Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 2

Author: Thomas Jefferson

Query VI. A Notice of the Mines and Other Subterraneous Riches; Its Trees, Plants, Fruits, Etc.

I knew a single instance of gold found in this State. It was interspersed in small specks through a lump of ore of about four pounds weight, which yielded seventeen pennyweights of gold, of extraordinary ductility. This ore was found on the north side of Rappahanoc, about four miles below the falls. I never heard of any other indication of gold in its neighborhood.

On the Great Kanhaway, opposite to the mouth of Cripple creek, and about twenty-five miles from our southern boundary, in the county of Montgomery, are mines of lead. The metal is mixed, sometimes with earth, and sometimes with rock, which requires the force of gunpowder to open it; and is accompanied with a portion of silver too small to be worth separation under any process hitherto attempted there. The proportion yielded is from fifty to eighty pounds of pure metal from one hundred pounds of washed ore. The most common is that of sixty to one hundred pounds. The veins are sometimes most flattering, at others they disappear suddenly and totally. They enter the side of the hill and proceed horizontally. Two of them are wrought at present by the public, the best of which is one hundred yards under the hill. These would employ about fifty laborers to advantage. We have not, however, more than thirty generally, and these cultivate their own corn. They have produced sixty tons of lead in the year; but the general quantity is from twenty to twenty-five tons. The present furnace is a mile from the ore bank and on the opposite side of the river. The ore is first wagoned to the river, a quarter of a mile, then laden on board of canoes and carried across the river, which is there about two hundred yards wide, and then again taken into wagons and carried to the furnace. This mode was originally adopted that they might avail themselves of a good situation on a creek for a pounding mill; but it would be easy to have the furnace and pounding mill on the same side of the river, which would yield water, without any dam, by a canal of about half a mile in length. Prom the furnace the lead is transported one hundred and thirty miles along a good road, leading through the peaks of Otter to Lynch’s ferry, or Winston’s on James’ river, from whence it is carried by water about the same distance to Westham. This land carriage may be greatly shortened, by delivering the lead on James’ river, above the Blue Ridge, from whence a ton weight has been brought on two canoes. The Great Kanhaway has considerable falls in the neighborhood of the mines. About seven miles below are three falls, of three or four feet perpendicular each; and three miles above is a rapid of three miles continuance, which has been compared in its descent to the great falls of James’ river. Yet it is the opinion, that they may be laid open for useful navigation, so as to reduce very much the portage between the Kanhaway and James’ river.

A valuable lead mine is said to have been lately discovered in Cumberland, below the mouth of Red river. The greatest, however, known in the western country, are on the Mississippi, extending from the mouth of Rock river one hundred and fifty miles upwards. These are not wrought, the lead used in that country being from the banks on the Spanish side of the Mississippi, opposite to Kaskaskia.

A mine of copper was once opened in the county of Amherst, on the north side of James’ river, and another in the opposite country, on the south side. However, either from bad management or the poverty of the veins, they were discontinued. We are told of a rich mine of native copper on the Ouabache, below the upper Wiaw.

The mines of iron worked at present are Callaway’s, Ross’s, and Ballendine’s, on the south side of James’ river; Old’s on the north side, in Albemarle; Miller’s in Augusta, and Zane’s in Frederic. These two last are in the valley between the Blue Ridge and North mountain. Callaway’s, Ross’s, Miller’s, and Zane’s make about one hundred and fifty tons of bar iron each, in the year. Ross’s makes also about sixteen hundred tons of pig iron annually; Ballendine’s one thousand; Callaway ’s, Miller’s, and Zane’s, about six hundred each. Besides these, a forge of Mr. Hunter’s, at Fredericksburg, makes about three hundred tons a year of bar iron, from pigs imported from Maryland; and Taylor’s forge on Neapsco of Potomac, works in the same way, but to what extent I am not informed. The indications of iron in other places are numerous, and dispersed through all the middle country. The toughness of the cast iron of Ross’s and Zane’s furnaces is very remarkable. Pots and other utensils, cast thinner than usual, of this iron, may be safely thrown into, or out of the wagons in which they are transported. Salt-pans made of the same, and no longer wanted for that purpose, cannot be broken up, in order to be melted again, unless previously drilled in many parts.

In the western country, we are told of iron mines between the Muskingum and Ohio; of others on Kentucky, between the Cumberland and Barren rivers, between Cumberland and Tennessee, on Reedy creek, near the Long Island, and on Chesnut creek, a branch of the Great Kanhaway, near where it crosses the Carolina line. What are called the iron banks, on the Mississippi, are believed, by a good judge, to have no iron in them. In general, from what is hitherto known of that country, it seems to want iron.

Considerable quantities of black lead are taken occasionally for use from Winterham in the county’ of Amelia. I am not able, however, to give a particular state of the mine. There is no work established at it; those who want, going and procuring it for themselves.

The country on James’ river, from fifteen to twenty miles above Richmond, and for several miles northward and southward, is replete with mineral coal of a very excellent quality. Being in the hands of many proprietors, pits have been opened, and, before the interruption of our commerce, were worked to an extent equal to the demand.

In the western country coal is known to be in so many places, as to have induced an opinion, that the whole tract between the Laurel mountain, Mississippi, and Ohio, yields coal. It is also known in many places on the north side of the Ohio. The coal at Pittsburg is of very superior quality. A bed of it at that place has been a-fire since the year 1765. Another coal-hill on the Pike-run of Monongahela has been a-fire ten years; yet it has burnt away about twenty yards only.

I have known one instance of an emerald found in this country. Amethysts have been frequent, and crystals common; yet not in such numbers any of them as to be worth seeking.

There is very good marble, and in very great abundance, on James’ river, at the mouth of Rockfish. The samples I have seen, were some of them of a white as pure as one might expect to find on the surface of the earth; but most of them were variegated with red, blue, and purple. None of it has been ever worked. It forms a very large precipice, which hangs over a navigable part of the river. It is said there is marble at Kentucky.

But one vein of limestone is known below the Blue Ridge. Its first appearance, in our country, is in Prince William, two miles below the Pignut ridge of mountains; thence it passes on nearly parallel with that, and crosses the Rivanna about five miles below it, where it is called the South-west ridge. It then crosses Hard-ware, above the mouth of Hudson’s creek; James’ river at the mouth of Rockfish, at the marble quarry before spoken of, probably runs up that river to where it appears again at Ross’s iron-works, and so passes off south-westwardly by Flat Creek of Otter river. It is never more than one hundred yards wide. From the Blue Ridge westwardly, the whole country seems to be founded on a rock of limestone, besides infinite quantities on the surface, both loose and fixed. This is cut into beds, which range, as the mountains and sea-coast do, from south-west to north-east, the lamina of each bed declining from the horizon towards a parallelism with the axis of the earth. Being struck with this observation, I made, with a quadrant, a great number of trials on the angles of their declination, and found them to vary from 22§ to 60§; but averaging all my trims, the result was within one-third of a degree of the elevation of the pole or latitude of the place, and much the greatest part of them taken separately were little different from that; by which it appears, that these lamina are, in the main, parallel with the axis of the earth. In some instances, indeed, I found them perpendicular, and even reclining the other way; but these were extremely rare, and always attended with signs of convulsion, or other circumstances of singularity, which admitted a possibility of removal from their original position. These trials were made between Madison’s cave and the Potomac. We hear of limestone on the Mississippi and Ohio, and in all the mountainous country between the eastern and western waters, not on the mountains themselves, but occupying the valleys between them.

Near the eastern foot of the North mountain are immense bodies of Schist, containing impressions of shells in a variety of forms. I have received petrified shells of very different kinds from the first sources of Kentucky, which bear no resemblance to any I have ever seen on the tide-waters. It is said that shells are found in the Andes, in South America, fifteen thousand feet above the level of the ocean. This is considered by many, both of the learned and unlearned, as a proof of an universal deluge. To the many considerations opposing this opinion, the following may be added: The atmosphere, and all its contents, whether of water, air, or other matter, gravitate to the earth; that is to say, they have weight. Experience tells us, that the weight of all these together never exceeds that of a column of mercury of thirty-one inches height, which is equal to one of rain water of thirty-five feet high. If the whole contents of the atmosphere, then, were water, instead of what they are, it would cover the globe but thirty-five feet deep; but as these waters, as they fell, would run into the seas, the superficial measure of which is to that of the dry parts of the globe, as two to one, the seas would be raised only fifty-two and a half feet above their present level, and of course would overflow the lands to that height only. In Virginia this would be a very small proportion even of the champaign country, the banks of our tide waters being frequently, if not generally, of a greater height. Deluges beyond this extent, then, as for instance, to the North mountain or to Kentucky, seem out of the laws of nature. But within it they may have taken place to a greater or less degree, in proportion to the combination of natural causes which may be supposed to have produced them. History renders probably some instances of a partial deluge in the country lying round the Mediterranean sea. It has been often1 supposed, and it is not unlikely, that that sea was once a lake. While such, let us admit an extraordinary collection of the waters of the atmosphere from the other parts of the globe to have been discharged over that and the countries whose waters run into it. Or without supposing it a lake, admit such an extraordinary collection of the waters of the atmosphere, and an influx from the Atlantic ocean, forced by long-continued western winds. The lake, or that sea, may thus have been so raised as to overflow the low lands adjacent to it, as those of Egypt and Armenia, which, according to a tradition of the Egyptians and Hebrews, were overflowed about two thousand three hundred years before the Christian era; those of Attica, said to have been overflowed in the time of Ogyges, about five hundred years later; and those of Thessaly, in the time of Deucalion, still three hundred years posterior. But such deluges as these will not account for the shells found in the higher lands. A second opinion has been entertained, which is, that in times anterior to the records either of history or tradition, the bed of the ocean, the principal residence of the shelled tribe, has, by some great convulsion of nature, been heaved to the heights at which we now find shells and other marine animals. The favorers of this opinion do well to suppose the great events on which it rests to have taken place beyond all the eras of history; for within these, certainly, none such are to be found; and we may venture to say farther, that no fact has taken place, either in our own days, or in the thousands of years recorded in history, which proves the existence of any natural agents, within or without the bowels of the earth, of force sufficient to heave, to the height of fifteen thousand feet, such masses as the Andes. The difference between the power necessary to produce such an effect, and that which shuffled together the different parts of Calabria in our days, is so immense, that from the existence of the latter, we are not authorized to infer that of the former.

M. de Voltaire has suggested a third solution of this difficulty. (Quest. Encycl. Coquilles.) He cites an instance in Toursine, where, in the space of eighty years, a particular spot of earth had been twice metamorphosed into soft stone, which had become hard when employed in building. In this stone shells of various kinds were produced, discoverable at first only with a microscope, but afterwards growing with the stone. From this fact, I suppose, he would have us infer, that, besides the usual process for generating shells by the elaboration of earth and water in animal vessels, nature may have provided an equivalent operation, by passing the same materials through the pores of calcareous earths and stones; as we see calcareous drop-stones generating every day, by the percolation of water through lime-stone, and new marble forming in the quarries from which the old has been taken out. And it might be asked, whether is it more difficult for nature to shoot the calcareous juice into the form of a shell, than other juices into the forms of crystals, plants, animals, according to the construction of the vessels through which they pass ? There is a wonder somewhere. Is it greatest on this branch of the dilemma; on that which supposes the existence of a power, of which we have no evidence in any other case; or on the first, which requires us to believe the creation of a body of water and its subsequent annihilation ? The establishment of the instance, cited by M. de Voltaire, of the growth, of shells unattached to animal bodies, would have been that of his theory. But he has not established it. He has not even left it on ground so respectable as to have rendered it an object of inquiry to the literati of his own country. Abandoning this fact, therefore, the three hypotheses are equally unsatisfactory; and we must be contented to acknowledge, that this great phenomenon is as yet unsolved. Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.

There is great abundance (more especially when you approach the mountains) of stone, white, blue, brown, &c., fit for the chisel, good mill-stone, such also as stands the fire, and slate stone. We are told of flint, fit for gun-flints, on the Meherrin in Brunswick, on the Mississippi between the mouth of the Ohio and Kaskaskia, and on others of the western waters. Isinglass or mica is in several places; load-stone also; and an Asbestos of a ligneous texture, is sometimes to be met with,

Marie abounds generally. A day, of which, like the Sturbridge in England, bridges are made, which resist long the violent action of fire, has been found on Tuckahoe creek of James’ river, and no doubt will be found in other places. Chalk is said to be in Botetourt and Bedford. In the latter county is some earth believed to be gypseous. Ochres are found in various parts.

In the lime-stone country are many caves, the earthy floors of which are impregnated with nitre. On Rich creek, a branch of the Great Kanhaway, about sixty miles below the lead mines, is a very large one, about twenty yards wide, and entering a hill a quarter or half a mile. The vault is of rock, from nine to fifteen or twenty feet above the floor. A Mr. Lynch, who gives me this account, undertook to extract the nitre. Besides a coat of the salt which had formed on the vault and floor, he found the earth highly impregnated to the depth of seven feet in some places, and generally of three, every bushel yielding on an average three pounds of nitre. Mr. Lynch having made about ten hundred pounds of the salt from it, consigned it to some others, who have since made ten thousand pounds. They have done this by pursuing the cave into the hill, never trying a second time the earth they have once exhausted, to see how far or soon it receives another impregnation. At least fifty of these caves are worked on the Greenbriar. There are many of them known on Cumberland river,

The country westward of the Alleghany abounds with springs of common salt. The most remarkable we have heard of are at Bullet’s-lick, the Big-bones, the Blue-licks, and on the north fork of Holston. The area of Bullet’s-lick is of many acres. Digging the earth to the depth of three feet the water begins to boil up, and the deeper you go and the drier the weather, the stronger is the brine. A thousand gallons of water yield from a bushel to a bushel and a half of salt, which is about eighty pounds of water to one pound of salt. So that sea-water is more than three times as strong as that of these springs. A salt spring has been lately discovered at the Turkey foot on Yohogany, by which river it is over-flowed, except at very low water. Its merit is not yet known. Dunning’s lick is also as yet untried, but it is supposed to be the best on this side the Ohio. The salt springs on the margin of the Onondago lake are said to give a saline taste to the waters of the lake.

There are several medicinal springs, some of which are indubitably efficacious, while others seem to owe their reputation as much to fancy and change of air and regimen, as to their real virtues. None of them having undergone a chemical analysis in skilful hands, nor been so far the subject of observations as to have produced a reduction into classes of the disorders which they relieve; it is in my power to give little more than an enumeration of them.

The most efficacious of these are two springs in Augusta near the first sources of James’ river, where it is called Jackson’s river. They rise near the foot of the ridge of mountains generally called the Warm spring mountains, but in the maps Jackson’s mountains. The one distinguished by the name of the Warm spring, and the other of the Hot spring. The Warm spring issues with a very bold stream, sufficient to work a grist mill and to keep the waters of its basin, which is thirty feet in diameter, at the vital warmth, viz. 960 of Fahrenheit’s thermometer. The matter with which these waters is allied is very volatile; its smell indicates it to be sulphureous, as also does the circumstance of its turning silver black. They relieve rheumatisms. Other complaints also of very different natures have been removed or lessened by them. It rains here four or five days in every week.

The Hot spring is about six miles from the Warm, is much smaller, and has been so hot as to have boiled an egg. Some believe its degree of heat to be lessened. It raises the mercury in Fahrenheit’s thermometer to 112 degrees, which is fever heat. It sometimes relieves where the Warm fails. A fountain of common water, issuing within a few inches of its margin, gives it :a singular appearance. Comparing the temperature of these with that of the Hot springs of Kamschatka, of which Krachininnikow gives an account, the difference is very great, the latter raising the mercury to 200° which is within 12° of boiling water. These springs are very much resorted to in spite of a total want of accommodation for the sick. Their waters are strongest in the hottest months, which occasions their being visited in July and August principally.

The Sweet springs are in the county of Botetourt, at the eastern foot of the Alleghany, about forty-two miles from the Warm springs. They are still less known. Having been found to relieve cases in which the others had been ineffectually tried, it is probable their composition is different. They are different also in their temperature, being as cold as common water; which is not mentioned, however, as a proof of a distinct impregnation. This is among the first sources of James’ river.

On Potomac river, in Berkley county, above the North mountain, are medicinal springs, much more frequented than those of Augusta. Their powers, however, are less, the waters weakly mineralized, and scarcely warm. They are more visited, because situated in a fertile, plentiful, and populous country, better provided with accommodations, always safe from the Indians, and nearest to the more populous States.

In Louisa county, on the head waters of the South Ann branch of York river, are springs of some medicinal virtue. They are not much used however. There is a weak chalybeate at Richmond; and many others in various parts of the country, which are of too little worth, or too little note, to be enumerated after those before mentioned.

We are told of a sulphur spring on Howard’s creek of Greenbriar, and another at Boonsborough on Kentucky.

In the low grounds of the Great Kanhaway, seven miles above the mouth of Elk river, and sixty-seven above that of the Kanhaway itself, is a hole in the earth of the capacity of thirty or forty gallons, from which issues constantly a bituminous vapor, in so strong a current as to give to the sand about its orifice the motion which it has in a boiling spring. On presenting a lighted candle or torch within eighteen inches of the hole it flames up in a column of eighteen inches in diameter, and four or five feet height, which sometimes burns out within twenty minutes, and at other times has been known to continue three days, and then has been still left burning. The flame is unsteady, of the density of that of burning spirits, and smells like burning pit coal. Water sometimes collects in the basin, which is remarkably cold, and is kept in ebullition by the vapor issuing through it. If the vapor be fired in that state, the water soon becomes so warm that the hand cannot bear it, and evaporates wholly in a short time. This, with the circumjacent lands, is the property of His Excellency General Washington and of General Lewis.

There is a similar one on Sandy river, the flame of which is a column of about twelve inches diameter, and three feet high. General Clarke, who informs me of it, kindled the vapor, staid about an hour, and left it burning.

The mention of uncommon springs leads me to that of Syphon fountains. There is one of these near the intersection of the Lord Fairfax’s boundary with the North mountain, not far from Brock’s gap, on the stream of which is a grist mill, which grinds two bushel of grain at every flood of the spring; another near Cow-pasture river, a mile and a half below its confluence with the Bull-pasture river, and sixteen or seventeen miles from Hot springs, which intermits once in every twelve hours; one also near the mouth of the north Holston.

After these may be mentioned the Natural Well, on the lands of a Mr. Lewis in Frederick county. It is somewhat larger than a common well; the water rises in it as near the surface of the earth as in the neighboring artificial wells, and is of a depth as yet unknown. It is said there is a current in it tending sensibly downwards. If this be true, it probably feeds some fountain, of which it is the natural reservoir, distinguished from others, like that of Madison’s cave, by being accessible. It is used with a bucket and windlass as an ordinary well.

A complete catalogue of the trees, plants, fruits, &c., is probably not desired. I will sketch out those which would principally attract notice, as being first, Medicinal; second, Esculent; third, Ornamental; or four, useful for fabrication; adding the Linnaean to the popular names, as the latter might not convey precise information to a foreigner. I shall confine myself, too, to native plants.

1. Senna. Cassia ligustrina.
Arsmart. Polygonum Sagittatum.
Clivers, or goose-grass. Galium spurium.
Lobelia of several species.
Palma Christi. Ricinus.
(3,) Jamestown weed. Datura Stramonium.
Mallow. Malva rotundafolia.
Syrian mallow. Hibiscus moschentos.
Hibiscus Virginicus.
Indian mallow. Sida rhombifolia.
Sida abutilon.
Virginia marshmallow. Napaea hermaphrodita.
Napaea dioica.
Indian physic. Spiria trifoliata.
Euphorbia Ipecacuanhae.
Pleurisy root. Asclepias decumbens.
Virginia snake-root. Aristolochia serpentaria.
Black snake-root. Actae racemosa.
Seneca rattlesnake-root. Polygala Senega
Valerian. Valeriana locusta radiata.
Gentiana, Saponaria, Villosa & Centaurium.
Ginseng. Panax quinquefolium.
Angelica. Angelica sylvestris.
Cassava. Jatropha urens.
2. Tuckahoe. Lycoperdon tuber.
Jerusalem artichoke. Helianthus tuberosus.
Long potatoes. Convolvulas batatas.
Granadillas. Maycocks, Maracocks, Passiflora incarnata.
Panic. Panicurn of many species.
Indian millet. Holcus laxus.
Holcus striosus.
Wild oat. Zizania aquaticia.
Wild pea. Dolichos of Clayton.
Lupine. Lupinus perennis.
Wild hop. Humulus lupulus.
Wild cherry. Prunus Virginiana.
Cherokee plum. Prunus sylvestris fructu majori. Clayton.
Wild plum. Prunus sylvestris fructu minori. Clayton.
Wild crab apple. Pyrus coronaria.
Red mulberry. Morus rubra.
Persimmon. Diospiros Virginiana.
Sugar maple. Acer saccarinum.
Scaly bark hiccory. Juglans alba cortice squamoso. Clayton.
Common hiccory. Juglans alba, fructu minore rancido. Clayton.
Paccan, or Illinois nut. Not described by Linnaeus, Millar, or Clayton. Were I to venture to describe this, speaking of the fruit from memory, and of the leaf from plants of two years’ growth, I should specify it as Juglans alba, foliolis lanceolatis, acuminatis, serratis, tomentosis, fructu minore, ovato, com-presso, vix insculpto, dulci, putamine tenerrimo. It grows on the Illinois, Wabash, Ohio, and Mississippi. It is spoken of by Don Ulloa under the name of Pacanos, in his Noticias Americanas, Entret. 6.
Black walnut. Juglans nigra.
White walnut. Juglans alba.
Chesnut. Fagus castanea.
Chinquapin. Fagus pumila.
Hazlenut. Corylus avellana.
Grapes. Vitis. Various kinds; though only three described
by Clayton.
Scarlet strawberries. Fragaria Virginiana of Millar.
Whortleberries. Vaccinium uliginosum.
Wild gooseberries. Ribes grossularia.
Cranberries. Vaccinium oxycoccos.
Black raspberries. Rubus occidentalis.
Blackberries. Rubus fructicosus.
Dewberries. Rubus caesius.
Cloudberries. Rubus Chamaemorus.
3. Plane tree. Platanus occidentalis.
Poplar. Liriodendron tulipifera.
Populus heterophylla.
Black poplar. Populus nigra.
Aspen. Populus tremula.
Linden, or lime. Telia Americana.
Red-flowering maple. Acer rubrum.
Horse-chesnut, or buck’s-eye. Aesculus pavia.
Catalpa. Bignonia catalpa.
Umbrella. Magnolia tripetala.
Swamp laurel. Magnolia glauca.
Cucumber-tree. Magnolia acuminata.
Portugal bay. Laurus indica.
Red bay. Laurus borbonia.
Dwarf-rose bay. Rhododendron maximum.
Laurel of the western country. Qu. species?
Wild pimento. Laurus benzoin.
Sassafras. Laurus sassafras.
Locust. Robinia pseudo-acacia.
Honey-locust. Gleditsia. 1.ß.
Dogwood. Cornus florida.
Fringe, or snow-drop tree. Chionanthus Virginlea.
Barberry. Barberis vulgaris.
Redbud, or Judas-tree. Cercis Canadensis.
Holly. Ilex aquifolium.
Cockspur hawthorn. Crataegus coccinea.
Spindle-tree. Euonymus Europaeus.
Evergreen spindle-tree. Euonymus Americanus.
Itea Virginica.
Elder. Sambucus nigra.
Papaw. Annona triloba.
Candleberry myrtle. Myrica cerifera.
Dwarf laurel. Kalmia angustifolia
Kalmia latifolia called ivy with us.
Ivy. Hedera quinquefolia.
Trumpet honeysuckle. Lonicera sempervirens.
Upright honeysuckle. Azalea nudiflora.
Yellow jasmine. Bignonia sempervirens.
Calycanthus floridus.
American aloe. Agave Virginica.
Sumach. Rhus. Qu. species ?
Poke. Phytolacca decandra.
Long moss. Tillandsia Usneoides.
4. Reed. Aruudo phragrnitis.
Virginia hemp. Acnida cannabina.
Flax. Linum Virginianum.
Black, or pitch-pine. Pinus taeda.
White pine. Pinus strobus.
Yellow pine. Pinus Virginica.
Spruce pine. Pinus foliis singularibus. Clayton.
Hemlock spruce Fir. Pinus Canadensis.
Arbor vitae. Thuya occidentalis.
Juniper. Juniperus Virginica (called cedar with us).
Cypress. Cupressus disticha.
White cedar. Cupressus Thyoides.
Black oak. Quercus nigra.
White oak, Quercus alba,
Red oak. Quercus rubra.
Willow oak. Quercus phellos.
Chesnut oak. Quercus prinus.
Black jack oak. Quercus aquatica. Clayton.
Ground oak. Quereus pumila. Clayton.
Live oak. Quercus Virginiana. Millar.
Black birch. Betula nigra.
White birch. Betula alba.
Beach. Fagus sylvatica.
Ash. Fraxinus Americana.
Fraxinus Novae Angllae. Millar.
Elm. Ulmus Americana.
Willow. Salix. Qu. species?
Sweet gum. Liquidambar styraeiflua.

The following were found in Virginia when first visited by the English; but it is not said whether of spontaneous growth, or by cultivation only. Most probably they were natives of more southern climates, and handed along the continent from one nation to another of the savages.

Tobacco. Nicotiana.
Maize. Zea mays.
Round potatoes. Solanuna tuberosum. Pumpkins. Cucurbita pepo.
Cymlings. Cucurbita verrucosa. Squashes. Cucurbita melopepo.

There is an infinitude of other plants and flowers, for an enumeration and scientific description of which I must refer to the Flora Virginica of our great botanist, Dr. Clayton, published by Gronovius at Leyden, in 1762. This accurate observer was a native and resident of this State, passed a long life in exploring and describing its plants, and is supposed to have enlarged the botanical catalogue as much as almost any man who has lived,

Besides these plants, which are native, our farms produce wheat, rye, barley, oats, buck-wheat, broom corn, and Indian corn. The climate suits rice well enough, wherever the lands do. Tobacco, hemp, flax, and cotton, are staple commodities. Indigo yields two cuttings. The silk-worm is a native, and the mulberry, proper for its food, grows kindly.

We cultivate, also, potatoes, both the long and the round, turnips, carrots, parsnips, pumpkins, and ground nuts (Arachis). Our grasses are lucerne, st. foin, burner, timothy, ray, and orchard grass; red, white, and yellow clover; greensward, blue grass, and crab grass.

The gardens yield musk-melons, water-melons, tomatoes, okra, pomegranates, figs, and the esculent plants of Europe.

The orchards produce apples, pears, cherries, quinces, peaches, nectarines, apricots, almonds, and plums.

Our quadrupeds have been mostly described by Linnaeus and Mons. de Buffon. Of these the mammoth, or big buffalo, as called by the Indians, must certainly have been the largest. Their tradition is, that he was carnivorous, and still exists in the northern parts of America. A delegation of warriors from the Delaware tribe having visited the Governor of Virginia, during the revolution, on matters of business, after these had been discussed and settled in council, the Governor asked them some questions relative to their country, and among others, what they knew or had heard of the animal whose bones were found at the Saltlicks on the Ohio. Their chief speaker immediately put himself into an attitude of oratory, and with a pomp suited to what he conceived the elevation of his subject, informed him that it was a tradition handed down from their fathers, "That in ancient times a herd of these tremendous animals came to the Big-bone licks, and began an universal destruction of the bear, deer, elks, buffaloes, and other animals which had been created for the use of the Indians; that the Great Man above, looking down and seeing this, was so enraged that he seized his lightning, descended on the earth, seated himself on a neighboring mountain, on a rock of which his scat and the print of his feet are still to be seen, and hurled his bolts among them till the whole were slaughtered, except the big bull, who presenting his forehead to the shafts, shook them off as they fell; but missing one at length, it wounded him in the side; whereon, springing round, he bounded over the Ohio, over the Wabash, the Illinois, and finally over the great lakes, where he is living at this day." It is well known, that on the Ohio, and in many parts of America further north, tusks, grinders, and skeletons Of unparalleled magnitude, are found in great numbers, some lying on the surface of the earth, and some a little below it. A Mr. Stanley, taken prisoner near the mouth of the Tennessee, relates, that after being transferred through several tribes, from one to another, he was at length carried over the mountains west of the Missouri to a river which runs westwardly; that these bones abounded there, and that the natives described to him the animal to which they belonged as still existing in the northern parts of their country; from which description he judged it to be an elephant. Bones of the same kind have been lately found, some feet below the surface of the earth, in salines opened on the North Holston, a branch of the Tennessee, about the latitude of 36½° north. From the accounts published in Europe, I suppose it to be decided that these are of the same kind with those found in Siberia. Instances are mentioned of like animal remains found in the more southern climates of both hemispheres; but they are either so loosely mentioned as to leave a doubt of the fact, so inaccurately described as not to authorize the classing them with the great northern bones, or so rare as to found a suspicion that they have been carried thither as curiosities from the northern regions. So that, on the whole, there seem to be no certain vestiges of the existence of this animal farther south than the salines just mentioned. It is remarkable that the tusks and skeletons have been ascribed by the naturalists of Europe to the elephant, while the grinders have been given to the hippopotamus, or river horse. Yet it is acknowledged, that the tusks and skeletons are much larger than those of the elephant, and the grinders many times greater than those of the hippopotamus, and essentially different in form. Wherever these grinders are found, there also we find the tusks and skeleton; but no skeleton of the hippopotamus nor grinders of the elephant. It will not be said that the hippopotamus and elephant came always to the same spot, the former to deposit his grinders, and the latter his tusks and skeleton. For what became of the parts not deposited there? We must agree then, that these remains belong to each other, that they are of one and the same animal, that this was not a hippopotamus, because the hippopotamus had no tusks, nor such a frame, and because the grinders differ in their size as well as in the number and form of their points. That this was not an elephant, I think ascertained by proofs equally decisive. I will not avail myself of the authority of the celebrated2 anatomist, who, from an examination of the form and structure of the tusks, has declared they were essentially different from those of the elephant; because another3 anatomist, equally celebrated, has declared, on a like examination, that they are precisely the same. Between two such authorities I will suppose this circumstance equivocal. But, 1. The skeleton of the mammoth (for so the incognitum has been called) bespeaks an animal of five or six times the cubic volume of the elephant, as Mons. de Buffon has admitted. 2. The grinders are five times as large, are square, and the grinding surface studded with four or five rows of blunt points; whereas those of the elephant are broad and thin, and their grinding surface flat. 3. I have never heard an instance, and suppose there has been none, of the grinder of an elephant being found in America. 4. From the known temperature and constitution of the elephant, he could never have existed in those regions where the remains of the mammoth have been found. The elephant is a native only of the torrid zone and its vicinities; if, with the assistance of warm apartments and warm clothing, he has been preserved in the temperate climates of Europe, it has only been for a small portion of what would have been his natural period, and no instance of his multiplication in them has ever been known. But no bones of the mammoth, as I have before observed, have been ever found further south than the salines of Holston, and they have been found as far north as the Arctic circle. Those, therefore, who are of opinion that the elephant and mammoth are the same, must believe, 1. That the elephant known to us can exist and multiply in the frozen zone; or, 2. That an eternal fire may once have warmed those regions, and since abandoned them, of which, however, the globe exhibits no unequivocal indications; or, 3. That the obliquity of the ecliptic, when these elephants lived, was so great as to include within the tropics all those regions in which the bones are found; the tropics being, as is before observed, the natural limits of habitation for the elephant. But if it be admitted that this obliquity has really decreased, and we adopt the highest rate of decrease yet pretended, that is, of one minute in a century, to transfer the northern tropic to the Arctic circle, would carry the existence of these supposed elephants two hundred and fifty thousand years back; a period far beyond our conception of the duration of animal bones less exposed to the open air than these are in many instances. Besides, though these regions would then be supposed within the tropics, yet their winters would have been too severe for the sensibility of the elephant. They would have had, too, but one day and one night in the year, a circumstance to which we have no reason to suppose the nature of the elephant fitted. However, it has been demonstrated, that, if a variation of obliquity in the ecliptic takes place at all, it is vibratory, and never exceeds the limits of nine degrees, which is not sufficient to bring these bones within the tropics. One of these hypotheses, or some other equally voluntary and inadmissible to cautious philosophy, must be adopted to support the opinion that these are the bones of the elephant. For my own part, I find it easier to believe that an animal may have existed, resembling the elephant in his tusks, and general anatomy, while his nature was in other respects extremely different. From the 30th degree of south latitude to the 30th degree of north, are nearly the limits which nature has fixed for the existence and multiplication of the elephant known to us. Proceeding thence northwardly to 36½ degrees, we enter those assigned to the mammoth. The farther we advance north, the more their vestiges multiply as far as the earth has been explored in that direction; and it is as probable as otherwise, that this progression continues to the pole itself, if land extends so far. The centre of the frozen zone, then, may be the acme of their vigor, as that of the torrid is of the elephant. Thus nature seems to have drawn a belt of separation between these two tremendous animals, whose breadth, indeed, is not precisely known, though at present we may suppose it about 6½ degrees of latitude; to have assigned to the elephant the region south of these confines, and those north to the mammoth, founding the constitution of the one in her extreme of heat, and that of the other in the extreme of cold. When the Creator has therefore separated their nature as far as the extent of the scale of animal life allowed to this planet would permit, it seems perverse to declare it the same, from a partial resemblance of their tusks and bones. But to whatever animal we ascribe these remains, it is certain such a one has existed in America, and that it has been the largest of all terrestrial beings. It should have sufficed to have rescued the earth it inhabited, and the atmosphere it breathed, from the imputation of impotence in the conception and nourishment of animal life on a large scale; to have stifled, in its birth, the opinion of a writer, the most learned, too, of all others in the science of animal history, that in the new world, "La nature vivante est beaucoup moins agissante, beaucoup moins forte:"4 that nature is less active, less energetic on one side of the globe than she is on the other. As if both sides were not warmed by the same genial sun; as if a soil of the same chemical composition was less capable of elaboration into animal nutriment; as if the fruits and grains from that soil and sun yielded a less rich chyle, gave less extension to the solids and fluids of the body, or produced sooner in the cartilages, membranes, and fibres, that rigidity which restrains all further extension, and terminates animal growth. The truth is, that a pigmy and a Patagonian, a mouse and a mammoth, derive their dimensions from the same nutritive juices. The difference of increment depends on circumstances unsearchable to beings with our capacities. Every race of animals seems to have received from their Maker certain laws of extension at the time of their formation. Their elaborate organs were formed to produce this, while proper obstacles were opposed to its further progress. Below these limits they cannot fall, nor rise above them. What intermediate station they shall take may depend on soil, on climate, on food, on a careful choice of breeders. But all the manna of heaven would never raise the mouse to the bulk of the mammoth.

The opinion advanced by the Count de Buffon,5 is 1. That the animals common both to the old and new world are smaller in the latter. 2. That those peculiar to the new are on a smaller scale. 3. That those which have been domesticated in both have degenerated in America; and 4. That on the whole it exhibits fewer species. And the reason he thinks is, that the heats of America are less; that more waters are spread over its surface by nature, and fewer of these drained off by the hand of man. In other words, that heat is friendly, and moisture adverse to the production and development of large quadrupeds. I will not meet this hypothesis on its first doubtful ground, whether the climate of America be comparatively more humid ? Because we are not furnished with observations sufficient to decide this question. And though, till it be decided, we are as free to deny as others are to affirm the fact, yet for a moment let it be supposed. The hypothesis, after this supposition, proceeds to another; that moisture is unfriendly to animal growth. The truth of this is inscrutable to us by reasonings a priori. Nature has hidden from us her modus agendi. Our only appeal on such questions is to experience; and I think that experience is against the supposition. It is by the assistance of heat and moisture that vegetables are elaborated from the elements of earth, air, water, and fire. We accordingly see the more humid climates produce the greater quantity of vegetables. Vegetables are mediately or immediately the food of every animal; and in proportion to the quantity of food, we see animals not only multiplied in their numbers, but improved in their bulk, as far as the laws of their nature will admit. Of this opinion is the Count de Buffon himself in another part of his work;6 "en general il paroit ques les pays un peu froids conviennent mieux a nos boeufs que les pays chauds, et qu’ils sont d’autant plus gross et plus grands que le climat est plus humide et plus abondans en paturages. Les boeufs de Danemarck, de la Podolie, de l’Ulkraine et de la Tartarie qu habitent les Calmouques sont les plus grands de tous." Here then a race of animals, and one of the largest too, has been increased in its dimensions by cold and moisture, in direct opposition to the hypothesis, which supposes that these two circumstances diminish animal bulk, and that it is their contraries heat and dryness which enlarge it. But when we appeal to experience we are not to rest satisfied with a single fact. Let us, therefore, try our question on more general ground. Let us take two portions of the earth, Europe and America for instance, sufficiently extensive to give operation to general causes; let us consider the circumstances peculiar to each, and observe their effect on animal nature. America, running through the torrid as well as temperate zone, has more heat collectively taken, than Europe. But Europe, according to our hypothesis, is the dryest. They are equally adapted then to animal productions; each being endowed with one of those causes which befriends animal growth, and with one which opposes it. If it be thought unequal to compare Europe with America, which is so much larger, I answer, not more so than to compare America with the whole world. Besides, the purpose of the comparison is to try an hypothesis, which makes the size of animals depend on the heat and moisture of climate. If, therefore, we take a region so extensive as to comprehend a sensible distinction of climate, and so extensive, too, as that local accidents, or the intercourse of animals on its borders, may not materially affect the size of those in its interior parts, we shall comply with those conditions which the hypothesis may reasonably demand. The objection would be the weaker in the present case, because any intercourse of animals which may take place on the confines of Europe and Asia, is to the advantage of the former, Asia producing certainly larger animals than Europe. Let us then take a comparative view of the quadrupeds of Europe and America, presenting them to the eye in three different tables, in one of which shall be enumerated those found in both countries; in a second, those found in one only; in a third, those which have been domesticated in both. To facilitate the comparison, let those of each table be arranged in gradation according to their sizes, from the greatest to the smallest, so far as their sizes can be conjectured. The weights of the large animals shall be expressed in the English avoirdupois and its decimals; those of the smaller, in the same ounce and its decimals. Those which are marked thus *, are actual weights of particular subjects, deemed among the largest of their species. Those marked thus *, are furnished by judicious persons, well acquainted with the species, and saying, from conjecture only, what the largest individual they had seen would probably have weighed. The other weights are taken from Messrs. Buffon and D’Aubenton, and are of such subjects as came casually to their hands for dissection. This circumstance must be remembered where their weights and mine stand opposed; the latter being stated not to produce a conclusion in favor of the American species, but to justify a suspension of opinion until we are better informed, and a suspicion, in the meantime, that there is no uniform difference in favor of either; which is all I pretend.

A comparative view of the Quadrupeds of Europe and of America.

Europe. America.
lb. lb.
Buffalo. Bison *1800
White Bear. Ours blanc
Carribou. Renne
Bear. Ours 153.7 *410
Elk. Elan. Original palmated
Red deer. Cerf 288.8 *273
Fallow Deer. Daim 167.8
Wolf. Loup 69.8
Roe. Chevreuil 56.7
Glutton. Glouton. Carcajou
Wild cat. Chat sauvage 30
Lynx. Loup cervier 25
Beaver. Castor 18.5 *45
Badger. Blaireau 13.6
Red fox. Renard 13.5
Gray fox. Isatis
Otter. Loutre 8.9 12
Monax. Marmotte 6.5
Vison. Fouine 2.8
Hedgehog. Herisson 2.2
Marten. Marte 1.9 6
Water rat. Rat d’eau 7.5
Weasel. Belette 2.2 oz.
Flying squirrel. Polatouche 2.2 4
Shrew mouse. Musaraigne 1 .....


lb. lb.
Sanglier. Wild boar 280. Tapir. 534.
Mouflon. Wild sheep 56. Elk, round horned 450.
Bouquetin. Wild goat Puma ......................
Lievre. Hare 7.6 Jaguar 218.
Lapin. Rabbit 3.4 Cabiai 109.
Putois. Polecat 3.3 Tamanoir 109.
Genette 3.1 Tammandua 65.4
Desman Muskrat oz. Cougar of North-America. 75.
Ecureuil. Squirrel 12. Cougar of South-America. 59.4
Hermine. Ermin 8.2 Ocelot
Rat. Rat 7.5 Pecari 46.3
Loirs 3.1 Jaguaret 43.6
Lerot. Dormouse 1.8 Alco .......................
Taupe. Mole 1.2 Lama ......................
Hampster .6 Paco .......................
Zisel Paca 32.7
Leming Serval .....................
Souris. Mouse .6 Sloth. Unau 27. 25
Kincajou ...................
Tatou Kabassou 21. 8
Urson. Urchin .............

Raccoon. Raton 16.5
Coendou 16.3
Sloth. Ai 1 3.
Sapajou Ouarini
Sapajou Coaita 9. 8
Tatou Encubert
Tatou Apar ................
Tatou Cachica 7.
Little Coendou 6.5
Opossum. Sarigu
Tapeti .........
Margay ........
Crabier .....
Agouti 4.2
Sapajou Sai 3. 5
Tatou Cirquincon
Tatou Tatouate 3.3
Mouffette Squash
Mouffette Chinche
Mouffette Conepate
Mouffette. Zorilla
Whabus. Hare. Rabbit
Aperea .....................
Akouchi ....................
Ondatra. Muskrat
Great gray squirrel 2.7
Fox squirrel of Virginia. 2.625
Surikate 2.
Mink 2.
Sapajou. Sajou 1.8
Indian pig. Cochon d’Inde 1. 6
Sapajou Saimiri 1.5
Phalanger ..................
Coqualain ..................
Lesser gray squirrel 1.5
Black squirrel 1.5
Red squirrel 10.oz.
Sagoin Saki ................
Sagoin Pinche
Sagoin Tamarin oz.
Sagoin Ouistiti 4.4
Sagoin Marakine
Sagoin Mico
Fourmillier .................
Marmose ...................
Sarigue of Cayenne
Red mole oz.
Ground squirrel 4.

Europe. America.
lb. lb.
Cow 765. *2500
Horse *1366
Hog *1200
Sheep *125
Goat *80
Dog 67.6
Cat 7

I have not inserted in the first table the Phoca,7 nor leather-winged bat, because the one living half the year in the water, and the other being a winged animal, the individuals of each species may visit both continents.

Of the animals in the first tame, Monsieur de Buffon himself informs us, [XXVII, 130, XXX. 213,] that the beaver, the otter, and shrew mouse, though of the same species, are larger in America than in Europe. This should therefore have corrected the generality of his expressions, XVIII. 145, and elsewhere, that the animals common to the two countries, are considerably less in America than in Europe, "et cela sans aucune exception." He tells us too, [Quadrup. VIII. 334, edit. Paris, 1777,] that on examining a bear from America, he remarked no difference, "dans la forme de cet ours d’Amerique compare a celui d’Europe," but adds from Bartram’s journal, that an American bear weighed four hundred pounds, English, equal to three hundred and sixty-seven pounds French; whereas we find the European bear examined by Mons. D’Aubenton, [XVII. 82,] weighed but one hundred and forty-one pounds French. That the palmated elk is larger in America than in Europe, we are informed by Kalm,8 a naturalist, who visited the former by public appointment, for the express purpose of examining the subjects of natural history. In this fact Pennant concurs with him. [Barrington’s Miscellanies.] The same Kalm tells us9 that the black moose, or renne of America, is as high as a tall horse; and Catesby,10 that it is about the bigness of a middle-sized ox. The same account of their size has been given me by many who have seen them. But Monsieur D’Aubenton says11 that the renne of Europe is about the size of a red deer. The weasel is larger in America than in Europe, as may be seen by comparing its dimensions as reported by Monsieur D ’Aubenton12 and Kalm. The latter tells us,13 that the lynx, badger, red fox, and flying squirrel, are the same in America as in Europe; by which expression I understand, they are the same in all material circumstances, in size as well as others; for if they were smaller, they would differ from the European. Our gray fox is, by Catesby’s account,14 little different in size and shape from the European fox. I presume he means the red fox of Europe, as does Kalm, where he says,15 that in size "they do not quite come Up to our foxes." For proceeding next to the red fox of America, he says, "they are entirely the same with the European sort;" which shows he had in view one European sort only, which was the red. So that the result of their testimony is, that the American gray fox is somewhat less than the European red; which is equally true of the gray fox of Europe, as may be seen by comparing the measures of the Count de Buffon and Monsieur D’Aubenton.16 The white bear of America is as large as that of Europe. The bones of the mammoth which has been found in America, are as large as those found in the old world. It may be asked, why I insert the mammoth, as if it still existed? I ask in return, why I should omit it, as if it did not exist? Such is the economy of nature, that no instance can be produced, of her having permitted any one race of her animals to become extinct; of her having formed any link in her great work so weak as to be broken. To add to this, the traditionary testimony of the Indians, that this animal still exists in the northern and western parts of America, would be adding the light of a taper to that of the meridian sun. Those parts still remain in their aboriginal state, unexplored and undisturbed by us, or by others for us. He may as well exist there now, as he did formerly where we find his bones. If he be a carnivorous animal, as some anatomists have conjectured, and the Indians affirm, his early retirement may be accounted for from the general destruction of the wild game by the Indians, which commences in the first instant of their connection with us, for the purpose of purchasing match-coats, hatchets, and fire-locks, with their skins. There remain then the buffalo, red deer, fallow deer, wolf, roe, glutton, wild cat, monax, bison, hedgehog, marten, and water-rat, of the comparative sizes of which we have not sufficient testimony. It does not appear that Messieurs de Buffon and D’Aubenton have measured, weighed, or seen those of America. It is said of some of them, by some travellers, that they are smaller than the European. But who were these travellers? Have they not been men of a very different description from those who have laid open to us the other three quarters of the world? Was natural history the object of their travels? Did they measure or weigh the animals they speak of? or did they not judge of them by sight, or perhaps even from report only? Were they acquainted with the animals of their own country, with which they undertake to compare them? Have they not been so ignorant as often to mistake the species? A true answer to these questions would probably lighten their authority, so as to render it insufficient for the foundation of an hypothesis, How unripe we yet are, for an accurate comparison of the animals of the two countries, will appear from the work of Monsieur de Buffon. The ideas we should have formed of the sizes of some animals, from the formation he had received at his first publications concerning them, are very different from what his subsequent communications give us. And indeed his candor in this can never be too much praised. One sentence of his book must do him immortal honor. "J’aime autant une personne qui me releve d’une erreur, qu’une autre qui m’apprend une verite, parce qu’en effet une erreur corrigee est une verite."17 He seems to have thought the cabiai he first examined wanted little of its full growth. "Il n’etoit pas encore tout-a-fait adulte."18 Yet he weighed but forty-six and a half pounds, and he found afterwards,19 that these animals, when full grown, weigh one hundred pounds. He had supposed, from the examination of a jaguar,20 said to be two years old, which weighed but sixteen pounds twelve ounces, that when he should have acquired his full growth, he would not be larger than a middle-sized dog. But a subsequent account21 raises his weight to two hundred pounds. Further information will, doubtless, produce further corrections. The wonder is, not that there is yet something in this great work to correct, but that there is so little. The result of this view then is, that of twenty-six quadrupeds common to both countries, seven are said to be larger in America, seven of equal size, and twelve not sufficiently examined. So that the first table impeaches the first member of the assertion, that of the animals common to both countries, the American are smallest, "et cela sans aucune exception." It shows it is not just, in all the latitude in which its author has advanced it, and probably not to such a degree as to found a distinction between the two countries.|f

Proceeding to the second table, which arranges the animals found in one of the two countries only, Monsieur de Buffon observes, that the tapir, the elephant of America, is but of the size of a small cow. To preserve our comparison, I will add, that the wild boar, the elephant of Europe, is little more than half that size. I have made an elk with round or cylindrical horns an animal of America, and peculiar to it; because I have seen many of them myself, and more of their horns; and because I can say, from the best information, that, in Virginia, this kind of elk has abounded much, and still exists in smaller numbers; and I could never learn that the palmated kind had been seen here at all. I suppose this confined to the more northern latitudes.22 I have made our hare or rabbit peculiar, believing it to be different from both the European animals of those denominations, and calling it therefore by its Algonquin name, Whabus, to keep it distinct from these. Kalm is of the same opinion.23 I have enumerated the squirrels according to our own knowledge, derived from daily sight of them, because I am not able to reconcile with that the European appellations and descriptions. I have heard of other species, but they have never come within my own notice. These, I think, are the only instances in which I have departed from the authority of Monsieur de Buffon in the construction of this table. I take him for my ground work, because I think him the best informed of any naturalist who has ever written. The result is, that there are eighteen quadrupeds peculiar to Europe; more than four times as many, to wit, seventy-four, peculiar to America; that the first24 of these seventy-four weighs more than the whole column of Europeans; and consequently this second table disproves the second member of the assertion, that the animals peculiar to the new world are on a smaller scale, so far as that assertion relied on European animals for support; and it is in full opposition to the theory which makes the animal volume to depend on the circumstances of heat and moisture.

The third table comprehends those quadrupeds only which are domestic in both countries. That some of these, in some parts of America, have become less than their original stock, is doubtless true; and the reason is very obvious. In a thinly-peopled country, the spontaneous productions of the forests, and waste fields, are sufficient to support indifferently the domestic animals of the farmer, with a very little aid from him, in the severest and scarcest season. He therefore finds it more convenient to receive them from the hand of nature in that indifferent state, than to keep up their size by a care and nourishment which would cost him much labor. If, on this low fare, these animals dwindle, it is no more than they do in those parts of Europe where the poverty of the soil, or the poverty of the owner, reduces them to the same scanty subsistence. It is the uniform effect of one and the same cause, whether acting on this or that side of the globe. It would be erring, therefore, against this rule of philosophy, which teaches us to ascribe like effects to like causes, should we impute this diminution of size in America to any imbecility or want of uniformity in the operations of nature. It may be affirmed with truth, that, in those countries, and with those individuals in America, where necessity or curiosity has produced equal attention, as in Europe, to the nourishment of animals, the horses, cattle, sheep, and hogs, of the one continent are as large as those of the other. There are particular instances, well attested, where individuals of this country have imported good breeders from England, and have improved their size by care in the course of some years. To make a fair comparison between the two countries, it will not answer to bring together animals of what might be deemed the middle or ordinary size of their species; because an error in judging of that middle or ordinary size, would vary the result of the comparison. Thus Mons. D’Aubenton25 considers a horse of 4 feet 5 inches high and 400 lb. weight French, equal to 4 feet 8.6 inches and 436 lb. English, as a middle-sized horse. Such a one is deemed a small horse in America. The extremes must therefore be resorted to. The same anatomist26 dissected a horse of 5 feet 9 inches height, French measure, equal to 6 feet 1.7 English. This is near 6 inches higher than any horse I have seen; and could it be supposed that I had seen the largest horses in America, the conclusion would be, that ours have diminished, or that we have bred from a smaller stock. In Connecticut and Rhode Island, where the climate is favorable to the production of grass, bullocks have been slaughtered which weighed 2,500, 2,200, and 2,100 lbs. nett; and those of 1,800 lbs. have been frequent. I have seen a hog27 weigh 1,050 lbs. after the blood, bowels, and hair had been taken from him. Before he was killed, an attempt was made to weigh him with a pair of steel yards, graduated to 1,200 lbs., but he weighed more. Yet this hog was probably not within fifty generations of the European stock. I am well informed of another which weighed 1, 100 lbs. gross. Asses have been still more neglected than any other domestic animal in America. They are neither fed nor housed in the most rigorous season of the year. Yet they are larger than those measured by Mons. D ’Aubenton,28 of 3 feet 7¼ inches, 3 feet 4 inches, and 3 feet 2½ inches, the latter weighing only 215.8 lbs. These sizes, I suppose, have been produced by the same negligence in Europe, which has produced a like diminution here. Where care has been taken of them on that side of the water, they have been raised to a size bordering on that of the horse; not by the heat and dryness of the climate, but by good food and shelter. Goats have been also much neglected in America. Yet they are very prolific here, bearing twice or three times a year, and from one to five kids at a birth. Mons. de Buffon has been sensible of a difference in this circumstance in favor of America.29 But what are their greatest weights, I cannot say. A large sheep here weighs 100 lbs. I observe Mons. D’Aubenton calls a ram of 62 lbs. one of the middle size.30 But to say what are the extremes of growth in these and the other domestic animals of America, would require information of which no one individual is possessed. The weights actually known and stated in the third table preceding will suffice to show, that we may conclude on probable grounds, that, with equal food and care, the climate of America will preserve the races of domestic animals as large as the European stock from which they are derived; and, consequently, that the third member of Mons. de Buffon’s assertion that the domestic animals are subject to degeneration from the climate of America, is as probably wrong as the first and second were certainly so.

That the last part of it is erroneous, which affirms that the species of American quadrupeds are comparatively few, is evident from the tables taken together. By these it appears that there are an hundred species aboriginal in America. Mons. de Buffon supposes about double that number existing on the whole earth.31 Of these Europe, Asia, and Africa, furnish suppose one hundred and twenty-six; that is, the twenty-six common to Europe and America, and about one hundred which are not in America at all. The American species, then, are to those of the rest of the earth, as one hundred to one hundred and twenty-six, or four to five. But the residue of the earth being double the extent of America, the exact proportion would have been but as four to eight.

Hitherto I have considered this hypothesis as applied to brute animals only, and not in its extension to the man of America, whether aboriginal or transplanted. It is the opinion of Mons. de Buffon that the former furnishes no exception to it.32

"Quoique le sauvage du nouveau monde soil a peu pres de meme stature que l’homme de notre monde, cela ne suffit pas pour qu’il puisse faire une exception au fait general du rapetissement de la nature vivante dans tout ce continent; le sauvage est foible et petit par les organes de la generation; il n’a ni poil, ni barbe, and nulle ardeur pour sa femelle. Quoique plus leger que l’Europeen, parce qu’il a plus d’habitude a courir, il est cependant beaucoup moins fort de corps; il est aussi bien moins sensible, et cependant plus craintif et plus lache; il n’a nulle vivacile nulle activite dans l’ame; celle ducorps est moins un exercise, un mouvement volontaire qu’une necessite d’action causee par le besoin; otez lui la faim et la soif, vous detruirezen meme tems le principe actif de tous ses mouvemens; il demeurera stupidement en repos sur ses jambes ou couche pendant des jours entiers. Il ne faut pas aller chercher plus loin a cause de la vie dispersee des sauvages et de leur eloignement pour la societe; la plus precieuse etincelle du feu de la nature leur a ete refusee; ils manquent d’ardeur pour leur femelle, et par consequent d’amour pour leur semblables; ne connoissant pas l’attachment le plus vif, le plus tendre de tous, leurs autres sentimens de ce genre, sont froids et languissans; ils aiment foiblement leurs peres et leurs enfans; la societe la plus intime de routes, celle de la meme famille n’a done chez eux que de foibles liens; la societe d’une famille a l’autre n’en a point de tout; des lors nulle reunion, nulle republique, nulle etat social. La physique de l’amour fait chez eux le moral des moeurs; leur coeur est glace, leur societe et leur empire dur. Ils ne regardent leurs femmes que comme des servantes de peine ou des bates de somme qu’ils chargent, sans menagement, du fardeau de leur chasse, et qu’ils forcent, sans pitie, sans reconnoissance, a des ourrages qui souvent sont au dessus de leurs forces; ils n’ont que peu d’enfans; ils en ont peu de soin; tout se ressent de leur premier defaut; ils sont indifférents parce qu’ils sont peu puissants, et cette indifference pour le sexe est la tache originelle qui fletrit la nature, qui l’empeche de s’epanouir, et qui detruisant les germes de la vie, coupe en meme temps la racine de societe. L’homme ne fait done point d’exception ici. La nature en lui refusant les puissances de l’amour l’a plus maltraite et plus rapetisse qu’aucun des animaux."

An afflicting picture, indeed, which for the honor of human nature, I am glad to believe has no original. Of the Indian of South America I know nothing; for I would not honor with the appellation of knowledge, what I derive from the fables published of them. These I believe to be just as true as the fables of Aesop. This belief is founded on what I have seen of man, white, red, and black, and what has been written of him by authors, enlightened themselves, and writing among an enlightened people. The Indian of North America being more within our reach, I can speak of him somewhat from my own knowledge, but more from the information of others better acquainted with him, and on whose truth and judgment I can rely. From these sources I am able to say, in contradiction to this representation, that he is neither more defective in ardor, nor more impotent with his female, than the white reduced to the same diet, and exercise; that he is brave, when an enterprise depends on bravery; education with him making the point of honor consist in the destruction of an enemy by stratagem, and in the preservation of his own person free from injury; or, perhaps, this is nature, while it is education which teaches us to33 honor force more than finesse; that he will defend himself against a host of enemies, always choosing to be killed, rather than to surrender,34 though it be to the whites, who he knows will treat him well; that in other situations, also, he meets death with more deliberation, and endures tortures with a firmness unknown almost to religious enthusiasm with us; that he is affectionate to his children, careful of them, and indulgent in the extreme; that his affections comprehend his other connections, weakening, as with us, from circle to circle, as they recede from the centre; that his friendships are strong and faithful to the uttermost35 extremity; that his sensibility is keen, even the warriors weeping most bitterly on the loss of their children, though in general they endeavor to appear superior to human events; that his vivacity and activity of mind is equal to ours in the same situation; hence his eagerness for hunting, and for games of chance. The women are submitted to unjust drudgery. This I believe is the case with every barbarous people. With such, force is law. The stronger sex imposes on the weaker. It is civilization alone which replaces women in the enjoyment of their natural equality. That first teaches us to subdue the selfish passions, and to respect those rights in others which we value in ourselves. Were we in equal barbarism, our females would be equal drudges. The man with them is less strong than with us, but their women stronger than ours; and both for the same obvious reason; because our man and their woman is habituated to labor, and formed by it. With both races the sex which is indulged with ease is the least athletic. An Indian man is small in the hand and wrist, for the same reason for which a sailor is large and strong in the arms and shoulders, and a porter in the legs and thighs. They raise fewer children than we do. The causes of this are to be found, not in a difference of nature, but of circumstance. The women very frequently attending the men in their parties of war and of hunting, child-bearing becomes extremely inconvenient to them. It is said, therefore, that they have learned the practice of procuring abortion by the use of some vegetable; and that it even extends to prevent conception for a considerable time after. During these parties they are exposed to numerous hazards, to excessive exertions, to the greatest extremities of hunger. Even at their homes the nation depends for food, through a certain part of every year, on the gleanings of the forest; that is, they experience a famine once in every year. With all animals, if the female be badly fed, or not fed at all, her young perish; and if both male and female be reduced to like want, generation becomes less active, less productive. To the obstacles, then, of want and hazard, which nature has opposed to the multiplication of wild animals, for the purpose of restraining their numbers within certain bounds, those of labor and of voluntary abortion are added with the Indian. No wonder, then, if they multiply less than we do. Where food is regularly supplied, a single farm will show more of cattle, than a whole country of forests can of buffaloes. The same Indian women, when married to white traders, who feed them and their children plentifully and regularly, who exempt them from excessive drudgery, who keep them stationary and unexposed to accident, produce and raise as many children as the white women. Instances are known, under these circumstances, of their rearing a dozen children. An inhuman practice once prevailed in this country, of making slaves of the Indians. It is a fact well known with us, that the Indian women so enslaved produced and raised as numerous families as either the whites or blacks among whom they lived. It has been said that Indians have less hair than the whites, except on the head. But this is a fact of which fair proof can scarcely be had. With them it is disgraceful to be hairy on the body. They say it likens them to hogs. They therefore pluck the hair as fast as it appears. But the traders who marry their women, and prevail on them to discontinue this practice, say, that nature is the same with them as with the whites. Nor, if the fact be true, is the consequence necessary which has been drawn from it. Negroes have notoriously less hair than the whites; yet they are more ardent. But if cold and moisture be the agents of nature for diminishing the races of animals, how comes she all at once to suspend their operation as to the physical man of the new world, whom the Count acknowledges to be "a peu pres de meme stature que l’homme de notre monde," and to let loose their influence on his moral faculties? How has this "combination of the elements and other physical causes, so contrary to the enlargement of animal nature in this new world, these obstacles to the development and formation of great germs,"36 been arrested and suspended, so as to permit the human body to acquire its just dimensions, and by what inconceivable process has their action been directed on his mind alone? To judge of the truth of this, to form a just estimate of their genius and mental powers, more facts are wanting, and great allowance to be made for those circumstances of their situation which call for a display of particular talents only. This done, we shall probably find that they are formed in mind as well as in body, on the same module with the "Homo sapiens Europaeus." The principles of their society forbidding all compulsion, they are to be led to duty and to enterprise by personal influence and persuasion. Hence eloquence in council, bravery and address in war, become the foundations of all consequence with them. To these acquirements all their faculties are directed. Of their bravery and address in war we have multiplied proofs, because we have been the subjects on which they were exercised. Of their eminence in oratory we have fewer examples, because it is displayed chiefly in their own councils. Some, however, we have, of very superior lustre. I may challenge the whole orations of Demosthenes and Cicero, and of any more eminent orator, if Europe has furnished more eminent, to produce a single passage, superior to the speech of Logan, a Mingo chief, to Lord Dunmore, then governor of this State. And as a testimony of their talents in this line, I beg leave to introduce it, first stating the incidents necessary for understanding it.

In the spring of the year 1774, a robbery was committed by some Indians on certain land-adventurers on the river Ohio. The whites in that quarter, according to their custom, undertook to punish this outrage in a summary way. Captain Michael Cresap, and a certain Daniel Greathouse, leading on these parties, surprised, at different times, travelling and hunting parties of the Indians, having their women and children with them, and murdered many. Among these were unfortunately the family of Logan, a chief celebrated in peace and war, and long distinguished as the friend of the whites. This unworthy return provoked his vengeance. He accordingly signalized himself in the war which ensued. In the autumn of the same year a decisive battle was fought at the mouth of the Great Kanhaway, between the collected forces of the Shawanese, Mingoes and Delawares, and a detachment of the Virginia militia. The Indians were defeated and sued for peace. Logan, however, disdained to be seen among the suppliants. But lest the sincerity of a treaty should be disturbed, from which so distinguished a chief absented himself, he sent, by a messenger, the following speech, to be delivered to Lord Dunmore:

"I appeal to any white man to say, if ever he entered Logan’s cabin hungry, and he gave him not meat; if ever he came cold and naked, and he clothed him not. During the course of the last long and bloody war Logan remained idle in his cabin, an advocate for peace. Such was my love for the whites, that my countrymen pointed as they passed, and said, ’Logan is the friend of white men.’ I had even thought to have lived with you, but for the injuries of one man. Colonel Cresap, the last spring, in cold blood, and unprovoked, murdered all the relations of Logan, not even sparing my women and children. There runs not a drop of my blood in the veins of any living creature. This called on me for revenge. I have sought it: I have killed many: I have fully glutted my vengeance: for my country I rejoice at the beams of peace. But do not harbor a thought that mine is the joy of fear. Logan never felt fear. He will not turn on his heel to save his life. Who is there to mourn for Logan?—Not one."37

Before we condemn the Indians of this continent as wanting genius, we must consider that letters have not yet been introduced among them. Were we to compare them in their present state with the Europeans, north of the Alps, when the Roman arms and arts first crossed those mountains, the comparison would be unequal, because, at that time, those parts of Europe were swarming with numbers; because numbers produce emulation, and multiply the chances of improvement, and one improvement begets another. Yet I may safely ask, how many good poets, how many able mathematicians, how many great inventors in arts or sciences, had Europe, north of the Alps, then produced? And it was sixteen centuries after this before a Newton could be formed. I do not mean to deny that there are varieties in the race of man, distinguished by their powers both of body and mind. I believe there are, as I see to be the case in the races of other animals. I only mean to suggest a doubt, whether the bulk and faculties of animals depend on the side of the Atlantic on which their food happens to grow, or which furnishes the elements of which they are compounded? Whether nature has enlisted herself as a Cis or Trans-Atlantic partisan? I am induced to suspect there has been more eloquence than sound reasoning displayed in support of this theory; that it is one of those cases where the judgment has been seduced by a glowing pen; and whilst I render every tribute of honor and esteem to the celebrated zoologist, who has added, and is still adding, so many precious things to the treasures of science, I must doubt whether in this instance he has not cherished error also, by lending her for a moment his vivid imagination and bewitching language. (4)

So far the Count de Buffon has carried this new theory of the tendency of nature to belittle her productions on this side the Atlantic. Its application to the race of whites transplanted from Europe, remained for the Abbe Raynal. "On doit etre etonne (he says) que l’Amerique n’ait pas encore produit un bon poete, un habile mathematicien, un homme de genie dans un seul art, ou seule science." Hist. Philos. p. 92, ed. Maestricht, 1774. "America has not yet produced one good poet." When we shall have existed as a people as long as the Greeks did before they produced a Homer, the Romans a Virgil, the French a Racine and Voltaire, the English a Shakespeare and Milton, should this reproach be still true, we will inquire from what unfriendly causes it has proceeded, that the other countries of Europe and quarters of the earth shall not have inscribed any name in the roll of poets.40 But neither has America produced "one able mathematician, one man of genius in a single art or a single science." In war we have produced a Washington, whose memory will be adored while liberty shall have votaries, whose name shall triumph over time, and will in future ages assume its just station among the most celebrated worthies of the world, when that wretched philosophy shall be forgotten which would have arranged him among the degeneracies of nature. In physics we have produced a Franklin, than whom no one of the present age has made more important discoveries, nor has enriched philosophy with more, or more ingenious solutions of the phenomena of nature. We have supposed Mr. Rittenhouse second to no astronomer living; that in genius he must be the first, because he is self taught. As an artist he has exhibited as great a proof of mechanical genius as the world has ever produced. He has not indeed made a world; but he has by imitation approached nearer its Maker than any man who has lived from the creation to this day.41 As in philosophy and war, so in government, in oratory, in painting, in the plastic art, we might show that America, though but a child of yesterday, has already given hopeful proofs of genius, as well as of the nobler kinds, which arouse the best feelings of man, which call him into action, which substantiate his freedom, and conduct him to happiness, as of the subordinate, which serve to amuse him only. We therefore suppose, that this reproach is as unjust as it is unkind: and that, of the geniuses which adorn the present age, America contributes its full share. For comparing it with those countries where genius is most cultivated, where are the most excellent models for art, and scaffoldings for the attainment of science, as France and England for instance, we calculate thus: The United States contains three millions of inhabitants; France twenty millions; and the British islands ten. We produce a Washington, a Franklin, a Rittenhouse. France then should have half a dozen in each of these lines, and Great Britain half that number, equally eminent. It may be true that France has; we are but just becoming acquainted with her, and our acquaintance so far gives us high ideas of the genius of her inhabitants. It would be injuring too many of them to name particularly a Voltaire, a Buffon, the constellation of Encyclopedists, the Abbe Raynal himself, etc., etc. We, therefore, have reason to believe she can produce her full quota of genius.’ The present war having so long cut off all communication with Great Britain, we are not able to make a fair estimate of the state of science in that country. The spirit in which she wages war, is the only sample before our eyes, and that does not seem the legitimate offspring either of science or of civilization. The sun of her glory is fast descending to the horizon. Her philosophy has crossed the channel, her freedom the Atlantic, and herself seems passing to that awful dissolution whose issue is not given human foresight to scan.42

Having given a sketch of our minerals, vegetables, and quadrupeds, and being led by a proud theory to make a comparison of the latter with those of Europe, and to extend it to the man of America, both aboriginal and emigrant, I will proceed to the remaining articles comprehended under the present query.

Between ninety and a hundred of our birds have been described by Catesby. His drawings are better as to form and attitude than coloring, which is generally too high. They are the following (see pages 98, 99 and 100):

Besides these, we have,

The Royston crow. Corvus cor- The Ground swallow. Hirundo
nix. riparia.
Crane. Ardea Canadensis. Greatest gray eagle.
House swallow. Hirundo Smaller turkey buzzard, with
rustica. a feathered head.


Linnaean Designation. Catesby’s Designation. Popular Names. Buffon oisequx.

Lanius tyrannus Musciacapa corona rubra 1.55 Tyrant. Field martin 8.398
Vultur aura Buteo specie Gallo-pavonis 1.6 Turkey buzzard 1.246
Falco leucocephalus Aquila capite albo 1.1 Bald eagle 1.138
Falco sparverius Accipiter minor 1.5 Little hawk. Sparrow hawk .................
Falco columbarius Accipiter palumbarius 1.3 Pigeon hawk 1.338
Falco furcatus Accipter cauda furcata 1.4 Forked tail hawk 1.286.312
Accipiter piscatorius 1.2 Fishing hawk 1.199
Strix asio Noctua aurita minor 1.7 Little owl 1.141
Psittacus Caroliniensis Psittacus Caroliniensus 1. 11 Parrot of Carolina. Parroquet 11.383
Corvus cristatus Pica glandaria, eaerulea, cristata 1.15 Blue jay 5.164
Oriolus Baltimore Icterus ex aureo nigroque varius 1.48 Baltimore bird 5.318
Oriolus spurius Icterus minor 1.49 Bastard Baltimore 5.321
Gracula quiscula Monedula purpurea 1.12 Purple jackdaw. Crow blackbird 5.134
Cuculus Americanus Cuculus Caroliniensis 1.9 Carolina cuckow 12.62
Picus principalis Picus maximus rostro albo 1.16 White bill woodpecker 13.69
Picus pileatus Picus niger maximus, capite rubro 1.17 Larger red-crested woodpecker 13.72
Picus erythrocephalus Picus capite toto rubro 1.20 Red-headed woodpecker 13.83
Picus ouratus Picus major alis aureis 118 Gold-winged woodpecker. Yucker 13.59
Picus Carolinus Picus ventre rubro 1.19 Red-bellied woodpecker 13.105
Picus pubescens Picus varius minimus 1.21 Smallest spotted woodpecker 13.113
Picus villosus Picus medius quasi-villosus 1.19 Hairy woodpecker. Spec. woodpecker 13.115
Picus varius Picus varius minor ventre luteo . 1.21 Yellow-bellied woodpecker 13.115
Sitta capite nigro 1.22 Nuthatch 10.213
Sitta Europaea Sitta capire fusco 1 .21 Small Nuthatch 10.214
Alcedo alcyon Ispida 1.69 Kingfisher 13.310
Certhia pinus Parus Americanus lutescens 1.61 Pine-Creeper 9.433
Trochilus colubris Mellivora avis Caroliniensis 1.65 Humming bird 11.16
Anas Canadensis Anser Canadensis 1 .92 Wild goose 17.122
Anas bucephala Anas minor purpureo capire 1.95 Buffel’s-head duck 17.356
Anas rustica Anas minor ex albo and fusco vario.1.08 Little brown duck 17.413
Anas discors. b Querquedula Americana variegata 1.10 Little face teal 17.403
Anas discors, b Querquedula Americana fusca 1.99 Blue wing teal 17.405
Anas sponsa Anas Americanus cristatus elegans 1.97 Summer duck 17.351
Anas Americanus lato rostro 1.96 Blue wing shoveler 17.275
Mergus cucullatus Anas cristatus 1.94 Round crested duck 15.437
Columbus podiceps Prodicipes minor rostro ratio 1.91 Pied bill dopchick 15.383
Arden Herodias Arden cristata maxima Americana 3.10 Largest crested heron 14.113
Arden violacea Arden stellaris cristata Americana 1.79 Crested bittern 14.134
Arden caerulea Arden caerulea 1.75 Blue heron. Crane 14.131
Arden virescens Ardea stellaris miniran 1.80 Small bittern 14.142
Arden aequinoctialis Arden alba minor Caroliniensis 1.77 Little white heron 14.135
Arden stellaris Americana 1.78 Brown bittern. Indian hen 14.175
Tantalus loculator Pelicanus Americanus 1.81 Wood pelican 13.403
Tantalus alber Numenius albus 1.82 White curlew 15.62
Tantalus fuscus Numenius fuscus 1.83 Brown curlew 15.64
Charadrius vociferus Pluvialis vociferus 1.71 Chattering plover. Kildee 15.151
Haematopus ostralegus Haernatopus 1.85 Oyster-catcher 15.185
Rallus Virginianus Gallinula Americana 1.70 Soree. Ral-bird 15.256
Meleagris Gallopavo Gallopava Sylvestris xliv. Wild turkey 3,187.229
Tetrao Virginianus Perdix Sylvestris Virginiana 3.12 American partridge. American quail 4.237
Urgallus minor, or kind of Lagopus 3.1 Pheasant. Mountain partridge 3.409
Columba passerina Turtur minimus guttatus 1.26 Ground dove 4.404
Columba migratorio Palumbus migratorius 1 .23 Pigeon of passage. Wild pigeon 4.351
Columba Caroliniensis Turtur Caroliniensis 1.24 Turtle. Turtle dove 4.401
Alauda alpestris Alauda gutlure flavo 1.32 Lark. Sky lark 9.79
Alauda magna Alauda magna 1.33 Field lark. Large lark 6.59
Stutnus niger allis superné rubenti-
bus 1 .13 Red wing. Starling. Marsh blackbird... 5.203

Tardus migratorius Turdus pilaris migratorius 1.29 Fieldfare of Carolina. Robin redbreast 5.426
Tardus rufus Turdus rufus 1.28 Fox colored thrush. Thrush 5.449
Tardus polyglottos Turdus minor cinereo albus non ma-
culatus 1.27 Mocking bird 5.451
Turdus minimus 1.31 Little thrush 5.400
Ampelis garrulus. b Garrulus Caroliniensis 1.46 Chatterer 6.162
Loxia Cardinalis Coccothranstes rubra 1.38 Red bird. Virginia nightingale 6.185
Loxia Caerulea Coccothranstes caerulea 1.30 Blue gross beak 8.125
Emberiza hyemalis Passer nivalis 1.36 Snow bird 8.47
Emberiza Oryzivora Hortulanus Caroliniensis 1.14 Rice bird 8.49
Emberiza Ciris Fringilla tricolor 1.44 Painted finch 7.247
Tanagra cyanea Linaria caerulea 1.45 Blue linnet 7.122
Passerculus 1.35 Little sparrow 7.120
Passer fuscus 1.34 Cowpen bird 7.196
Fringilla erythrophthalma. Passer niger oculis rubris. 1.34 Towhe bird 7.201
Fringilla tristis Carduelis Americanus . 1.43 American goldfinch. Lettuce bird 7.297
Friugilla purpurea 1.41 Purple finch 8.129
Muscicapa crioita Muscicapa cristata ventre luteo 1.52 Crested flycatcher 8.379
Muscicapa rubra Muscicapa rubra 1.56 Summer red bird 8.41
Muscicapa ruticilla Ruticilla Americana 1.67 Red start 8.349
Muscicapa Caroliniensis Muscicapa vertice nigro 1.66 Cat bird 8.372
Muscicapa nigrescens 1.53 Black cap flycatcher 8.341
Muicicapa fusca 1.54 Little brown flycatcher 8.344
Muscicapa oculis rubris 1.54 Red-eyed flycatcher 8.337
Motacilla Sialis Rubicula Americana caerulea 1.47 Blue bird 9.308
Motacilla regulus Regulus cristatus 3.13 Wren 10.58
Motacilla trochilus. b Oenanthe Americana pectore iuteo 1.50 Yellow breasted chat 6.96
Pares bicolor Parus cristatus 1.57 Crested titmouse 10.181
Parus Americanus Parus fringillaris 1.64 Finch creeper 9.442
Parus Virginianus Parus uropygeo luteo 1.58 Yellow rump 10.184
Parus cucullo nigro 1.60 Hooded titmouse 10.183
Parus Americanus gutlure luteo .. 1.62 Yellow throated creeper
Parus Caroliniensis 1.63 Yellow titmouse 9.431
Hirundo Pelasgia Hirundo cauda aculeata Americana 3.8 American swallow 12.478
Hirundo purpurea Hirundo purpurea 1.51 Purple martin. House martin 12.445
Caprimulgus Europaeus. a. Caprimulgus 1.8 Goatsucker. Great bat 12.243
Caprimulgus Europaeus. b. Caprimulgus minor Americanus 3.16 Whip-poor-will 12.246

The Greatest owl, or night hawk. The Sprigtail.
Wet hawk, which feeds fly- Didapper, or dopehick.
ing. Spoon-billed duck.
Raven. Water-witch.
Water Pelican of the Missis- Water-pheasant.
sippi, whose pouch holds a Mow-bird.
peek. Blue Peter.
Swan. Water Wagtail.
Loon. Yellow-legged Snipe.
Cormorant. Squatting Snipe.
Duck and mallard. Small Plover.
Widgeon. Whistling Plover.
Sheldrach, or Canvas back. Woodcock.
Black head. Red bird, with black head,
Ballcoot. wings and tail.

And doubtless many others which have not yet been described and classed.

To this catalogue of our indigenous animals, I will add a short account of an anomaly of nature, taking place sometimes in the race of negroes brought from Africa, who, though black themselves, have, in rare instances, white children, called Albinos. I have known four of these myself, and have faithful accounts of three others. The circumstances in which all the individuals agree are these. They are of a pallid cadaverous white, untinged with red, without any colored spots or seams; their hair of the same kind of white, short, coarse, and curled as is that of the negro; all of them well formed, strong, healthy, perfect in their senses, except that of sight, and born of parents who had no mixture of white blood. Three of these Albinos were sisters, having two other full sisters, who were black. The youngest of the three was killed by lightning, at 12 years of age. The eldest died at about 27 years of age, in child-bed, with her second child. The middle one is now alive, in health, and has issue, as the eldest had, by a black man, which issue was black. They are uncommonly shrewd, quick in their apprehensions and in reply. Their eyes are in a perpetual tremulous vibration, very weak, and much affected by the sun; but they see much better in the night than we do. They are of the property of Colonel Skipwith, of Cumberland. The fourth is a negro woman, whose parents came from Guinea, and had three other children, who were of their own color. She is freckled, her eye-sight so weak that she is obliged to wear a bonnet in the summer; but it is better in the night than day. She had an Albino child by a black man. It died at the age of a few weeks. These were the property of Colonel Carter, of Albemarle. A sixth instance is a woman the property of Mr. Butler, near Petersburg. She is stout and robust, has issue a daughter, jet black, by a black man. I am not informed as to her eyesight. The seventh instance is of a male belonging to a Mr. Lee of Cumberland. His eyes are tremulous and weak. He is tall of stature, and now advanced in years. He is the only male of the Albinos which have come within my information. Whatever be the cause of the disease in the skin, or in its coloring matter, which produces this change, it seems more incident to the female than male sex.

To these I may add the mention of a negro man within my own knowledge, born black, and of black parents; on whose chin, when a boy, a white spot appeared. This continued to increase till he became a man, by which time it had extended over his chin, lips, one cheek, the under jaw, and neck on that side. It is of the Albino white, without any mixture of red, and has for several years been stationary. He is robust and healthy, and the change of color was not accompanied with any sensible disease, either general or topical.

Of our fish and insects there has been nothing like a full description or collection. More of them are described in Catesby than in any other work. Many also are to be found in Sir Hans Sloane’s Jamaica, as being common to that and this country. The honey-bee is not a native of our continent. Marcgrave, indeed, mentions a species of honey-bee in Brazil. But this has no sting, and is therefore different from the one we have, which resembles perfectly that of Europe. The Indians concur with us in the tradition that it was brought from Europe; but when, and by whom, we know not. The bees have generally extended themselves into the country, a little in advance of the white settlers. The Indians, therefore, call them the white man’s fly, and consider their approach as indicating the approach of the settlements of the whites. A question here occurs, How far northwardly have these insects been found? That they are unknown in Lapland, I infer from Scheffer’s information, that the Laplanders eat the pine bark, prepared in a certain way, instead of those things sweetened with sugar. "Hoc comedunt pro rebus saccharo conditis." Scheff. Lapp. c. 18. Certainly if they had honey, it would be a better substitute for sugar than any preparation of the pine bark. Kalm tells us43 the honey-bee cannot live through the winter in Canada. They furnish then an additional fact first observed by the Count de Buffon, and which has thrown such a blaze of light on the field of natural history, that no animals are found in both continents, but those which are able to bear the cold of those regions where they probably join.

1 2 Buffon Epoques, 96.

2 Hunter.

3 D’Aubenton.

4 Buffon, xviii. 112 edit. Paris, 1764.

5 Buffon, xviii, 100, 156.

6 viii. 134.

7 It is said that this animal is seldom seen above thirty miles from shore, or beyond the 56th degree of latitude. The interjacent islands between Asia and America admit his passing from one continent to the other without exceeding these bounds. And in fact, travellers tell us that these islands are places of principal resort for them, and especially in the season of bringing forth their young.

8 I. 233, Lon. 1772.

9 lb. 233.

0 I. xxvii.

11 XXIV. 162.

12 XV. 42.

13 I. 359. I. 48, 221, 251, II. 52€

14 II. 78.

15 I. 220.

16 XXVII. 63. XIV. 119. Harris, II. 387. Buffon, Quad. IX. 1.

17 Quad. IX. 158.

18 XXV. 184.

19 Quad. IX. 132.

20 XIX. 2.

21 Quad. IX. 41.

22 The descriptions of Theodat, Denys and La Honton, cited by Monsieur de Buffon, under the article Elan, authorize the supposition, that the flat-horned elk is found in the northern parts of America. It has not however extended to our latitudes. On the other hand, I could never learn that the round-horned elk has been seen further north than the Hudson’s river. This agrees with the former elk in its general character, being, like that, when compared with a deer, very much larger, its ears longer, broader, and thicker in proportion, its hair much longer, neck and tail shorter, having a dewlap before the breast (caruncula gutturalis Linnaei) a white spot often, if not always, of a foot diameter, on the hinder part of the buttocks round the tail; its gait a trot, and attended with a rattling of the hoofs; but distinguished from that decisively by its horns, which are not palmated, but round and pointed. This is the animal described by Catesby as the Cervus major Americanus, the stag of America, le Cerf de l’Amerique. But it differs from the Cervus as totally as does the palmated elk from the dama. And in fact it seems to stand in the same relation to the palmated elk, as the red deer does to the fallow. It has abounded in Virginia, has been seen, within my knowledge, on the eastern side of the Blue Ridge since the year 1765, is now common beyond those mountains, has been often brought to us and tamed, and its horns are in the hands of many. I should designate it as the "Alces Americanus cornibus teretibus." It were to be wished, that naturalists, who are acquainted with the renne and elk of Europe, and who may hereafter visit the northern parts of America, would examine well the animals called there by the names of gray and black moose, caribou, original and elk. Monsieur de Buffon has done what could be done from the materials in his hands, toward clearing up the confusion introduced by the loose application of these names among the animals they are meant to designate. He reduces the whole to the renne and flat-horned elk. From all the information I have been able to collect, I strongly suspect they will be found to cover three, if not four distinct species of animals. I have seen skins of a moose, and of the caribou: they differ more from each other, and from that of the round-horned elk, than I ever saw two skins differ which belonged to different individuals of any wild species. These differences are in the color, length, and coarseness of the hair, and in the size, texture, and marks of the skin. Perhaps it will be found that there is, 1, the moose, black and gray, the former being said to be the male, and the latter the female; 2, the caribou or renne; 3, the flat-horned elk, or original; 4, the round-horned elk. Should this last, though possessing so nearly the characters of the elk, be found to be the same with the Cerf d’Ardennes or Brandhitz of Germany, still there will remain the three species first enumerated.

23 Kalm II. 340, I. 82.

24 The Tapir is the largest of the animals peculiar to America. I collect his weight thus: Monsieur de Buffon says, XXIII. 274, that he is of the size of a Zebu, or a small cow. He gives us the measures of a Zebu, ib. 4, as taken by himself, viz. five feet seven inches from the muzzle to the root of the tail, and five feet one inch circumference behind the fore-legs. A bull, measuring in the same way six feet nine inches and five feet two inches, weighed six hundred pounds, VIII. 153. The Zebu then, and of course the Tapir, would weigh about five hundred pounds. But one individual of every species of European peculiars would probably weigh less than four hundred pounds. These are French measures and weights.

25 VII. 432.

26 VII. 474.

27 In Williamsburg, April, 1769.

28 VIII. 48, 55, 66.

29 XVIII. 96.

30 IX. 41.

31 XXX. 219.

32 XVIII. 146.

33 Sol Rodomonte sprezza di venire
Se non, dove la via meno e ficura. -- Ariosto, 14, 117.

34 In so judicious an author as Don Ulloa, and one to whom we are indebted for the most precise information we have of South America, I did not expect to find ,such assertions as the following: "Los Indios vencidos son los mas cobardes y pusilanimes que se peuden ver: Se hacen nocentes, le humillan hasta el desprecio, disculpan su inconsiderado arrojo, y con las suplicas y los ruegos dan seguras pruebas de su pusilanimidad, o lo que resieren las historias de la Conquista, sobre sus grandes acejones, es en un sendito figurado, o el caracter de estas genies no es ahora segun era entonces; pero lo que no tiene duda es, que las Naciones de la parte Septentrional subsisten en la misma libertad que siempre han tenido, sin haber sido sojuzgados pot algon Principe extrano, y que viven segun su regimen y costumbres de toda la vida, sin que haya habido motivo para que muden de caracter; y en estos se ve lo mismo, que sucede en los Peru, y de toda la America meridional, reducidos, y que nunca lo han estado." Noticias Americanas, Entretenimiento xviii. § I. Don Ulloa here admits, that the authors who have described the Indians of South America, before they were enslaved, had represented them as a brave people, and therefore seems to have suspected that the cowardice which he had observed in those of the present race might be the effect of subjugation. But, supposing the Indians of North America to be cowards also, he concludes the ancestors of those of South America to have been so too, and, therefore, that those authors have given fictions for truth. He was probably not acquainted himself with the Indians of North America, and had formed his opinion from hearsay. Great numbers of French, of English, and of Americans, are perfectly acquainted with these people. Had he had an opportunity of inquiring of any of these, they would have told him, that there never was an instance known of an Indian begging his life when in the power of his enemies; on the contrary, that he courts death by every possible insult and provocation. His reasoning, then, would have been reversed thus: "Since the present Indian of North America is brave, and authors tell us that the ancestors of those of South America were brave also, it must follow that the cowardice of their descendants is the effect of subjugation and ill treatment." For he observes, ib. § 27, that "los obrages los aniquillan pot la inhumanidad con que sr les trata."

35 A remarkable instance of this appeared in the case of the late Colonel Byrd, who was sent to the Cherokee nation to transact some business with them. It happened that some of our disorderly people had just killed one or two of that nation. It was therefore proposed in the council of the Cherokees that Colonel Byrd should be put to death, in revenge for the loss of their countrymen. Among them was a chief named Silouee, who, on some former occasion, had contracted an acquaintance and friendship with Colonel Byrd. He came to him every night in his tent, and told him not to be afraid, they should not kill him. After many days’ deliberation, however, the determination was, contrary to Silouee’s expectation, that Byrd should be put to death, and some warriors were despatched as executioners. Silouee attended them, and when they entered the tent, he threw himself between them and Byrd, and said to the warriors, "This man is my friend; before you get at him, you must kill me." On which they returned, and the council respected the principle so much as to recede from their determination.

36 XVIII. 146.

37 PHILADELPHIA, December 31, 1797.
DEAR SIR, -- Mr. Tazewell has communicated to me the inquiries you have been so kind as to make, relative to a passage in the "Notes on Virginia," which has lately excited some newspaper publications. I feel, with great sensibility, the interest you take in this business and with pleasure, go into explanations with one whose objects I know to be truth and justice alone. Had Mr. Martin thought proper to suggest to me, that doubts might be entertained of the transaction respecting Logan, as stated in the "Notes on Virginia," and to inquire on what grounds that statement was founded, I should have felt myself obliged by the inquiry; have informed him candidly of the grounds, and cordially have co-operated in every means of investigating the fact, and correcting whatsoever in it should be found to have been erroneous. But he chose to step at once into the newspapers, and in his publications there and the letters he wrote to me, adopted a style which forbade the respect of an nswer. Sensible, however, that no act of his could absolve me from the justice due to others, as soon as I found that the story of Logan could be doubted, I determined to inquire into it as accurately as the testimony remaining, after a lapse of twenty odd years, would permit, and that the result should be made known, either in the first new edition which should be printed of the "Notes on Virginia," or by publishing an appendix. I thought that so far as that work had contributed to impeach the memory of Cresap, by handing on an erroneous charge it was proper it should be made the vehicle of retribution. Not that I was at all the author of the injury; I had only concurred, with thousands and thousands of others, in believing a transaction on authority which merited respect. For the story of Logan is only repeated in in the "Notes on Virginia," precisely as it had been current for more than a dozen years before they were published. When Lord Dunmore returned from the expedition against the Indians, in 1774, heand his officers brought the speech of Logan, and related the circumstances of it. These were so affecting, and the speech itself so fine a morsel of eloquence, that it became the theme of every conversation, in Williamsburg particularly, and generally, indeed, wheresoever any of the officers resided or resorted. I learned it in Williamsburg, I believe at Lord Dunmore’s; and I find in my pocket-book of that year (1774) an entry of the narrative, as taken from the mouth of some person, whose name, however, is not noted, nor recollected, precisely in the words stated in the "Notes on Virginia." The speech was published in the Virginia Gazette of that time, (I have it myself in the volume of gazettes of that year,) and though it was the translation made by the common interpreter, and in a style by no means elegant, yet it was so admired, that it flew through all the public papers of the continent, and through the magazines and other periodical publications of Great Britain; and those who were boys at that day wil now attest, that the speech of Logan used to be given them as a school exercise for repetition. It was not till about thirteen or fourteen years after the newspaper publications, that the "Notes on Virginia" were published in America. Combating, in these, the contumelious theory of certain European writers, whose celebrity gave currency and weight to their opinions, that our country from the combined effects of soil and climate, degenerated animal nature, in the general, and particularly the moral faculties of man, I considered the speech of Logan as an apt proof of the contrary, and used it as such; and I copied, verbatim, the narrative I had taken down in 1774, and the speech as it had been given us in a better translation by Lord Dunmore.

I knew nothing of the Cresaps, and could not possibly have a motive to do them an injury with design. I repeated what thousands had done before, on as good authority as we have for most of the facts we learn through life, and such as, to this moment, I have seen no reason to doubt. That any body questioned it, was never suspected by me, till I saw the letter of Mr. Martin in the Baltimore paper. I endeavored then to recollect who among my contemporaries, of the same circle of society, and consequently of the same recollections, might still be alive; three and twenty years of death and dispersion had left very few. I remembered, however, that General Gibson was still living, and knew that he had been the translator of the speech. I wrote to him immediately. He, in answer, declares to me, that he was the very person sent by Lord Dunmore to the Indian town; that, after he had delivered his message there, Logan took him out to a neighboring wood; sat down with him, and rehearsing, with tears, the catastrophe of his family, gave him that speech for Lord Dunmore; that he carried it to Lord Dunmore; translated it for him; has turned to it in the Encyclopedia, as taken from the "Notes on Virginia," and finds that it was his translation I had used, with only two or three verbal variaions of no importance. These, I suppose, had arisen in the course of successive copies. I cite General Gibson’s letter by memory, not having it with me; but I am sure I cite it substantially right. It establishes unquestionably, that the speech of Logan is genuine; and that being established, it is Logan himself who is author of all the important facts. "Colonel Cresap," says he, "in cold blood and unprovoked, murdered all the relations of Logan, not sparing even my women and children; there runs not a drop of my blood in the veins of any living creature." The person and the fact, in all its material circumstances, are here given by Logan himself. General Gibson, indeed, says, that the title was mistaken; that Cresap was a Captain, and not a Colonel. This was Logan’s mistake. He also observes, that it was on another water of the Ohio, and not on the Kanhaway, that his family was killed. This is an error which has crept into the traditionary account; but surely of little moment in the moral view of the subject The material question is, was Logan’s family murdered, and by whom? That it was murdered has not, I believe, been denied; that it was by one of the Cresaps, Logan affirms. This is a question which concerns the memories of Logan and Cresap; to the issue of which I am as indifferent as if I had never heard the name of either. I have begun and shall continue to inquire into the evidence additional to Logan’s, on which the fact was founded. Little, indeed, can now be heard of, and that little dispersed and distant. If it shall appear on inquiry, that Logan has been wrong in charging Cresap with the murder of his family, I will do justice to the memory of Cresap, as far as I have contributed to the injury, by believing and repeating what others had believed and repeated before me. If, on the other hand, I find that Logan was right in his charge, I will vindicate, as far as my suffrage may go, the truth of a Chief, whose talents and misfortunes have attached to him the respect and commiseration of the world.

I have gone, my dear Sir, into this lengthy detail to satisfy a mind, in the candor and rectitude of which I have the highest confidence. So far as you may incline to use the communication for rectifying the judgments of those who are willing to see things truly as they are, you are free to use it. But I pray that no confidence which you may repose in any one, may induce you to let it go out of your hands, so as to get into a newspaper: against a contest in that field I am entirely decided. I feel extraordinary gratification, indeed, in addressing this letter to you, with whom shades of difference in political sentiment have not prevented the interchange of good opinion, nor cut off the friendly offices of society and good correspondence. This political tolerance is the more valued by me, who consider social harmony as the first of human felicities, and the happiest moments, those which are given to the effusions of the heart. Accept them sincerely, I pray you, from one who has the honor to be, with sentiments of high respect and attachment, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.

40 Has the world as yet produced more than two poets, acknowledged to be such by all nations? An Englishman only reads Milton with delight, an. Italian, Tasso, a Frenchman the Henriade; a Portuguese, Camoens; but Homer and Virgil have been the rapture of every age and nation; they are read with enthusiasm in their originals by those who can read the originals, and in translations by those who cannot.

41 There are various ways of keeping truth out of sight. Mr. Rittenhouse’s model of the planetary system has the plagiary application of an Orrery; and the quadrant invented by Godfrey, an American also, and with the aid of which the European nations traverse the globe, is called Hadley’s quadrant.

42 In a later edition of the Abbe Raynal’s work, he has withdrawn his censure from that part of the new world inhabited by the Federo-Americans; but has left it still on the other parts. North America has always been more accessible to strangers than South. If he was mistaken then as to the former, he may be so as to the latter. The glimmerings which reach us from South America enable us to see that its inhabitants are held under the accumulated pressure of slavery, superstition and ignorance. Whenever they shall be able to rise under this weight, and to show themselves to the rest of the world, they will probably show they are like the rest of the world. We have not yet sufficient evidence that there are more lakes and fogs in South America than in other parts of the earth. As little do we know what would be their operation on the mind of man. That country has been visited by Spaniards and Portuguese chiefly, and almost exclusively. These, going from a country of the old world remarkably dry in its soil and climate, fancied there were more lakes and fogs in South America than in Europe. An inhabitant of Ireland, Sweden, or Finland would have formed the contrary opinion. Had South America then been discovered and settled by a people from a fenny country, it would probably have been represented as much drier than the old world. A patient pursuit of facts, and cautious combination and comparison of them, is the drudgery to which man is subjected by his Maker, if he wishes to attain sure knowledge.

43 I. 126.


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Chicago: Thomas Jefferson, "Query VI. A Notice of the Mines and Other Subterraneous Riches; Its Trees, Plants, Fruits, Etc.," Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 2 in Thomas Jefferson, the Writings of Jefferson: Monticello Edition, Vol. 2 (Washington, D.C.: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904-1905), Pp.33-104 Original Sources, accessed August 8, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4BT5IEJCFPHPL9Y.

MLA: Jefferson, Thomas. "Query VI. A Notice of the Mines and Other Subterraneous Riches; Its Trees, Plants, Fruits, Etc." Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 2, in Thomas Jefferson, the Writings of Jefferson: Monticello Edition, Vol. 2 (Washington, D.C.: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904-1905), Pp.33-104, Original Sources. 8 Aug. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4BT5IEJCFPHPL9Y.

Harvard: Jefferson, T, 'Query VI. A Notice of the Mines and Other Subterraneous Riches; Its Trees, Plants, Fruits, Etc.' in Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 2. cited in , Thomas Jefferson, the Writings of Jefferson: Monticello Edition, Vol. 2 (Washington, D.C.: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904-1905), Pp.33-104. Original Sources, retrieved 8 August 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4BT5IEJCFPHPL9Y.