Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

Situation and Boundaries.—The United States are situated between 25 deg. 50 min. and 49 deg. 37 min. north latitude; and between 10 deg. east, and 48 deg. 20 min. west longitude from the city of Washington.— They are bounded on the east by the Athantic Ocean and the British province of New Brunswick; on the north, by Lower and Upper Canada, and the large unsettled country to the westward of those provinces; on the west, by the Pacific Ocean ; on the south-west, by the Spanish internal provinces and the river Del Norte ; and on the south, by the gulfs of Mexico and Florida.

Rivers and Lakes.—The head waters of the great river St. Lawrence are situated round lake Superior, which is navigable throughout its whole extent.—From this lake the water flows through the straits of St. Mary into lake Huron, from whence it issues, by the straits of that name, about forty miles in length, when it again expands itself into a beautiful lake, called St. Clare.— From lake St. Clare the river falls into lake Erie, by the straits of Detroit, a passage of about thirty miles in extent.—At the east end of Erie, delightfully situated, stands the town of Buffalo on the one side, and fort Erie on the other; and between them this vast body of water, from lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, and Erie, issues as clear as crystal, and by a rapid course runs towards lake Ontario, through the passage called the Niagara River.—About five miles below lake Erie, the stream is divided by Grand Island, below which is Navy Island; here the river expands to a considerable breadth, immediately above the falls of Niagara, where it is threequarters of a mile wide.—This is probably the greatest cataract in the world, and well deserves the attention of the curious: as there are many readers who may not have seen an account of this great natural curiosity, the following description of it is copied from a late traveller, of undoubted veracity.

“At fort Chippeway, three miles above the falls, the bed of the river becomes very rocky, and the waters are violently agitated by passin': over successive rapids; so

that were a boat by any accident to be carried further down than Chippeway, nothing could prevent it from being dashed to pieces long before it could reach the falls. —With such astonishing violence do the waves break on the rocks, that the mere sight of them from the top of the banks makes the spectator shudder.—To go to this island, it is necessary to set off at some distance above Chippeway, where the current is even, and to keep exactly in the middle of the river, the whole way thither; if the boats are suffered to get out of their course ever so little, either to the right or left, it would be impossible to stem the current, and bring them again into it; they would be irresistibly carried toward the falls, and destruction must inevitably follow.—In returning from the island, there is still more difficulty and danger than in going to it.—As the river approaches the falls, it forces its way among the rocks with redoubled impetuosity; at at last, coming to the brink of the tremendous precipice, it tumbles headlong to the bottom, without meeting with any interruption in its descent.—Just at the precipice the river takes a considerable bend to the right, and the line of the cataracts, instead of extending from bank to bank in the shortest direction, runs obliquely across ; so that the width of the river is not so great as that of the falls—The most stupendous of these is that on the British side of the river, commonly called the Horse-shoe Fall, from its bearing some resemblance to the shape of a horse-shoe.—The height of this is only 14.2 feet, whereas the other two are each 160 feet high ; but to its inferior height it is indebted principally for its grandeur; the precipice, and of course the bed of the river above it, being so much lower at the one side than at the other, by far the greater part of the water finds its way to the lower side, and rushes down with much more velocity at that side than it does at the opposite, as the rapids above the precipice are strongest there.—It is from the centre of the Horse-shoe Fall that arises that prodigious cloud of mist, which may be seen at so great D

a distance. The extent of this amazing fall can only be ascertained by the eye; the general opinion of those who have most frequently viewed it, is, that it cannot be less than 600 yards in circumference.—The island which separates it from the next fall, is supposed to be about 350 yards wide; the second fall is about five yards in breadth ; the next island about thirty yards; and the third, known by the name of Fort Schloper Fall, from being situated towards the side of the river on which that fort stands, is judged to measure at least as much as the large island. The whole extent of the precipice, therefore, including the islands, is, according to this computation, 1335 yards.--This is certainly not an exaggerated statement.—Some have supposed, that the line of the falls altogether exceeds an English mile.—The quantity of water carried down these falls is prodigious; it will be found to amount to 670,255 tons per minute :

Below the falls of Niagara, the river runs with a very rapid course for nine miles, through a deep chasm. The land on each side lowers a little above the level of the river at Queenstown and Lewistown. From this point it is navigable to Lake Ontario, distant seven miles. The river issues from Lake Ontario through a great number of islands, situated between Kingston and Sackett's Harbour. It now assumes the name of St. Lawrence; though it is frequently known, from the lake to Montreal, by the name of Cadaraqui. In its progress, at the distance of 150 miles from Kingston, it expands into a considerable lake called St. Francis, and soon after reaches the British settlement of Montreal, where it receives the Utawas, or Grand River, which forms the boundary between the two Canadas. Below Montreal it receives the Richelieu, or Sorel River, from Lake Champlain, and successively the St. Francis, St. Maurice, and Chaudiere. A short distance below the last-mentioned river stands the important city of Quebec. Here the river, though 400 miles from the sea, is five or six miles wide, and a hundred feet deep; below Quebec it is divided into two branches by the Island of Orleans, which is twenty-five miles in length, and six in breadth, the river on each side being about two miles wide. Beyond this island it gradually expands into the spacious Bay and Gulf of St. Lawrence, and 370 miles below Orleans, and 743 from lake Ontario, falls into the Atlantic Ocean, by a mouth ninety miles in breadth. Columbia river, which falls into the Pacific Ocean, was first discovered by M'Kenzie, the enterprising British traveller, in north latitude 54 deg. 40 min. west longitude from London 120 deg. 26 min. from which point he descended it about 150 miles ; when leaving it, he crossedover to the ocean. From the place where M'Kenzie left it, the course is unknown till we approach Clark’s river, where it is a stream of great magnitude. About seventy miles below Clarke's River, after receiving some tributary streams, the Columbia forms a junction with Lewis's River, a stream composed of numerous branches rising in the rocky mountains, where, like Clarke's River, they interlock with the head waters of the Missouri. Below Lewis’s River, the Columbia makes a bend to the south and east, and then passes through the mountains; about 300 miles below are the great falls; twenty miles below the falls the river makes a considerable bend, and passes through another chain of mountains, below which, about sixty miles, it receives from the south-east the large and important river, called the Multnomah. This river is supposed to rise near the head waters of the Rio del Norte. The waters of the Columbia are clear, and abound with fish of every variety. Rio del Norte.—This river rises among the mountains between north lat. 44 deg. and 42 deg. and west long. 33 deg. and 34 deg. Its head waters interlock with those of the Missouri, Columbia, La Plate, Arkansas, Multnomah, and Francisco ; and the waters of the Rio Colorado of the west, which fall into the Gulf of California, approach near it. For 300 miles from its source it forms the south-west boundary of Louisiana. About 100 miles below this is Santa Fé, one of the most interesting of the Spanish settlements. Below Santa Fé the river runs about 450 miles in a direction east of south, without receiving any material augmentation, when the Rio Conchos falls into it from the south-west. At a short distance from hence it makes a remarkable bend of about 100 miles, and receives the Rio Puerco from thenorth. Atthe Rio Puerco, the Riodel Norte again becomes the south-west boundary of Louisiana. Below this it runs an easterly course of between fifty and sixty miles, when it receives a considerable stream from the north, and from hence, without receiving any material addition, it holds a course nearly south-east, about 400 miles, to the Gulf of Mexico. Having thus described the rivers forming the outskirts, as it were, of the United States’ Territory, it now remains to take a view of the Missouri and Mississippi, with their numerous branches which water the interior. The Missouri, when traced to its highest source, is found a little above the 44 deg. of north latitude, and near the 35 deg. of west longitude, 3000 miles from the Mississippi; it is here enclosed by very lofty mountains. Tracing the river downward from this point, we find that it bends considerably to the northward, the great falls being in north lat. 47 deg. 3 min. distant from the mouth of the river 2575 miles. From the source to these falls it receives eight considerable rivers. Here the Missouri descends 365 feet in the course of eighteen miles, the falls being partly perpendicular pitches and partly rapids; the highest pitch is eighty-seven feet, the next 47, and the next 26: other inferior descents make up the quantity above mentioned. Below the falls, in a course of about 300 miles, it receives fourteen rivers, some of them of considerable magnitude. In north lat. 47 deg. 24 min. it forms a junction with another river nearly as large as itself, and it is here 372 yards broad. In lat. 47 deg. 2270 miles from its outlet, it is clear and beautiful, and 300 yards wide. About 380 miles further down, it is 527 yards wide; its current deep, rapid, and full of sand bars. From thence to the

« AnteriorContinuar »