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A mile below the whirlpool is a place on the American side, called the "Devil's Hole," embracing about two acres, cut out laterally and perpendicularly in the rock by the side of the river, and about one hundred and fifty feet deep. This name was probably given from that of the personage more frequently invoked in this region, formerly, than any other. How this hole was thus made it is difficult to conjecture. Visitors look into it with silent, inexpressible amazement. An angle of this hole or gulf comes within a few feet of the stage road, affording travellers an opportunity, without alighting, of looking into the yawning abyss. But they ought to alight and pass to the farther side of the flat projecting rock, where they will feel themselves richly repaid for their trouble. The scenery there presented is singularly captivating and sublime.
This place is distinguished by an incident that occurred about the year 1759. A company of British soldiers, pursued by the French and Indians, were driven off this rock at the point of the bayonet. All, save one, instantly perished upon the rocks two hundred feet beneath them. This one fell into the crotch of a tree, and succeeded afterwards in ascending the bank and making his escape.
A man by the name of Steadman, who lived at Fort Schlosser, was among this company of British, but made his escape on horseback, just before coming to the bank, though many balls whizzed about him in his flight. The Indians afterwards imagined him to be impenetrable, and invincible, became very friendly, and ultimately, in consideration of some services he rendered them, gave him all the land included between Niagara river and a straight line drawn from Gill Creek above Fort Schlosser to the Devil's Hole, embracing about 5,000 acres. The heirs of Steadman, so late as the year 1823, instituted and carried on a long and expensive lawsuit against the State of New-York, to recover this land. But they could show no title, and the suit resulted in favour of the State and the present occupants.
Eight miles below the Falls, and three miles back from the
river, is the Reservation of the Tuscarora Indians, containing two miles in width by four in length, (about 5,000 acres,) of very excellent land. They consist of about three hundred souls, have a Presbyterian church of fifty members, a resident clergyman, a school teacher, and a Temperance Society of more than one hundred members. They are under the care of the American Board of Foreign Missions. Their village is delightfully situated on a high bank commanding an extensive prospect of the surrounding country, and of Lake Ontario. But the greater part of the Indians live in a settlement a mile and a half from the village, and are not generally seen by visitors.
These Indians came from North Carolina, about the year 1712, and joined the confederacy of the Five Nations, themselves making the Sixth. They formerly held a very valuable interest in land in North Carolina, but have recently sold it, and divided the proceeds equally among themselves. Many of them are in very prosperous circumstances; in the year 1834, one man raised and gathered fifty acres of wheat.
Visitors at the Falls have been in the habit of going, sometimes in crowds, to this village on the Sabbath; but the Indians, with their missionary, have often expressed their desire that visitors would not interrupt them at that time.
NIAGARA.-BY CAPTAIN BASIL HALL, R. N.
(From "Travels in North America, in the Years 1827 and 1828.")
On the 29th of June, we went from Lockport to the Falls of Niagara, which infinitely exceeded our anticipations. I think it right to begin with this explicit statement, because I do not remember in any instance in America, or in England, when the subject was broached, that the first question has not been, "Did the Falls answer your expectations ?"
The best answer on this subject I remember to have heard of, was made by a gentleman who had just been at Niagara,
and on his return was appealed to by a party he met on the way going to the Falls, who naturally asked if he thought they would be disappointed. "Why, no," said he; "not unless you expect to witness the sea coming down from the moon !"
On our way to the Falls we had one view, and that merely a glimpse, of Lake Ontario, through a wide opening in the trees, on the top of a rising ground. That enormous sheet of water, which is one hundred and seventy miles long, had none of those appearances of a lake, familiar as such to our eyes. I was prepared to expect something like the sea, but was surprised, though I don't well know why, by discovering it to be so precisely similar to the ocean. It had the same blue tint, and possessed all the appearances of boundless extent. Between the spot where we stood, and the south-western margin of the lake, there lay a belt of flat country, eight or ten miles in width, matted thickly with the untouched forest, and nearly as striking as the grand lake itself.
The river Niagara which flows from Lake Erie into Lake Ontario, is unlike any other river that I know of. It is a fullgrown stream at the first moment of its existence, and is no larger at its mouth than at its source. Its whole length is about thirty-two miles, one-half of which is above the Falls, and the other half lies between them and Lake Ontario. During the first part of its course, or that above the tremendous scene alluded to, this celebrated river slips quietly along out of Lake Erie, nearly at the level of the surrounding flat country.
After the river passes over the Falls, however, its character is immediately and completely changed. It then runs furiously along the bottom of a deep wall-sided valley, or huge trench, which seems to have been cut into the horizontal strata of the limestone rock by the continued action of the stream during the lapse of ages. The cliffs on both sides are at most places nearly perpendicular, without any interval being left between the cliffs and the river, or any rounding of the edges at the top; and a rent would seem a more appropriate term than a valley.
The first glimpse we got of the Great Fall was at the distance of about three miles below it, from the right or eastern bank of the river. Without attempting to describe it, I may say, that I felt at the moment quite sure no subsequent examination, whether near or remote, could ever remove, or even materially weaken, the impression left by this first view. From the time we discovered the stream, and especially after coming within hearing of the cataract, our expectations were of course wound up to the highest pitch.
Most people, I suppose, in the course of their lives, must, on some occasion or other, have found themselves on the eve of a momentous occurrence; and by recalling what they experience at that time, will perhaps understand better what was felt than I can venture to describe it. I remember myself experiencing something akin to it at St. Helena, when waiting in Napoleon's outer room, under the consciousness that the tread which I heard was from the foot of the man who, a short while before, had roved at-will over so great a portion of the world; but whose range was now confined to a few chambers-and that I was separated from this astonishing person, only by a door, which was just about to open. So it was with Niagara. I knew that at the next turn of the road, I should behold the most splendid sight on earth, the outlet to those mighty reservoirs, which contain, it is said, one-half of the fresh water on the surface of our planet.
On first coming to a scene so stupendous and varied as that of Niagara, the attention is embarrassed by the crowd of new objects; and it always requires a certain degree of time to arrange the images which are suggested, before they can be duly appreciated. Any new knowledge, it must be recollected, of whatever kind, in order to be useful, requires to be combined with what we have previously gained, not for the idle purpose of drawing offensive comparisons-its too frequent application—but with a view to the purification of our own thoughts, and the expulsion of errors, and narrowing prejudices, which light upon us with the quietness of thistle down, but cling like burs, go where you will, or see what you may.
In our ordinary progress through the world, it may be remarked, we acquire new ideas so gradually, and allow them to mix with the old ones so silently, that we are often unconscious of the change, and find it difficult to trace the steps by which the transition has been effected, from a worse to a better informed state of mind.
It is quite otherwise, however, when we are brought to such an extensive combination of new circumstances as we find crowded together at Niagara, for example, or at Teneriffe, or at Canton. It then becomes absolutely necessary to the right application of this deluge of new facts, that we should make ourselves familiar with them by repeated and leisurely observation; and by teaching us how to disentangle one circumstance from another, allow each to take its proper place in our minds, side by side, or to amalgamate with the results of previous experience.
If this process be necessary in the case of a person who has actually reached the presence of such objects, it will easily be seen how impossible it must be for him to describe, to the satisfaction of others, those things which, with all his local advantages, it costs him a long while to comprehend or to make any proper use of.
Even on the spot, it is probable that the observer takes correct notice of a small part only of the objects presented to his view. Those, however, which he does remark, straightway suggest images in his mind, suitable to his own particular character, and of course essentially modified by the peculiar circumstances of his past life. Now, if we suppose it possible that he could describe, with what is called perfect or graphic fidelity, both the facts themselves which strike his senses, and the ideas which arise in his mind from a contemplation of them, the chances are still infinitely against these recorded conceptions being found suitable to the minds of his different readers. At the very best, the idea suggested to others by his description, must inevitably be feeble and incomplete in comparison with his own. For, it must always be remembered, that his impressions are not produced by the observa