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most essentially contributed), I trust will prove an important era in the history of that first of arts.

It is only necessary to add, that, by various accidents, neither the original copy, nor the duplicate of the subjoined letter reached me; but fortunately a triplicate was sent, which safely arrived, and from which the following is printed.

General Washington's Account of the several States of America.

Philadelphia, 11th December 1796. SIR, The near view which you have of the Revolution in France, and of the political state of things in Europe, especially those of Great Britain, has enabled you to form a judgment with so much more accuracy than I could do, of the probable result of the perturbated state of the countries which compose that quarter of the globe, and of the principal actors on that theatre, that it would be presumption in me, at the distance of 3000 miles, to give an opinion relatively to either men or measures, and therefore I will proceed to the information required in your private letter of the 11th of September, which I will give you from the best knowledge I possess, and with the candour you have a right to expect from me.

The United States, as you well know, are very extensive, more than 1500 miles between the north-eastern and southwestern extremities,—all parts of which, from the seaboard to the Apalachian Mountains, (which divide the eastern from the western waters), are entirely settled, though not so compactly as they are susceptible of, and settlements are progressing rapidly beyond them.

Within so great a space, you are not to be told, that there are great variety of climates; and you will readily suppose too, that there are all sorts of land, differently improved, and of various prices, according to the quality of the soil,—its contiguity to, or remoteness from, navigation,—the nature of the improvements, -and other local circumstances. These

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premises however are only sufficient for the formation of a general opinion, for there are material deviations, as I shall mention hereafter.

In the New England states, and the Pennsylvania inclusively, landed property is more divided than it is in the states south of them. The farms are smaller, the buildings and other improvements generally better, and, of consequence, the population is greater ; but then, the climate, especially to the eastward of Hudson's river, is cold,—the winter long,

-consuming a great part of the summer's labour in support of their stocks, during the winter ;-nevertheless, it is a country abounding in grass, and sells much fine beef, besides exporting many horses to the West Indies. A mildew or blight, (I am speaking now of the New England states particularly), prevents them from raising wheat adequate to their own consumption ; and of other grains they export little or none, fish being their staple. They live well notwithstanding, and are a happy people. Their numbers are not augmented by foreign emigrants; yet, from their circumscribed limits, compact situation, and natural population, they are filling the western parts of the state of New York, and the country on the Ohio, with their own surplusage.

New Jersey is a small state, and all parts of it, except the south-western, are pleasant, healthy, and productive of all kinds of grain, &c. Being surrounded on two sides by New York, and on the other two by Delaware river and the Atlantic, it has no land of its own to supply the surplus of its population; of course, their emigrations are principally towards the Ohio.

Pennsylvania is a large state; and, from the policy of its founder, and of the government since, and especially from the celebrity of Philadelphia, has become the general receptacle of foreigners from all countries, and of all descriptions; many of whom soon take an active part in the politics of the state; and coming over full of prejudices against their own government,--some against all governments, you will be en

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abled, without any comment of mine, to draw your own inference of their conduct.

Delaware is a very small state, the greater part of which lies low, and is supposed to be unhealthy. The eastern shore of Maryland is similar thereto. The lands in both, however, are good.

But the western parts of the last-mentioned state, and of Virginia, quite to the line of North Carolina, above tidewater, and more especially above the Blue Mountains, are similar to those of Pennsylvania between the Susquehanna and Potomac rivers, in soil, climate, and productions; and, in my opinion will be considered, if it is not considered so already, as the garden of America; forasmuch as it lies between the two extremes of heat and cold, partaking in a degree of the advantages of both, without feeling much the inconveniences of either; and with truth it may be said, is among the most fertile lands in America, east of the Apalachian Mountains.

The uplands of North and South Carolina, and Georgia, are not dissimilar in soil ; but, as they approach the lower latitudes, are less congenial to wheat, and are supposed to be proportionably unhealthy. Towards the seaboard of all the southern states, (and farther south the more so,) the country is low, sandy, and unhealthy; for which reason I shall say little concerning them; for, as I should not choose to be an inhabitant of them myself, I ought not to say any thing that would induce others to be so.

This general description is furnished, that you may be enabled to form an idea of the part of the United States which would be most congenial to your inclination. To pronounce, with any degree of precision, what lands could be obtained for, in the parts I have enumerated, is next to impossible, for the reasons I have before assigned; but, upon pretty good data, it may be said, that those in Pennsylvania are higher than those in Maryland, (and I believe in any other state), declining in price as you go southerly, until the rice swamps of South Carolina and Georgia are met with; and those are as much above the medium in price, as they are below it in health. I understand, however, that from thirty to forty dollars per acre, (I fix on dollars, because they apply equally to all the states, and because their relative value to Sterling is well understood), may be denominated the medium price in the vicinity of the Susquehanna, in the state of Pennsylvania; from twenty to thirty on the Potomac, in what is called the valley; that is, lying between the North Mountain and Blue Mountain, which are the richest lands we have; and less, as I have noticed before, as you proceed southerly. But what may appear singular, and was alluded to in the former part of this letter, the lands, in the parts of which I am now speaking, on and contiguous to tidewater, (with local exceptions), are in lower estimation than those which are above and more remote from navigation. The causes, however, are apparent: 1. The land is better; 2. Higher and more healthy; 3. They are chiefly, if not altogether, in the occupation of farmers ;—from a combination of all of them, purchasers are attracted; and of consequence, the price rises in proportion to the demand.

The rise in the value of landed property, in this country, has been progressive, ever since my attention has been turned to the subject, (now more than forty years); but, for the last three or four of that period, it has increased beyond all calculation, owing in part to the attachment to, and the confidence which the people are beginning to place in their form of government; and to the prosperity of the country, from a variety of concurring causes, none more than to the late high prices of its produce.

From what I have said, you will have perceived that the present prices of land in Pennsylvania are higher than they are in Maryland and Virginia, although they are not of superior quality. Two reasons have already been assigned for this; first, That in the settled part of it, the land is divided into smaller farms, and more improved; and second, Being in

a greater degree than any other, the receptacle of emigrants, these receive the first impressions in Philadelphia, and rarely look beyond the limits of the state; but besides these, two other causes, not a little operative, may be added; namely, that until Congress passed general laws, relative to naturalization and citizenship, foreigners found it easier to obtain the privileges annexed to them in that state, than elsewhere; and because there are laws here for the gradual abolition of slavery, which neither of the two states above mentioned have at present, but which nothing is more certain than that they must have, and at a period not remote.

Notwithstanding these obstacles, and although I may incur the charge of partiality, in hazarding such an opinion at this time, I do not hesitate to pronounce, that the lands on the waters of Potomac will, in a few years, be in greater demand, and in higher estimation, than in any other part of the United States. But, as I ought not to advance this doctrine, without assigning reasons for it, I will request you to examine a general map of the United States, and the following facts will strike you at first view: That they lie in the most temperate latitude of the United States ;—that the main river runs in a direct course to the expanded part of the western country, and approaches nearer to principal branches of the Ohio, than any

other eastern water, and of course must become a great, if not (under all circumstances), the best highway into that region ;—that the upper seaport of the Potomac is considerably nearer to a large portion of the state of Pennsylvania, than that portion is to Philadelphia, besides accommodating the settlers thereof with inland navigation for more than two hundred miles ;-that the amazing extent of tide navigation afforded by the bay and rivers of Chesapeak has scarely a parallel. When to these are added,--that a site at the junction of the inland and tide navigations of that river is chosen for the permanent seat of the general government, and is in rapid preparation for its reception ;-that the inland navigation of the river is nearly completed to the extent above

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