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falling, the river of St. Lawrence resumes its course.
with that violence, and its waters beat against the rocks with so prodigious a force, that it is impossible to pass even in a canoe of bark, though in one of them, a man may venture safe enough upon the most rapid streams, by keeping close to the shore.
"These rocks, as also the prodigious torrent, last for two leagues; that is, from the great Falls, to the Three Mountains and Great Rock; but it then begins insensibly to abate, and the land to be again almost on a level with the water, and so it continues as far as the Lake Ontario, or Frontenac.
"When one stands near the Fall, and looks down into the dreadful gulf, one is seized with horror, and the head turns round, so that one cannot look long or steadfastly upon it. But this vast deluge beginning insensibly to abate, and even to fall to nothing about the Three Mountains, the waters of the river St. Lawrence begin to glide more gently along, and to be almost upon a level with the lands; so that it becomes navigable again as far as the Lake Frontenac, over which we pass to come to the new canal, which is made by the discharge of its waters. Then we enter again upon the river St. Lawrence, which not long after makes that which they call the Long Fall, an hundred leagues from Niagara.
"I have often heard talk of the cataracts of the Nile, which make the people deaf that live near them. I know not if the Iroquois, who formerly inhabited near this Fall, and lived upon beasts which from time to time are borne down by the violence of its torrent, withdrew themselves from its neighbourhood, lest they should likewise become deaf, or out of the continual fear they were in of rattlesnakes, which are very common in this place during the great heats, and lodge in the holes along the rocks as far as the mountains, which lie two leagues lower."
The writer, after considerable inquiry and personal examination, is unable to determine what Father Hennepin means by the Three Mountains, and the Great Rock; and he cannot believe that the Falls were
ever six hundred feet
high, as is repeatedly stated in the book. But Father Hennepin's description is, in the main, remarkably correct; and establishes the fact, that in 1678, there were three distinct Falls as they are now, and that the Fall on the Canada side exhibited then somewhat of the appearance of a horseshoe. His description too, of the islands, shores, &c., corresponds with their present appearance.
In a work written by the Chevalier de Tonti,* who was of the party with Father Hennepin, there is a description of the Falls, and of Niagara river, corresponding with, and corroborating Hennepin's, but with the addition of no important facts.
Baron La Hontan,† who visited this Cataract in May, 1688, thus describes it: "As for the waterfall of Niagara, it is seven or eight hundred feet high, and half a league broad. Towards the middle of it we descry an island that leans towards the precipice, as if it were ready to fall. All the beasts that cross the water within half a quarter of a league above the unfortunate island, are sucked in by the force of the stream. And the beasts and fish that are thus killed by the prodigious Fall, serve for food to fifty Iroquese, who are settled above two leagues off, and take 'em out of the water with their canows. Between the surface of the water that shelves off prodigiously, and the foot of the precipice, three men may cross in abreast, without any other damage than a sprinkling of some few drops of water."
In the Philosophical Transactions, for 1722, there is a description of the Falls, given by Monsieur Borasseau, who had visited them at seven different times. He says, that the Governor of Canada had, on the previous year, "ordered his own son, with three other officers, to survey Niagara, and
* Entitled, "Relations de la Louisane et du Fleuve Mississippi, etc. 1720, Amsterdam, par le Gouverneur de Tonti, Gouverneur du Fort Saint Louis, aux Illinois."
His book is entitled, "New Voyages to North America, etc. Written in French, by the Baron La Hontan, Lord Lieutenant of the French Colony at Placentia, in New-Foundland, at that time in England. Done into English, the second edition. London, 1735."
take the exact height of the cataract, which they accordingly did, with a stone of half a hundred weight, and a large codline, and found it, upon a perpendicular, twenty-six fathoms," or one hundred and twenty-six feet.
These extracts may not be considered of much value, except by those persons who have a curiosity to learn something about the Falls, as they appeared in a former age.
There are five places between the Falls and Lewiston, where persons can descend from the top of the bank to the water, viz: from the end of Mr. Childs' and also Mr. Grave's farm, at the Whirlpool, at the Devil's Hole, and from the end of Mr. Colt's farm. There are also, on the Canada side, a number of places where visitors can descend safely to the water's edge. From these places under the bank, the riverscenery appears transcendently beautiful and sublime, and the rapids strike the beholder with more amazement, if possible, than the Falls themselves. Here may be found in reality,
"A happy rural seat of various view;
Umbrageous grots and caves
Of cool recess, o'er which the mantling vine
Lays forth her purple grape, and gently creeps
The top of the bank on either side, near Brock's Monument, affords a delightful and almost boundless prospect of the country and lake below. The unrivalled Niagara is traced to its outlet, guarded by two opposite forts, and bearing sloops and steamboats into the glossy lake; while the mighty expanse of plains and waters presents a scene so picturesque and enchanting, that the traveller leaves his position with reluctance. From Lewiston to Lake Ontario, seven miles, the river is deep, smooth, and navigable for boats and vessels of every description; and Lewiston, being the head of navigation, is the principal landing-place for the steamboats that run on Lake Ontario.
At the mouth of the Niagara river, on the Ameri stand the villages of Youngstown and Fort Niagara; and
on the Canada side, the villages of Niagara and Fort George.
The quantity of water constantly pouring over the Falls, and passing into the lake, is computed, from probable data, at 670,250 tons per minute: but Dr. Dwight computes it, from the depth, width, and velocity of the current, at more than eighty-five millions of tons per hour; and by another calculation, supposing a swifter current, at 102,093,750 tons per hour. Darby computes it at 1,672,704,000 cubic feet per hour. These results are somewhat different, but the first is probably nearest the truth. Dr. Dwight supposes, in one calculation, a current of five, and in the other, of six miles per hour, the least of which is undoubtedly too much. The prodigious torrent of waters, and the tremendous rush and noise of the falling cataract, seems to put at defiance all attempts at calculation,
TABLE ROCK STAIRCASE.-BARNETT'S MUSEUM.
Ar the Falls, near Table Rock, is a spiral staircase, constructed for the purpose of enabling visitors to descend and pass behind the sheet of water, to Termination Rock. The entrance behind the great sheet looks somewhat formidable, and sometimes deters visitors from making the attempt; but when it is accomplished, which is frequently done by ladies, the views behind this immense sheet are awfully sublime and terrific, and will fully repay the adventurous lover of the wonderful in nature, for the thorough drenching which he will receive, and which constitutes all the danger of the attempt.
Mr. Starkey, who keeps an excellent house of refreshment, and a cabinet of minerals, here, is very accommodating to visitors, and when desired, furnishes them with a dress and guide to facilitate their passage behind the Falls. This place is extensively known, and much frequented.
A few rods from this staircase, and very beautifully situated,
is Mr. Barnett's Museum of natural and artificial curiosities; -an establishment well worthy of patronage. The rooms are arranged very tastefully, so as to represent a forest scene, and contain upwards of 5,000 specimens of various kinds and descriptions. There are bipeds and quadrupeds; birds, fishes, insects, reptiles, shells, minerals, and Indian curiosities; all regulated to delight the eye, improve the understanding, and mend the heart. Of the birds, beasts, fishes, and insects, several hundred species were caught in the vicinity of the Falls. The noblest eagles of the land delight to hover around the Falls; and here they are frequently killed, stuffed, and offered for sale. A large collection of living rattlesnakes may also be seen here. Mr. Barnett also keeps an excellent house of refreshment, and a large assortment of Indian curiosities and geological specimens for sale, and is very polite and attentive to visitors.
One of the very best general views of the Falls is to be obtained from the piazzas of this museum, and a view through a prism, which is kept there, is extremely beautiful and interesting.
NIAGARA.-BY G. HERIOT, ESQ., IN 1839.
THE Falls of Niagara surpass in sublimity every description which the powers of language can afford of that celebrated scene, the most wonderful and awful which the habitable world presents. Nor can any drawing convey an adequate idea of the magnitude and depth of the precipitated waters. By the interposition of two islands, the river is separated into three Falls; that of the Great Horse-Shoe on the west British side, so denominated by its form; and those of Fort Slauper and Montmorenci, on the eastern or American side. The large island is about four hundred yards in width, and the small island about ten yards. The three Falls, with the islands, describe a crescent, and the river beneath becomes considerably contracted. The breadth of the whole, at the