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Him, whose benevolence neither slumbers nor sleeps, and who, from the throne of glory, yet remembereth the things that are in heaven and earth.
The season of winter has also similar instructions. To the thoughtful and the feeling mind it comes not without a blessing upon its wings; and perhaps the noblest lessons of religion are to be learned amid its clouds and storms.
Anecdote of Richard Jackson.--LONDON QUARTERLY Review.
DURING the war of independence in North America, a plain farmer, Richard Jackson by name, was apprehended, under such circumstances as proved, beyond all doubt, his purpose of joining the king's forces; an intention which he was too honest to deny ; accordingly, he was delivered over to the high sheriff, and committed to the county jail. The prison was in such a state, that he might have found little difficulty in escaping; but he considered himself as in the hands of authority, such as it was, and the same principle of duty, which led him to take arms, made him equally ready to endure the consequences.
After lying there a few days, he applied to the sheriff for leave to go out and work by day, promising that he would return regularly at night. His character for simple integrity was so well known, that permission was given without hesitation; and, for eight months, Jackson went out every day to labour, and as duly came back to prison at night. In the month of May, the sheriff prepared to conduct him to Springfield, where he was to be tried for high treason. Jackson said, this would be a needless trouble and expense; he could save the sheriff both, and go just as well by himself. »
His word was once more taken, and he set off alone, to present himself for trial and certain condemnation. On the way he was overtaken in the woods by Mr. Edwards, a member of the council of Massachusetts, which, at that time, was the supreme executive of the state. This gentleman asked him whither he was going. " To Springfield, sir," was his answer, “to be tried for my life."" To this casual interview Jackson owed his escape, when, having been found guilty, and condemned to death, application was made to the council for mercy.
The evidence and the sentence were stated, and the president put the question, whether a pardon should be granted. It was opposed by the first speaker: the case, he said, was perfectly clear; the act was unquestionably high treason, and the proof complete; and if mercy was shown in this
ase, he saw no reason why it should not be granted in every other.
Few governments have understood how just and politic it is to be merciful : this hard-hearted opinion accorded with the temper of the times, and was acquiesced in by one member after another, till it came to Mr. Edwards' turn to speak. Instead of delivering his opinion, he simply related the whole story of Jackson's singular demeanour, and what had passed between them in the woods.
For the honour of Massachusetts, and of human nature, not a man was found to weaken its effect by one of those dry, legal remarks, which, like a blast of the desert, wither the heart they reach. The council began to hesitate, and, when a member ventured to say, that such a man certainly ought not to be sent to the gallows, a natural feeling of humanity and justice prevailed, and a pardon was immediately made out.
Never was a stronger proof exhibited that honesty is wisdom. And yet, it was not the man's honesty, but his childlike simplicity, which saved his life; without that simplicity his integrity would have availed him little; in fact, it was his crime; for it was for doing what, according to the principles wherein he had been born and bred, he believed to be his duty, that he was brought to trial and condemned.—This it is which renders civil and religious wars so peculiarly dreadful; and, in the history of such wars, every incident, which serves to reconcile us to humanity, ought carefully to be preserved.
Falls of Niag'ără.-Howison. The form of Niagara Falls is that of an irregular semicircle, * about three quarters of a mile in extent. This is divided into two distinct cascades by the intervention of Goat Island, the extremity of which is perpendicular, and in a line with the precipice, over which the water is projected. The cataract on the Canada side of the river is called the Horseshoe, or Great Fall, from its peculiar form; and that next the United States, the American Fall.
* Pron. sem'-e-ser-kl.
Three extensive views of the Falls may be obtained from three different places. In general, the first opportunity travellers have of seeing the cataract is from the high-road, which, at one point, lies near the bank of the river. This place, however, being considerably above the level of the Falls, and a good way beyond them, affords a view that is comparatively imperfect and unimposing.
The Table Rock, from which the Falls of the Niagara may be contem'plated in all their grandeur, lies on an exact level with the edge of the cataract on the Canada side, and indeed forms a part of the precipice, over which the water rushes. It derives its name from the circumstance of its projecting beyond the cliffs that support it, like the leaf of a table. To gain this position, it is necessary to descend a steep bank, and to follow a path that winds among shrubbery and trees, which entirely conceal from the eye the scene that awaits him who traverses it.
When near the termination of this road, a few steps carried me beyond all these obstructions, and a magnificent amphitheatre of cataracts burst upon my view with appalling suddenness and majesty. However, in a moment, the scene was concealed from my eyes by a dense cloud of spray, which involved me so completely, that I did not dare to extricate myself.
A mingled and thundering rushing filled my ears. I could see nothing, except when the wind made a chasm in the spray, and then tremendous cataracts seemed to encompass me on every side; while, below, a raging and foamy gull, of undiscoverable extent, lashed the rocks with its hissing waves, and swallowed, under a horrible obscurity, the smoking floods that were precipitated into its bosom.
At first the sky was obscured by clouds, but, after a few minutes, the sun burst forth, and the breeze, subsiding at the same time, permitted the spray to ascend perpendicularly. A host of pýram'idal clouds rose majestically, one after another, from the abyss at the bottom of the Fall; and each, when it had ascended a little above the edge of the cataract, displayed a beautiful rainbow, which, in a few moments, was gradually transferred into the bosom of the cloud that immediately succeeded.
The spray of the Great Fall had extended itself through a wide space directly over me, and, receiving the full influence of the sun, exhibited a luminous and magnificent rainbow, which continued to overarch and irradiate the spot on which I stood, while I enthusiastically contem'plated the indescribable scene.
Any person, who has nerve enough, may plunge his hand into the water of the Great Fall, after it is projected over the precipice, merely by lying down flat, with his face beyond the edge of the l'able Rock, and stretching out his arm to its utmost extent. The experiment is truly a horrible one,
and such as I would not wish to repeat; for, even to this day, I feel a shuddering and recoiling sensation when I recollect having been in the posture above described.
The body of water, which composes the middle part of the Great Fall, is so immense, that it descends nearly twothirds of the space without being ruffled or broken; and the solemn calmness, with which it rolls over the edge of the precipice, is finely contrasted with the perturbed appearance it assumes after having reached the gulf below. But the water, towards each side of the Fall, is shattered the moment it drops over the rock, and loses, as it descends, in a great measure, the character of a fluid, being divided into pýram'idal-shaped fragments, the bases of which are turned upwards.
The surface of the gulf, below the cataract, presents a very singular aspect; seeming, as it were, filled with an immense quantity of hoar frost, which is agitated by small and rapid undulations. The particles of water are dazzlingly white, and do not apparently unite together, as might be supposed, but seem to continue for a time in a state of distinct comminution, and to repel each other with a thrilling and shivering motion, which cannot easily be described.
The road to the bottom of the Fall presents many more difficulties than that which leads to the Table Rock. After leaving the Table Rock, the traveller must proceed down the river nearly half a mile, where he will come to a small chasm in the bank, in which there is a spiral staircase enclosed in a wooden building. By descending the stair, which is seventy or eighty feet perpendicular height, he will find himself under the precipice, on the top of which
he formerly walked. A high but sloping bank extends from its base to the edge of the river; and, on the summit of this, there is a narrow, slippery path, covered with angular fragments of rock, which leads to the Great Fall.
The impending cliffs, hung with a profusion of trees and brushwood, overarch this road, and seem to vibrate with the thunders of the cataract. In some places they rise abruptly to the height of one hundred feet, and display, upon their surfaces, fossil shells, and the organic remains of a former world; thus sublimely leading the mind to contem'plate the convulsions which nature has undergone since the creation.
As the traveller advances, he is frightfully stunned by the appalling noise; clouds of spray sometimes envelope him, and suddenly check his faltering steps; rattlesnakes start from the cavities of the rocks; and the scream of eagles, soaring among the whirlwinds of eddying vapour, which obscure the gulf of the cataract, at intervals announces that: the raging waters have hurled some bewildered animal over the precipice. After scrambling among piles of huge rocks that obstruct his way, the traveller gains the bottom of the Fall, where the soul can be susceptible only of one emotion, that of uncontrollable terror.
It was not until I had, by frequent excursions to the Falls, in some measure familiarized my mind with their sublimities, that I ventured to explore the recesses of the Great Cataract. The precipice over which it rolls is very much arched underneath, while the impetus, which the water receives in its descent, projects it far beyond the cliff, and thus an immense Gothic arch is formed by the rock and the torrent. Twice I entered this cavern, and twice I was obliged to retrace my steps, lest I should be suffocated by the blast of dense spray that whirled around me: however, the third time, I succeeded in advancing about twenty-five yards.
Here darkness began to encircle me. On one side, the black cliff stretched itself into a gigantic arch far above my head, and, on the other, the dense and hissing torrent formed an impenetrable sheet of foam, with which I was drenched in a moment. The rocks were so slippery, that I could hardly keep my feet, or hold securely by them; while the horrid din made me think the precipices above were tumbling down in colossal fragments upon my head. * * * *
A little way below the Great Fall, the river 'is, comparatively speaking, so tranquil, that a ferry-boat plies between