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tion of topics; and it is believed that the volume will be equally acceptable to the residents in the District, and to those who feel that the history of a nation's political Capital is the best register of national progress.
The editor trusts that his work may vindicate its right to existence, and prove a sufficient record of the love and pains of its parentage; and he acknowledges his indebtedness to many gentlemen for assistance, especially to C. W. Hinman, Esq., Baron de Osten SACKEN, Professors HENRY, BAIRD, FORD, GILL, ULKE, and Jillson, and Doctors GALE, FORCE, and FOREMAN. It is due to T. U. WALTER, Esq., to mention that the engraving of the capital of a column, on page 122, was designed by that gentleman.
GEOGRAPHY AND NATURAL HISTORY.
The District of Columbia, as originally ceded to the Federal Government, by the States of Virginia and Maryland, contained ten miles square, or one hundred square miles; but when, in 1846, Alexandria was retroceded to Virginia, the area of the District was reduced to about sixty square miles. The Capitol lies in 38° 52' 20" north latitude, and 77° 0' 15" west longitude from Greenwich. The Observatory, from which the American meridian is computed, lies in 38° 53' 39".25 north latitude, and 77° 2' 48" (5 hours, 8 minutes, 11.2 seconds) west longitude.
The District of Columbia is bounded by the State of Maryland on the east, north, and west, and by the Potomac river and Virginia on the south. The distances from the seat of government, of some of the principal cities in the Union, are as follows :
Miles ..700 .1,000 .1,200
226 136 120 .850
CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH's DESCRIPTION
“There is but one entrance by sea into this country, and that is at the mouth of a very goodly bay, eighteen or twenty miles broad. The cape on the south is called Cape Henry, in honor of our most noble Prince. * The north cape is called Cape Charles, in honor of the worthy Duke of York. The island before it, Smith's Island, by the name of the discoverer.
This bay lyeth north and south, in which the water floweth near 200 miles, and has a channel for 140 miles; of depth, between six and fifteen fathoms, holding a breadth, for the most part, ten or fourteen miles. From the head of the bay to the northwest, the land is mountainous, and so in a manner from thence by a southwest line, so that the more southward, the farther off from the bay are those mountains; from which fall certain brooks, which, after, come to fine navigable rivers. These run from the northwest into the southeast, and so into the west side of the bay, where the fall of every river is within twenty or fifteen miles one of the other. The mountains are of divers nature, for, at the head of the bay, the rocks are of a composition like mill-stones; some of marble, &c., and many pieces like bristol, we found as thrown down by the water from those mountains; for in Winter they are covered with much snow, and, when it dissolves, the water falls with such violence that it causes great inundation in some narrow valleys, which is scarce perceived, being once in the river. These waters wash from the rocks such glistening tinctures, that the ground in some places seemeth