Military, Post Office, Congress,
Religion and More
table exhibits a general view of the regular army of the United
States, according to the law of 1842, which consists of:
Eight regiments of Infantry, each
composed of non-commissioned officers, musicians and privates,
Four regiments of Artillery, each
composed of non-commissioned officers, musicians, and privates,
Two regiments of Dragoons, each
composed of non-commissioned officers and privates, 660 1,320
exhibits the reduction of officers and soldiers from the
1 Com. General, 2 Surveyors, 10
Assistant Surgeons, 1 Inspector General, 6 Military Storekeepers
3 Paymasters 23
Privates reduced in Infantry 3,152
Privates reduced in Artillery 208
Privates reduced in Dragoons 178
Whole reduction 3,561
reliance of the country for defense is on the Militia of the
several states, amounting in the whole, on the 21st November,
1841, according to the latest official returns, to 1,587,722,
distributed among the several states as shown in the following
The navy of
the United States, though not large in comparison with those of
some other nations, is undoubtedly the most efficient in
proportion to its size of any in the world. It consisted, in
July 1841, of 11 ships of the line; 15 frigates of the 1st
class; 2 frigates of the 2d class; 21 sloops of war; 4 brigs; 8
schooners; besides 2 steam frigates, and several smaller steam
The United States have navy-yards at
the following places: Portsmouth, Boston, New York,
Philadelphia, Washington, Norfolk, and Pensacola.
There were in the Navy, 30th
September, 1841, 68 Captains; 97 Commanders; 328 Lieutenants; 70
Surgeons; 57 Assistant Surgeons and Passed Assistant Surgeons;
63 Pursers; 24 Chaplains; 103 Passed Midshipmen; 370 Midshipmen;
There were in
December, 1840, 13,638 Post Offices. The revenue in 1840 was
$4,539,265; and the expenditure was $4,759,Ill.
The following are the rates
of postage by mail.
On a single letter composed of one
piece of paper, for any distance not exceeding 30 miles, 6 cts.
Over 30, and not exceeding 80, 10 ct. Over 80, and not exceeding
150, 12½ cts. Over 150, and not exceeding 400, 18¾ cts. Over 400
miles, 25 cents.
A letter composed of two pieces of
paper, is charged with double these rates; of three, with
triple; of four, with quadruple. One or more pieces of paper,
mailed as a letter, and weighing one ounce, shall be charged
with quadruple postage; and at the same rate, should the weight
For each newspaper not carried out of
the State in which it is published, 1 cent, or if carried over
100 miles out of the State in which it is published, 1½ cents.
Magazines and pamphlets, if published
periodically, and distance not exceeding 100 miles, 1½ cents per
sheet; do. over 100 miles, 2½ cents. If not published
periodically, and the distance not exceeding 100 miles, 4 cents;
do. over 100 miles, 6 cents.
Every printed pamphlet or magazine,
which contains more than 24 pages on a royal sheet, or any sheet
of less dimensions, shall be charged by the sheet; and small
pamphlets, printed on a half or quarter of a sheet, of royal or
less size, shall be charged with half the amount of postage
charged on a full sheet.
The President of the United States,
and the officers of the general government at Washington,
receive newspapers and letters free of postage.
The members of both houses of
Congress are not charged, excepting for a letter or package
weighing over two ounces, when the excess is charged.
Postmasters have also the privilege of receiving newspapers and
letters free of postage under certain restrictions; and printers
of newspapers, receive newspapers without charge, with certain
constitution of the United States forbids the establishment of
religion by law; but every person, who does not interrupt the
peace of society, is protected in the exercise of his religion.
The voluntary principle, as it is sometimes called, has been
found to be more efficient than any legal enactment for the
support of religious institutions.
The following table exhibits the
numbers of the different religious denominations in 1840.
Schools, Universities and
The people of
the United States, from the first settlement of the country,
have been attentive to the cause of popular education, not only
by making provision for the support of common schools and
academies, and grammar schools, but by founding (perhaps too
many) higher seminaries of learning. In less than 20 years after
the first tree was felled, and the first log-house was erected
in the wilderness, by the Pilgrim Fathers of New England,
Cambridge College was founded; and the cause of education has
been, from year to year, obtaining continually, a stronger hold
upon the community. A general impression exists in the public
mind that the perpetuity and prosperity of free institutions,
depends upon the general intelligence of the people. A
particular reference to the colleges will be found under the
states, and a description of them under the towns where they are
According to the census of 1840,
there were in the United States 173 universities and colleges,
with 16,233 students; 3,242 academies and grammar schools, with
164,159 students; 47,209 common and primary schools, with
1,815,244 scholars. In the above enumeration, theological and
medical institutions, where they are separate from colleges, are
ranked among universities and colleges.
Theological institutions for a
professional education, to succeed the collegiate, have been
founded in different parts of the country, and by different
denominations. They will be described under the places where
they are located.
One of the earliest law schools in
the United States was founded in Litchfield, Conn., in 1798, by
the Hon. Tapping Reeve, and taught afterwards by him, in
connection with the Hon. James Gould. At this institution many
of the principal civilians in the country have been educated. It
is now discontinued. Others have been established in different
places. An account of them will be found under the places where
they are located.
Numerous medical institutions have
been founded for the education of physicians and surgeons. Many
of the students have received an education at some college; but
this is not generally indispensable, where the acquirements of
the candidate are respectable, in order to membership. They will
be described under the places where they are located.
Government of the United
government of the United States is that of a confederated
Republic, formed by a union of states, each of which has a local
government, for the management of its immediate concerns. The
powers of the general government are defined by the
constitution, formed by delegates from the original states,
submitted to the people, the only acknowledged sources of power,
and by them adopted in state conventions, assembled for the
purpose. It went into operation by the election and inauguration
of Gen. George Washington, as first President, in 1789.
The President of the United States,
who possesses the supreme executive power, is chosen for the
term of 4 years, by electors from each state, equal to the whole
number of senators and representatives in the state. No person
holding an office of trust under the government of the United
States can be an elector. The person who has a majority of all
the votes, is President; but if no one has such majority, the
House of Representatives choose a President from 3 candidates,
having the greatest number of votes. In the election of
President, the votes are given by states. A Vice-President is
chosen at the same time, and in the same form.
No person can be elected as
President, who is less than 35 years of age, who is not a native
born citizen of the United States, or was not a citizen at the
time of the adoption of the constitution, and who has not been a
resident in the United States for 14 years. The same
qualifications are necessary for a candidate for the
The President is commander-in-chief
of the army and navy, and of the militia when in the actual
service of the United States. With
the advice and consent of the Senate, he makes treaties, ap-points
ambassadors, and judges of the Supreme Court, and other officers
of the national government, whose appointment is not otherwise
provided for by the constitution. He takes care that the laws be
executed, and commissions all officers. He has power to grant
reprieves and pardons for all offences against the United
States, except in case of impeachments. In making treaties, the
concurrence of two thirds of the Senate is necessary.
In case of the death, removal, or
resignation of the President, the Vice-President succeeds to the
duties of his office.
The Senate consists of 2 members from
each state, chosen by the legislature, for the term of 6 years.
One third of the Senate is chosen every year. To be eligible as
a senator, a person must be not less than 35 years of age; and
must have been a citizen of the United States for 9 years. It
belongs to the Senate to try all cases of the impeachment of the
President or Vice-President.
The representatives are chosen for 2
years. No person can be a representative who is not 25 years of
age, and who has not been for 7 years a citizen of the United
States. The representatives are proportioned according to the
number of inhabitants, and since the census of 1840, has been
fixed at 70,680. In the enumeration, three fifths of the slaves
Congress has power to lay and collect
taxes; to provide for the common defense and general welfare; to
borrow money; to regulate foreign and domestic commerce; to
establish uniform laws of naturalization and bankruptcy; to coin
money, and regulate its value; to fix the standard of weights
and measures; to establish post-offices and post-roads; to grant
patent and copy-rights; to constitute tribunals inferior to the
supreme court; to define and punish piracies, and offences on
the high seas, and against the law of nations; to declare war,
and grant letters of marque and reprisal; make rules respecting
captures; raise and support armies; provide and maintain a navy;
provide for the calling out of the militia, to execute the laws
of the Union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions; and to
exercise exclusive jurisdiction over the District of Columbia.
No member of Congress is allowed to
hold any office under the Government of the United States, while
he continues such. All bills for raising money must originate in
the House of Representatives.
The Judicial power of the United
States is vested in a Supreme Court, consisting of a Chief
Justice, and 8 Associate Justices; of 9 District Courts,
consisting of a Judge of the Supreme Court, and a District
Judge; and 31 District Courts, held by a District Judge alone;
from whose decisions there is, in certain cases, an appeal to
the Circuit Court, and from this to the Supreme Court. The
Judges hold their offices during good behavior; and their
salaries cannot be diminished, during their continuance in
The Supreme Court meets annually at
Washington, on the 2d Monday of January.
Table of Contents
Source: A Complete Descriptive And
Statistical Gazetteer Of The United States Of America, By Daniel
Haskel, A. M and J. Calvin Smith, Published By Sherman & Smith,
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