The favourable Reception my annual Labours have met with from the Publick these 15 Years past, has engaged me in Gratitude to endeavour some Improvement of my Almanack. And since my Friend Taylor is no more, whose Ephemerides so long and so agreeably serv'd and entertain'd these Provinces, I have taken the Liberty to imitate his well-known Method, and give two Pages for each Month; which affords me Room for several valuable Additions, as will best appear on Inspection and Comparison with former Almanacks. Yet I have not so far follow'd his Method, as not to continue my own where I thought it preferable; and thus my Book is increas'd to a Size beyond his, and contains much more Matter.
Hail Night serene! thro' Thee where'er we turn
Our wond'ring Eyes, Heav'n's Lamps profusely burn;
And Stars unnumber'd all the Sky adorn.
But lo! -- what's that I see appear?
It seems far off a pointed flame;
From Earthwards too the shining Meteor came:
How swift it climbs th' etherial Space!
And now it traverses each Sphere,
And seems some knowing Mind, familiar to the Place.
Dame, hand my Glass, the longest, strait prepare; --
'Tis He -- 'tis TAYLOR's Soul, that travels there.
O stay! thou happy Spirit, stay,
And lead me on thro' all th' unbeaten Wilds of Day;
Where Planets in pure Streams of Ether driven,
Swim thro' the blue Expanse of Heav'n.
There let me, thy Companion, stray
From Orb to Orb, and now behold
Unnumber'd Suns, all Seas of molten Gold,
And trace each Comet's wandring Way. ------
Souse down into Prose again, my Muse; for Poetry's no more thy Element, than Air is that of the Flying-Fish; whose Flights, like thine, are therefore always short and heavy. ------
We complain sometimes of hard Winters in this Country; but our Winters will appear as Summers, when compar'd with those that some of our Countrymen undergo in the most Northern British Colony on this Continent, which is that upon Churchill River, in Hudson's Bay, Lat. 58d. 56m. Long. from London 94d. 50m. West. Captain Middleton, a Member of the Royal Society, who had made many Voyages thither, and winter'd there 1741 -- 2, when he was in Search of the North-West Passage to the South-Sea, gives an Account of it to that Society, from which I have extracted these Particulars, viz.
The Hares, Rabbits, Foxes, and Partridges, in September and the Beginning of October, change their Colour to a snowy White, and continue white till the following Spring.
The Lakes and standing Waters, which are not above 10 or 12 Feet deep, are frozen to the Ground in Winter, and the Fishes therein all perish. Yet in Rivers near the Sea, and Lakes of a greater Depth than 10 or 12 Feet, Fishes are caught all the Winter, by cutting Holes thro' the Ice, and therein putting Lines and Hooks. As soon as the Fish are brought into the open Air, they instantly freeze stiff.
Beef, Pork, Mutton, and Venison, kill'd in the Beginning of the Winter, are preserved by the Frost for 6 or 7 Months, entirely free from Putrefaction. Likewise Geese, Partridges, and other Fowls, kill'd at the same Time, and kept with their Feathers on and Guts in, are preserv'd by the Frost, and prove good Eating. All Kinds of Fish are preserv'd in the same Manner.
In large Lakes and Rivers, the Ice is sometimes broken by imprison'd Vapours; and the Rocks, Trees, Joists, and Rafters of our Buildings, are burst with a Noise not less terrible than the firing of many Guns together. The Rocks which are split by the Frost, are heaved up in great Heaps, leaving large Cavities behind. If Beer or Water be left even in Copper Pots by the Bed-side, the Pots will be split before Morning. Bottles of strong Beer, Brandy, strong Brine, Spirits of Wine, set out in the open Air for 3 or 4 Hours, freeze to solid Ice. The Frost is never out of the Ground, how deep is not certain; but on digging 10 or 12 Feet down in the two Summer Months, it has been found hard frozen.
All the Water they use for Cooking, Brewing, &c. is melted Snow and Ice; no Spring is yet found free from freezing, tho' dug ever so deep down. -- All Waters inland, are frozen fast by the Beginning of October, and continue so to the Middle of May.
The Walls of the Houses are of Stone, two Feet thick; the Windows very small, with thick wooden Shutters, which are close shut 18 Hours every Day in Winter. In the Cellars they put their Wines, Brandies, &c. Four large Fires are made every Day, in great Stoves to warm the Rooms: As soon as the Wood is burnt down to a Coal, the Tops of the Chimnies are close stopped, with an Iron Cover; this keeps the Heat in, but almost stifles the People. And notwithstanding this, in 4 or 5 Hours after the Fire is out, the Inside of the Walls and Bed-places will be 2 or 3 Inches thick with Ice, which is every Morning cut away with a Hatchet. Three or four Times a Day, Iron Shot, of 24 Pounds Weight, are made red hot, and hung up in the Windows of their Apartments, to moderate the Air that comes in at Crevices; yet this, with a Fire kept burning the greatest Part of 24 Hours, will not prevent Beer, Wine, Ink, &c. from Freezing.
For their Winter Dress, a Man makes use of three Pair of Socks, of coarse Blanketting, or Duffeld, for the Feet, with a Pair of Deerskin Shoes over them; two Pair of thick English Stockings, and a Pair of Cloth Stockings upon them; Breeches lined with Flannel; two