« НазадПродовжити »
once powerful tribe, the Norridgewocks. There too was the residence of Father Ralle of that extraordinary man who forsook the luxuries of civilized life to build his tent with the savage and extend the empire of christianity in the regions of the West. There it was he fell and his people with him perished from existence. A broad and green field now spreads out where the wigwams of thc red nations once stood; their bones have been mixed with the earth, and their blood has fertilized the soil.
From Norridgewock, the road, parting to both sides of the River, advances northward, through the picturesque scenery of a region scarcely yet redeemed from the wild beast. The Eastern branch leads onward through the plantations designated by the imposing appellations of Madison, Solon, Bingham, and Moscow, much more considerable in territorial extent, than noted for population or wealth. The hardy emigrants have erected their rude houses in the little spots hollowed out from the woods, and encompassed with poble trees. There are tracts extending for miles, where the fires in their annual visits have scorched and blasted the patriarchal possessors of the land : long lines of blackened trunks still stand as witnesses against the destroying element, to be overthrown by the winter tempests or wasted by the summer sun. The earth beneath is covered with a luxuriant growth of blossomed weeds, whose gaudy flowers form a strange contrast with the desolation and solitude around. Views more interesting than these are often presented, surpassing in elegance the more regular and formal graces of elder sections. Sometimes the path way after climbing over rocks and steeps and descending deep glens and defiles, enters some quiet little valley, and seems to terminate within the circle of giant hills. Mountains rise around enclosing the habitation of the settler who had wandered away from society and chosen a resting place so solitary. All the objects we love best to contemplate may be seen grouped in the narrow circuit. The waving foliage of the trees clothing the mountain sides, the silvery brightness of the stream glittering with the rays of the setting sun, fields of grain waved by the gentle breath of summer wind, the wreathes of smoke curling gracefully upward from the few buildings scattered over the green meadows, and around them the herds lowing at the hour of eventide, are often blended in a picture of still and quiet beauty.
As we advance, the traces of cultivation become less frequent, and finally disappear, when we plunge into the immense forest stretching from one ocean to the other. Those accustomed to an
intimacy with the groves scattered among the hills where a dense population is collected, and where the axe in successive years has hewn away the noblest stems, would imagine, that trees of gigantic stature and colossal proportions were in the solitude. But the fact is otherwise. A republican equality prevails in the democracy of the forest, except when some aristocratic Pine towers up and holds its head above its humbler neighbors. There is a renovating power continuing all in immortal youth and vigor. We see few individuals bearing on their wrinkled fronts the marks of ancient patriarchal existence ; few which tell of the lapse of time ; few which have stood from age to age, unharmed by the storms, while the races of men have passed away. On looking around in the wilderness, wherever our eyes rest, they find green and flourishing plants.The aged decay for a short period, and then are prostrated by the winds: a new generation rises immediately to fill the vacancy left by the fall of their predecessors.
From the spot where carriage transportation ends till the traveller emerges from the shade into the beautiful fields of the Canadian border, a distance of ninety miles, he can enjoy the shelter of a roof and the hospitality of a civilized being but twice. His solitary ramble commences on the Million Acres," as it is called, a portion of the priocely estates left by the late William Bingham, formerly one of the richest landed proprietors in our country. Tbis tract, together with 1,107,000 acres, situated in the Eastern part of the now State of Maine, with unestimated and uncounted possessions in other states, descended at his decease, to a son and heir, now residing in Montreal, who has acquired by marriage the title to an extensive Canadian seignory, and to two daughters, wives of the Barings, the well known bankers in London. Through the property of this family a passage has been made, by clearing away the trees for the width of four rods, removing the undergrowth for the space of fifteen feet, and throwing "gridiron bridges" across the desperate sloughs and riotous but inconsiderable streams. The rapid, wide, and deep current of the Moose River must be forded near its confluence with the Kennebec, and fortunate will be the adventurer, if, in working his passage over the rough and stony channel, he be not precipitated among the rocks whose acute angles or smooth surfaces are too slimy and slippery to afford secure foothold. A walk of nearly two miles will afford him an opportunity of drying his wet garments in the neat habitation of a bold settler who has advanced thus far into the depth of the forest.
Crossing the line of the Bingham Purchase and entering on the public lands, the path becomes more broken and difficult. Origioally cleared only two rods in width, the sun cannot penetrate the overshadowing canopy of thick branches, to dry the moisture constantly flowing from the springs of a soil liberally supplied with moisture. It has not, like the road Southward, been planted with grass, affording a pleasant bed to rest the tired limbs, and acceptable food for the flocks and herds that yearly journey towards Canada; nor has so great care been taken to render it safe, and lessen the fatigues of the expedition. Much expense has been incurred, and large sums from the public treasury judiciously expended in the construction, but much still remains to be done to render it more than passible.
A tree, inscribed with the names of the Commissioners authorized by the Legislature of Massachusetts to explore this route, standing upon the height of land dividing the waters flowing into the Atlantic from those which convey their tribute to the majestic Saint Lawrence, at the distance of twenty pine miles from the Canadian settlements, marks the supposed boundary between the United States and the provincial dominions of England. A rude image, not in the likeness of any created thing, carved from a forked stick, has been set up, as the representative of the majesty of the sea girt isle, that the good subject may here pour out a libation in honor of his King. Those who cross the limit separating the possessions of the two nations, for the first time, are bound in honor, if thereto required by more experienced companions, to perform ceremonies and submit to operations analogous to those exacted by Neptune himself from those who pass the equatorial line of his azure dominions. Proceeding onwards, a most deplorable deterioration takes place in the condition of the road, indicating entire neglect. Trees overtbrown interpose their branches or trunks, with an intervening space of a few paces only, and severely exercise the weary limbs in scrambling through, climbing over, or avoiding by wide circuits, the obstructions they interpose. The patience of the most enduring is almost exhausted,
6. Where wilds immeasurably spread,
Seem lengthening as they go.” At the time when the expedition was made, wherein these particulars were collected, although in the midst of summer, the clouds above and the earth beneath were filled with water. The rains fell copiously, and the streams went brawling along in their courses,
making disorderly noises as they rushed tumultuously over the rocks. The sloughs seemed even as that famous one of Despond, encountered by the Pilgrim in his noted progress, thick, deep, and almost endless. The structures, frequently composed of three slender sticks only, intended as guides to conduct across the troubled rivulets, mouldered away by the years of a venerable old age, afforded but frail support to the tread. The miles indicated by stakes fairly marked with numerals, went slowly by. Plodding onward, often knee deep in the rich black mould, they were at length passed, and the green fields hailed with a degree of pleasure, those only can duly appreciate, who have traversed the wilderness.
The vegetation is luxuriant in the woods of the North. Plants of medicinal virtue, or of beautiful forms, creep along the earth, or twine about their neighbors, in wreaths of brilliant colors, wasting their sweetness unseen. On the highlands tower up the Maple, Beach, and Birch ; in the lower regions the Cedar, Fir, and Larch are intermixed.
The face of the country is diversitied by gentle undulations and lofty elevations. Streams intersect the vallies in all directions, and the soil, accumulated by the annual deposits of centuries, is deep and fertile, covered with tall trees and thick shrubs. The dim blue heights, the murmuring rivulets, the silver lakes, and the heavy rolling rivers are grouped together, and at no distant period will present powerful attractions for the hunters of the picturesque and beautiful.
Such is the route, destined, at a future period, to be one of the great inlets of communication from Canada. The distance from Quebec to Hallowell, whence the intercourse with the ocean is free, is about two hundred miles, and from the ancient metropolis of the Provinces to Boston, the mart of the Eastern section of the States, does not now much exceed three hundred and fifty miles, and will hereafter be diminished. It is pleasant to anticipate the period when the splendid hotel will invite the weary to rest and refreshment in the waste places, when the hurrying stage coach and the magnificent equipage, filled with the active men of business or the idle votaries of amusement, will roll along the broad and smooth highway on the solitary hills we have attempted imperfectly to describe, and neat cottages clustering in the cheerful towns, will spread along in the spots where the Beach and the Maple now hold updisturbed possession,
ARTS AND SOIENOES.
FROM THE JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY AND THE ARTS.
On the general Nature and Advantages of Wheels and Springs of Carriagesi
the Drast of Cattle, and the Form of Roads. Taking wheels completely in the abstract, they must be considered as answering different purposes.
First, they transfer the friction which would take place between a sliding body and the comparatively rough, uneven surface over which it slides, to the smooth oiled peripheries of the axis and box, where the absolute quantity of the friction as opposing resistance is also diminished by leverage, in the proportion of the wheel to that of the axis.
Secondly, they procure mechanical advantage for overcoming obstacles in proportion to the square roots of their diameters, when the obstacles are relatively small, by increasing the time in that ratio, during which the wheel ascends : and they pass over small transverse ruts, hollows, or pits, with an absolute advantage of not sinking, proportionate to their diameters, and with a mechanical one as before, proportionate to the square roots of their diameters.
Consequently, wheels thus considered cannot be too large; in practice, however, they are limited by weights by expense, and by convenience.
With reference to the preservation of roads, wheels should be made wide, and so constructed as to allow of the whole breadth bearing at once; aud every portion in contact with the ground should roll on it without the least dragging or slide; but it is evident from the well known properties of the cycloid, that the above conditions cannot unite, unless the roads are perfectly hard, smooth, and fat; and unless the felloes of the wheels, with their tires, are accurately portions of a cylinder. These forms, therefore, of roads and of wheels are the models towards which they should always approximate.
Roads were heretofore made with a transverse curvature to throw off water, and in that case it seems evident that the peripheries of the wheels should in their transverse sections become tangents to this curve, from whence arose the necessity for dishing wheels, and for bending the axes; which contrivances gave some incidental advantage for turping, for protecting the nave, and by affording room for increased stowage above. But recent experience having proved that the curved form of roads is wholly inade