WHITE MOUNTAIN RANGE FROM MILAN.
What would the world be without mountains? Geographically, one vast monotony of unchanging surface; geologically, a desert waste. Mountains are the rib-bones of the great skeleton of nature, and they hold together the gorgeous outline of river, valley, lake, and savannah that gives the earth all its varied beauty. Beautiful and grand as they are, they are as useful as ornamental, and serve a momentous necessity in mundane affairs. They are grand landmarks of the Almighty's power and mercy and goodness, and historically occupy a high position in the lives of nations.
The seers and saints of the old time speak of the strength of the hills as if they were the special gifts of the Creator to his favored people for their defence. The history of later nations has shown us that they have found more in the strength of the hills than defences against the attacks of outside enemies; that they have drawn from them a moral vigor of character, a keenness and activity of intellect, and a love of country, which has produced the most enduring and elevated patriotism. And, indeed, we must bless God for mountains; those who live near them are larger, better, nobler than the denizens of the plains. "Flee to the mountains," cried the angel to Lot. Ah! there was meaning in the command. Men stagnate upon the plain; they grow indolent, sensual, mediocre there, and are only vivified as they seek the great alphabet of nature, as they pulsate with her in her wondrous heart-beats. It has been the mountain men who have ruled the world.
New Hampshire is a land of mountains. She is indeed throned among the hills, and well deserves the title of the "Switzerland of America." Her cloud-capped peaks, even in mid-summer, glisten with frosts and snows of winter, and they stand watchful sentinels over the liberties of her children. Our Alps are the White Mountains, and they hold no mean place beside their rivals in the old world. Their lofty elevation, their geological formation, the wild and romantic scenery in their vicinity, and their legends of white and red men, all concur to render them peculiarly interesting.
OWL'S HEAD AND MOOSILAUKE, WARREN, N.H.
The White Mountain range is located in Coos, Grafton, and Carroll Counties, covering an area of about two thousand square miles, or nearly a third of the northern section of the State. Four of the largest rivers of New England receive tributaries from its streams, and one has its principal source in this region. The peaks cluster in two groups, the eastern or White Mountain group proper, and the Franconia group, separated from each other by a tableland varying from ten to twenty miles in breadth. These mountains differ from most others in being purely of a primitive origin. They are probably the most ancient mountains in the world; not even the organic remains of the transition period have ever been discovered near them; and they are essentially of granitic formation. Underneath these coherent and indurate ledges the most valuble ores exist, but coal and fossils are searched for in vain. Many a change during the geological periods have these granite mountains looked upon. They have seen fire and water successively sweep over the surface of our globe. Devastating epochs passed, continents sunk and rose, and mountains were piled on mountains in the dread chaos, but these stood firm and undaunted, though scarred and seamed by glaciers, and washed by the billows of a primeval sea, presenting nearly the same contour that they do to-day. They are the Methuselahs among mountains.