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raise a peculiarly deep and combing sea, which is exceedingly dangerous to boats and small craft." During the months of June, July, and August, the navigation is perfectly safe. Its blue, cold, and transparent waters, undisturbed by tides, are, during these months, as motionless and glassy as those of any small secluded lake, reflecting, with perfect truth of form and color, the inverted landscape that slopes down to its smooth, sandy beach. The mirage on this lake is truly wonderful. It is not uncommon to see islands far in the distance, which gradually disappear as they are approached. In some of the bays, the water is so clear that a diver could pick up a small silver coin at a depth of over thirty feet, and the whole of the lower part of the vessel can be distinctly seen.
MINERAL RESOURCES.–COPPER, SILVER, AND IRON.—CHARACTER OF THE SOIL – FISHERIES – COMMERCE – SAULT STE. MARIE CANAL – GENERAL REMARKS.
THE earliest visitors to Lake Superior were, no doubt, well acquainted with its rich deposits of copper ore. More than one of their published descriptions mention it. Charlevoix states that “such was its purity, that one of the monks, who had been bred a goldsmith, made from it several Sacramental articles.”
“The savages,” he says, “on account of the quantity of fish furnished by Lake Superior, and of the respect inspired by its vast extent, have made it a sort of divinity, and offer to it sacrifices in their manner.” He thinks, nevertheless, it is rather to the genius of the lake, than to the lake itself, that they address their prayers. “If one may believe them,” says he, “the origin of the lake has something divine in it. It was formed, they imagine, by Michabou, the god of waters, in order to supply them with beaver. In the strait by which it is discharged into Lake Huron, there is a rapid, caused by great rocks, called Sault Ste. Marie. These rocks, according to the Indians, are the remains of a causeway which God had built, to hold . the waters of the river and those of Lake Alimepegon, which filled this great lake.
“In places on its borders, and about some of its islands, we found large pieces of copper, which are yet the object
of the superstitious adoration of the savages. They regard them with veneration, as a present from the gods who inhabit the waters. They collect the smallest fragments of it, and preserve them with care, but make no use of them. They say that formerly they have seen a large rock, all of the same mineral, raised much above the water, and, as it is not now to be seen, they say that the gods have removed it somewhere else. But there is reason to suppose that, in the lapse of time, the waves of the lake have covered it with sand and ooze; and it is certain that we discovered, in many places, a large quantity of this metal, without even being obliged to dig much.
“On my first voyage to this country, I knew a brother of our order who was a goldsmith by trade, who, while on his mission at Sault Ste. Marie, had gone in search of it, and had made chandeliers, crosses, and censers of it; for the copper is often almost wholly pure.”
Claude Allonez, a Jesuit missionary, and one of the earliest explorers of the lake, says: “The savages respect this lake as a divinity, and make sacrifices to it, on account, perhaps, of its magnitude, or for its goodness in furnishing them with fishes, which nourish all these people, where there is but little game. There are often found, beneath the water, pieces of copper, well formed, and of the weight of ten and twenty pounds. I have seen them many times in the hands of the savages; and, as they are superstitious, they keep them as so many divinities, or as presents from the gods beneath the water, who have given them as pledges of good fortune. On that account, they keep the pieces of copper enveloped among their most precious furniture. There are some who have preserved them for more than fifty years, and others who have had them in their families from time immemorial, and cherish them as household gods.”
Messrs. Foster and Whitney, in their interesting geological report to Congress, on the mineral district of Lake Superior, in 1850–51, remark: “That this region was resorted to by a barbaric race for the purpose of procuring copper, long before it became known to the white man, is evident from numerous memorials scattered throughout its entire extent. Whether these ancient miners belonged to the race who built the mounds found so abundantly on the Upper Mississippi and its affluents, or were the progenitors of the Indians now inhabiting the country, is a matter of conjecture.
“When all of the facts shall have been collected, the question may be satisfactorily determined. The evidence of the early mining consists in the existence of numerous excavations in the solid rock; of heaps of rubble and earth along the courses of the veins; of the remains of copper utensils, fashioned into the form of knives and chisels; of stone hammers, some of which are of immense size and weight; of wooden bowls, for bailing water from the mines; and numerous levers of wood, used in raising the mass copper to the surface.
“The high antiquity of this rude mining is inferred from the fact, that the existing race of Indians have no traditions by what people, or at what period, it was done. The places, even, were unknown to the oldest of the band until pointed out by the white man. It is inferred from the character of the trees growing upon the piles of rubbish—between which and those forming the surrounding forest no perceptible difference can be detected; from the mouldering state of the wooden billets and levers; and from the nature of the materials with which these excavations are filled, consisting of fine clay, enveloping half-decayed leaves, and the bones of the bear, the deer, and caribou. This filling
up resulted, not from the action of temporary streamlets, but from the slow accumulations of years. “These evidences are observed on this location for a distance of two and a half miles. Upon a mound of earth we saw a pine stump, broken fifteen feet from the ground, ten feet in circumference, which must have grown, flourished, and died, since the earth in which it had taken root was thrown out. Mr. Knapp counted three hundred and ninety-five annular rings on a hemlock, growing under similar circumstances, which he felled near one of his shafts. Thus it would appear that these explorations were made before Columbus started on his voyage of discovery. “The amount of ancient hammers found in this vicinity exceeded ten cart-loads, and Mr. K., with little reverence for the past, employed a portion of them in walling up a spring. They are made of greenstone or porphyry pebbles, with a groove, single or double, cut around, by which a withe was attached. “Mr. Wm. H. Stevens, the agent of the Forrest Mine, has discovered other workings on the southwest quarter of section 30, township 50, range 39, almost of equal extent and interest. They occur on the southern slope of a hill, and consist of a series of pits, some of which, on being opened, are found to be fourteen feet deep. They are arranged in four lines, following the courses of four veins or feeders. “In cleaning out one of these pits, at the depth of ten feet, the workmen came across a fragment of a wooden bowl, which, from the splintry pieces of rock and gravel imbedded in its rim, must have been employed in bailing Water. “From the northeast quarter of section 31, township 51, range 37, to section 5, township 49, range 40, a distance of nearly thirty miles, there is almost a continuous line of