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The putiest night I ever seen,-
The Old Covered Bridge.
O The old covered bridge! sixty years it has stood
O the old covered bridge! how the years whirl
O the old covered bridge! how I wondered and feared
O the old covered bridge ! may it never decay;
Richard Low Dawson.
THE DR VINNE PRESS, NEW YORK.
THE CENTURY MAGAZINE.
THE GRAND FALLS OF LABRADOR.
FUGITIVE article relat- None of the maps show the river-systems and ing to a great cataract in lakes with any degree of accuracy. It has long Labrador, appeared in sev- been assumed, however, that the interior coneral newspapers during the tains a great table-land. The highest portion early part of 1891. It re- of this elevated region is probably in the southferred to the stories current ern part of the peninsula, where its greater rivamong the Indiansand voy- ers have their source. The most important of
ageurs which tended to these, the Grand, or Hamilton, River, rises in prove the existence of such a great waterfall on the lakes on this table-land, and flows in a genthe upper waters of the Grand, or Hamilton, eral southeasterly direction a distance of nearly River, and ascribed to it the stupendous height 400 miles into Hamilton Inlet, the great marine of 1500 feet. This attractive piece of geographi- estuary which, under different names, penecal news, with its apparent flavor of aboriginal trates the interior a distance of 150 miles. No hyperbole, chanced to catch the eye of the pres- scientific explorer has penetrated far into the ent writer. An examination of the literature country, and the imperfect knowledge of this relating to Labrador which was accessible re- vast territory (estimated to contain 289,000 vealed the suggestive fact that although it was square miles) rests entirely on the vague reports probably the first part of the mainland of Amer- of Indians, a few missionaries, and information ica visited by Europeans, yet, in this last dec- furnished by some agents of the Hudson Bay ade of the nineteenth century, one must seek Company. there for the largest unexplored area on the Interesting as these researches were, they western continent. Many generations of mari- yielded but little real information relating to ners and fishermen have sailed along Labra- the configuration of the interior. Enough was dor's bleak coast, since John Cabot visited those learned, however, to establish the existence of shores in 1497 ; and all have borne abroad the the Grand Falls, and to show that the time had fame of its arctic climate and desolate sea- long since passed when any enterprising travcoast. The uninviting character of its rocky eler could claim the honor of their discovery. seaboard has thus given a bad name to the The traditions of the Hudson Bay Company whole country, and in this we must find the affirm that two officers of the Company visited reason why Labrador has received so little at- the spot many years ago. The first of these, tention from explorers.
John M'Clane, was unquestionably the first A glance at any of the maps of the peninsula white man to gaze upon this remote cataract, which have been published will show them to which he discovered in the year 1839 while enbe very defective specimens of chartography. gaged in seeking an inland route between two
Copyright, 1892, by THE CENTURY Co. All rights reserved.
posts of the Company. Twenty years after no traveler or trader disturbed the loneliness M'Clane's visit, Joseph McPherson was guided of this remote wilderness. Fort Nascopie, the to the spot by an Iroquois Indian named Louis- only interior post of the Hudson Bay Company, over-the-fire, who is still living, an aged pen- was abandoned some twenty-eight years ago, sioner of the Company, at Northwest River and the inland trail to it, which passed within Post. These are the only white men who, pre- fifty miles of the Falls, was disused in the invious to the summer of 1891, are known to have terval. No one endeavored to ascend the seen the Grand Falls. Neither M'Clane nor Grand River, and the dim tradition of the Falls McPherson measured the height of the Falls, was almost forgotten. At length, in 1887, a and, in fact, it does not appear that the latter young. Englishman, R. F. Holme of Oxford ever gave any account of his visit to this region. University, journeyed to Labrador and started
To continue the brief record of Labrador ex- up the Grand River, having the Falls as the obploration, mention should be made of the jour- jective point of his expedition. He relied on ney of Professor H. Y. Hind, who thirty-one Professor Hind's statement that the cataract years ago started from the Seven Islands, on was 100 miles from the mouth of the river, and the St. Lawrence coast, and ascended the consequently found himself insufficiently equip
Moisic River a distance of 120 miles. Strictly ped for what proved to be a much longer jourspeaking, the territory drained by this affluent ney. With a boat and two men, he pluckily of the St. Lawrence is not in Labrador proper, surmounted the difficulties of river navigation, but is embraced by the eastern borders of the and reached a point about 140 miles from the province of Quebec. In the account of his ex- mouth of the river, when he was obliged by the plorations Professor Hind first advanced the failure of his provisions to turn back. statement that the interior plateau of Labrador Believing a visit to the Grand Falls presented attained a height of over 2200 feet, and this idea no insurmountable obstacles, and confident has been accepted by most writers on the sub- that such a trip would yield interesting geoject. Then ensued a long period during which graphical results and exciting sport with rod and