"Imagine a surface several leagues wide, water transparent and still, everywhere surrounded by thick woods whose roots it bathes, not a sail on the lake, not a house on its banks, not a wisp of smoke above the forest; perfect calm, a tranquility as utter and complete as it should be at the beginning of the world. A mile from shore we discovered our island, it was only a tufted thicket in which it was impossible to perceive the least trace of a clearing."
Tocqueville (Pierson 198)
"From Auburn we have come in a straight line to Canandagua [sic] and during this journey of ten to twelve leagues we saw nothing which merits particular mention unless it be the three charming lakes near which we passed. The first is Lake Seneca which is not far from Auburn; the second is Lake Geneva situated a little farther on. It lies at the foot of a hill on which a charming little town, which bears its name, is being built. To reach the town you have to cross the lake on a bridge which is half a league long. This bridge is rudely constructed an has nothing remarkable about it except its length. My third lake is Lake Cananda[i]gua, which has given its name to a small town near by where I am at this moment. This last lake is the prettiest of the three; perhaps even above all those I have seen to date, not excepting Lake Oneida. You see here and there on its banks country houses placed on the most picturesque sites, and three mountain ranges at varying distances forming a fine background for the rest of the picture. Cananda[i]gua is on the road from Auburn to Buffalo, whither we wish to go in order then to betake ourselves to Niagara, whose famous falls must necessarily have our visit."
Beaumont, letter to his family (Pierson 216)
"The nineteenth of July, at ten in the morning, we go on board the steamboat Ohio, heading for Detroit. A very strong breeze was blowing from the northwest and gave to the waters of Lake Erie the appearance of ocean waves. To the right stretched a boundless horizon; on the left we hugged the southern shores of the lake, often within shouting distance. These shores were perfectly flat, and differed from those of all the lakes that Ihad had occasion to visit in Europe. They didn't resemble the seashore either. Immense forests shadowed them and made about the lake a thick and rarely broken belt. From time to time, however, the aspect of the country suddenly changes. On turning a wood one sights the elegant spire of a steeple, some houses shining white and neat, some shops. Two paces further on, the forest, primitive and apparently impenetrable, resumes its sway and once more reflects its foliage in the waters of the lake."
Tocqueville (Pierson 235-236)
"The immense stretch of coast that we had just passed does not present a single noteworthy view. It is a plain covered with forests. The ensemble, however, produces a profound and durable impression. This lake without sails, this shore which does not yet show any trace of the passage of man, this eternal forest which borders it; all that, I assure you, is not grand in poetry only; it's the most extraordinary spectacle that I have seen in my life. These regions, which yet form only an immense wilderness, will become one of the richest and most powerful countries in the world. One can affirm it without being a prophet. Nature has done everything here. A fertile soil, and outlets like to which there are no others in the world. Nothing is missing except civilized man, and he is at the door."
Tocqueville (Pierson 294)