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that, Big-beaver, Ohio, Yohoganey, (or Monongahela and Cheat) and Patowmac, and there are but two portages; the first of which between Cayahoga and Beaver may be removed by uniting the sources of these waters, which are lakes in the neighbourhood of each other, and in a champaign country; the other from the waters of Ohio to Patowmac will be from 15 to 40 miles, according to the trouble which shall be taken to approach the two navigations. For the trade of the Ohio, or that which shall come into it from its own waters or the Mississippi, it is nearer through the Patowmac to Alexandria than to New-York by 580 miles, and it is interrupted by one portage only. There is another circumstance of difference too. The lakes themselves never freeze, but the communications between them freeze, and the Hudson's river is itself shut up by the ice three months in the year; whereas the channel to the Chesapeake leads directly into a warmer climate. The southern parts of it very rarely freeze at all, and whenever the northern do, it is so near the sources of the rivers, that the frequent floods to which they are there liable, break up the ice immediately, so that vessels may pass through the whole winter, subject only to accidental and short delays. Add to all this, that in case of a war with our neighbours, the Anglo-Americans or the Indians, the route to NewYork becomes a frontier through almost its whole length, and all commerce through it ceases from that moment. But the channel to New-York is already known to practice; whereas the upper waters of the Ohio and the Patowmac, and the great falls of the latter, are yet to be cleared of their fixed obstructions. (A.)
A NOTICE of the best Sea-ports of the state, and how big are the vessels they can receive ?
Having no ports but our rivers and creeks, this Query bas been answered under the preceding one.
A NOTICE of its Mountains ?
For the particular geography of our mountains I must refer to Fry and Jefferson's map of Virginia; and to Evans's analysis of his map of America, for a inore philosophical view of them than is to be found in any other work. It is worthy of notice, that our mountains are not solitary and scattered confusedly over the face of the country; but that they commence at about 150 rniles from the sea-coast, are disposed in ridges Olie behind another, running nearly parallel with the sea-coast, though rather approaching it as they advance north-eastwardly. To the south-west, as the tract of country between the sea-coast and the Mississippi becomes narrower, the mountains converge into a single ridge, which, as it approaches the Gulph of Mexico, subsides into plan country, and gives rise to some of the waters of that gulph, and particularly to a river called the Apalachicola, probably from the Apalachies, an Indian nation formerly residing on it. Hence the mountains giving rise to that river, and seen from its various paris, were called the Apalachian mountains, being in fact the end or termination only of the great ridges passing through the continent. European geographers however extended the name northwardly as far as the mountains extended ; some giving it, after their separation into different ridges, to the Blue ridge, others to the North mouitain, others to the Alleghaney, others to the Laurel ridge, as may be seen in their different maps. But the fact I believe is, that none of these ridges were ever known by that name to the inhabitants, either native or emigrant, but as they saw them so called in European maps.
In the same direction generally are the veins of limestone, coal, and
other minerals bitherto discovered: and so range the falls of our great rivers. But the courses of the great rivers are at right angles with these. James and Patowmac penetrate through all the ridges of mountains eastward of the Alleghaney ; that is broken by no
It is in fact the spine of the country between the Atlantic on one side, and the Mississippi and St Laurence on the other. The passage of the Patowmac through the Blue ridge is perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in nature. You stand on a very high point of land. On your right comes up the Shenandoah, having ranged along the foot of the mountain an hundred miles to seek a vent. left approaches the Patowmac, in quest of a passage also. In the moment of their junction they rush together against the mountain, rend it asunder, and pass off to the sea. The first glance of this scene hurries our senses into the opinion, that this earth has been created in time, that the mountains were formed first, that the rivers began to flow afterwards, that in this place particularly they have been dammed up by the Blue ridge of mountains, and have formed an ocean which filled the whole valley; that continuing to rise they have at length broken over at this spot, and have torn the mountain down from its summit to its base. The piles of rock on each hand, but particularly on the Shenandoah, the evident marks of their disrupture and avulsion from their beds by the most powerful agents of nature, corroborate the impression. But the distant finishing which nature has given to the picture, is of a very different character. It is a true contrast to the foreground. It as placid and delightful, as that is wild and tremendous. For the mountain being cloven asunder, she presents to your eye, through the cleft, a small catch of smooth blue horizon, at an infinite distance in the plain country, inviting you, as it were, from the riot and tumult roaring around, to pass through the breach and participate of the calm below. Here the eye ultimately composes itself; and that way too the road happens actually to lead. You cross the
Patowmac above the junction, pass along its side through th: lase of the mountain for three miles, its terrible pre-ipices hanging in fragments over you, and within about 20 miles reach Fredericktown, and the fine country round that. This scene is worth a voyage across the Atlantic. Yet here, as in the neighbourhood of the Natural Bridge, are people who have passed their lives within half a dozen niiles, and have vever been to survey these monuments of a war between rivers and mountains, which must bave shaken the earth itself to its centre. (B.)
The heiglit of our mountains has not yet been estimated with any degree of exactness. The Alleghaney being the great ridge which divides the waters of the Atlantic from those of the Mississippi, its sunimit is doubtless more elevated above the orean than that of any other mountain. But its relative height, compared with the base on which it stands, is not so great as that of some others, the country rising behind the successive ridges like the steps of stairs. The mountains of the Blue ridge, and of these the Peaks of Otter, are thought to be of a greater height, measured from their base, than any others in our country, and perhaps in North America. From data, which may found a tolerable conjecture, we suppose the highest peak to be about 4000 feet perpendicular, which is not a fifth part of the height of the mountains of South America, nor one third of the height which would be necessary in our latitude to preserve ice in the open air unmelted through the year. The ridge of mountains next beyond the Blue ridye, called by is the North mountain, is of the greatest extent; for which reason they were named by the Indians the Endless mountains.
A substance, supposed to be Pumice, found floating on the Mississippi, has induced a conjecture, that there is a volcano on some of its waters : and as these are mostly known to their sources, except the Missouri, our expectations of verifying the conjecture would o. course be led to the mountaius which divide the waters of the Mexican Gulf from those of the South Sea; but
no volcano having ever yet been known at such a distance from the sea, we must rather suppose that this floating substance has been erroneously deeined Pumice.
Its Cascades and Caverns ?
The only remarkable Cascade in this country, is that of the Falling Spring in Augusta. It is a water of James' river, where it is called Jackson's river, rising in the warm spring mountains, about twenty iniles south-west of the warm spring, and flowing into that valley. About three quarters of a mile from its source, it falls over a rock 200 feet into the valley below. The sheet of water is broken in its breadth by the rock, in two or three places, but not at all in its height. Between the sheet and the rock, at the bottom you may walk across dry. This cataract will bear no comparison with that of Niagara, as to the quantity of water cumposing it; the sheet being only 12 or 15 feet wide above, and somewhat more spread below; but it is half as high again, the latter being only 156 feet, according to the inensuration niade by order of M. Vaudreuil, Guvernor of Canada, and 130 according to a more recent account.
In the lime-stone country, there are many caverns of very considerable extent. The most noted is called Mailison's Cave, and is on the north side of the Blue ridge, near the intersection of the Rockingham and Augusta line with the south fork of the sonthern river of Shenandoah. It is in a bill of about 200 feet perpendicular height, the ascent of which, on one side, is so steep, that you may pitch a biscuit froin its suminit into the river which waslies its base. The entrance of the cave is, in this side, about two thirds of the way up. It extends into the earth about 300 feet, branching into subordinate caverns, socjetimes ascending a little, but more generally descending, and at length terminates,