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or nearly one half of the weight of the saline matter; it is always a retentive soil, from the abundance of argillaceous earth which enters into its composition. And it may be compared, in quality, to the red lands of Maryland and Virginia, bordering on the Potomac river, in Montgomery and Loudon counties, which produce wheat crops that can scarcely be excelled."
The same author remarks, in relation to the soil of Madeline island, which lies opposite La Pointe county, Wisconsin : “That portion of the soil of this island fit for cultivation, produces potatoes, and all manner of garden vegetables and roots in great luxuriance. In the flat, wet parts, both the soil and the climate are favorable to grass, and the crop is certain and stout. Oats do well; on good soil I have no doubt that wheat would be a good and sure crop, if well cultivated."
The editor of the Chicago Democratic Press, who visited a vegetable garden on this island in July, 1856, says : “It is by far the best and most productive one that we have seen this season. True, the fruits ripen later than they do with us, but they are fine and perfect." The spacious garden of Mr. Austrian, to which he alludes, is one of the most attractive spots on the island. Luxuriant vegetables of all kinds were raised last summer; also cherries, apples, and grapes. The latter part of September, 1856, Mr. A. sent the following productions, raised in his garden, to the editors of the Superior Chronicle, viz: One ruta baga turnip, weighing seven pounds, a beautiful ear of Genesee flint corn, several bunches of ripe tomatoes, citrons, squashes, carrots, beets, some marrow-fat peas, three varieties of apples, and a bunch of flowers. The author himself measured some stalks of rye, raised on a claim near the City of Superior, which, although not fully ripe, were five feet six inches in height, and he is confident,
that had some of the vegetables raised in the same place been exhibited at the United States Agricultural Fair, they would without difficulty have secured the first prize.
FISHERIES OF LAKE SUPERIOR.
The products of the fisheries of Lake Superior are of great importance to the inhabitants and States which lie on its borders. It abounds with the most delicious fresh water fish known. The flavor of its trout, white fish, and others, is much superior to that of the other lakes, and they command a higher price in market. “One species,” says Mr. Andrews, “the siskawit,' has only to be known in the New York and Eastern markets, in order to supersede all varieties of sea fish, for unquestionably none approach it in succulence and flavor.” This fish is preferred by the Indians on account of its fatness. They are readily caught by the hook, but the usual method is by means of gill nets, set a yard or two from the bottom, in water of about two hundred feet in depth; the lower edge of the net is then anchored by weights attached to cords, while the upper edge is sustained by means of floats. The siskawit weighs from five to twenty pounds.
The white fish are preferred to all others by the white inhabitants and travellers. There are two kinds of lake trout,* each weighing from twelve to fifty pounds. The sturgeon are quite remarkable, not only in size, but in flavor; pickerel, pike, carp, black fish, and herring, are also abundant. Large quantities of these fish are packed annually at Siskawit Bay, Isle Royale, at La Pointe, and many other places along the northern and southern shores, for the Eastern and Western markets. This branch of commerce is increasing very fast, in consequence of the
opening of the Sault Canal, and rapid increase of settlement along its coast. The waters of Lake Superior are teeming with life, and from the south shore alone 50,000 barrels might be yearly sent to market.
COMMERCE OF LAKE SUPERIOR, It is very difficult to procure correct information of the commerce of this lake, owing to the fact that it has only recently been opened to direct navigation with the other lakes, and from the extreme inaccuracy and looseness of the returns reported. The business of the Lake Superior country, for 1851, is estimated by Mr. Andrews as follows, for the articles which crossed the portage at the Sault Ste. Marie :
Imports, 100,000 barrels bulk; in which are included 2000 bundles pressed hay, 20,000 bushels of oats, and other kinds of grain, provisions, dry goods, groceries, general supplies, and five mining engines; forming an aggregate estimated value of $1,000,000.
The exports passing around the rapids, for the same season, are as follows:
1800 tons of copper, at $350.......
500 tons of iron blooms, at $50 4000 barrels of fish, at $5......
The imports are about 40,000 barrels bulk in excess of the imports of 1850.
The receipts for tolls on the Sault Ste. Marie Canal, for the season of 1856, amounted to $11,950 44.
COMPARATIVE ESTIMATE OF FREIGHT.
1855. 76,468 4,373
1856. 119,259 11,568
Total. 195,727 15,941
Lumber to the extent of 395,295 feet passed through the canal. The importation of this article will doubtless entirely cease in a few years, and the exportation of it form, eventually, a conspicuous item in the trade of Lake Superior, as already a large number of saw-mills, of sufficient capacity to supply all demands, are at work at the head of the lake.
At present, there are about twelve propellers and steam vessels engaged in the commerce of this "mighty inland sea. It requires a voyage of about four days, including numerous stoppages, to convey passengers and freight from Chicago to the City of Superior, at the head of the lake, and the same time from Cleveland. The North Star, a favorite boat, made the trip in June, 1857, from Detroit, in three days. On their return voyage they take in copper, in masses and barrels, iron ores and bars, fish, ship’s knees, &c. A number of sailing vessels are also engaged in this commerce.
The average close of navigation at the head of Lake Superior, for the past two years, has been about the 1st of December, and the average opening about the middle of
1 Captain Church, of the St. Mary's river, exported, in 1850, ten tons of raspberry jam.
2 In 1855, the schooner Algonquin left the port of Superior, on her return voyage, the 17th of December.
April. From these facts it will be observed that the lake is susceptible of navigation for nearly eight months in the year, and about two weeks longer than the Upper Mississippi.
SAULT STE. MARIE CANAL.
The outlet of Lake Superior is through the St. Mary's river, which is sixty miles in length, connecting it with Lake Huron. At some places it spreads out into little lakes; at others, rushes through narrow rapids, or winds around beautiful islands. Its entire length is navigable as far as the falls - the “Sault” of the river having a descent of twenty-two feet within three-fourths of a mile. Until the year 1855, the only inlet for merchandise, or outlet for the produce of this vast lake, and the wide regions dependent upon it, was in the portage around the “Sault," across which every article had to be transported, at prodigious labor and expense. In 1851, the fleet of the lake consisted of two steamers, four propellers, and a considerable number of smaller craft, all of which had been dragged overland, by man and horse, across the isthmus. These vessels were constantly employed carrying up supplies, and bringing back returns of ore and metal, and yet, under all these disadvantages and drawbacks, the traffic was profitable and progressive.
After continued efforts had been made, for many years, to induce the General Government to construct a ship canal around these rapids, Congress, in 1852, offered to the State of Michigan 750,000 acres of land to aid in completing it, and the Legislature of that State contracted to give these lands, free of taxation, for five years, to Erastus Corning, and others, in consideration that the proposed canal should be in navigable order by the 19th of May, 1855. The work was finished at the appointed time, and is superior to