Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

much disputed; many writers derive it from the Arabic article AI (the) and the Greek word manakos (a lunar circle); others, from the Hebrew manach (to count); whilst Dr. Johnson says that the Greek word men, pronounced maen (a month), enters into its composition. The explanation given by the celebrated antiquarian Verstegan, of the origin and use of this word, seems worthy of notice. He says, "Our Saxon ancestors used to engrave on certain squared sticks, about a foot in length, the courses of the moons of the whole year; whereby they could certainly tell when the new moons, full moons, and changes should happen; as also their festival-days: and such a carved stick they called an Al-mon-aght; that is to say, Al-mon-heed; to wit, the regard or observation of all the moons: and hence is derived the name of Almanack."—An instrument of this kind, of a very ancient date, is to be seen in St. John's College, Cambridge; and there are still, in the mid land counties, several remains of them.

YEARS. The word Year Is purely Saxon, and is supposed by some to be derived from cera; whilst others deduce both words from the Greek ear, or Latin ver (Spring); because many of the Ancients were in the habit of dating the commencement of the year from Spring. In the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin languages, the word year is expressive of a ring or circle:—the Egyptians, also, represented it by a snake placed in a circular position, with its tail in its mouth; whence, perhaps, the name of the Zodiac, or that imaginary circle which is made by the sun in the heavens, during the twelve months.

The time in which the sun performs its journey through the twelve Signs of the Zodiac, comprehends 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 48 seconds; and is, therefore, styled the Natural, Solar, or Tropical Year.

The Sidereal, or Astral Year is the time which elapses from the sun's passage from any particular fixed star, until its return to it again; and is just twenty minutes and twenty-nine seconds longer than the Natural or Solar Year.

The Lunar Year, consists of Twelve Lunar Months, or that period during which the moon passes twelve times through its various phases, or changes.

The Common, or Civil Year, in use with us, and established by law, contains 365 days, during three successive years; but in each fourth year, an intercalary or additional day is inserted, in order to make up the number 366; such additional day being considered equivalent to the time lost by not counting the five hours and forty-nine minutes at the end of each of the four years, from one Bissextile, or Leap Year, to another. The word Leap, sufficiently explains the act of passing over the hours in question. This plan was invented hy Julius Caesar, or by Sosigenes, the Egyptian mathematician, who assisted him in rectifying the Calendar. The additional or intercalary day, is, with us, always placed in the month of February, which, consequently, in Leap Year, consists of twenty-nine days; the usual number being 28. Re placed it in the month of March, by reckoning the 6th day of the Calends of that month twice over; hence the term Bissextile, from the words bis (twice) and sex (six), or sextilis (sixth day). But, by the Gregorian alteration, the fourth year coming at the close of a century, is not a leap year, unless the number of hundreds be a multiple of four. Thus 1600 was a leap year, 1700 and 1800 were not, 2000 will be.

The reckoning of time by the course of the sun or moon, was attempted in various ways by different ancient nations; but they, finding that their minor divisions of time did not correspond with the courses in question, endeavoured to prevent confusion by ordaining a certain number of days to be intercalated, or inserted, out of the common order; so as to, preserve the equation of time. The Egyptian Year (as used by Ptolemy,) consisted of 365 days, which were divided into twelve months of thirty days each; besides five intercalary days at the end. The Egyptian Canicular, or Natural Year, was computed, from one heliacal rising of the star Sirius, or Canicula, to the next.

By the regulation of Solon, the ancient Greek year was lunar, and consisted of twelve months; each containing thirty and twenty-nine days, alternately: and, in every revolution of nineteen years, the third, fifth, eighth, eleventh, sixteenth, and nineteenth, it had an intercalary month; in order to keep the New and Full Moons to the same seasons of the year,

The ancient Jewish year was the same as the Greek one, only that it was made to agree with the Solar year by adding eleven, and sometimes twelve days, at the end; or an intercalary month, when necessary. The modern Jewish year consists of twelve lunar months generally; but sometimes of thirteen; that is, when an intercalary month is inserted.

The Turkish year consists of twelve lunar months of thirty and twenty-nine days, alternately; sometimes of thirteen.

The ancient Roman year, as settled by Romulus, was lunar , but contained only ten months, which were irregular, and comprehended 304 days in all; being a number fifty days short of the true lunar year, and sixty-one days of the solar. Romulus added the requisite number of days at the end of the year. Numa Pompilius added two months; making the year consist of 355 days; thereby exceeding the lunar year by one day, but being short of the solar one by ten days. Julius Caesar, during his third consulship, and whilst he was Pontifex Maximus, or high priest of Rome, reformed the calendar by regulating the months according to their present measure, and adding an intercalary day every fourth year to the month of February: but he being assassinated before his plan could be fully brought into operation, the emperor Augustus perfected and established what his kinsman had begun. The Ju Han year, which consisted of 365 days and 6 hours, was however, still incorrect; for it was found to be too long by about eleven minutes, which in 131 years would be equal to one day —consequently, there was a further reformation of the calendar by pope Gregory, in the year 1582. He cut off eleven days, by calling the fourth of October the fifteenth. This alteration of the style was gradually adopted in the several countries of the European continent; but in Russia, in some of the Swiss cantons, and in the countries of the East, the old style is still preserved.

The Parliament of England adopted the Gregorian plan, in 1752, by enacting that eleven days should be omitted that year: all dates, therefore, previous to 1752, are said to be according to the Old Style; whilst those , since that period, are deemed to be according to the New Style. In 1800, which was properly a bissextile, or leap year, the intercalary day was omitted: hence, the difference between the old and new style is now twelve days. The Gregorian regulation does not absolutely preclude all error in future; but that is likely to be so trifling, as not to require particular attention.

The beginning of the year has by no means been the same in different ages and countries. The Chaldeans, the Egyptians, and the Jews, in all civil affairs, began it at the autumnal equinox. The ecclesiastical year among the' Jews, the common year of the Persians, and of the Romans under Romulus, commenced in the spring; a mode still followed in many of the Italian States. Both the equinoxes, as well as the summer solstice, were each the commencing date in some of the states of Greece. The Roman year, from the time of Numa, began on the calends of January; the Arabs and Turks compute from the 16th of July; the Christian clergy formerly commenced the year on the 25th of March*; a method observed in Great Britain, generally, in civil affairs, until 1752; from which period our civil year has begun on the 1st of January, except in some few cases, in which it still commences on the "Day of Annunciation," or the 25th of March. In Scotland, the year was, by a proclamation, bearing date so early as the 27th of November, 1599, ordered thenceforth to commence, in that kingdom, on the 1st of January; instead of the 25th of March.

The English Church, still, in her solemn service, renews the year on the First Sunday in Advent, which is always that next to, or on, St. Andrew's Day.

Our ancestors, after the establishment of Christianity, usually began their year at Christmas, and reckoned the commencement of their area from the incarnation, or birth of Christ. William the Conqueror, however, introduced the method of substituting the first year of his own reign for the Christian era. At subsequent periods, the English reverted to the ancient custom: but all State proclamations, patents, charters, and acts of Parliament, have continued to be dated from the commencement of the reigns of the respective sovereigns, with the addition of the words, " and in the year of our Lord, &c."

The Russian government did not adopt the Christian Dora

• The Church of Rome dated from the Sunday succeeding the full moon which occurred next after the vernal equinox; or, if the full moon happened on a Sunday, the new year commenced on that day, 'break over the rocks with such terrific impetuosity, that the mere sight of them from the banks, is sufficient to make the spectator shudder. Just at the falls, the river makes an abrupt turn from west to north-east, and the line of the cataract winds obliquely across, instead of extending in the shortest direction, from one bank to the other. Here also the stream is divided into two unequal portions, by an island, called Goat Island, which, presenting a face towards the stream of about 990 feet, adds greatly to the romantic effect of the falls, and, with the ledges of the precipices, forms the chord of an irregular arc, about 3300 feet from shore to shore.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Winter

[ocr errors]

rumaire rimaire..

4. N ivose ..

5. Pluviose..

6. Ventose ..

7. Germinal lloreal

until the fame of Peter, in 1725: their previous practice had been to reckon from the worlds age, or the year of the creation

MONTHS This division of the year appears to have been useo. Dcfore the flood*; and as it is naturally framed by the revolutions of the Moon, the Months of all nations'were originally lunar; that is, from one New Moon to another. In a more enlightened period, the revolutions of the Moon were compared with those of the Sun ; and the limits of the Months, as the component parts of a Year, were fixed with greater precision. The Romans divided each month into Calends, Nones, and Ides; the Calends were the first day of the month, the Nones were the 7th, and the Ides the 15th of March, May, July, and October; in the other months, the Nones fell on the 5th, and the Ides on the 13th. The days of each month, according to this form, were counted backwards; thus, the 18th of October was called the 1 &th day before the Calends of November, Sfc.—which method of counting we shall further explain on a future occasion.

In the year 1703, the French Government had anew Calendar constructed, in which they adopted the following fanciful designations for each month :•«—

Eng. Months. ...Sept. 22.

.. Fosgy Month Oct. 22.

..Frosty, or Sleety Month... .Nov. 21.

. .Snowy Month Dec. 21.

..Rainy Month Jan. 20.

.. Windy Month Feb. 19.

.. Springing or lJudtling Month, March 21.

.. flowering Month April 20.

9. Prairial Hay Harvest Month May20.

{10. Messidor . .Corn Harvest Month June 19. 11. Thermidor. .Heat Month July 19. 12. Fructidor .. Fruit Month Aug. 19.

This new Calendar, which, after all, was only a plagiarism, or copy, of one used in Holland from time immemorial, like many of the absurd institutions which sprang from the French Revolution, was laid aside in a few years, from the* circumstance of its utter unfitness for the seasons, even as they occur in the several provinces of France itself;—how much less applicable, therefore, must they have been to other countries, where the climates and seasons vary so much from each other! A Calendar, to be worthy of universal adoption, must be capable of universal application: not so that of the French Philosophers, which, independently of its discordance with those of all civilized nations, had not even the merit of indicating those very seasons from which it professed to derive its character. The late Mr. Gifford ridiculed this new-fangled method of registering time by the following ludicrous, but happy, translation of the Republican months and seasons —

Autumn....Wheezy, sneeiy, freezy;
Winter... .Slippy, drippy, nippy;
SpniNG ....Showery, flowery, bowery;
SuMMtn... .Hoppy, croppy, poppy.

WEEKS. It is probable that this measure of time has existed in the East from the earliest ages; but the Greeks certainly never used such a mode of division. They divided each month of thirty days into three Decades, or equal portions of ten days each. Thus, the 5th day of the month was toe 5th day of the first Decade;—the 15th was the 5th of the second Decade;—and the 25th, the 5th of the third Decade. This division was adopted by the French in their Revolutionary Calendar, in order to get rid of the Sabbathday.

The Jews have ever marked their time by sevenths, according to the command given by God himself, for labouring during only siz days of each week, and resting on the seventh, which was consequently set apart, or consecrated, to the service of their Creator;—nay, they not only hallowed the seventh day, or Sabbath, which formed a portion of their week of days; but they had, also, their weeks of years, which consisted of seven years; and their Jubilees, or rejoicing periods, which were celebrated by many acts of justice, forgiveness, and restitution, at the end °f cvery «fec* of seven times seven years. The Hebrews, the Assyrians, Egyptians, Arabians and Persians, all had this custom of reckoning by weeks. The origin of computation by sevenths, has been vehemently contested by

/o^fah' ^i"0 flnd '• recorded in the Bible, reckoned by months of dO days each; and from him that mode of computing the year is •upposed to have been adopted by tne Chaldeans, Egyptians, and otner Oriental nations.

some authors; who say that the four quarters or intervals of the Moon (the phases, or changes, of which are about seven days distant) originally gave occasion to this mode of division. But it seems more reasonable to conclude that it arose from the traditional accounts of the first seven days of the world's existence.

Although each lunar month contains four weeks, or four sevenths, the solar month, or that regulated by the passage of the Sun through each of the twelve signs of the Zodiac, generally contains two or three days more; consequently, as we have twelve solar months in each year, we have fiftytwo weeks and one day over, instead of forty-eight weeks. which would be the exact number, were our year regulated merely by the revolutions or changes of the moon.

The word Week is of Saxon origin, and signifies a numerical series, generally, (having nearly the same meaning as way, which is measured by successive steps,) although now expressive only of the space of seven days.

DAYS.

The wotd Day is derived from, or synonymous with, the Saxon Daeg; and the Saxons arc supposed to have had it from the same source, as the Roman word Dies (a day), which in its turn, is said to be derived from Dii, or Gods; by which name the Romans called the planets.

The word Dav, in its strict sense, signifies that portion of time, during which we receive the light of the sun: but, more properly speaking, it includes the night, also; and is that space of time during which the Sun appears to us to make one revolution round the Earth :—to speak with astronomical precision, it is that space of time in which the Earth makes one revolution round its owu axis, during its annual or yearly progess around the Sun.

In different nations and ages, the modes of reckoning the beginning of the day have been various. According to the computation of the ancient Syrians, Babylonians. Persians, and the inhabitants of Hindostan, the day commenced at the rising of the sun ; with the modern Greeks it is the same. The Athenians, and other ancient inhabitants of Greece, as well as the ancient Gauls, began theirs at sun-set; which mode is still followed by the Jews, the Austrians, the Bohemians, the Silesians, the Italians, and the Chinese. The ancient inhabitants of Italy computed their day from midnight; which mode is now in common use with us and all other European nations, with the above exceptions. The Mahometans calculate from one twilight to another. The ancient Egyptians dated from Koob to noon; —which mode is at this day, and has always been, followed by astronomers; because that instant of time can be ascer tained with greater precision than any other.

The Romans gave to each of the seven days of their week, the name of one of the heavenly bodies: thus, Dies Solis, signifies the day of the sun (Sunday); Dies Lunas, the day of the moon (Monday); Dies Martis, the day of Mars (Tuesday); Dies Mercurii, the day of Mercury (Wednesday); Dies Jovis, the day of Jupiter (Thursday); Dies Veneris, the day of Venus (Friday); and Dies Saturni, the day of Saturn (Saturday).—From this source the English language has received Sunday, Monday, and Saturday, by translation; but Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, were derived from the ancient Saxon and Danish deities, Tuesco, Wooin, Thor, and Frf.ya, or Frega.—In all Parliamentary bills, acts, journals, and other documents, the Roman names of the days of the week have at all times been used.

LONDON

Published Ik Wlkxi.y Nu.mhr.rs. Prick One Penny, And In Monthly I'irts,

Price Sixpence, By

JOHN WILLIAM PARKER, WEST STRAND.

Sold by all Booksellers and Newsreaders in the Kingdom.

Hawkers and Dealers in Periodical Publications supplied on wholesale terms

by ORR, Paternoster-row; BERGER. Holvwell-strcct; DOUGLAS,

Portman-street, Loudon;

And by the Publisher's Agents in the following places r—

Aberdeen, Brown & Co.
It nth, George.
Birmingham. Langbridgo.
Bristol, Westlcy St Co.; D.

Vickery.
Burt/, Lankcstcr.
Camliridge, Stevenson.
Carlisle, Thurnam.
Chelmsford, G uy.
Cheltenham, Lovesy.
Chester income; Harding.
Chichester, Glover.
Colchester,Swinboine &Co,
Derby, Wilkins & Son.
Devvnport, Byers.
Dublin, Curry Jun. & Co.
Dundee, Shaw,

Durham, Andrews.

Edinbvrgh.Oli\eTSi Boyd.

Exeter, Pcnnv & Co.

Glasgow, 1.1 Him & Co.

Gloucester, Jew.

Hereford, Child.

Hull, Wilson.

Ipswich, Deck.

Lancashire and Cheshire,
Bancks & Co., Man-
chester.

Leeds,Rob,n*on.

I^eicesler, Combe.

Liverpool, Hughes.

Macclesfield, Swinncrton.

Newcastle-on-Tyne, Fin-
lay & Co.; Eropton,

Northampton, Birdsal.
Norwich, Muskett
Nottingham, Wright
Oxford. Slatter.
Paris, BennU.
Pbpnoutk, Nettleton.
Salisbury, Brodie 8c Co.
Sheffield, Ridge.
Shrewsbury, Lddowes.
Staffordshire Potteries,
Watts, Lane End.
Sunderland, Marwood.
Whitby, Rodger*.
Worcester, Deightoa.
Yarmouth, Alexander,
York, BeUcrby.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][graphic][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE COMMITTEE OF GENERAL LITERATURE AND EDUCATION APPOINTED BY THE SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE.

AN ACCOUNT OF CATARACTS, AVATERFALLS, &c.

I.v former Papers*, the reader's attention has been called to the consideration of Mountains and Rivers, as constituting two very important features of our globe, and affording subjects of deep contemplation, not only to the studious philosopher, but to every admirer of the stupendous and sublime works of nature. In connexion with these, we are imperceptibly, if not unavoidably, led to an examination of consequences resulting from their interposition one with another. For, when a river is impeded in its course by mountainous elevations, it either winds about their lower parts in pursuing its way to the sea; or, if shut up oil all sides, it forms a lake, which, rising to a level with the interposing barrier, pours its superfluous waters over the lowest ridge, and tumbles into the adjoining valley, with a force

and noise proportioned to its height, and the supply brought into the lake by the inflowing stream.

In some cases, lakes are formed by a process the reverse of what has been described. An abrupt sinking in the valley through which the river flows, causes an" inward cataract; that is, the water rushes down the precipice, and forms a lake in the hollow below, from which the river afterwards flows away upon a new level, without any outward fall. Sometimes several springs, which have their rise in mountains surrounding a hollow, pour their waters into the basin, or cavity, and form a lake, which becomes the head of a river; as at

Kandel Stbio.

[graphic]

Kanae*. StexgFormat The river Kandel, in the Swiss canton of Bern, is formed by the aggregated waters of numerous springs, which pour their torrents from the surrounding mountains into a lake, near the village of Kandel Steig; and, after a course of a few miles, falls into the Simmc, a little above its confluence with Lake Thun. The scenery about the lake is wild and romantic.

The Lake Thun is itself a specimen of this kind of lakes: it is about five leagues long and one league broad: in many places, the depth of its water is 120 fathoms. On the left shore, are three cascades, springing from rocks: they are called the Stampfbach, the Jungfraunbrunnen, and the Beatusbach; the last of which Hows from a cavern in Mount Beatusberg.

The lake of Brienz, which communicates with Lake Thun, by the river Aa, furnishes another instance of lakes formed, partially or wholly, by torrents descending from the surrounding mountains. It is about three leagues in length, but not so broad as the Thun; it is nearly surrounded by mountains, from which descend numerous streams of water, among which the cataract of the Giessbach is deemed the most beautiful, passing from a cleft in the rock, among pines, and rushing into the lake by twelve different descents.

Other instances might be adduced of the formation of lakes and cataracts; but the review we are about to take of some of the most remarkable in the world, renders an

Vol. I.

Numbers Hi and 26 of this Publication.

ion of the Lake.

enumeration of thoui unnecessary in this introductory notice.

A fall of water, in its most impetuous character, is denominated a Cataract; when the descent is more easv, it is called a Cascade: the former presents a sight powerfully imposing and sublime; the latter affords a pleasingly romantic object. In both cases, the rocky precipice which occasions the fall is perpendicular, or nearly so; but sometimes it shelves off in an inclined plane towards the lower part of the river; so that the flood descends with rapidity, yet without being projected over a precipice; and this is styled a Rapid. In some rivers, as the Missouri, the Mississippi, and others in North America, all the three kinds of waterfalls are met with.

The most elevated cataracts, as yet known, are in Savoy and Switzerland; where large bodies of water are precipitated from heights of between two and three thousand feet. But it is in America that we meet with amazing sheets of fluid, as much exceeding in breadth the falls of the ancient continents as they are themselves transcended in height by these. And as bold imposing objects always make the strongest impressions on the human mind, the cataracts of the new world have obtained the greatest celebrity: hence we are induced to commence our review of these majestic results of some great convulsion of nature with

[merged small][ocr errors]

THE CATARACTS OF AMERICA.

Among the magnificent scenery which characterizes this division of the earth, waterfalls of every description arc met with; many of which are truly stupendous, most are grand, and all fascinating. Of twenty-three principal cataracts, which have attracted the notice and drawn forth the admiration of travellers, twenty are in the northern continent, and three in the southern. Tracing these according to their geographical position, from the north, our attention is first arrested by

WlLBERFORCE FALLS,

Ox Hood's River, just within the arctic circle; of which a particular description has been given in a former Number*. Travelling southward from these Falls, across a country intersected by mountains, lakes, and rivers, the last of which abound in the minor falls, called Rapids, we arrive, after a journey of about 1100 miles, at the source of the

Missouri,

A River remarkable, in its upper part, for a succession of rapids, cascades, and cataracts, during a course of nearly three miles, in which it has a descent of no less than 352 feet. Its current, consequently, runs with great velocity. Immediately above the falls, the river is 900 feet in breadth. The first fall of any interest has a pitch of five feet; and immediately after it, occurs a beautiful cascade of 264 feet. The width of the river is here increased to 1800 feet; and the water falls in a smooth sheet to about one-third of the descent. After passing over some falls of trilling height, the river is joined by the waters of a large fountain, which, springing up from beneath the rocks on its margin, form a cascade of eight feet. Below this is a fall of 14J feet down an inclined plane, a quarter of a mile in length; at the botlom of which, the river, about a quarter of a mile in breadth, is precipitated down a precipice of fifty feet.

Captain Lewis describes this cataract as singularly beautiful, combining all the regular elegancies which the fancy of a painter would select to represent an elegant waterfall. At the distance of a quarter of a mile, is another cataract, nineteen feet in perpendicular height; to which Captain Lewis gave the name of the Crooked Fall.

From (his point, with one fall of five feet, and another of two, the river is a continued rapid, -with a descent of nearly fifty feet, till it reaches the Grand Cataract. Here the channel is restricted to a breadth of 840 feet, by cliffs, rising, on the left side, to the height of 100 feet, but of no great altitude on the right; and through an opening in these rocks, the flood pours itself over a precipice of eightyseven feet in depth. For about 300 feet on the left side, the water rushes down in one smooth, even sheet; but the remainder of the river, being carried forward with a more rapid current, and interrupted in its fall by irregularly projecting rocks below, forms a splendid display of perfectly white foam, 600 feet in breadth, and rising to the height of 200 feet, in a thousand fanciful shapes, to which the solar rays impart the brightest tints of the rainbow.

When the river is high, as is the case after the melting of the snows on the adjacent mountains, and after heavy rains, the stream makes its way over the low rocks, and increases the cataract to a breadth of 120 feet.

Falls On The Mississippi. About fifteen degrees of longitude eastward of the source of the Missouri, the Mississippi has its rise. On this river are several sets of rapids; one, called Les Rapides Des Moines, is eleven miles long, and consists of successive ledges and shoals, extending from shore to shore, across the bed of the river. About 100 miles higher up is another, about eighteen miles in length, and consisting of a continued chain of rocks, over which the water flows with turbulent rapidity.

Packagama Fall. Aiout thirty miles from its source, the Mississippi, after ■winding through a dismal country, covered with high grass meadows, with pine swamps in the distance, which appear to cast a deeper gloom on its borders, is suddenly pent up in a channel not more than sixty feet wide, and the water rushes down a flat rock, twenty feet in perpendicular height, and having an elevation of thirty degrees. Immediately below this fall, the river widens to 1300 feet, and nresents a continued series of rapids, falls, and shoals, for nearly 1000 miles, when it meets with

• See Saturday Magaiine, for 18th August, 1832, p. 57,

St. Anthony S Fails. Here the Mississippi is upwards of 1800 feet wide above the fall, but not more than a third of that width below. The perpendicular height of the fall is 16^ feet, besides fifty-eight feet more of a rapid below; so that when viewed from a distance in front, it appears much higher than it really is.

When the Mississippi is full, which happens twice in the year, about January and June, the appearance of St. Anthony's Falls is very sublime, as the spray then thrown up reflects the prismatic colours while the sun shines; and when the sky is overcast, the whole is enveloped in a kind of majestic gloom.

About twelve miles below these falls, tno Mississippi receives the waters of St. Peter's river, which is about 300 feet wide; and has several rapids and falls in the upper parts of its course. One, called St. Peter's Fall, is about fifty miles from the junction of the two rivers, and very interesting in its characteristics.

Ohio-pyle Falls. Among the waters of various tributary streams, the Missis sippi receives those of the Ohio and its auxiliaries. The Ohio itself has no considerable cataract; but at Louisville, it has a rapid descent of 22i feet, in two miles. Its tribu tary, the Monogahela, receives the waters of the Youghiogeny, and about thirty miles above their union, the latter has a grand cataract of twenty feet perpendicular fall, called the Ohio-pyle.

The course of the Mississippi, and its confluent streams, having taken us somewhat out of our way, we must return towards the north, where, on the borders of Upper Canada, we meet with a strait, uniting the lakes Superior and Huron in winch is the cataract, called

St. Mary's Fall. The river, or strait, St. Mary, which forms a boundary between Canada and the territories of the United States, is about forty miles long, and the only outlet for the superfluous waters of Lake Superior, which it conveys into Lake Huron. About midway between the lakes, the flood, forcing its way through a confined channel, and breaking with violence among the natural impediments in its way, produces a scene of tumultuous agitation, which, combined with the noise and dazzling whiteness of the surge, is not deficient either in grandeur or romantic effect. The total descent of the fall is 22J feet, in about three quarters of a mile. From Lake Huron, into which these falls lead, the water is discharged into Lake Erie; and then again, into Lake Ontario, over the celebrated

Falls or Niagara. This cataract has been represented by travellers, as one of the most interesting phenomena of the western world; not, indeed, on account of its height, for that is much exceeded by other falls; but for its extent, its tremendous

[graphic][merged small]

The Great Fall, called also, from its shape, the Horse Shoe Fall, is on the Canadian side. Its curvature is computed at 2100 feet, and its height at rather more than 149 feet. The Lener or Schlosher Fall, so denominated from Fort Schlosher, on its margin, is on the American Bide, and about 1125 feet in curvilinear length, with a perpendicular height of 162 feet: it experiences an inconsiderable subdivision from a small islet, called Montmorenci, and hence, Niagara is sometimes described as a threefold cataract.

As the waters approach the head of Goat Island, their previous convulsive agitation partially subsides, and they sucep forward, in a broad, ceaseless, and swift current, to the brink of the fall, down which they tumultuously roll, without interruption from rocks in their descent, with a deafening noise; and throwing up clouds of vapour, on which the solar rays are reflected in most beautiful rainbows. The noise is so great, that, in a clear day, and with a favourable wind, it is heard at the distance of forty miles; and the spray is thrown to such a height, that, at the distance of seventy miles, it is said, the cloudy vapour may be discerned. An elegant writer, who haa given an elaborate description of this grand spectacle, compares "the solemn and tremendous noise, with volumes of vapour darting upwards in the air," to " the simultaneous report and smoke of a thousand cannons." The quantity of water rolling over these falls, has been estimated at 670,250 tuns per minute!

Falls On The Ottawa. The river Ottawa, or Utawas, which forms a boundary between Upper and Lower Canada, and empties its waters into the St. Lawrence, at Montreal, is intersected with numerous Tails, as, the Grand Calumet, with a succession of cascades, varying from six to ten feet in height; the Rapides Du Fort, eight feet in perpendicular height; the Rapides Deschats, three miles in length, with several falls towards the end, from sixteen to twenty feet. All these present wild and romantic scenery, worthy the attention of those who seek the picturesque of nature: but the most celebrated falls on this river, are those of the Cuaudieres, or Kettles. The Great Kettle, so called from its shape, and the volume of water it involves, is about sixty feet in depth, and 212 feet across; and attracts, by its forcible indraught, a considerable portion of the waters, which, strongly compressed by the circular shape of the gulf, descend in heavy torrents, struggling violently to escape, and throwing up dense clouds of spray. The Little Kettle receives its waters into abroad, elongated, strait fissure, by which a considerable portion escapes subterraneously; a circumstance not peculiar to this spot: for, in various places of the same river, the waters pass through deep hut narrow rents and fissures, to dash through some subterranean passage, that defies the scrutiny of the curious.

Falls On The St. Maurice. This river, which joins the St. Lawrence about ninety miles above Quebec, is interesting to admirers of the beauties of nature, from its numerous cascades. Among these we shall notice, 1. The Falls Of Gabelle, about twenty-five feet in height, and descending through a partial contraction of the river with great velocity. 2. The Falls Of Le Grais, formed by some small islands, clothed with rich foliage, which separate the waters into several channels, eachpossessing a pleasing cascade.

Between five and six miles higher up the river are the great Falls Of Shawenegan, where the water, divided by a rock into two channels, is precipitated over a ledge nearly 150 feet in perpendicular height, and rushes with terrific violence against the cliff below, where the two streams are reunited, and an immense body of water is foiced through a passage, comparatively narrow, though ninety feet wide. Few falls exhibit such evident marks as this of some extraordinary convulsion, of nature.

[merged small][merged small][graphic]

About nine miles below Quebec, the St. Lawrence is joined by the Montmorenci, a river remarkable for the continued rapidity of its course, and for the falls at its mouth. The height, the magnificence, and surrounding beauties of tlus cataract, cause il to be visited by all travellers who arrive at Quebec, with means and leisure for gratifying a taste for the sublime.

At a settlement, called La Motto, the waters are diffused into shallow currents, passing over an irregular rocky bed, which breaks them into foam, accompanied by murmuring sounds. Lower down, the channel becomes bounded by precipitous rocks; its breadth becomes contracted, and tho current proportionably quickened. At a place called the Natural Steps are several beautiful cascades, of ten or twelve feet each. These steps have been gradually formed by the accession of water received by the river at the breaking up of winter; and from the middle of April to tho end of May, the volume of water rolls with increasing height and rapidity.

After exhibiting a beautiful variety in its course, and passing over two other magnificent cascades, the river arrives at the Great Fall Of Montmorenci, where the stream is from fifty to sixty feet wide. A slight slope of the bed, before it reaches this point, gives additional velocity to the current, so that the water is violently projected over a perpendicular rock, nearly 250 feet high, in an extended sheet, of a whiteness and fleecy appearance resembling snow. "Wherever it touches the rock, it falls in white clouds of rolling foam; and beneath, where it is propelled without interruption, it forms innumerable flakes, like wool or cotton, which are gradually protracted in the descent, till received into the boiling profound beneath. An immense spray rises from the bottom in curling volumes which, when the sun displays its bright prismatic colours produce an effect inconceivably beautiful.

Falls Of The River Chaudiere.

About six miles above Quebec, but on the opposite hank, the river Chaudiere pours its tributary stream into the St. Law rence. This river, varying in breadth from 1200 to 1800 feet,

« AnteriorContinuar »