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three good harbors, viz: Buffalo, Black Rock, and Dunkirk. The amount of its navigation, however, is very great, and rapidly increasing. During the autumnal months, it is subject to storms of great violence. Area of the lake 8030 sq. miles.
Nerg. The amount of business on Lake Erie is much greater than that upon any other of our inland seas. In 1845 the amount of shipping, registered, enrolled and licensed, for the district of Buffalo alone, was about 25,000 tons; and this was but a small portion of that employed upon the lake.
In 1844 more than 40,000 tons of shipping were owned by the American ports on that lake, aside from the English shipping, and that coming from other lakes. The increase is estimated at not less than 10 per cent. per annum.
The entire lake trade of 1845 was estimated at $ 122,000,000, of which probably three-fourths passed over Lake Erie.
Several of the steamers (of which there are some hundreds), employed on this lake, are of niore than 1000 tons burthen; and for convenience and excellence of accommodations are unrivalled.
Lake Ontario is the second in size and importance, lying upon the northwest of the State.
It is of a very regular, elliptical form, 190 miles in length, 55 in its extreme width, and about 485 in circumference.
It is in some places over 600 feet in depth, having a mean depth of 492 feet, and in every part sufficient water for the largest vessels. Its surface is 334 feet lower than that of Lake Erie, and 231 feet above the level of the Atlantic.
The commerce of Lake Ontario is extensive; and its ports open usually earlier than those of Lake Erie. Of these, the principal, lying in the state of New York, are Oswego, Sacketts Harbor, and Port Genesee or Charlotte. It is less subject to violent storms and heavy swells than Lake Erie. Its area is 5400 sq. miles.
Lake Champlain, forming a portion of the eastern boundary, is a long and narrow sheet of water, of great beauty and containing a number of fine islands. Of these, Valcour and Schuyler, besides several smaller islets, belong to New York; the others to Vermont.
Its extreme length is 134 miles ; its breadth varies from 40 rods to 14 miles ; and its depth from 54 to 282 feet. In the winter it is usually entirely closed by ice for about two months. During the remainder of the year, large steamers and sloops navigate its waters, richly freighted with the produce of the counties along its shores.
Lake George, or Horicon, named by the French, Lac Sacrament, on account of the purity of its waters, lies south of Lake Champlain.
It is two or three miles in breadth and thirty-six in length. Its surface is 243 feet above tide water. It discharges itself into Lake Champlain by a descent of 150 feet. A steamboat plies upon its waters during the summer.
The lake is surrounded by hills, towering to the height of 1200 or 1500 feet. The numerous islands which stud its placid surface; the transparency of its waters, which reveals the pebbles beneath, at a depth of 40 feet; and the rich and varied scenery which surrounds it, all combine to render it one of the most delightful resorts in the state, to the invalid or the man of business. .
The northern portion of the State abounds with small lakes, seldom exceeding six or eight miles in length, and two or three in breadth. Their number is probably not less than 200.
Some of these, among the Adirondack group of mountains, are greatly elevated. Avalanche lake, in Essex county, is 2900 feet, Colden lake, in the same county, 2750 feet, and Racket lake, in Hamilton county, 1731 feet above tide water.
The central portion has a chain of lakes of considerable size and importance.
They extend through the counties of Oneida, Oswego, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, Yates, Ontario and Livingston; and are hardly surpassed in beautiful and picturesque scenery.
The principal lakes in this chain are Seneca, Cayuga, Oneida, Crooked and Canandaigua.
The first four are navigated by steam and canal boats. They are generally from 300 to 600 feet deep, and from 400 to 700 feet above the surface of the Atlantic.
The other lakes, connected with this chain, are Onondaga, Cross, Otisco, Cazenovia, Skeneateles, Owasco, Honeoye, Canadice and Conesus.
These are all small, but are worthy of notice, for the beautiful scenery which surro•nds them. Extensive salt springs abound on the shores of the Onondaga, whose waters are, notwithstanding, fresh.
The only other lakes of importance are Otsego and Canaderaga in Otsego county, and Chautauque, in Chautauque county.
RIVERS. The Hudson, 320 miles in length, is the largest river lying wholly in the State, and one of the finest navigable streams in the United States. It rises among the Adirondack group of mountains, and flows almost directly South to the bay of New York. It is navigable for steamboats of the largest size, and sloops, to Troy, 160 miles from its mouth.
In the number and magnificence of its steamers, and in the extent of business done upon its waters, it is probably surpassed only by the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.
The principal branches of the Hudson are, the Hoosick on the east side, and the Mohawk on the west.
The Hoosick, rising in Berkshire county, Mass., runs northwest and west, and furnishes many fine mill seats.
The Mohawk takes its rise in Oneida and Lewis counties. It pursues at first a southerly course ; then, changing to east southeast, it forms the valley of the Mohawk. Its length is about 130 miles.
The other tributaries of the Hudson are, on the east, Schroon branch, the outlet of Schroon lake; Battenkill, Kinderhook and Croton rivers; on the west, Wallkill, Rondout, Esopus, Kaaterskill and Sacandaga, besides several smaller streams.
The St. Lawrence forms the northwestern boundary of New York, for a hundred miles; and is the outlet of the great American lakes.
It conveys to the ocean a larger body of water than any other river in the world, except the Amazon. It is navigable for sloops as far as Ogdensburg, 60 miles from Lake Ontario. Below this point, the frequent rapide render navigation difficult and dangerous.
The Thousand Islands lie- near its junction with Lake Ontario, a portion of which, and some others belong to the United States. This group actually exceeds 1500 in number.
The Oswego is the next in importance in the State. Its whole length is 120 miles.
Under the name of Mud creek, it rises in Ontario county, and flowing easterly receives, through the Canandaigua outlet, the waters of Canandaigua lake. Proeeeding castwardly under the name of the Clyde, it receives the waters of Seneca
and Cayuga lakes through their common outlet, and assumes the name of Seneca river.
After a still farther enlargement by the waters of Onondaga lake, it takes the title of Oswego river; and suddenly curving towards the northwest, collects from the Oneida river its tribute of the waters of Oneida lake, and discharges itself into Lake Ontario. It has about 100 feet fall after assuming the name of Oswego river, and furnishes, by its constant supply of water, valuable inill privileges. Seven thousand square miles of territory are drained by its waters; and, by means of the Oswego Canal and locks, it is navigable for its whole extent.
The Allegany river, one of the sources of the Ohio, takes its rise in Allegany county, and is navigable for steamers of small draft from Olean, a distance of about 40 miles, to the state line.
The Susquehanna and Delaware both take their rise in this state, and, though not navigable to any considerable extent, afford fine seats for mills.
The other principal rivers of the state are, the Niagara, which is the connecting link between Lakes Erie and Ontario, and forms the celebrated falls of the same name;
The Genesee, distinguished for its immense water power, and for being the feeder of the Genesee Valley Canal ;
It is navigable almost to Rochester, and is 145 miles in length; emptying into Lake Ontario.
The Black, the third river in size, lying wholly in the state, and also discharging its waters into Lake Ontario; it is 120 miles in length, and navigable for 40 miles.
The Chenango and the Chemung, important tributaries of the Susquehanna;
The Oswegatchie, rising in Herkimer county, the principal tributary of the St. Lawrence.
The other streams flowing into the St. Lawrence are Indian, Grasse, Racket, St. Regis and Salmon rivers.
Chazy and Saranac are the chief streams flowing into Lake Champlain.
CLIMATE OF NEW YORK.* From the extent and diversity of its surface, it is impossible to give a general description of the climate of New York, which would apply with equal truth to each section of the state. can only say that it is subject to great extremes of heat and cold; and that, although in the same latitude, which in Europe produces the fig, the olive and the grape, its more severe climate admits only of the culture of the hardier plants and grains.
The state, though subject to sudden and severe changes, may be considered healthy. The number of deaths to the population is not greater than in the other states; nor do malignant diseases prevail to any considerable extent.
* The facts on which this article is based have been collected from a chapter on the climate of the state in Gordon's Gazetteer; from the reports of the Re. gents of the University; and from a paper in the Quarterly Journal of Agriculture.
In the eastern counties, consumption and other diseases of the lungs are the prevailing maladies; in the western counties, bilious affections are more prevalent. Cholera Infantum is a common and fatal disease with children in the cities and large towns, during the summer and autumn.
It has been ascertained, by numerous observations made in this state and New England, that an elevation of surface of 350 feet produces a diminution of heat, equal to the addition of a degree of latitude. Hence we see the influence of our mountain systems upon the climate of the state.
In order to present more clearly the peculiar characteristics of the climate to the scholar, we shall divide the state into six districts, viz. Ist, Long Island; 2d, The valley of the Hudson; 3d, The valley of the Mohawk; 4th, The district north, and north east of the Mohawk, extending from Lake Ontario to Lake Champlain ; 5th, The district south and south west of the valley of the Mohawk, extending from the valley of the Hudson to the smaller Lakes; and 6th, The country west of the smaller Lakes.
The following table, prepared with great care, exhibits the mean, or average temperature; the mean annual maximum, or highest degree of heat; the mean annual minimum, or lowest degree of temperature; the average annual range of the Thermometer; and several other particulars, which show the length and forwardness of the seasons, and the progress of vegetation. It contains the results of observations made at 59 different places, for a period of 15 years.
TABLE OF THE CLIMATE OF NEW YORK.
No. of Observations.
Robins first seen,
March 19, 44
266 Shadbush in bloom,
168 *Peach in bloom,
175 Currants in bloom,
269 Plum in bloom,
264 Cherry in bloom,
250 Apple in bloom,
374 Lilac in bloom,
151 Strawberries ripe,
210 Hay harvest commenced,
127 Wheat harvest commenced, July 25,
186 First killing frost,
471 First fall of snow,
536 Mean, or average temperature,
577 Mean annual maximum of heat, 920 00
550 Mean annual minimum, below zero,
551 Mean ann. range of the thermometer, 1040 00'
550 We will now proceed to consider the climate of the several districts, into which we have divided the state, in their order.
1st District. Long Island. The climate of this district is remarkable for the uniformity of its temperature. The greatest heat of summer is on an average 11° less, and the greatest cold of winter from 100 to 18° less, than in other parts of the state.
The spring is somewhat backward, trees blooming a week later than in the interior of the state; yet strawberries ripen, and the wheat harvest commences earlier than the average of the state.
* This is the average for the southern and middle portion of the state only.
Frost occurs at a much later period in autumn, than in any other section. At East Hampton, it is a full month, and at Jamaica and Flatbush, nearly three weeks, later than the average of the state.
2d District. The Valley of the Hudson. This valley is remarkable for the great annual range of the thermometer; the heat of summer and the cold of winter being equally intense. The average temperature of Albany is nearly 20 higher than that of the state. The extreme cold of winter at Kinderhook, Lansingburgh, Cambridge, Salem and Granville, causes the mercury to sink 10° lower than in the southern towns of the valley. The spring opens a week or ten days later, at Albany, and above that city, than at the city of New York.
3d District. Valley of the Mohawk. The average annual temperature of this valley is 10 less than that of the state. Northerly and easterly winds prevail in this section. The latter seems to be a diversion of the south, or south west wind, which prevails in the valley of the Hudson.
Utica, in this district, may be considered as a fair representative of the general climate of the state, as its temperature is about the average temperature of the whole state. 4th District. North and North East of the Valley of the Mohawk.
The climate of this region is characterized by a low average temperature, extreme cold in winter, great range of the thermometer, backward seasons, and early frosts.
Gouverneur, in St. Lawrence Co. reports a lower degree of temperature in winter, and with one exception, a lower annual average of temperature, than any other town in the state, from which meteorological records have been received.
The average annual temperature of the whole district is more than 20 lower than that of the remainder of the state. 5th District. The Region South of the Mohawk, extending to the
smaller Lakes. The average annual temperature of this section is about 20 lower than that of the state, and the autumnal frosts occur from 4 to 13 days earlier. Vegetation is uniformly backward, yet the robin appears earlier than in other sections.
Pompey, in Onondaga county, is the coldest place reported, its annual temperature being 31° lower than that of the state ; yet the cold of winter is not so intense, nor do the autumnal frosts occur as early there, as in the state generally. 6th District. That portion of the State West of the small Lakes.
The climate of this section, like that of Long Island, is characterized by uniformity. The mean temperature does not differ materially from that of the whole state, but the average annual range of the thermometer is only 969, while that of the state is 1040.
Vegetation in the spring is somewhat in advance of the state generally, corresponding with that of Albany.
The prevalent local wind of this region is from the southwest. In the autumn it is violent throughout the whole section, and frequently attended with rain; but on Lake Erie, probably owing to its meeting with other currents of wind, it frequently manifests extraordinary fury in September and October, and occasionally produces disastrous shipwrecks.
The extreme heat of summer is very uniform throughout the state. Only 5 places, out of 55, show a difference of over 30 from the average of the state, which is 920.
The average time throughout the whole state, from the blooming of the apple tree, to the first killing frost in autumn, is 174 days. On the west end of Long Island it is 12 days more; and in St Lawrence county 22 days less. These are the extremes.