One of the United States, popularly known as the "Old Dominion," is situated between 36°33' and 40°43' north latitude, and 75°25' and 83°40' west longitude from Greenwich; and is bounded north by Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland; northeast by Maryland, from which it is separated by the Potomac; east by the Atlantic; south by North Carolina and Tennessee; west by Kentucky, from which it is separated by the Cumberland mountains and Big Sandy river; and northwest by Ohio, from which it is separated by the river Ohio. Its superficial area is 61,352 square miles
Physical Aspect-- The face of the country of this state, though exhibiting but little grandeur, is greatly diversified, and in some parts is rich and pleasing, in the continued outline of hill, valley, river and plain. The soil, too, is as varied as the surface, as every grade of fertility and sterility is to be met with, from the richest to the most barren. Virginia may be divided into four zones, essentially differing from each other. The first, which extends from the coast to the head of tide water, at Fredericksburgh, Richmond &c, over 100 miles, is low and flat, in some places fenny, in others sandy, and on the margin of rivers the soil is composed of a rich loam. The second division extends from the head of tide water to the Blue ridge. Near the former the surface is level; higher up the streams it becomes undulating and swelling; and as we approach the mountain, it is often broken and abrupt. The soil is divided into sections, unequal in quality, running parallel to each other, and extending quite across the state. The parallel of Chesterfield, Henrico, Hanover, &c, is thin and sandy, and except on the borders of the rivers, is unproductive. That of Goochland, Cumberland, Prince Edward, Halifax &c, is generally fertile. Fluvanna, Buckingham, Campbell, Pittsylvania, again are poor; and Culpepper, Orange, Albemarle, Bedford &c, are rich, though frequently consisting of a stony, broken soil, reposing on a substratum of tenacious and red colored clay. The third division embraces the valley between the Blue ridge and the great North Shenandoah and Branch mountain, and the Allegany chain, which, with little interruption, extends from the Potomac to Carolina and Tennessee. The surface of the valley in some instances is broken by sharp, solitary mountains, detached from the general chain, the flanks of which are nearly bare, or but thinly covered with stunted pines. The soil in the valley consists of a rich mould, formed on a bed of limestone. The fourth division extends from the Alleganies to the river Ohio, and is composed of a country wild and broken, in some parts fertile, but generally barren or poor. The surface is uneven and hilly, but the soil of a great proportion of Randolph and the adjacent countries, in the northwest part of the state, is excellent, and well adapted for grazing.
Mountains-- The Allegany range, including its numerous ridges, covers the whole middle sections of the state. Among the local names, besides the Blue ridge, may be mentioned the Cumberland, Great North Shenandoah, Branch, Great Flat Top, Iron and Cacapon mountains.
Rivers and Lakes-- The principal rivers are the Potomac, James, Shenandoah, Rappahannock, Pamunky, Mattapony, York, Rivanna, Elizabeth, Appomattox, Nottoway, Staunton, Meherrin, Ohio, Great Kanawha, Sandy, Little, Kanawha, Cheat and Monongahela. Drummond lake lies in the Dismal swamp, which serves as a feeder to the main trunk of the Dismal Swamp canal. The lower part of Chesapeake bay lies wholly in this state. Among the lesser bays are the Pokomoke, Simepuxent and Mob Jack.
Islands-- Along the coast there is a long chain of low, flat islands, the chief of which are Wallop's, Matomkin, Cedar, Paramore's, Hog, Prout's and Smith's.
Climate-- The climate of the tide water region is generally healthy, except in the month of August, September and October, during which it is hot and moist, and bilious complaints or intermittents prevail. As we approach the Blue ridge, the inhabitants are more robust and healthy than in any other part of the state. West of the mountains, the climate is salubrious and cool.
Productive Resources-- The principal products of this state are horses, mules, neat cattle, sheep, swine, poultry, butter, cheese, wine, sugar, wax, silk, cotton, wool, hemp, flax, tobacco, rice, wheat, rye, barley, oats, buckwheat, potatoes and Indian corn. Of the fossil and mineral resources, gold, copper, iron, lead, coal, marble, limestone and salt, are the most important. But the most valuable are iron, coal and salt. The belt of country in which gold is found is in the county of Spottsylvania, and the regions adjacent. The coal fields are very extensive, anthracite being found on the easterly side fo the Alleganies, and bituminous on the western. Salt springs occur on the banks of the Great Kanawha, where salt is manufactured in great abundance.
Manufactures-- Iron ranks first among the manufactures of Virginia, embracing machinery, firearms, hardware, cutlery, &c. Cotton and woolen manufactures rank next, in which about $2,500,000 is invested.
Railroads and Canals-- There are about 700 miles of railroad in operation in Virginia, and more in process of construction. The most important canals in the state are, the James River and the Kanawha canal, reaching Richmond to Lynchburg, 146 miles, and the Dismal Swamp canal, 23 miles.
Commerce-- The foreign exports and imports of Virginia amount to about $5,000,000 annually. The domestic exports and imports amount to about $25,000,000 annually. The principal articles of domestic export are tobacco and flour. The shipping owned in the state is about 60,000 tons.
Education-- The principal literary institutions of Virginia are, William and Mary college, at Williamsburg; Hampden Sidney college, in Prince Edward county; Washington college, at Lexington; the university at Charlottesville; Randolph college, at Boylstown; Emory and Henry college, at Glade Spring; Rector college, in Taylor county; Bethany college, at Bethany; and Richmond college, at Richmond. There are also a military institute at Lexington; medical schools at Richmond, Charlottesville (attached to the university), and Winchester; law schools, attached to the university and William and Mary college; and theological seminaries in Fairfax and Prince Edward counties, and at Richmond. There are also about 500academies and 2,500 common schools in the state. The permanent literary fund of Virginia is over $1,500,000.
Population-- In 1790 was 748,308; in 1800 was 880,200; in 1810 was 974,642; in 1820 was 1,065,379; in 1830 was 1,211,405; in 1840 was 1,239,797 and in 1850 was 1,421,661. Number of saves in 1790 was 203,427; in 1800 was 345,796; in 1810 was 392,518; in 1820 was 425,153; in 1830 was 469,757; in 1840 was 448,987 and in 1850 was 472,528.
Government-- The legislative power is vested in a senate of 50 members, chosen for four years, one half biennially, and a houe of delegates of 152 members, chosen biennially. The executive power is vested in a governor, elected by the people, for four years, who is ineligible for the succeeding term; and a lieutenant governor, elected for a like term. The legislature meets biennially, at Richmond. A secretary of state, treasurer, and auditor, are elected by the assembly. The judiciary power is vested in a supreme court of appeals, district courts, and circuit courts, all the judges of which are elected by the people. The right of suffrage is extended to every white male citizen 21 years of age, who has resided two years in the state, and one year in the place where he offers to vote. Votes, in all elections, are Viva Voce; dumb persons may vote by ballot.
History-- The present state of Virginia embraces but a portion of the ancient "Virginia" as granted to Sir Walter Raleigh, in 1584, which included all the lands be should discover between thirty-third and fortieth degrees of north latitude, and which name became finally restricted to what now constitutes the state. Under this charter, Raleigh planted a colony on the island of Roanoke; but, after repeated trials and disasters, the patent was vacated, and the country was again left to the quiet possession of the Indians. The first permanent settlement in America, by the English, was made at Jamestown, in 1607, by 105 adventures. A second charter was granted to the London company, in 1609, radically changing the constitution, and enlarging the territory of the colony along the coast, within the limits of 200 miles north and 200 miles south of Old Point Comfort; that is, from the southern limits of North Carolina to the northern boundary of Maryland, and extending westward from sea to sea. But so vague were the views of the company, or the adventurers, under this patent, that discord and wretchedness compelled the settlers to break up their establishment in 1610. The year following, Sir Thomas Gates arrived with 300 immigrates, and assumed the government of the colony, which then numbered 700 men. In 1612, a third charter was granted to the London company; but the colony remained under anarchy and tyranny until 1619, when martial law was abolished, and th first provincial assembly was convened at Jamestown. In 1621, the company granted to their colony a "written constitution," which, with singular liberality, ordained that a general assembly, chosen by the people, should be convened annually, its acts to be subject to the supervision of the company in England. The acts of the company, also, were not binding till ratified by the assembly. It established the right of trial by jury. These rights and privileges were ever after claimed by Virginia, and formed the basis of her civil freedom. In 1622, a general massacre of the English was attempted by the Indians, and 347 of them perished. The rest were saved by the timely warning of Pocahontas, daughter of Powhatan, the Indian king. She was like a preserving angel to the feeble settlement. In 1624, the London company was dissolved, and the colony was again subject to the crown. In 1644, another general massacre of the whites was attempted, but without success, the blow having been fortunately averted by the skill, prudence, and courage, of Captain John Smith, one of the most efficient men in the colony. During the commonwealth, under Cromwell, to the restoration of Charles II, in 1660, Virginia was left almost entirely to her own independence. Her governors during this period were chosen by the burgesses, who were the representatives of the people. In 1673, Charles II, granted to Lord Culpeper, and the Earl of Arlington, "all the dominion of land and water called Virginia," for thirty-one years. Within two years after this event the representative system was virtually abolished, and the liberties of the people were otherwise seriously abridged. This together with the pressure of increasing grievances, resulted in open rebellion, followed by Indian aggressions, which continued for four years. In 1677, Culpeper, after purchasing the rights of Arlington, was appointed governor over the colony for life, and Virginia became a proprietary government, which remained in force until 1684, when the grant was recalled, and Culpeper expelled from office. The remaining portion of the history of this state is marked with few incidents of importance, down to the period of the Revolution, except those in the French and Indian war, between 1754 and 1763. In 1786, that part of Virginia now constituting the state of Ohio was erected by act of Congress into the "Western Territory," the name of which was afterward changed to the "Territory northwest of the river Ohio." The same year, the district of Kentucky was also set apart, by act of Congress, into a new territory, nut the separation from the "Old Dominion" did not take place before 1792. The first constitution of Virginia was adopted in 1776, which was revised and amended in 1830, and continued in operation till October 1851, when a new one was adopted. The constitution of the United States was ratified in 1788. Motto of the seal, Sic semper tyrannis -- "So be it ever to tyrants" -- in allusion to the emblem on the seal of an Amazon, resting on a spear with one hand, and holding a sword in the other, with her foot on Tyranny, which is represented by a prostrate man, with a crown fallen from his head, a broken chain in his left hand, and a scourge in his right