folid good fenfe, together with an earneft defire of inftruction :
and, after having feen him, it is not éafy to
adopt the opinion of thofe who refufe to allow the negro race any considerable portion
of intellect.
All the country' about Norfolk is level
without any elevation. The width and beautiful forms of Elizabeth-River—the little town
of Portfmouth on the oppofite fhore—the
great number of fhipping, fome at anchor,
fome at the wharfs, fome under repair, fome
building, enliven the profpect, and render it
tolerably pleafmg : but, without thefe accef-
fariês, it would be dull and infipid. The navigation of fifteen miles, which muft be performed in order to reach the beginning of
the Difmal-Swamp canal, lies through a
country equally flat, where the houfes are
thinly fcattered, final! and mean in appearance,
and fituate each in the centre of a fmall patch
of cleared ground not exceeding two or thre<
acres. All along Elizabeth River and the
creeks which flow into it, are bfcïlt great numbers of fmall veffels, which are almoft all intended for fâle at Philadelphia.*.
The temperature of the'a4r at Norfolk is
conftantly variable, as is the cafe in many
other parts of America. It frequently happens that in the fame day the diverfity of
two or three feafons is experienced. The
eafterly and north-eâfterly winds render the
weather cold even in fummer : from every
other point the wind is accompanied with
burning heat. At Norfolk, as in almoft every
other part of America, fpring is7unknown.
The heat begins to be felt at an early fea-
fon ; and at the commencement of April,
peafe, beans, thorn-bufhes, and even rofe-
trees, are in bloom.
In every "part of America through which
I have hitherto travelled, the obliging civilities
I have experienced have invariably proved
how falfe and grountnefs are thofe prejudices
which the French and Englifh fo obftinately
entertain to the difadvantage of the American
Were I in tms inftance to form my ideas
from my own perfonal experience alone, they
alfo might in like manner be branded with
the appellation of prejudice : but I have found
my opinion corroborated by that of every traveller whom I j have had an opportunity of
feeing, and who thought proper to judge for
Mmfelf,   uninfluenced, by  partiality.      The
friendly reception given to travellers in America, efpecially by thofe to whom they come
recommended, is not confined to a dinner—
the ufual return for letters of introduction :
it is common to meet men, even men of little
leifure, who devote to you  as great a portion  of their time as you think proper to
engrofs—who feek for the means of rendering
your flay agreeable—and this without compliment, with an appearance of fmcerity and
Satisfaction which faves you from being em-
barrafled by their complaifance, and makes
you feel it each  moment   more   and  more
agreeable.    As to me, who think myfelf by
no means addicted to exaggeration, and who
am far from being an admirer of every thing
I fee in America, I confefs that I feldom quit
a place where I have made any ftay, without
thinking and acknowledging myfelf bound to
ntertain a fenfe of gratitude, of which I carry
away with me a refolution of fooner or later
proving the fincerity. Major William Lind-
fey, Commiflioner of the Cuftom-houfe, is, of
all the inhabitants of Norfolk, the individual
with whom I have the molt particular reafon
to be fatisfied. He is a man recomrnended
by flmplicity of manners and goodnefs of
heart, and is held in univerfal efteem. I am
perfohally indebted to him for information
on a "variety of fubjects ; and to his amiable
difpofition toward me I am further indebted
for the opportunities of acquiring fuch information as he could not himfelf furnifli me
There are three churches in Norfolk : one,
Proteftant-epifcopalian, which, like all the
others of that feet in Virginia, is fubject to
the inflection of the Bifhop of Williamfburg :
another belongs to the Roman Catholics, and
the clergyman derives his powers from Mr.
Carrol, Bifhop of Maryland : the third is a
Methodift church, in which, as in all others
of that denomination, there is an abundance of
grimaces, howlings, and contortions.
To the port of Norfolk, above any other
in the United States, came the greateft num.-
Vol. III. D ber
ber of colonifts efcaped from Saint-Domingo
at the commencement of their troubles. The
principal caufe of that choice was the cir-
cumftance that the convoy which failed from
Cape Français after the conflagration of the
town, put into Hampton-Road. Norfolk
lies twenty miles from the road : and the
warmth of the climate, the flavery of the
negroes whichjeft it in the power of the refugee colonifts to employ thofe whom they
had been able to bring off with them, and
the kind reception which the inhabitants
gave to the ill-fated fugitives, fixed them on
the foot.    Private fubfcriptions raifed in all
A- A
the towns of Virginia, together with further
fums voted by the ftate legislature and by
Congrefs, afforded the unfortunate French
inconteftable proofs of the benevolence and
generosity of the Americans. The people of
Norfolk fhowed themfelves very warm ad-
vocates of the French caufe ; and, amon
feveral teftimonies which they difpla-yed of
that difpofition, the following deferves to be
quoted. The French convoy was preparing
to quit the Chefapeak in order to proceed to
the northern part of America : a report was
circulated that the friends of * * * * intended
to fend a pilot-boat to Halifax to give intelligence of their departure to the Englifh fleet ;
and that very night all the pilot-boats were
The number of French refident at Norfolk
has considerably diminifhed. They have dif-
perfed through the other parts of America,
"where there is hardly a town that does not
reckon fome of their number among its inhabitants.
I had great pleafure in meeting at Norfolk
my friend Monfieur Guillemard whom I had
left fick at Philadelphia ; but we are once
more to ieparate, and to meet again at Rich-
A wherry, employed in tranfporting the
ma&t from Norfolk to Hampton, whence it is
forwarded by land to Richmond, is the ufual
conveyance for paflengers who intend to pur-
fue that route. In good weather, the paffage,
which is about eighteen miles, is performed
in tftro horçrs ; we were ten hours in croffing,
D 2 for for want of wind : and as the tide was low
when we arrived at Hampton, on the fécond of June, our negro failors miffed the
narrow channel which leads to the town, and
fo completely ftranded us on a bar which
choaks up the entrance of the creek, that we
were obliged to gain Hampton in a boat.
This place is a fmall village, which the dif-
cult entrance of its creek will prevent from
ever becoming more confiderable.
Hampton is the only place where, on proceeding from Norfolk, a perfon  can debark
O ' X
who propofes to travel by land through this
part of Virginia. The arrival of the Richmond ftage three times a week, and the re-
iidence of a few pilots who wTere induced to
chdofe this fpot for the place of their abode
on account of its proximity to the entrance
of the Chefapeak, give to this petty village
fome little fhare of activity, though indeed
it is very little. The inn here is deteftable,
and we could find in it but two fmall beds to
accommodate five paffengers of us who arrived together. It is faid to be in contemplation to erect a more convenient one : fo
much the better for thofe who may come after ?•*■•»
us. Fortunately we were to quit this abominable lodging at two o'clock in the morning ; and it was already eleven : hence this
uncomfortable night was foon paft. But there
was not a fingle morfel of bread to be ex-
pedted previous to our departure ; and I flood
in ver^ great need of fome.
Heretofore there was a cuftom-houfe
eftablifhed at Hampton. The exportations
amounted, in 1791, to 1,393 dollars—in
1792, to 4,90l—in 1793, to 11,789—in
1791, to 41,Q47. In 1795, this cuftom-
houfe was united, with that of Norfolk.
The road from Hampton to York-Town
runs all along through woods. The patches
of cleared land are yet rare and inconfider-
able in this diftrict. One meets however
with fome fields of Indian corn, meadows,
crops of rye. Spots of feveral acres are feen
enclofed with fences, which are even fome-
times well executed bv means of a mound
of earth a couple of feet in height, forfning
a kind of wall, on which are planted flakes
that are afterwards interwoven with pine-
branches. But in traverfing America the
traveller cannot refrain from afking in his
own mind why the people do not plant quick
hedges, which afford a better fecuritsc, and
are at the fame time an ornament to the lands.
The foil, in the whole of this tract, appears not bad, though by no means of the
firft quality. The moft common trees in
the woods are the pine, the oak, the beech,
and the hickory. I have feen fome of con-
fiderable height. The country is flat. The
ground however is thirty feet higher than
the river at York-Town : yet the road, with
the exception of two or three fmall rifings,
has to the view all the inconveniences of an
abfblutely level plain.
York-Town is the place where terminated
the American war—where the French effectually aided the Americans to fhake off the
yoke of England—and where Britifh pride
was a fécond time feverely humbled.
I have gone over the part of the country
that had been occupied by the encampments
ajid the works of the allied armies: it was quite
familiar \0RTH AMERICA, CANADA,  ixC
familiar to me from the plans of it which I
had often examined. It is now difficult to
difcover any veftiges of the batteries, of the
parallels, even of the two redoubts fo brilliantly carried by the American and French
grenadiers under the command of Mèfîieurs
de la Fayette and de Viomefnil. The earth
has preférved the traces of them no better than
many American heads would now wifh to
retain the remembrance. Some of the Britilh
intrenchments in front of the town are more
distinctly recognizable. But the only really
exiiting monument of that memorable fiege is
o o
General Nelfon's hoiffe, the moft confiderable
edifice in the whole town, and wMch, until a
few days after the commencement of the fiege,
was Lord CornwalhVs head-quarters.'   That
great   hôufe,   which  is   built  of brick,   and
which at that period had been recently erected,
is pierced in every  direction  with cannon-
fhot, and bomb-fhells : and the furrounding
fpot of ground every-where difplays ftrong
traces of their ravages.    That houle, which
General  Nelfon  neglected to  have   fpeedily
repaired aftét the fie^é, has, fince his death,
devolved, together with the reft of his pro--
D 4
pert} 40
pertv, to his three fons ; and they not agreeing as to the difpofal of the houfe, it remains
unrepaired. This confequence which is de-
trimental to the mtereits or his lamily, is, in
my opinion, very advantageous to the town,
inafmuch as it preferves there a curious monument of an event which proved decilive
in favour of American independence, and
which at any period would be honourable
to any nation. After the furrender of York-
Town, the Congiefs, in palling a vote of
thanks to the American and French armies
which had thus brought the war to a conclu-
fion, gave orders for the erection of a monument to perpetuate the memory of that
tranfaction. The monument is not even yet
begun. Such negligence is inconceivable,
fhameful, and unaccountable. The prefent
difpofition of the American government
toward England does not admit of a fuppofi-
tion that they have at this time any thought
of erecting that monument.
York-Town, where We arrived on the third
of June, does not prefent any other object of
çuriofity. It is a fmall and tolerably well
built village, where the Englifh, contrary to
their ufual practice during the American war,
deftroyed no houfes except fuch as impeded
their defence. Its population confifls of eight
hundred perfons, of whom two thirds are
negroes. It is agreeably fituated, commanding
a fine profpect of the majeftic ftream of York-
River, which Gloucefter-Point, that lies oppo-
lite, narrows here to two thirds of a mile,
but which above and below the town is two
miles w
York-Town carries on no trade : but the
inhabitants fay that forty years back it was
the emporium of all Virginia. It fupplied
with European commodities all the fhops and
flores of the moft diftant towns ; and it was
the port where the planters, who at that
time fold their tobacco directly to the EnglifiV
merchants, were accuft'omed to fhip it. Before the commencement of the revolutionary
war, there were ftill fix or feven fhips annually
loaded there for England. Since that period
its commerce has been uniformly on the decline ; and it has now dwindled to nothing.
Norfolk and Baltimore export all the produce
of York-River, and furnifh the town with
European  goods.      The inhabitants   are  of
courfe Ifl
courfe deftitute of employment : fome of the
number retail fpirituous liquors and a few
fluffs : others call themfelves lawyers and
iuflices of the peace.    In general they have
aJ X CD 0
at fome diftance from the town fmall farms
to which they every morning pay a vifit.
But thefe occupations not engrofling much
of their attention or their time, the inhabitants of York-Town, who live together on
terms of the greateft harmony, much more
afliduoufly employ both the one and the other
in dining together, drinking punch, and playing at billiards. To give a fomewhât higher
zcft to this monotonous round of life, they
' 0
often change the place of their meetings.
ox o
On the oppofite fide of the river, in
Gloucefter-County, are annually built a con-
0 0
flderable number of vefTels.
York-Town is the capital of York-County,
which contains a population of about fix thou-
fand inhabitants, of whom above one half
are Slaves. The town, notwithstanding the
decay of its commerce, has a cuftom-houfe,
to which are fubject feveral little ports in
the vicinity. The value of its exportations
waS'99,811 dollars in the year 1701—15 J,403
in 1792—=34,992 in 17§3—7,579 m 1/94—
and 3,o.6o in 17Q5.
I dined with the greater number of thofe
who compofe the fociety of York-Town, at
the houfe of Mr. Clarkfton, to whom I had
letters of introduction. Doctor Griffin, to
whom I had alfo a letter, was ahfent from
town..' He is faid to be a man of information. I found in Mr. Clarkfton and all the
others a very obliging difpofîtion, a great
defire to do every thing which they could
conceive likely to prove agreeable to me ;
in Short I obferyed in them a)l the characteristics of an honeft, fimple, and frank
hofpitali|v., Every individual aig\&£$g them
preferves an honourable rejaembraage of tfeç
French troops, on accoujit of their exen^^ary
condu<£t as well dujing the fiege as duângthe
fpace of Some months which intejfve,ne4 b§i
tween the termination of the fiegôjgnd th$i?
departure for France. The Rfigae of J/[greçha!
Rochamheau is here held in hig}\ veneça*|ipn.
There is no regular mariai &£ Yorî&Tôw^' \
each perfon furniihes higifgtf "V^ijlia PIQ&Ç. in
the beft manner he c$», ; a&d ^kg^iar^ feldom,
unfeppiied vritb it.    Beef §§£!§ fi^gx t^f©^ to
four 4à
four pence the pound ; mutton and veal fix
pence ; other articles in proportion. Fifh
is here abundant, and almoft for nothing.
The higheft rents in the town are from eighty
to a hundred dollars. Flour, an article which
it is difficult to procure, cofts at prefent
fifteen dollars. Although the air of this place
be infinitely more falubrious than that of
Norfolk, the inhabitants neverthelefs frequently experience intermittent fevers in
* i
The inhabitants of York-Town being precluded by the narrownefs of their circum-
flanceç from keeping horfes, of which
however they often fland in need, one or
two perfons have fome for hire in that little
town, confifting of only about fifty houfes.
I there had an opportunity of procuring one
to convey me to Williamfburg, where I arrived on the fourth of June.
The road from York-Town to Williamfburg is in many parts agreeable : the country
is fomewhat more hilly; and cultivation is
a little NORTH AMERICA,  CANADA,   &X.
a little more common. New fettlements are
feen which are tolerably well begun ; and
the pieces of new-cleared land are in almoft
every inftance furrounded with ditches well
made and well fodded : but the houfes uniformly exhibit a mean appearance, and their
inhabitants. betray ftrong fymptoms of poverty. A long tract of woodland is here
alfo to be paffed, where no cultivation is feen ;
but where the oak, the hickory, the liquid-
ambar, the faffafras tree, j grow with vigour,
and Seem to indicate a good foil. The cattle
here, as in Carolina, are conftantly in tjio
woods: they are poor and ill-favoured, and
of a bad breed. They are fed in the fiable^
during a" few weeks previous to their being
killed.—In all this tract, land is fold at four
or five dollars the acre.
Williamfburg is fituate in a plain five miles
1 Cj X
from York-River, and at the fame distance
from James-River. Two creeks, which
empty themfelves into thofe great rivers, approach within two miles of the town on each
fide, and are there navigable. It is by means-
of thefe creeks that the commodities of
Europe arrive from Richmond, Norfolk, and
fom eûmes fi&'-ffi-
fometiiriès Baltimore, to furnifh the flores in
the town, which are in general indifferently
Before the revolution, Williamfburg was
the capital of Virginia : but at that period
the legislature choie Richmond for the place
of their meeting, as being more diftant from
the fea-coaft ; and they have Since eftablifhed
themfelves there. This removal has reduced
WiKiamfburg to a village. Every perfon
who was connected With government has
followed the legislature to Richmond ; and
the number of inhabitants is annually decreasing at Williamfburg in the fame  man-
"V_    1      HP
-■■    at   i ork-1 own.
The prefent population is about twelve or thirteen hundred
fouls, of whom above one half are negro
A flate-houfe, of which one part ferves for
the Sittings of the dîÔrict-court, bears the
name of " the Capitol." It is a tolerably
handfome brifik building", but is failing to ruin.
A marble ftatue of Lord Botetourt, one of the
governors of Virginia under the former
fyftem, wtiofe conduct had entitled him to
the refpect and attachaient of the Virginians,
{lands in the periftyle of this Capitol : but
it is in a disfigured ftate. The lower clafs
of the inhabitants of Williamfburg, actuated
by revolutionary animofity, considered as an
act of homage to liberty every infult offered
to that monument erected by gratitude in
honour of a former lord ; and in confe-
quence they Shamefully mutilated it. The
infcription engraven on the pedeftal, ex-
prefling the grateful fenfe of the people of
Virginia, and which the populace did not
deftroy, forms a Sinking contraft writh the
indignities which the Statue has experienced,
and honourably vindicates the memory of
Lord Botetourt.
This Capitol terminates a fire et of a hmndred
. and Sixty feet in breadth, and three quarters
of a mile in length, at the opposite end of
which Stands the college. This eftablifhment,
founded in the reign of William and Mary,
flill bears their names. Its income, before
the revocation, was from feventeen to eighteen
thoufand dollars : at prefent it is reduced to
three thouland five hundred. It arofe partly
from duties on the exportation of tobacco
and: feveral   other commodities, and partly
from from land. The duties fell to nothing in
confequence of the unlimited freedom of the
export trade ; the twenty thoufand acres of
land have alone remained ; thefe are let out
on long leafes of two or three lives, and are
O f.
all in a Slate of cultivation. Another fmall
duty, on the furveying of land, concurs with
the rent arising from thofe twenty thoufand
res in composing that fcanty income of three
thoufand five hundred dollars, which the legislature does not feem inclined to augment.
Mathematics, natural and moral philofo-
phy, natural and civil law, with the modern
onftitute the whole round of
instruction given in this college. The pupils
are not fent thither before the age of fifteen,
and generally fpend two years in purfuing
the different courfes of fludy. One is aftonifhed
to learn that not one of them lives in thofe
vaft buildings deftined for their reception,
but that they are difperfed through the different boarding-houfes in the town, at a
diflance from all inflection. Bifhop Madifon
who is president of this feminary, and the
other profeffors, who together with him
definitively make all the regulations refpect-
ing the internal police of the college, affert
that it has been proved by experience, that
good order, peace, and even the fuccefs of
their Studies, are more effectually promoted
by this feparation of the Students, thaiv'by
their being united together within the fame-
walls, as the common effects of fuch union
were frequent quarrels and preconcerted mutinies. On hearing their reafonings, one
would be tempted to think that they have
paid greater regard to their own eafe than to
the intereft of the youth entrufted to their
care, whom Strict watchfulnefs, good management, and attentions proportioned to their
age, would have as effectually kept in good
order at Williamfburg as in every other college in the world.
The fludents pay fourteen dollars to each
profeffor whofe courfe of leffons they attend :
their board and lodging coft them from a
hundred to a hundred and twenty dollars :
confequently the expence to their parents
amounts to about a hundred and Sixty or a
hundred and feventy dollars a year. Exclu-*
five of thefe emoluments, each profeffor re-
ceives the annual fum of four hundred dol-
.   Vol. III. E lars
JA 71
lars from the funds of the eftablifhment,
Bifhop Madifon occupies the chair of natural and moral philofophy, and has, in addition to his profefforial falary, two hundred
dollars more, as prefident.
The internal adminiftration of the college
is- entrufted to the care of the profeffors, who
are nominated by a board of eighteen vifitors
chofen throughout the whole ftate. The
houfe—like the generality of thofe in Williamfburg, York-Town, and even Norfolk—•
is kept in very indifferent  condition.    The
college is not fufficiently opulent to make the
requifite annual repairs ; and whenever it becomes neceflary to undertake fuch as are in
any "wife considerable, it is aided by the legislature. It poffeffes a library tolerably well
furnished with claflical books : it coniifts al -
moft entirely of old books, except two hundred volumes of the fineft and belt French
productions fent as a prefent by Louis XVI.
at the termination of the American war, but
which a merchant at Richmond, who was
commiflioned to forward them to the college,
fuffered to lie forgotten in his cellars amid
hogfheads of fugar and cafks of oil, until,
O 1
when at length he did forward them, they
were totally fpoiled. The funds of the college do not allow any addition to their library, which moreover is very ill kept in point
of order and cleanlinefs.
The legislature of Virginia is faid to enter-
tain the defign of founding a new college in
à more central part of the ftate : but it is
not known whether that of Williamfburg is
•to be taken as the groUnd-work of the intended eftablifhment, or fuffered to continue
on its prefent footing and left to its own
fcanty refources, while the new college mould
be liberally endowed.
There is befides at Williamfburg an hot*
pital for lunatics, which is fupported from
the public treafury. It is a fine building %
but in it the unfortunate maniacs are rather
abandoned to their wretched Slate than fub*
jected to any treatment which might tend to
their recovery. From the obfervations made
in Virginia on maniacal complaints, the principal caufes afligned for them are enthufiaftic
devotion and fpirituous liquors; and it appears that fuch as arife from the latter of
thefe  caufes are  lefs difficult   of cure   than
Jb  2
■r . . ;..:;.^S^s
thnlp 1 52 T R A V E LS  TIIR0 U GII
thofe which owe their origin to the former.
There are onlv fifteen lunatics of both fexes
in this hofpital, which is capable of containing thirty.
The foil in the vicinity of Williamfburg is
tolerably well   cultivated :   but  here,   as  in
other parts of Virginia, each proprietor pof-
fefles fo great an extent of land, that he cultivates but  a fmall portion of it.    The ordinary  rotation   of culture  here  is-—Indian.
corn—next wheat or other grain—then three
or four years in fallow,   during which the
crops of grafs furnifh  the cattle with good
fuftenance.      After   this    reft   of   three   or
four years, the ground is again cultivated in
the fame manner.    The lands thus managed
yield from eight to twelve bufhels of wheat
per acre,  or from twelve to fourteen of Indian corn.    THofe few foots that are ma-
nured with dung procjuce double that quantity. In the immediate environs of the town,
the land in general is indifferent ; it fells for
feven or eight dollars the acre. The belt
fpots, efpecially thofe which are fituate near
creeks,, bear a higher price, as far as twelve
dollars :   but it is worthy of remark,  that
while, in almoft every other part of America,
the priée of land has encreafed three and four
fold, in thefe lower parts of Virginia it has
received   no   augmentation   during   the  laft
o o
twenty years.
At Williamfburg a regular market is held,
and the prices are the fame as at York-Town.
A pair of oxen Sit for the plough are fold for
forty dollars. They are fmall and indifferent.
Sheep are in tolerable plenty ; but they are
of an inferior and ugly breed.. Their wool
is valued at about a quarter-dollar the pound.
The difference in the demand, rather than in
the quality, fometimes caufes a Small variation in the price.
The flate taxes are not considerable. I
fhall fpeak of them more at large, when I
have had fufhcient opportunities of procuring
more complete information on the fubject.
The town-rates are nothing ; there being
neither pavements, nor public buildings, nor
bridges, to be kept in repair : the heaviest
rate is that for the fuftenance of the poor.
Each houfe-keeper contributes, for himfelf
and for each of his negroes above the age of
fixteen years, half a dollar for that purpole.
•// In I
The fiim total of thefe contributions is distributed by the overfeers of the poor, under
the inflection of the juflices of the peace, to
fuch families as are deemed to flaiid in need
of afliltance. Thefe receive from twelve to
thirty-fix dollars per annum, according to
their yet remaining ability to work or their
total incapacity for labour.
In "a country where it is eafy to procure a
fnbliitence and to make fome referve for
old age-r—in a country where population,
being extremely productive, conflantly fup-
piies each family with fome young branch
capable of fupporting it—one can hardly feel
inclined to beftow his approbation on a tax
whofe inevitable tendency is to perpetuate
apd even to create idlenefs and improvidence : and it might perhaps with reafon be
faid, that, in this pretended chanty, there is
a greater portion of vanity and indolent inattention than of genuine beneficence and
enlightened policy. It was firlt introduced
into Virginia becaufe it was eflablifhed in
England : it has maintained its ground here
becaufe a tax of this kind is not eafily re-
fontied«~beçaufe it is (imported by habit—*
and becaufe, moreover, in a country where
flavery prevails, and where the poffefîion of
the foil is veiled in fo few hands, that clafs
of whites who do not polTefs landed property are more indigent than elfewhere.—
The negroes have no fhare in this public
Mr. Andrews; mathematical profeffor in
the college, and Bifhop Madifon, did me
the honours of the town with that obliging
politenels which I have been habitually ac-
cuflomed to experience in America. With
the former of thefe gentlemen I had become
acquainted at Norfolk ; to the Bifhop I had
letters. In the two days which I fpent at
Williamfburg, they introduced tne to the
chief part of the fociety of the place, which
appears very much united, and to conSift of
well-informed men. Bifhop Madifon is him-
felf a man of considerable knowledge in na-
tural philofophy, chymiftry, and even polite
literature. His library, much lefs numerous
than that of the college, confifls of a more
choice felection of books, efpecially of thofe
relating to the fciences.    He annually auges Jo
merits his collection by the addition of the
E 4 molt 56
molt efleemed fcientific and new publications. To him the public are indebted for
meteorological obfervations very accurately
made in different parts of Virginia, and to
which he has devoted much time.
The inhabitants of Williamfburg, if we
except the profeffors and the judges, have
not much more opulence or employment
than thofe of York-Town : they have as
frequent meetings as the others : but it appears that they live lefs " freely," as the
country phrafe expreffes it—that is to fay,
they drink lefs wine and Spirits.
All the remarks I have hitherto heard on
the fubject of politics in Virginia are in
direct oppofition to the idea that had been
given me on that head in the northern fiâtes.
The general opinion, it is true, is evidently
againft the treaty : people would have wished that it had never taken place, or at leaft
that it had been made on better terms—that
the president's inftructions had been more
faithfully followed—that he, yielding to what
appears to have been his firfl impulfe, had
fent it back to England without, communicating it to the fenate : nor is it thought
here that a war would have been the con-
fequence of fuch a flep. But, from the
then exifling State of the bufinefs, it would
have been matter of considerable regret to
them that the opinion of the oppofition-party
in the late congrefs had prevailed respecting
the non-appropriation of the funds neceffary
for carrying it into execution ; and they
feem fatisfied that the long debates, which
leave no doubt of the difapprobation with
which the treaty was received, have terminated in the manner that they did.
As I advance farther into the country, I
fhall become better acquainted with the
general opinion. I have great pleafure in
obferving that the French army is here re-»
membered with veneration ; it partly re-*
mained here for feveral months ; and each
individual recollects with intereft and gra-
titude the particular officer with whom he
was acquainted. Above all the others,
monsieur de Rochambeau and the baron de
Viomefnil have left an honourable remembrance of themfelves in the minds of the inhabitants : and whenever the converfation
perfonally turns on  the individuals of that
tie 58
armv — whether generals,  commanders of
J o
corps, or aides-de-camp—it appears that the
judgement which has been formed of them
here was dictated by great benevolence, fa-
gacity, and juftice.
Of all the inconveniences attending the
public carriages in America—and the number of thofe inconveniences is great—one of
the moft mortifying is that they almoft in-
0~ O J
variably run over the very worfl parts of the
country through which they travel. The
roads are generally, and with good reafon,
laid out in the drieit foils, confequently in
the fpots which are the leafl adapted for
cultivation. In the Space of fixty miles
which I yeflerday travelled from Williamfburg to Richmond, I did not fee twenty
houfes -, and fuch as I Saw were mean and
wretched. A few fields of Indian corn oc-
cafionally met my fight,   and  fome  new-
J Jo*
cleared grounds of considerable extent, but
not a^ Angle field that was tolerably well
culti   ,ted -,   whereas   I   am  affured,   that,
within NORTH AMERICA,  CANADA,    &C. 59
within four miles on each fide of the road,
the lands are good and the plantations numerous. A few hills, however, occur on the
way : and when a traveller's eye has, like
mine, been near three months fatigued by
that unvarying uniformity of flat lands and
Jo J
flagnant marines, a hill proves a fburce of
enjoyment : he excufes its aridity in consideration of its being a hill : and when, with
the diversity and animation which this "
change in the face of the country gives to
the profpect, he combines the idea that he
has now reached the boundaries of that
mephitic Stagnation which engenders and
propagates all fpecies of maladies with fuch
fatal rapidity, his enjoyments are not confined to the eye alone.
Crowded in the flage by ten paffengers
and their baggage, we did not arrive at
Richmond before eleven o'clock at night,
though we had fet out from Williamfburg
at eight in the morning ; the rain, which
has been abundant during the Ialt two days,
having rendered the roads very bad.
The pofition of Richmond is truly agreeable. The lower town, which is Situate
along the bank of James-River, lies between that river and a tolerably high hill :
J o
but the greater part of the houfes—thole
indeed of almoft every perfon who is not
engaged in trade — are built on the hill,
which commands a profpect of the river,
and whence the view embraces at once the
islands formed by its waters, the extenfive
valley through which it flows, and the numerous falls by which its Stream is broken.
On the oppofite fide of the river, the country rifes in a gentle acclivity ; and the little
but well-built town of Manchelter, environed by cultivated fields which are ornamented by an infinite number of trees and
dotted with feattered houfes, embellishes
the fweet, variegated, agreeable, and romantic perfpective.
The Capitol is erected on a point of this
hill which commands the town. This edifice, which is extremely vafl, is conitructed
cm the plan of the "' Maifon Quarree" at
Nifmes, but on a much more extenfive
fcale. The attics of the Maifon Quarrée
have undergone an alteration in the Capitol, to fuit them for the convenience of
the public offices of every denomination,
which, thus perfectly fecure againft all accidents from fire, lie within reach of the
tribunals, the executive council, the governor, the general aiTembly, who all fit in
the Capitol, and draw to it a great afflux
of people. This building, which is entirely
of brick, is not yet coated with plafler : the
columns, the pilaflers, are deltitute of bafes
and capitals : but the interior and exterior
cornices are finifhed, and are well executed.
The reft will be completed with more or
lefs fpeed : but, even in its prefent unfinished liate, this building is, beyond com-
parifon, the fineft, the molt noble, and the
greatefl,   in   all   America.      The   internal
distribution of its parts is extremely well
adapted to the purpofes for which it is de-
flined. It was Mr. Jefferfon who, during
his embalTy in France, fent the model of
it.   Already it is (aid to have coft a hundre4
nd feventy thoufand dollars ; and fifteen
thoufand more are the eftimated fum requisite for completing it and remedying
fome defects which have been obferved m
the conftruction.
In   the great central veflibule, which is
lighted by a kind of dome contained in the
thicknefs of the roof, has lately been placed'
a ftatue of George Washington, voted, ten
years fince, by the general affembly of Vif-
J 'Jo J
ginia. In addition to the fentiments of gratitude which they felt in common with the
reft of America, that body entertained more-
* j
over a particular affection for him, together
with the pride of having him for their countryman. Since that period the prefident
has acquired new claims to the general approbation and efteem. If he be chargeable
with fome errors in adminiflration, as I
think he is, neverthelefs his devotion to the
public weal and the purity of his intentions cannot even be fufpected : yet it is
doubtful whether at the prefent moment the
affembly of Virginia would be inclined, to
vote him fuch an honour : at leafl it is certain that   the  fame  unanimity would not
prevail on the occafion. This flatue was
executed by Floudon, one of the fir ft fculp-
tors in France. He undertook a voyage to
America five or fix years fince for the ex-
prefs purpofe of making a bufl of the pre-
fident from the life. Although the flatue
be beautiful, and difplay even a noblenefs
in the compofition and a likenefs in the features, Ft does not bear the marks of Hou-
don's talent: one cannot trace in it the hand
of him who produced the celeftial Diana
which conflitutes the chief part of that ar-
tifl's reputation.
Near this flatue of the prefident Stands a
marble buft of monfieur de la Fayette, voted
at the fame time by the aflembly of Virginia,
and alio carved by Houdon, but with greater
difplay of ability.
The population of Richmond amounts to
fix thoufand perfons, of whom about one
third are negroes. This town has prodigiously increafed during the years which
have elapfed fince the legislature chofe it for
the place of their fittings : but within the
laft two or three years it has remained
ilationary.    A few years back, a conflagra-
tion confumed almoft all the lower part of
the town. This accident induced the inhabitants to rebuild in brick not only the
houfes confumed, which had been of wood,
but alfo feveral others which the owners'
fears wifhed to preferve from the fame calamity. At prefent there are few wooden
houfes at Richmond.
The trade of this town conlifls in the
purchafe of the country productions, the
number of which is confined to wheat, Indian corn, and tobacco—and in felling at
fécond hand the articles of domeflic con-
fumption, which are generally procured from
England. The number of merchants who
carry on a direct commerce with Europe is
inconfiderable : they keep their Ships at Norfolk ; the river not being navigable for thofe
of large fize higher up than City-Point, at
the diflance, by water, of fixty-fix miles below Richmond. They therefore fend the
produce of the country in fmaller vefTels to
Norfolk, where they eafily find opportunities
of completing their cargo, if needful. The
generality of thefe merchants are only the
agents or partners of English houfes ;  the
others NORTH AMg^jCA,  CANADA,   &C.
others har$y carry on any other than the
commiffion trade, which may be confidered
a,s the real bujinefs of,the place.
It as from the merchants -of Richmond
or Peterfburg that thofe of Norfolk moft
commonly purchafe the grain, flour, and tobacco, which the latter export, and which
the former have purchafed at firft hand.
The country produce is paid for by the merchants in ready money or at fhort credit :
they even frequently obtain it on cheaper
terms by, furnifhing the planters with an advance of money on their crop. The Richmond merchants fupply all the Stores through
an extenfive tract of back country. As they
have a very long credit from England, they
can allow a fimilar indulgence of fix, nine,
or twelve months to the Shopkeepers whom
they fupply, and from whom they always
derive a confiderable profit, which is flill
further increafed when they exact payment
in country produce.
Almoft all  the  merchants of Richmond
have fhops for  the retail-trade.    They all
deal in bills of exchange on Europe ; a trade
"Vol, III, F which TRA^Éi* TJWtOUGH
which often proves extremely profitable to
them. '    '^W^^:' ^
There are few opulent merchants at Richmond ; flill fewer in eafy circumftances
and it is no difficult matter to fmd good
notes at four and five per1 cent per month,'
But people have not here, as in the principal
towns of America, the refource of putting
fhefe notes into the bank : accordingly th&
kind of traffic is here miith more lucrative.
The legal interefl of money, which is only
five per cent per annum, together With the
fcarcity of fpecie and the general want of
confidence, render it difficult to obtain
money on loan.
The falls of James-River, which ob-
ftructed its navigation from the diftance of
feven miles above Richmond, heretofore im-
pofed a neceffity of employing land-carriage
fpr that fpace. At prefent a canal, running
parallel with the eourfe of the riyer for
thefe feven miles, connects the communication by water, and opens a navigation which
extends JTORTH AJsfèflrtfÀ, CANADA, &C.
ëSftfchds without interruption tWo hundred
miles akboVé Richmond, Thfe canal j à&i
ready neârï^ finifhed, wiH be entirely cora^
pleted during me prefent yeao excepting
tfie bafin, TtfMch the direâôrs pfopofe to
form at the entrance of the town, and of a
much greater ûzt than feems neceffary for
the trade of iÇfchmond on any reafbffàblé
fûppofltion 6f its future encrèafe; The lockè
at the opening of the canal are erected : they
are fimple, and the gates are eafily managed
by one or two men, but might be rendered
flill more eafy in their movement. Thefe*
beifig three iû clofe fucceflion, raife the boats
to an elevation of feventeen feet. OtheTà
Will be required, if it be intended to carf^
the ciinal as far as Rocket, a mile bélûv*r
tike town, beyond which point vefTels of
for^ tons Cannot come up on the Richmond
fide : on the other tide veffels even of grearei
burden can come up almoft opporite to the
ftAvn. The extension of the cSftal to Rocket
has for its object to facîfitate the cfirect tranjp
portatfon of the back-country produce td
City-Point, and fo on to Norfoife By this
mean j thofe commodities, which other wife
would find no market except at Richmond,
mi°"h|t' reach Norfolk, and, by exciting a
competition between the merchants of both
towns, might probably caufe an encreafe of
profit to the planters. But the expence of
thefp [.additional locks would be very con-
fidie^a^f^^yhe fjand of two hundred and
forty thoufanjd dollars, raifed by a fubfcrip-
jtipn of feven^hundred Shares, is already exhausted : and a loan of twenty-one thoufand
dollars, made,by the,Jtruftees of the canal
un^er the authority of the f]tate, and fecured
by a mortgage of the, tolls that have already
begun to be received on the. part which is
^nillied, \^s been proved fcarcely fufficient
to comply,-the execution of the original
plan.j It apgears th^: the great f.expenee
^yhich would attend the addition furnishes
the holders of the canal fhares with a pre-
-■■|ext for oppofing it, and that the Richmond
merchants ufe that as a cloke to cover their
wifh to remam the foie pur chafers of the produce ofothe back country, which is the real
motive of their oppqfkion to the ..further ex-.
teljfiÀQ-of the canal.    £jj   t hi^|||^^Df
tVtafttT #f&U&0J iÉÉK $W#m>m
The culture of tobacco is not carried on
in the vicinity of Richmond, at leaft not on
"air extenfive fcàîel    There are nevertheless
"three  houfes  of infpection  in   this   town :
frmflar'eflablifhments are   to   be   found "Si
|evefy drrtrict of Virginia where tobacco is
cultivated, and in all the commercial towri*|.,
^hef^infpecttofiSj^whole object is to enfure
to   foreign  pufdiafers  the   quality   of   the
"commodity for which they contract^ are ordered by the  ftate6 ibr tobacco,  flour, and
otfrer articles.    They are eflablifhed in like
mafiner in all the States which produce théfe
•âPfiHes.  L'*But tîie infection of the tobacco
|in Virginia, and especially on James-River,
1$ efleemed to be conducted with a deèfï£fe
(oV exâctnefs aiid^ehfefcy which contributes
as much as tne real fuperiority of the article
itfelf to keep np its  price in  the  market.
*!Every tobacco-planter w$io intends hi§ crop
for exportation   packs  it up mi hogfhead$,
^nd thfus fends it to-one of the houfes of irf-
^pectibh.    There the tobacco* is taken from
F 3 its
I its cafe, which is opened for the purpo|b j it
is examined in every direélion and jn every
paft^in order to afcertajn its quality, its
homogeneity, its purjty ; it is rejected as uiir
fit fyf ^jroortation if any defeél js perceived
JQ Jt -, or, if no objection appear, it is pror
iiounçed to j|e exportable. It is then re-
j*acked-in its hpgfhead? ^whieh is branded
yith a hot iron, marjdng the place p/ in-
fpe^ion afj4 th^ qVfgïfe °f && contents $
.after wljuc^hj it is lodged in the ftoreho^fts
■qf the infpec^jpnr «there to await the d^>ofal
of the plantgr^.wTiq receives a certificate^
Éfof, part^julars, fervirfg at t^e fame time as
an acknowledgement of the depofit. It is
•to ^H^g-t^is § tobaccornote" to th^n^rr
.pjianf: fet the plînj^r ft|ls his tobacco.
Tl|e; pufc^fef9 op viewing f|ie np^p,, is %$
wel^ açquaj[nj:ed with the article as if he
Jaad hjmfelf jjjfpectefj-iit : #nd he has only to
fend |he note and transfer to the flore where
the tqbagcq lies, an$ ^ is immçcji^eljf de^
layered qu£ to his order. The tobacco is
#ftej* f£#it \ty the planter hi,mfelf tft $p
warehoilfe^rof a difib^ent infpection ffom
|^at wfe?r§h§ feèfc jt i|^fpe4tf^?* e|ther becaufe I
he thinks them more continent to the
market* ctf^for* tether private îeafons. î.SÇhïi
happehs at the watehàcrfès of the Richmond
tnfpeâironi wMch annually receive numbers
of hogfheads thadfeave beetfâdipeéted el&±
The ifflfpectors-^for there are two in each
infpection—receive as infpecthsïtï-fee a dol*
!ar and half per hogfhead : from the fums
hence  arifing   they   receive   their   falaries,
o ■ J .
which vary from a hundred to two hundred
and fifty dollars per aaaum, according to
the importance of-tile-office wiidre they arc
employed. The refidue7o£ the infpeétion-
fees cohflitutes a pant of the revenues of the
Every other •fpebies.of producet deflinsd
for exportation is alfb fubject to infpectijrfi
as flbur, hemp, tar*$ but thefe articles do not
feerii to undergo the iâjïje feysre fifrgftiny
as the tobacco. For, at Phiiadel$ihi», for
inflance, the Virginia flour, notwithoftanAing
k& being branded with the mark of " fu~
perfine," is fubjected to a new infpection.
The merchantis of Virginia attribute this re-
infpection to commercial jealoufy on the part
F 4 of
■ '-&■   .,itiM0iti     —'Hi —"n
feu* 72 .    *3 tAÏ&AVELS THROUGH
©f Philadelphia : but there exifts in reality
faigrodigws a difference between the flour
«hitherto manufactured at Richmond, and
that from the mills of PemMyl varia and
I&Iaware, that the former is conflantlj?
taken in the courfe of trade at half a .dollar,
and fometimes even at a dollar and half,
JoVer than the latter.
'■iftiDi^a ir^t c:  ; :.. :';:.::;.: g 07033  ■ -.: 0m§ii
I have feen one of the two mills at Rich*
mend : it flands below the falls of the river,
receivesfk great power of water, and turns
Six pa$r of flones. It is a fine mill, andamstas
the advantages of all the new inventions :
but it isotll conftructedc&f the cogs of the
wheels are chimfily executed : it is moreover
not: fuffidfîtitrjï roofcy. It nevertheless cofts.
a yearly rent of near fix thoufand dollars
to Monfieur Chevalier, a Frenchman from
Rochefort, heretofore director of the French
paquets to America, and now fettled is. Virginia. This, mill is generally employed in
private manufacture, and feldom works for
the public $ vfrhen the latter is the cafe, the
terms for grinding are five bufbjels for each
barrel of flour. Monfieur ChevalfèV and fas
partners are*iti the confiant habit of fpec&-
lating on the moment when they m'àlË'&nd
their flour to market! < Their fpeculations
have hitherto proved very advantageous to
them : but they have reafon to apprehend a
material lofs from a làte fpeculation which
determined trie m two months fince^io refufe
the offer of thirteen dollars per barrejyv&i
hopes of obtaining a flill better$|&^fë£>y", At
the puefent moment they could not find a
purchafèr at above ten dollars.
Society here difplays the charactèriflics:w
simplicity and honefty : neverthelefsT it is
not Ihiked^in the bond of unity. The me&-
who belong to oppofite parties feldom viSIt
each other : but, when they happerf So meet,
they treat each other with all the politââêls'
and civility of well-bred people*'
The pafory oppofed to gov^nment—that
is to fay, the party wifhkig for a change iff
the exifSng coixftitiitîon, a reftrictiodUn the
executive execute power—ha? heretaany zealous
adherents. TrQB-gailly would prefer to thetJ:
pwn the new French conftitutio», fuch as
it is: and, from the permanency» #f isbat constitution in Ijf^ancfe, they demise encouragement to effect a change-in the couffiliition of
the United Stat$$*i.
;iyhe party in the English intereft cpnfider
J^e fupport of the Engjifh coaftithtion, even
witfo all its «gifting abufes, as the mean of
overthrowing the prefent conflifittion of
France,} and fubftituting in its flead a monarchy ; and alfo as a ckeumfiancé calcu-
lated to gratify the defire which they evidently manifefl of conferring a great additional flrength on the executive power of
the £J$$È£d States^—as well as the defire, not
lefs real thoughJefs openly avowed, of feeing
a hereditary monarchy eftabliflied in this
Between thefe two extremes there is an
intermediate clafs whofe fènttments am
marked with moderation. There are alfo
ibme extravagant cnthufia-fts who blindly
embrace the French or the Englifh party
without any ulterior political confideration,
«and merely through interefl or pafiion. The
commercial body, for infiance, at Richmond,
as almoft every-where e_|fe, are exclu lively
attached to England, becaufe it is with her
they have ajl their dealings, and have no
profpeéi of credit or profit except by her
means : and at Richmond, as in nearly all
the trading towns, the commercial body enjoys a certain degree of Superiority. During
the late difcuffign of the treaty in Congrefs,
the majority of this town informed their
reprefentotives in the national legiflature
that they wifhed them to yote for its ratifia
cation. I have feen all forts of company,
and in none have I heard the prefident men-
fion^d otherwife than in terms of refpect.
Mr. Edmond Randolph, heretofore fecre-
tary of ftate to the Union, and become fb
famous in confequence of Monfieur Fauchet's
letter, follows here the profeffion of a lawyer,
to whicj^ he had devoted all that part of his
life that was not employed in public affair^
fie has great practice, and flands in that
refpect nearly on a par with Mr. J. Mar-
i^all* the moft efteemed and celebrated
cgamfellor in this toçn.
The The profeffion of a lawyer is here, as in
every other part of America, one of the moft
profitable. But, though the employment be
here more confiant than in Carolina, the
practitioner's emoluments are very far from
being   equally  considerable.    Mr.   Marmall
•rates not from his practice derive above four
or fiveuhoufand dollars per annum, and not
even mat fum every vear.    In Virginia thé
J    J . o
lawyers ufually take care to infill on pay-
meritjfërore they proceed in a fuit : and this
cuftôrh is juftified by the general difpofition
of the inhabitants to pay as little and as fel-
dom as poffible. I have heard phyficians
declare that they do not annually receive
one-inird of wnat is due to them for their
attendance; that'they have fome of thefe
debts of five and twenty years1   flanding :
0 0 ^J
that their claims are frequently denied ; and
that, in order to recover payment, they are
obliged to feed writs, carry on law-fuits, &cî
&c. &c.
The derangement of affairs occafioned by
éx^énces exceeding the bounds of income,
and efpeciafiy by gaming—and, above all,
the want of delicacy refulting from that de-
J o
rangement and from the habit of thinking
lightly of debts—are the caufes of this immoral order of things -, and it is in fome degree encouraged by the laws of the ftate,
which do: not allow the feizure of lands or
other immovable property for the payment
of debts. This law, which the Virginians
fay they originally derived from England,
has been preferved by them in all the reforms which they* have made in their legal.
code, and has been preferved by them alone.
Slaves and r&ovable property are feizable :
but whoever is acquainted with the manners
of the country may readily conceive how
great the facility of making a feigned, fale of
them : and then, by holding them as hired,
they are placed beyond the reach of feizure.
Gaming is the ruling pafiion of the Virginians : at pharo, dice, billiards, at every
imaginable game of hazard, they lofe considerable funis. Gaming-tables are publicly
kept in almoft every town, and particularly
at Richmond. Yet a law of the ftate,
enacted no longer ago than in December
1/Q2, exprefsly prohibits all games of hazard, all wagers at horfe-races or cock-fights,-
5S 4 il
of Which the Virginians are paflionately fond
—forbids the lofing of more than twenty
dollars at cards within four and twenty hours
a—places all the holders of banks on the
footing of vagabonds—orders the juSlices of
the peace, on the flighteft information, 0
enter the places where they are held, td
break the tables, feize the money, &c. &c.
Neverthelefs, to the prefent hour, the greater
number of thofe who enacted that law—of
the prefent legiflators, the jufHees of the
peace, and the other magiflrates—are afii-
duous in their attendance at thofe feats of
gambling. The bank-holders are everywhere received and acknowledged as f gentlemen |l and their profeflion is envied, as
being a very lucrative one. The part of
this law which is faid to be the moft punctually executed is that which cancels the
debts contracted at the gaming-table, and
prohibits the payment of them.
It is not uncommon to witnefs Scenes of
bloodfhed at thefe gaming-houfes. Since
my arrival here, a young man, of a family
of confequence in Virginia, fancying, in his
impatie'nt heat at a billiard-party, that he
had •HSHP
had reafon to be diffatisfied with tné behaviour of a marker whom he thought deficient m due refpect to him,—after discharging a volley of abufe on the man who
with much difficulty bore it—thrufl him
through the body with a kind of cutlafs
which he wore by his fide. The marker.did
not die in confèquence of the wound : but,
even if he had, the young man would have
equally efcaped profecution. The latter has
quitted the town for a few days, and will
^Shortly reappear, and refume his ufual pur-
fuits, as if he had been ablent only on account of ill health ; although nobody denies
the commiffion of that public act, or attempts
to palliate it.
The law againft inoculation is more rigidly
enforced. It prohibits every perfbn from
having himfelf or any of his family inoculated without permiffion obtained from all
the juflices of the county, who, on his petition, are to afîèmble, and enquire into the
motives of his requefl, its neceflity, its propriety. If they acquielce,/ their permiffion,
which is to be given in writing, is flill of no
avail: that of all the neighbours for two miles
i m
Travels through
round is moreover required ; and the refufal
of a fingle one prevents the inoculation.
Any phyfician who Should prefume to inoculate without thefe precautions, would be
punifhed by a fine of ten thoufand dollars.
Whoever is accidentally attacked by the
fmall-pox is carried to a lonely houfe in the
middle of the woods, and there he receives
medical afîiftànce. If the village, the town,
the district, to which he belongs, catch the
infection, thefe places are cut off from all
communication with the reft of the country,
and are permitted to have recourfe to inoculation : otherwife it is never allowed ; for it
is ealy to perceive that the faculty of obtaining permiffion for the purpofe by the unanimous vote of the magistrates of the county
and the general confent of the neighbours,
in a country'where prejudices receive fuch
additional Strength from the law, is a mere
People are often heard to murmur againft
this abfurd law : yet it is punctually obeyed :
and nobody can allege as a pretext for this
prejudice, that the Virginians are afraid of
" tempting  God/' as was the cant of .our
priefts in France, who, in this inflance as
in many others, have done all the mifchief
in  their power.      Thofe who  are  afked  a
reafon for fuch a regulation .adduce the fear
of   propagating   a  dangerous   difeafe   with
which they affert that  Virginia   has  never
been otherwise than partially and accidentally   infected.    They   repeat   the   affertions
which in Europe had long proved a bar to
the  extension of that admirable difcovery.
They fay that  the practice of inoculation,
by rendering the difeafe more common, ins.
Cf«eafes the number of its victims far beyond-
whaf nature  intended ;   that inoculation is
itiêif fuit of dangers :   that   the   attendant
expences,   which   are   considerable,  do   not
lie withifn the   ability of the  poor (for,  in
Virginia,  as elfeyvhere, fome popular reafon
muft   be   given),    &c.   &c.   &c.      One  is
aftonifhed to bear from the mouths of enlightened men  thefe arguments which the
old women of Europe have long ceafed to
repeat.    Population does not fufter a greater
decreafe in Pennsylvania or the other Ame-
rican fiâtes where inoculation is permitted,
than in Virginia where it is prohibited: on
Vol. III. G the
ill the contrary, it daily increafes.    This entire
ifolation of the place where  the fmall-pox
breaks out, fuch as the laws of Virginia pre-
fcribe, cannot be carried into effect with all
the conditions neceffary to render it Salutary.
May not the infection be conveyed by the
phyficians, whom the law does not fubject
to quarantine ? And might not the neceffary
expences of inoculation, which are known
to be fo moderate, be confined by the provident attention  of government to  a fum
which no family Should   feel burdenfome ?
To all thefe palpable truths no folid anfwer
is given : yet the advocates of inoculation
are far from having any hope of being able
to effect an alteration in the law.
I have heard alleged, as the real motive
for the regulation, the fear entertained by
the planters of being obliged to inoculate
their negroes, if the practice of inoculation
Should become fo general as to render that,
precaution neceffary to prelerve them from
the danger of its epidemic ravages. It is
difficult to credit Such a reafon, when th<
expence is fo trifling, when the procefs is fo
eafyj and when beiides they are in the habit NORTH AMERICA, CANADA, &C
of not paying their phyficians. The moft
probable caufes are heedleflhefs, want of reflection, and curtom. Yet the firft right of
man, that of preserving feis own life, is prohibited by this Gothic legiflation»: Political
fyftems too often refemble fyftems of religion : each man, according to his private
interest, frames one for himfelf, which is
compofed of the grolTeft abfurdities and the
moft glaring contradictions ; and his con-
fcience becomes gradually accuflomed and
reconciled to it.
The civil laws of Virginia have Struck me
as wifely drdained. That which relates to
perfons dying intefiate, divides the property
equally among the children—aftigns to the
mother one third of the whole—and conducts
with great fbrefight and juftice the division
of the fortune of the deceafed in default
of children, wife, father, mother, brother,
fifler, &c. But the freedom of teflamentary
deyife is allowed to fubfift in unbounded latitude ; and the manners of the country almoft
univerfally incline the teftators rather to follow the ancient cviftoms, than to regard the
intentions of the more recent law :  the con-.
G 2 . Sequence
fequence of which is that the eldeft fpn inherits almoft the whole property, and the
males are provided with fortunes at the ex-
pence of the females.
The Slave-la&s are much milder here than
in any of the other countries through which
I have hitherto traveliedi^ JuSHce, I grant,
is not the Same for the roafier as for the
Slave, for the white man and the black.
Legislation is always partial in thisinflance ;
but that partiality is a cruel and almoft un-
voidable conlequence of the admiffion of
flavery : and this truth  ought alone  to be
J    * o
fufficient to occafion its abolition among an
enlightened people who retain any idea of
moralitv.    The Virginians have gone;farther
J o o
in refort&ing   the ba#baritv   of the   anciint
laws rejfpejjfing flavery, than any other people
of the United States—perhaps than any other
nation uqbon ëâttài \yi$ere Slavery prevails in
full force.
In 17/2 the legislature of Virgiiaa-peri-2
tioned the king of England to authorize the
governor to give his fanction to a law prohibiting all farther importation of negroes
into the province : and his refufal to grant
their NORTH AMtMScA,  CANADA,  &X\ ^|
their requefl is one of the grievances on
which the moft bitter complaints are made
againft His Brrtifh majefly in the preamble
to the new constitution framed in 1/vWé
Accordingly an act forbidding all fitfure
importation of negroes into tne State was
one of the firft laws paffed by the legislature after the adoption of the new constitution.
A negro who raifes his hand againft a
white man is acquitted if it be proved that
he has done it in felf-defence ; other wife
he receives thirty lafhes. The flave is
judged by five ju ft ices of the peace, whole,
unanimous voice is requisite to pafs Sentence
of death. Slaves are called upon to give
evidence on the trials of other Slaves in criminal caufes ; but they are cautioned by the
judges, that, if their teltimony be proved falfe,
triée, ears will be cut off. No man who
is in the Slightest degree interested either for
or agaihtt a negro is allowed to fit in judge-
o o JO
ment on or give evidence againft him.    If
juftice difpofes of the perfon of a negro, th
owner is paid the full value of his Ha
regulation which renders the matters lefs in-
G 3 clined clined to fcreen thôîr Slaves from the fèverîty
of the I»!*,
The courts of juftice in Virginia are innumerable^ The cofts of law are not considerable : and in confequence litigation is
frequent. Suits for the recovery of debts occupy above one half of the time allotted for
the fefiions. The beft proved debt cannot
be recovered within a fhorter period than
eighteen months ; and it often happens that
Several years are not fufticient to put the creditor in poffeffion of his right. The natural
averfion to the payment of debts finds in
chicanery a thouiand means of gratifying
tfeif : and on that head, here as well as in
every other country» the manners of the
people aid and Strengthen  the refources of
i i o
chicanery.  u& tsÊ*&&
Difputes reflecting the title* to lands are
alfo one of the moft frequent caufes of law-
The criminal code is nearly the fame here
as in the other States which have not followed
the laudable example of Pennsylvania : it is
even  Somewhat   milder.      It is with   pain,
£)fcrves that the foreigner
liUV> v Yv/I*   tlivt-U ^i.J.'w NORTH AMERICA, CANADA, 8cC
who indents himfclf as a Servant is liable
to the punifhment of the whip for various
offences, even thofe which only concern his
matter's fervice. The other punifhments
are, as elfewhere, hanging, whipping, burning in the hand, &c. *
The ftate of Virginia has no public debt,
except a hundred thoufand dollars in which
She was found debtor to the Union on the
Settlement of the accounts of the Slates with
the general government—and a claim of
between three and four millions of livres,
made, on the part of France, by Monfieur de
Beaumarchais, for arms and military Stores
of every kind, furnifhed to her during the
war. The people here have the juftice to
allow the goodnefs of thofe Supplies, and the
abfolute neceffity of them at the time when
* Since the writing of this journal, the legislature of
Virginia, on the 22d of December 1796, paSTed a law,
that now lies before me, by which the punishment of
death is folely confined to cafes of premeditated murder.
All other crimes, even that of high treafon, are punishable
only by confinement for a Shorter or a longer term.
At length the Pennfylvania fyftem, reflecting the penal
code and the management of prifons, is nc-w eflablifhed
in Virginia.
3Cfc. .--:■*— 8&r
they were fent : they even acknowledge the'
greater part of the debt -, nevertheless they
do not feem difpofed to give any formal deed
of acknowledgement ; the State being as little
O o
inclined to the payment of debts as the individuals who compofe it.
The State even poffefTes a capital which is
estimated at above fixty thoufand dollars.
But this capital, which is daily encreafing,
arifès from a Source that muft fooner or later
be productive of disturbance : it is the grants
of land. PurSuant to an» exifting law, the
ftate difpofes of vacant lands at the rate of
two cents per acre, or twenty dollars for a
thoufand acres ; which is the ufual proportion
of thofe grants. To obtain fuch grants, it
is fufficient to declare that the lands for
which application is made, and of which
the boundaries are delcribed in the petition,
have no owner : whereupon the Slate—that
Is to f§y, the land-office, which in this
instance reprefents the State—grants a warrant, or an order for a Survey. The grantee
has his grant furveyed by the State Surveyor :
it is reglftered ; and a very moderate annual
tax which he pays for his land,  fecures to
him the pSSTeffion of it. But it frequently
happens thatfôëceflive applications are maée1
by feveral perfons for tftè fame land-—not
precifely for the fame tractlbounded by the
Same limiâ^—but for a tract, which, having
different boundaries, includes a greater or
leffer part of that already granted ; of which
the remainder is included in another Similar
application. Thefe again fall under others
of the fame kind in endlefs fucceffion ; fo
that the fame identical acres are often
claimed by five or fix grantees, or even
The ftate does not warrant to the grantee
that the lands have not already been ^granted ;
it is his bufinefs to acquire fuch information
as fhall fecure to him the future poffeffion of
the property.' But, in an uninhabited country,
with a Single office, where lands belonging
to the ftate at large (without any fubdivifions
into townfhips or counties) are granted, it is
impoffible to acquire the neceffary information ; and men of the moft upright inten-
tions are often deceived on the occafion.
The fpeculators find their account1 in this
obfcurity : and in this kind of Speculation,
■ i'
"??5ï^^y| so
which is very prevalent in Virginia, the inhabitants of Pennsylvania and the other
northern States take a deep Share. The flate^
alfo derives a profit from thefe double or
triple Sales, by the money thence accruing.
But, besides that it is the duty of a government to preferve the governed from imposition, and Still more to abstain from all
participation in the fraud—It is eafy to forefee
that a time will come when the grantees of
thofe lands, mortified at feeing themfelves
thus duped, and incenfed by a refufal on the
part of government to refund their money,
will carry into that country a new germ of
discontent, and confequently of disturbance.
This State of affairs is generally known
at prefent : and accordingly Virginian lands
are fallen into difcredit. The quantity is
immenSe : the courir of annual migration
tengs rather to diminish than inçreafe the
population of Virginia : thus the period
when the uncultivated lands, of which- there
are very extenilvc tracts, Shall come to be
inhabited, is much farther distant there than
in any other State of the Union. Meanwhile
pretty numerous demands are already made
to the court which is appointed to take cog*
nizance of fuch affairs ; but that court, barely
deciding in favour of the oldeft titles, pronounces the money to be abfblutely lofl
which the fécond or third.grantees have paid
to the ftate for their lands, and to the fur-
veyors for the expences of furveying. Thefe
laft fums amount to double the price of the
purchafe, that is to fay, to four cents per
From the condition of the finances of the
ilate of Virginia, it follows that the burdens
impofed on the citizens are, as I have already
remarked^ by no means heavy. The duty
on the infpection of tobacco tends to render
them Still lighter. They confifl of five
Shillings on every hundred pounds estimated
>-value of lands, divided into four claffes (add
the lands are always estimated below; their
real value)—two dollars and) one twelfth
on every three hundred and thirty-three dollars estimated value in city-lots—one (hilling and eight pence on each Slave below *
* Aii-deffbus in the French. Is it not a fault of print for
au-dèffitS} above ? &
the age of twelsre yeafig, except IthoSb who
are exempted frc&m taxation by the corporation of the place on account of their infir-
ihiities*--a fum on each Stallion, whether
horfe or.afs, equal to the price demanded
for his covering—four pence for every other
horfe, mare, or mule—forty Shillings for
trifery ordinary licence—fifty dollars for eaoa
billiard-table—fix Shillings per wheel on
every four-wheeled carriage, except phaetons
and waggons, which pay but four—tand ten
Shillings per wheel on every two-wheeled
carriage. Such aire the taxes voted in the
laft feSiion for the expences of 1796. They
vary in proportion to the ..greater or leffer
amount of public expenditure ordered.
Independent of thefe taxes, there are
duties impofed on proceedings in the fu-
preme court—ion transfers of certificates of
the Surveys of land—on certificates and contracts drawn by notaries—-on certificates
given by--fche county courts or tliofè of thb
towns—and, finally, on certificates palling
the great feal of the State. The valuation
of the lands was made in 1781 and 1782,
and is permanent. Lands recently grafted
by the State are fubject to the tax.
The Sheriffs in the different- counties are,
by virtue of their office, collect©ts of all the
taxes.      They  are  annually  nominated  by
0* 0 »
the governor of the ftate, from a lift of
three justices of the peace, drawn up by
the couttty-courts. They cannot be continued in office above two years. Thfcjr
muft give fecurity to the amount of thirty
o J J
thoufand dollars. They receive a comraîfc
Sk>n of five per cent on the fums by them
collected. The commissioners (generally two
in each county) who aSTefs the taxes, receive
a dollar per day during the time they devote
to that bufineSs. The duties oti judicial pro-
.ccfies are received by the county clerks, and
by the offioers who iffue them.—Rverv im-
migrant attà&n who arrives in the State
enjoys durfcïg fifre years an exemption from
every other tax exeept that on land, if he follows a trade.—The taxes being light are
well paid in Virginia^ The feizure of movable property, and even of flaves, enfuréèc
the regular collection of all the funds.—The
expences   of  the   government   of Virginia
annually §Jt
annually. amount  to   a hundred and   Sixty
thoufand dollars.
The counties impofe no taxes unlefs when
they have bridges, prifons, or court-houfes, to'
build. In fuch cafes the lands at the value
estimated for the State-taxes, and the negroes,
are taken as data by which to regulate the
temporary impositions which are deemed neceffary.—I have already remarked that the
roads are made and repaired by the labour
of the inhabitants.
The town-taxes are in general confined to
thofe for the fupport of the poor. At Richmond, they embrace a variety of objects :
they are impofed on carriages, and the letting of houfes ; they comprize moreover an
imposition of two fhillings per head on negroes above fixteça years of age, &c. but
they do not in, any particular wear the features of an arbitrary capitation-tax, from
which feveral of the other ftates are- not
-exempt. |||
The ftate of Virginia, like moft of the
other ftates of the Union, is unprovided with
arms for her militia, and cannon for her
artillery.    The late affembly has ordered a
j       j
Nearly pro^Cïîon to be made of four thoufand
J J    -T
Stand of arms with military accoutrements,
and ten pieces of cannon. Each artillery
company is to have cine. The magazine
for their reception is appointed to be at
Point-of-ForJt on James-River; and the
arms are fabricated at New-London in
A wife law of Virginia, intended to act
on the electors as a ftimulus to attend the
numerous elections held in this ftate, Subjects
to a doufele tax all thofe who abfent them-
ffelves on fuch occasions, unlefs they can
plead ilPhealth as their apology.
There has not for a considerable time been
any eftablifhment of free fchools in Virginia
Every thing remained to be done in that
refpect—the division of counties into fchool-
diftricts—organization of their adminiflra-
Hon—erection of fchool-houfès, &c. A law
of the twenty-fec