QUERY XII

 

        _A notice of the counties, cities, townships, and villages?_
 
 

        Counties, Towns

        The counties have been enumerated under Query IX.  They are 74

in number, of very unequal size and population.  Of these 35 are on

the tide waters, or in that parallel; 23 are in the Midlands, between

the tide waters and Blue ridge of mountains; 8 between the Blue ridge

and Alleghaney; and 8 westward of the Alleghaney.
 
 

        The state, by another division, is formed into parishes, many

of which are commensurate with the counties: but sometimes a county

comprehends more than one parish, and sometimes a parish more than

one county.  This division had relation to the religion of the state,

a Parson of the Anglican church, with a fixed salary, having been

heretofore established in each parish.  The care of the poor was

another object of the parochial division.
 
 

        We have no townships.  Our country being much intersected with

navigable waters, and trade brought generally to our doors, instead

of our being obliged to go in quest of it, has probably been one of

the causes why we have no towns of any consequence.  Williamsburgh,

which, till the year 1780, was the seat of our government, never

contained above 1800 inhabitants; and Norfolk, the most populous town

we ever had, contained but 6000.  Our towns, but more properly our

villages or hamlets, are as follows.
 
 

        On _James river_ and its waters, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Hampton,

Suffolk, Smithfield, Williamsburgh, Petersburg, Richmond the seat of

our government, Manchester, Charlottesville, New London.
 
 

        On _York river_ and its waters, York, Newcastle, Hanover.
 
 

        On _Rappahannoc_, Urbanna, Portroyal, Fredericksburg, Falmouth.
 
 

        On _Patowmac_ and its waters, Dumfries, Colchester, Alexandria,

Winchester, Staunton.
 
 

        On _Ohio_, Louisville.
 
 

        There are other places at which, like some of the foregoing,

the _laws_ have said there shall be towns; but _Nature_ has said

there shall not, and they remain unworthy of enumeration.  _Norfolk_

will probably be the emporium for all the trade of the Chesapeak bay

and its waters; and a canal of 8 or 10 miles will bring to it all

that of Albemarle sound and its waters.  Secondary to this place, are

the towns at the head of the tidewaters, to wit, Petersburgh on

Appamattox, Richmond on James river, Newcastle on York river,

Alexandria on Patowmac, and Baltimore on the Patapsco.  From these

the distribution will be to subordinate situations in the country.

Accidental circumstances however may controul the indications of

nature, and in no instances do they do it more frequently than in the

rise and fall of towns.