One of the United States, so called in honor of the father of its illustrious founder, lies between 74°44' and 30°34' west longitude from Greenwich, and 39°43' and 42°17' north latitude, and is bounded north by Lake Erie and New York; east by New York and New Jersey, from which it is separated by Delaware river; south by Delaware, Maryland and Virginia; and west by Virginia and Ohio. Its superficial area is 46,000 square miles
Physical Aspect-- The surface of this state is greatly diversified by mountains, hills and dales. It contains but a few large tracts of level land, and these generally occur along the borders of streams. With one or two partial exceptions, it is composed of two great plains, declining from the dividing ridge of its waters. The eastern declivity, drained by the Delaware and Susquehanna, and their tributaries, gradually descends to the level of the tide; the western in like manner, drains the numerous confluents of the Ohio. The southeastern counties may be regarded as undulating, rather than hilly, and are under a high state of cultivation, particularly along the Susquehanna. Most of the central part of this state is mountainous, often interspersed with high and sterile ridges, occurring in close succession, interlocking each other, and enclosing long and pointed valleys between. It is within this region too, that the fertile valley of Wyoming occurs, surrounded by a lofty chain, known at different points by as many local names. Most of the country west of the Alleganies is hilly, with numerous irregular and abrupt elevations, not disposed in regular chains. In this part of the state, particularly along the streams, the soil is highly fertile; and between the Allegany river and Lake Erie, as well as on the western border, the soil is good.
Mountains-- The structure and position of the mountains in this state have given it an aspect peculiar to itself, and constitute its ost prominent features. South mountain extends from New Jersey, interrupted by the Delaware, below Easton, in a southwesterly direction across the state to Adams county, on the borders of Maryland. Next to this, the Blue mountain, or Kittatinny range, extends from the western part of New Jersey, also interrupted by the Delaware, to Parnell's Knob, near the south border of this state. Next come Second, Sharp and Broad mountains, the later of which is an irregular elevation, with a broad and barren table land at the top. Between the Kittatinny and Allegany ranges is what is called the Appalachian chain, which consists of elevated and nearly parallel ridges, in some instances 20 miles apart, and frequently divided by subordinate ridges. The great Allegany ridge extends nearly across the state, presenting on its southeasterly side an abrupt ascent, but a gentle descent on the northwesterly slope, consisting of an elevated and undulating table land. Westward of this range are Laurel ridge and Chestnut ridge, running parallel therewith.
Rivers and Lake-- The principal rivers are the Delaware, Schuylkill, Lehigh, Susquehanna, Juiata, Genesee, Allegany, Monongahela, Ohio, Clarion and Youhioghany. Lake Erie bounds this state on the northwest.
Islands-- Tinicum Island in the Delaware and Presque isle, on the south side of Lake Erie, are those most worthy of note.
Climate-- The climate, though generally healthy and temperate, is fluctuating and varied. The extremes of temperature are from 20° below zero to 98° F above. On both inclined plains, it is a rare occurrence that the rivers in winter are not more or less frozen, and rendered un-navigable. Receding to the more elevated tracts and high mountain valleys, summer is visited by occasional frosts, which, in some situations, appear in every month of the year. In all the higher regions, abiding snows usually appear in December and remain until March. Spring and autumn are usually delightful seasons in all parts of the state.
Productive Resources-- The principal products are horses, mules, neat cattle, sheep, swine, poultry, eggs, butter, cheese, wax, peaches, sugar, wine, hops, tobacco, silk, wool, hemp, flax, hay, lumber, wheat, rye, barley, oats, buckwheat, potatoes and Indian corn. The mineral wealth of this state is immense, consisting principally of coal, iron and salt. The coal is of two kinds, bituminous, which occurs in great abundance on the western side of the Alleganies and anthracite, which is found only on the easterly side of the mountains. The iron, which is of superior quality, is extensively wrought, and is inexhaustible in its supply. Toward the southwest part of the state salt springs abound, from which is manufactured large quantities of salt.
Manufactures-- the Manufactures of Pennsylvania are varied and extensive. The number of iron works in the state are rising 500 and the capital invested over $20,000,000, employing over 40,000 men. Next in importance are cotton and woolen fabrics, in which a capital of $8,000,000 is invested, employing 15,000 men, and the annual products amounts to about $10,000,000. Leather, paper, and glasses are among the minor manufactures.
Railroads and Canals-- Pennsylvania had greatly extended and facilitated her trade by her internal improvements. The great central line of railroad communication extends from Philadelphia to Lancaster, 70 miles, thence to Hollidaysburg, 175 miles, thence to Johnstown, 36 miles, and thence to Pittsburgh. From Pittsburgh it continues west to connect with the railroads in Ohio. The principal roads beside the line above named are: the Reading 92 miles; Philadelphia and Baltimore 98 miles; and the Cumberland Valley 77 miles. There are 50 railroads in the state, of an aggregate length of 1,500 miles. The railroads of Pennsylvania have been built at a cost of $45,000,000. Among the canals of Pennsylvania are, the Eastern and Juniata sections of the Pennsylvania canal, extending from the Susquehanna to Hollidaysburg 172 miles; and the western division, extending from Johnstown to Pittsburgh. From Pittsburgh the Beaver canal runs into Ohio 31 miles and the Erie Extension canal will continue the line to Erie, on the lake 105 miles. The whole length of canals in the state is 1,280 miles, 848 miles of which are owned by the state, and 432 miles by companies. The total cost of the canals of Pennsylvania is $35,000,000.
Commerce-- The exports of Pennsylvania to foreign ports in 1850, amounted to $4,501,606; the imports to $12,066,154. The total shipping of the state amounts to 260,000 tons, of which about 65,000 tons are engaged in foreign trade.
Education-- The colleges of Pennsylvania are numerous. The principal are, the university at Philadelphia founded in 1755 with a medical school attached; Dickinson college at Carlisle founded in 1783 to which is attached a law school; Jefferson college at Canonsburg founded in 1802; Washington college founded in 1806; Alleghany college at Meadville; Pennsylvania college at Gettysburg; Lafayette college at Easton; Marshall college at Mercersburg and the Western university at Pittsburgh. Jefferson and Philadelphia medical colleges are located at Philadelphia. There are theological schools at Gettysburg, Mercersburg, Alleghany, Canonsburg, Pittsburgh, Meadville and Philadelphia. The are in the state about 500 academies and 10,000 common schools.
Government-- The government is vested in a governor, senate and house of representatives. The governor is elected for three years, and is ineligible for the next three years; the senate for three years, one third annually, in districts; and the representatives annually, at the state election, second Tuesday in October. The judicial power is vested in a supreme court, courts of oyer and terminer, common pleas, and inferior courts. The judiciary is elected by the people. The right of suffrage is vested in every white freeman of 22 years of age, who has resided in the state one year and paid a tax. White freeman, between 21 and 22 years of age, having resided in the state a year, may vote without having paid a tax.
Population-- in 1790 was 434,373; in 1800 was 602,365; in 1810 was 810,091; in 1820 was 1,049,458; in 1830 was 1,348,233; in 1840 was 1,724,031 and in 1850 was 2,311,786. Number of slaves in 1790 was 3,737; in 1800 was 1,706; in 1810 was 795; in 1820 was 211; in 1830 was 403 and in 1840 was 64.
History-- The Dutch, from their first settlement upon Manhattan island, carried on trade upon the banks of the Delaware; but there seems not to have been a permanent settlement in Pennsylvania until about the year 1640, when a fort was erected upon the island of Tinicum by the Swedes, and a number of settlements were soon after made. In 1681, William Penn obtained a grant from Charles II, of the land northward of Maryland, and westward of Delaware, which was called "Pennsylvania." In 1682, the territories (the present state of Delaware) were annexed to his grant, and thus remained until 1691, when they withdrew from the Union. The year following, Penn's provincial government was taken from him, and Delaware was reunited to Pennsylvania. In 1694, Penn was restored to his proprietary right, and the two colonies continued their union until 1703, when they agreed on separation, and never after united in legislation, although the governor of Pennsylvania continued to preside over both, until the three lower counties on the Delaware, as such, were represented in the first Congress in New York, in 1775. The first permanent settlement in Pennsylvania, was made on Tinicum island, just below the mouth of the Schuylkill, in 1640. The first deliberate assembly was convened at New Castle, in 1682. The second assembly was held at Philadelphia, in 1683. Penn died in 1718, leaving his interest in Pennsylvania, as an inheritance to his children, in whose possession it remained until the Revolution, when their claim was purchased by the commonwealth for £130,000. In consequence of a controversy between Maryland and Pennsylvania, respecting their common boundaries, a line was finally fixed in 1762, by actual survey, by two eminent English engineers, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, and since that time the boundary between these states has been known by the name of "Mason and Dixon's Line." The last remaining portion of Pennsylvania, lying in the northwest portion of the state, not previously purchased, was bought of the Indians, in 1784. In 1776, a state constitution was framed, which continued until 179, when it was changed, and remained in force until 1838, at which time the present one was adopted. The constitution of the United States was ratified by this state in 1787. Motto of the seal, "Virtue, Liberty, and Independence."