sides. There are, besides the private buildings, a male and female academy, a bank, and four churches, the largest of which is the Episcopal, and is a great ornament to the town.

The Lake of Canandaigua is smaller than that of Cayuga or Geneva, being only 14 miles long, and from one to two miles in breadth. But it has many beautiful seats upon its banks; and its woods, gardens, and orchards give a great richness to its beauty. A steamboat formerly ran on the lake daily, but has lately been discontinued; but considerable trade is carried on here in flour and agricultural produce, of which this is one of the principal outlets of the surrounding district. The number of houses is estimated at 500, and the population at from 5 to 6000 persons.

The history of the tract of land on which Canandaigua is seated furnishes a striking example of the rapid increase in the value of landed property, when changed from a wilderness to an inhabited country.

This tract was originally called the Genesee country, and belonged to the State of Massachusetts. It contained 6,000,000 of acres, and was sold by the state to two private purchasers, named Phelps and Gorham, for the sum of 1,000,000 dollars, or six acres for a dollar. This was in 1787; and in the following year, Phelps, who resided in Massachusetts, set out to take possession of this new domain. The occasion was deemed so solemn, and the undertaking held to be so perilous, that when he took leave of his family, his neighbours, and the minister of the parish, it was regarded by them all as a final adieu, as they hardly ventured to hope for his safe return, and shed tears copiously at their separation. Pursuing his western course of travel, he arrived at the spot where Canandaigua now stands, which was then wholly covered with thick forest, and, assembling together the chiefs of the Six Nations, to whom this territory then belonged for all that the State of Massachusetts could grant was the right of settlement if the Indians consented--and with the assistance of a State commissioner, who was also a missionary, by whom he was accompanied, he concluded a treaty with them for the purchase of 2,500,000 acres.

The Indians, among whom were the well-known chiefs “the Farmer's Brother” and “Red Jacket" (who died at Buffalo about seven years ago), wished to make the Genesee River the western boundary of the white man's range; but this was got over by what must be called a stratagem or fraud; for Phelps represented his intention to establish saw-mills at the falls of Genesee, where Rochester now stands, and, under pretence of wanting a large timber-yard for the operation of his mills, obtained from them a tract of 24 miles by 12, extending from the falls to the Lake Ontario northward, and from the river towards the back country 12 miles westward. In 1790, another portion of 1,250,000 acres was sold to another purchaser, Robert Morris, for eightpence sterling per

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

acre, just the price of the former tract, being about one sixth of a dollar; and this purchaser sold his tract soon after to Sir William Pulteney in England.

The first two purchasers, Phelps and Gorham, were unable to complete their contract with the State of Massachusetts, so that about 4,000,000 of acres out of their original purchase reverted back again to the state; and in 1796, the same Robert Morris purchased this, when, after selling out portions to individuals to raise the funds necessary for completing his own purchase, he mortgaged the remainder to a large moneyed company at Amsterdam, called “ The Holland Company,” who foreclosed the mortgage at the expiration of the term for which their advances were made. These are now the possessors of this large tract, from which they make occasional sales to individuals, of lands which originally cost them about sixpence per acre, at the price of from 20 to 50 dollars per acre, according as it is wanted for farming purposes or residences ; the average value of the cleared agricultural land here being from 25 to 30 dollars per acre throughout; and every year augments its price.

We left Canandaigua about eight o'clock, in an extra coach for Rochester, on the morning of Friday, August 10, which we reached, after a ride of 27 miles, in five hours. Here also I made arrangements for staying a week on our return journey, and therefore we pushed on without seeing anything but the first aspect of the town.

As we had now become fatigued, from the long journey and the rough roads over which we had come, it was thought best to take a canal packet-boat from hence to Buffalo, especially as it would give us an opportunity of seeing one of the most striking portions of this great work, in the succession of locks at Lockport. We accordingly embarked in one of these packets, and left Rochester for Buffalo about three o'clock.

of this magnificent canal I have already spoken, in the general description of the extent and resources of this state, written at Albany. It was commenced on the auspicious day of the 4th of July, 1817, at Albany, and completed in 1825 at Buffalo, the whole length of the canal being 363 miles, and the difference of levels between its two termini 688 feet, beginning at the Hudson River and ending at Lake Erie. There are 83 locks, of 90 feet in length and 15 feet in breadth each, constructed in the most substantial manner of stone-masonry; and there are 18 aqueducts for conveying the water over rivers and roads in the way, which aqueducts are also built of stone, and generally on arches. Three of these cross the Mohawk River, the two longest of which are 748 and 1188 feet in length; and another, crossing the Genesee River at Rochester, is 804 feet in length. There is also a great embankment of 72 feet in height, which extends for nearly 2 miles; and at Lockport, where 5 locks rise in succession, one after another,



[ocr errors][ocr errors]

lifting the boats up 60 feet perpendicular, there is a cut of nearly three miles through a solid bed of rock, for a depth of about 20 . feet all the way. The average breadth of the canal is 40 feet at the top and 28 feet at the bottom, and the average depth is 4 feet. The whole expense of its construction was about eleven millions of dollars, or upward of two millions sterling ; and by a recent act of the Legislature, the company are authorized to widen the canal from 40 to 70 feet, to increase its depth to six feet, and to double the number of its locks, which will cost, it is thought, about ten millions of dollars more.

No money, however, could be better laid out, as this communication opens a way from the Atlantic at New-York almost to the Pacific at Astoria, by passing through the Upper Lakes of Erie, Huron, and Michigan, and by the Ohio into the Mississippi, Missouri, Arkansas, and Red River up to the foot of the Rocky Mountains, from whence, before many years are over, a way will no doubt be opened to the Columbia River, which discharges itself into the Pacific. The trade on this canal is every year increasing, and new boats are building and launching upon it every month, no less than 400 having been added in the present year, making the whole number at this time about 3700, giving employment to 22,200 persons in navigating them. Canals from neighbouring towns leading towards this great central highway are also very numerous, and constantly on the increase, so that the tolls, which are very light, already pay a large revenue to the state, and this must improve with every augmentation of its commerce.

One cannot fail to be struck with the large number of names of ancient and modern cities which are given to the villages along this canal route, of which the following are only a few: West Troy, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Frankfort, Utica, Rome, New-London, Syracuse, Canton, Berlin, Lyons, Palmyra, Macedonville, and Scio; besides Peru and Albion, as counties; Jordan, from the sacred river of Palestine; and Medina, the burial-place of Mohammed.

The boats on the canal are constructed, some exclusively for cargo, some exclusively for passengers, and some for a union of both. The one in which we embarked was one adapted for passengers only, and, as such, was called a packet-boat. It was upward of eighty feet in length, nine feet in extreme breadth; about fifty feet of the length was appropriated to the cabin, leaving ten feet for spare room at the prow, and twenty feet for steerage-deck at the stern. The long but narrow cabin was sufficiently lofty to admit of walking with ease, and the roof of it formed the upper deck of the boat. On each side of the cabin were seats, neatly cushioned, with a succession of windows, and Venetian blinds, to open or shut at pleasure; and through the centre of the whole ran the long table at which the passengers took their meals. The

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

boat was drawn by three horses, who were kept on a full trot, and changed every eight or ten miles, so that our rate of speed was about five miles an hour. As a day-conveyance it was easy and agreeable, notwithstanding the occasional inconvenience of stooping under low bridges from time to time crossing the canal, as this is felt only by those who choose to stand on the upper deck. But for a night-conveyance we found it extremely unpleasant. At nine o'clock the cabin is cleared to put up the hanging bed-places, which are broad shelves suspended by cords, hanging over each other in a triple tier on each side, so that, besides the discomfort of such close stowage, it is a matter of some difficulty either to get in or out.

We were glad, therefore, when the morning came to release us from our imprisonment; and our pleasure was greatly increased by arriving just at sunrise at the Lockport station,

where the boat was

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed]

lifted up, by five successive locks, a height of 60 feet above the lower level in less than 15 minutes, while in the same period of time another boat descended from the higher to the lower level, through a corresponding series of locks, ranged side by side with the ascending ones, there being thus a double range of locks, the ascending and the descending,

both in operation at the same time. The masonry is of the most solid and excellent workmanship, and everything about it is well calculated for durability.

The village of Lockport, which is partly on the lower and partly on the higher level, contains at present about 5000 inhabitants,





though in 1821 there were only two houses in the place. There are now also seven churches, a courthouse, many spacious stores, about 600 houses, and several large hotels: such is the rapid growth of the settlement along this track of the canal.

Beyond Lockport, at a distance of about seven miles, the canal enters, at a place called Pindleton, the River Tonnewanda, called here, as usual, the Tonnewanda “Creek. This broad and beautiful stream, flowing through a densely-wooded tract, was an agreeable relief after the narrow limits of the canal; and we continued to pass through it for a distance of 12 miles, till we again entered the canal on the borders of the great Niagara River above the Falls, and ran side by side with it, separated only by the narrowest neck .of embankment, till we reached the village of Black Rock, at a distance of eight miles; when, going through another portion of the canal, cut off from the river by a ridge of rock and stone, as a breakwater, for about three miles, we entered the port of Buffalo, on the Lake Erie, about twelve o'clock, having been twenty-one hours on the canal.

We remained here but a few hours, to make arrangements for my delivering a course of lectures, to commence in the ensuing week; and, having seen the gentlemen to whom I had letters of introduction, and completed these arrangements, we left Buffalo at half past five by the railroad car for Niagara, intending to pass four or five days at the Falls, and, after a tedious ride of 22 miles, we reached the Cataract Hotel about nine o'clock.


First Sight of the Rapids above the Falls.--Visit to the great Cataract above and below.

-Impressions created by different Views.-Lines addressed to Niagara.-Repeated Excursions to every part of the Falls.- General Description of the Locality.-Indian Etymology.-" The Thunder of the Waters." - Difference between the American and Canadian Falls.-Circuit of Goat Island. --Bridge and Ferry.- Breadth of the Strait, and of the two Cataracts.—Quantity of Water discharged every Minute.-Gradual Retrocession of the Falls.-Facts of Recent date in support of this.--- Daring Leap over the Cataract.-Appearance of the Scene in Winter.- Vast Mound of Ice.As. cent to its Summit.-Historical Notices of the Falls.-Register of Travellers.-Vil. lage of Manchester.- City of the Falls.- Hotels.

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

The hotel in which we slept was so near the rapids, just above the brink of the great Fall on the American side, that the tremulation occasioned by the rolling waters kept our windows in a constant rattle, while the unceasing roar of the rushing torrent, flowing within a few yards of the balcony of our bedroom, kept us awake till a late hour; and when we awoke at daylight, after a broken and feverish sleep, our first act was to hasten into the veranda, to · Vol. II.-S

« ForrigeFortsett »