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be felt, after being six months with little or no employment. The military men have a more immediate prospect of communicating with their friends at home, and of having more frequent intelligence of what is going on in Europe. In short, a thousand agreeable associations are formed in the mind, which may be more easily conceived than described.
The vessel arrived on the 28th of April, which is about a fortnight sooner than usual. Indeed, for these last forty years, I am well-informed, there have been only two vessels that have arrived so soon. The river being still full of ice, it was curious, and at the same time terrific, to see the vessel, with all sails set, surrounded by, and fixed amongst, these immense pieces of ice, moving backwards and forwards with the tide, whichever way it led. Anchors and cables were of no use; the only object,—the only chance of safety, was to take advantage of some occasional opening amongst the sheets of ice, by which she might be forced out of the stream. An opportunity fortunately occurred; it was imme
diately seized, the wind being strong and favourable; and she was brought to the quay, and safely moored.
People went off to her assistance immediately on her appearing, and they had much difficulty in reaching her; but they did so at last, with the assistance of canoes, which they paddled when an opening occurred, and hauled over the ice when necessary. It was an extraordinary sight to see people jump off the sheets of ice, into the main-chains of the vessel.
One might have thought, that these immense masses of ice coming against the sides of the vessel, would have stove them in; she received no injury however. In fact, the ice at this season has been so acted upon by the warmth of the weather, that its hardness is greatly lessened. It seems to preserve much of its thickness ; but it has become perforated, honeycombed, and full of water, so that the concussion on the vessel was reduced to almost nothing. Ice of the same apparent magnitude, in the month of Jauuary, would have squeezed the vessel to pieces.
Notwithstanding this vessel suffered no injury, there was a considerable risk of her being forced on shore.
In the fall of the year the risk of shipwreck is greatly increased, from the snow storms prevalent at that time. These storms not only prevent the sailors from seeing the coast and the landmarks, and consequently from directing their course properly; but the cold is then so severe, that the men cannot remain exposed to it. The cordage becomes incrusted with ice, so that it cannot run through the blocks, and the sails become frozen in such a manner, that there is no possibility of working the ship; besides, so much ice gets about the rudder that it becomes immoveable. Many vessels have been lost from these circumstances, and almost every winter, some vessels sail in expectation of getting out of the river; but, being caught in a snow storm, are very fortunate if they escape destruction, by getting into some bay or place of shelter, where they remain fixed for the winter.
No sooner is the influence of the April sun felt, than you see birds of various kinds
returning to their summer quarters; and vegetation about the 10th of May is very strong. The snow is nearly gone, and the frost is sufficiently out of the ground to allow the farmer to commence his operations. This takes place after the snow is gone, sooner than one would imagine. The frost does not penetrate so deep into the ground, as from the intenseness, and long continuance of the cold, might be expected.
In countries where you have six months frost, were the soil exposed to its influence all the while, it would have penetrated so deep, that I question if the heat of a whole summer would eradicate it. But Providence has furnished a remedy: it has kindly decreed, that when water is cooled down to 32°. it shall freeze, and be converted into ice and snow. The rivers become covered with ice, the surface of the earth becomes hardened, snow falls to a considerable thickness, and by these means the water and the land are protected from the influence of that immense volume of cold, dense atmosphere, which presses on, from the polar regions towards the south,
when the sun retreats after the solstice. The natural heat of the earth is about 42; the thermometer stands at this point in the deepest mines that have been sunk. This natural heat, as well as the heat accumulated in the earth and water during summer, is prevented, by the ice and snow, from making its escape; and as soon as the return of the sun has brought warmth enough to banish the frost from the asmosphere, the latent heat of the earth and water lends its aid in dissolving the snow and ice, and forwarding vegetation. Snow is peculiarly well calculated for preserving warmth in the earth; because it is full of air, which is known to be a very bad conductor of heat, and will, of course, the more effectually prevent its escaping from the surface. It is a thing very well ascertained here, that vegetation has made some progress under the snow, before it has deserted the ground.
The long continuance of winter in Canada is certainly a circumstance which must retard its progress in improvement, and the increase of its trade. Some people pretend to say, that it must ever prevent its becoming a great, populous, and