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ends, and even the Canadian boatmen dare not venture beyond. A little below, the river contracts suddenly to less than a mile, and the current rapidly increases from three to eight miles.
We shall now present our readers with a few paragraphs from Roy's History of Canada, descriptive of the world-renowned Falls of Niagara and their surrounding scenery :
“ Whilst travelling over the few intervening miles before reaching the Falls, you can, by looking upwards, see the calm waters in the distance, whilst nearer they swell, and foam, and recoil, and seem to be gathering up all their force for the mighty leap they are about to make. Mrs. Jameson, when speaking of them, says in her own beautiful manner, ' The whole mighty river comes rushing over the brow of a hill, and, as you look up at it, seems as if coming down to overwhelm you ; then meeting with the rocks as it pours down the declivity, it boils and frets like the breakers of the Ocean. Huge mounds of water, smooth, transparent, and gleaming like an emerald, rise up and bound over some impediment, then break into silver foam, which leaps into the air in the most graceful and fantastic forms.'
“ The Horseshoe or Canadian Fall is not quite circular, but is marked by projections and indentations which give amazing variety of form and action to the mighty torrent. There it falls in one dense mass of green water, calm, unbroken, and resistless ; here it is broken into drops, and falle like a shower of diamonds, sparkling in the sun, and at times it is so light and foaming that it is driven up again by the currents of air ascending from the deep below, where all is agitation and foam.
“Goat or Iris Island, which divides, and perhaps adds to the sublimity of, the Falls, is three hundred and thirty yards wide, and covered with vegetation. The American Fall, which is formed by the east branch of the river, is smaller than the British, and at first sight has a plain and uniform aspect. This, however, vanishes as you come near, and, though it does not subdue the mind as the Canadian one does, it fills you with a solemn and delightful sense of grandeur and simplicity. It falls upwards of two hundred feet, and is about twenty feet wide at the point of fall, spreading itself like a fan in falling.
“ An ingenious American has thrown a curious wooden bridge across this Fall to Goat Island, which you cross only a very few yards above the crest of the cataract. Passing by it, and crossing the island, you reach the extremity of the British Fall on its eastern side. Here a piece of timber projects about twelve feet over the abyss, on which you can stand safely, and view the waters as they rush by, whilst the spray dashes over you, and your frail support quivers under your feet. Here you may follow the course of the waters as they roll from the rude confusion below you, and spread themselves out into bright, curling, foaming green and white waves.
To some persons nothing at the Falls appears so beautiful as the columns of mist which soar from the foaming abyss, and shroud the broad front of the great flood, whilst here and there rainbows peep out from the mysterious curtain.
66 At the foot of the Canadian Fall, there is a ledge of rock, which leads into a cavern behind the sheet of waters, called the Cavern of the Winds.” It is in the form of a pointed arch, the span on the left hand being composed of rolling and dark water, and that on the right of dark rocks. It is fifty or sixty feet large, and the obscurity that surrounds it, together with the strong wind which blows the spray and water all over you, render this rather a difficult undertaking, especially for young persons.
- Within a few minutes' walk of this lovely scene are to be found all the bustle and activity of life. On the American side are hotels and mills of every description, and a busy town called Manchester, through which passes the railroad that connects it with Lockport and Buffalo. On the Canadian side, too, several mills are built on the edge of the beautiful rapids, large and elegant hotels are erected, and a railroad is in operation from Chippewa to Queenston Heights.
“A little below the Falls the Niagara resumes its usual soft and gentle beauty. The banks here are very high and beautifully wooded. About four miles below, the river has formed a circular excavation called “the Whirlpool. The rapid current here sweeps wildly past. the sides of the high and perpendicular banks ; and in its course the dead bodies or trees, that come with its reach, are carried with a quivering circular motion round and round this dismal spot. The
rocks are steep, and no boat dares approach it, so that whatever gets into the current must there remain until decomposed, or broken to pieces by the action of the water. Having made this extraordinary circuit, the river regains its proper course and rushes between two precipices, which are not more than nine hundred feet apart.
“ Seven miles below the Falls the country on the Canadian side suddenly rises into abrupt and elevated ridges, called Queenston Heights, and supposed to have been the banks of the river, and the place of the Falls’ in former ages. During the war a large body of American troops was driven down this steep precipice, and nearly all perished in the river. The monument erected to the memory of the brave General Brock, who sell here, lies in ruins, having been blown up by one of the disaffected in 1838. At the foot of the hill is Queenston, a romantic looking village, where the Niagara again becomes navigable. On the American side, opposite to Queenston, stands the pretty town of Lewiston. A few miles below is Youngstown, an inconsiderable place; and at the mouth of the river is the quiet town of Niagara with its four thousand people. Fort Mississagua guards the river on the Canadian side, and on the opposite shore the Americans have a strong stone fort, called Fort Niagara. The banks of this river are very pleasing, and the water of a peculiarly beautiful colour.”
In connection with the above extract we subjoin a very few particulars. , On the Canadian side the principal hotels are the Clifton, House and the Pavilion Hotel; and parties, wishful to enjoy the magnificent scenery for a few weeks, can readily procure accommodation in private boarding-houses. On the American side there are numerous hotels, the principal of which is the Cataract House, which generally overflows with visitants during the season. Here are large grist, paper, and timber mills. In Goat Island near the steps, called the Biddle Staircase after an individual of that name who appropriated a sum for their construction, the celebrated, or notoriously fool-hardy, Sam Patch made two successful leaps from a platform, erected at the water's edge and sustained from the bank above, the height of ninety-seven feet, in the presence of a vast concourse of enthusiastic spectators. This same individual perished in leaping over
the Genesee Falls at Rochester in the State of New York. It is worthy of remark that the first fatal accident that has occurred in the numerous situations of considerable risk, where thousands upon thousands have been exposed, was in the case of Dr. Hungerford of West Troy, N. Y. State, in May of 1839. While he and his fellow-traveller, Mr. Nile of Columbus, Ohio, accompanied by a guide, were passing under Hog's Back Point, the air above them was suddenly discovered to be filled with falling earth and stone. In springing to their escape, the unfortunate Dr. was struck to the ground; and his companions, on removing him to a more secure spot, found that the vital spark had fled.—On the 16th of August, 1844, a Mr. Thompson, of Philadelphia, visited the Falls, and took rooms at the Clifton House. His first visit was to Table Rock, when he was one of a party that went under the sheet of water. While the rest of the party were ascending the bank towards the staircase on their return, he was observed to go down to the water's edge and seat himself on a rock. As he was not seen thereafter, it is supposed that, in attempting to get on a rock at a little distance from the shore, between which surges occasionally pass with much violence, he was swept into the frightful current and perished.-On the 24th of August, 1844, a Miss Rugg, of Lancaster, Massachusetts, arrived at the Falls in company with an elderly gentleman of Detroit, in whose care she was placed to accompany her on a visit to a sister living in Detroit. As they were passing near the bank about fifty rods below the Museum on the Canadian side, Miss Rugg left the gentleman's arm, and stepped to the edge to pluck some evergreens. In doing so, the earth slipped from under her, and she was precipitated one hundred and fifty feet upon a ledge of rocks. A Dr. Sturgis of New York, who happened to be in the Museum at the time, and several others descended the staircase at Table Rock, and, after clambering over rocks, fallen cedars, and tangled underbrush for nearly a quarter of a mile, reached the fair sufferer, strange to say, still alive, but apparently dying. On being bled, she so far rallied as to say to those standing by, “ Pick me up.” By this time a boat had been brought near to the fatal spot, in which she was conveyed to the ferry-landing, and thence to the Clifton House. She lived three hours after the acci, dent, and retained her reason to the last, frequently exclaiming, 6 What will my poor mother say !” The sorrowing guardian took - the body to Buffalo, and thence by steamboat to Detroit. The first bridge from the main shore to the island was constructed in 1817, and was carried away by the ice in the ensuing spring. In 1818 a bridge was constructed, where Bath Island Bridge now stands, by the Hon. Augustus Porter and General P. B. Porter, brothers, the proprietors of the island. In the spring of 1839 its timbers were examined and found to be in a decayed condition ; and during the summer of the same year the present bridge was constructed at a cost of £750. The projecting platform at Table Point, from which the visitor can in perfect safety gaze on “ Niagara's spray” with its perpendicular cataract of one hundred and sixty-four feet almost beneath his feet, was finished in the season of 1844.
The Suspension Bridge is unquestionably as stupendous and sublime a work of art as any on this Continent. Its span is eight hundred feet; height from the water, two hundred and thirty feet ; the depth of water, two hundred and fifty feet. The height of the stone tower is sixty-eight feet, and of the wooden, fifty. The number of cables for bridge is sixteen; of strands in each cable, six hundred; of strands in the ferry-cable, thirty-seven, the diameter of which is seven-eighths of an inch. The ultimate tension is six thousand five hundred tons, and the capacity of the bridge, five hundred. A passage across is thrillingly exciting. In December of 1848 the Suspension Bridge Companies agreed, after a long pending controversy, to give Mr. Ellet, the Engineer, the sum of 12,000 dollars in full of all demands, each party paying its own costs. It is understood that arrangements are in progress for making another Suspension Bridge over the Niagara at Queenston. The location is just above the point where the ferry-boats cross. The water space is about six hundred feet, and that between the towers, which are to be of stone, is about eight hundred and fifty feet.
The traveller will be gratified in no ordinary degree by viewing the Falls not only in the small ferry-boat, which is rowed across by a single Indian of long experience, but also in the steam-boat which ascends at stated hours to within a few yards of the descending mass