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over, and from which we commenced our ride down the river, which rups north into Lake Ontario. There is also a road on the American side, from Buffalo to the falls, a distance, either way, of about fifteen mies.
“From Waterloo we pass on by a level road, immediately on the western bank of the Niagara, and observe that the river continually becomes wider, till at length it divides into two streams which sweep round an island several miles in length. They then unite again, forming one stream as before, only that it is increased in breadth and swiftness. And now the interest thickens, and begins to grow intense. Hitherto we had been traveling on the side of a large river, it is true, but one not much distinguished otherwise, either by its motion, its shape, or the beauty of its borders. We are obliged to call on ourselves to consider where we are, and whither we are going ; for Niagara itself seems unconscious of the grand associations with which it is freighted. It moves as if unmindful, or as not caring to put the traveler in mind, that its waters have come down through the whole length of Erie from the far away Huron, Michigan, Superior ; that they are just about to rush over the wondrous precipice below, and then are to hasten forward into another majestic lake, and from it are to pass through the portals of a thousand islands, and the alternate rapids and lakes of a noble and romantic river, washing the feet of cities, * and so to flow on into the all-receiving sea. We are obliged to remember this, I say; for the unpretending waters, though pressing forward continually and intently, have thus far told us nothing, themselves, of their long pilgrimage behind, or the yet more eventful journey before them. But here, as they are meeting round Grand Island, they break their silence and speak, and the whole scene becomes full of spirit and meaning. Here, about three miles from the falls, you see the white-crested rapids tossing in the distance before you. Here, even
in the most unfavorable state of the weather, you hear the voice of the cataract, pervading the air with its low, monotonous, continuous roar. And here you see a column of mist rising up, like a smoke in distantly burning woods, and designating the sublime scene over which it is immediately hanging. I know not that I was afterward more strongly affected, even by the falls themselves, than I was by the sight of this ever changing and yet never absent guide, this cloudy pillar, this floating, evanescent, and yet eternal testimony, which pointed out to me the exact spot which had been for so many years as a shrine to thousands, which I had heard of
and read of so long, and which I had Rapids of the Niagara.
myself so often visited, though not in person, yet with my reverential wishes, yet with my mind, and with my heart. Childhood came back to me, with its indistinct, but highly wrought and passionate images ; maps were unrolled ; books were opened ; paintings were spread ; measurements were recalled ; all the efforts which the art of man had made, all the tributes which his spirit had offered, at the call of the great cataract; all these associations, with other dreamlike thoughts of the wilderness, the lake, and the stream, rose up unbidden and with power within me, as I steadfastly regarded that significant, far-off mist, and knew that I, too, was soon to stand on the consecrated spot, and see, and feel.
“A mile or two is soon passed, and now we turn a little from the road to the right, in order to have a near view of the rapids. These occupy the whole breadth of the river, from shore to shore, and extend half a mile back from the falls, and are formed by the rush of the entire body of waters down a rough bed, the descent of which in the course of this half mile is fifty feet. Here all is tumult and impetuous baste. The view is something like that of the sea in
. a violent gale. Thousands of waves dash eagerly forward, and indicate the interruptions which they meet with from the hidden rocks, by ridges and streaks of foam. Terminating this angry picture, you distinguish the crescent rim of the British fall, over which the torrent pours and disappears. The wildness and the solitude of the scene are strikingly impressive. Nothing that lives is to be seen in its whole extent. Nothing that values its life ever dares venture it there. The waters refuse the burden of man and of man's works. Of this they give fair and audible warning, of which all take heed. They have one engrossing object before them, and they go to its accomplishment alone.
* Montreal and Quebec are both on the St. Lawrence.
“ Returning to the road, we ride the last half mile, ascending gradually till we come to the public house. A footpath through the garden at the back of the house, and down a steep and thickly wooded bank, brings us upon Table Rock, a flat ledge of limestone, forming the brink of the precipice, the upper stratum of which is a jagged shelf no more than about a foot in thickness, jutting out over the gulf below. Here the whole scene breaks upon us. Looking up the river we face the grand crescent, called the British or Horseshoe Fall.* Opposite to us is Goat Island, which divides the falls, and lower down to the left is the American Fall. And what is the first impression made upon the beholder ? Decidedly, I should say, that of beauty ; of sovereign, majestic beauty it is true, but still that of beauty, soul-filling beauty, rather than awful sublimity. Every thing is on so large a scale ; the height of the cataract is so much exceeded by its breadth, and so much concealed by the volumes of mist which wrap and shroud its feet you stand so directly on the same level with the falling waters ; you see so large a portion of them at a considerable distance from you ; and their roar comes up so moderated from the deep abyss, that the loveliness of the scene at first sight is permitted to take precedence of its grandeur. Its coloring alone is of the most exquisite kind. The deep sea-green of the centre of the crescent, where it is probable the greatest mass of water falls, lit up with successive flashes of foam, and contrasted with the rich, creamy whiteness of the two sides or wings of the same crescent ; then the sober gray of the opposite precipice of Goat Island, crowned with the luxuriant foliage of its forest trees, and connected still further on with the pouring snows of the greater and less American Falls ; the agitated and foamy surface of the waters at the bottom of the falls, followed by the darkness of their hue as they sweep along through the perpendicular gorge beyond ; the mist, floating about, and veiling objects with a softening indistinctness; and the bright rainbow which is constant to the sun, — altogether form a combina
; tion of color, changing too with every change of light, every variation of the wind, and every hour of the day, which the painter's art cannot imitate, and which nature herself has perhaps only effected here.
" And the motion of these falls, how wonderfully fine it is ! how graceful, how stately, how calm ! There is nothing in it hurried or headlong, as you might have supposed. The eye is so long in measuring the vast and yet unacknowledged height, that they seem to move over almost slowly ; the central and most voluminous portion of the Horseshoe even goes down silently. The truth is, that pompous phrases cannot describe these falls. Calm and deeplymeaning words should alone be used in speaking of them. Any thing like hyperbole would degrade them, if they could be degraded. But they cannot be. Neither the words nor the deeds of man degrade or disturb them. There they pour over in their collected might and dignified Aowing, steadily, constantly, as they always have been pouring since they came from the hollow of His hand, and you can add nothing to them, nor can you take any thing from them.
“ As I rose on the morning following my arrival, and went to the window for an early view, a singular fear came over me, that the falls might have passed away, though their sound was in my ears. It was to be sure, rather the shadow of a fear than a fear, and reason dissipated it as soon as it was formed. But the bright things of earth are so apt to be fleeting, and we are so liable to lose what is valued as soon as it is bestowed, that I believe it was a perfectly natural feeling which suggested to me for an instant, that I had enjoyed quite as much of such a glorious exhibition as I deserved, and that I had no right to expect that it would continue, as long as I might be pleased to behold. But the falls were there, with their full, regular, and beautiful flowing. The clouds of spray and mist were now dense and high, and completely concealed the opposite shores ; but as the day advanced, and the beams of the sun increased in power, they were thinned and contracted. Presently a thunder-shower rose up from the west, and passed directly over us ; and soon another came, still heavier than the preceding. And now I was more impressed than ever with the peculiar motion of the fall; not, however, because it
* The height of the Horseshoe Fall is 150 feet; its breadth 2,376 feet.
experienced a change, but because it did
The lightning gleamed, the thunder pealed, the rain fell in torrents ; the storms were grand ; but the fall, if I may give its expression a language, did not heed them at all; the rapids above raged no more and no less than before, and the fall poured on with the same quiet solemnity, with the same equable intentness, undisturbed by the lightning and rain, and listening not to the loud thunder.
“ About half a mile below the Horseshoe fall, a commodious road has lately been cut in a slanting direction, down the
side of the perpendicular cliff and through Niagara Falls. the solid rock, to the river.
Here we find a regular ferry, and are conveyed in a small boat across the stream, which is now narrowed to a breadth of about 1,200 feet, to the American side. The passage is perfectly safe, and though short, delightful, as it affords a superb view of both the falls above, and of the dark river below. The current is not very rapid, and near the American side actually sets up toward the falls ; by the help of which eddy the boat regains what it had lost in the middle of the stream We land almost directly at the feet of the American fall, and by walking a little way to the right, may place ourselves in its spray. Now look up, and the height will not disappoint you. Now attend to the voice of the cataract, and it will fill your soul with awe. It seems as if the "waters which are above the firmament' were descending from the heights of heaven, and as if the fountains of the great deep were broken up' from below. The noise, which permits free conversation to those who are on the bank, is here imperative and deafening. It resembles the perpetual rolling of near thunder, or the uninterrupted discharge of a battery of heavy ordnance, mingled with a strange crashing and breaking sound. This resemblance to the roar of artillery is heightened by the sight of the large bodies of spray, which are continually and with immense force exploded from the abyss. The impression of superior height is gained, not so much from the fact, that the American fall is actually ten or twelve feet higher than the British, as from your having a complete profile view of the one, from brink to base, which you cannot well obtain of the other.
“ Flights of secure wooden steps bring us to the top of the bank,* where we again stand on a level with the descending falls. We soon found, that the greatest variety of interest was on this, the American side. The village of Manchester is situated on the rapid just above the fall. A bridge is thrown boldly over the rushing and 'arrowy'rapid to a small island, called Bath Island, where there are one or two dwellings and a paper-mill; and from this spot another bridge runs with equal boldness to Goat Island. The whole breadth of the space thus traversed is 1072 feet.
“Goat Island is a paradise. I do not believe that there is a spot in the world which, within the same space comprises so much grandeur and beauty. It is but about a mile in circumfe
. rence, and in that mile you have a forest of tall old trees, many of them draperied with climbing and cleaving ivy ; a rich variety of wild shrubs and plants ; several views of the rapids ; an opportunity to pass without discomfort under the smaller American fall, and the very finest view, I will venture to say, of the great Crescent or Horseshoe fall. Turn to the left, as you enter this Eden, and you come out into a cleared and open spot, on which you discern a log-hut, with
a vines round its door and windows, and a little garden in front of it, running down to the water's edge ; a flock of sheep, feeding quietly or reposing pleasantly, under scattered clumps of graceful trees; while beyond this scene of rural repose, you see the whole field of the rapids, bearing down in full force upon this point of their division, as if determined to sweep it away. Or turn to the right, and threading the shady forest, step aside to the margin of the smaller Ameri
"On this bank, near the ferry-house, there is a stone cinity. I. V., whoever he was, when he looked upon the embedded in the ground, rudely carved, on which there falls, must have been surrounded by a perfect wilderness. has lately been discovered, by removing the moss which What poet will speak in his name, and describe his feel. had grown over it, the following inscription ; - I. V. 1747. ings, and record his thoughts, as he stood here alone with This is by far the most ancient date to be found in the vi
can fall, * and bathe your hands, if you please, in its just leaping waters. Then, pursuing the circuit of the island, descend a spiral flight of stairs, and treading cautiously along a narrow footpath, cut horizontally in the side of the cliff, enter the magnificent ball formed by the falling tlood, the bank of which you have just left, and command your nerves for a few moments, that, standing as you do about midway in the descent of the fall, you may look up eighty feet to its arched and crystal roof, and down eighty feet, on its terrible, and misty, and resounding floor. You will never forget that sight and sound.
“Retrace your steps to the upper bank, and then, if your strength holds out, proceed a short way further, to the enjoyment of a view already referred to, which excels every other in this place of many wonders. It is obtained from a bridge or platform, which has recently been thrown out over some rocks,t and is carried to the very brink of the Horseshoe fall, and even projects beyond it; so that the spectator at the end of the platform is suspended over it.
i These falls are not without their history ; but like their depths, it is enveloped in clouds. Geologists suppose, and with good apparent reason, that time was when the Niagara fell over the abrupt bank at Queenstown, between six and seven miles below the place of the present falls, and that it has, in the lapse of unknown and incalculable years, been wearing away the gulf in the intermediate distance, and toiling and traveling through the rock, back to its parent lake.
Plan OF THE Falls. - - A, hotel; BB, steep bank ; c, brink of the precipice; e, Goat Island ; hh, perpendicular rock; d, rapids ; m, platform; f, spiral staircase by which you descend; g, ferry'; k, ascent to the American side of the Falls.
After Niagara, any cataract would appear tame and insignificant in description ; yet those which remain to be mentioned here would excite admiration in any part of the world. The great falls of the Genesee, about half a mile below Rochester, are 90 feet perpendicular ; and a few rods above, is another of 12 feet, surmounted by a rapid. On the same river are several other falls. Trenton Falls are on West Canada Creek, a feeder of the Mohawk, 14 miles north of Utica ; they consist of several grand and beautiful cascades, some of them 40 feet in descent. The river here passes through a rocky chasm four miles in length, presenting the greatest variety of cascades and rapids, boiling pools and eddies. The rock is a dark limestone, and contains abundance of marine shells. The falls of the Cohoes are upon the Mohawk,
* This is separated from the greater fall by a diminutive This lesser fall, small as it is compared with the others: island, covered with trees, which tenaciously maintains its would of itself be worth a journey. terrible position in emulation, as it were, of Goat Island. † These are called the Terrapin Rocks.
near its entrance into the Hudson ; their height is 62 feet; the banks of the river are walls of rock, 140 feet high. Little Falls constitute a beautiful rapid some miles above. Glen's Falls are upon the Hudson, 19 miles above Saratoga, and are a grand rapid, falling 67 feet in a course of 500 feet. Jessup's Falls and Hadley Falls are beautiful cataracts on the same stream, a few miles above. Claverack Falls are upon a stream near the city of Hudson ; they descend down a precipice of dark rocks into a deep chasm shaded with forest trees. The beautiful cataracts near Ithaca comprise 438 feet of descent in a mile ; one of them falls 116 feet. The romantic cascades in the Catskill mountains have been already mentioned.
16. Face of the Country. The eastern part of the State is mountainous, with level tracts interspersed; the western is mostly level, except near the Pennsylvania line, where it becomes hilly. There is a singular elevation, called the Ridge, extending from Niagara River, below the falls, easterly 70 miles to Rochester on the Genesce; this ridge is narrow, not generally exceeding 100 feet in width, and slopes away gently on both sides ; a road passes along its top. The height of the ridge above the waters of Lake Ontario, is about 160 feet, though it does not rise more than 30 feet above the surrounding country. Twenty miles south of this, is another ridge, from Genesee River to Black Rock, on Lake Erie.
1. Divisions. New York is divided into 58 counties,* which are subdivided into 807 townships, comprising 9 cities and 125 incorporated villages.
Population at different periods. 1790, 340,120 1820,
1,372,812 1800, 556,756 1830,
1,918,605 1810, 959,049 1835,
2,174,517 2. Canals. New York surpasses every State in the Union for canals. The great Erie and Hudson Canal, from Albany to Buffalo, was begun in 1817, and finished in 1825, at the cost of above 7,000,000 of dollars. It is 363 miles long, and was originally 40 feet wide and 4 feet deep, but has since been deepened to 6 and widened to 70 feet. Beginning at Albany, on the Hudson, it passes up the west bank of the river nearly to the mouth of the Mohawk; thence along the Mohawk to Schenectady, crossing the river twice by aqueducts. From Schenectady, it follows the southern bank of the Mohawk to Rome, approaching so near the river in some places, as to require embankments to support it; one of these, at Amsterdam village, is five or six miles in length. What is called the Long Level, or a distance of 69 miles without any intervening lock, begins at Frankfort, 8 miles east of Utica, and terminates near Syracuse. From this place, the canal proceeds 35 miles to Montezuma, on the eastern border of the Cayuga marshes ; these are three miles in extent. From hence to the great embankment, which is 72 feet high and nearly two miles in length, is a distance of 52 miles. Eight miles further, begins the Genesee level, which extends west to Lockport, 65 miles ; 7 miles from this place to Pendleton village, the canal enters Tonnewanda Creek, which it follows 12 miles, and then, passing up the east shore of Niagara River, joins Lake Erie at Buffalo. In the whole length of the canal, are 83 locks and 18 aqueducts. The locks are built in the most durable manner, of stone laid in water-lime, and are each 105 feet long and 15 wide. Lake Erie is 565 feet above the Hudson at Albany, and the whole rise and fall of lockage on the canal is 699 feet.