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tants, who have tasted the pleasures of society, to their present situation, in an infant province. He intends the next winter to have concerts and assemblies very frequently. Hereby he at once evinces a regard to the happiness of the people, and his knowledge of the world; for while people are allured to become settlers in this country, from the richness of the soil, and the clemency of the seasons, it is important to make their situation as flattering as possible.
Niagara Fort, built by the French about 1725, is in about 43° 20' north latitude, one degree north of Boston; yet I find the season quite as clement here, as I have found it there, and vegetation quite as forward. On the second of this month I dined in company at the Landing, six miles from this place. As a dessert, a large quantity of strawberries were served, not propagated in gardens, or ripened by art, but were the natural growth of the unimproved soil. It is a fact, which will I think soon be established, that moving westward in the same latitude, the weather meliorates as you progress on that course. To investigate the causes of this event in nature, is beyond my reach. Perhaps they are among those hidden things which may open more satisfactorily to our view, when we shall have turned over another page in the book of
June 9. Dined with Mr. Hamilton at the Landing, (Queenstown.) Towards evening we left his house, and rode as far as the Falls, where we lodged, nine miles. There are a number of new settlements on the road, and one small meeting-house. The lands are generally covered with white oak, but they are neither strong or well improved.
June 10. In the morning I went to view the Falls of Niagara, of which so much has been said. The appearance was far short of the ideas I had formed of them. It is said that the water falls one hundred and thirty-seven feet perpendicularly. Had I been called to give an opinion respecting the fall, I should not have judged that the water fell more than forty or fifty feet. From whence arises the deception, I know not; the fact as to the magnitude of the fall, I cannot doubt, as that has been accurately taken, mathematically. After breakfast we pursued our journey towards Buffalo Creek, a few miles up which lives a number of the Seneca tribe. We found in our route a bad road, the lands flat, and a great proportion of the timber white oak. Near Lake Erie we
found both better. The land generally, for the distance of fifteen or twenty miles, is about seven feet above the waters, between the Falls and Lake Erie, at this dry season of the year; sometimes the water must be much nearer the surface of the earth. On finding that we could not cross the ferry, the waters which divide the United States from the Province of Upper Canada, we lodged about three miles below the ferry.
June 11. In the morning we crossed over to the United States, near the mouth of Buffalo Creek. There we took a boat, and went up the creek near to one of the Seneca towns. Here we were received by the inhabitants with every mark of respect, in their power to show. They were under arms, about eighty of them. On our approach they fired a feu-de-joie. After this was over, they assembled in their council-house, where they remained some time consulting together. We were then invited in and seated, where we were addressed by one of their old chiefs, in which he expressed their friendship and the great desire they had for peace. He recommended, in strong language, that we should attempt this important work, only on a reliance on the aid of the Great Spirit; and if that was sincerely sought, he did not doubt but we should obtain our wishes. In our answer we echoed his speech, and gave them on our part fresh assurances of the friendship of the United States, and thanked them for their kind wishes and good intentions; and that to promote an object so interesting in itself, they were, many of them, undertaking a long and tedious journey. We then assured them that we would make the matter as easy for them as possible; that we would give them a boat, ammunition for hunting on their route, and some fresh beef, that they might rejoice with their friends before they left them. After this business was finished they suggested that they would entertain us with a dance in the evening. This we attended, but found nothing meritorious in it, but a desire to please. As soon as the dance was over we retired to our quarters, a small house being assigned to us. Here we made some tea and eat a cake, which we carried with us, and went to rest on some skins, which, with our blankets, did pretty well.
June 12. In the morning, after refreshing ourselves again with some tea and the remainder of our cake, and having taken a large drink of sweet meal mixed with water, (this is
made from parched corn beat to flour, and in the process a little sugar mixed with it; this meal when mixed with water makes an agreeable and nutritive drink)-we then took leave of some of the chiefs and returned in our boat to Buffalo Creek, where we dined; then mounted our horses, recrossed the ferry, and put up at night at the house we left the morning before, three miles from Lake Erie.
June 13. Confined by a heavy rain.
June 14. We returned to Navy Hall.
June 15. Col. Pickering, Mr. Dean, and myself crossed the river, and went to Fort Slauser, eight miles above Queenstown, on the opposite side of the river, and just above the Falls. At this place the goods, after being taken across land from what is called the Landing, were re-shipped and carried into Lake Erie, and thence on to Detroit. Since this side is in the limits of the United States, the British have made a way on the west side of the communication between the lakes. All goods must be carried by the Falls ten miles on one side, or eight on the other (U. S.) At Fort Slauser, where there is a corporal's guard, we found Mr. Stedman, whose attentions and friendship were such as could not fail to make our stay with him very agreeable.
We went towards evening to visit the Falls on the east side; we had seen them before on the west. Here we could approach them on the same level with the water when it rolled over the tops of the rocks. In this situation the fall
appeared greater to me, than when I viewed it on the opposite side; for there I was on an eminence nearly one hundred feet above the level of the water. When on the east side, in looking down the bank on which I stood, the distance magnified exceedingly. I cannot account for the deception when observing the Falls, unless it springs from their length, or from our viewing them through a cloud; which we always do; for the vapor constantly ascends, and has the appearance of a cloud, at the distance of many miles. The water falls fiftyseven feet in the distance of one mile before it falls perpendicularly. It is generally believed here, that the Falls were six miles lower down than what they now are, and that the change has been produced by the constant operation of the water. This idea led me to examine, as well as I could, the banks of the river, on one side and the other; but did not discover any marks of the operation of the water on the rocks.
I therefore could not adopt fully the opinion; and I cannot now avoid doubting the truth of the observation, unless I sacrifice my reason to wild and uncertain conjecture. Whenever this takes the direction of the mind, it becomes unstable, and philosophy seeks her retreat into a soil more adapted to her existence.
We returned toward evening to the house of our friend, Mr. Stedman. Here we were amused by the use of an airgun, with which he would kill with ease the robin and the different kinds of birds, which came into his garden. This machine was very simple indeed; nothing more than an ash stick, about an inch diameter and five feet long, perforated through with an opening about equal to the calibre of a common musket. Into this is put a sharpened arrow at one end; the other is covered with the blossoms of thistles, about three or four inches. Blowing into this tube throws the arrow with a force sufficient to kill a bird fifty feet or more. The blossom tied about the arrow stops the air, at the same time that, from its softness, it yields without any apparent degree of friction to check its force; and from its elasticity, as soon as it leaves the tube, it regains its former position; so that an arrow, if not lost, will answer a thousand times. In conversation with our friend Stedman, who lives just on the bank of the river, respecting his keeping geese and ducks so near the Falls, down which they are liable to be carried with the rapid current, he said they had discovered a method which prevented them from swimming far from the shore, or remaining long in the water at any time, by picking off from the breast all the feathers and down, a place about the circumference of a dollar. I minute the hint because it may be of use.
June 16. In the morning we went to pay a visit to the Tuscarora villages. They were about half a mile one from the other, and about four miles from Queenstown, or the Landing. In the first were thirty-odd houses, and in the other about twelve. Where these stand, the timber has been lately cut off; on doing which they have discovered that formerly the same place had been settled, and that there had been a work around it, the banks of which are visible at this time. Besides, as a farther proof that it was an old settlement, they have found Indian stone axes. The Indian houses are about twelve feet square, built some with bark and others
with wood, as we build our log huts. Many of them have chimneys, in which they can keep a comfortable fire, while others retain their ancient custom of having the fire in the centre of the house. These Indians, as well as the Senecas, are settled on good land, and might live very well, and with great ease, if they would attend to agriculture. Some of them now sell a considerable quantity of corn for rum. We found among them a number of cows, which appeared exceedingly good, but it was difficult indeed to obtain any milk, for the calves were (among the Senecas) running with the cows. Nothing very particular took place from the 16th to the 25th, the day our express returned from Philadelphia.
June 26. We left our lodgings at Governor Simcoe's, where we had been treated with attention. On our departure he gave a letter to those who had the care of the Indians, relative to their supplies; in which he expressed himself in the strongest terms, that, in case the treaty should not produce a peace, care should be taken that the Commissioners should not be injured or insulted by the savages; for that an injury to them would greatly affect him, the commander in chief, the British nation, and even the king himself.
suppose, had its origin from a report, which circulated pretty generally, that the Indians intended, if they could not make peace, to commence hostilities on the spot, by sacrificing the Commissioners, &c. We arrived in the evening at the Landing, where we lodged. The common cherries and the currants are now ripe enough to eat.
June 27. This day we left the Landing, and travelled to Chippewa, ten miles; here we waited until our baggage could be forwarded. On my way to this place I again visited the Falls. I went down to what is called the Table Rock, nearly on a level with the water, where it falls in its greatest degree. It did not appear to me, notwithstanding the advantageous situation in which I placed myself, that the water fell so much as fifty feet; the appearance was very like, as to distance, the water falling from a very high three-story house. A gentleman with me, who had rode four hundred miles to see the Falls, was very much of the same opinion. As I observed before, there is a constant vapor ascending, caused by the violent agitation of the water. Through this, when the sun shines, you discover the rainbow. The water falls with such weight into deep water that there is very little current