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HISTORY OF AMERICA.
? CHAPTER I.
The Colonization of North America by the English.
Question. AT what period did the English first visit the northern continent of America?
Answer. In the year 1497.
Q. In whose reign was this, and by whom undertaken?
A. It happened in 'the reign of Henry the Seventh. The discovery of America by Columbus, which had taken place about six years before, induced the English monarch to fit out a fleet for the purpose of making further discoveries ; and as the English were at that time but little skilled in the art of navigation, he entrusted the command of the expedition to a Venetian pilot, named Se. bastian Cabot, who had settled in Bristol.
Q. What part of America was discovered by
4 CATCECIIS- OF THE
A. The north-east coasts, comprising a very large extent of territory. The English, however, made no attempts at that time to settle there, but merely explored the coasts, and gave the country they had visited the general name of Newfoundland, which is now applied solely to an island on the coast.
Q. How long was it before the English took possession of any part of America ?
A. They neither took possession of the country nor attempted to establish a colony, till more than fifty years afterwards.
Q. What Englishman first established a colony there ?
A. Sir Walter Raleigh, a man of great genius and a brave commander.
Q.Whatpart of North America did he colonize?
A. That part of the American coast which now forms North Carolina; and in honour of Queen Elizabeth, his sovereign, he gave the name of Virginia to the whole country.
Q. Did the colony flourish which Sir Walter Raleigh planted ?
A. No; the fate of the first settlers, as well as those who followed them, was most melancholy ; many were killed by the natives, and others met with a premature death from diseases incident to the change of climate, and various unforeseen causes.
Q. When was the first permanent settlement effected ?
A. The first permanent settlement on the coast of Virginia took place in 1607, in the reign of James the First.
RIfSTOty OF AMERICA. y Q. Of whom were these colonies composed?
A. They consisted of two companies; one
called the Londoi Company, being composed of y adventurers from London ; and the other called
the Plymouth Company, which consisted principally of merchants from that and other western
Q. What town did they build?
A. They built James-Town, on the northern
side of James river ; but they suffered so much from diseases, tlat although upwards of nine thousand English subjects had arrived there at y different times, only one thousand eight hundred
remained alive at the end of twenty years.
"Q. Did not many persons emigrate to America
on account of their religious tenets ?
A. Yes; in James's reign, the spirit of intolerance was at such a height, that all who dissented !n from the established form of worship were liableto ) suffr severe penalties and perisections ; many, therefore, emigrated to Americawhere they could enjoy their religioustenets in undisturbed security. Is Q. Who were the first settlers of this description?
A. A congregation of 101 persons, at the head i of whom was Mr. John Rohinon ; they were anit mated with a high degree of religious zeal, and,
to avoid persecution at home, cheerfully undertook every hardship connected with a distant
voyage and perpetual exile.
Q. What were these emigrants called?
A. They were called puritans, from their strict observance of religious duties.
Q. Where did they settle.
6 CATEUnISM OF THE
A. They settled in that district of America
called New England.
Q. To what other provincial Ostablishmenti
did this colony give rise?
A. From the New Englanders, in the course
of years, sprang those who have since inhabited Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut,
and Rhode Island.
Q. When did a third English conlony establish
themselves in America.
A. In the year 1633, about 200 gentlemen,
chiefly Roman Catholics, emigrated to America, and settled in Maryland, which soon after became a flourishing province, on account of the free toUleration of all religions which existed there.
Q. Was there not a free toleration in the other
A. No; although the inhabitants of New England fled from persecution at home,and contended for the right of exercising their religion agreeable to their own ideas of it, yet they so far forgot their own former sufferings as to insist on new
comers conforming to their opinions.
Q. Did the colonization of America go on
A. Yes; during the reign of James the First,
and the early part of Charles's reign, vast numbers of British subjects emigrated to America: but during the civil war which led to Cromwell',, usurpation, the nation was too much occupied with its internal commotions, to attend to the
colonization of America.
Q.How was it attended to after the rcstora,
tion of Charlcq the Second?
HISTOkY OF AMERICA. 7
a A. Charters were granted by the king to various noblemen and others, to colonize certain disL tricts ; and during his reign a great extent of
country was thus bestowed on individuals, who se peopled various districts; and by this means a ed number of small states, almost independent of At, each other, were scattered over the northern
sli Q. What were the principal charters granted
by Charles the Second?
Nn, A., To Lord Clarendon and others he granted
-a, that part of America, which now forms the states ne of Georgia, and North and South Carolina' to ;o his brother James, duke of York, that which includes New York and New Jersey; and to Wil_er lian, Penn, he granted Pennsylvania and the
state of Delaware.
Q. What compensation was made to the orjgie nal inhabitants?
de A. In general, the colonists purchased and paid
Ot the inhabitants for the lands they occupied ; and ai those colonies were observed to prosper most,
whose founders had most conciliated the good)a will of the natives.
State of the North American Colonies previous
Ito the Disputes AWih Great Britain.
10 Q. By what laws were the American colonies
A. Each province, of which there were now
th" teen, had a formn of government as nearly rc-
CATECHISM OF THE
sembling that of Britain as was possible; the, governors and public officers dispensed the lav.
of the parent state; and the fullest liberty wi
enjoyed by the people.
Q. Did not this liberal policy of the Britis
government contribute much to the prosperity
A. Yes; this wise and liberal policy exalte
America to a state of high national and commei cial eminence; of which neither ancient nor mc
dern history affords a parallel case.
Q. State its progressive increase in populatio:
A. The British colonies in America had s
nmh increased in each, that in one hundred a, fifty years after the first emigrants arrived there their population amounted to three millions, ani their commerce was equal to a third of that o
Q. Was this state of prosperity equally share(
by the colonists?
A. No; the southern provinces, though pos
sessed of the most fruitful soil and the mildest cli mate, were neither so populous, wealthy, or in.
dustrious as the northern.
Q. To what cause was this difference owing ?
A. The northern provinces were chiefly inha
bited by quakers, who gave perfect liberty of con.
science and equality to all sects, while they en.
couraged industry and temperance, and opposed the introduction of slaves to cultivate the soil: but in the southern provinces slaves were intro' duced, and the virtues of industry and temper
ance were less regarded.
HIIISTORY OF AMERICA. 9
hei Q. What part of North America was at this aw- time possessed by the French ? wn A. The French were in possession of the country on both sides of the river Mississippi, and the tis whole of Canada.
y o Q. What event of a warlike nature occurred,
in America, in 1745?
[te A. The taking of Louisburg from the French, ier who were at that time engaged in a war with no Great Britain.
Q. Did not the American colonies distinguish ion themselves in the next war with France I
A. Yes; the French in Canada having ens croached on the British colonies, the governor of 1d Virginia sent Major Washington* to demand rere, dress, which being refused, hostilities cornind menced, and measures were taken for disposof sessing them of the posts they held within the limits claimed by Great Britain..
red Q. How did the British succeed?
A. The British troops, commanded by General
Braddock, being unacquainted with the country, met with a severe defeat, and their general was in. mortally wounded; but the provincials, under
the command of Colonel Washington, were more
At this time Washington, who afterwards became so n- ditinguished for his valour and patriotism, was only ed twent3y-one years of age. He proceeded on his mission on
toot, Accom panied only by a single companion, carrying his provision on his back, though he had to travel four 0 hundred miles, half of which was through a wilderness in'r- haibited only by Indlians, whose good offices and fiendship hlie was enabled to gain by his address and manner.
On his return, he was promoted to the rank of colonel.
10 CATECHISM OF THE
Q. Were not great preparations afterwar made by the British to expel the French fro Canada?
A. Yes; General Amherst, with 10,000 me was to attack Crown Point; General Wolfe w to undertake the seige of Quebec, and Gener, rrideau and Johnson were to attack the Fren near the catarracts of Niagara.
Q. How did these expeditions succeed 1
A. The first and last expedition soon succee ed; and nothing seemed wanting to secure t conquest of Canada, but to take its capital, t] city of Quebec, which was a well-built, populous and flourishing city.
Q. Was not the taking of Quebec a very ard ous task ?
A. Yes; the attempt to take the city appeal peculiarly discouraging ; the river, which t] troops had to ford, was rapid, the banks stee and lined with sentinels, and the landing-place narrow as to be easily missed in the dark; b the British troops overcame all these difficulties and took possession of the heights at the back the town.
Q. What followed?
A. The French commander, who had suppos these heights to be inaccessible, no sooner heai of the English being in possession of them, th he resolved to hazard a battle, and one of t most furious engagemens began that had tak, place during the war.
Q. How did it terminate?
A. In the total defeat of the French, and tl conquest of Canada. The generals on both sid were slain; and the death of the gallant Wolf
HISTORY OF AMERICA. 11
ar whose loss was deservedly lamented, was attendS ed with oircumstances peculiarly interesting.
Q. Relate them.
ie A. He first received a musket-ball in the wrist,
which, however, did not oblige him to quit the
ra field; but as he was leading on his grenadiers to
he charge, another shot pierced his breast. While )e was struggling in the agonies of death,he heard he cry of They run !" and on being informed ee hat it was theFrench who ran, he replied, Then th die happy," and immediately expired. th Q. What share had the colonies in the prose.ou cation of this war?
A. They furnished twenty-four thousand men rd to co-operate with the British regular forces, beides fitting out four hundred privateers, which ar were very successful.
t Q. What other possessions in America did e reat Britain shortly after receive ?
:es A. At the general peace in 1773, in addition b to Canada, which was now formally ceded to ti Great Britain, she received the two Floridas also k from Spain; thus making her sole mistress of the
North American continent.
,h- CHAPTER III.
ke Origin and Progress of the Disputes between the
Americans and the British Government.
Q. WHAT act of the British government may t be regarded as the first cause ofa misunderstandid ing between America and the mother country alf
12 CATECHISM OF THE
A. The pas4ng of the stamp act, by whiel was enacted, that certain instruments in writi such as bills, bonds, agreements, &c. should be valid unless they were drawn on stamp paper; which act extended to the British co nies in America.
Q. What steps were thereupon taken by Americans?
A. They petitioned the king and parliament repeal the act, which they considered as a gr grievance; and formed associations for the p pose of preventing the importation of British r nufactures till their petition was complied wit
Q.Whatproviuce took the lead in this busine A. The province of Virginia, the magistrates which passed a resolution, declaring those be enemies of their country who should maint that any person or persons other than the gent assembly of the colony, had any right or pos of imposing taxes on the people."
Q. How was it received in the other colony, A. This bold resolution of the Virginians k dled the spirit of opposition throughout whole of the colonies; and they skewed their sentment to the officers of government in vari, ways.
Q. What measures were adopted in con quence.
A. It was thought necessary by some to rep the act; others were for enforcing it. Many guments were used in parliament on both siof the question : but it was at length repeal and the glad tidings were received in Amer with every demonstration of joy.
HISTORY OF AMERICA. 13
S Q. Did the British ministry abandon all thoughts of increasing the revenue by laying
taxes on the Americans?
In A. No; an act was soon after passed, granting
co duties in the British colonies on glass, paper,
painters' colours and tea; which, however, met V with so much opposition, that the whole was
abandoned, except the duty on tea.
mft Q. Were the colonies now satisfied ? gre A. No; they denied the right of the British
Pit parliament to subject them to taxation in any
m way; they, therefore entered into measures to reith trench the uses of foreign commodities so long as 1nes the free importation of tea was prohibited. es IQ. What other causes tended to createjealousy se and ill-will between the parties? nta A. A part of the royal army was stationed in
ner the province of Massachusetts, for the avowed ow purpose of enforcing submission to the parent
state; thus the soldiers were taught to consider e the Americans as rebellious subjects, and the ki Americans looked upon the soldiers as instrut ments of a despotic power. ir r Q. Did not this feeling lead to very unpleasant rio consequences?
A. Yes; mutual insults and injuries had soured ois the temper of both parties, and an open rupture
at length took place. One day, when the soldiers eP were under arms, they were insulted and pelted
V by a mob, who dared them to fire. Some of the si soldiers, being irritated by this conduct, fired, al and three of the inhabitants were killed and five er wounded,
Q. What ensued ?
14. CATECHISM OF THE
A. The captain who commanded, and the m, who fired on the people, were tried, and two we found guilty of manslaughter, and punished a cordingly; but the circumstance had made t deep an impression on the minds of the inhale tants to be effaced.
Q. What circumstances soon after occurred widen the breach?
A. The British government thought fit to ma the governor and judges of Massachusetts in pendent of the province, by paying them salarii instead of their receiving; as formerly, yeai grants from the provincial assembly. In additi to which, there was a personal animosity betwe the governor and some of the most distinguish inhabitants.
Q. Did not various other causes combine add to the misunderstanding?
A. Yes; but that which gave the great offence was a discovery made by Dr. Frankly who held the situation of deputy post-master, the governor and justices having written to Er land, recommending measures to secure the ol dience of the people.
Q. What resolutions did they adopt in con. quence ?
A. The house of assembly sent a petition remonstrance to the king, charging the govern and others with being traitors to their count and with giving false and partial information,'a praying that they might be removed from tb places, and tried for their conduct.
Q. How was this petition treated by the Brit government ?
HISTORY OF AMERICA. 15
m A. ,It 'was evident that a revolutionary spirit
existed in the colonies, and therefore the British a government commended the conduct of the got vernor, and dismissed Dr. Franklin from his offiiab' cial situation.
Q. Did the Americans quietly submit to this?
A. No; the conduct of government now formed
the topic of conversation in every company; and Oak while the ruling powers in great Britain felt that nd they had a right to levy taxes on the inhabitants Ari of their colonies, the colonists on their part were larj satisfied that they had a right to refuse and resist iti every kind of parliamentary taxation. wee Q. What measure was next adopted by the
she British government ?
A. The resolution of theAmericans not to im1e port tea, or other articles which they deemed suprfluities, into their ports, was a severe blow to ate the commerce of Britain; the government therefore passed an act enabling the East India Cpmpany to import tea, duty free, to anyplace whatEn ever, and several ships laden with it were imme0 lately sent out to the American colonies.
Q. What resulted from it?
S A. The Americans considered this as an at.
tempt of the East India Company to evade their ia resolutions, and, as an indirect method of taxation, by making them con :ribute to the revenue; they therefore called meetings and passed resolu"I ions, declaring all persons to be enemies of their th country who should countenance its impqrtation.
Q. Were not the people of Boston particularly
active in their opposition to its importation?
16 CATECHISM OF THE
A.Yes; when the ships arrived in the port
Boston a number of the inhabitants, disguised Indians, boarded the ships, and threw every ch4 of tea that belonged to the East India Compa overboard.
Q. How did the British parliament act hearing of this?
A. They passed two bills, one for shutting the port of Boston, and the other for taking t executive power out of the hands of the peop and vesting it in the crown.
Q. To what did these acts lead?
A. These severe measures by no means intir dated the Americans; they only served to un them still more in their opposition to the govei ment. Accordingly, all the colonies, exc, Georgia and Nova Scotia, sent delegates to mi in a general assembly at Philadelphia, which sumed the name of the Congress, and drew ul bold and spirited petition to his majesty; soli( ing a redress of grievances.
Q. How did the Congress proceed afterwar( A. The Congress regulated the militia, m, provision for supplying a treasury and furnishi the people with arms; in fact, every preparat was made for carrying their resolutions ii effect, and maintaining their independence force of arms.
HISTORY OF AMEt1CA. rt
-he "CHAPTER IV.
S From the Commencement of Hostilities in 174, to the end of 1774.
OQ WHEN and where did hostilities commence?
A. The first military operations took place-at
Lexington, at the latter end of the year 177.
Q. From what cause did it arise ?
tiln" A. General Gage, the governor of Massachuaetts, hearing that the provincials had collected
quantity of military stores at a place called C o rd, sent out a detachment to destroy them.
meAt Lexigton, which was on their road, the miitia
had assembled to oppose the British troops, who fired on the former and killed eight of their men. up Q Was not this resented by the Americans ?
6c A. Yes; on their return from Concord, they
were suddenly attacked by a large body of provincials, who continued to harass them till they a reached Boston. The loss of the king's troops,
on this occasion, amounted, in killed, wounded, and prisoners, to i273 men, while that of the Americans consisted only of forty men killed and
Q. What effects did this engagement produce?
A. It roused all America, and inspired the
people with courage. The militia colected from every quarter, and in a few days an army of
twenty thousand men laid siege to Boston.
Q. Was no attempt made to conciliate the
people ? -
18 CATECHISM OF THE
A. Yes; a proclamation was issued requiri the Americans to return to their allegiance, au offering a free pardon to all, with the exception of Messrs. Hancock and Adams; but the Amed cans had resolved on resistance, and were noi determined to listen to no terms of accommodate tion.
Q. Why were Messrs. Hancock and Adams e cepted in the general pardon that was offered?
A. Because they had been the most active members in the provincial assembly. Hancoc] was afterwards elected president of the Congress and, to show their opposition to government sti more, the Americans placed Dr. Franklin at ti head of their new post office.
Q. Were not reinforcements sent from Grea Britain ?
A. Yes; and in May 1775 part of them arrive at Boston, under the command of Generals Howv Burgoyne, and Clinton.
Q. What place did the Americans attempt t fortify?
A. A place called Bunker's Hill, about a rail and a half from Boston. In the course of a singl night they threw up considerable entrenchment and a breast-work, to defend them from the fin of the British cannon.
Q. Did the British troops attack them there I A. Yes; the next morning the British arm was sent to drive them from the hill; and landin under cover of their cannon, they set fire i Charelstown, which was consumed, and thei marched to attack the provincialt in their en. trenchm~nts.
Q. Describe the attack.
HISTORY OF AMERICA. 19
A. The attack commenced with a heavy cannonade, which the Americans sustained with great firmness, and did not return a shot till the British troops, were within fifty yards; when they kept up such a furious and incessant fire of small arms, that the British were thrown into confusion, and were on the point of retreating from the scene of .action.
Q. What prevented it ?
A. The valour of the British officers; they rallied their men, who now returned to the charge with fxd bayonets, rushing on their opponents wihirresistible fury; so that in a short time the provincials were compelled to abandon the post, but not without having evinced a degree of valour that would have done honour to any veteran troops.
.What number were engaged on each side, and what was their respective loss ?
A. The number of Americans were about fifteen hundred, while the British troops were nearly three thousand. The loss of the former amounted to four hundred and fifty, but the latter lost up~wards of a thousand, among whom were an unusual proportion of officers.
Q. To what was the inequality chiefly attributed ?
A. To several causes; in the first place, it must be recollected, that the Americans had the advantage of being protected by their intrenchments; secondly, they were provided with riflebarrelled muskets, with which they could take certain aim; and, lastly, the slow and regular approach of the British troops gave them an oppqr-
20 CATECHISM OF THE
tunity of singling out the officers and committi great havoc among the men.
Q. When did the second general Congressme A. The second general Congress met on t 10th of May; it consisted of delegates not on from the former twelve colonies, but also fro that of Georgia.
Q. Who was appointed commander-in-chief the American army ?
A. George Washington, Esq. of whom we hav before spoken. He received the appointment wit diffidence, but his future conduct showed h worthy he was of being entrusted with such important situation.
Q. Whowere appointed as generals under him A. Generals Ward, Lee, Schuyler, Putnat Gates, Pomeroy, Montgomery, Wooster, Head Spencer, Thomas, Sullivan, Green, and Arnol
Q. What appearance did the American force now assume?
A. That of a regularly organized army,animate with the love of liberty, and determined to resi3 all attempts that might be made to reduce the
Q. What military operations were first under taken by them ?
A. An incursion into Canada by Gener Montgomery, who took the garrison of St. John' with seven hundred prisoners ; he afterwards too the town of Montreal, and proceeded towar Quebec, where he was joined by General Arnol and with their united forces theybesieged the cit
Q. How did they succeed?
A. In attempting to take Quebec, by stor Montgomery was killed; and, some time afte
HISTORY OF AMERICA. 21
inforcements of British troops arriving, the mericans were obliged to abandon the siege
d retire from the province.
Q. Did not the British commanders destroy
veral, towns ?
A. Yes; the town of Norfolk was burnt by der of Lord Dunmore, the governor of Virginia; e town of Falmouth also shared a similar thte, eing bombarded and laid in ashes by the British
it Q. For what was the year 1775 chiefly rearkable?
A. This year was very remarkable for the
reat change which had taken place in the aspect f affairs in America. In the beginning of the ear, the colonists were farmers, mechanics, or Ll merchants ; but at its close they had assumed the I rofession of soldiers. The royal government P ere also terminated this year, the governors
aving voluntarily abdicated their charge, and
retired on board the British ships.
r CHAPTER V.
isiory of the American War during the Years
1776 and 1777.
Q. WHA r measures were adopted in Britain to
econquer the colonies?
A. Seventeun thousand German soldiers were
iired by tie British government, in, order to be sent. over to America to assist in subduing it; and
22 CATECHISM OF THE
an act was passed, prohibiting all friendly ini course with America.
Q. How did the Americans act in consequent A. They carried on the war with still great vigour than before. Boston was closely besiege and General Howe, the commander of the Briti troops, evacuated the town, with seven hund men, leaving behind him many pieces of canD and stores to the value of X30,000.
Q. What followed?
A. General Washington took possession Boston, and his entry was greeted by the ac nations of the inhabitants, who hailed him their deliverer.
Q. How did the Americans succeed in oth quarters ?
A. Generally speaking they were successful all their undertakings, except against Cana which province was defended by General Carl ton, its governor.
Q. Did not his conduct afford a striking co trast to that of the other British commanders?
A. Yes; he was not only the most victorioL but the most humane British commander. treated the prisoners that fell into his hands w the greatest humanity, permitting them to retu home, after having attended to their peculi wants. By this humane conduct he more mat rially served his country than by all the severity which were practised by others.
Q. When did the Congress formally decla the colonies to be independent ?
A. On the 4th of July, 1776. The Americf no longer appeared as subjects in arms agI
HISTORY OF AMERICA. 93
heir sovereign, but as an independent nation relcing the attacks of an invading foe, The most rigorous measures were therefore resorted to by he British government, and powerful reinforceents were sent to aid the royal cause in America.
Q. To whom was confided the grand armaent that was sent from Britain ?
A. General Howe and his brother Lord Howe ere intrusted with the command of the British iimament, which consisted of thirty thousand eteran troops, supported by a powerful fleet.
Iis lordship was also invested with the power of
- ceiving the submission of the colonists, and acordingly on his arrival, published a declaration
o that effect.
Q. Where was General Washington at that
A. General Washington was at that time in
ew York, with an army of thirteen thousand iten; against which city the British armament
Q. Where did the British troops land ?
A. They landed on Long Island, and a furious
attle commenced between them and the Amerians, who were commanded by General Putnam.
Q. What was the result of this battle?
A. The total defeat of General Putnam's army.
fhe Americans lost, in this engagement, between ree and four thousand men, of whom two thound were killed, and eleven hundred, including hree generals, made prisoners. Of the British, Only sixty-one were killed, and two hundred and fty-seven wounded.
3Q. What effect had this victory ?
24 CATECHISM or TIE
A. It inspired the British army with ard and as none of theAmerican commanders tho it proper to risk another attack, they aband their camp in the night, and left the island such secrecy and silence, that their retreat not discovered till the following morning.
Q. Was General Washington able to op the British army?
A. No; he abandoned New York, which taken possession of by the British; they soon after took Fort Washington, on York Isi with two thousand prisoners. Fort Lee and R h Island also fell into their hands; and the of the Americans seemed to be more despe than at any previous time.
Q. What further misfortune befel the Am cans ?
A. General Lee, who was going with troops under his command, to assist Gem Washington, was captured by a party of Br light horse, having imprudently taken u lodgings at some distance from his army. was considered by the Americans as a great and they offered six-field officers in exchange him, which was refused.
Q. Was notsome advantage soon after ga by the Americans?
A. Yes; General Washington had made a s near Pennsylvania, and was determined on tempting to take some of the royal army, il sible, 4y.s rise. This he effected on the of the 26th of December, by crossing the ware, and surrounding a detachment of Hes of whom he took nearly one thousand prison
HISTORY OF AMERICA. 25
1 Q. What effect had this success ?
A. It restored the confidence of the Ameri-ns, and lessened their fear of the Hessians. tienforcements accordingly came into Wash
gton's army so fast, that he was now able to
ommence offensive operations. p Q. Of what nature were they?
h A. The Americans confined themselves as
uch as possible to the system of skirmishing Iith and harassing the royal army on its march, '1 refully avoiding a pitched battle. a Q. When did General Howe take the city of
W hiladelphia ?
A. Tfhe Americans having evacuated PhiladelL ia, General Howe took possession of it on the
'th of September, 1777.
Q. What further operations of consequence l. ok place that year?
A. The principal were undertaken by that
art of the British army commanded by General P urgoyne, who at first was successful; but the
creasing numbers of General Gates' army, t hich was opposed to him, soon rendered the sit ation of the British very precarious.
Q. What was the result?
A. After two severe engagements, in which ,e Americans had a decided advantage, General l urgoyne was under the necessity of surrenders g his whole army, which amounted to about
x thousand men.
Q. When did this happen?
A. On the 17th of October, 1777. This suces diffused an universal joy throughout the olonies, and led to the most important political
CATECHISM OF THE
Q. What were they ?
A. A treaty of alliance between the Ameri and the French, who now acknowledged the dependence of the government of the Un States; and, shortly after, a fleet of fifteen sal the line arrived from France, with six thous soldiers and marines on board.
Q. Did not Spain also join in the confeder against Great Britain ?
A. Yes; Spain acceded to the confedera the first effect of which appeared in the invas of West Florida by the Spaniards, which being no state of defence, they soon made themsel masters of the whole country.
History of the American War (concluded).
Q. WHICH side did the Indians take in t contest ?
A. The majority of the Indians had, during war, taken the part of the British, and had co fitted great depredations at various times on Americans. This conduct the Americans resolved to punish; they therefore sent Gen Sullivan, with a large army, to take ample v geance on them.
Q. What part of the country did these Indi inhabit ?
A. They inhabited an immense and fertile t of country, situated between New England,
HISTORYY oF AMERICA. 27
iddle States, and Canada; and formed the conderacy of the six nations, called the Mohawks. Q. How did the Americans succeed in this exedition?
A. They fully accomplished their intentions. he whole of this fine country was converted into desert, forty towns and settlements were demoshed; the fields of corn, orchards, and plantaons were utterly laid waste; and such was the esolation, that scarcely a house was left standg, or qn Indian to be seen throughout the hole tract the Americans passed through. Q. How did the American affairs succeed in e southern provinces ?
A. In South Carolina, Lord Cornwallis, who ommanded the British troops there, obtained a decisive victory over General Gateskilling a great umber and taking upwards of a thousand priners.
Q. What American officer was detected of eachery about this time? A. General Arnold, who had been one of the ost distinguished of the American generals for outrage and ability, engaged to desert to the ritish and to use his influence in bringing over is men; but this was attended with the most tal consequence to a young British officer. Q. How so?
A. Major Andre, a young officer of great hopes nd uncommon merit, who was employed to conert the affair with Arnold, was taken by three merican soldiers, and being tried as a spy, by a council of war, was condemned to be hanged. Q. How did he meet his fate?
28 CATECHISI OF THE
A. He met his fate with great firmness; bu appeared hurt that he was not allowed a moi military death. On being asked, by those who ac companied him to the gallows, if he had any thini to say; Nothing," replied he, but to re quest that you will witness to the world that die like a brave man."
Q. In what state were the contending parti in 1781 ?
A. Although Lord Cornwallis had obtaineds veral advantages over the Americans, yet his si tuation in Virginia every day became more critic cal, particularly as Sir Henry Clinton, who w to have sent him reinforcements from Ne York, was prevented from doing so.
Q. How was he prevented ?
A. By the pains which were taken by Gen ral Washington to make him believe that th Americans intended to attack New York. this he completely succeeded, for while Sir Clinton was expecting to be attacked, Gener Washington marched towards Virginia, app rently with a design to attack Lord Cornwalli
Q. What was the ultimate fate of the Britis army under Lord Cornwallis?
A. The British army was blocked up in Yor Town by General 'Washington, who commene a vigorous siege, and no chance was now lI them but to capitulate. Lord Cornwallis, ther fore, on the 19th of October, surrendered hii self and his whole army (amounting to upwardi of six thousand men) prisoners of war to t combined armies of America and France.
Q. What else occurred of a military naturtiI
~I5ITORY OF AMERICA-.2
A. Nothing of importance. The British soon after evacuated all their posts in G3eorgia and south Carolina, and retired to the main army in New York. A treaty of peace was entered into, which was concluded on the 30th of November, 1782, by which Great Britain acknowledged the independence and sovereignty of the United States of America.
Q. What were the names of the provinces which then constituted the United States of America ?
A. New Hampshire, Massachus etts, Rhode Island and Providence, Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, -North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.
Q. What became of General Washington?
A. He resigned the high command with which he had been entrusted, and retired to his seat at Mount Vernon, on the Banks of the Potowmac, in Virginia,where he hoped to pass the remainder of his'life in the tranquil enjoyment of domestic peace and felicity.
History of the United States during the Admninistration of President Washington.
Q. WHAT was the condition of the United States at the close of the war?
A. Having sustained a long war, their finances were in a very embarrassed state; their army was disbanded without receiving their full pay, and various insurrections took place; it was therefore C 3
30 CATECHISM OF THE
found necessary to assemble delegates from al the states, for the purpose of taking into cons' deration what form of government should b adopted.
Q. What were the leading opinions on ti occasion ? I
A. The delegates were divided into two par ties; one called federalists, who were for esta blishing a constitution as purely republican a possible; and another called antifederalists, wh wished that their new government should mor nearly resemble the monarchical form. In th course of a few years, however, the latter assum ed the name of federalists, and the former wer universally called anti-federalists.
Q. Was there any difference of opinion as to the person who should exercise the chief power?
A. No; it was the unanimous wish of the whole country that the late commander-in-chiefshoul be invested with the highest office in the state Mr. Washington was accordingly elected Presi dent, and the news was conveyed to him while he was enjoying the ease of retirement at his farm.
Q. How did he receive the appointment?
A. He received the appointment with every degree of modesty, and anxiously requested, that as he was unambitious of any farther honours,he might be excused from all future public service; but finding that his countrymen were bent on his accepting the office, he undertook it as a public duty.
Q. What great political event convulsed Ea rope during Washington's administration ?
A. The French Revolution.
STORY OF AMERICA. 31
Q. What effect had it on the United States ?
A. It caused the greatest dissensions among the Americans; some warmly espoused the principles of the French revolutionists, while the more temperate part of the nation condemned their excesses and viewed their proceedings with horror.
Q. What line of conduct was pursued by the President ?
A. This prudent statesman saw that the interest of his rising country required that she should remain disengaged from the quarrels of the European nations. The preservation of tranquillity, however, was a most difficult task, at a time when there was such a conflict of opinions among the people.
Q. When did Washington retire from office?
A. In October, 1796, he publicly announced his intention of retiring from political affairs, on account of the infirmities of age, and begged his friends would not nominate him in the next election of President.
Q. What remarkshave you to make on the life of Washington.
A. There is nothing more striking in his character than the circumstances which attended his promotion and retirement from office. He never courted popularity, but his conduct was so exemplary that he was sure to gain it; he never sought promotion, but his merit was so conspicuous that the people forced him to accept it ; and when he retired from office, all good men regretted it as a national misfortune.
CATECHISM OT THE
Continuation of the History of the United Stat
till the Year 1811.
Q.WHO succeeded Washington?
A. John Adams, who had held the situation vice-president under Washington, was elected president, and Thomas Jefferson was chosen Vic president.
Q. ffow did the Americans preserve their neu trality during the war between France and Eng land?
A. It was found very difficult to preserve the neutrality, particularly as the French Director had repeatedly insulted their ambassadors an even captured their ships.
Q. What resolutions did they come to in con sequence?
A. They resolved to arm by land and sea but t hey at length succeeded in preserving thei neutrality, and in being treated more honorab.1 without coming to an open rupture with th, French.
Q. When did the celebrated Washington die A. He died on the 1!2th of December, 1792, the 68th year of his age, and in the 23d year American independence, of which he may be trul said to be the founder and preserver.
Q. Was not America visited by a pestilent' disorder about this time ?
A. Yes; the yellow fever made its appearan in America, particularly in the two greatest citi
HISTORY Or ATMERICA. 33
of the United States, Philadelphia and New York, and many thousands fell victims to its ravages.
Q Was not a new president chosen in 1801 ?
A. Yes; Mr. Jefferson, who had before been vice-president, was now elected president.
Q. In what state were the affairs of America during his administration ?
A. Soon after his election to the presidency, the Spaniards ceded the province of Louisiana to the French ; and it seemed highly probable that the views of Bonaparte extended to the dominion of America, which he hoped to effect, if he could once get a footing there.
_.What happened to prevent its falling into the hands of the French ?
A. The American government, had, by a treaty with Spain, the right of warehousing, at New Orleans, all the produce of the Western territory which came down the riverMississippi for exportation; the Spaniards now attempted to deny that right ; therefore, to compromise matters, the American president purchased Louisiana of thle French for thirty millions of dollars.
Q. What induced Bonaparte to accept oi'this sum ?
A. He considered that as a war between France and Great Britain was just approaching, he should find it impossible to retain Louisiana ; for it was evident the Americans could not witness the transfer with indifference.
Q. Was it not considered a very important acquisition to America ?
A. Yes; it was certainly an important acquisition ; but it was of far greater consequence as it
31 CATECHISM OF THE
regarded the independence of America, fo may be justly esteemed as having secured tI country from French dominion.
Q. What event of importance next occurred A. Nothing very material occurred till year 1806; when the Americans loudly co plained of the practice which was exercised Great Britain, of impressing British subje found on board American ships, as it frequen happened, from a similarity of language and pearance, that subjects of the United States we impressed.
Q. What other subject of dispute existed ?, A. It was contended by the English, that t Americans had no right to trade directly betwe the colonies and the mother country of tho powers with whom England was at war; wh the Americans insisted, that, as a neutral power they had a right to extend their commerce in way they pleased.
Q. Were these differences adjusted?
A. No; although a treaty of amity, commer and navigation, was entered into between t British and American plenipotentiaries, the Am rican president refused to sign it; and the disc sion of these differences continued to agitate tl two nations for a considerable time.
Q. Who was president at this time?
A. Mr. Jefferson, who continued in the offi till the year 1808, when he was succeeded by Maddison.
Q. Did any adjustment of these differen take place on the new president being elected?
A. No; thesame contention existed, and thI
HISTORY OF AMERICA. 35
ppeared to be no chance of coming to a final
Q. What argument was used by the Americans
n support of their opinion?
A. The great argument made use of by the mericans was, that the sea is as open to all men s the atmosphere we breathe in; and therefore hat no one power has a right to exercise the least
uthority over another on that element.
Q_. What objections are raised to this argument
y those who contend that Great Britain has a
eight to search neutral ships?
A. They say, that a preponderating power at
ca has been acquired by the superior skill and alour of Britain ; and she maintains it in the same manner as other sovereigns do their territories, Iy the strength of her arms; and that if superior
Lorce be admitted as a just title in one instance, it
ught to be in the other.
istory of the late War between the United States
and Great Britain.
Q. WHAT incident occurred in 1811 that
seemed likely to involve America and Great BriI am in immediate hostilities ?
I A. TheAmerican shipPresident,commanded by ommodore Rogers, fell in with the British sloop f war Little Belt, commanded by Captain Bingwm, on the 16th of May, about fourteen leagues
36 CATECHISM OF THE
from Cape Henry, and an engagementtook place though neither party were authorised by their vernmeuts to consider each other as enemies.
Q. Relate the particulars.
A. The statements made by the commande were very contradictory, each affirming that ha, inghailed and inquired what ship is that ?" hi opponent replied by firing a broadside. But it most reasonable to suppose that the quarrel ori nated with the American commodore, as his shi was infinitely superior to that commanded by th English captain.
Q. What was their respective force, and ho did the battle terminate ?
A. The President carried forty-four guns, an the Little Belt only eighteen. Such a disparity of force was of course severely felt by the Eng lish, whose loss amounted to thirty-two me killed and wounded, and great damage done the vessel ; while the loss of the Americans w, very trifling.
Q. Was war immediately declared in cons quence?
A. No; the quarrel was adjusted: but the ani mosity between the two countries was visibly II creased by it; and in the following year Ameri declared war against Great Britain.
Q. What other event of important tbok Ila in the year 1812?
A. An act was passed by the Americans itt the newly-acquired province Louisi
Q. What military operation was undertake the Anericans that year?
HISTORY OF AMERICA. 37
A. General Dearborn advanced to Champlain,
near the Canada line, for the purpose of crossing Ithe frontier, and penetrated to Montreal; but the
vigorous preparations of General Prevost disconcerted his plans, and he was obliged to retreat
with considerable loss.
Q. What was the first military operation of
A. The American General Winchester marched
to the attack of Fort Detroit, in Canada, with about a thousand men; but he was defeated by Colonel Proctor, who, with five hundred regulars and militia and six hundred Indians, attacked him
on the 22nd of January.
Q. What was the loss on each side on that occasion ?
A. General Winchester and five hundred of his men were made prisoners, and Dearly all the rest were killed by the Indians in attempting to escape. The loss on the part of the British was only twenty-four killed and one hundred and fifty-eight wounded.
Q. Where did the next action take place?
A' At Ogdenburgh, between about five hundred men on each side, which terminated in favour of the British.
Q. Did not the Americans also gain some advantages?
I A. Yes; they took York, the capital of Upper Canada, which more than counterbalanced the losses they had sustained. In the attack, a magaZiDe blew up, which destroyed the American general Pike and one hundred of his men, and about forty of the garrison.
PART 11. D
2 CATECHISM OF THg
Q. When and where did the next action ta
A. The next action took place in May, nea
Lake Erie, in which the Americans lost upward
of one thousand men, while the loss of the Britis t
did not exceed one hundred.
Q. Where was the war carried on with mos
A. On the lakes; the Americans were full
sensible of the importance of gaining a naval su
periority on the lakes in their attempts upon Ca t
nada, and therefore they made the greatest effort in constructing vessels and obtaining sailors t
Q. What expedition did the Americans plan 1
A. The Americans having collected a power I
ful force by land and water, at the head of Lak Ontario, effected a landing near Fort George, c the Niagara, which they took, and, in a shor time, rendered themselves complete masters o
the Niaga 'a frontier.
Q. What expedition did Sir George Prevosi
A. He planned an attempt upon the American
post at Sackett's Harbour, in Lake Ontario, an, committed its execution to Colonel Baynes an
Sir James Yeo; but it failed of success.
Q. Did any action of a decisive character tak
A. No; there was nothing effected that could
be regarded as important towards the general re sult of the war ; though there were a great man
partial actions by land and sea.
Q. Who commanded the British squadron sta
tioned on the American coast?
HISTORY OF AMERICA. 3
A. Admiral Cockburn, who continually kept tile Americans in a state of alarm, and did considerably injury to them by blockading their ports.
Q. Did not the Americans make great efforts to obtain naval possession of the lakes ?
A. Yes ; they directed their attention particularly to that object, and completely succeeded on Lake Erie, by which the British were compelled to abandon most of their posts in Upper Canada.
Q. Did not the American armies unite and attempt the invasion of Canada in great force?
A. Yes; more than thirty thousand men were collected for that purpose ; but, after a seriess of attempts, they were compelled to retire from both Upper and Lower Canada, and took up their winter quarters in their own territory.
Q. What was the first military engagement in 1814?
A. A battle between the American General 14ull and Major-general Riall, at the town of Buffalo, where the Americans were defeatea, and the town burnt by the British, in retaliation for the numerous acts of conflagration and plunder committed by the Americans in Canada, the year before.
Q. Was not the war now carried on with more than usual vigour ?
A. Yes; the contending powers made great efforts to gain some decisive advantage ; but the fortune of war continued to fluctuate, and a series of engagements took place before any great flupressiun was made on either side.
40 CATECHISM OF THE
History of the United States (concluded.)
Q. How were the British naval armaments o tuo American coast conducted?
A. They had hitherto been conducted on small scale, but at length the resolution was take of striking some important blow. i
Q. To whom was the principal naval fore confided ?
A. A large naval armament was entrusted t the command of Sir A. Cochrane, having on boar a powerful land force under Major-general Ross This being joined by the fleets of Admirals Cock c burn and Malcolm, it was determined to atta the city of Washington, the capital of the Unite States.
Q. How did it succeed? b
A. The British having reached Bladensbur
which is situated on the eastern bank of the P c, towmac, about five miles from Washington, the ai discovered the American army, consisting of eig h or nine thousand men, strongly posted on the op i1 posite side of the river ; but the British troo r rushed to the attack with such irresistible fury that the Americans were obliged to make a pre cipitate retreat.
Q. When was the city of Washington taken r A. The same evening (August 24.) Afte r
burning all the public buildings, the arsenal a dockyards, &c. the assailants retired, having cor c
HISTORY OF AMERICA. 4
pletely effected their daring enterprize, with very little loss. This attack was suggested by Admiral Cock-burn, who was very active in carrying it into execution.
Q. What effects did the destruction of Washington produce?
A. It was not only a severe loss in property that the American government sustained by it, but it incurred the reproach of Ohpt part of the nation which was averse to the war, who blamecd the President for not having taken effectual measures to prevent such a national disgrace.
Q. Were these the only sentiments to which it gave rise?
A. No; the devastation committed by the victors brought a heavy censure upon the British character in Amnericai and a deep resentment seemed to be harboured in the breasts of the people
Q. What further operations were undertaken by the British ?
A. Sir A. Cochrane and General Ross concerted a plan for attacking the town of Baltimore; and, on the 12th of September, the British troops landed about thirteen miles from the town, where, in a skirmish with the Americans, General Ross received a mortal wound.
Q. Did this disaster prove otherwise fatal to the British ?
A. No; Colonel Brooke, the second in command, successfully attacked and routed the Americans ; but the attempt to take the town was abandoned, owing to the impracticability of receiving co-operation from the naval force.
42 CATECHISM OF TIIE
Q. What warlike operation was undertaken another part of North America?
A. Sir G. Prevost, who had fourteen thousand men under his command, planned an expeditio which was to co-operate with a naval armamen on Lake Champlain; with a design to seize th frontier towns, and penetrate on that side int the territory of the United States.
Q. How did it succeed?
A. The British flotilla was totally defeated b the Americans, and the commander of it, Captai Downie, killed. The naval force being destroyed General Prevost ordered a retreat, and thus a end was put to an expedition, of which the mos sanguine expectations had been formed, and which had been attended with great expense.
Q. Was not a negociation for peace carryin on at this time between Great Britain and Ame rica?
A. Yes? during the negotiations which wer carrying on at Ghent for the general pacificatio of Europe, the affairs of America did not escap notice, and a treaty of peace was entered into the conditions of which were such as left tb two countries in nearly the same position towar ,ach other that subsisted before the war.
Q. Were not several naval actions fought dur ing the war?
A. Yes; severalnaval engagements took plac between frigates, in which the Americans at fir had the advantage.
Q. To what was it owing?
A. Not to a superiority in skill or courage, b owing to the American ships in general carryin
HISTORY OF AMERICA. 43
more guns and heavier metal than the British; though the latter subsequently retrieved the bonour of their country's flag.
British Possessions in North America.
WHAT are the British possessions in North America?
A. The British possessions in North America consist of Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and New Britain, with the islands of Newfoundland, Cape Breton, and St. John.
Q. Which is the principal ?
A. Canada; which is divided into Upper and Lower Canada; the former being the western division on the nortb of the great lakes, and the latter lying on both sides of the river St. Law, rence, containing Quebec, the capital of all the British possessions in that part.
Q. When was Canada first discovered?
A. It was first discovered by the English in 1497, but no settlement was made there till the French took possession of it in 1608.
Q. How long did they retain it?
A. The French held it till the year 1759, when General Wolfe took the city of Quebec, which led to the conquest of the whole province. Since that time, it has remained in possession of the English.
44 CATECHISM OF THE
FQ. I-ow is Canada governed?
A. A Legislative Council, and an assembly a appointed for each of the provinces of Upper an Lower Canada, having the power to make law with consent of the governor.
Q. What kind of climate is that of Canada?
A. In winter, the weather is so severe that th largest rivers are frozen over, the snow lying o the ground several feet deep;, and, on gainr abroad, it is necessary to cover the whole bod with furs; yet the atmosphere is so clear an serene, that this season is by no means unhealthy
Q. What is the general appearance of Canada A. The natural scenery of Canada is striking] grand. Here nature assumes her most sublirn and magnificent appearance.
Q. What constitute these beauties?
A. Rocks, woods, and mountains, which ar grouped together in forms the most noble fo their magnitude, and the most enchanting fo their wild and romantic variety. Lakes of im niense extent, rivers of astonishintr rapidity an( volume, and cataracts the most awful that th imagination can conceive, which for so man centuries had been only witnessed by brutes an barbarians, are at length irradiated by the day light of science, and revealed to the admiration of beings who are capable of relishing thei charms.
Q. Is not the return of spring very sudden?
A. Yes, remarkably so. Ink M-ay, the thaw generally comes on so suddenly, that the ice o the rivers burst with the noise of cannon, and its course to the sea is awfully grand. Vegetationis
HISTORY OF AMERICA. 45
Surprisingly rapid, and during the summer the
weather is intensely hot.
I Q. For what animals is Canada remarkable? V A. The natural history of Canada includes
many beasts and birds, an account of which would be very interesting if our limits permitted us to describe them ; among the reptiles there is one particularly deserving notice, namely, the
A. The rattle-snake is about the size of a man's y leg, and proportionably long; its tail is covered
with scales, like a coat of mail, on which there annually grows, one ring or row of scales, so that its age may be known by the number of rings.
When it moves, it makes a rattling noise, -whence ;ts name is derived. It seldom bites persons unless it is provoked, but the bite is mortal, unless
a remedy is immediately applied.
Q. Has not Providence provided a certain remedy for the bite of the rattle-snake?
A. Yes; such is the goodness of Providence,
that in all places where this dangerous reptile is found, there grows a herb, the r oot of which is a certain antidote against its venomous bite, and that with the most simple preparation; for it requires only to be pounded or chewed, and applied
like a plaster to the wound.
Q. What are reckoned the greatest natural
curiosities of Canada?
A. Its lakes, rivers, and cataracts: among the I latter, the principal is the stupendous cataract,
calQ the Falls of Niagara.
Q. Describe it.
46 CATECHISM O THE
A. A rock, in the form of a half moon, cross
the river, which, at that part, is nearly halfa mil
wide, and the perpendicular fall is one hundre P
and fifty feet. This immense body of wateh thrown, as it were, from such a height, and r bounding from the rocks below, has a most tre
mendous effect. It appears as white as sno
being all converted into foam, and the vapo u 0
which arises may be seen at an almost incredible distance, while the noise it makes is often hear
fifteen miles off.
Q. Which are the principal towns of Canada
A. Quebec the capital, and Montreal. Th a former is situated at the confluence of the gre al
river St. Lawrence and the river St. Charles, an its vicinity presents some beautiful scenery, par ticularly the Falls of Montmorenci, which af much celebrated. The town is well fortified, an
contains about fifteen thousand inhabitants.
Q. Where is Montreal situated?
A. Montreal is built on an island in the riv,
St. Lawrence, and is nearly as large as Quebe, from which it is nearly one hundred and sevent miles distant, and is the farthermost point access sible to shipping. It is a recently built town, an
the centre of the fur trade.
Q. Is there any other town of importance I
A. Yes ; York, the seat of government o
Upper Canada. Mr. Boulton, in his "Sketch o
Upper Canada," observes, that the society ri
this place is highly respectable, and its hospitalit.
is experienced by every visitor, The town
not large, but is well furnished with every nece 0
HISTORY OP AMERICA. 47
sary convenience, and the market is well supplied."
Q. What is the most remarkable event in the history of Canada?
A. An earthquake, which happened in the ),ear 1663 ; it overwhelmed a chain of mountains of free stone, more than three hundred miles long, changing the immense tract into a plain.
Q. Of what do the inhabitants consist?
A. The greater part of the Canadians are the descendants of French settlers ; their manners and customs resemble that nation, and the French language is almost universally spoken. There are also many different tribes of Indians in Canada.
,Yew Britain and Labrador-Nova Scotia and
New Br~tnswick-Netvfoundland, 4c.
Q. Describe New Britain and Labrador.
A. New Britain and Labrador are wild and barren regions, destitute of towns, and containing only a few forts belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company, and inhabited by their servants, for the purpose of carrying on the fur trade with the natives,- who frequently visit them from the interior. The chief of them are Albany-.Fort, and Moore-Fort, on St. Jameg's Bay; York-Fort, on Nelson's river; and Churchill-Fort, on the river of the same name.
48 CATECIIISAI OF TIE
Q. Who were the first possessors of Nov
A. The grant of lands in Nova Scotia wa
given by James the First to his secretary, Si William Alexander; soon after which the Frenc] took it and gave it the name of Arcadia; it wa at length confirmed to the English by the treat
of Utrecht, in 1713.
Q. How is Nova Scotia divided?
A. The original tract of country called Nov
Scotia is divided into two provinces or gover ments; namely, Nova Scotia Proper and Ne S Brunswick.
Q. What are the principal.towns in each? f
A. Halifax is the capital of Nova Scotia; anj
St. John's, of New Brunswick.
Q. What is the chief town of Nova Scotia ?
A. Halifax, or New Scotland, which wa
founded by the British in 1749. It is situate on a commodious bay, with an excellent harbou,
and is one of the most populous towns in Britis f
America. It contains sixteen thousandinhabitant
Q. What kind of climate has Nova Scotia? e A. The climate of this country, though in thl b
temperate zone, has been found rather unfavou
able to European constitutions, caused by t d severity of the weather, and being a great pr a
portion of the year surrounded by a thick fog.
Q. What are its soil and produce ?
A. From such an unfavourable climate litt
can be expected. Till lately this country w a ahnosta continued forest; and agriculture, thouattempted by the English, has made but lite
progress, and the soil in general is very barrenI
HISTORY OF AMERICA. 49
and the grain produced is of a very shrivelled kind.
Q. What islands belong to Great Britain in '_9orth America ?
A. The islands of Newfoundland, Cape Breton, St. John's, and the Bermudas or Summer Islands.
Q. What have you to observe of Newfoundland A. Newfoundland was discovered by Sebastian Cabot, in 1496. It is about three hundred and twenty miles long and two hundred broad; is separated from Canada by the Bay of St. Lawrence, and from New Britain by the Straits of Belleisle. It is chiefly valuable for an extensive fishery on its coasts, and for the timber that grows in the island.
Q. What kind of climate has it?
A. The climate is unfavourable to health, being extremely cold and foggy, and the soil far from being productive.
Q. Of what magnitude is the Newfoundland fishery said to be?
A. It is computed to yield 300,0001, and to employ annually eight hundred sail of small craft, belonging to Great Britain and the United States, and a hundred thousand hands. Indeed, the prodigious quantities of fish, particularly cod, that are caught on these coasts are inconceivable.
Q. Of what extent is the island of Cape Breton ?
A. Cape Breton is about a hundred miles long and fifty broad. It is full of lakes and forests, the climate cold and foggy, and the soil so barren that it is unfit for the purposes of agriculture.
Q. What is the history of this island ?
50 CATECHISM OF THE
A. Cape Breton is said to have been discover by the Normans and Bretons, about the year on thousand five hundred; from the latter it took i e name, but they did not take possession of it ti l &3. In the year 1720, the town of Louisbourg
capital, was built, and in 1745, the island was taken by the British, in whose hands it h ever since remained.
Q. Where is the island of St. John situate ?
A. St. John's is situated in the Gulf of St b Lawrence, and is about sixty miles long an r thirty broad. The soil of this island is far mor t productive, and its air more healthy, than eith b Cape Breton or Nova Scotia Its principal tow t is Charlotte-town.
Q. What are the Bermudas or Summer Islands
A. The Bermudas are situated at a great dis P tance from any continent. They were caller Bermudas from their having been discovered b r a Spaniard of that name; and were afterwards called the Summer Islands, from Sir Georg Summers, who was shipwrecked there in the year 1609.
The West India Islands.
Q. HAVIN traversed the continents of Ame- C rica, let us now visit the West India islands; and, in the first place, tell me where they are situate S
A. The West Indies consist of a multitude o r
iands which lie between the two continents, and
HISTORY OF AMERICA. 5
extend from the Florida shore, on the northern peninsula, to the Gulf of Venezuela in the souther'_n; having received the name of West Indies from Columbus, as before noticed.
Q. Is not the climate of' these islands very delightful?
A. Yes; most of them being situate under the tropic of Cancer, the climate is very nearly alike in all ; and as the sun goes quite over their heads, they are continually subjected to the most intense beat, which would be intolerable, if they were not refreshed by the trade wind, which blows in upon them during the day from the sea, and the night breeze, which blows on all sides from the land to the shore.
Q. Can you give a description of the seasons peculiar to the West India islands?
A. I will endeavour to do so. The periodical rains, to which these islands are subject, make the only distinction of season there; they have neither frost, snow, nor cold weather of any kind; but their rains resemble floods of water, poured from the clouds with prodigious impetuosity.
Q. Did the original inhabitants of tihe different islands possess similar qualities?
A. No ; they widely differed in their manners and dispositions. We have before observed that when Columbus visited the-large islands, and particularly Hispaniola, he found the inhabitants docile aud peaceable, but it was not so with the inhabitants of the other islands ; they were represented as a barbarous and warlike people, who made war upon their neighbours, and devoured the prisoners whom they carried away.
52 CATECHISM OF THE
Q. What were they called?
A. They were called Caribbees, and the nani r is still given to a large cluster of these islands. r
Q. What were the customs of the Caribbees
A. They were particularly fond of military e v terprises, and took every opportunity of wagin I war against the inhabitants of the larger island I In their appearance they endeavoured to render themselves as formidable as possible, by disfigure ing their faces with deep incisions of hideous scars, and decorating their persons with rows their enemies' teeth, &c. whom they had slain il a battle. I
Q. Were they acquainted with any arts?
A. Yes; they possessed the knowledge of s&
veral useful arts, which was not to be expected i 1 a people who were so truly savage in their disp N sitions: When Columbus first visited these island he observed an abundance of substantial cotto cloth, of which the Caribbees made their ha f mocks, though they despised the use of clotheI
Q. Were they fond of social pleasures?
A. No; they never engaged in social amus
ments, and seldom appeared cheerful at hom I The condition of their women was truly wretcheI they sustained every species of drudgery, an were held in such contempt that they were n allowed the privilege of eating in the presence I of their husbands.
Q. Describe the inhabitants of the larger Wej India islands.
A. The inhabitants of Cuba, Hispaniola, J maica, and Porto Rico, were a mild, and eve cultivated people, compared with the Caribbees When they were first discovered, they wore
HISTORY OF AMERICA. 53
nothing more than a slight covering of cotton round the waist. They were taller and more graceful than the Caribbees, their countenances were open and honest, they delighted in the pleasures and amusements of social life, and were particularly attached to dancing.
Q. Did they not display the greatest activity when engaged in this amusement.
A. Yes; their agility was eminently conspicuous in their dances, and they delighted in the amusement it afforded. They were frequently known to dance from evening till dawn, and though many thousands often assembled on some particular occasions, they seemed to be actuated by one common impulse, keeping time with the greatest exactness.
Q. What was their form of government ?
A. Their form of government was monarchical and absolute; and their deportment to their superiors was submissive and respectful. Their chief was styled a eazique, and under him were nobles and chieftains of different degrees of rank. Their principal cazique had every possible homage paid him, and his commands were instantly obeyed.
Q. What was the nature of their religion ?
A. They worshipped idols, and were very superstitious. They supposed that after death their spirits were conveyed to pleasant valley, abounding with every thing they esteemed delicious ; and though they believed in the existence of a Supreme Being, they paid adoration to the most frightful images.
54 CATECHISM OF THE
Histor of Jamnaica.
Q. WHICH of the West India islands first de' serves our attention ?
A. Jamaica, being the largest that belongs t Great Britain.
Q. Describe it.
A. The island of Jamaica is one hundred an forty miles in length and sixty miles in breadth It was discovered by Columbus, and by the Spaniards called Xaymaca, which signified, in theI language of the natives, a country abounding with springs.
Q. When did it come into our possession?
A. It was taken by the English during Crom-I well's usurpation. At that time, the island was of little value, on account of the Sloth of the Spa niards, who had neglected to improve or cultivateI e soil. Q. In what state was Jammaica during Cromwe1's time?
A. The English troops behaved with such se verity towards the Spaniards, that many attemptI were made by them to recover the island; and I the negro slaves were equally hostile to the con querors ; so that, for a long time, the island wa in a state of perpetual alarm.
Q.What measures were taken by Cromwell ?
HISTORY OF AMERICA.
A. He was bent, not only on conquering, but
on peopling the island. He encouraged emigravon from Scotland and Ireland, and granted certain tracts of land to those who were able to
Q. Was not the island invaded soon after by
the Spaniards ?
I A. Yes; in 1658, thirty companies of Spanish
infantry landed on the north side of the island, furnished with provisions for eight months; but the English governor, D'Oyley, attacked them in their entrenchments, and gained a complete victory over them.
Q. Did not Jamaica now assume a more prosperous aspect ?
A. Yes; by the wise and prudent administration of the governor, the island began to flourish ; plantations of Indian corn, cassivi, and tobacco were raised; but nothing contributed so much to the prosperity of Jamaica, and its principal town, Port Royal, in particular, as its being the grandresort of some famous pirates, called Buccaneers, who fought with bravery, and dissipated their, riches in the enjoyment of every sensual gratification.
Q. Whence did the Buccaneers originate
A. The Buccaneers consisted of adventurers of
all nations, who resorted to Jamaica on account of its convenient situation for plundering the Spaniards. They took the Spanish ships, and did in-,* credible mischief to the tow ns on the American, continent; but their excesses becoming alarming, to all nations, measures were at length taken to,
suppress these pirates.
56 CATECHISM OF THE
Q. What other causes contributed to the prosperity of Jamaica ?
A. Independent of the wealth which the inhabitants had acquired by encouraging the Buccaneers to spend their money in the island, its condition was improved bythe number of families who fled there from England on Kina Charles's restoration, and who brought with them a spirit of industry.
Q. Was not Port Royal destroyed by an earthquake in 1692 ?
A. Yes; one of the most dreadful earthquakes happened in that city that the history of any country records. It totally overwhelmed it; the earth opened and swallowed up nearly all the houses and two thousand people; the ships in the barhour were wrecked, the water gushed out of the earth, which opened and shut in some places very Jo quick, while the wretched inhabitants were seen in all the agonizing attitudes of death.'
In the Philo"Aical Tramactions, some very interesting particulars are given, by an eye-witness, of this awful visitation of Providence:-" Between eleven and twelve (says be) we felt the tavern, where I then was, shake, and saw the bricks begin to rise in the floor. At the same time we heard a voice in the streets cry, 'an earthquake!' and immediately we ran out of the house, where we saw all the people with uplifted bands, begging God's assistance. We continued running up the street, while on either side of us we saw the houses, some swallowed tip, others thrown on heaps; the sand in the street rising like the waves of the sea, lifting up all persons that stood upon it, and immediately dropping into pits. At the same time a flood of water broke in, and rolled these poor souls over and over, some catching hold of beams
HISTORY OF AMERICA. 57
Q. Was the city afterwards rebuilt ?
A. Yes ; and it met with another calamity about ten years after, being destroyed, by fire. The convenience of its harbour again induced the inhabitants to rebuild it, but in 1772 a terrible hurricane completely laid it in ruins. Such re pleated calamities induced the inhabitants to forsake it for ever, and to remove to the opposite side of the bay, where they built Kingston, which is now the capital.
and rafts of houses; others were found in the sand, that appeared when the water was drained away, with their legs and arms out. Sixteen or eighteen of us who beheld this dismal sight, stood on a small piece of ground, which, thanks be to God, did not sink. The wharfs of Port Royal sunk down at once with many of the most eminent merchants ; and water, to the depth of several fathoms, filled the space where the street had stood. The earth, in its openings, swallowed up people, and threw them up in other parts of the town; nay, some of them survived this violence. About a thousand acres to the north of the town subsided, mountains were split, and plantations removed half a mile from the places where they formerly stood; and no fewer than two thousand blacks and whites are said to have perished in the town. *The ships in the barbour had their share in this disaster. Several of them were oversee; the motion of the sea carried the Swan frigate over the tops of houses, by which means she was the instrument of saving many lives. The rest of the island suffered in proportion; and scarce a house in it was left undemolished or undamaged. In short, it entirely changed not only its improved, but natural, appearance; scarce a mountain or piece of ground standing where it formerly did. Upon the whole, this earthquake was a mere wreck of nature, and its horrors were such as cannot be described."
53 CATECHISM OF THE
Q. What are the chief productions of Jamaica
A. It produces rum and sugar in great abun I dance; also coffee, indigo, ginger, and pimento (or Jamaica Pepper); and is in every respect th s most important and flourishing of all the island I that belong to Great Britain.
Q. How is it governed ?
A. Jamaica is governed by a captain-gener V (or governor,) a council of twelve persons, who are nominated by the crown, and a house of assem i bly, containing forty-three members. In effect, it resembles the British constitution as much a p possible; and the laws of England are the ground. work of all their judicial proceedings. The sam it may be said of the other West India islands be. longing to Great Britain.
Q. What is the general appearance of the o
country ? b
A. The appearance of the country is varie
and delightful; hills and dales, rivulets and cas b cades, woods and plains, are interspersed through. out: and the beautiful groves of pimento which ri diffuse a fragrance over the whole, render the scene truly enchanting.
CHAPTER XV. sc
The Island of Barbadoes. it
Q. OF what extent is the island of Barbadoes. hi
A. Barbadoes is twenty-one miles in length, and fourteen in breadth ; containing four towns, of which Bridgetown is the principal. in
Q. Who were its original inhabitants?
HISTORY OF AMERICA. 59
A. It is supposed to have been originally inhabited by some of the Caribbee Indians; but when the English first settled there it was deserted, and had no appearance of having been inhabited even by slaves.
Q. At what time did the English settle there?
A. The first English settlement in Barbadoes was made in the reign of James the First, by Sir William Courteen, a London merchant, who having been driven there by distress of weather, on his return to England made such a favourable report of the beauty of the country, that the Earl of Marlborough immediately obtained a grant of it from his Majesty.
Q. What happened soon after
A. The Earl of Carlisle having obtained a grant of all the Caribbee islands, insisted on Barbadoes being one of them; upon which a dispute arose between these noblemen, which was compromised by the earl of Carlisle undertaking to pay the earl of Marlborough the sum of 3001. a year for his right to it.
Q. Did not the population of the island rapidly increase ?
A. Yes; during the civil war in England, many peaceable families took refuge in Barbadoes ; and so rapid was its increase, that in fifty years from its first establishment, it was computed that there were fifty thousand whites, and double the number of negro slaves.
Q. is it equally populous at this time?
A. No; it is neither so populous nor flourishing now, owing to a variety of causes; but principally from a succession of dreadful hurricanes with
60 CATECHISM OF THE
which it has been visited. In a hurricane that happened on the 10th of October, 1780,' no les, than 4326 of the inhabitants perished, and tle damage done to the country was said to amount t nearly a million and a half sterling.
The Island of Grenada.
Q. WHEN was Grenada discovered, and bA whom was it inhabited ?
A. Grenada was discovered by Columbus, wh a C observed that the inhabitants were a warlike pet)pie; which I have before observed was the cae with all the Caribbee Indians.
01. What European power first conquered it A. The French in 1650. Like most other con-: quests of this kind, the capture of Grenada wa! attended with every species of injustice toward the natives, who having endeavoured to shake off the yoke of their new masters, were most inhu manly massacred.
Q. Did it become a flourishing colony ?
A. For the first fifty years after the Frencb
took it, Grenada was neither flourishing nor po- a pulous; they, however, afterwards paid more at- a tention to their West Indian colonies, and durng the next fifty years it became valuable. .Q. How long did the French remain in possesh sion ofit ?h A. The French remained in possession of Gre
HISTORY OF AMERICA. 61
nada till the year 1762, when the fortune of war made the English masters of this and the other Caribbee islands.
Q. How were its affairs conducted?
A. There were violent disputes between the Catholics and Protestants, the latter objecting to the former having any share in the administration of the government. The affairs of the island, therefore, being in the utmost confusion, the French took advantage of it, and succeeded in retaking the island in 1779.
Q. Did Grenada remain long in their hands ?
A. No; it was restored to the English at the general peace in 1783, and since that time it has continued in their possession.
St. Vincent and Dominica.
Q. WHo were the antient possessors of these islands ?
A. The Caribbees.
Q. Of what size are these ?
A. St. Vincent is about seventeen miles long and ten broad. Dominica nearly twenty-eight miles long and sixteen in breadth.
Q. To whom do they at present belong?
A. To the English.
Q. Is there any thing worthy of notice in the history of these islands ?
A. Very little. From the time St. Vincent
62 CATECHISM OF THE
came into the possession of the English, the mos arbitrary power had been exercised over the na ties. This naturally led to revolts, and the con sequence has been that very few of the original inhabitants have escaped destruction.
Q. For what is St. Vincent celebrated?
A. It is particularly remarkable for containin, a very extensive botanical garden, which aboundi with almost every species of the vegetable wor that the hand of Nature has bestowed on these islands, either for use or beauty, besides many valuable exotics from other countries.
Q. From what circumstance did the island o Dominica receive its name?
A. From Columbus having discovered it on Sunday.
Q. When did it first belong to the English?
A. It was conquered by the English in 1759, but was left in such a defenseless state durn the war between Great Britain and the Unite States, that it became an easy prey to the Frenc in 1778.
Q. How did the French Governor behave to wards the English ?
A. He conducted himself in the most brutal manner. He forbade more than two to be seen together at one time or place, under pain of mii r tary execution. He prohibited all lights in 04 houses after nine o'clock, and suffered no Eng" lishman to walk the streets without a lantern. H repeatedly threatened to set the principal town t Roseau, on fire; and when a dreadful conflagra tion took place, which consumed five hundred t houses, he, like Nero, diverted himself with tU
HISTORY OF AMERAICA. 6
scene, and forbade his soldiers to assist in extinguishing the flames.
Q. How did the island again come in possession of the English?
A. It was restored to the English at the general peace in 1783 ; and the 'joy which the inhabitants felt at being delivered from the tyranny of the French may be easily conceived.
Q. Does the island of Dominica contain any natural curiosities?
A. Yes: in some of the mountains, which are very high, are burning volcanoes that frequently discharge vast quantities of sulphur. The valleys are fertile, and well watered, and a considerable quantity of coffee is cultivated there.
Other Islands in the West Indies belonging to
Q. WHAT other West India islands belong to Great Britain ?
A. St. Christopher, Antigua, Nevis, l!onserrat, Barbadoes, Anguilla, and Trinidad.
Q. Describe St. Christopher.
A. St. Christopher, usually culled by mariners St. Kitt's, is about twenty miles in length, and twenty in breadth.
Q. Whence did it receive its name of St. Christopher
A. It received this name from Columbus, in r 2
61 CATECHISM OF THE
his first voyage to America. In the year 1625, the French and English arrived here on the same~ day, and divided the island between them. Three years after, it was seized by the Spaniards. Since which, for haif a century, it has been the scene of much war and bloodshed; andafter many changes,~ it was conquered by the English, in whose possession it still remains.
IQ. What are the climate, soil, and face of this island?
A. The climate of St. Christopher is extremely hot; the air is pure and healthy, but is subject to' t frequent storms, hurricanes, and earthquakes. C The soil is in general light and sandy, but very fruitful, and well watered by several rivulets which issue from its mountains. The whole island is covered with plantations, whose owners (noted for the softness of their manners) live in agreeable, clean, and convenient habitations, adorned with beautiful groves and fountains. Most ofi their houses are built of cedar, and their lands C hedged in or surrounded with orange or lemon trees.a
Q. What is its chief town, and how go-. ven ed ?
A. Its chief town is Basseterre, formerly the capital of the French part. The affairs of this t island are administered by a governor, a council, and an assembly, chosen from the nine parishes, into which the island is divided.
Q. Describe Antigua.t
A. Antigua was first discovered by Columbus, but not settled upon till the year 1632, when it was taken possession of by the English.
HISTORY OF AMERICA. 65
Q. For what is it peculiarly noted ?I
A. For its excellent harbours, hut which are so encompassed with rocks, that they are very dangerous of access.
Q. What are its climate, soil, and face of the country ?
A. The climate of this island is very hot, the soil sandy, and much overgrown with wood. There are but few springs, and not so much as a brook in the whole island; so that the principal dependence of the inhabitants arises from the water supplied by casual rains, which they save in cisterns.
Q. What is its chief town?
A. St. John, which is regular and well built, with a good harbour of the same name, whose entrance is well defended by Fort James. The governor- general resides in this town.
Q. How is Antigua governed?
A. By a governor-general, lieut.-governer, .a council, audits own assembly, composed of twentyfour members. It is divided into six parishes, and eleven districts, of which ten send each two representatives, and that of St. John four. The governor-general, also, when he thinks proper, calls a general assembly of the representatives of the other islands.
Q. What is Nevis?
A. Nevis is no more than a vast mountain rising to a considerable height above the sea: it is situated about four miles to the south of St. Christopher. The soil of this island is very fruitful, and its staple commodity sugar. Before the French Revolution, it was much more populous
66 CATECHISM OF THE
than at present ; it then contained thirty thousand, and now not more than half that number, which reduction was caused by the invasion of this~ island by the French, united with some epidemical diseases. C
Q. When was this island taken by the French ?
A. In the year 1782, but restored to the Eng- -ri lish by the peace of 1783. Its chief trade con- c sists in molasses, rum, and a prodigious quantity 8; of lemons.
Q. For what is Nevis particularly remark- ]a able?
A. For its insects and reptiles, particularly the tMi flying tyger, and a kind of snail called a soldier. W The sea around it abounds with a great quantity ca of excellent fish, as groopers, rock-fish, old wives, th mud-fish, cockles, lobsters, &c. Land-crabs are at very common here, which make little burrows, to like rabbits, in the woods towards the tops of the an mountains. These crabs are a little less than the isI sea-crabs. th(
Q. Describe Montserrat. loa
A. Montserrat was first discovered by Colum- I bus, in the year 1493. It is a very small island, of an oval figure, about nine miles in length, and Po0. the same in breadth. It was first settled in the ass year 1632 by Sir Thomas Warner, and taken in the the beginning of the reign of Charles the Second chi by the French, who restored it to England at the peace of Buda.
Q. Who were its first settlers ?
A. Its first settlers were Irishmen, and the principal white inhabitants are principally comn-
HISTORY OF AMERICA. 67
posed either of their descendants, -or natives of 1reland. The whole of the inhabitants amount to about twenty thousand.
Q. What are the climate, soil, and' produce of -Montserrat ?
A. The climate, soil, and produce of Montserrat are much the same as the other English Carribbee islands. The mountains yield cedars, the cypress-tree, the iron-tree, with other woods, and, some odoriferous shrubs.
Q. For what are its surrounding seas particularly remarkable ?
A. For several hideous monsters, particularlytwo, which, from 'their remarkable ugliness, asi well as the poisonous quality of their flesh,, are called sea-devils. The lamanture, by some called the sea-cotu, is found in this island, and generally at the entrance of fresh-water rivers. According to the accounts we have of it, it is an amphibious animal, and lives mostly on herbage : the flesh is reckoned very wholesome food when salted, and they are so large, that two or three of them will load a canoe.
Q. What is the government of Montserrat ?
A. The government of Montserrat is com-; posed of a lieutenant-governor, a council, and an assembly of eight representatives, two for each, of the four districts, which divide the island. T7he chief town is Plymouth.
Q. -What is Barbuda?
A. Barbuda is a -very small island, about if-,