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