Imatges de pàgina

man with a long beard might, long after my departure, be spoken of as the friend and beneface tor of the human race.

When I had made every preparation, I should have set out directly towards the West, proceeding along the lakes of Canada to the source of the Mississippi, which I should have ascertained. Then descending by the plains of Upper Louisiana as far as the 40th degree of Northern latitude, I should have resumed my course to the West, so as to have reached the coast of the South Sea a little above the head of the gulph of California. Following the coast and keeping the sea always in sight, I should next have proceeded due North, thereby turning my back on New Mexico. If no discovery had altered

line of

I should have pursued ny way to the mouth of Cook's Inlet, and thence to the river Cuivre in 72 degrees lat. N. Finally, if I had no where found a passage, and sould not double the most Northern Cape of America, I should have re-entered the United States by Hudson's Bay, Labrador and Canada.

Such was the immense and perilous voyage, which I proposed to undertake for the service of my country and Europe. I calculated that it. would occupy (all accidents apart) five to six years. There can be no doubt of its utility. I should have given an account of the three king. doms of Nature, of the people and their manners, I should have sketched the priucipal views, &c.

As to the perils of the journey, they were undoubtedly great, and those, who make nice calculations on this subject, will probably not be disposed to travel among savage nations. People alarm themselves, however, too much in this respect. When I was exposed to any danger, in America, it was always local and caused by my own imprudence, not by the inhabitants. For instance, when I was at the cataract of Niagara, the Indian ladder being broken which had formerly been there, I wished, in spite of my guide's representations, to descend to the bottom of the fall by means of a rock, the craggy points of which projected. It was about two hundred feet high, and I made the attempt. In spite of the roaring cataract, and frightful abyss which gaped beneath me, my head did not swim, and I


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descended about forty feet, but here the rock became smooth and vertical ; nor were there any longer roots or fissures for my feet to rest upon. I remained hanging all my length by my hands, neither being able to reascend nor proceed, feeling my fingers open by degrees from the weight of my body, and considering death inevitable. There are few men, who have, in the course of their lives, passed two such minutes as I experienced over the yawning horrors of Niagara. My hands at length opened and I fell. By most extraordinary good fortune I alighted on the naked rock. It was hard enough to have dashed me in pieces, and yet I did not feel much injured. I was within half an inch of the abyss, yet had not rolled into it; but when the cold water began to penetrate to my skin, I perceived that I had not escaped so easily as I at first imagined. I felt insupportable pain in my left arın; I had broken it above the elbow. My guide, who observed me from above, and to whom I made sigus, ran, to look for some savages, who with much trouble drew me up by birch cords, and carried me to their habitations.

This was not the only risk I ran at Niagara. On arriving at the cataract, I alighted and fastened my horse's bridle round my arm. As I leaned forward to look down, a rattle-snake moved in the neighbouring bushes.

The horse took fright, reared on his hind legs and ap• proached the edge of the precipice. I could not disengage my arm from the bridle, and the animal, with increasing alarm, drew me after him. His feet were already on the point of slipping over the brink of the gulph, and he was kept from destruction by nothing bot the reins.

doom seemed to be fixed, when the animal, astonished at the new danger which he all at once perceived, made a final effort, and sprung ten feet from the edge of the precipice.




It is a feeling, natural on the part of the unfortunate, to aim at the illusions of happiness by the recollection of past pleasures. When I feel weary of existence, when I feel


heart torn by the effects of a commerce with mankind, l'invo. luntarily turn aside, and cast a look of regret. Enchanting meditations ! Secret and ineffable charms of a soul which enjoys itself, it was amidst the immense deserts of America that I completely tasted you ! Every one boasts of loving liberty, and hardly any one has a just idea of it. When I travelled among the Indian tribes of Canada--when I quitted the habitations of Europeans, and found myself, for the first time, alone amidst boundless forests, having all nature, as it were prostrate at my feet, a strange revolution took place in my sensations. I was seized with a sort of delirium, and followed no track,


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