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STATES AND TERRITORIES. —DISTRICT OE COLUMBIA.- 41
counties of Montgomery and Prince George's, in Maryland; on the south-west flows the
Potomac, dividing it from Alexandria county, in Virginia — that portion of the District which
reverted to the latter state by the act of 1846. The two cities, Washington and Georgetown,
are situated respectively on the east and north-east banks of the river, and are connected by
two short bridges crossing Rock Creek, a small branch of the Potomac. Washington lies in
latitude 38° 53' 23" north, and longitude 77° P 24" west from Greenwich, and covers an
area of somewhat over eight square miles. The area of the entire District is now estimated
at sixty square miles.
Government. — By the withdrawal of the county of Alexandria, the District became con-
fined to the northerly or Maryland side of the Potomac, where the laws of Maryland are in
force, excepting when superseded by special acts of Congress ; the power of legislating in
the premises being vested in that body exclusively. The District has no local representative
on the floor of the national legislature; but every member is deemed to be alike interested
in its general- affairs. The two cities have distinct civil organizations; they establish their
own municipal laws, and regulate their own internal economy, in all matters not particularly
provided for by Congress.
Judiciary. — The judicial tribunals consist of a Circuit Court of the District, with a chief
judge and two associates ; a Criminal Court for the District, with one judge ; and an Orphans'
Court, with a judge and register. The Criminal Court holds three terms a year, commencing
respectively on the first Monday of March, the third Monday of June, and the first Monday
Education. — Academies and grammar schools are tolerably well sustained, through private
sources; but the number of common and primary schools, supported at the public cost, might,
with advantage, be increased. There is a college at Georgetown, maintained by Roman
Catholics ; and another at Washington, called Columbian College, which is under the control
of the Baptists.
Finances. — The public debt, at the close of the year 1840, amounted to one and a half
million of dollars. The disbursements for public purposes, by the cities, often exceed the
annual income, for various reasons ; and, having few or no sources of revenue besides direct
taxation, appropriations to meet deficiencies are not unfrequently made by Congress.
Surface, Soil, £/c. — The land is generally hilly, but not mountainous. There are numerous
alternating eminences and depressions, the former affording fine views, and the latter some-
times consisting of bogs and marshes. The soil is not naturally very fertile, being commonly
sandy and clayey, but is doubtless capable of great improvement, with a due degree of
attention to agricultural science by practical husbandmen. It produces much good timber,
and most of the indigenous shrubbery and plants peculiar to the bordering states, many of
which are very beautiful.
Rivers. — The beautiful Potomac laves the south-western margin of the District for some
miles, and receives, at the south-eastern edge of the city of Washington, the waters of a
considerable stream, called the Eastern Branch. These are the only rivers or streams of
note which flow within or along the District. The Potomac affords navigation for vessels of a
large class, from the Atlantic shore to the navy yard, Washington, at the confluence of that
river and its branch, and for craft of smaller descriptions up to Georgetown.
Internal Improvements. — The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, one of the most important works
of this kind in the country, commences at Georgetown. It was commenced in 1828, and
connects the waters of the two great rivers whose names it bears. The United States con-
tributed one million of dollars, the city of Washington a like sum, and the city of George-
town two hundred and fifty thousand dollars towards its construction. Railroads pass from
the city of Washington, botlf north and south.
Manufactures. — Within the present limits of the District, there are no manufactures of
articles exclusively or chiefly for export; most of the operations in this department of industry
being confined to the fabrication of articles for family use and home consumption.
Population. — The number of inhabitants in the District varies at different seasons —
A Gazetteer of the United States of America by John Hayward.
Hartford, CT: Case, Tiffany and Company. 1853. Public domain image