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RHODE ISLAND, one of the thirteen original states of the American Union and one of the New England states, the smallest of the 37 of which the Union is now composed. It is bounded N. and E. by Massachusetts, S. by the Atlantic ocean, and W. by Connecticut, and lies between lat. 41° 9' and 42° 3' N., and lon. 71° 8' and 71° 53' W.; extreme length N. and S. 47½ m., greatest breadth E. and W. 40 m.; area, 1,306 sq. m.

AmCyc Rhode Island - seal.jpg

State Seal of Rhode Island.

It is divided into five counties: Bristol, Kent, Newport, Providence, and Washington. These are subdivided into two cities, Providence (pop. in 1876, 100,675) and Newport (pop. 14,028), and 34 towns. Providence and Pawtucket, which had 68,904 and 6,619 inhabitants respectively in 1870, have since received territory from North Providence. The largest towns are Pawtucket (pop. in 1875, 18,464), Woonsocket (13,576), Warwick (11,614), Lincoln (11,565), Bristol (5,829), Cranston (5,688), Westerly (5,408), Burrillville (5,249), Johnston (4,999), Coventry (4,580), and South Kingstown (4,240). The population of Rhode Island in 1730 was 17,935; in 1755, 40,414; in 1770, 59,678. According to the federal enumerations, it has been as follows:

 CENSUSES.  White. Free
 Slave.   Aggregate. 

1790 64,470  3,407 948  68,825    
1800 65,488  3,304 380  69,122    
1810 73,214  3,609 108  76,981    
1820 79,413  3,554 48  83,059[1] 
1830 93,621  3,561 17  97,199    
1840 105,587  3,238 108,880    
1850 143,875  3,670 ..  147,545    
1860 170,649  3,952 ..  174,620    
1870  212,219  4,980 ..   217,858    
  1. Including 44 persons not classified.

The aggregate included 19 Indians in 1860, and 154 in 1870. The gain in population from 1860 to 1870 was 24.47 per cent. Rhode Island at the latter date had 166.43 inhabitants to a square mile, being next to Massachusetts the most densely populated state in the Union. The total population in 1875, according to the state census, was 258,239. Of the population in 1870, 161,957 were natives and 55,396 foreigners, 104,756 males and 112,597 females. Of the natives, 125,269 were born in the state, 18,719 in Massachusetts, 5,524 in Connecticut, 3,932 in New York, 1,875 in Maine, and 1,242 in New Hampshire. There were 45,371 persons born in the state living in other parts of the Union. Of the foreigners, 42,984 were natives of the United Kingdom (31,534 Irish, 9,291 English, and 1,948 Scotch), 10,242 of British America, and 1,201 of Germany. There were in the state 27,834 males and 27,941 females between 5 and 18 years of age, 44,377 males between 18 and 45, and 58,752 males 21 years old and upward, of whom 43,996 were citizens of the United States and 14,756 unnaturalized foreigners. There were 46,133 families, with an average of 4.7l persons to each, and 34,828 dwellings, with an average of 6.24 to each; 15,416 persons 10 years old and upward who could not read, and 21,921 who could not write, of whom 4,444 were native and 17,477 foreign born, 2,531 between 10 and 15 years of age, 2,588 between 15 and 21, and 16,802 21 and upward, of whom 6,218 were males and 10,584 females. The number of blind persons was 121; of deaf and dumb, 64; of insane, 312; of idiotic, 123. The number of paupers supported during the year ending June 1, 1870, was 1,046, at a cost of $97,702; receiving support on that date, 634, of whom 192 were foreigners; persons convicted of crimes during the year, 209; in prison on June 1, 180, of whom 55 were foreigners. Of the 88,574 (66,859 males and 21,715 females) persons 10 years old and over returned as engaged in all occupations, 11,780 were employed in agriculture, 19,679 in professional and personal services, 10,108 in trade and transportation, and 47,007 in manufactures, including 20,504 cotton and woollen mill operatives. The number of deaths, according to the census of 1870, was 2,741, of which 552 were from consumption and 169 from pneumonia. Rhode Island was formerly the abode of the Narragansett Indians, a large and powerful tribe, of which there is a small remnant. In 1709 the sachem Ninegret gave a quitclaim to the colony of all the Indian lands, except a reservation in the town of Charlestown, portions of which have from time to time been sold. Of this reservation there remains 2,685 acres, 637 of which are arable, and the remainder swamp and timber lands. The tribe now consists of fewer than 150 persons, all of whom are of mixed blood. They possess a church and a school house, and about a third of the tribe can read and write.—The surface of the state is generally rough and hilly, but has no elevations which can with propriety be called mountains. Mt. Hope, the seat of the famous Indian king Philip, near Bristol, is a considerable elevation, but the hills near Woonsocket in the north, and Hopkins hill near the centre of the state, have a greater height above the sea. Narragansett bay, which divides the state into two unequal parts, leaving far the greater portion on the west, extends N. from the Atlantic ocean a distance of 28 m. It is from 3 to 12 m. wide, and holds in its embrace the islands of Aquidneck, or Rhode island, Canonicut, Prudence, and several smaller ones. The first named, which has been called the “Eden of America,” is 15 m. long, from 3 to 3½ m. wide, and contains about 50 sq. m. It comprises the city of Newport, the town of Middletown, and the greater part of Portsmouth. Newport, near its S. end, is a celebrated watering place. Newport harbor, which lies between Canonicut and Rhode island, is one of the finest in the world, and has a depth of water sufficient for the largest ships. Canonicut is 7 m. long and about 1 m. wide, and forms the town of Jamestown. Prudence island lies N. E. of Canonicut, and is of less extent; it forms a portion of the town of Portsmouth. Projecting southward from the mainland on the east is a peninsula which divides Narragansett bay and forms Mt. Hope bay, at the head of which Taunton river enters. In the Atlantic, about 10 m. S. by W. of Point Judith (at the W. entrance of Narragansett bay), is Block island, so named from the Dutch captain Adriaen Block, who visited it in 1614; it is 8 m. long by from 2 to 5 m. wide, contains a large salt pond, and forms the town of New Shoreham, Newport co. The islanders support themselves chiefly by fishing. Sheep in considerable numbers are raised, and excellent butter and cheese are made there.—The rivers in the state are small, but have considerable falls, and their waters are used over and over again during their whole course for manufacturing purposes. The Pawtucket or Blackstone river rises in Massachusetts, runs S., and flows into Providence river. At Pawtucket it has a fall of from 30 to 40 ft., below which it bears the name of Seekonk river. The Woonasquatucket and Mooshassuck flow into a cove within the city of Providence which is connected with Providence river. Pawtuxet river enters Narragansett bay 5 m. below Providence. It courses through the central parts of the state and abounds with falls; hence it is used to its full extent for mills and various kinds of manufacturing establishments, Pawcatuck river waters the S. W. section of the state, and falls into Stonington harbor; along its course are many thriving manufacturing villages. Providence river is the northern arm of Narragansett bay, and is navigable to Providence for ships of 1,500 tons burden.—The western portions of the state are very uniform and simple in their geological character, the primary stratified and unstratified rocks generally prevailing with great uniformity. Cumberland in the north, on the contrary, is a very complicated geological district. As a general thing it may be said that the geological formation which distinguishes S. E. Massachusetts extends to the N. parts of Rhode Island. The S. section is chiefly of a later era. Anthracite coal of an inferior quality exists in Cumberland and on Rhode island, in both of which localities it has been mined to a considerable extent. Iron ore is found in several places. Limestone abounds in the N. section, and there are some excellent quarries of marble, freestone, and granite. Serpentine is also abundant.—The climate of the whole state is mild, owing to its proximity to the sea. Newport and its vicinity, more affected by the vapors from the Atlantic, is milder than the N. parts of the state. The soil is moderately fertile, but rough in many parts and difficult of cultivation. The island of Rhode Island was formerly well wooded, but it was entirely denuded of its forest trees while in possession of the British in the revolutionary war. It is now noted for its fine cattle, sheep, butter, and cheese. The soil of the islands is slaty, yet they are the most productive portions of the state. There is very little alluvial land. Pine plains are found in several places. Oak, walnut, and chestnut are the prevailing growth, with some pine. In the S. parts are some large cedar swamps. Indian corn, rye, and oats are the principal cereals. Wheat is rarely sown. On the whole the lands are better adapted to grazing than to the cultivation of cereals. The number of acres of improved land in farms in 1870 was 289,030; of farms, 5,368, of which 440 contained less than 10 acres each, 719 between 10 and 20, 1,960 between 20 and 50, 1,488 between 50 and 100, 750 between 100 and 500, and 11 more than 500; cash value of farms, $21,574,968; of farming implements and machinery, $786,246; wages paid during the year, including value of board, $1,124,118; estimated value of all farm productions, including betterments and additions to stock, $4,761,163; value of orchard products, $43,036; of produce of market gardens, $316,133; of forest products, $254,683; of home manufactures, $37,847; of animals slaughtered or sold for slaughter, $755,552; of live stock, $3,135,132. The productions were 784 bushels of wheat, 20,214 of rye, 311,957 of Indian corn, 157,010 of oats, 33,559 of barley, 1,444 of buckwheat, 9,920 of peas and beans, 669,408 of Irish potatoes, 142 of sweet potatoes, 954 of clover seed, 1,988 of grass seed, 796 lbs. of tobacco, 77,328 of wool, 941,199 of butter, 81,976 of cheese, 249 of hops, 498 of wax, 6,290 of honey, 20 gallons of sorghum molasses, 765 of wine, 1,944,044 of milk sold, and 89,045 tons of hay. The live stock on farms included 7,770 horses, 43 mules and asses, 18,806 milch cows, 5,821 working oxen, 9,748 other cattle, 23,938 sheep, and 14,607 swine; besides which there were 3,343 horses and 5,730 cattle not on farms.—Manufacturing is the most important interest of the state. The chief water power is in Providence and Kent counties. The city of Providence is largely engaged in manufacturing by steam power. The following table is compiled from the last three federal censuses:

 YEAR.  Number of
of hands
 of capital 
Value of
 materials used 
during year.
Value of

1850 864  20,967  $12,935,676   $5,047,080   $18,186,703   $22,117,688 
1860 1,191  32,490 24,278,295  8,760,125  19,858,515  40,711,296 
1870 1,850  49,417 66,557,322  19,354,256  73,154,109  111,418,354 

Of the hands employed in 1870, 28,804 were males above 16, 14,752 females above 15, and 5,861 youth. The motive power was furnished by 402 steam engines of 23,546 horse power, and 456 water wheels of 18,481 horse power. In that year, though 32d among the states in population, Rhode Island was 10th in the value of manufactures. In proportion to population it ranked first, averaging $512 61 of manufactured products to each inhabitant. The following table gives the statistics for 1870 of the leading branches, together with the rank of Rhode Island and the states that surpass it in value of products in each branch:

INDUSTRIES.  Establishments.  Hands. Capital. Value of
Value of
 Rank.  States superior in
value of products.

Cotton goods 140  16,872   $18,843,300   $18,286,315   $22,072,203  2  Mass.
Woollen goods 65  6,363  8,167,500  8,089,948  12,558,117  5  Mass., Pa., Conn., N. Y.
Worsted goods 11  1,531  2,300,000  1,736,210  2,835,950  3  Mass., Pa.
All textiles[1] 219   25,054  30,352,800  23,280,096  37,907,670  3  Mass., Pa.
Printing cotton and woollen goods  2,996  6,770,000  14,604,962  17,842,480  1
Bleaching and dyeing 18  780  1,474,000  13,842,026  15,138,723  2  Mass.
Cotton and woollen machinery 70  3,087  3,583,060  1,412,715  4,316,376  2  Mass.
Jewelry 71  1,579  1,850,400  1,358,831  3,043,846  3  N. Y., N. J.
Plated ware 380  634,700  564,900  1,212,240  2  Conn.
Screws 972  7,080,000  718,465  1,882,318  1
India-rubber and elastic goods 845  403,000  901,053  1,804,868  5  Conn., Mass., N. Y., N. J. 
  1. Including cotton, woollen, worsted, and linen goods.

—Rhode Island is divided into three customs districts, Bristol and Warren, Newport, and Providence. The direct foreign commerce is not extensive, but there is a large coasting trade. The statistics of the foreign commerce for the year ending June 30, 1875, including imports and exports and entrances and clearances, with the number and tonnage of vessels belonging in the different districts on that date, are contained in the following table:


 No.  Tons.  No.  Tons.  No.  Tons.

Bristol and Warren  ......  $5,100  ...  ...  191  20  1,265 
Newport $1,750  11,632  617  620  137  6,843 
Providence 312,950  23,088  148  22,590  125  19,636  132  36,485 

State  $314,700   $39,820   154   23,207   131   20,447   289   44,593 

Of the vessels belonging in the state, 48, with an aggregate tonnage of 21,570, were steamers. Cod and mackerel fishing for the New York and other markets is carried on to a considerable extent, chiefly from Newport. The number of vessels engaged in this business on June 30, 1875, was 105, with an aggregate tonnage of 1,547. Menhaden, scup, and bluefish are also extensively caught, while clams and other shellfish are abundant on the shores of Narragansett bay. The latest published statistics of the coasting trade, for the year ending June 30, 1875, are as follows:


 No.  Tons.  No.  Tons.

Bristol and Warren  39  5,471  61  50,561 
Newport 330  801,948  327  806,039 
Providence 844  748,765  157  113,023 

State  1,213   1,556,184   545   969,623 

Rhode Island is well supplied with railroads. The particulars of the different lines at the beginning of 1875 are shown in the following table:

 in state. 
Total length
when different
 from preceding. 

Boston and Providence  Boston, Mass., to Providence 10½ m.  44    m. 
Boston, Hartford, and Erie (Woonsocket division)   Brookline, Mass., to Woonsocket 1    m.  33¾ m. 
Fall River, Warren, and Providence  Warren to Fall River, Mass. 2    m.  5¾ m. 
Hartford, Providence, and Fishkill  Providence to Waterbury, Conn. 26⅓ m.  122⅓ m. 
Newport and Wickford  Wickford Junction to Wickford, opposite Newport 3⅓ m.  ......
New York, Providence, and Boston  Groton, opp. New London, Conn., to Providence  45    m.  62½ m. 
Old Colony  Boston, Mass., to Newport 16¼ m.  67¾ m. 
Pawtuxet Valley  River Point to Hope 315 m.  ......
Providence and Springfield  Providence to Pascoag 23    m.  ......
Providence and Worcester  Providence to Worcester, Mass. 18    m.  44½ m. 
Providence, Warren, and Bristol  Providence to Bristol 13½ m.  ......
Warwick  Auburn to Coweset Bay 8½ m.  ......
Wood River branch  Wood River Junction to Locustville 5½ m.  ......

Total  176    m.  ......

There are 62 national banks, which on Oct. 2, 1874, had an aggregate capital of $20,504,800; outstanding circulation, $12,990,605; individual deposits, $7,930,653 64; total assets, $49,008,801 37. The number of state banks is 15 (12 in Providence and 3 in Newport), which on Dec. 2, 1874, had an aggregate paid-in capital of $3,210,000, and deposits to the amount of $1,537,701 22; total assets, $5,229,253 46. The institutions for savings, 37 in number, on the same date had 98,359 depositors and deposits to the amount of $48,771,501 86. The aggregate assets amounted to $50,540,703 19. The condition of the Rhode Island Hospital trust company in Providence, the only one in the state, was as follows: capital, $500,000; deposits, $1,935,520 59; moneys in trust, $3,696,344 43; total assets, $6,694,862 65. The following are the statistics of the fire, fire and marine, and life insurance companies authorized to transact business in the state on Jan. 1, 1875:

COMPANIES.  Number.   Capital paid up.   Gross assets.   Liabilities, including 
 Surplus as to
 policy holders. 

Fire, &c.    Rhode Island companies
Companies of other states 
Foreign companies
23  $1,300,000  $3,103,200     $1,272,271     $1,830,929    
102  32,132,270  79,720,055     31,966,194     47,753,861    
13  ..........  14,595,321[1]  7,204,276[1]  7,391,044[1] 
Life companies of other states 31  4,476,000   331,078,845     292,353,781      38,725,064    
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 In the United States.

—The official designation of the state is “the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.” The government is vested in a governor (salary $1,000), lieutenant governor ($500), secretary of state ($2,500 and fees), attorney general ($2,500), treasurer ($2,000), and a general assembly consisting of a senate and house of representatives. They are all elected annually by the qualified voters on the first Wednesday of April. An auditor (salary $1,500) is chosen annually by the general assembly. The senate consists of the lieutenant governor and one member from each city and town in the state. The governor, and in his absence the lieutenant governor, presides, voting only in case of a tie. The secretary of state is ex officio secretary of the senate. The house of representatives cannot exceed 72 members, apportioned among the cities and towns according to population after each census; but each town is entitled to at least one representative, and none can have more than 12; the latter number is sent by the city of Providence. The pay of the members is $1 a day and 8 cents for every mile travelled. The present number of senators is 86 and of representatives 72. Rhode Island has two capitals, Providence and Newport, the general assembly holding annually its regular session in the latter city commencing on the last Tuesday of May, and a session by adjournment in the former. The pardoning power is vested exclusively in the governor, with the advice and consent of the senate. The judicial power is vested in a supreme court and courts of common pleas. The supreme court has general appellate and original jurisdiction, and consists of a chief justice, with a salary of $4,500, and three associate justices with salaries of $4,000 each; they are elected by the general assembly, and hold office until removed by a resolution of both houses. The court of common pleas in each of the five counties is held by a single judge of the supreme court. It has jurisdiction of appeals from justices' and other inferior courts, of crimes not punishable by imprisonment for life, and of civil cases involving $100 and upward, or the title to real estate. Justices' courts are held in each town and city by a trial justice selected from the qualified justices of the peace. The town councils are courts of probate within their respective towns, though in each a special judge of probate may be elected, who then has exclusive jurisdiction of probate matters. In the city of Providence the municipal court is the court of probate. Voters must be male citizens of the United States 21 years old and upward. Naturalized citizens must also be possessed of a freehold of $134 or renting for $7 per annum, and have resided one year in the state and six months in the town or city in which they offer to vote. Native-born citizens may vote upon the same qualifications; they may also vote, without the property qualification, if they have resided two years in the state and six months in the town or city, have been registered on or before the last day of December preceding the election, and have within a year paid taxes amounting to $1 or served at least one day in the militia. But no person can vote “upon any proposition to impose a tax, or for the expenditure of money in any town or city, unless he shall, within the year next preceding, have paid a tax assessed upon his property therein, valued at least at $134.” The distinction between native and naturalized citizens is not expressly stated in the constitution, but rests upon a reference in that instrument to the act calling the convention to frame it. The voting for general state officers and for representatives in congress must be by ballot; voting for senators and representatives in the general assembly and for town or city officers is by ballot when demanded by any seven persons entitled to vote for those officers. In all elections a majority of all the electors voting is necessary to a choice. If there be no choice for governor or other state officers, the election is made by the general assembly in joint session from the two candidates having the greatest number of votes. In the case of senators and representatives, a new election is held by the people until some candidate receives a majority. Amendments to the constitution must be adopted by a majority of all the members elected to each house of two successive legislatures, and subsequently by a three-fifths vote of the people. Rhode Island is entitled to two representatives and in common with the other states to two senators in congress, and has thus four votes in the electoral college.—The valuation of the real and personal property of the state according to the federal censuses has been as follows:

 YEARS.  ASSESSED VALUE. True value of
real and
 personal estate. 

 Real estate.   Personal estate.  Total.

1850 ..........  ..........  ...........  $80,508,794 
1860  $83,778,204   $41,326,101   $125,104,305   135,337,588 
1870 132,876,581  111,402,273  244,278,854  296,965,646 

The total taxation not national in 1870 was $2,170,152, of which $489,253 was state and $1,680,899 town, city, &c.; total public debt. $5,938,642, of which $2,913,500 was state and $3,025,142 town, city, &c. The receipts and payments into and from the state treasury during the year ending April 30, 1875, were as follows:

Balance in treasury May 1, 1874 $294,306 08
State tax $492,418 77
Institutions for savings 112,923 17
State insurance companies 18,389 91
Foreign insurance agents 38,405 90
Courts and justices 34,905 88
Jailers 4,158 59
Auctioneers 1,810 02
Town councils 3,069 73
Peddlers' licenses 3,700 00
Dividends on the school fund 22,092 50
Charters 5,750 00
Interest on deposits of revenue 16,412 62
Miscellaneous 9,243 98

$763,276 07

   Total $1,057,582 15
Salaries $58,908 81
Expenses of general assembly 21,582 76
Courts and justices 54,325 51
Public printing 10,170 38
Charities and corrections 65,000 00
Public schools 90,000 00
Special appropriations 6,276 33
Insane and other dependents 9,902 71
Jailers 1,520 03
Reform school 20,955 43
Military 19,896 11
Normal school 10,000 00
Law library 1,592 01
Court houses and jails 2,072 39
Interest on state debt 160,530 00
Inland fisheries 1,263 48
Mileage, state normal school 1,477 80
Evening schools 2,213 00
New state prison 10,000 00
Miscellaneous 34,045 17

$581,731 92

   Balance in treasury April 30, 1875  $475,850 23

The funded debt of the state at the above date amounted to $2,563,500.—The state institutions are the state prison in Providence, and the workhouse and house of correction, the state asylum for the incurable insane, and the state almshouse on the state farm (418 acres) in Cranston. The state prison and Providence county jail (on the same premises) are under the management of a board of seven inspectors appointed annually by the governor, who serve without pay. The labor of the prisoners is let to contractors, and is employed in the manufacture of furniture and wire goods and in chair seating. The number of convicts in prison during the year ending Jan. 1, 1875, was 101; remaining on that date 67; number of persons in jail during the year, 2,618; remaining at the close, 147. The receipts of these institutions amounted to $23,428 93, of which $14,715 42 were from labor; ordinary expenses, $22,967 46. The institutions on the state farm are under the management of a board of state charities and corrections, consisting of six members appointed by the governor and senate for six years (one retiring annually). These serve without pay, and appoint a secretary, who is ex officio a member of the board. The board appoints a superintendent of state charities and corrections. The state almshouse, for paupers not having a legal settlement in any town, was opened on Aug. 1, 1874. The following statistics are for the year ending Jan. 1, 1875:

 at close 
of year.

Workhouse and house of correction  735 199
Asylum for incurable insane 207 172
Almshouse (five months) 196 141

Of the insane in the asylum on Jan. 1, 1875, 62 were supported wholly by the state; the board of the others was paid by the towns or by friends of the patients at from $2 to $4 per week. The average number of paupers in the town asylums during the year ending June 1, 1874, was 472, and they were supported at the cost of $32,082 89, exclusive of the income of the farms connected with the asylums. The Butler hospital for the insane in Providence is a corporate institution, but some poor patients are supported at the expense of the state or of the towns. It was opened in 1848. A fine farm is connected with it. The number under treatment during 1874 was 234; remaining at the close of the year, 127. The greater number are supported from private means. The number of public patients during the year was 40, at the close 16; toward the maintenance of these $1,630 18 was paid by the state and $1,817 28 by the towns. The entire net expenditure of the institution was $55,217 44. The Providence reform school is a city institution, but it receives children and youth from all parts of the state. It was opened in 1850. The number of inmates during the year ending Nov. 30, 1874, was 369 (314 boys and 55 girls); remaining on that date, 220 (179 boys and 41 girls). The receipts during the year were $41,699 79, of which $20,955 71 were from the state; expenditures, $41,295 38.—The public schools are under the management of a board of education, consisting of the governor and lieutenant governor ex officio, and six members elected by the general assembly for three years (two retiring annually). The members serve gratuitously. The board elects annually a commissioner of public schools (salary $2,500), who also acts as its secretary. A school committee, varying in number, is elected in each town by the qualified voters for three years. Women are eligible to the committees. There is a board of trustees for each district, elected by the qualified voters. The schools in the city of Providence are governed by ordinances and regulations adopted by the city authorities. The public schools are free, and are supported by state, town, and district taxes. The following are the statistics for 1873-'4:

Number of school districts 429
Number of day schools 732
Average length of schools 8 mos. 19 days
Number of different teachers[1] 1,022
Number of teachers necessary 805
Estimated number of children in state between 5 and 15 43,800
Number of different pupils enrolled 39,401
Average attendance 24,434
Number of evening schools 52
Average length of schools 1345 weeks
Number of different teachers[2] 208
Number of different pupils enrolled 6,083
Average attendance 2,930
Amount of permanent school fund $250,376 37
Number of teachers reported in schools other than public[3] 156
Number of pupils in do 3,827
State appropriation for day schools $90,000 00
State appropriation for evening schools 3,314 00
Town appropriations 328,322 37
From registry taxes and other sources 210,355 40
District taxes 66,881 59
Balance unexpended last year 46,896 24

Total receipts from all sources $745,769 60
Paid teachers in day schools $355,525 90
Paid for other purposes connected with day schools 76,016 80
Expended for evening schools 22,127 50
Expended for school houses 237,181 33

Total expenditures $690,851 53
  1. 201 males and 821 females
  2. 89 males and 119 females
  3. 80 males and 76 females

More than half of the schools are graded. The following cities and towns have high schools, or schools of an equal grade, either public or private: Providence, Newport, Woonsocket, Pawtucket, Bristol, Warren, Westerly, Lincoln, East Greenwich, Barrington, Scituate, and East Providence. Children under 15 years of age employed in manufactories are required to attend school at least three months in the year. The state normal school is in Providence. Tuition is free to such as intend to tsach in the public schools of the state. The number of instructors is 8; number of pupils in 1873-'4, 141. The most important institution of learning in the state is Brown university at Providence, founded in 1764. By a legislative act of 1862 it received the congressional land grant of 120,000 acres for the establishment of a college of agriculture and the mechanic arts. This has been sold for $50,000, and entitles the state to the gratuitous tuition of 30 students in those branches. In 1874-'5 the university had 11 professors, 4 instructors, 253 students, and a library of upward of 40,000 volumes. (See Brown University.) The number of libraries, according to the census of 1870, was 759, with 693,387 volumes, of which 425, with 383,691 volumes, were private, and 334, with 309,696 volumes, not private, viz.: 1 state, 1,500 volumes; 10 town, city, &c., 15,198; 5 court and law, 2,147; 12 school, college, &c., 97,500; 248 Sabbath school, 116,441; 26 church, 11,160; 32 circulating, 65,750. There were 32 newspapers and periodicals, having an aggregate circulation of 82,050, and issuing 9,781,500 copies annually, viz.: 6 daily, circulation 23,250; 1 semi-weekly, 1,200; 19 weekly, 43,950; and 6 monthly, 13,650. The statistics of churches, according to the census, are as follows:

DENOMINATIONS.  Organizations.   Edifices.   Sittings.  Value of

Baptist, regular 75  73  23,695  $719,400
Baptist, other 34  34  11,191  158,000
Christian 12  12  3,050  33,500
Congregational 27  27  18,500  620,000
Episcopal 42  39  17,155  735,100
Friends 17  17  5,514  58,600
Jewish ..  ......  .......
Lutheran 400  1,500
Methodist 33  30  14,605  371,300
New Jerusalem (Swedenborgian)  675  5,500
Presbyterian 500  10,000
Roman Catholic 22  20  19,108  910,100
Second Advent 17  14  3,370  28,700
Spiritualist ..  ......  .......
Unitarian 3,450  229,000
Universalist 2,770  220,000
Unknown (local mission) ..  500  10,000
Unknown (union) 700  6,500

Total 295  283   125,183   $4,117,200

—Geographers have recently fixed upon Rhode Island as the ancient Vinland, said to have been discovered by the Northmen about A. D. 1000 (see Northmen); indeed, if reliance is to be placed on the Icelandic sagas, a critical examination of them leads to this result. In 1524 Verrazzani, coasting eastward from a bay which has been identified as that of New York, passed up an opening into a large bay where he remained a fortnight. There is little doubt that this was Narragansett bay, and that he first came to anchor in Newport harbor. He held a friendly intercourse with the natives, who visited his vessel in great numbers. The country was then very thickly populated. Many have believed that the “old stone mill,” an interesting ruin in Newport, long the puzzle of antiquaries, was the work of some of the early European navigators who followed Verrazzani, while the Danish antiquaries claim it as a work of the Northmen. It was used for a grist mill by the settlers who accompanied Williams and Coddington to Rhode Island, and was probably erected by them for that purpose. The celebrated Dighton rock, on Taunton river, a few miles from Mt. Hope bay, bearing a variety of strange figures, has been claimed by the Danish antiquaries as a memorial of the visit of the ancient Northmen under Thorfin in the 10th century. They have even gone so far as to attempt to trace out the name of this hero among the rude sculptures on the rock. Rhode Island was first settled at Providence (so called in grateful acknowledgment of “God's merciful providence to him in his distress”) in the year 1636 by Roger Williams, who had been banished from Massachusetts for maintaining opinions in political and religious matters at variance with those of the rulers in that colony. He immediately put into practice the doctrine of liberty of conscience. In 1638 William Coddington and some others, who wore also persecuted and forced to leave Massachusetts for religious opinions, deemed to be heresies there, purchased from the Indians the island of Aquidneck or Aquiday, afterward called Rhode island, and effected a settlement there, from which sprung the towns of Newport and Portsmouth. A third settlement was formed at Warwick in 1643, by a party among whom John Greene and Samuel Gorton were prominent. The same year Williams went to England and obtained a patent for the united government of the settlements, dated March 14, 1643-'4, which did not go into operation till 1647. This patent remained in force till 1663, when a charter was obtained from Charles II., incorporating the colony of “Rhode Island and Providence Plantations,” which was the only constitution of government for 180 years. The great war between the English settlers and the Indian tribes of New England broke out in June, 1675. Rhode Island suffered severely from it. Many towns, villages, and farm houses were burned, and families butchered. Providence, among others, was burned. The war only terminated with the death of Philip, king of the Wampanoags, a powerful tribe which dwelt on the eastern shore of Narragansett bay, in August, 1676. But the great contest in this war, and which decided the fate of the Indians, took place in December previous in the “Narragansett country,” so called, in the S. part of the state, the seat of the great and powerful tribe of Narragansetts. Here the Indians had collected in great numbers and fortified themselves, on a rising ground in the centre of a dense swamp. A considerable force was sent against them from Massachusetts, Plymouth, and Connecticut. The Indians were defeated with great loss, many perishing in the flames that destroyed their village. The loss of the colonists was also severe. Rhode Island was opposed to this exterminating war, and was not even consulted in regard to it by the other colonies. In January, 1687, Sir Edmund Andros, having been commissioned as governor of New England, New York, &c., abrogated the charter of Rhode Island, with those of other colonies, which then became a mere county, governed by civil officers appointed by him, till he was seized and sent to England in 1689. Rhode Island took a prominent part in the struggle between Great Britain and France for empire in America. She furnished large numbers of troops for the expeditions against Louisburg, Crown Point, Oswego, and Canada; but it was on the ocean that she rendered the most important service. In 1756 she had 50 privateers at sea, manned by upward of 1,500 men, which cruised along the coast and among the West India islands, making many captures. In the war of the revolution the first naval squadron sent against the enemy was fitted out and sailed from Providence under command of Commodore Hopkins, who was styled admiral. Commodores Whipple and Talbot also sailed from and belonged to Rhode Island. Gen. Nathanael Greene was a native of and began his military career in this state. In December, 1776, Rhode Island was invaded by the British, who occupied Newport several years. Gen. Sullivan, aided by a French fleet under Count d'Estaing, made several unsuccessful attempts to dislodge the enemy, and in the autumn of 1778 laid siege to Newport, but was finally obliged to abandon the project. Toward the close of 1779 the British troops were withdrawn, and the following year Rochambeau arrived with 6,000 French auxiliaries. Rhode Island was the last of the thirteen colonies that accepted the constitution of the United States, her assent being given on May 29, 1790. In the war of 1812 with Great Britain the state was made conspicuous by the victory on Lake Erie of Commodore O. H. Perry, a native of this state, won by the aid of a party of seamen and shipwrights from Rhode Island. Under the charter as in force at the breaking out of the revolution the lower house of the legislature consisted of six deputies from Newport, four each from Providence, Portsmouth, and Warwick, and two from each of the other towns. The right of suffrage was restricted to owners of a freehold worth £40 or $134, or renting for 40s. or $7 a year, and to their eldest sons. In process of time the property qualification and the inequality of representation, which continued to increase, caused much dissatisfaction. In 1840 Providence with only four representatives had 23,171 inhabitants, while Newport with six representatives had only 8,333 inhabitants. Of the 72 representatives elected in that year, 38 were chosen from towns having only 29,026 inhabitants and 2,846 voters, while the remaining 34 were chosen from towns having 79,804 inhabitants and 5,776 voters. Various attempts to obtain reform from the legislature having failed, suffrage associations were organized in the latter part of 1840 and the early part of 1841, which, at a mass convention held at Providence on July 5 of the latter year, authorized their state committee to call a convention to frame a constitution. Delegates were elected on Aug. 28, and on Oct. 4 the convention assembled at Providence. A constitution was framed and submitted to the people on Dec. 27, 28, and 29, when, it was asserted, about 14,000 votes were cast for its adoption, being a majority of the adult male citizens of the state. It was also asserted that a majority of those entitled to vote under the charter voted in its favor. An election for state officers under this constitution was held on April 18, 1842, when Thomas Wilson Dorr, the most prominent leader in the movement, was chosen governor. On May 3 Mr. Dorr's government attempted to organize at Providence and to seize the reins of power. They were resisted by the legal state government, at the head of which was Gov. Samuel W. King. On May 18 a portion of the suffrage party assembled at Providence under arms, and attempted to seize the arsenal, but dispersed on the approach of Gov. King with a military force. They assembled again to the number of several hundred, June 25, at Chepachet, 10 m. from Providence, but upon the approach of the state forces they dispersed without resistance, and the affair was over on the 28th. Mr. Dorr was arrested, tried, and convicted of high treason, and on June 25, 1844, sentenced to imprisonment for life. In 1847 he was released under an act of general amnesty, and in 1851 he was restored to his civil and political rights. In 1854 an act was passed to reverse and annul the judgment in his case, on the ground that the proceedings against him had been illegal and unjust; but the supreme court subsequently declared it unconstitutional, as an assumption of judicial authority by the legislature. In the mean time the legislature on Feb. 6, 1841, called a convention to frame a new constitution. The delegates were elected in August, and the convention assembled in November and adjourned to February, 1842, when they agreed upon a constitution, which was submitted to the people on March 21, 22, and 23, and rejected. In June the legislature called another convention, which met at Providence in September and subsequently adjourned to East Greenwich, where on Nov. 5 it agreed upon the present constitution, which was ratified by the people almost unanimously. It went into effect on the first Tuesday of May, 1843. In 1861 a controversy respecting the boundary with Massachusetts, transmitted from colonial times, was settled by the cession on the part of Rhode Island of that portion of the town of Tiverton containing the village of Fall River, in exchange for the town of Pawtucket and a part of Seekonk (now known as East Providence). In 1861 Rhode Island sent off a body of troops for the defence of Washington three days after President Lincoln issued his proclamation calling upon the states for troops. During the war she furnished 23,711 men to the federal armies, equivalent to 17,878 for three years.