City, the seat of justice of Providence Co and Capital with Newport of the state of Rhode Island; the second city in population in New England. Is situated at the head of Narraganset bay, on the Providence river, 42 miles southwest of Boston, and 173 miles northeast of New York. The older part of the city lies on the east side of the river, and though many of the streets partake of that irregularity, which seems peculiar to olden times, they contain many splendid stores, warehouses, dwellings, and public buildings. Ascending by an abrupt acclivity from the river, the streets and houses become more regular, many of the residences being of a superior style of elegance and structure, and affording delightful views of the harbor and the surrounding country. Crowning the elevation, are the buildings of Brown University, a flourishing institution. Crossing the river by one of the bridges, the west part of the city is laid out with more regularity upon ground less uneven. Here is the "Arcade" the largest and most important edifice in the city, built of granite, and adorned with a Grecian Doric portico and columns. It is 225 feet long, 80 feet deep, and 72 feet high.
The name of the city, which it received from the Rev Roger Williams, its founder, may serve to indicate its prosperity. Its location upon a spacious and convenient harbor, sufficient for a great number of the largest vessels, the manufacturing facilities of the surrounding districts, their facility of access to the city, and the enterprising spirit which has improved and adapted these advantages, are the sources of its increasing wealth and population. The Blackstone canal, beginning at Worcester and winding through the productive regions and manufacturing towns of Massachusetts, brings large stores to its market. On Pawtucket river, and other streams of Providence county, are extensive factories of cotton, wool, machinery, calico printing and dyeing; and within the city are also various similar establishments. These are chiefly kept in operation by capitalists of Providence, and employ more than $3,000,000 of capital. This city communicates by railroad with Boston, Worcester, and Stonington, and in a great measure, has dispensed with the steamboat lines which traversed Long Island sound and the Atlantic to New York, Boston and other places.
The population in 1810 was 10,071; in 1820 was 11,767; in 1830 was 16,833; in 1840 was 23,171 and in 1850 was 44,512.