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The fine Arts may be considered as the luxuries of Science, as Poetry and the Belles Lettres are of Literature. They have an evident tendency to refine the mind, and improve the inanners; but it is much to be lamented, that, like other luxuries, they are too subject to degenerate into voluptuousness; and that the charms of genius, of wit and eloquence, are so often employed to gild the pill of sensuality.
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For JANUARY, 1802.
I Voyages from Montreal, on the being familiar with toilsome exertions River St. Laurence, through the Con in the prosecution of mercantile purtinent of North America, to the Fro- suits, I not only attempted the prac. zen and Pacific Oceans, in the Years ticability of penetrating across the 1789 and 1793; with a preliminary continent of America, but was confiAccount of ihe Rise, Progress, and dent in the qualifications, as I was present State of the Fur Trade of that animated by the desire, to undertake Country
. Illustrated with Maps, the perilous enterprise. and a portrait of the Author. By “ 'The general utility of such a disALEXANDER Mackenzie, Esg. covery has been universally acknowQuarto, pp. 552. Cadell and Davies, ledged, while the wishes of my parti, Strand; Corbett and Morgan, Pall- cular friends and commercial associMall; and Creech, Edinburgh.
ates, that I should proceed in the pur
suit of it, continued to quicken the The preliminary account, in this execution of this favourite project of of the Fur Trade, carried on by Ca- pletion of it extends the boundaries nadian merchants
. In the counting- of geographic science, and adds new house of one of these, says Mr. countries to the realms of British Mackenzie, “ I had been five years, commerce, the dangers I have enand at this period bad left him, with a countered, and the toils I have sufsmalladventure of goods, with which he fered, bave found their recompence; had'entrusted me, to seek my fortune nor will the many tedious and weary at Detroit. He, without any solici- days, or the gloomy and inclement tation on my part; had procured an nights which I have passed, have been insertion in the agreement, that I passed in vain. should be admitted a partner in this “The first voyage has settled the dubusiness, on condition that I would bious point of a practicable north-west proceed to the Indian country in the passage; and I trust that it has set that kollowing spring, 1785. His partner long agitated question at rest, and excame to Detroit to make me such a tinguished the disputes respecting it proposition. I readily assented to it, for ever. An enlarged discussion of and immediately proceeded to the this subject will be found to occupy Grande Portage, where I joined my the concluding pages of this volume. associates.” History, p. 19.
“ In this voyage, I was not only Our author, assigning his reasons
without the necessary books and ina for engaging in these voyages, says, struments, but also felt myself defi
1 was led, at an early period of life, cient in the sciences of astronomy and by commercial views, to the country navigation: I did not hesitate, therenorth-west of Lake Superior, in North fore, to undertake a winter's voyage America; and being endowed by na, to this country, in order to procure ture with an inquisitive mind and the one and acquire the other. These enterprising spirit, possessing also a objects being accomplished, I returnconstitution and frame of body equal ed, to determine the practicability of to the most arduous undertakings, and a commercial communication through
the continent of North America, be- adorned by it, is about three miles in tween the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, breadth, and is confined by two lofty which is proved by my second jour- ridges of equal height, displaying a nal. Nor do I hesitate to declare my most delighiful intermixture of wood decided opinion that very great and and lawn, and stretching on till the essential advantages may be derived blue mist obscures the prospect. Some by extending our
trade from one sea parts of the inclining heights are coto the other.” Preface, p. iv, v. vered with stately forests, relieved by
The history of the Fur Trade con promontories of the finest verdure, tains a particular account of the per- where the elk and buffalo find passons engaged, and method of carrying ture. These are contrasted by spots on this traffic, an account of the estab- where fire has destroyed the woods, lishment of the north-west company, and left a dreary void behind it. with a description of the rivers and Nor, when I beheld this wonderful country through which they pass, and display of uncultivated nature, was the manners of Indians with whom the moving scenery of human occuthey trade. The method of carrying on pation wanting to complete the picthis traffic is by a number of canoes ture. From this elevated situation laden with goods, to exchange with ! beheld my people, diminished as the Indians for their furs, provision it were to half their size, employed for the people employed, andesuitable in pitching their tents in a charming implenients for their voyage. “ An meadow,and among the canoes, which, European, on seeing one of these being turned upon their sides, preslender vessels laden, heaped up, and sented their reddened bottoms in consunk with her gunwale within six trast with the surrounding verdure. inches of the water, would think his At the same time the process of gumfate inevitable in such a boat, when he ming them produced numerous small reflected on the nature of her voyage; spires of smoke, which, as they rose, but the Canadians are so expert that enlivened the scene, and at length few accidents happen.” History, p: 29. blended with the larger columns that
On account of rapids and falls in ascended from the fires where the the waters, this employment is very suppers were preparing, It was in laborious, as the men are frequently the month of September when I enobliged to carry not only the greater joyed a scene of which I do not prepart of the lading, but the canoes, and sume to give any adequate descripthat often over rocks: of these places tion; and as it was the rutting seathe author gives particular accounts, son of the elk, theswhistling of that one of which is subjoined.
animal was heard in all the variety “The Portage La Loche, where the which the echoes could afford it." canoes with their lading are carried, History, p. 85, 86. is thirteen miles in length, and is a The present establishment of the level, until you come within a mile of north-west company is in latitude 58. the termination of the Portage, where 38 north, longitude 110. 26 west, there is a very steep precipice, whose called Fort Chipewyan, and formed ascent and descent appear to be on a point on the southern side of the equally impracticable in any way, as Lake of the Hills,' the arrival at it consists of a succession of eight hills, which place from Canada the author some of which are almost perpendi thus describes : cular; nevertheless the Canadians “ Here have I arrived, with nivety contrive to surmount all these diff. or an hundred men, without any culties, even with their canoes and provision for their subsistence ; for lading.
whatever quantity might have been “ This precipice, which rises up. obtained from the natives during the wards of a thousand feet above the suminen it could not be more than plain beneath it, commands a most sufficient for the people dispatched extensive, romantic, and ravishing to the different ports; and even if prospect. From thence the eye loolis there were a casual supérfluity, it was down on the course of the little river, absolutely necessary to preserve it by some called the Swan river, and untouched for the demands of the by others the Clear Water and Peli- spring. The whole dependance, therecan River, beautifully meandering fore, of those who remained, was on for upwards of thirty miles. The val- the lake, and fishing iniplements, for ley, which is at once refreshed and the means of our support. The nets