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New York, Physical Description (Hayward)


John Hayward, Gazetteer of the United States of America.... (Philadelphia: James L. Gihon, 1854), 110, 111-112.

Boundaries and Extent. — The state is bounded north by the British province of Canada; east by the States of Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut; south-east by the Atlantic Ocean ; south by the States of New Jersey and Pennsylvania ; west and south-west by Lakes Erie and Ontario, and by the River St. Lawrence. It extends from 40° 30' north latitude to 45°, and lies between 71° 56' and 79° 56' west longitude. Its extreme length from east to west, measuring from the Atlantic shore of Long Island, is 408 miles; exclusive of that island, 340; and its breadth from north to south is 310 miles. Its area is estimated at 46,000 square miles....

Surface, Soil, &c.— The state exhibits much variety of surface. The eastern part is crossed by two chains of lofty hills, rising to an elevation of 1200 to 1700 feet. One of these ridges, entering from New Jersey on the south-west, strikes the Hudson River at West Point, is there divided by the stream, and resumes its prominence on the opposite shore, showing almost perpendicular walls on either side, as though cut in sunder by some sudden convulsion. These remarkable heights are known as the " Highlands…." A second range enters the state from the north-western side of New Jersey, and passes northward, forming the Shawangunk Mountains. A third, from the northerly part of Pennsylvania, proceeds in the same direction through a great portion of the state, with varied elevations, sometimes rising to a height of 3800 feet, and are known as the Catskill Mountains. The Adirondack Mountains, in the north-east part of the state, are still loftier, one of the peaks reaching to an altitude of 6460 feet. In the eastern quarter, as well as the southern, the surface is hilly, and occasionally much broken, though abounding in excellent grazing lands ; but the western section is generally level, and the soil admirably adapted to the growth of grain. Indeed, the soil throughout is of good quality ; and in some parts extremely rich and productive…. The forests yield excellent timber, in great variety and abundance.

Rivers, &c. — A number of noble streams pass through the state, or along its borders, in different directions; the chief of which are the Hudson, 324 miles in length, and navigable to Troy, 151 miles from its mouth; the Mohawk, which falls into the Hudson, near Troy, and is 135 miles long; the Genesee, which, after flowing 125 miles, occasionally over immense falls, affording prodigious water power, discharges itself into Lake Ontario, into which also flows Black River, a stream of 120 miles in length ; the Saranac, falling into Lake Champlain, after a course of 65 miles; the Ausable, 75 miles in length, entering the same lake; the Oswegatchie, 100 miles long, emptying into the St. Lawrence; the Oswego, reaching between Oneida Lake and Lake Ontario, 40 miles; the St. Lawrence, forming a part of the north-western boundary; the Delaware, after a course of 50 to 60 miles, crossing the south-western border; the Susquehanna, flowing through a considerable portion of the southern margin; the Alleghany, coming from Pennsylvania, and returning thither, after a sweep of 45 miles in Cattaraugus county; and the Niagara, with its far-famed magnificent cataract. Numerous tributaries, of various extent, are connected with all these principal rivers. Portions of the great inland seas, Lakes Erie, Ontario, and Champlain, lie within the limits of the state. Numerous others are wholly unbosomed therein, most of which may be considered as arms of Lake Ontario. Several of these minor sheets of water are of considerable magnitude, and many of them are celebrated for their romantic beauty. The facilities for commercial and manufacturing purposes, which are supplied by these various bodies of water, are of incalculable value to the people of New York. They form one of the bases of that grand series of internal improvements, of which the enlightened patriots of that state, in years not long past, were the memorable pioneers....


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