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therefore, after having acquired in the grove the of the country been in this direction, the Gulf of magnitude and habits of the forest tree, flourish Mexico would have been as a stagnant pool, and in the green-house again. It will pine away we should have been as indifferent to New Orthere and die, or at least it will cease to thrive. leans and the purchase of Louisiana, as we now So with the moral and the intellectual culture of are to Merida and Yucatan. Because the Misman. These inland basins seem to have been sissippi river runs from the north to the south, it not only most favorable to its early development, is one among the strongest of the bonds which but after civilization acquired the strength to ad- hold this Union of States together. vance beyond its green-house in the mountains, All the great rivers of the United States, lie it seems to have acquired organs and powers, for wholly within the temperate zone. Their basins the unfolding and growth of which the condi- are spread out under climates which call for the tions of secluded valleys were altogether unfa- highest energies of man. Dwelling in such revorable.
gions, he is constrained to be diligent; to labor; The people who now inhabit the river basin of to be prudent; to gather into barus ; to study the Jordan have fallen back into a semi-barba- the great book of nature; to observe her laws; rous state. Neither can the basin of Mexico nor and whilst it is summer to take thought for winthe shores of the Peruvian lake any longer be ter. considered as the seat of the highest degree of The perpetual summer of the tropics presents civilization in the New World.
no such alternatives. On the same tree may be Considering the small area of these inland ba- seen the bud, the flower, and the ripe fruit. Here, sins in comparison with the extent of the whole therefore, nature urges no such necessities, imearth, it cannot be that chance should have made poses no such tasks, and savage man is as carethem the nurseries of civilization. Effects here less of the morrow as are the lilies of the field. as elsewhere must have their causes ; mere co- The people of the two climates are therefore disincidences would be miraculous. It would be ferent. Frequent intercourse between them will interesting and profitable too to trace out those improve the character of each, and the most physical conditions, cosmical arrangements and ready channels for such communication are afterrestrial adaptations peculiar to those places forded by the rivers that run north or south. With and which must have been especially favorable the exception of the Nile, the general direction for the development of those traits and attributes of all the rivers of Africa, is east or west, and of man, which, when fully matured, are destined not one of their valleys, except the valley of the perhaps to make him only a little lower than the Nile, has ever been the abode of civilized man. angels of heaven.
Civilized society can not be stationary. Vaev“ As the external face of continents," says ity is not more abhorrent to nature, than is a state Humboldt, “in the varied and deeply indented of rest, either in the moral or the physical world. outline of their coasts, exercises a beneficial in- The materials of the latter she has divided into fluence on climate, trade and the progress of civ- ponderables and imponderables, and invested ilization, so also in the interior, its variations of them with antagonistic principles. By the aeform in the vertical direction, hy mountains, hills tion of light, heat and electricity upon ponderable and valleys, and elevated plains have consequen- matter; "the morning stars were first made to ces no less important. Whatever causes diver- sing together;" the earth is clothed with verdure: sity of form or feature on the surface of our plan- the waves lift up their voices, and the round world et-mountains, great lakes, grassy steppes and is made to rejoice. even deserts surrounded by a coast line margin She has divided the former into animal and of forest—impresses some peculiar mark or char- spiritual ; and they are antagonistics,—the 028 acter on the social state of its inhabitants."
elevating, the other depressing man in the scale Our lofty mountain chains and majestic water of being. When his course ceases to be upward courses, have served, according to the same great and onward, the spirit yields to the aniinal, vir philosopher, to furnish a more beautiful and rich tue gives way to vice, the force of evil prevails variety of individual forms and to rescue the and the course of men in their social state is to face of the continent from that dreary uniformity longer onward and upward, but backward and which tends so much to impoverish both the phy-downward.
The sphere that lags behind in its sical and intellectual powers of man. course, is hurled from its orbit. History bears
Had the Missouri river, after taking its rise witness to the fact, that when nations cease to under the Rocky Mountains, and uniting with rise, they begin to fall. The laws of nature are the Mississippi, held its course eastward until her agents; they cannot act and be still; aetien their waters were emptied in Long Island Sound, implies motion; nature herself is all life and how different would have been the present con-motion; she kuows no rest, brooks no parse dition of these United States; had the drainage either for her moral or her physical age.ko
Wise men say that she has attached a curse to to the sea. Rail-roads run across the mounstanding still. This is German philosophy; but tains. They go from valley to valley. the idea is beautiful because it is true. We In calculating the sources of national wealth, want the stimulants to energy, the incentives to prosperity and greatness which are contained, enterprise, which a highway across the Isthmus for this country, in river basins, central sea, mounis to give, to urge us on to the high destinies that stain ranges, water courses and geographical feaawait us.
The energies of the country are tures, the lights of history are of no avail. The great; they require some such highway to the canvass is prepared and the easel ready, but coPacific to give them scope and play.
lors that are bright enough for the picture cannot It is for time, and time alone, to decide the be found. The exceeding great resources of our question as to whether the highest degree at- Mediterranean beggar description. tainable by man in the social scale, will not first We know that other places, with the elements be reached by those people who, with the bles- of commerce in far more scanty proportions, sings of free institutions, live on rivers that run with facilities less abundant and obstacles far north or south through the Temperate Zone. greater, have grown opulent and obtained re
On account of this central sea, and its system nown in the world : while one calls to mind the of winds and currents; on account of the course history of such places, he feels that here is room of the rivers which run into it and of the direc- and scope enough for individual wealth, far more tion of mountain ranges that traverse the conti- dazzling, for national greatness far more impouent and on account of the character and extent sing, and a renown far more glorious. of the river basins and other geographical fea
From all this we are led to the conclusion that tures with us, the Old World affords no parallel the time is rapidly approaching, if it has not either in history or example by which to judge already arrived, when the Atlantic and Pacific of the destinies of this country. Our mountain must join hands across the Isthmus. We have ranges are longer, our rivers are more majestic, shown that there is no sea in the world which is our valleys are broader, our climates are more possessed of such importance as this southern varied, our productions are more diversified here, sea of ours; that with its succession of harthan they are there.
vests there is, from some one or other of its The wheat harvest on the Lower Mississippi river-basins, a crop always on the way to marcommences in June; and in the Upper Country, ket;—that it has for back country a continent Christmas is at hand before the corn crop is all at the north and another at the south, and a gathered in. Thus we have in the Valley of world both to the east and the west; we have this majestic water-course a continued succes- shown how it is contiguous to the two first, and sion of harvests during more than half the year. convenient to them all. The three great outlets In the other hemisphere, the seasons are revers- of commerce, the Delta of the Mississippi, the ed; and on the banks of the Southern tributa- mouths of the Hudson and the Amazon, are all ries to our central sea, reapers are in the field within 2,000 miles, 10 days sail of Darien. It is during the remainder of the year. A sea, which a barrier that separates us from the markets of is the natural outlet to market of the fruits of 600 millions of people—three fourths of the popregions where seasons are reversed, and the har-ulation of the earth. Break it down, therefore, vest is perennial, is no where else to be found. and this country is placed mid-way between Such advantages, both moral and physical
, Europe and Asia; this sea becomes the centre such means of power, wealth and greatness as of the world, and the focus of the world's comhave been vouchsafed to us, no nation has merce. This is a highway that will give vent to ever been permitted to enjoy. We have al- commerce, scope to energy and range to enterready more works of internal improvement, a prise, which in a few years hence will make gay greater length of rail-road and canal, built and with steam and canvass parts of the ocean that building, and of river courses open to navigation,- are now unfrequented and almost unknown. more of the buds and blossoms of true greatness,- Old channels of trade will be broken up and new than all the world besides.
ones opened. We desire to see our own country In these facts we see the effect of geographical the standard bearer in this great work. features, as well as of free institutions.
The rail-road across the Isthmus of Panama, As a general rule our rail roads and rivers are will speedily lead to the construction of a ship at right angles in their courses. In the New canal between the two oceans, for a rail-road can England States, where the rivers run South, the not do the business which commerce will rerail roads run East and West; in the Middle and quire of it, and by showing to the world how Southern States, where the water courses run immense this business is, men will come from the eastwardly, the rail-roads take a more north- four quarters to urge with purse and tongue the wardly direction. Rivers run from the mountains construction of a ship canal.
The two shores of the Atlantic have been mos, considers them as constituting an epoch brought nearer together, but by means quite dif- in the history of the universe. ferent from those proposed for uniting those of According to him, the discoveries and improvethe Atlantic and Pacific oceans. In both cases ments of navigation-the use of the compass, the there is a saving of time with increased facilities variation of the needle—the log, chronometers, the of commerce. The Atlantic has been narrowed means of determining the place of a ship at sea, im80 as practically to bring America within two provements in ship-building, the introduction of weeks of Europe, instead of leaving them as steam in ocean navigation, and the like, ought many months apart, as they formerly were. Whe- all to be regarded as exerting a favorable infrther this has been done by rail-road or canal, orence in bringing within the reach of civilization by the improvements of the age and the enter- and the christian religion, all parts of the earth's prise of man, the effect so far as the saving of surface, and in shaping the fortunes of men—the time and the advantages to intercourse resulting destinies of nations. These causes have been therefrom, is the same.
ages in producing their effects, and the epoch is We therefore propose to call to mind the ben- spread over centuries; the obstacles which ignoefits that our people and the world have derived rance and prejudice, the trammels which unwise ! in consequence of bringing the two shores of the laws and blighting monopolies place in the way Atlantic closer together, that we may the better of commerce, had all to be removed, before the judge as to the effects of the proposed connexion passage of the Atlantic could be varrowed down with the Pacific.
to its present limits. But here the means are Rightly to appreciate these benefits which it different; a continent is to be cut in twain, and required ages to bestow, it is necessary to con- the four quarters of the globe are to be brought trast our present condition with what it would in closer proximity per saltum. The task is eahave been under the old state of things,when“cow- sier. The people are ripe for it: the busbandard commerce” crept along the frightful shores man who supplies commerce with her staples, is and scarce had nerve or strength of wing to venture eulightened and free; mechanics are all powerful out upon the blue water—when ships were tubs at with their achievements; the principles of free trade sea, that found it as much as they could do to have gained strength; the blossoms of civilization average fifty miles a day, even under a press of sheltered by wise laws and free institutions have canvass—and when, for the want of roads and unfolded themselves vigorously; every thing concanals, the fruits of the earth could only with spires to make the work easy. great difficulty and expense be conveyed to mar- Progression and improvement are the order of ket. Less than 200 years ago, the roads in Eng- the day; instead of throwing obstacles in the land were so bad, the difficulties of communica- way of commerce the spirit of the age demands tion so great, that entire crops were sometimes for it every facility that is calculated to promote suffered to rot in one place, while in another friendly contact and free intercourse among saplace, distant only a few miles, the supply fell tions. far short of the demand.* No marvel then that Great revolutions in trade are to follow the plagues, pestilence and famine were common in separation of the two parts of the continent whethose days; and that great nations were eager ther by rail-road or ship canal. Let us conto have access by sea to the mouths of large riv- sider some of the most obvious results, but by no ers;--for navigable rivers were, and still are, the means, therefore, the most important, that are to most ready channels for conveying the surplus arise from it. produce of their basins to market.
At present the whale fishery is the most inWhat would the commerce of the country now portant branch of business which the citizens of be worth? what would its maritime consequence, the United States carry on over the waters of the its wealth, its power, its greatness now be, in Pacific. The floating capital annually employed comparison to what they are, had the passage of in it does not fall much short of fifteen millions the Atlantic been as tedious, the difficulties in of dollars. navigating it as great, and the obstacles in the It so happens that we have cruised over the Pr way of trade and commerce as formidable now, cific for a number of years, that we have seen much both by land and water, as they were a century of the whalers, and enjoyed rare opportunities back? The very causes which have contributed of obtaining statistics and other informativa to remove them and to shorten the passage across touching this interest. the Atlantic, are so important, by reason of their
Here is some of it: effects, upon the condition of men and nations, According to the Whalemen's Shipping List that the great Humboldt, in his admirable Cos- of January 9th 1849, published at New Bedfort.
there are at this time out upon the high • Macaulay's History of England.
whaling fleet of 613 sail, carrying, in round nun
bers, 200,000 tons. We subjoin a comparative | a rail-road or ship canal were constructed across statement drawn from the same authority as to that Isthmus, it would vastly benefit this interest the quantity of bone and oil, (sperm and right) in which there is a floating capital greater than imported for the last nine years.
that employed in all our commerce with China
and the ports and countries bordering on the PaBils. Spm. Bils. Wh. Lbs. Bone.
cific and Indian Oceans put together. Imports for 1848,
If this oil, then, instead of remaining on board 1847, 120.753 313.150 3.341.680
the vessel from one to two years (for that which 1816, 1845, 157.917
is taken the first year, remains on board two 1844,
2.532.445 years, and that which is taken the second, one 1813, 166.985 206.727 2.000.000 year) as dead capital, could be sent home across 1842, 165.637 161.011 1.600.000 the Isthmus at reasonable tolls, the gain would 1841, 159,204
be for there would be a saving of both 1810, 157,791
great, 207.908 2 000.000
time and substance: the leakage would amount Total for 9 years, 1.271.174 2.047.300. 20.926.206 to but l per cent., instead of 5;-half the time at
least that is now employed in consequence of Average for 9 years, 141.242 235.456 2.321.578
having to desert the whales to cooper the oil, The present value of Sperm Oil is $1.40 per refit and refresh, would be saved ;—the whaling gallon, but usually about $1, equal to $32 per year might be made to consist of 10 instead of bhl. The value of Whale $10.50 per bbl., and 8 months, with of course a proportional increase of bone 33ets per lb., equal to $4.519.744 for the of profits on the original outlay for the additionaverage of sperm; $2.472.288 for whale; and al two months of fishing ;—the vessels employed $367.110 for bone. Total, $7.356.142 annually in the business, instead of being large ships cafished up out of the sea. This is a sum far pable of holding 2,800 bbls.—the proceeds of greater than that which is annually gathered for three years—would be small ships capable of commerce out of all of our magnificent forests. holding only one year's gathering;—and the cost
We are not able to state the precise num- of smaller vessels, say of one third the size of ber of vessels employed in the Pacific, or how those now employed, instead of running up to much of this seven millions and a third should $28,000 each for vessel and outfit, would by be credited to that ocean, though in 1846 there a liberal estimate be brought down within half were 292 vessels fishing on the North West that sum. Coast alone, and they took while there 253.500
Estimating the charge per ton for storage, bbls. of oil. We may safely assume that two freight and handling at the enormous rate of $20, thirds of the whole number of vessels engaged
or $2 per bbl. across the Isthmus (this is 20 cents are employed in the Pacific; and that three per ton per mile, over rail-road) and the freight fourths of the oil taken, comes thence, for thence to the United States, to be $1 per bbl., or the vessels in the Pacific are larger than those in $10 per ton, the following comparative statement the Atlantic fishery. This would give for the is obtained in illustration of the importance to Pacific, in round numbers, 400 vessels
, yield- this interest alone of such a communication. ing annually five millions and a half of money! Cost, outfits and expenses of vessels employed on a three years The cost of outfit and vessels for this fleet
whaling voyage in the Pacific Ocean. is about $28,000 per vessel; the average length cost of 400 vessels of 2800 bbls. at $28,000 $11.200.000 of a voyage (mean of Right and Sperm Wha
6 per cent interest on same, for one year, 672.000 lers) is three years; of which one third is lost in " insurance, going to and returning from the whaling grounds, 10 wear and tear on costs and outfitz, 1.120.000 laying in port to recooper, refresh, &c., leaving Two years interest on $1.833.333 being one-third but two years of actual fishing, or eight months
of the value of the oil taken during 3 years,
dead capital for two years,
220.000 upon the money invested in ships and outfits, Annual average disbursement per ship, $2.000 800,000 which make no return until the end of the
voyage, is 6 per cent.
Original outlay and expenses for one year's whal-
$14.678.000 The loss of oil, by leakage is five per cent du
Credits and Receipts. Now Panama is on the confines of one of the value of vessels and outfits after one most valuable whaling grounds in the Pacific.
year's wear and tear, $10.080.000 Value of cargoes returned,
5 500.000 15.580.000 In that vicinity and near the Gallapagos islands, the sperm whale resorts in large numbers, and if
ring the voyage.
Per contra, supposing a communication across the Isthmus and Other great interests of state no less than this,
the whaling business to be revolutionized, by the substitution require such legislation as the constitution allows of vessels of one-third the present size and half the cost, and and as is necessary to secure the early compleby sending the oil home once a year.
tion of the road. Cost of 400 vessels of 933 tons at $14.000, $5.600.000
There be those who clamor for protectionper cent interest on same for one year, 336.000 insurance,
and those again who preach the doctrine of free
168.000 10 wear and tear,
trade. Both classes may meet on this highway Annual disbursements per ship, $1.000, 400 000 to the Pacific, and each may there occupy its Loss by leakage, 1 per cent on $6.875.000, 68.750 own ground. For while it would protect home Freight, &c., over rail-road of 48.540 tons, at
industry, it would also advance free trade. Na$20 per ton,
970.800 thence home, at $10 per ton,
ture may as effectually as legislation protect cer485.400
tain branches of industry, for when she places Original outlay and expenses of wháling one
obstacles across the roads to market, she lays a year, and sending proceeds home by Pa
tariff on the merchandize passing over them, by nama rail-road,
$8.588.950 the amount which it has to pay to overcome these Credits and Receipts.
obstacles. Taking this view, all roads, canals Value of vessels and outfits, deduc
and internal improvements, may be regarded as ting one year's wear and tear, $5010.000
modifications which free trade and its advocates Value of bone and oil collected by fishing 10, instead of 8 months, 6.875.000 $11.915.000
have made upon the tariffs that nature imposes
upon traffic. Gross profits via rail-road,
$3.326.050 Southern people have watched with interest the do. do. around Cape Horn,
902.000 attempts made in India by England to rival them
in the cultivation of cotton, and Southern people Margin in favor of Panama rail-road, on ac
have breathed more freely as she has met with count of the whaling business,
They cry free tradeTwo millions and a half is a large margin ; and yet by failing to give their countenance to but there is room here for a large margin. Whe-well laid plans for uniting the two oceans, they ther the national wealth would be increased to are not only assisting to perpetuate the tariff the full extent of it or not, it is evident from the which nature, by the obstacles she has placed in exhibit, that the communication in reference to the way, has imposed upon commerce with the this one interest alone, is of sufficient national Pacific, but they are fostering a rival interest in importance and magnitude to command the most opposition to their own great staple. attentive consideration. The prospect of gain, Mexico is protecting the manufacture of coarse is, to say the least, inviting.
cottons, known as tucuyos—and is seeking by It has been the policy and practice of the this means to make Guadalajara her Lowell United States, acknowledged at an early day Formerly the raw material from this conntry and carried out for many years to encourage was sent there around Cape Horn. Cotton is nurseries for seamen; with this view bounties indigenous to Peru. There it bowls and opens are given to the cod and mackerel fishermen ; and all the year, and our merchants have discovered the sum paid them from first to last as " fishing that by encouraging the Peruvians in the culibounties," would be quite sufficient to lay double vation of this staple, it is to their interest to seed tracks of rail-road across the Isthmus. The other cargoes in their ships around Cape Horny whale fishery is by far a more valuable nursery exchange them for the cotton of Payta and Lamthan those of the grand banks of Newfoundland bayeque, and take that to Guadalajara. During for seamen, and it has never received any boun- the last year ten thousand bales were taken from ties or direct encouragement whatever. It has these two ports by American ships alone to been left very much to itself. Some of our read- Mexico. ers will recollect the fact and we mention it in This is quite as great as the exports of cotton this communication with some feelings of pride, from the United States were fifty years ago, and the that “Old Ironsides" and the United States," in demand is on the increase. It is dangerous to fosthe last war, were both manned and fought prin- ter in a foreign country any rivalry, however cipally by Marblehead men; New England whale-humble in the beginning, to great national staples men they were.
The freight on cotton around Cape Horu * Neither Tehuantepec nor a rail-road from the Mexico is $25 the ton ; with this Panama railvalley of the Mississippi to California, would af- road, it would be from New Orleans less than ford the whalemen the advantages gained by this one third that sum.
We call this freight around route ; and this is a hardy, adventurous and in Cape Horn nature's tariff, for it is as effective in teresting class of our fellow citizens ; are they obstructing trade, as though it was written ca pot worthy of public consideration ?
the statute book.