One of the United States, consisting of two distinct peninsulas, and is situated between 41°48' and 47°30' north latitude, and 82°20' and 90°10' longitude west from Greenwich. Michigan proper, or lower peninsula, is bounded north by the straits of Mackinaw, which separate it from the upper peninsula, northeast by Lake Huron, which separates it from Canada West, east by Lake Huron, the river St Clair, Lake St Clair, the river Detroit and Lake Erie which separate it from Canada West, south by Ohio and Indiana, and west by Lake Michigan, and contains 39,856 square miles. The upper peninsula, which is annexed to Michigan proper, merely for the temporary purpose of civil government, is bound north by Lake Superior; easterly by St Mary's river, which separates it from Canada West, southerly by Wisconsin, Lakes Michigan and Huron, and Mackinaw straits, and contains 20,664 square miles; making the total superficial area 60,520 square miles.
Physical Aspect-- The surface of Michigan proper is less varied than any other section of equal extent in the United States. The dividing ridge, or table land, which separated the sources of the Great Miami and Maumee from those of the Wabash, is contained in a northerly direction across the lower peninsula, dividing it into two inclined plains, more or less rolling, one sloping toward Lake Michigan on the west, and the other toward Lakes Huron, St Clair, and Erie, on the east. This table land is interspersed with marshes and small lakes, from which issue the head branches of the principal streams. Small prairies occur from the bans of the St Joseph's to Lake St Clair, the soil of some of which is excellent, while that of others is sandy, sterile or wet; but a greater portion of the country is covered with dense forests, the soil of which is well adapted to the production of most kinds of northern farm crops. The trans peninsula, or northern division, is diversified by mountains, hills, valleys and plains. A range of high lands runs nearly throughout the length of the peninsula, rising gradually from the shores of Lakes Michigan and Superior toward the summit. The surface in the region of Keweenaw point is broken and rolling, and some of the hills are elevated nearly 900 feet above the level of the lake. From its high latitude and sterile character, this division of the state does not promise much to agriculture; though there are many fertile tracts, particularly in the prairies on the eastern part of this peninsula, as well as in the valleys, which are highly productive, when cultivated with appropriate crops. Isle Royale presents a broken and rugged outline on its coast, and is deeply indented by long and narrow inlets and bays. About one fourth of this island is sandstone and conglomerate rock. The remainder consists of trap rock, which lies in ridges from 300 to 500 feet in height above the lake, and extending in a broken line throughout the isle.
Mountains-- Porcupine mountain, which form the dividing ridge between Lakes Superior and Michigan, toward the western boundary of the state, are represented to be elevated from 1,800 to 2,000 feet above the lake.
Rivers, Lakes and Bays-- The principal rivers of the lower peninsula are the Raisin, Rouge, Detroit, Clinton, Black or Delude, St Clair, Saginaw, Thunder Bay, Sheboygan, St Joseph's, Kalamazoo, Grand, Marame, Barbice, White, Rocky, Beauvais, St Nicholas, Marquerite, Manistee, Au Sable, or Sandy, Aux Betises, Belle, Tittibawasse, Grand Traverse, Aux Carpe, Maskegon, Flint and the Pentwater. The chief rivers of the upper peninsula are the Ontonagon, Huron, Monomonee, Dead, Montreal, St Mary's, Eagle, Cedar, White Fish, Black, Sturgeon, Rapid and the Manistic. The principal lakes are Superior, Michigan, Erie, Huron, St Clair, Long, Houghton and Michigamme. The chief bays are, Green, Saginaw, Thunder, Great and Little Traverse, Tah-qua-me-naw and Keewaiwons.
Islands-- Grand, Isle Royale, Sugar, Drummond's, Cockburn, Mackinaw, Boisblanc, Great and Little Beaver, Garden and Hog.
Climate-- The climate of Michigan is generally regarded as healthy, though near the lakes, swamps and turbid streams, intermittents prevail to some extent in summer and fall. The seasons of the lower peninsula somewhat resemble those of western Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Canada West. In the northern peninsula the climate if colder and more severe. Lake St Clair is usually frozen from December till March.
Productive Resources-- The chief productions are, horses, mules, neat cattle, sheep, swine, poultry, eggs, butter, cheese, fish. sugar, wax, hops, hay, tobacco, wool, hemp, wheat, rye, barley, oats, buckwheat, potatoes, Indian corn and lumber. Among the mineral resources are rich veins of iron ore, in inexhaustible quantities, in the district of country extending from Dead river to the Menomonee. But what is more valuable, and of great importance to this country, are the rich veins of copper, blended more or less with silver, which occur at Keweenaw Point, Eagle River, Isle Royale and other parts of the upper peninsula. Many of these mines have been opened to a considerable extent, and have been sufficiently proved to show that they may be advantageously wrought for centuries to come. From one of the veins of the Copper Falls mines a single mass of native copper has been taken, which weighed 30 tons. It was perfectly pure, and as dense as the best hammered copper of commerce, showing its perfect fineness. These ores frequently contain a sufficient quantity of silver to be of commercial value. To show the extent to which these veins are susceptible to being wrought, it may be stated that a single mine annually sends to market nearly 1000 tons of ore, that will contain 60% of pure copper. In another instance masses of pure copper, of large size, weighing some thousands of pounds, have been obtained from an ancient ravine, that has been gullied out by the floods. In the same ravine large pieces of silver also were found.
Manufactures-- The manufactures of Michigan are confined mostly to supplying the immediate wants of the people. Saw, planing and grist mills are numerous, as also tanneries, &c. The number of manufacturing establishments in the state, in 1850, whose annual product amounted in value to $500 and upward, was 1,979.
Railroads-- Michigan has several important railroads, which traverse the state. Among them are, the Central railroad, from Detroit to Chicago, 281 miles long, and the Southern, from Monroe to Chicago, 247 miles, The aggregate length of railroads in operation in the state is about 500 miles.
Commerce-- Situated as Michigan is, on the four great lakes of Huron, Superior, Michigan and Erie (furnishing a continuous water communication of nearly 1000 miles, navigable for vessels, and the opening of a canal around the falls of St Mary, will add about 400 miles to this, through Lake Superior.), it possesses superior advantages for an extensive commerce. Its foreign trade is confined to the British provinces. But its coasting trade is large -- its exports from the single port of Detroit amounting to over $4,000,000 in value annually. An immense traffic is carried on in lumber, consisting of pine, walnut, maple and white wood, with the eastern and southern states.
Education-- The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, founded in 1837 and the St Philips college near Detroit, founded in 1839, are the principal colligate institutions in Michigan. There are about 3,000 common schools throughout the state.
Government-- The legislative power is vested in a senate of 32 members, and a house of representatives of not less than 64, nor more than 100 members, elected by the people, for two years, by single districts. The executive power is vested in a governor, and Lt governor, elected by the people, for a term of two years. The general election is held on the Tuesday succeeding the first Monday in November, biennially. AT each general election a secretary of state, superintendent of public institution, treasurer, commissioner of the land office, an auditor general, and an attorney general, are chosen by the people at large, for a term of two years. The county officers are also chosen every two years. The judicial power is vested in a supreme court, circuit courts, probate courts, and in justices of the peace. The judges of the several circuit courts are to be judges of the supreme court for the term of six years, thereafter, and until the legislature otherwise provide. The right of suffrage is held by every white male citizen above the age of 21 years, every white male inhabitant residing in the state on the first of January, 1850, who has declared his intension to become a citizen of the United States six months preceding an election or who has resided in the state two years and six months, and declared his intention as aforesaid, who has resided in the state two months, and in the township or ward in which he offers to vote ten days next preceding such election. Slavery and imprisonment for debt are prohibited. The personal property of debtors, under $500, and every homestead not exceeding forty acres of land; and occupied dwelling, not exceeding $1,500, are exempt from sale on execution, or any final process from a court, for any debt contracted after the adoption of this constitution.
Population-- In 1810 within the four districts of Detroit, Erie, Huron and Mackinaw, was 4,762; in 1820 was 8,896. In 1830, the whole population of the territory was 31,639; in 1840 was 212,276 and in 1850 was 397,654.
History-- Among the earlier settlements of this state were Fort Ponchartrain at Detroit, in about the year 1600; the Jesuit mission on the island of Mackinaw, by Marquette, in 1665; and Fort Miami at the mouth of the St Joseph's river, by La Salle in 1678. Michigan remained as a portion of the British possessions in North America until the treaty of Grenville in 1795. The year following it was ceded to the United States; and in 1800 it was annexed to the "Territory Northwest of the River Ohio." In 1802, Ohio was detached and formed as an independent state; but a territorial government was not established for Michigan before the year 1805. In 1812, it was invaded by the British, but was retaken by the Americans the next year. In 1835 a constitution was formed, and in 1837 it was admitted into the Union as an independent state. The present constitution of the state was adopted by a convention at Lansing, 15 Aug 1850, and ratified by the people in November of that year. Mottoes of the seal, E pluribus unum, "Many in one." Tuebor, "I will defend." Si queris peninsulam amanam circumspice, "If thou seekest a beautiful peninsula behold it here."