« ZurückWeiter »
to tumble down sometimes in gushes, as if an additional influence came into play every now and then. About the centre of the Horseshoe, or Canadian Fall, there is a clear unbroken spout of water twenty feet in depth before its leap; for seventy feet below, it continues deep, pure blue, thence to its gulf it is shrouded in a soft spray which waves like a plume in the wind, at times tinted with all the prismatic colors the sun can bestow : when the weather is very calm, this beautiful mist rises to a great height into the air, becoming finer by degrees, till no longer perceptible. The falls on the American side of Iris island are a hundred and sixty-four feet high : the Canadian or Horseshoe, a hundred and fifty-eight, but the latter are about twice the breadth, and discharge four times the body of water.
A learned English professor, who has lately published a most valuable work on the Geology of America, states it to be his conviction, that the falls recede about one foot in the
probably they remained stationary for many ages at the whirlpool, when a fresh start of some fifteen thousand years at the present rate of travelling, brought them to where they now are. Within forty years, since they have been more closely observed, there has been a considerable change in their shape ; indeed slight variations constantly occur. It is also the opinion of the author I have quoted that they have diminished considerably in height, probably a hundred feet, but that there is no reason to suppose them to have been formerly in one unbroken fall, as they now
The first mention made of these falls was by Father Hennepin, a French missionary, in 1675. I will give a part of his quaint and exaggerated description : "Betwixt the Lake Ontario and the Lake Erie, there is a vast and prodigious cadence of water, which falls down after a surprising and extraordinary manner, insomuch that the universe does not afford its parallel. This wonderful downfall is about six hundred feet high, and composed of two great cross streams and two falls of water, with an island sloping across the middle of it. The waters which fall from this horrible precipice do foam and boil after the most hideous manner imaginable, making an outrageous noise more terrible than that of thunder; for when the wind blows out of the
south this dismal roaring may be heard more than fifteen leagues off; the Niagara river at the foot of the falls is more than a quarter of a league broad."
There is already a sad list of fearful accidents at this, place, though such a short time frequented by civilized man ; the last few years have been fertile in them ; perhaps the most horrible of all was one which happened in May, 1843. A Canadian of the village of Chippewa was engaged in dragging sand from the river three miles above the falls; seated on his cart, he backed the horses into the water, ignorant of the depth; it sank, but a box on which he sat, floated, and was soon driven by a high wind off from the land into the strong but smooth current; he, being upable to swim, clung to the box. A boat was on the shore, but by the mismanagement of the bystanders it was let loose into the stream, and floated past the unhappy man, empty and useless. There was no other for two miles lower down; beyond that, aid was impossible. The people on the beach, instead of hastening to get a boat ready in time, below, ran along the shore talking to him of help, which their stupidity rendered of no avail ; he knew that he was doomed—“ I'm lost! I'm lost !” sounded fainter and fainter as the distance widened. This dreadful protraction lasted nearly an hour, the stream being very slow: at first, he scarcely appears to move, but the strength increases, the waters become more troubled, he spins about in the eddies, still clinging with the energy of despair to his support. He
passes close by an island, so close that the box touches and stops for one moment, but the next, it twists slowly round and is sucked into the current again. The last hope was that a boat might be ready on the shore at Chippewa ; it was vain, there were none there but frail canoes all high upon the beach ; by the time one of them was launched the boldest boatman dared not embark.
For, but just above the falls, they saw the devoted victim, whirled round and round in the foaming waves, with frantic gestures appealing for aid ; his frightful screams pierced still through the dull roar of the torrent—" I'm lost! I'm lost !”
He is now in the smooth flood of blue, unbroken water, twenty feet in depth, the centre of the Canadian fall. Yet another moment, he has loosed his hold; his hands are clasped as if in prayer ; his voice is silent. Smoothly, but quick as an arrow's flight, he glides over and is seen no more, nor any trace of him from that time.
On Iris island is found one of the very few burying grounds which are known to have belonged to the departed race; a considerable number of skeletons have been dug up there, all placed in a standing or sitting posture. When this place, of such difficult and perilous access, was chosen by the simple Indians, it must have been from a strong wish that the precious ashes should remain undisturbed. None can now ever know how long they have slept the sleep which even the roar of Niagara cannot awaken.
There was one splendid moonlight night during my stay. At eleven o'clock I went off to Table Rock, took up the favorite position, looked and wondered. There were no boring guides or chattering visitors to mar the effect: the light was not sufficiently strong to reveal the fungi of the place; I was opposite to the Great Fall, saw it and nothing else; unless occasionally, when my eyes followed the soft faint spray, “the everlasting incense of the waters,” which rose up against the deep blue sky, undisturbed by the slightest breath of wind. Through its delicate gauze the bright stars twinkled with undimmed lustre, while the full moon shining down, tinted it with the tender shades of the lunar rainbow.
But, unsoftened by this fair coloring, unsoothed by the gentle silence of the autumn night, the great torrent roared, plunged, and dashed over its leap, in stillest calm as in wildest tempest, the same ever. The fresh springs of life and feeling must be thoroughly dried up in the heart of the man who does not know a new sensation when he looks upon Niagara.
I found by looking at my watch that in apparently a very short time it had got very late ; the spray and the damp grass had wet me; the night air chilled me, “ foolish old man that I am :" so, coughing, and drawing my woollen comforter tighter round my throat, I turned towards the hotel, stopping many a time to look back. But little space for sleep was left me before the morning sun warmed into life the noise and bustle of the house.—My journey recommenced that day.
Geography of Canada–Resources_Trade.
CANADA extends from Gaspé, in the gulf of St. Lawrence in the east, to Sandwich, at the end of Lake Erie in the west, a distance, as the crow flies, of about eleven hundred miles. Throughout this whole length, the shores are washed, to the west by Lake Huron, to the south-east by Lakes Erie and Ontario, and the St. Lawrence as the boundary to the forty-fifth parallel of latitude; thence the great river flows through the centre of the province to
From the Indian village of St. Regis, where this parallel meets the St. Lawrence, it is the boundary for three degrees eastward, to Hereford ; thence the division between Canada and the United States is an irregular line in a north-easterly direction, partly regulated by the summits of a range of heights, and partly merely arbitrary, to about forty-seven and a half degrees north latitude, and within thirty miles of the St. Lawrence ; from this point it turns in a very curved form till it meets the boundary line of New Brunswick, from which province Canada is separated, at the eastern extremity, by the Bay of Chaleurs and the river Ristigouchi.
To the north no boundaries have been traced between Canada and the Hudson's Bay territory, nor is any ever likely to be.
Many magnificent rivers flow into the St. Lawrence in its course: the principal are the Jaquenay and the Ottawa from the north, and the Richelieu from the south. As yet but a small portion of this great country is even partially peopled; the inhabitants are merely crowded along the banks of the great river, its tributaries, and the lakes. East of Montreal lies the widest part of the occupied lands, but nowhere do they reach the breadth of more than a hundred miles. Extensive though may be this splendid province of Canada, it is yet very different indeed
from what it originally was. In the fourteenth year of the reign of George the Third, the boundaries of the province of Quebecas it was then called, were defined by an act of the Imperial Parliament. By that it included a great extent of what is now New England, and the whole of the country between the state of Pennsylvania, the River Ohio and the Mississippi, north to the Hudson's Bay territory, where now a great portion of the rich and flourishing western states add their strength to the neighboring republic. By gradual encroachments on one hand and concessions on the other, by the misconstruction of treaties and divisions of boundaries, have these vast and valuable tracts of country been separated from the British empire.
Throughout all the extent of Canada, from east to west, nature and art have bestowed extraordinary facilities of navigation. The shores of the waters and a large portion of the interior are fertile, in some places to an uncommon degree. All the land was originally covered with a magnificent forest, but, acre by acre, a considerable extent of this has been cleared away, and replaced by towns, villages, and corn-fields. There are no very high mountains, but it can boast of the largest lakes in the world, and of Niagara. The country seems deficient in coal and not very plentifully supplied with minerals; but in its agricultural capabilities it is not inferior to any part of the old or new Continent.
From the north-eastern point, chilled by the winds of the Atlantic, to the south-western, five degrees lower and approaching the centre of the Continent, there is considerable variety of climate. However, in all parts the winters are very severe, and the heat of summer but little inferior to that of the tropics. Nearly everything that grows in England flourishes here also, and the country possesses various productions which nature has denied to us. The climate has in a slight degree changed since the tolerably extended cultivation, but to this day Quebec must rank among the coldest and hottest places in the civilized world. In spring and autumn the variations of the temperature are great and sudden; at noon you will fain hide from the heat of the sun, and at midnight the earth is bound up in frost.
To people naturally healthy the climate will be found healthy