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THE GREAT REPUBLIC:
BEING A FULL AND COMPLETE HISTORY OF THE
EARLIEST SETTLEMENT DOWN TO THE PRESENT TIME;
EARLY DISCOVERIES, WARS WITH THE FRENCH AND INDIANS, THE AMERICAN
AND EACH BRANCH OF OUR GOVERNMENT SEPARATELY DEFINED.
COMPLETE AND ACCURATE DESCRIPTIONS
OF THE CLIMTAE, SOIL, PRODUCTIONS, WEALTH, AGRICULTURE, COMMERCE, MANU-
TOGETHER WITH AN INTERESTING HISTORY AND DESCRIPTION OF THE CITIES,
THE WHOLE Forming A
COMPLETE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF OUR WHOLE COUNTRY.
BY JAS. D. M'CABE, JR.,
AUTHOR OF "GREAT FORTUNES," "PLANTING THE WILDERNESS," "PARIS BY SUN-LIGHT AND GAS-LIGHT,” ETC.
EMBELLISHED AND ILLUSTRATED BY
TAKEN FROM NATURE, THEY PRESENT A COMPLETE PANORAMA OF OUR GREAT country.
O. A. BROWNING & CO.,
PUBLISHING Co., JACKSON,
AND DAVENPORT, IOWA.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871, by
WILLIAM B. EVANS,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.
|HAT which is most worthy of a man's study and observation is his own country, yet but few of the great mass of Americans are well informed as to the land of their birth. There is a vague idea in the minds of all that the Union is a "great country" with regard to size as well as in other respects, but they have but a faint conception of the immenseness of the Republic. A few years ago, an English traveller, who had been impressed with the magnificent extent of our country by the fatigues of a stage coach journey across the Plains, wrote as follows concerning it, and his statement seemed to take even our own people by surprise. He said:
"Yes, the Republic is a big country. In England we have no lines of sufficient length, no areas of sufficient width, to convey a just idea of its size. The State of Oregon is bigger than England; California is about the size of Spain; Texas would be larger than France, if France had won the frontier of the German Rhine. If the United States were parted into equal lots, they would make fifty-two kingdoms as large as England, fourteen empires as large as France. Even the grander figure of Europe fails us when we come to measure in its lines such amplitudes as those of the United States. To wit: from Eastport to Brownsville is farther than from London to Tuat, in the Great Sahara; from Washington to Astoria is farther than from Brussels to Kars; from New York to San Francisco is farther than from Paris to Bagdad. Such measures seem to carry us away from the sphere of fact into the realms of magic and romance.
"Again, take the length of rivers as a measurement of size. A steamboat can go ninety miles up the Thames, two hundred miles up the Seine; five hundred and fifty miles up the Rhine. In America, the Thames would be a creek, the Seine a brook, the Rhine a local stream, soon lost in a mightier flood. The Mississippi is five times longer than the Rhine; the Missouri is three times longer than the Danube; the Columbia is four times longer than the Scheldt. From the sea to Fort Snelling, the Missouri is plowed by steamers a distance of two thousand one hundred and thirty-one miles; yet she is but the second river in the United States.
Glancing at a map of America, we see to the north a group of lakes. Now our English notion of a lake is likely to have been derived from Coniston, Killarney, Lomond, Leman, and Garda. But these sheets of water give us no true hint of what Huron and Superior are like, scarcely indeed of what Erie and Ontario are like. Coniston, Killarney, Lomond, Leman, and Garda, put together would not cover a tenth part of the surface occupied by the smallest of the five American lakes. All the waters lying in Swiss, Italian, English, Irish, Scotch, and German lakes might be poured into Michigan without making a perceptible addition to its flood. Yorkshire might be sunk out of sight in Erie; Ontario drowns as much land as would make two duchies equal in area to Schleswig and Holstein. Denmark proper could be washed by the waves of Huron. Many of the minor lakes in America would be counted as inland seas elsewhere; to-wit: Salt Lake, in Utah, has a surface of two thousand square miles; while that of Geneva has only three hundred and thirty; that of Como only ninety ; that of Killarney only eight. A kingdom like Saxony, a principality like Parma, a duchy like Coburg, if thrown in one heap into Lake Superior, might add an island to its beauty, but would be no more conspicuous in its vast expanse than one of those pretty green islets which adorn Loch Lomond.
"Mountain masses are not considered by some as the strongest parts of American scenery; yet you find masses in this country which defy all measurement by such puny chains as the Pyrenees, the Apennines, and the Savoy Alps. The Alleghanies, ranging in height between
Helvellyn and Pilatus, run through a district equal in extent to the country lying between Ostend and Jaroslaw. The Wahsatch chain, though the name is hardly known in Europe, has a larger bulk and grandeur than the Julian Alps. The Sierra Madre, commonly called the Rocky Mountains, ranging in stature from a little below Snowdon to a trifle above Mont Blanc, extend from Mexico, through the Republic, into British America, a distance almost equal to that dividing London from Delhi.”
Such are the territorial dimensions of our country, as measured by a foreigner, and that they are in no way exaggerated will be found by all who study the subject. But the greatness and interest of the Republic do not consist in its vast size. We have within our limits nearly every variety of climate known to man, and a soil capable of producing almost every product of the earth, from the stunted herbage of the frozen regions to the luxuriant fruits of the tropics. The ground is rich in mineral deposits, from the useful, but homely veins of coal, to beds of the most brilliant and valuable jewels. The earth yields us not only our food, but the rarest medicines and drugs. It pours out in streams oil for burning, gas that may be used fresh from the natural springs, salt that requires but the heat of the sun for its perfection, and beds of pure soda that cover the earth like the dust in the highways. In short, all that is needed for the preservation and comfort of animal and human life exists in this favored land in the greatest profusion.
So much has the Creator done for us. Man has not been slow to take advantage of these blessings. In the comparatively short space of three hundred years the American people have become a mighty nation, increasing with a rapidity that is almost marvellous. They have built up the country on a scale of magnificence of which they may justly be proud. They have covered it with splendid cities, connected by a network of railways binding all the scattered parts into one solid whole. They have made a commerce and a system of manufactures before which the fabled wealth of Tyre sinks into insignificance They have built up a literature which commands the respect of the world. They have illustrated their history with deeds