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highly curious in themselves, and rendered almost important by the goodnatured mock gravity, the ironical reverence, and lively wit with which they are described. We can scarce express the delight with which we turn to the definite images such a work excites, from the vagueness and generality of ordinary story writing, where personages without prototypes in any society on earth, speak a language learned out of books, without a trait of nature, life, or truth.

Ederand Everett

Art. XI.-1. Narrative Journal of Travels through the north

western regions of the United States, extending from Detroit through the great chain of American Lakes, to the sources of the Mississippi river ; performed as a member of the expedition under Governor Cass in the year 1820, By Henry R.

Schoolcraft. 8vo. Albany 1821. 2. A Memoir on the geological position of a Fossil Tree, dis

covered in the secondary rocks of the river Des Plaines. By Henry R. Schoolcraft. Albany 1822.

The journal of Mr Schoolcraft's travels contains the first general view of the chain of lakes and the country about the sources of the Mississippi, founded on actual observation, which was ever published. This gentleman was induced to accompany the expedition sent out under Governor Cass to explore these regions solely for the purpose of acquainting himself with the natural history of this unknown but interesting part of our country. It is the tendency of this science to excite enthusiasm ; the objects of nature are universally attractive even to the eye of a common observer, and they become absolutely bewitching when their secret charms are brought out by examination and study. When this passion is once excited, the votary follows wherever nature leads, and there are no proofs of stronger influence which any affection ever exercised, nor any instances of more perfect devotedness which any admirer ever exhibited, than those of which she has to boast. How many wearisome travels and long voyages and hazardous enterprizes have been undertaken for the advancement of natural history ; how often has it called those engaged in the cultivation of it to give up the usual comforts and enjoyments of life, to renounce the society of man for the

solitariness of the desert, to forego the charms of domestic life, and range wild with the savage, and to have neither part nor lot in the common business of the world. It is only among her works, and in her own grand theatre, that nature can be studied; the naturalist must see her there, or he sees her only imperfectly. But this theatre is too vast for the eye of individual observation, it must be portioned out among those, who are desirous of surveying it, and the knowledge of it must be attained by bringing together what each has seen.

How much is to be done to become acquainted with her works in our own country; what numerous mountain tops have we, which no geologist ever ascended, and forests which never furnished bird or beast for the cabinet of the naturalist, and valleys in which the flowers have bloomed unseen since the beginning of time! Let it not be said, therefore, that it is a waste of life to spend it in wandering among wilds in pursuit of flowers and butterflies, for if these fading, fleeting, fluttering objects were the only ones of which the naturalist is in chase, the employment would still be infinitely more noble and more intellectual than a far greater part of human occupations. Are they not the works of God, and has he made any thing so insignificant as to be beneath the attention of man? Moreover, these are not the only nor the most important objects which claim attention among the works of nature. The earth itself is one of its productions, and surely it must be an interesting inquiry to know something of the globe, which we inhabit; of the materials out of which it is formed, of the various substances which are produced beneath its surface, of the convulsions which it has suffered, and the changes to which it is exposed. It is particularly to this portion of natural history, that the volume before us brings its valuable contributions, and we scarcely know a spot on the surface of the earth, which either needed or deserved examination more than the region which it describes.

In the introductory remarks, which are chiefly historical, a sketch is given by the author of the information furnished by the earlier travellers in these parts, but he goes no farther back, than the discovery of the Mississippi by father Marquette in 1673. The most important facts of their history, prior to this date, are these. The two great rivers, St Lawrence and Mississippi, were discovered nearly at the same time; the former by Cartier in 1535, the latter by Ferdinand de Soto in 1540.

New Series, No. 11. 29

Cartier sailed up the St Lawrence as high as Montreal, but did not explore the interior ; and no attempt to do it, or to derive any advantage from the discovery, was made for a long while after. Ferdinand de Soto, who set out upon his Florida expedition in 1539, spent three years in traversing the coasts about the gulf of Mexico, and to the north of it as far as Carolina, where he followed the Santee river nearly to its source, and thence in various directions to the Mississippi, up and down its banks on both sides, and died on the Red river, near its junction, in 1542. His successor, Lewis de Moscoso, according to Herrera, sailed down the Mississippi to the gulf of Mexico the year after. It is remarkable, that the next notice, which we get of this mighty river is from Marquette, one hundred and thirty years afterward. The St Lawrence, however, excited attention much earlier. De Monts and Champlain both began their settlements on its banks in 1603, the last of whom remained in the country the greater part of the next twenty-seven years, founded Quebec in 1608, and prosecuted discoveries as far up as lake Ontario, in the country of the Iroquois, and among the Hurons, on the other side. In the account of his travels, published in Paris in 1617, is the earliest mention of the great lakes, one of which he had seen, and of the others he had received some vague information from the bordering tribes of Indians. Champlain published a quarto volume in 1632, which contains an account of all his transactions in Canada from 1603 to 1629, which is in fact a history of the country for the same period. The Jesuits began their Journal of Missions in 1633, and continued them to 1672. They relate chiefly to ecclesiastical matters, but they are the only sources of authentic information upon the general affairs of Canada for that time. Soon after Marquette opened a route to the Mississippi by the way of the St Lawrence and the lakes, numerous adventurers came out from France to visit the country; and it is a curious fact, that all the early enterprises upon the first named river should have been carried on through this channel of communication. All the efforts of La Sale to discover the true mouth of the Mississippi were ineffectual, and it is very satisfactorily proved, that it was never entered from the gulf of Mexico, until 1701 by Le Moine.

It would be pleasant to ourselves, if not to our readers, to start with our author from New York, and follow him along the banks of the Hudson to Albany, and thence up the Mohawk to Utica, and onward to the shores of lake Erie, stopping to admire with him the activity, and bustle, and enterprise, which mark out the course of the great canal, the beauty and neatness of the villages on the route, the richness of the lands, the improved state of agriculture, the general appearance of thrift and industry among the inhabitants, and, above all, that most extraordinary union, which this fine region every where exhibits, of the freshness of youth with the comforts and accommodations that characterize older countries. But it was our author's particular design to describe the hitherto undes. cribed regions; it must be ours, therefore to meet him on that ground.

We cannot, however, pass by Niagara—the wonder of the western world—without some notice. How early and by whom were these falls first described are two questions started by Mr Schoolcraft, but left unsettled by him. Champlain was doubtless the earliest European traveller in their vicinity, but he neither mentions them in the account of his travels, nor marks them on his map. It is hardly possible, however, to suppose that he knew nothing of them, as he must have been very near to them, and was in constant intercourse with the Indians who lived beyond them. Nor do we find any account of them in the Journal of the Missions, before spoken of, although the place of several of these missions was far to the north and west of lake Erie, which must consequently have been past in going from and returning to Montreal and Quebec. Sanson's map of Canada, published at Paris in 1657, is the earliest on which they appear, but they are not so much as named in the description, which accompanies the map. The name on the map, Ongiara, through whatever medium it may have come to him, must have been obtained originally from the indians, as it expresses the sound, as they pronounce it, which Mr Schoolcraft writes O-ni-aa-garáh. La Sale is the first traveller, who speaks of having visited it, and he mentions it only incidentally, in describing the course, which he took in crossing to the Mississippi in 1678. «Upper lake or Frontenac,' [Ontario] says he, has a communication with the lake Herie or Conti by a canal of above twenty leagues long, interrupted

by a fall six hundred feet high, known under the name of the Fall of Niagara. Neither admiration nor astonishment is expressed, nor a word more said of it. Hennepin, 'known in Canada, says Kalm, as the great liar,' who was attached to Le Sale's

expedition for exploring the Mississippi, estimates the height of the falls also at six hundred feet. The monk Guedeville, whose nom de guerre is baron la Hontan, adds about a third to these estimates. As for the waterfall of Niagara, says he, “ 'tis seven or eight hundred foot high, and half a league broad. Towards the middle of it we descry an island, that leans towards the precipice, as if it were ready to fall. All the beasts, that cross the water within a quarter of a league above this unfortunate island, are sucked in by force of the stream. Between the surface of the water, that shelves off prodigiously, and the foot of the precipice, three men may cross in a breast without any other damage, than a sprinkling of a few drops of water. Unless things have changed very much since baron La Hontan's visit in 1688, he and Hennepin together would come very near to two great liars. An account of the falls was published in the Philosophical Transactions for April 1722, written by Paul Dudley Esq. of Roxbury, who received his information in regard to it from Mr Borossoro, a French Canadian. This account is correct in every particular, and it is the first one published, which is so. The height is given at one hundred and fifty six feet, which was determined, says Mr Dudley, by a party of officers sent for the express purpose by the governor of Canada. Charlevoix, who visited the falls the same year, says that he saw it measured and made to be but one hundred and twenty feet in height, but gives his own estimate at one hundred and forty to one hundred and fifty feet. The manner of measuring in both these cases was by letting down a rope with a weight attached to it. The two accounts coincide in all other respects, particularly in refuting the absurd fables of the earlier travellers as to the noise of the water and the distance which it shoots over. Whether these accounts were not believed, or that people prefer falsehood to truth, we are not able to say ; but certain it is, that the old fictions of Hennepin and La Hontan continued to find a place in the geographies of Bowen and Middleton and others very nearly to the end of the last century.

The opinions about the point of view from which this stupendous cataract is to be seen are various. Most prefer that of the table rock; our author decides in favor of the chasm below. We agree with him in thinking it the best for judging of the height of the fall, of the volume of water, of the irresistible force with which it rushes over the precipice, and the best

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