Imágenes de página

New-York. Were these and the proposed canal between Ashley and Cooper rivers in South Carolina, the canals in the northern parts of the ftate of New York, and those of Massachusetts and New Hampshire all opened, North America would thereby be converted into a cluster of large and fertile islands, communicating with each other with ease and little expence, and in many instances without the uncertainty or danger of the seas.

There is nothing in other parts of the globe which resembles the prodigious chain of lakes in this part of the World. They may properly be termed inland feas of fresh water; and even those of the second or third class in magnitude, are of larger circuit than the greatest lake in the eastern continent. Some of the moit northern lakes belonging to the United States, have never been surveyed, or even visited by the white people; of course we have no description of them which can be relied on as accurate. Others have been partially furveyed, and their relative situation determined. The best account of them which we have been able to procure is as follows:

The LAKE OF THE Woods, the most northern in the United States, is fo called from the large quantitias of wood growing on its banks; fuch as oaks, pines, firs, spruce, &c. This lake lies nearly east of the fouth end of Lake Winnepeck, and is supposed to be the source or conductor of one branch of the river Bourbon, if there be such a river. Its length from east to west is said to be about seventy miles, and in some places it is forty miles wide. The Killiftinoe Indians encamp on its borders to fish and hunt. This lake is the communication between the Lakes Winnepeck and Bourbon, and Lake Superior.

RAINY OR LONG LAKE lies east of the Lake of the Woods, and is said to be nearly an hundred mailes long, and in no part more than twenty miles wide.

Eastward of this lake, lie feveral small ones, which extend in a string to the great carrying place, and from thence into Lake Superior. Between these little lakes are several carrying places, which render the trade to the north-west difficult, and exceedingly tedious, as it takes two years to make one voyage from Michillimakkinak to these parts.

LAXE SUPERIOR, formerly termed the Upper Lake, from its northern situation, is so called from its magnitude, it being the largest on the continent. It may justly be termed the Caspian of America, and is supposed to be the largest body of fresh water on the globe. According to the French charts it is fifteen hundred miles in circumference. A great part of the coast is bounded by rocks and uneven ground. The water is pure and transparent, and appears, generally, throughout tiez lake, to lie upon a bed of huge rocks. It has been remarked, in Аа2


regard to the waters of this lake, with how much truth I pretend not to fay, that although their surface, during the heat of summer, is imprego nated with no small degree of warmth, yet on letting down a cup to the depth of about a fathom, the water drawn from thence is cool and refreshing

The situation of this lake, from the most accurate observations which have yet been made, lies between forty fix and fifty degrees of north latitude, and between nine and eighteen degrees of west longitude, from the meridian of Philadelphia.

There are many islands in this lake, two of them have each land enough if proper for cultivation, to form a considerable province; especially Ille Royal, which is not less than an hundred miles long, and in many places forty broad. The natives suppose these islands are the refidence of the Great Spirit.

Two very large rivers empty themselves into this lake, on the north and north-east lide; one is called the Nipegon, which leads to a tribe of the Chipeways, who inhabit theborders of a lake of the same name, and the other is the Michipicooton river, the source of which is towards James's Bay, from whence there is but a short portage to another river, which empties itself into that bay.

Not far from the Nipegon is a small river, that just before it enters the lake, has a perpendicular fall from the top of a mountain, of more than one hundred feet. It is very narrow, and appears at a distance like a white garter fufpended in the air. There are upwards of thirty other rivers, which empty themselves into this lake, some of which are of a considerable fize. On the south side of it is a reinarkable point or cape of about fixty miles in length, called Point Chegomegan. About a hundred miles west of this cape, a considerable river falls into the lake, the head of which is composed of a great asemblage of small streams. This river is remarkable for the abundance of virgin copper that is found on and near its banks. Many small islands, particularly on the eastern shores, abound with copper ore, lying in beds, with the appearance of copperas. This metal might be easily made a very advantageous article of commerce. This lake abounds with fih, particularly trout and fturgeon; the former weigh from twelve to fifty pounds, and are caught almost any season in the year in great plenty. Storins affect this lake as much as they do the Atlantic Ocean; the waves run as high, and the navigation is equally dangerous. It discharges its waters from the southeast corner through the Straits of St. Marie, which are about forty miles long. Near the upper end of these ftraits is a rapid, which though it is impossible for canoes to afcend, yet, when conducted by careful pilots, may be descended without danger.



Though Lake Superior is supplied by near forty rivers, many of which are large, yet it does not appear that one tenth part of the waters which are conveyed into it by these rivers, is discharged by the abovementioned strait. Such a superabundance of water can be difposed of only by evaporation *. The entrance into this lake from the Araits of St. Marie, affords one of the most pleasing prospects in the world. On the left may be seen many beautiful little islands, that extend a considerable way before you; and on the right, an agreeable succession of small points of land, that project a little way into the water, and contribute, with the islands, to render this delightful bason calm, and secure from those tempestuous winds, by which the adjoining lake is frequently troubled.

Lake Huron, into which you enter through the straits of St. Ma. rie is next in magnitude to Lake Superior. It lies between 439 30 and 46° 30' of north latitude, and between fix and eight degrees west longitude. Its circumference is about one thousand miles. On the north side of this lake is an island one hundred miles in length, and no more than eight miles broard. It is called Manataulin, fignifying a place of spirits, and is considered as sacred by the Indians. On the fouth west part of this lake is Saganaum Bay, about eighty miles in length, and about eighteen or twenty miles broad. Thunder Bay fo called from the thunder that is frequently heard there, lies about half

That such a superabundance of water hhould be disposed of by evaporation is no fingular circumstance. There are some seas in which there is a pretty just balance between the waters received from rivers, brooks, &c. and the waste by evaporation, Of this the Caspian Sea, in Asia, affords an instance; which, though it receives several large rivers, has no outlet. There are others, to speak in borrowed language, whose expence era ceeds their income ; and these would soon become bankrupt, were it not for the supplies which they constantly receive from larger collections of water, with which they are connected; such are the Black and Mediterranean seas; into the former of which there is a constant current from the Mediterranean, through the Bosphorus of Thrace; and into the latter, from the Atlantic, through the Straits of Gibraltar. Others again derive more from their tributary ítreams than they lose by evaporation. These give sise to large riveis. Of this kind are the Dambea in Africa, the Winipiseogee in New HampThire, Lake Superior, and other waters in North America ; and the quantity they dilcharge, is only the difference between the influx and the evaporation. It is observabls, that on the shores the evaporation is much greater than at a distance from them on the ocean. The remarkable cluster of lakes in the middle of North America, of which Lake Superior is one, was doubtless designed, by a divine Providence, to furnih the irnterior parts of the country with that supply of vapours, without which, like the interior parts of Africa, they must have been a mere desert. It may be thoughi equally sure prizing that there should be any water at all discharged from them, as that the quancity should bear fo small a proportion to what they receive.


[ocr errors]

way between Saganaum Bay and the north-west corner of the lake. It is about nine miles across either way. The fish are the same as in Lake Superior. At the north-west corner, this lake communicates with Lake Michigan by the Straits of Michillimak kinak.

Many of the Chipeway Indians live scattered aroand this lake ; particularly near Saganaum Bay. On its banks are found amazing quantities of fand cherries.

Michigan Lake, lies betwee latitude 42° 10' and 46° 30' north; and between 110 and 13° west long. from Philadelphia. Its computed length is 280 miles from north to south; its breadth from sixty to fe. venty miles. It is navigable for shipping of any burthen; and at the north-eastern part communicates with Lake Huron, by a strait fix miles broad, on the south side of which stands fort Michillimakkinak, which is the name of the strait. In this lake are several kinds of fish, particularly trout of an excellent quality, weighing from twenty to fixty pounds, and some have been taken in the Straits of Michillimakkinak, of ninety pounds. Westward of this lake are large meadows, said to extend to the Milliflippi. It receives a number of rivers from the west and eaft, among which is the river St. Joseph, very rapid and full of Islands; it {prings from a number of small lakes, a little to the north-west of the Miami village, and runs north-west into the south-ealt part of the lake. On the north side of this river is fort St. Joseph, from which there is a soad, bearing north of east, to Detroit. The Powtewatamie Indians, who have about two hundred fighting men, inhabit this river opposite fort St. Joseph.

Between Lake Michigan on the west, and Lakes Huron, St. Clair, and the west end of Erie on the east, is a fine tract of country, peninsulated, more than two hundred and fifty miles in length, and from one hundred and fifty to two hundred in breadth. The banks of the lakes, for a few miles inland, are fandy and barren, producing a few pines, Thrub oaks, and cedars. Back of this, from either lake, the timber is heavy and good, and the soil luxuriant.

Lake St. Clare, lies about half way between Lake Huron and Lake Erie, and is about ninety miles in circumference. It receives the waters of the three great lakes, Superior, Michigan and Huron, and discharges them through the river or strait, called Detroit, into Lake Erie. This lake is of an oval form, and navigable for large vessels. The fort of Detroit is situated on the western bank of the river of the same name, about nine miles below lake St. Clair. The settlements are extended on both fides of the strait or river for many miles towards Lake Erie, and some few above the fort.


craggy rocks

Lake Erie, is situated between forty-one and forty-three degrees of north latitude, and between 3° 40' and 80 degrees west longitude. It is nearly three hundred miles long, froin caft to west, and about forty in its broadest part. A point of land projects from the north fide into this lake, several miles, towards the south-east, called Long Point. The islands and banks towards the west end of the lake are so infested with rattlesnakes, as to render it dangerous to land on them. The lake is covered near the banks of the islands with the large pond-lily; the leaves of which lie on the surface of the water so thick, as to cover it entirely for many acres together; on these, in the summer season, lie myriads of water-snakes balking in the sun. Of the venomous serpents which infest this lake, the hisling snake is the most remarkable. It is about eighteen inches long, small and speckled. When you approach it, it flattens itself in a moment, and its spots, which are of various colours, become visibly brighter through rage; at the same time it blows from its mouth, with great force, a subtil wind, said to be of a nauseous smell; and if drawn in with the breath of the unwary traveller, will infallibly bring on a decline, that in a few months must prove mortal. No remedy has yet been found to counteract its baneful influence. This lake is of a more dangerous navigation than


of the others, on account of the which project into the water, in a perpendicular direction, many miles together from the northern shore, affording no shelter from forms. Presque Ille is on the south-east shore of this lake, about lat. 42' 10. From this to Fort Le Beuf, on French Creek, is a portage of fifty-one miles and a half. About twenty miles north-east of this another portage of nine miles and a quarter, between Chatoughque Creek, emptying into Lake Erie, and Chatoughque Lake, a water of Allegany river.

Fort Erie stands on the northern shore of Lake Erie, and the west bank of Niagara river, in Upper Canada. This lake at its north-east end, communicates with Lake Ontario by the river Niagara, which runs from south to north, about thirty miles, including its windings, embracing in its course Grand Iland and receiving Tonewanto Creek, from the east. About the middle of this river are the celebrated falls of Niagara, which are reckoned one of the greatest natural curiofities in the world. The waters which sapply the river Niagara rise near two thofand miles to the north-west, and passing through the lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron and Erie, receiving in their course, constant accumulations; at length, with astonishing grandeur, ruh down a ftupendous. precipice of one hundred and fifty feet perpendicular; and in a strong sapid, that extends to the distance of eight or nine miles below, fall ncar as much more: the river then loses itself in Lake Ontario. The



« AnteriorContinuar »