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of water, and surrounded by a fertile country
Another lake, called Chatauque, lies in the western extremity of the State, near Lake Erie, and sends its waters south into the Alleghany River ; it is 19 miles long, and from 1 to 3 wide ; it is surrounded by a good agricultural country.
6. Islands. Long Island extends along the coast of Connecticut. It is 140 miles long,
. from east to west, and its great
est breadth is about 20 miles; Vicw on Cayuga Lake.
its average breadth about 10 miles. This island is of alluvial formation, but there is a rocky ridge or spine, extending lengthwise through it, which presents summits of considerable elevation ; the broken ground of this ridge forms Brooklyn Heights, at the west end of the island; the highest point is about 400 feet above the water. South of this ridge, the land is level and sandy. Hempstead Plain, on the south side of the island, is an extensive tract of wild savanna, 15 miles in length and 4 in breadth ; the most of it is now a common, and serves as a pasture for horses, sheep, and cows; wild fowl, such as the heath-hen, plover, &c. abound here. North of the ridge, the land is more uneven, but there are no lofty swells ; the soil is a thin mould covering a layer
; of white sand, and in some parts a yellowish loam mixed with gravel ; the soil is in general more suitable to wheat than maize. In favorable years, the best parts of the island have yielded, with a good dressing of manure, particularly of whitefish,* 30 and 40 bushels of wheat to the acre.
Immense shoals of these fish abound in the waters around the island, and no kind of manure is so cheap or rich as that which they furnish ; the number taken is prodigious ; 150,000 have been caught at a single draught. The general use of this material communicates to the air of this part of the island, an odor not the most agreeable to strangers. In the western part are many fine orchards. The apples of Newtown are equal to any in the world. East of Hempstead Plain the island is covered with stunted oaks and pines, and this part is much frequented by the pinnated grouse or heath-hen. The streams in this neighborhood abound with trout, and in the centre of the island are great numbers of wild deer.
The laws prevent the deer from being hunted from January to July, and most of the other game from April to October. The shores of the island abound with the finest oysters. Shelter Island lies in Taconic bay, in the east end of Long Island ; it is about 7 miles long and 5 wide, and contains 8 or 9,000 acres; it has a light, thin soil, and is well adapted to the pasturing of sheep; some of it is rich land and well cultivated. There is a good ship channel around the island. Fisher's Island lies near the east extremity of Long Island ; it is 12 miles long and 1 wide ; the surface is broken, but it affords a good farm, and its dairies are very fine. Ram Island, at the mouth of Mystic River, on the Connecticut shore, contains a few acres of indifferent land. Robin's Island, in the bay between Southold and Southampton, contains about 400 acres. Gardiner's Island is on the north side of Long Island, with the shore of which it forms Gardiner's Bay, a safe and capacious harbor for ships. It contains about 3,000 acres of valuable land, for grain and grass ; its dairy and mutton have a high reputation. Grand Island lies in Niagara river above the falls; it contains about 48,000 acres; there is a large marshy tract in the centre, but the remainder is covered with a thick forest. Staten Island lies at the mouth of New York harbor ; it is about 18 miles long and 8 wide. The surface is generally rough and hilly, but on the south is a level tract of good land.
This island forms the county of Richmond. Manhattan Island, on which stands the city of New York, is 13} miles long and 1; wide on an average. It is washed on the western side by the Hudson, and separated from the continent and Long Island on the east by narrow channels. It is generally level in the lower part, and the soil here rests upon a granite rock. At the northern extremity, the granite is succeeded by limestone, which affords excellent marble, and extends for some
* A species of herring remarkably fat, and so full of bones that it cannot conveniently be eaten. It is much used for manure along the shores of Connecticut.
distance into the country. In the northern part the shores are rocky, and the face of the island strongly marked by abrupt crags and ravines, hills and valleys, insulated rocks and marshy inlets. The gneiss rock, which is much used for side-walk pavements and the foundations of vuildings, is found in abundance here. Small quantities of porcelain clay have also been found upon this island.
7. Bays and Harbors. The seacoast of New York is nearly all comprised within the shores of Long Island, which contain a few harbors and inlets, but none that are much frequented by shipping. The bay or harbor of New York is very safe and capacious ; its boundaries toward the sea are Long Island and Staten Island ; it extends eight miles below the city, and is from a mile and a half to five miles broad ; it embosoms several small islands on which are fortifications. The Hudson enters this bay from the N. The East river, or channel between New York island and Long Island, communicates with Long Island Sound on the E. The Kills, a strait between Staten Island and the Jersey shore, communicate with Newark Bay and the river Raritan on the W.; and the Narrows open into the Atlantic toward the S. At low water, the entrance by the Narrows is somewhat difficult for large ships, and the entrance from the Sound is obstructed by the rocky strait of Hell Gate. There are several harbors on Lake Ontario, the most noted of which is Sackett's Harbor toward the east end of the lake ; it is deep and
; safe, and was an important naval station during the war of 1812. Oswego has a good artificial harbor, and Buffalo, Dunkirk, and Portland, on Lake Erie, have similar works.
8. Climate. As this State embraces a wide extent of territory, stretching from the lakes of Canada to the Atlantic, it must of necessity exhibit considerable diversities of climate. A district of level country around New York allows the sea-air to penetrate far inland. Along the Hudson as far up as the Highlands, the climate is little different from that of the seacoast; but beyond the mountains, the mild and damp winds from the sca do not penetrate. Below the Highlands, the prevailing winds are southerly through the summer; the weather is variable, and the changes of temperature, governed by the winds, frequent and sudden. The humidity of the air, thus brought in from the sea, produces frequent showers in the middle and eastern region of the State. After two or three days of sultry weather, with the wind from the south,
, the clouds gather round the Catskill Mountains and fall upon the country in thunder-gusts; to this process the southerly part of the State is indebted for all its supplies of rain during summer. In winter, spring, and autumn, the rain and snow come in a great measure from the S. E. or between E. and N. In the northern part, near the St. Lawrence and Lake Champlain, the weather is less variable, and the winters are long and severe, with a clear and settled sky. In the western parts, from the Catskill Mountains to Lake Erie, southwesterly winds prevail in a great proportion throughout the year ; easterly winds are nearly unknown. In this region the average temperatures are about three degrees higher than in the same latitude further east. With these distinctions kept in view, the following particulars, which relate to that portion of the country around Albany, may serve to give a distinct idea of the climate in most parts of the State. The rigors of winter commence about the 20th of December, and end with February, or by the 10th of March, at which time the ice in the Hudson usually breaks up. Between April 15th and May 5th, most of the migratory birds appear; and the lilac opens its blossoms from the 12th to the 30th March, with the appearance of the robin and blue-bird. The phebe bird and chimney-swallow appear about the 15th April ; the barn-swallow, martin, king-bird, eagle, kingfisher, and lark, from the 15th to the 25th, with the opening of the peach blossoms. The apple and pear are in bloom by the 25th or 30th April. The usual range of the thermometer in the middle of the day, from April 10th to May 15th, is between 64 and 72. In suminer, 90° is a high temperature, and never continues but for a few days. Early wheat is cut about July 12th, and the wheat and rye harvest are completed about August 15th. Buckwheat is cut in October. Maize ripens from the middle of September to the 10th or 20th October. . Oats are reaped about the middle of August. Hay is cut from the 4th to the last of July. The seed for winter rye and wheat is sown from the 20th August to the last of September. The thermometer in September often stands at 90°. From the middle of March to the last of April the weather is variable, and the changes of temperature great and sudden, though it is generally rainy, with long storms and easterly winds. May is a variable month, with the first half usually wet. In June the summer begins, and July is subject to drought. August is showery, with the greatest uniformity of temperature of any month in the year. The same weather continues to the 15th or 20th of September ; in this month there is commonly an equinoctial storm. October is extremely pleasant, and is the best month for traveling except perhaps June. Early frosts, which destroy the tender garden vegetables, occur about September 26th ; corn ripens as late as the middle of October. The leaves of the forest trees feel the early frosts, although they are not commonly killed before the 15th or 25th October, about which time flurries of snow may be expected. December is usually cold and showery, with frequent and long storms from the E. and N. E. with rain, hail, and snow. Sleighs are little used till the end of the year. The Indian summer begins about the last of October, and extends, with occasional interruptions, into December.
9. Soil. This extensive State exhibits every variety of soil. In the level country of the northern part, on the east of Lake Ontario, and along the St. Lawrence, the soil is a warm, sandy loam, and constitutes a large tract of the best land for agriculture. Around Lake Champlain there is an extensive district of clayey soil, extending to the hills that skirt the Mohegan mountains. The alluvial flats of the Mohawk valley are bighly fertile. The other parts of this valley have a stiff loam as far W. as the Catskill mountains extend ; beyond which the soil partakes more of the character of the western region. In this last region the hills are rocky and precipitous, and the valleys consist of black, vegetable mould. The Genesee fats in the western part of the State have long been celebrated for their fertility. West of Albany are extensive sandy plains interspersed with marshes, which are rather cold. From the Highlands north to the Nohawk, the soil is dry and warm, being in general either a gravelly or sandy loam. East of the Hudson, in this region, are rich alluvial tracts. Below the Highlands, the soil is principally dry and warm. The west end of Long Island is fertile and well cultivated. In the eastern parts are sandy, barren plains.
10. Geology. With some inconsiderable exceptions, the rock-formations belong entirely to the primary and older fossiliferous, or transition series. The primary rocks, which occupy the smaller portion of the surface, occur in two disconnected tracts in the southeastern and northeastern sections, but in both cases are offsets from the great primary region of New England. The southern tract includes the Highland range as before described, which passes into Massachusetts near the southeastern corner of Dutchess county, the southeast corner of the mainland beiween the highlands and the sea, and the northwest part of Long Island with Staten Island. The prevailing rocks of this district are gneiss, mica-slate, and primitive limestone, with some other stratified rocks ; granite occurs only in beds or veins in the other rocks. The northern primitive district lies between Lakes Champlain and Ontario. Felspathic granite, traversed by greenstone dykes, gneiss, hornblende, and primitive limestone, are the prevailing rocks of this region. The remaining rock-formations, occupying much the greater part of the surface, belong to the older fossiliferous group, and are characterized by a great simplicity of arrangement, arising from the great extent of the several members of the group, and their undi bed horizontal position. They present a series of terraces rising by successive steps from the north toward the south, stretching nearly across the State, south of Lake Ontario and the Mohawk, from east to west, and intersected at right angles by numerous valleys of denudation, some of which are occupied by fine lakes, and others form the fertile and beautiful abodes of a prosperous population. Shales, fossiliserous limestones, sandstones, and slates, here alternate with each other in an endless variety. 11. Minerals. The most important metallic minerals are iron and lead. Galena or sulphu
. ret of lead occurs in several localities, but most abundantly at Rossie and other places in St. Lawrence county , in Lewis county, at Ancram in Columbia, &c. ; but it seems doubtful whether it occurs at these last places in true veins. Iron is very generally diffused over the eastern part of the State, under the various forms of magnetic oxide, the red or specular oxide, and bog-ore, all of which are worked. Beds of magnetic ore extend, with little interruption, from Canada to the vicinity of New York. The most important localities are in Orange, Rockland, Putnam, and the northeastern counties. One of the beds at Newcomb, where the ore is of great purity and easily wrought, has been traced more than a mile, with a width of above 300 feet, and appears to extend more than four miles, and there are others of similar extent. Rich beds of the specular ore occur at several localities in St. Lawrence and Jefferson counties, among which the Kearney and Parish beds, of the brown or argillaceous variety, are of extraordinary richness. The bog-ore is also abundant, except in the northern primitive district. Sulphuret of iron, or iron pyrites, abounds in various localities, and at Canton is used in the manufacture of copperas and alum. Gypsum is pretty generally diffused through the western part of the State, and is highly valued as a manure. Hydraulic limestone, furnishing good water-cement, abounds in Madison, Onondaga, and some of the neighboring counties. Marble, freestone, gneiss, and other building stðnes are plentiful, and of excellent quality.
12. Vegetable Productions. The mountainous region produces the greater proportion of the evergreen trees of North America ; the western part is principally wooded with deciduous trees of the loftiest growth ; in the eastern parts the trees are deciduous in general, but less lofty. The most common forest trees are oak, maple, beech, walnut, butternut, chestnut, birch, tilia, poplar, cherry, sycamore or buttonwood, ash, elm, sassafras, hornbeam, sumach, alder, pine, spruce, larch, fir, hemlock, cedar, locust, laurel, mulberry, black walnut, cucumber tree, crab-apple, and thorn; of oak there are 20 varieties ; of pine and walnut 8.
l many kinds of wild grapes.
13. Mineral Springs. In excellence and variety, the mineral springs of this State are not surpassed in any part of the world. No less than 148 have been analyzed, of which 63 are sulphureous, almost all in the western counties ; 23, chiefly in the eastern counties, chalybeate or saline chaly beate, 12 petrifying. The most noted go by the general names of the Saratoga and Ballston Springs, and are embraced in an extent of about 12 miles in the county of Saratoga. They are 20 in number; their waters are saline and chalybeate, with many varieties ; some are very cold and highly charged with oxide of iron and carbonic acid gas. Their medicinal qualities are of the cathartic and tonic kind ; the multitudes that resort hither from all parts of the country during the summer, to drink their waters, are a sufficient proof of the estimation in which they are held. These springs were first discovered by remarking the track of the deer, who frequented them in such numbers as to a path to the spot.
The New Lebanon Springs are near the Shaker village, not far from the Massachusetts line. Their waters are tepid (72) and efficacious in scrofulous complaints. The Clifton Springs at Farmington, in the neighborhood of Geneva, are strongly sulphureous, and emit gas. There are burning springs, or springs of water charged with inflammable gas, in many places in the western part of the State, chiefly near Canandaigua lake. Their positions are known by little hillocks of a dark bituminous mould, through which the gas finds its way to the surface; when set on fire, this gas burns with a steady flame. In winter, openings are made in the snow, and the gas being lighted, continues to burn in contact with nothing but the snow. There is a burning spring much resorted to by travelers at the distance of about a mile from Niagara Falls. At Dunkirk and Fredonia, on Lake Erie, there are marshy spots which emit gas (carburetted hydrogen), that has been used for lighting some houses. The salt springs are too numerous to particularize. The most important are those of Onondaga, which rise in a marsh at the head of Onondaga lake ; 50 gallons of the water yield a bushel of salt. In the southeast part of Lake Erie, about 20 rods from the shore, is a spring which rises from the bottom of the lake ; the water is thrown to the surface with some force, and the gas or oil which it contains may be set on fire ; when drank it is a powerful emetic. Petrolcum springs are numerous in Cattaraugus, Erie, and Alleghany counties; this substance is collected and sold under the vame of Seneca oil, and has much repute for its supposed medicinal powers.
14. Caves. In the county of Ulster is a cave three quarters of a mile in length, caused by a stream running under ground. The rock which constitutes the roof and sides of the cave is a dark-colored limestone, containing impressions of shells, calcareous spar, and beautiful white and yellow stalactites. At one end is a fall of water, the depth of which has not been sathomed. At Řhinebeck, near the Hudson, is a cave in which a narrow entrance leads to several spacious rooms abounding with columns of stalactites. At Chester, in Warren county, there is a stream which passes under a natural bridge, and among many deep caverns ; the waters enter in two streams, unite in the subterranean passage, and issue in a single current under a precipice 60 feet in height.
15. Cataracts. Although the Falls of Niagara are situated partly in Canada, yet, as they are usually visited from the New York side, our descriptions here may properly commence with this grandest and most magnificent object of its kind in the world of all the wonders
. of nature, perhaps the most difficult to represent by a written description, is a great cataract. Let the reader imagine the waters of the great inland seas of America discharging their immense volume through a single river three quarters of a mile wide, and rushing in one great mass over a precipice 160 feet perpendicular descent, and he may form some conception of the grandeur of the spectacle here exhibited. A small island stands perched upon the edge of the cataract, breaking the wide sheet of water as it pours over the dam. The whole cataract forms an irregular semicircle; the Canada side presents the deepest hollow, which is called the Horseshoe Fall. Visiters sometimes pass under the fall between the sheet of water and the rock,
but can only proceea a short distance without danger of heing blinded by the strong, driving showers of spray and violent whirls in the air. The roar of the cataract may sometimes be heard at the distance of 40 miles.
The following description from the pen of the Rev. Mr. Greenwood of Boston, is drawn with so much taste and eloquence, that we here offer it to the reader as the best within our knowledge.
" It is no matter of surprise, that lovers of nature perform journeys of homage to that sovereign of cataracts, that monarch of all pouring floods, the Falls of Niagara. It is no matter of surprise, that, although situated in what might have been called, a few years ago, but cannot be now, the wilds of North America, 500 miles from the Atlantic coast, travelers from all civilized parts of the world have encountered all the difficulties and fatigues of the path, to behold this prince of waterfalls, amidst its ancient solitudes, and that more recently, the broad highways to its dominions have been thronged. By universal consent it has long ago been proclaimed one of the wonders of the world. It is alone in its kind. Though a waterfall, it is not to be compared with other waterfalls. In its majesty, its supremacy, and its influence on the soul of man, its brotherhood is with the living ocean and the eternal hills. “I will not begin my description with the cataract itself, but take you back to the great lake
from which the Niagara flows, so that you may go down its banks as I did, and approach the magnificent scene with a knowledge regularly and accu
mulatively gained of its prinBuffalo
cipal accessories. For the
river and the lake, nay, the BlackRock.d
whole superb chain of rivers and lakes, should be taken into view, when we would conceive as we ought of the Falls of Niagara.
“As we approach the town of Buffalo, which is situated near the eastern extremity of Lake Erie, that wide-spread
sheet of water opens to the Forsyths Hotel at Niagara Falls.
sight. If the traveler has nevManchester
er seen the ocean, he may here imagine that he sees it. If he has, he will say that it is a sea view which here lies be. fore him. As he looks to the west, the horizon only bounds the liquid expanse ; and it is not till he descends to the shore, and marks the peculiar, quiet, and exact level of the
even and sleeping lake, that Vicinity of Niagara Falls.
he will find any thing to remind him, that he is not on the coast of the salt and swelling sea. Four miles north of Buffalo we come to the village of Black Rock ;* and it is here that the boundaries of the lake contract, and its waters begin to pour themselves out through the sluiceway of the Niagara River. The river is at this place about a quarter of a mile broad ; and, as I gazed on its dark, and deep, and hurrying stream, I felt a sensation of interest stealing over me, similar to that which I have experienced in reading of the preparations of men for some momentous expedition. Opposite Black Rock, on the Canada side, is the village of Waterloo, to which we were ferried
According to Mr. Featherstonhaugh, Editor of the contained in the bed of carboniferous limestone,” have Monthly American Journal of Geology and Natural furnished its name to this village. Science, the " seams and patches of dark-colored chert,