« PreviousContinue »
VI.-CHARTER OF THE NORTH MISSOURI RAIL ROAD...
COMMERCE OF ST. LOUIS. Imports of St. Louis by the rivers
for five years ......
Illinois rivers, and flour from all sources during the year 1951...
steamboats at the port of St. Louis, from New Orleans, Ohio river,
points, during five years.
Tonnage, Wharfage, Harbor Master's fee &c., for the years 1850
and 1851. ..... FOREIGN IMPORTS at St. Louis, for the year 1811. Amount of
duties paid &c. COMMERCE between the United States and Mexico. Table of Ex
ports and Imports from 1829 to 1850.
1. TRIBUTE TO LABOR. .
BY THE JUNIOR Editor. 2. LEGAL WIT.........
· SELECTED. 3. ATALA. From the French of M. Vis- ? BY THE JUNIOR EDITOR.
count de Chateaubriand. Translated 4. SCENE ON THE OHIO RIVER.
.... ILLUSTRATION. 5. NOTES ON ARTS.
BY THE JUNIOR Editor.
6. EPIGRAMS. THE CITIZEN.
......« DITTO. THE HOLIEST.
FROM THE GERMAN OF GÆTHE, j 7. THE ECHO. FROM THE GERBIAN OF HERDER.
10. FINE ARTS-ITEMS. FROM THE BULLETIN OF THE AMERICAN
To the people of the South and West few topics are more congenial or interesting, than the broad domain, the mighty rivers and fertile valleys of the United States. But while contemplating the utility and grandeur of these subjects, they overlook the relations—physical, social and commercial — which exist between the natural divisions of their own country, and, between this and foreign lands. Like one gazing upon the distant horizon, when lighted by the rays of the departing sun, they behold all forms softened into harmony, and "all colors melted into one vast Iris of the West;" but take no cognizance of the intricate and rugged landscape which intervenes.
We would not deprive our countrymen of the pleasures which they derive from these their visions of grandeur, whether present or prospective; but would awaken a spirit of inquiry in respect to the means of realizing those dreams of national greatness, which they 80 much delight to cherish.
The elements essential to human wants, are distributed by a wise providence so as to induce the inhabitants of every part of the earth, through the medium of commerce, to fraternize with each other. And the physical condition of the human family, the nature of their wants, as also, the vegetable and animal kingdoms, from which those wants are chiefly supplied, are all infinitely diversified by climate; and hence the natural law, impelling the principal currents of commercial and social intercourse to flow in a northern and southern direction. But the order in which the mineral kingdom is disposed, and the peculiar adaptation of some
districts to the growth of certain plants, which do not thrive so well in other parts of the same latitude, give rise to transverse currents which serve as tributaries to the main channels, and, as inducements to social intercourse between the inhabitants of the same parallels of latitude.
The Mississippi river and its tributaries, the former flowing from north to south, and the latter from the east and west, constitute a perfect type of a commercial system conforming to natural laws. But to make this system complete, it must embrace the Gulf of Mexico and the countries bordering on its coast. This division of the continent, watered by streams flowing into the Gulf, abounds in the production of every plant common to either the Atlantic slope or the continent of Europe ; and the quantity of coal, iron, and lead which it contains, is supposed to exceed that of any other division of the globe of equal extent. Nor is it destitute of the precious metals, or, indeed, of any natural element which could add materially to the convenience or comfort of its inhabitants. And, withal, the geographical relations of this region to other countries are not less convenient or admirable than its own completeness. Within a few days travel from the mouth of the Mississippi lie the valleys of the Oronoco and Amazon; both intertropical, and the latter far more extensive than that of our own great river. But the shores of the Caribbean sea and Atlantic ocean are but specks in the broad horizon, which will bound the future commerce of the Gulf of Mexico. The genius and enterprise of the age will, before the lapse of many years, open more than one communieation between the two great oceans; and these will draw into the Gulf a large part of the trade of the entire western coast of the continent, from Terra del fuego to Kamschatka; while it will become the highway over which the trade from Europe and the eastern coast of America will pass on its voyage to Australia, China and other parts of Asia.
Such are the relations of this great valley to the Gulf of Mexico, and to foreign countries; and yet the people of this region seem disposed to avoid all commercial intercourse in that direction.
It is time that the public mind was awakened to this subject; for every year strengthens the commercial power of the eastern cities over the south and west; and, consequently, it will become more and more difficult to improve our natrual advantages, so as to make them available against the capital and enterprise of those who now control the commerce of the nation. In this age of steam and enterprise, natural advantages avail but little without improvement. Ocean steamers are as necessary now to sustain the commerce of Seaport Cities, as railroads are to sustain the trade of Inland Towns; and no system of internal improvement that could be devised would materially increase the commerce of the Gulf, unless it were connected with ocean steamers, and, be the policy of the general government whatsoever it may in respect to foreign commerce, we regard ocean steamers and direct importations as being essentially necessary to the prosperity of the south and west.
We are not sufficiently acquainted with the details of commerce and navigation to affirm that the merchant in St. Louis can import every description of goods from England and France, by the way of New-Orleans, upon as good terms as they could be purchased in New-York. We are aware that many inconveniences are incurred by departing from the established course of trade with foreign countries; but it would seem to one unacquainted with the details of foreign commerce that, if it were cheaper to import heavy commodities, such as liquors, hardware, and queensware, directly from Liverpool to St. Louis, by the way of New Orleans, it would be practicable to adopt a system of business, that would admit of stocks of general merchandize coming by the same route. And we should regard it as an especial favor, if some individual acquainted with the details of foreign and domestic trade, would enlighten us upon this subject: for, in our opinion, it is a point upon which the prosperity of the West, and especially of St. Louis, in a great measure depends.
If the people of the South and West can carry on their foreign commerce through the Gulf of Mexico, without touching at NewYork or other Atlantic cities, as cheap as the merchants of NewYork can do it for them, it will be completely in their power to achieve a commercial revolution in the valley of the Mississippi, whenever they shall resolve to do so ; for nothing is lacking on their part to produce this result but the will and the enterprise. They possess all the capital necessary to its accomplishment. The lands, the labor and commercial highways of the South and West, constitute the capital upon which their commerce is based. Under the present system they manage the capital only, while the Eastern merchants control the proceeds; the management and use of which constitute the prineipal part of the capital, upon which the