Les Mohicans de Babel (French Edition)

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He was sent with a letter by the general to inform us that Lake George was not open, and to desire us to remain at an inn kept by one Wing at seven miles distance from Fort Edward and as many from Fort George. The country between Wing's tavern and Fort Edward is very sandy and somewhat hilly. The principal wood is pine. At Fort Edward the river Hudson makes a sudden turn to the westward; it soon again resumes its former north course, for, at a small distance, we found it on our left and parallel with the road which we travelled, and which, from Fort Edward to Fort George, lies nearly north and south.

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At three miles, or thereabouts, from Fort Edward, is a remarkable fall in the river. We could see it from the road, but not so as to form any judgment of its height. We were informed that it was upwards of thirty feet, and is called the Kingsbury falls. We could distinctly see the spray arising like a vapor or fog from the violence of the falls. The banks of the river, above and below these falls for a mile or two, are remarkably steep and high, and appear to be formed or faced, with a kind of stone very much resembling slate. The banks of the Mohawk's river at the Cohooes are faced with the same sort of stone; it is said to be an indication of sea-coal.

Wing's tavern is in the township of Queensbury, and Charlotte county; Hudson's river is not above a quarter of a mile from his house.

Mohawk (Kanien'keha)

There is a most beautiful fall in the river at this place. From still water, to the foot of the fall, I imagine the fall cannot be less than sixty feet, 52 but the fall is not perpendicular; it may be about a hundred and twenty or a hundred and fifty feet long, and in this length, it is broken into three distinct falls, one of which may be twenty-five feet nearly perpendicular.

I saw Mr.

Wing's patent -- the reserved quit-rent is two shilling and sixpence sterling per hundred acres; but he informs me it has never been yet collected. In the winter of the Marquis de Chastellux, a French major general under Rochambeau and a writer of note in his day, visited the northern part of New York. He had letters to General Schuyler, who received him most hospitably.

Concerning his trip he writes: General Schuyler Eight miles above that fort and ten from Lake George This fort is built fifteen miles from Saratoga, in a little valley near the river, on the only spot which is not covered with wood, and where you can have a prospect to the distance of a musket-shot around you. Formerly it consisted of a square fortified by two bastions on the east side, and by two demi-bastions on the side of the river; but this old fortification is abandoned, because it was too much commanded, and a large redoubt, with a simple parapet and wretched palisade, is built on a more elevated spot: within are small barracks for about two hundred soldiers.

Such is Fort Edward, so much spoken of in Europe, although it could in no time have been able to resist five hundred men, with four pieces of cannon. I stopped here an hour to refresh my horses, and about noon set off to proceed as far as the cataract, which is eight miles beyond it. On leaving the valley, and pursuing the road to Lake George, is a tolerable military position, which was occupied in the war before the last: it is a sort of entrenched camp, adapted to abattis, guarding the passage from the woods, and commanding the valley.

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Peace and industry had conducted cultivators amidst these ancient forests, men content and happy, before the period of this war. Those who were in Burgoyne's way alone experienced the horrors of his expedition; but on the last invasion of the savages, the desolation has spread from Fort Schuyler or Fort Stanwix , even to Fort Edward; I beheld nothing around me but the remains of conflagrations; a few bricks, proof against the fire, were the only indications of ruined houses; whilst the fences still entire, and cleared out lands, announced that these deplorable habitations had once been the abode of riches, and of happiness.

Arrived at the height of the cataract it was necessary to quit our sledges, and walk half a mile to the bank of the river. The snow was fifteen inches deep, which rendered this walk rather difficult, and obliged us to proceed in Indian files, in order to make a path. Each of us put ourselves alternately at the head of this little column, as the wild geese relieve each other to occupy the summit of the angle they form in their flight.

But had our march been still more difficult, the sight of the cataract was an ample recompense. It is not a sheet of water as at Cohoes, and at Totohaw; the river confined, and interrupted in its course by different rocks, glides through the midst of them, and precipitating itself obliquely forms several cascades. That of Cohoes is more majestic, this more terrible; the Mohawk river seems to fall from its own dead weight; that of the Hudson frets, and becomes enraged, it foams and forms whirlpools, and flies like a serpent making its escape, still continuing its menace by horrible hissings.

We employed this time, as we had done in the morning in warming ourselves by the fire of the officers who command the garrison. They are five in number, and have about one hundred and fifty soldiers. They are stationed in this desert for the whole winter, and I leave the reader to imagine whether this garrison be much more gay than those of Gravelines, or Briancon.

Soon after the Revolution the settlers of Queensbury again took up their labors, building anew their homes and mills and industries destroyed in the struggle for liberty. The Rev. Doctor Dwight says:. The road to this spot passes along the north bank of the river. How far this stratum extends northward and westward, I am ignorant. Down the river it reaches certainly as far as Fort Edward. Almost immediately above the cataract is erected a dam, eight or ten feet in height, for the accommodation of a long train of mills on the north, and a small number on the south bank.

Below the dam the limestone extends, perhaps thirty or forty rods down the middle of the stream; leaving a channel on each side. That on the north is about one third of the breadth of the river. That on the south, where narrowest, is perhaps a tenth; and, where widest is divided into two by another part of the rock.

Last Of The Mohicans

The breadth of both, taken together, is not far from that of the north channel. A short distance below the dam, it is covered with earth for about twelve or fifteen rods each way; and, to a considerable extent, with pines and underwood. Below the road, which between the bridges crosses this ground, the rock is divided into two arms; with a deep channel between them hollowed out by the stream, and by the weather.

One bridge crosses the north channel; and two, the south; in a direction from north-west to south-east. The forms, in which it descends, are various beyond those of any other cataract within my knowledge.


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All the conceivable gradations of falling water from the mighty torrent to the showery jet d'eau , are here united in a wonderful and fascinating combination. In the channel on the north side, twenty rods in breadth near the dam, and about twelve at the bridge, the greatest mass of water descends in four principal streams, divided by three huge prominences of the rock, and in several smaller ones.

The prevailing appearance here is that of sublimity, as the river descends either in great sheets, or violent torrents. There are, however, several fine cascades in this compartment; and the effect of the whole is not a little increased by innumerable streams, torrents, and jets, from the long succession of mills on the north shore. On the north side of this channel the river has worn a ragged, perpendicular chasm through the rock, about thirty feet in breadth, eight or ten rods in length, and fifty or sixty feet in depth.

Through this opening pours a single torrent in a mass of foam; and is joined by ten or twelve currents, rushing from the southern side with every wild variety of form, and with a beauty, and magnificence, incapable of being described. These passages are about three rods in length; and sufficiently wide, and high, for a man to pass conveniently through them.

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Les Mohicans de Babel

The surface of the reek, above them, is smooth, and entire. I was at a loss to conceive what cause has produced these passages; as their direction was exactly at right- angles with the current. In the year , when I visited the falls the third time, I found a fourth passage cut through one of the same arms, in all respects similar to those I have mentioned. If it existed at all in the rear , it was so small that it was not only unobserved by us, but had never been discovered by any of the neighbouring inhabitants.

So remarkable a fact induced me to search for the cause; and I soon became satisfied. This stratum of limestone, by means of its numerous crevices, is almost everywhere pervious to the water; and is of such a texture as to be easily and rapidly worn away by its force. When a cold season succeeds a freshet, a stone, wherever it happens to be wet, is broken by the frost; and, as it is evident from the numerous square blocks, here, and throughout this vicinity, into which it has been fashioned by the same cause, is prone to crack perpendicularly to the surface of the strata.

Wherever there is a fissure, the water pours through it; and by the force of the current, and the aid of continual frosts, a chasm is soon formed, of considerable extent. Originally these falls were in the neighbourhood of Fort Edward: five miles below their present station. During a long succession of ages, the river has gradually worn this deep channel backward to this place.

Among other proofs of the facts here asserted, this is one.


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  7. In the year , I visited this spot the second time; and with a good deal of care drew outlines of every thing material, relative to their figure and appearance. In my third visit, three years afterwards, I found them so much altered that the resemblance was in a considerable measure lost. The great features were the same: but the smaller ones were, even in this little period, essentially changed. What, then, must have been the efficacy of these powerful agents, during more than forty centuries. The grandeur arises from the height, perpendicularity, and raggedness, everywhere seen, of this immense mass of rock; and from the dimensions and force of the torrent.

    The wildness is extreme, the variety endless, and the beauty intense. From some pictures, which I have seen, I should believe Salvator Rosa might have exhibited this group of objects with advantage; but it would demand the whole power of his pencil. An early description of the place is given in a series of articles entitled "Recollections:" numbers one, two and three, over the signature of "Harlow," published in the Warren Messenger of Glens Falls, February 5, 12 and 19, , in which the writer says:.

    Abraham Wing. Pixley's store Benjamin Wing, and Gen.