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DESCRIPTION OF GEORGIA IN 1880.
This State, in extent of area, geological formation, and diversity of mineral resources; in abundance and variety of timber; in water and water-power; diversity and fertility of soil ; capabilities of immense and varied vegetable productions; in climate, adapted to the comfort and health of a multitudinous population; in adaptation to manufactures, to rail, river, canal, and ocean carriage and transportation ; its facilities for the growth as well as maintenance of a numerous, powerful, great, and happy population,-in everything except the present possession of enough of people and money, and aside from all political considerations, is an empire within itself.
If she were a separate body, standing on two pillars of land and water, the Atlantic coast and the “ Land of Flowers” indicative of her varied capabilities, we could easily point out, to the enquiring beholder, the peculiar facilities of the belts that form the surface from base to summit.
At the broad bottom, we have her level low lands, where the accumulated columns of her rivers move slowly to the Gulf and Ocean, and where their tributaries are skirted with green hammocks and dark loam, the region dotted with open ponds, and those of deposit and thick growth, the main picture being the green carpet, with its floral decorations, perfumed by fragrant odors. This level belt has its inexhaustible wealth of timber, abounds with self-sustaining cattle, sheep and hogs. The people are plain, frugally clad, honest, hospitable and brave, producing support with but little labor and exertion. It would be difficult to draw a statistical account of the capabilities of this belt alone, if it were only settled by a population sufficiently dense, permeated by railroads, and spotted over with diversified manufactoriesits cotton, wool, and silk; its cane and melons ; its grapes and cereals; its peas, roots, timber, and oils; its animals of burden and food; its vegetable and medicinal productions, and the magnificence of its floral beauty.
Higher up, the broad belt occupied, before their emancipation, in great part by slaves, and their owners and managers, and since by a population which in some districts is composed of a majority of colored free people. This is the region that, from its early settlement, was in great part devoted to the growth of cotton; and from which, annually, has been brought to market so much of that leading staple which has swelled the aggregate exportable value of American products. But, withal, a vast region not surpassed in the aggregate by any of equal extent in natural fertility and adaptation to the majority of agricultural and horticultural products that are needed for the necessary use, the comfort, and even luxury of mankind.
Higher still, we have the belt of middle Georgia, a general term that describes a section in some parts level, in others broken and undulating, vast in extent, diversified in soil, and of capabilities that are immense. Here are numerous springs, rills, rivulets, branches, and creeks. The rivers flow rapidly over granite and pebbly beds, leaping from higher to lower surface, as if to supply
motive power to machinery prior to man's invention of the use of condensed steam. Here are the rocks and gravel, the loam and the clay. Here the cereals impart to the picture a more golden hue, as they mingle with the cotton, the roots, the fruits, and vines. This is a land highly savored by nature, and to it have adhered a population of former slaves, slaveholders, and non-slaveholders, a people worthy of this heaven-favored country, in every respect except in numbers.
Still higher, we have the broad belt of upper Georgia, stretching from the east over the freestone to the west over the limestone, resembling the middle belt in many places, in surface, water, and geological formations, with a still deeper golden hue, from preponderance of cereal crops. And not very unlike to it in the character, habits, and modes of life of the people, but with greatly diminished mixture of the colored race. This vast region is more variegated as to fertile and barren lands, but far exceeds all the rest in abundance and variety of the mines imbedded beneath its surface.
Thus stands the grand old State, arable, watered, timbered, peopled in every district, with immense capabilities in the production of nearly all that man needs of food, raiment, medicine, laden along her surface with vines and fruits, with her skirts and graceful drapery trimmed with every variety of flowers, from the gorgeous magnolia to the bridal-wreath spirea. She stands in magnificence peerless among the nations; but in modesty, as if a maiden decked and attired for the altar, before their assembled court. Her wealth is of the mountain chain, all studded with stones and precious metals. By her peaks and slopes she makes her obeisance—so genial and inviting is she to all the civilized world. She bows to the east to catch the light as it comes on Aurora's beams; and to the west to bid adieu to the King of Day and receive the kiss of his last retiring ray; to the North Star, and her twinkling wintry comrades; and to the Queen of Night, amid her virgin throng of southern stars ; lofty in her height, magnificent in her proportions, she catches the dews from the clouds ; she bows lowly in commiseration and sympathy with laboring man, and sheds her tears to cool his parching fields ; these she mingles with the floods distilled from the clouds, and the fountains she sends forth from every undulation of her bosom, and propels them, in silvery columns, along their winding ways, over cascades and through deep valleys, with converging channels and concentrating waves, to unite with the great waters of Gulf and Ocean.
The State extends from thirty-one and a half to thirtyfive degrees of north latitude, having an average length north and south of three hundred miles, and breadth east and west of about two hundred miles. It contains 58,000 square miles, being about 37,120,000 acres of land.
POPULATION. By the census of 1870 there were 638,926 white, and 595,192 colored, making the aggregate 1,184,109 people. By the census of 1880 the whites are 816,906, the colored 725,133, making the aggregate 1,542,180.
There are one hundred and thirty-eight counties, varying in size, shape, population, productions, and wealth. These are subdivided into militia districts, designed originally for the convenience of military organization, which have also been adopted as jurisdictions for courts of justices of the peace.
The judicial division of the State is into circuits, forming jurisdictions for the Superior Courts, the highest tribunal of original civil and criminal jurisdiction in the State, of which there are twenty-one, each having a judge and solicitor elective by the Legislature.
There are ten political districts, the people of each of which elect a representative in Congress. And fortyfour senatorial districts, each electing a senator in the State Legislature, the representatives being elected by counties.
Commencing on the south-east at Tiger island, at the mouth of St Mary's river, the State has an ocean front on the Atlantic north to Tybee island at the mouth of the Savannah river, along the eastern border of the counties of Camden, Glynn, McIntosh, Liberty, Bryan and Chatham. Thence that river and her eastern tributary, flowing south-east, divide this state from South Carolina, to the soutủ line of North Carolina along the eastern border of the counties of Chatham, Effingham, Burke, Richmond, Columbia, Lincoln, Elbert, Hart, Franklin, Habersham, and Rabun, to the north-east corner. Thence a dry line west, along the northern border of the counties of Rabun, Towns, and part of Fannin, adjoining North Carolina, and thence along the balance of Fannin and the counties of Murray, Whitfield, Catoosa, Walker and Dade adjoining Tennessee, to the north-west corner near the Tennessee river; thence a dry line south along the western border of the counties of Dade, Walker, Chat