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“Father of Lakes! thy waters bend
Beyond the eagle's utmost view,
Back to the sky its world of blue.
LAKE SUPERIOR, the Mediterranean Sea of America, is the largest body of fresh water on the face of the globe. It is 627 feet above the level of the sea, 360 miles long, 160 wide, and its mean depth has been estimated at 900 feet, its elevation above Lakes Huron and Michigan 49 feet, and it is said that near two hundred rivers and creeks flow into it. The greater part of these rivers are not navigable, except by canoes, owing to their numerous falls and rapids.
More than two hundred years ago, before the emigrants of the “ Mayflower” ever trod on New England soil, the French Jesuits of Canada had partially explored this great
lake, and described the form of its shores, in their reports, as similar to that of a bended bow, the northern shore being the arc and the southern the cord, while Keweenaw Point, projecting from the southern shore to the middle of the lake, is the arrow. A description published by one of them in Paris, in 1638, is accompanied with a map, displaying the geographical positions of its shores with as much-fidelity as most of those of the present day.
Almost the whole line of its shores is rock-bound; the rocks, in many places, rising to the height of from ten to two hundred feet. One of the earliest discoverers described the lake as “an ocean in a storm, sculptured in granite,” so striking was the aspect of its bold rocks and towering mountains, torn, as it were, from their places by some mighty convulsion of nature. In some places, mountain masses of considerable elevation stretch along the shore, while mural precipices, and beetling crags, oppose themselves to the surges of this mighty lake, and threaten the unfortunate mariner, who may be caught in a storm on a lee shore, with almost inevitable destruction.
High ranges of hills stretch along the northern shores, commencing in Canada, and reaching to Minnesota. They arise from twelve hundred to thirteen hundred feet above the lake, covered with a sparse and stunted growth of pines, and other varieties of evergreens, mixed with the usual northorn vegetation of birch, aspen, and other trees peculiar to this region, and presenting scenery unrivalled for its beauty. The shore is indented with numerous small bays and harbors. Some of these bays afford secure shelter from storms, as they are sometimes overhung by high walls of rock, rising from 300 to 600 feet above the water. Several towns have recently been laid out on the American shore, which extends about one hundred and fifty miles along the northwestern coast of the lake. From the re