A Statistical Account of the City of New-Haven (Classic Reprint)

A Statistical Account of the City of New-Haven (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from A Statistical Account of the City of New-Haven

The design of forming a Society, which might combine the efforts of literary men in Connecticut, for the promotion of useful knowledge, was suggested early in the year 1799. A few gentlemen in New-Haven attended a meeting at an invitation given; and a sketch of the principal objects of such an Association was communicated, together with the outline of the proposed Society, which was named "The Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences."

At a meeting on the fourth of March, the gentlemen, who had associated, adopted a number of regulations, as bye-laws for their government; and elected a number of gentlemen in various parts of the State to be members. At a subsequent meeting, certain fundamental articles were adopted as the Constitution of the Academy, by which were prescribed the terms of admission to membership. In October following, the Academy, on petition, obtained from the legislature an act of incorporation.

One considerable object proposed by this Association was to collect for publication a Statistical Account of the State of Connecticut; and to the accomplishment of this object they have directed their attention and exertions. On the first of January, 1800, they addressed a circular letter to every town in the State, containing the subjects of inquiry arranged under thirty-two distinct heads, and requesting answers to their inquiries. This letter was printed and distributed. In a subsequent address, the Academy urged an attention to the subject of those inquiries, and suggested a plan by which they supposed the labor of furnishing correct answers might be greatly facilitated. This business is still in progress; and nearly thirty papers containing answers to the above-mentioned letter, have been received.

Some of the accounts received have been collected with great apparent industry, are well arranged, and very complete. Others are very brief and less perfect. Notwithstanding this latter circumstance, and the tardiness with which these accounts are furnished, the Academy have determined to prosecute their design; and to publish statistical accounts of the several towns, in numbers, as the materials shall be supplied. The following Account of New-Haven is published first; as a pledge of the determination of the Academy to exert their best endeavors to accomplish the object; and as a specimen of the manner of execution; and the Academy cannot but hope that this example will have its effect, in stimulating the exertions of gentlemen in other towns, to furnish the means of a complete statistical account of the State. The Academy are not willing to believe that there are not gentlemen in every town who are competent to give at least a tolerable history of the township - and they would regret that the history of a single town or society should fail to be inserted, for want of materials.

The following is the circular letter above-mentioned, containing the inquiries, to which answers are solicited.


The Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, desirous of contributing to the collection and propagation of useful knowledge, and of procuring the materials for a Statistical History of Connecticut, request you to furnish them with every species of information which it may be in your power to obtain; relative to the Geography, Natural, Civil and Political History, Agriculture, Manufactures and Commerce of the State of Connecticut. Among the articles to which the Academy request your attention are the following:

1st. The history of the settlement of the town or society in which you reside the situation and extent of each - the number of societies, school districts and school houses in the town - by what means the lands were obtained from the Indians, whether by purchase or conquest - the number of foreigners, and of what country.
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