previous next

[179] four hours; were crowded in a foul tavern at Utica; passed a most exciting, brilliant day at Trenton Falls, seventeen miles from Utica,—a natural curiosity, unsurpassed I believe by any in the country, where rocks and water and overhanging trees present all their strangest combinations (I wish you could see them), and fill the mind with the most beautiful ideas. My blood flowed quick, and my mind seemed exhilarated in no common degree, when I first descended from the lofty banks into the deep bosom of the rocks through which the stream tumbles along for several miles, descending from stratum to stratum. These falls alone are worth a journey. From Utica I took a canal-boat, in the evening, and the next forenoon found myself at Syracuse, a village in the interior of New York,—a distance of sixty-five miles. From Syracuse I have travelled, in company with four or five others, in extra coaches, hired by ourselves exclusively, through the vast interior of this State, to the great climax of Nature's majestic freaks,—Niagara. Here I arrived Saturday evening, and need not tell you that I felt, as it were, a deep weight—heavier far than lead—on my mind, from the overpowering majesty and sublimity of this falling water. I feel oppressed, as I walk round the banks and frequent the paths of travellers here, by the scene: 1 cannot look upon it tranquilly; the thoughts which it excites disturb the mind as much as the noise of its thunders and of its crashing against the rocks shakes the body. I here feel the force of Burke's ‘Theory of the Sublime,’—referring it to the principle of terror. I will not attempt a description, for it would be lame and superfluous. I am now writing with its voice filling my ears, and in an atmosphere pleasantly cooled by the motion of its waters. This afternoon I shall pass over to the Clifton House, in Canada, where I shall stay a day, previous to embarking for Toronto, Kingston, and Montreal. While at Trenton Falls, I saw Tracy's [Howe]1 and his party's names on the book, three days before me. I next met their names at Niagara, which they left the morning of the day on which I arrived, much to my disappointment. I longed to see them. Timothy Walker2 left there an hour or two before I arrived. I saw his open, smiling visage in the stage as I was within a mile of the falls. I met D. F. Webster,3 for one minute, while changing horses at Geneva, in the centre of New York. It was a most agreeable rencontre. You may send this letter to my sister. A storm is rising and the rapids are raging.

With my love to all my friends, believe me affectionately


Chas. S.

1 The son of Judge Howe, and a fellow-student of Sumner in the Law School.

2 Of Cincinnati, author of ‘Elements of Geometry’ and of ‘Introduction to American Law.’ He died, in 1856, at the age of fifty-three.

3 Fletcher Webster, son of Daniel Webster, from whose name the first Christian name was afterwards dropped.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Fletcher Webster (1)
D. F. Webster (1)
Timothy Walker (1)
Tracy (1)
Charles Sumner (1)
Samuel G. Howe (1)
Chas (1)
Edmund Burke (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1856 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: