HIGGS: More with Father Louis Hennepin

Norma Higgs

We are currently following Father Louis Hennepin during his written journey discovering all the magic and wonder that surround the Falls of Niagara in his own words to describe this image as it deserves.

From Father Hennepin, "I wish'd an hundred times that somebody had been with us, who could have describ'd the Wonders of this prodigious frightful Fall, so as to give the Reader a just and natural Idea of it, such as might satisfy him amd create in him an Admiration of this Prodigy of Natrure. In the mean time, accept the following Draught, such as it is, in which however I have endeavored to give the curious Readers as just an Image of it as I could. "

"From the Mouth of the Lake Erie to the the Great Fall, are reckon'd six Leagues, as I have said, which is the continuation of the Great River of of St. Lawrence, which arises out of the four Lakes above-mention'd. The River, you must need think, is very rapid for these six Leagues because of the vast Discharge of Water which fall into it out of the said Lakes. The lands which lie on both sides of it to the East and West , are all level from the Lake Erie to the Great Fall. Its Banks are not steep; on the contrary, the Water is almost always level with the Land. 'Tis certain, that the Ground towards the Fall is lower, by the more than ordinary swiftness of the Stream; and yet 'tis not perceivable to the Eye for the six Leagues above said."

"After it has run thus violently for six Leagues, it meets with a small sloping Island about half a quarter of the League long, and near three hundred Foot broad, as well as one can guess by the Eye; for it is impossible to come at it in a Canow of Bark, the Waters run with that force. The Isle is full of Cedar and Fir; but the Land of it lies no higher than that on the Banks of the River. it seems to be all level, even as far as the two great Cascades that make the Main Fall."

"The two sides of the Channels, which are made by the Isle, and run on both sides of it, overflow almost the very Surface of the Earth of the said Isle, as well as the Land that lies on the Banks of the River to the East and West, as it runs South and North. But we must observe, that at the end of the Isle, on the side of the two great Falls, there is a slooping Rock which reaches as far as the Great Gulph, into which the said Waters fall; and yet the Rock is not at all wetted by the Cascades which fall on both sides, because the two Torrents which are made by the Isle, throw themselves with a prodigious force, one towards the East and the other towards the West, from off the end of the Isle, where the Great Fall of all is."

"After then these two Torrents have thus run by the two sides of the Isle, they cast their Waters all of a sudden down into the Gulph by the two Great Falls; which Waters are pushed so violently on by their own Weight, and so sustain'd by the swiftness of the motion, that they don't wet the Rock in the least. And here it is that they tumble down into the abyss above 600 Foot in depth."

"The Waters that flow on the side of the East, do not throw themselves with that violence as those that fall on the West. The Reason is because the Rock at the end of the Island, rises something more on this side, than it does on the West; and so the Waters being supported by it are somewhat longer than they are on the other side, are carry'd the smoother off: But on the West the Rock is slooping more, the Waters, for want of a Support, become the sooner broke, and fall with the greater precipitation. Another reason is the Lands that lie on the West are lower than those that lie on the East. We also observ'd, that the Waters of the Fall, that is to the West, made a sort of a square Figure as they fell, that is to the West, made a sort of a square Figure as they fell, which made a third Cascade, less than the other two, which fell betwixt the South and North. "

He certainly made detailed notes of his visit and descriptions of the falling water. Please note, he is not finished yet, but we are at least for this week. Stay tuned.

Contact Norma Higgs at niahigg@aol.com.

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