« PředchozíPokračovat »
Quincy Adams, then President of the United States, officiated in the performance of the ceremony. The canal extends to Cumberland, a distance of one hundred and eighty-four miles, and is supplied with water from the Potomac, by means of dams.
The entire cost of the work was about $12,000,000.
This beautiful place was laid out, and presented to the shareholders of the District of Columbia, by W. W. Corcoran, Esq., the beneficent banker. It is situated on the heights of Georgetown, upon the western slope of the banks of Rock Creek, and is beautifully laid out in terraces and walks, overshadowed by tall oak trees. The ground is varied by hill and dale, and commands most charming views of the exquisite scenery of the valley of the stream, broken into vistas and secluded nooks by the undulating and varied nature of the ground. There are, already, many grand monuments erected here, and numerous vaults prepared for the wealthier families of the District. The vault belonging to the donor, Mr. Corcoran, stands upon the brow of the hill, in a very conspicuous and beautiful location, and is surmounted by a primitive Grecian temple of the Doric order, octagonal in form, and built of white marble, at a cost of over $25,000. The granite monument to Bodisco, the late Russian Minister, is worthy of notice. The shaft was sent from St. Petersburgh, by the Russian government.
The entrance is graced by a tasteful Gothic lodge, of sandstone. The stone chapel, overgrown with ivy, is an attractive and beautiful feature of the cemetery.
PLACES OF INTEREST NEAR THE SEAT OF GOVERN.
The vicinity of the seat of government is full of interest, but our limits will only permit us to mention those points of attraction which, from historic, as well as common reputation, cannot be passed over in silence.
BLADENSBURGH. This village is situated on the eastern branch of the Potomac, in Prince George's County, Maryland, on the line of the Baltimore and Washington railroad, six miles northeast of the Capitol, and contains about five hundred inhabitants. It has many interesting associations with the seat of government, on account of the battle which was fought here, in defence of the city of Washington against the British, in 1814; and also from the painful reminiscences of the numerous duels fought in its vicinity since the location of the government in the District. The old battle-ground is still pointed out to strangers, above the bridge which crosses the branch, and it is often the case of pique to the inhabitants of the village when some bantering wag inquires the way to the race course, Soon after the sack of Washington, the following verses
were written upon the four-mile stone, near the site of the defeat:
Der Here fought Commodore Barney,
So nobly and so gallantly,
For a fighting man was he!
His infantry and cavalry;
For a writing man was he!
The Duelling-Ground. This scene of so many deadly encounters is situated upon the road from Washington to Bladensburgh, about four miles from the city, in an opening of the trees, which shelter the lawn from observation. This sequestered spot was at first chosen for its natural seclusion, and has since been used as a duellingground, from custom, and the necessity of evading the act of Congress, passed July 20, 1839, which makes duelling, in the District of Columbia, a penal offence, punishable by ten years' hard labor in the penitentiary.
The first duel of which this ground was the theatre, appears to be that in which Edward Hopkins was killed, in 1814.
In 1819, A. T. Mason, a United States Senator from Virginia, fought, upon this celebrated ground, with his sister's husband, John McCarty. McCarty was averse to fighting, and thought there was no necessity for it; but Mason would fight. McCarty named muskets, loaded with grape-shot, and so near together that they would hit heads if they fell on their faces. This was changed by the seconds to loading with bullets, and taking twelve feet as the distarice. Mason was killed instantly, and McCarty
had his collar-bone broken. In 1820, Commodore Decatur was here killed in a duel, by Commodore Barron. At the first fire both fell forward, with their heads within ten feet of each other, and, as each supposed himself mortally wounded, each fully and freely forgave the other. Decatur expired immediately, but Barron eventually recovered. In 1822, Midshipman Locke was killed here, by a clerk of the Treasury Department, named Gibson; the latter was not hurt. In 1833, Mr. Key and Mr. Sherborn had a hostile encounter, and, after an exchange of shots, Mr. Sherborn said :—“Mr. Key, I have no desire to kill you.” “No matter," said Key, “I came to kill you." “Very well, then,” said Sherborn, “I will kill you.” And he did. In 1838, W.J. Graves, of Kentucky, assuming the quarrel of James Watson Webb with Jonathan Cilley, of Maine, selected this place for the duel, and Cilley was killed. In 1845, a lawyer named Jones fought with and killed Dr. Johnson. In 1851, R. A. Hoole and A. J. Dallas had a hostile meeting. Dallas was shot in the shoulder, but recovered.
Three miles westward from Georgetown, the Potomac forms a succession of cascades, designated the Little Falls. The noble river is at this point beautiful enough to provide immortal fame for the artist who shall properly delineate it. Overlooking its turbulence, the traveler crosses a bridge, the structure of which assures him instinctively of his safety, and he arrives on the Virginia shore. Following the highway for fifteen miles, over picturesque hills and through fine forests, he finds a crossroad, leading to the
This romantic water-fall, without any pretension to the majesty of Niagara, is a sublime specimen of the wildest mood of nature. Through fierce and jagged barriers of rock, the river forces its imperial march, with such vehemence as seems to involve an immediate agent stronger than the force of gravity; foaming and boiling, the crests of the hurried billows appear to be white masses, hurled by Titanic hands. The whole scene is of that kind called savage, but may be more properly styled regal, nature—or the laws of nature, known and unknown, asserting the supremacy of the original force over all barriers. No theme could be so grand for a poet, no scene more suggestive for a painter; and Mr. W. D. Washington has proved himself a true son of the soil upon which he was born, and a master of the art to which he has devoted himself, by the fine picture he has painted of this contrast of sky, rocks, and water. This point of the river furnishes the water used by the people of Washington, which is conveyed to them by means of the national aqueduct, of which we have previously spoken.
The City of Alexandria is distant seven miles from Washington, with which city there is a constant communication by steamboat, omnibus, and railroad. The width of the river, and the depth of its waters, form here a fine harbor for the commerce of this portion of the country; which, although it has not arrived at the greatness anticipated in former years, is still considerable, and is principally employed in the transportation of coal, tobacco, and corn.
Railroad and steamboat facilities are