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LAKES AND RIVERS.
are clothed with fine tall poplars, birch, and pines, and well stocked with Indian deer. The Athapescow is connected with another southern large lake (termed Athabasca), by the Great Slave River, the banks of which are in most parts very high—in some places 100 feet, and the soil of a loamy quality. Near the portage La Loche is a precipice upwards of 100 feet above the plain, and commanding a most extensive, romantic, and, according to Mackenzie, a “ ravishing prospect;" the eye looks down on the Swan (Pelican or clear Water) River meandering for 30 miles through a valley about three miles in breadth, and confined by two lofty ridges of equal height, displaying a most delightful intermixture of wood and lawn, which stretch out until the blue mist obscures the prospect. Some parts of the inclining heights are covered with stately forests, relieved by promontories of the finest verdure, where the elk and buffalo enjoy a delicious pasturage. The Swan runs 80 miles through such scenery, when it discharges into the Elk or Athabasca River, in latitude 56° 42' north.
The Athabasca Lake, which is 200 miles long, and 15 broad, communicates with those of Wollaston and Deer Lakes, the latter 95 miles long by 25 wide, emptying itself into the Missinipi, Churchill or English River, which disembogues into Hudson's Bay.
Two considerable rivers, flowing from the Western Mountains, form in 105° 10' west longitude, and 420 miles below their highest source, the Saskatchawan, which, after being interrupted by a great rapid,
descends into Lake Winipeg. This body of water is 240 miles in length, and from five to fifty miles broad, its banks shaded by the sugar, maple, and poplar, and surrounded by fertile plains, which produce the rice of Canada.
The course of Lake Winipeg is about west-north. west, and south-south-east. The east end of it is in 50° 37' north : it contracts at about a quarter of its length to a strait in latitude 51° 45', and is no more than two miles broad, when the south shore is gained through islands, and crossing various bays, to the discharge of the Saskatchiwine, in latitude 53° 15'.
Like the other lakes in this region, it is bounded on the north with banks of black and grey rock, and on the south by a low and level country, occasion. ally interrupted by a ridge or bank of lime-stone lying in the strata, and rising to a perpendicular height of from 20 to 40 feet, covered with a small quantity of earth, and bearing trees and shrubs.
Lake Winipeg', which also receives the great river Assiniboine united to the Red River, discharges itself into Hudson's Bay by the rivers Nelson and Severn ?; or it may rather be said to discharge its waters into Lake Superior by the Lake of the Woods, which is equi-distant from Winipeg. Thus it will be seen that the vast inland seas of Ontario, Erie,
1 Lake Winipeg is the Lake Bourbon of the French, and the river Bourbon is composed of the Saskatchawan and the Nelson.
2 Both of these rivers are navigable for canoes to their source without a fall.
Huron, and Superior are supplied by innumerable waters flowing from the polar regions through the north-west territories.
The Nadawosis, or Assiniboins, runs off from the north-north-west, in latitude 511° north, and west longitude 1031", rising in the same mountains as the river Dauphin. The country between this and the Red River is almost a continued plain to the Missouri; the soil is sand and gravel, with a light intermixture of earth, and produces a short grass, while trees are rare.
The Red River disembogues on the south-west side of Lake Winipeg. The main branch runs in a southerly direction towards the head waters of the Mississippi, and the country is well wooded and watered, and abounding in herds of buffalo, deer, &c. Mackenzie
“ There is not, perhaps, a finer country in the world for the residence of uncivilized men than that which occupies the space between Red River and Lake Superior ; fish, venison, fowl, and wild rice' are in great plenty ; the fruits are strawberries, plums, cherries, hazlenut, gooseberries, currants, raspberries, pear,” &c. An English colony is now formed here, as will be hereafter described.
The length of some of the rivers in the north-west region of America has been thus estimated? ; Embouche in the Pacific, Colombia or Tacoutche or
i The wild rice Zizania Aquatica does not come to maturity north of 50.
2 By Malte Brun.
Tasse, 320 leagues (twenty-five leagues to a degree); San Philippe, supposed 300 leagues ; Colorada, 260: in the Northern Ocean ; Mackenzie, or Oungigah, or River of Peace, 625 leagues; into Hudson's Bay; Shaskashawan, with the Nelson (its mouth), 460 leagues ; Assiniboin, with the Severn, 600; Albany, 230 leagues. Moose River 230 miles.
Before noticing the territory around the east, or Hudson Bay coast, it may
necessary to say a few words on that bordering the Pacific. The countries that extend to the south of Russian America as far as the confines of California, are said to form a long succession of plateaus, or very elevated basins, which are circumscribed to the east and west by two chains of mountains ; the most easterly denominated the Stony or Rocky mountains. The other precipitous face of the north-west plateau forms a great chain, parallel to the sea coast, and always at a short dis. tance from the Pacific Ocean. The elevation of this mountain peak is 4000 to 8000 feet above their base, or from 7000 to 11,000 feet, and covered with perpetual snow. Mackenzie, in crossing these moun. tains, walked over snow in June; he then descended into a more temperate valley, through which the Colombia River flows; and then again ascended the chain of mountains which Vancouver, Cook, La Perouse, and other navigators, perceived running parallel to the coast from Cook's Inlet to New Albion, a distance of more than 1000 leagues, and consisting of ridges, knobs, and peaks, among which are many broad and vertile valleys.
The Colombia takes its rise in the rocky moun
tains in latitude 53° 30', and has its estuary in 46° 19' north latitude, 124° 10' west longitude. The River Lewis at its confluence with the Colombia is 575 yards broad, and the Colombia itself 960,a little below their junction the latter acquires a breadth of from one to three miles, and it is navigable for sloops as high as the tide water reaches, viz. 183 miles. From the period of their junction the country presents nothing but a succession of plains : lower down, rapid currents and cascades are met with, after which the river flows, in a smooth and tranquil stream, through a charming and fertile valley, shaded by lofty forest trees, intersected by small lagoons, and possessing a soil capable of every kind of cultivation. The trees are remarkable for the greatest beauty, the fir rising sometimes to a height of 300 feet, with a girth of 45, and many of the forest timbers tower 200 feet before they branch.
New Georgia is situate between 45o and 50° north latitude, communicating with the Pacific Ocean, to the south by Claaset's Straits, and to the north by Queen Charlotte's Straits; the river Colombia traverses the south and interior part of this district. Quadra, or Vancouver Island, known under the name of Nootka, is situate opposite New Georgia, which presents the prospect of a moderately elevated coast, agreeably diversified by hills, meadows, little woods, and brooks of fresh water, while in the back ground the mountains rise to a vast elevation, covered with perpetual snow; one (Mount Rainier) being discernible at the distance of 100 geographical