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ing in their course, conftant accumulations, at length, with aftonishing grandeur, rush down a ftupendous precipice of one hundred and forty feet perpendicular; and in a ftrong rapid, that extends to the diftance of eight or nine miles below, fall near as much more: the river then lofes itfelf in Lake Ontario. The noise of these falls, (called the Niagara Falls) in a clear day and fair wind, may be heard, between forty and fifty miles. When the water ftrikes the bottom, it bounds to a great height in the air, occafioning a thick cloud of vapours, on which the fun, when it shines, paints a beautiful rainbow..
Lake Ontario is fituated between forty-three and forty-five degrees of latitude, and between one and four wet longitude. Its form is nearly oval. Its greateft length is from fouth-weft to north-eaft, and in circumference about fix hundred miles. It abounds with fifh of an excellent flavour, among which are the Ofwego bafs, weighing three or four pounds. Near the fouth-eaft part it receives the waters of the Ofwego river, and on the north-east it discharges itself into the river Cataraqui, or as it is now more commonly called, Iroquois. This river, at Montreal, takes the name of St. Lawrence, and paffing by Quebec, empties into the Gulf of the fame name.
Lake Champlain is next in fize to Lake Ontario, and lies nearly eaft from it, dividing the ftate of New-York from that of Vermont. It is about eighty miles in length from north to fouth, and in its broadeft part,' fourteen. It is well stored with fifh, and the land on its borders, and on the banks of its rivers, are good. Crown Point and Ticonderoga are fituated on the bank of this lake, near the fouthern part of it.
Lake George lies fouth-weft of Lake Champlain, and is about thirtyfive miles long from north-eaft to fouth-weft, but narrow. The adjacent country is mountainous; the vallies are tolerably good.
The Miffilippi is the great refervoir of the waters of the Ohio and Illinois, and their numerous branches from the eaft; and of the Miffouri and other rivers from the weft. These mighty ftreams united, are borne down with increasing majesty, through vatt forefts and meadows, and discharged into the Gulf of Mexico. For an ingenious, beautiful and authentic defcription of this river, take the following, given by Mr. Hutchins, geographer to the United States. The great length and uncommon depth of this river, and the exceffive muddinefs and falubrious quality of its waters, after its junction with the Miffouri, are very fingular*. The direction of the channel is fo crooked, that from New Orleans to the mouth of the Ohio, a diftance which does not exceed four hundred and fixty miles in a ftrait line, is about eight hundred and fifty-fix by water. It may be shortened at least two hundred and fifty miles, by cutting across eight or ten necks of land, fome of which are not thirty yards wide. Charlevoix relates that in the year 1722, at Point Coupeé, or Cut Point,
* In a half pint tumbler of this water has been found a fediment of tra inches of flime. It is, notwithstanding, extremely wholefome and well tafted, and very col in the botteft feajons of the year; the rowers, who are there employed, drink of it when they are in the frongest perfpiration, and never receive any bad effects from it. The inhabitants of New Orleans ufe no other water than that of the river, which, by being kept in jars, becomes perfeâly clear.
the river made a great turn, and fome Canadians, by deepening the channel of a small brook, diverted the waters of the river into it. The impetuofity of the ftream was fo violent, and the foil of fo rich and loose a quality, that, in a fhort time, the point was entirely cut through, and travellers faved fourteen leagues of their voyage. The old bed has no water in it, the times of the periodical overflowings only excepted. The new channel has been fince founded with a line of thirty fathoms, without finding a bottom.
In the fpring floods the Miffiffiippi is very high, and the current foftrong, that with difficulty it can be afcended; but that disadvantage is compenfated by eddies or counter-currents, which always run in the bends clofe to the banks of the river, with nearly equal velocity againft the ftream, and affift the afcending boats. The current at this feafon defcends at the rate of about five miles an hour. In autumn, when the waters are low, it does not run fafter than two miles, but it is rapid in fuch parts of the river, as have clusters of iflands, fhoals, and fand-banks. The circumference of many of these fhoals being feveral miles, the voyage is longer, and in fome parts more dangerous than in the spring. The merchandize neceffary for the commerce of the upper fettlements on or near the Miffiffippi, is conveyed in the fpring and autumn in batteaux, rowed by eighteen or twenty men, and carrying abouty forty tons. From New Orleans to the Illinois, the voyage is commonly performed in eight or ten weeks. A prodigious number of iflands, fome of which are of great extent, interfperfe that mighty river. Its depth increases as you afcend it. Its waters, after overflowing its banks below the river Ibberville, never return within them again. Thefe fingularities diftinguish it from every other known river in the world. Below New Orleans, the land begins to be very low on both fides of the river across the country, and gradually declines as it approaches nearer to the fea. This point of land, which in the treaty of peace in 1762, was mistaken for an ifland, is to all appearance of no long date; for in digging ever fo little below the furface, you find water and great quantities of trees. The many beeches and breakers, as well as inlets, which arofe out of the channel within the last half century, at the feveral mouths of the river, are convincing proofs that this peninfula was wholly formed in the fame manner. And it is certain that when La Salle failed down the Miffiffippi to the fea, the opening of that river was very different from what it is at prefent.
The nearer you approach to the fea, this truth becomes more striking. The bars that crofs molt of thefe fmall channels opened by the current, have been multiplied by means of the trees carried down with the ftreams; one of which topped by its roots or branches in a thallow part, is fufficient to obftruct the paffage of thousands more, and to fix them at the fame place. Such collections of trees are daily feen between the Balize. and the Miffouri, which fingly would fupply the largest city in America with fuel for feveral years. No human force being fufficient for removing. them, the mud carried down by the river ferves to bind and cement them together. They are gradually covered, and every inundation not only extends their length and breadth, but adds another layer to their height. In less than ten years time, canes and fhrubs grow on them, and form points and islands, which forcibly fhift the bed of the river.
Nothing can be afferted with certainty, refpecting its length. Its fource is not known, but fuppofed to be upwards of three thoufand miles from the fea as the river runs. We only know, that from St. Anthony's falls, it glides with a pleafant, clear ftream, and becomes comparatively narrow before its junction with the Miffouri, the muddy waters of which immediately difcolour the lower part of the river to the fea. Its rapidity, breadth, and other peculiarities then begin to give it the majeftic appearance of the Miffouri, which affords a more extenfive navigation, and is a longer, broader, and deeper river than the Miffiffippi. It is in fact the principal river, contributing more to the common ftream than does the Miffifiippi, even after its junction with the Illinois. It has been afcended by French traders about twelve or thirteen hundred miles, and from the depth of water, and breadth of the river at that distance, it appeared to be navigable many miles further.
From the Miffouri river, to nearly oppofite the Ohio, the western bank of the Miffiffippi, is (fome few places excepted) higher than the eastern. From Mine au fer, to the Ibberville, the eastern bank is higher than the western, on which there is not a fingle difcernible rifing or eminence, the distance of feven hundred and fifty miles. From the Ibberville to the fea there are no eminences on either fide, though the eastern bank appears rather the higheft of the two, as far as the English turn. Thence the banks gradually diminish in height to the mouths of the river, where they are not more than two or three feet higher than the common furface. of the water.
The flime which the annual floods of the river Miffiffippi leaves on the furface of the adjacent fhores, may be compared with that of the Nile, which depofits a fimilar manure, and for many centuries paft has infured the fertility of Egypt. When its banks fhall have been cultivated as the excellency of its foil and temperature of the climate deferve, its popu lation will equal that of any other part of the world. The trade, wealth, and power of America, will, at fome future period, depend, and perhaps centre upon the Miffiffippi. This alfo refembles the Nile in the number of its mouths, all iffuing into a fea that may be compared to the Mediterranean, which is bounded on the north and fouth by the two continents of Europe and Africa, as the Mexican Bay is by North and South America. The fmaller mouths of this river might be eafily ftopped up, by means of those floating trees with which the river, during the floods, is always covered. The whole force of the channel being united, the only opening then left would probably grow deep as well as the bar.
Mr. Carver has travelled higher up this river, and appears to be better acquainted with its northern parts and fource, than any European or American, who has published his obfervations. He is my authority for what follows.
The falls of St. Anthony, in about latitude 44° 30′, received their name from Father Lewis Hennipin, a French miffionary, who travelled into thefe parts about the year one thousand fix hundred and eighty, and was the firft European ever feen by the natives. The whole river, which is more than two hundred and fifty yards wide, falls perpendicularly about shirty feet, and forms a moft pleafing cataract. The rapids below, in the fpace of three hundred yards, render the defcent confiderably greater; fo
that when viewed at a diftance, they appear to be much higher than they really are. In the middle of the falls is a fmall island, about forty feet broad, and fomewhat longer, on which grow a few cragged hemlock and fpruce trees; and about half way between this island and the eastern fhore is a rock, lying at the very edge of the fall, in an oblique pofition, five or fix feet broad, and thirty or forty long. Thefe falls are peculiarly fituated, as they are approachable without the leaft obftruction from any intervening hill or precipice, which cannot be faid of any other confiderable fall that I know of in the world. The country around is exceedingly beautiful. It is not an uninterrupted plain where the eye finds no relief, but compofed of many gentle afcents, which in the fpring and fummer are covered with verdure, and interfperfed with little groves, that give a pleafing variety to the profpect.
A little diftance below the falls, is a fmall island of about an acre and an half, on which grow a great number of oak trees, almof all the branches of which, able to bear the weight, are, in the proper feafon of the year, loaded with eagles nefts. Their inftinctive wisdom has taught them to choose this place, as it is fecure, on account of the rapids above, from the attacks either of man or beast,
The Miffiffippi has never been explored higher up than the river St. Francis; fo that we are obliged to the Indians for all the intelligence relative to the more northern parts.
Mr. Carver relates, that from the beft accounts he could obtain from the Indians, together with his own obfervations, he had learned that the four moft capital rivers on the continent of North America, viz. the St. Lawrence, the Miffiffippi, the river Bourbon, and the Oregon, or the river of the Weft, have their fources in the fame neighbourhood. The waters of the three former, are within thirty miles of each other; the latter is rather farther weft.
This fhews that thefe parts are the higheft lands in North America; and it is an inftance not to be paralleled in the other three quarters of the globe, that four rivers of fuch magnitude fhould take their rife together, and each, after running feparate courfes, difcharge their waters into dif ferent oceans, at the diftance of more than two thoufand miles from their fources. For in their paffage from this fpot to the bay of St. Lawrence, eaft; to the bay of Mexico, fouth; to Hudfon's Bay, north; and to the bay at the ftraits of Annian, weft; where the river Oregon is supposed to empty, each of them traverses upwards of two thousand miles.
Mr. Jefferfon, whofe extenfive and accurate information ranks him among the first authorities, in his notes on Virginia, has given a defcrip tion of the river Ohio, and annexed fuch remarks on the fituation of the western waters as will throw great light on this part of our fubject, and may not be omitted. His obfervations, together with thofe already made, will afford the reader a comprehenfive and pretty complete view of the internal navigation of the United States.
The Ohio is the most beautiful river on earth: its current gentle, waters clear, and bofom smooth and unbroken by rocks and rapids, a fingle inftance only excepted. It is one quarter of a mile wide at Fort Pitt: five hundred yards at the mouth of the Great Kanhaway: one mile and twenty-five poles at Louifville: one quarter of a mile on the rapids, threa
or four miles below Louifville: half a mile where the low country be gins, which is twenty miles above Green river: one mile and a quarter at the receipt of the Taniffee: and a mile wide at the mouth.
Its length, as measured according to its meanders by Capt. Hutchins, is as follows:
In common winter and spring tides it affords fifteen feet water to Louifville, ten feet to La Tarte's rapids, forty miles above the mouth of the Great Kanhaway, and a fufficiency at all times for light batteaux and canoes to Fort Pitt. The rapids are in latitude 38° 8. The inundations of this river begin about the laft of March, and fubfide in July. During thefe a firft rate man of war may be carried from Louifville to New Orleans, if the fudden turns of the river and the strength of its current will admit a fafe fteerage. The rapids at Louifville defcend about thirty feet in a length of a mile and a half. The bed of the river there is a folid rock, and is divided by an island into two branches, the fouthern of which is about two hundred yards wide, and is dry four months in the year. The bed of the northern branch is worn into channels by the conftant course of the water, and attrition of the pebble ftones carried on with that, fo as to be paffable for batteaux through the greater part of the year. Yet it is thought that the fouthern arm may be the moft eafily opened for conftant navigation. The rife of the waters in these rapids does not exceed ten or twelve feet. A part of this ifland is fo high as to have been never overflowed, and to command the fettlement at Louifville, which is oppofite to it. The fort, however, is fituated at the head of the falls. The ground on the fouth fide rifes very gradually.
At Fort Pitt the river Ohio lofes its name, branching into the Monongahela and Allegany.
The Monongahela is four hundred yards wide at its mouth. From thence is twelve or fifteen miles to the mouth of Yohogany, where it is three hundred yards wide. Thence to Redstone by water is fifty miles, by land thirty. Then to the mouth of Cheat river by water forty miles, by land twenty-eight, the width continuing at three hundred yards, and