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The history of Florida, from the earliest expedition of discovery almost to the present hour, has been but a record of disappointments and disasters. Having neither mines of gold, nor any peculiar advantages for agriculture or commerce, the Spanish character of the people, while occupying it for three hundred years, had a full opportunity to display its imbecility; while our own government, since entering upon the possession a few years ago, have exhibited, in a manner no less lamentable, a disregard to humanity in their treatment of the poor remains of the original red
Florida is one of the few great peninsulas of America, and presents several peculiar features, one of which is its very important position. As has been remarked, in speaking of Georgia, this long point is only the continuation of the southern slope of that state. It nowhere presents any considerable elevation ; and the greatest part of the surface is a level, raised but little above the ocean, with vast tracts too wet for use, and even wholly or chiefly impassable, or submerged in water.
The western coast of Florida extends six hundred miles, from the Perdido river to Cape Sable; while the eastern, from St. Mary's river, including the southern, to Cape Sable, is four hundred and fifty.
The Atlantic Ocean bounds the eastern coast, and the southern extremity is washed by the Bahama and Cuba channels. The northern boundary runs from the mouth of St. Mary's river to the mouth of Flint river, up the Chatahoochee, to latitude 31 deg. 40 min., separating it from Georgia. Thence the line proceeds along the limits of Alabama, two hundred and furty miles, St. John's river is very crooked, and in to Perdido river, and down that stream some parts, four or five miles wide. forty miles, to its mouth. The whole PENSACOLA, in north latitude 30 deg. outline of Florida is about fifteen miles, 23 min., and longitude 10 deg. 19 min. and it extends through six degrees of west from Washington, stands on the latitude.
northwestern shore of the bay of the The climate is more uniform than in same name, and enjoys the advantages any other tract of equal extent, north of a fine and safe harbor, with a bar and south, in the United States. This passable by vessels drawing twenty-one is owing to the little variation of surface, feet of water. The anchorage is good, and the proximity of the sea. Pine pre- but the water is shallow near the land. vails among the forests, as the soil is The city was founded in the year generally poor; but the variety of other 1699, by a Spanish officer named Don trees is very great.
very great. Rice and Indian Andre de Riola. The entrance to the corn, sweet potatoes, cotton, indigo, and bay of Pensacola is narrow, between sugarcane, are the chief productions of St. Rose's island and Barrancas point, agriculture, while oranges, limes, pome- eight miles from the city. granates, and figs, grow in abundance. St. Augustine is the principal town
The surface of Florida presents a and seaport on the Atlantic coast of great proportion of waste land and wa- Florida, in north latitude 29 deg. 48 ter, with all the varieties of bays, creeks, min., and longitude west from Washingand lagoons, along the coast; and in- ton, 40 deg. 21 min. It is the oldest land, of hammocks, savannahs, and ever- settlement in the limits of the Amerglades. The hammocks vary in their ican Union, and even older than the first nature from dry to wet, and many of Canadian colony, having been founded them are impassable, or with a few in- in 1565, by the Spaniards. The harbor tricate intervals of hard and shallow has twenty-eight or thirty feet of water, grounds, wholly under water; never and is safe and commodious, being proknown to any except the Indians, whose tected from the sea by Anastatia island. superior acquaintance with the country, The town extends along its side, on a during the late lamentable Florida war, peninsula, elevated only twelve feet often gave
them advantage over our above the level of the sea, and is of an troops, in the hammocks and everglades. oblong form, about a mile in length, but The various plants which grow abund- not very compactly built. The shellantly in some parts of those swamps limestone which forms the coast is the and lakes, often add their obstacles to building material. It presents a very the traveller; especially saw-grass, which attractive appearance from without, as soon cuts in pieces the clothes of men, orange-trees in abundance grow in the and even their flesh. It would be diffi- yards and gardens; but many of the cult to give an adequate idea of the for- streets are crooked and narrow. The bidding aspect of those extensive and climate is as mild as that of southern desolate regions. Yet, in some places, Europe, and this city is therefore a reverdant tracts occur even among those sort of many invalids from the north. low and swampy districts, where flow- The sea-breezes by day, and the landers in profusion display their beauties breezes by night, co-operate to keep throughout the year.
the temperature mild and uniform. The eastern coast is dangerous for Steamboats go to Savannah and Charleslarge vessels, in easterly gales, as the ton. Population about 3,000. numerous inlets are generally too shal- The square near the water is ornalow for ships, having water only for mented with an obelisk of stone, erected vessels of a light draught. On the west, in the centre by the Spaniards, in the however, are the harbors of Perdido, days of the constitution. It is surroundPensacola, Choctawhatchee, St. An-ed by two churches, the courthouse, drew's, St. Joseph's, Appalachicola, Ap- and a number of handsome private pelachee, Tampa, Carlos, and Gullivain. buildings.