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without repeated visits to Niagara. The mind is slow in receiving the idea of great magnitude. It requires time and repetition to expand and deepen the perceptions that overwhelm it. This educating process is peculiarly necessary among scenery, where the mind is continually thrown back upon its Author, and the finite, trying to take hold of the Infinite, falters, and hides itself in its own nothingness.
It is impossible for Niagara to disappoint, unless through the infirmity of the conception that fails to grasp it. Its resources are inexhaustible. It can never expand itself, because it points always to God. More unapproachable than the fathomless ocean, man cannot launch a bark upon its bosom, or bespeak its service in any form. He may not even lay his hand upon it, and live. Upon its borders he can dream, if he will, of gold-gathering, and of mill-privileges; but its perpetual warning is, “ Hence, ye profane !"
Let none, who have it in their power to change their places at will, omit a pilgrimage to Niagara. The facilities of travelling render it now a very different exploit from what it was in the days of our fathers, who were forced to cut away with their axes the branches intercepting the passage of the rocky roads. Those whose hearts respond to whatever is beautiful and sublime in creation, should pay their homage to this mighty cataract. No other scenery so powerfully combines these elements.
Let the gay go thither to be made thoughtful, and the religious to become more spiritually-minded. Yet let not the determined trifler linger here to pursue his revels. Frivolity seems an insult to the majesty that presides here. Folly and dissipation are surely out of place. The thunderhymn of the mighty flood reproves them. Day and night it seems to repeat and enforce the words of inspiration: "The Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before Him."-HAB. ii. 20.
CURIOSITIES.-MINERAL SPRING, &c.
A NUMBER of these, as the islands, the bridges, the staircases, the burning springs, Brock's Monument, the Welland Canal, &c., have already been described. One mile above the Falls on the American side, is the site of old Fort Schlosser; a place somewhat distinguished in the early history of this region, and commanding a most beautiful prospect of the river and rapids, of Grand and Navy Islands, and of the village of Chippewa, on the opposite shore. Nothing remains of the fort, except the entrenchments, and a few rods of pavement within.
A stockade was built here in the year 1672. Before the construction of the Erie Canal, all the business between the lakes was interchanged by means of a land-carriage from this place to Lewiston. Half a mile below the Falls, under the bank, are Catlin's Caves, a visit to which no traveller will be likely to regret. Vast quantities of calcareous or petrified moss are found here in all stages of its petrifying process. On the other side, nearly opposite, is Bender's Cave, a place which is thought to be worthy a special visit.
Two miles below the Falls, on the American side, is a mineral spring, containing sulphuric and muriatic acids, lime and magnesia; and by the use of its waters many important cures have been effected. For scrofulous, rheumatic, and cutaneous complaints, this spring supplies an almost sovereign remedy. From the stage - road near the spring, travellers have a most delightful view of the whole Falls, two miles distant; and if they see the Falls from this place first, as they generally do in coming up from Lewiston, the impression here made will probably never be effaced. Capt. Hall remarks respecting this place, "I felt at the moment quite sure that no subsequent examination, whether near or remote, could ever remove, or even materially weaken, the impression left by this first view."
FALLS OF NIAGARA.-FROM HOWISON'S "CANADA, 1821."
THE Table Rock, from which the Falls may be contemplated in all their grandeur, lies on an exact level with the edge of the cataract on the Canada side,—and forms indeed a part of the precipice over which the water rushes. It derives its name from its projecting about thirty feet beyond the cliffs that support it, like the leaf of a table. To gain this position, you must descend a steep bank, and follow a path that winds among shrubbery and trees, which conceals the scene which awaits him who traverses it. Near the termination of this road, an amphitheatre of cataracts bursts upon the view with appalling suddenness and majesty. In a moment the scene was concealed by a dense cloud of spray, which involved me so completely that I dared not extricate myself. A mingled rushing and thundering filled my ears. I could see nothing, except when the wind made a chasm in the spray; and the tremendous cataracts seemed to encompass me on every side; while below, a raging and foaming gulf of undiscoverable extent lashed the rocks with its hissing waves, and swallowed under a horrible obscurity, the smoking floods precipitated into its bosom.
After a few minutes the sun burst forth, and the haze subsiding, permitted the spray to ascend perpendicularly. A host of pyramidal clouds rose majestically, one after another, from the abyss below the Fall; and each, when it ascended a little above the edge of the cataract, displayed a beautiful rainbow, which in a few moments was gradually transferred into the bosom of the cloud that immediately succeeded. The spray of the Great (Horse-Shoe) Fall had extended itself through a wide space directly overheard, and receiving the full influence of the sun, exhibited a luminous and magnificent rainbow, which continued to irradiate the spot where I stood, while I enthusiastically contemplated the indescribable
Any person who has nerve enough (as I had), may plunge his hand into the water of the Great Fall, after it is projected over the precipice, merely by lying down flat, with his face beyond the edge of the Table Rock, and stretching out his arm to its utmost extent. The experiment is truly a horrible one, and such as I would not wish to repeat; for even to this day, I feel a shuddering and recoiling sensation, when I recollect having been in the posture described.
The body of water, which comprises the middle part of the Great Fall, is so vast, that it descends nearly two-thirds of the space, without being ruffled or broken; and the solemn calmness with which it rolls over the edge of the precipice, is finely contrasted with the perturbed appearance it assumes below. But the water towards each side is shattered the moment it drops on the rock into pyramidal fragments, of which the bases are turned upwards. The surface of the gulf below presents a very singular appearance; seeming filled with an immense quantity of hoar-frost, which is agitated by small and rapid undulations. The particles of
water are dazzlingly white, and do not apparently unite together, but seem to continue for a time in a state of distinct comminution, and to repel each other with a thrilling and shivering motion not easy to be described.
The road to the bottom of the Fall presents many more difficulties. By descending a spiral staircase nearly half a mile below the Table-Rock, the traveller finds himself about eighty feet under the precipice on which he had walked. The impending cliffs seem to vibrate with the thunders of the approaching Falls, and display on their surface fossil shells, and the organic remains of a former world. As the traveller
advances, he is frightfully stunned by the noise; clouds of spray sometimes envelop him, and check his faltering steps; rattlesnakes start from the cavities of the rocks; and the scream of eagles, soaring among the whirlwinds of eddying vapour which obscure the gulf, at intervals announce that the raging waters have hurled some bewildered animal over the precipice. After scrambling among piles of huge rocks that