« AnteriorContinua »
the doors were beset with suitors. One said, "If she cannot speak, she cannot scold:" another, that her diet would not cost much; therefore, she must be a good bargain.
Amongst the first came a Scotchman, who spent a month's pay on a suit of clothes; and he was highly enamoured of her person; but when he beheld her face, he would stay no conference, but ran away without further answer, saying, "they must pardon him, for hee could indure no porke!"
Many others appeared; but all ran away. A souceman of Rumford, on taking leave, said, "I never saw such a hog-snout; but whenever my stomack shall serve for any such dish, I will never venter on any raw; but I will be sure it shall be either well boyled, or rosted." A tailor also declared that he would never stir a stitch in such a business. In short, as the learned author remarks, it would occupy voluminous leaves of paper to shew the various men, of sundry conditions, who came to carry off this" masse or magazine of money."
In order to show how probable this story is, another, very much after the style of "Beauty and the Beast," is narrated; and then the whole is concluded with what must satisfy the greater portion of mankind, viz., the author's own assurance, that "whoever shall, in pamphlet or ballad, write or sing otherwise than is discoursed of in this small tract, they erre from truth; for what is here discovered, is according to the best, and most approved intelligence."
All these periodical prodigies, even Mistris Tannakin, have their origin in a story current in Paris, 1595; and Brunckman gives another edition of it, in the true history of a Madame Laurussel. To this hour, there is scarcely a provincial fair in the kingdom where some of the Tannakin family may not be seen at the "small charge of one penny!"
Topography of the River Niagara.
[Communicated by Dr. Bigsby.]
THE river Niagara fully merits its fame. It is magnificent in dimension, beautiful in form, enriched with various and exuberant foliage, and cheered with bright skies. Its east bank, the north frontier of the United States, is still, for the most part, covered with dense forests; while the Canadian shore presents a succession of hamlets and farms, interspersed here and there with very ornamental gentlemen's seats. As a whole, its great cataract is unequalled. It is annually visited by several thousand strangers of all nations; for whose accommodation three large hotels have been built in the immediate neighbourhood, with every accessary facility that the most fastidious delicacy, or a feeble state of health, might demand for the full enjoyment of the stupendous spectacle.
The superiority of this Fall, however, resides, not so much in its height, and in the grandeur of its surrounding scenery, as in the vast space it fills, and the immense volume of water it discharges. In a picture, it is tame and formal; but in nature these qualities are lost in the general effect, and it becomes permanently attractive beyond expression.
The rapid transition from the placid lake-like character of the river above, to the vehemence and reverberating roar of the Falls, makes also a remarkable impression on the spectator, approaching from Lake Erie*. The great chasm, (at a part of which the superfluous waters of the great lakes pass through a channel only 115 yards broad,) and its picturesque outlet or gorge, are additional features of peculiar charms.
For highly-wrought descriptions of the most interesting scenes on the Niagara, and their effects on the imagination, I must refer to Weld, Hall, Howison, Heriot, and others; the first-named writer being by far the most correct and clear, and, I may add, the most rational. I shall confine myself to plain remarks on the general topography of the river, illustrative of its connexions, size, form, course, and geological structure.
The river Niagara issues from the north-east end of Lake Erie, at the lowest point of its barrier, and enters Lake Ontario *For effect, this is the best approach.
on the south-west side, forty-six miles from its head, after having crossed with a general north-by-west course the intervening isthmus, at that point twenty-six and a half miles broad, direct. This isthmus is a portion of the Canadian peninsula, slightly described in the Chapter on Lake Erie in our last No. It stretches easterly from hence, with enlarged boundaries, to the hills of the north limits of Pennsylvania, and of the north and east parts of New York. At present I am only concerned with the neighbourhood of the river Niagara. It is here divided into two levels; the upper advancing from Erie to within seven miles of Ontario. At that distance, it lowers at once in a steep slope, 370 feet high at Queenston, skirting, at various heights, the whole south shore of Ontario, under the name of the "Parallel Ridge," and, without any very striking change of size in the interval below, bordering the lake.
During the first twenty miles of the upper level from Lake Erie, on both sides of the Niagara, the land is moist, and so flat, as scarcely to assign a direction to its streams. It is elevated but little above Lake Erie, and might be inundated in the spring, were the vernal rise of water as great as in the rivers Ottawa and St. Lawrence. On the Canadian side of the Niagara, and probably on the American also, there is close to it a border of raised ground, varying in breadth from half a mile to two miles, or more.
At the above assumed distance of twenty miles, a very gentle swell commences between Chippewa village and the Falls, and continues waving and in mounds to the brow of the great Queenston slope. It extends westward to the head of Lake Ontario, and is most conspicuous in the group called the "Short Hills," twelve miles from Queenston. Easterly, likewise, at the back of the "parallel slope," this gradual swell is equally perceptible.
The lower level of this interval, comparatively of narrow breadth, is fertile and undulating, watered by numerous rivulets, which descend from above, through woody ravines.
For the purposes of description, I shall divide the river Niagara into two parts, as being above or below the Falls, which are twenty-one miles from Lake Erie. I shall commence with the first of these.
At the head of this river, both shores of Lake Erie are shallow, and have sandy beaches: the Canadian side is fringed extensively with rocky reefs; the American sends out a long spit of sand at the mouth of Buffalo Creek.
All this division of the river is contained by banks of brown loam and clay, mixed now and then with angular fragments of black limestone. At its head they are rather high, and are separated from it by slips of marshy or sandy ground; but they gradually subside nearly to the level of the stream in its course to Chippewa, (eighteen and a half miles,) when a rapid ascent commences.
The direction of the Niagara for three miles from Lake Erie is north, and then bends round to the north-west for two miles, when it is divided into two narrow and distant channels, to within three and three-quarter miles from the Falls, by a very large island. From the foot of this island to the Falls, the river runs west-by-north.
The current for the first three or four miles from the head is swift, especially from near Bird Island to below Black Rock, where it is seven miles per hour. It is smooth in that space, but is much agitated internally. From thence to near the Falls the rate is uniform and moderate. The decline in level from the head of the river to Chippewa is said to be fifteen feet, but upon what authority I know not.
I have few data for the depth of this division of the river: Volney states it generally to be fifteen feet. It is, however, by no means great; and particularly at the lower end, where the shores and islands are often marshy. In the rapids of Black Rock it cannot exceed thirty feet. General Porter* is constructing a basin for shipping of great length there, and occupying a quarter of the breadth of the river: its containing walls rest upon horizontal rock.
The breadth of the river varies much, as is seen from the following statements. Its fluctuations, intermediate to those given below, may be best observed on the map. About the Falls, I may remark, it is a wide expanse, more like a lake than a river. 0 10
* American Commissioner under 6. 7 a. treaty of Ghent.
Head of the Niagara at Bird Island
At Tonnewanta Island
At the lower end of Grand Island
At the lower end of Navy Island
This division of the river only contains islands. They are twenty-eight in number; for the most part low and swampy, and finely wooded with sugar-maple, elm, oak, and linden trees, when raised a few feet above water-mark. Their length is usually parallel to the river.
Bird Island, at the head of the Niagara, is a mere ledge of chertzy limestone, opposite Fort Erie, and 400 yards from the east shore it is from 200 to 250 yards long; and is occasionally used as a shelter from the lake storms.
Squaw Island, a mile and three-quarters below, is close to the American shore, 1880 yards long, by 540 yards in greatest breadth; it is low.
Strawberry Island, 1500 yards lower down, and near the American shore, is a mile and a quarter long, by a quarter in average breadth.
Frog Island, a swamp 300 yards long, is midway between the east bank and the head of Grand Island.
Grand Island is five miles from Lake Erie. As before stated, it creates a great bifurcation of the river. It has always been stated to be twelve miles long, and erroneously: the mistake has arisen from making the estimate along the circumference of the island, close to which (but on the main) the high road passes. On the American shore, this distance is, in fact, thirteen miles and three-quarters, and on the Canadian twelve miles and a quarter. It is seven miles and a half long, and six miles and a half in greatest breadth. Its form is an irregular oval, narrowing greatly upwards. It is only partially cultivated. Its banks rise to the height of from five to twenty feet, and gradually sink towards the interior; much of which is occupied by morass, which in spring forms a series of