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The breadth of the fall is at least three hundred feet, reckoning the island in the middle, which at its lower end is an hundred feet. A rainbow, in fine weather, is daily seen imprinted on the cloud of vapours, and the more dense the vapour, the brighter is this celestial arch. The wind oftentimes displaces the vapour, and the bow vanishes; the vapour rises again, and the bow immediately returns.

Indians, who navigate this dangerous river, have sometimes, thre gh intoxication or incaution, been hurried down the current and dashed to pieces with their canoes.

Our readers will perhaps indulge us, if we step out of our way to relate the wonderful escape of two of them some years ago.

Fort Niagara stands a few miles above the fall. From this place two Indians went out to hunt deer, in an island which abounded with them. They had some French brandy in their canoe, of which they took now and then a dram as they went up the river; at last growing drowsy, they fastened their canoe and laid, themselves down in it to sleep. While they slept the canoe got loose and drifted back with the stream, farther and farther down, till it came near to the island that we have before mentioned, which is just in the middle of the fall. Here one of them, awakened by the tremendous noise of the water, cried out to the other, that they were lost. He arose, and they both strove, if possible, to save themselves. This island was nighest, and with much working they got on shore there.

At first they congratulated each other with joy at their deliverance; but when they began to reflect on their situation, they hardly thought themselves in a better state than though they had been driven down the fall and perished, since they seemed to have no other choice than to die with hunger, in an island where human foot had never before trodden, or to cast themselves down the awful precipice: for the spot where they had sought for safety had always been deemed inaccessible by reason of the torrent. But hard necessity put them upon invention. At the lower part of the island the rock is perpendicular, and parts the current, and the island itself has plenty of wood; they went to work, and of the tough and strong bark of the lind-tree, they made a kind of ladder, so long that it would reach the water below: one end of this bark ladder they tied fast to a great tree that grew at the brink of the rock above, the other end they let down to the bottom floating, upon the water: then they ventured down their new invented stairs, and when they got to the bottom they rested a little, to recover breath, and consider their situation. Here, they were within the fall of the water, which poured dreadfully down on each hand of them. They threw themselves into it, thinking to swim betwixt the fall and the rock, and so get on shore.

We have before said that the fall is on each side of the island from which they had descended. Hence it is, that the waters of the two cataracts uniting at the bottom, turn back against the rock that is just under the island. Therefore, hardly had the poor Indians begun to swim, before the violence of the eddy threw them back again to the

rock from whence they came. They made several attempts, but with no better success; till at last, wearied, torn, and bruised, they regained their ladder, and crawled back again up to the island in despair.

After some time they perceived some Indians on the eastern shore, whose attention they were happy enough to gain. These saw and pitied them, but could give them little hope of relief. However, they mnade haste to the fort, and told the commandant of the case of their poor brethren. He persuaded them to try all possible means for their deliverance; and it was effected in the following manner.

The water that runs on the east side of the island is shallow, especially a little above the island towards the eastern shore. The commandant caused poles to be made and pointed with iron; two bold Indians took upon them to cross to the island, by the help of these poles, to save their friends, or perish themselves. They took leave of their companions, as if they were going to death. Each had two such poles in their hands, to set to the bottom of the stream to keep them steady; and in this manner they reached the island: and having given a pole to each of the two poor fellows there, they all happily reached the main land. The two poor Indians had been nine days on the island, and were almost starved to death.

We return to our subject.

The next river which we will notice is the Missisippi; of all the streams which we have yet mentioned, it is, probably, the largest. The source of this majestic flood is not yet certainly known. It has been. supposed by some to take its rise from one of the great northern lakes; but modern travellers have proved that it is connected with none of the lakes with which we are as yet acquainted. Its spring appears far to the north west: perhaps near to the northern part of the great Pacific ocean. The main stream has been traced more than seven hundred leagues, and in its course it receives the tribute of more than fifty large rivers, some of them as big as the Rhine or the Danube; and there are many as large as our boasted Thames, which have not yet received a name. The southern course of this river is the boundary betwixt the Spanish dominions, and the independent states of America, and the navigation of it is, by treaty, open to both. The latter part of its progress is betwixt the fine countries of Louisiana on the south west, and west Florida on the north east. It then discharges its vast contents, by many mouths, into the gulph of Mexico.

Though neither in its source, progress, or emission, is any part of it betwixt the tropics, yet it is liable to periodical inundations; at which times, the country, for an hundred leagues, is one vast sea. And by the quantities of timber trees, and by the soil which it brings down by its current, there are new islands continually forming, which are soon covered with profuse herbage, and young trees in great abundance. Thus it yearly encroaches upon the domains of the ocean, and prepares future habitations for man and beast.

From the central situation of this fine river in North America, and from the soil and climate of the countries through which it runs, it seems ordained to be the future seat of empire, of arts, of commerce, and of

riches. Already has the population of independent America, in its western territory, reached the banks of the Missisippi, and begun to navigate its waters. And what is more surprising, a colony of AngloAmericans has crossed over to the Spanish side, founded a city, and begun to cultivate the country; and all this with the licence of the Spanish court, which has incorporated them with a toleration for their religion and national customs, subject to Spanish government. See Morse's Geography of the United States of America.

Notwithstanding the size of the rivers already described, yet the river of Plata in South America exceeds them all in the abundance of its waters. It rises in the northern confines of Paraguay, or in the southern part of Amazonia; for the limits of those vast countries are not very accurately ascertained, by reason of their being in a great measure unknown to Europeans.

The northern course of this river is through the spacious and fruitful plains of Paraguay, in consequence of which it bears the name of that country; but for more than two hundred leagues from its mouth it is called by the Spaniards, Plata; and many geographers call its whole course by that name. It is supplied by many great rivers from Parana, Tucumania, Brazil, and even Peru; near sixty in the whole, pay their tribute to it. It has innumerable islands for the first six hundred miles from its mouth; these are fertile beyond imagination, and birds of the most beautiful plumage fill the trees on its banks. It has also monkeys of different kinds in its islands, and serpents of monstrous size. It is navigable for large vessels for a thousand miles, and its mouth would adinit at once every ship, both of war and commerce, which belongs to the British islands; for it is not less than fifty leagues in breadth!

We will mention but one more river, that of the Amazons. This greatly surpasses every other upon the surface of the globe. Its length, including all its turnings, is near five thousand miles. It is difficult to point out its source, for it is in fact a collection of a multitude of rivers, many of which are of nearly equal size and length before they unite. That vast chain of inountains, the Andes, gives rise to most of them. However, we will mention two of the principal branches: one of which rises in the province of Quito, near the line: the other in Peru, issues from the lake of Bonbon; these, after receiving many other large streams, unite upon the borders of Peru, Quito, and Amazonia. The Spaniards call the united waters by the name of Orellana, the French often denominate it Marignon; but the more general name is, the River of the Amazons. It was so called from a supposition that there was a nation of female warriors who inhabited a part of its banks; but modern travellers have not found this to be a fact. From the union of the above mentioned streams, its breadth is from one to two leagues, and filled with a multitude of islands which are full of villages well inhabited, by free and hardy people. Large rivers from the southern provinces of Papayan and Guiana continually encrease its size: but especially from the north, where mighty volumes of water, some of them upwards of a thousand miles in length, from Peru, Paraguay, Brazil, and the vast and marshy plains of Amazonia, continually discharge themselves into this father of the

floods, till it is from three to four leagues in breadth, and from twenty to fifty fathoms in depth.

It rolls on its majestic current, still receiving tribute on either side, till it pours its vast contents into the Atlantic ocean by upwards of fourscore mouths. The manatu, and the tortoise, the alligator, and the tremendous water-serpent, abound in this vast confluence of rivers.

We have not noticed the Delawar, the Oronoko, the Gambia, the Hoango, nor many others, known, or unknown to ancient history; much less have we particularized the puny streams of Britain, as our intention was only to give a brief view of the utility of rivers in general, and to describe some of their most prominent features. With a few observations more we will close this subject.

The rivers of those countries that have been least inhabited, or whose inhabitants have been least, civilized, are usually more rocky, uneven, and broken into water-falls or cataracts, than those where the industry of man has been more prevalent. Wherever civilized man comes, nature puts on a milder appearance: the terrible and the sublime, are exchanged for the gentle and the useful; the cataract is sloped away into a placid stream, and the banks become more smooth and even.

Every one's experience must have supplied instances of rivers thus being made to flow more evenly and more beneficially to mankind: but there are some whose currents are so rapid, and whose falls are so precipitant, that no art can obviate; and that must for ever remain as instances of the incorrigibility of nature.

We have mentioned the annual inundations that most of the great rivers in the world are subject to, but besides these there are inany other rivers that overflow at much shorter intervals. Thus most of those in Peru, and Chili, which flow into the South Sea, have scarce any motion by night; but upon the appearance of the morning sun, they resume their formet rapidity: this proceeds from the mountain snows which, melting with the heat, increases the stream, and continue to drive on the current while the sun continues to dissolve them. Some considerable rivers also are swallowed up by the sands before they can reach the sea : this is the case with several in Arabia, and many in Africa.

Some rivers, by their inundations, fertilize the countries through which they pass; but this is not the case with all; for the Niger, or Senegal, as it is called at its mouth, though it rises and falls at about the same time with the Nile, and overflows all the flat country of Negro-land, distributes diseases, famine, and death. Egypt is a dry country, and, but for the bounty of the Nile, would be a parched, sandy desert: while the country along the banks of the Niger is always sufficiently moist, and luxuriant almost beyond conception: the inhabitants also are destitute of art, or industry, sufficient to make any advantage of the manure which the inundation brings with it. The banks, therefore, of that river lie uncultivated, and are overgrown with rank and noxious herbage, infested with thousands of animals of various malignity.

Every new flood only tends to increase the rankness of the soil, and to provide fresh shelter for the creatures that infest it. If the flood continues but a few days longer than usual, the improvident inhabitants,

who are driven up into the higher grounds, begin to want provisions, and a famine ensues. When the river returns to its channel, the humidity and heat of the air are equally fatal; and the carcases of infinite numbers of animals, swept away by the inundation, putrifying in the sun, produce a stench that is almost insupportable. And even the luxuriance of the vegetation itself becomes a nuisance. It is asserted by persons of veracity, who have been up that river, that there are some plants which grow on its banks, the smell of which is so powerful, as hardly to be endured. It is certain, that all the sailors and soldiers who have been at any of our factories there, ascribe the unwholesomeness of the voyage up the stream to the vegetable vapour.

There are some rivers also which, for a time, are swallowed up in the earth, and afterwards rise again in some distant place. The Jordan, according to Josephus, rises at the lake Phaila, disappears, and rises again at Dan, and then continues its course. The Greatah, in Yorkshire, buries itself for some distance, and then rises again; and also the Molesey in Surry. Geographers tell us of many inore.

It is observable likewise that all the great rivers in north and south America run into the Atlantic Ocean; hardly any of importance running into the Pacific; though most of them take their rise from that side of the American continent.

There are but few small rivers under the line, especially in Africa. Such little streams as are common in Europe, and which we dignify with the name of rivers, would quickly evaporate in those parching and extensive deserts: it is only a large and copious stream that can maintain its course in those arid regions. At the poles it is far otherwise: in these desolate countries, the mountains are covered with perpetual ice, which melts but little; the springs and rivulets, therefore, are furnished with but a very scanty supply.

On the whole, to whatever quarter of the globe we turn, we shall find new reasons to be satisfied with that part of it which we inhabit. Our rivers furnish all the plenty of the African stream, without its inundation; they have all the coolness of the polar rivulet, with a more constant supply; they may want the terrible magnificence of huge cataracts or extensive lakes, but they are more navigable and transparent; though less deep and rapid than the rivers of the torrid zone, they are more manageable, and only wait the will of man to take their direction. The lines are fallen unto us in pleasant places, and Providence hath given us a goodly heritage.

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