Page images

might have passed, and found them more unprepared for a sud. den transition, than they were then. The cause that united them upon the instant, was not only sacred and holy —- for even such considerations, although they create sympathy, do not always inspire concert of action-but it was one of those threatened evils, which seemed to embody every wrong, outrage, fraud or oppression, which the colonists, individually, had suffered under their own government, and from which they had severally fled. And now, that this embodiment, in the shape of a gigantic scourge, was about afresh to assail them-men who perilled their lives, and that of their families, in the new world, to escape from it--a thrill of spontaneous resistance penetrated every bosom, and the unhealed wounds of each made every one a friend, a brother, or a patriot. It was this final consideration that bound the revoluionists, as by a bond more sacred and more fearful than an oath-their mighty wrongs — and which, to the astonishment of Europe, discovered them presenting their breasts, at the first murmur of war, like a wall between their oppressors and their domestic hearths.

But, although Europe found i living rampart in these devoted enemies of tyranny, it also found them unexperienced in government, and greatly at fault in matters of science and art. “A terrible interest,” said a parliamentarian, at that day, “may serve to unite that people in what concerns their liberty ; but without laws, without government, and without experience—an amalgamation of elements without order and without reserve-a merely excited populace, bent on mischief-it is doubted whether they can even found a government, to say nothing of perpetuating it, or giving to it, by their enterprise or progress in the arts of peace, the prestige of a name."* Poor sagacity, and still more miserable reasoning! The war swept over. It left the land desolate; but it had spared the sons and fathers of many a martyr. These men inherited or continued to cherish all their dislike to the goyernments, the laws, and other authors of their banishment. The feelings by which they had been prompted to enlist in defending their country, they brought into play when they came to consider that a government was to be formed, and was to be left as a heritage to their posterity. Each contributed his share in framing a constitution. Each detailed the grievances, [giring example in his own case,] which might be apprehended froin vesting too much or too little power in the proper sources. And, in this way, the evils of every pre-existing form of government were understood, acknowledged and guarded against, in the federal charter ; and that instrument has, by its operation, shown the expediency of admitting, on the witnessstand, the scars and unhealed wounds of the early colonists, souvenirs of the false theories of government

• North : “British Orators."

elsewhere, to any logic which might have fallen from lips merely trained to declaim.

England and France, as representatives of civilization in Europe, be it remembered, had not yet exhausted the list of purely doctrinal governments. They continued (they have since continued] to invent, after the fathers of the revolution pronounced their labours complete. The wide difference was, and is, that the latter brought to bear the fruits of practical experience from every portion of Europe, and incorporated that experience in the instrument which they framed. The former, who have had no such fountain of information whence to draw supplies, have merely discarded one theory for another, and are, consequently, behind us nearly eighty years in liberty and legitimate legislation. Having attained the primary object of human welfare--the establishment of civil institutions — we have had little to exercise our thoughts but to develop our genius, and push our enterprise to the extent of our ambition. This must account for our unrivalled progress -the realization of that greatness which is as astounding to the rotten despotisms of Europe, as it is gratifying to every well-wisher of the Union.

In order to comprehend fully this greatness, we have combined with the census statistics that follow, official data relative to the external commerce of the country.

One hundred and fifty years ago, the colonies contained a little over 260,000 white inhabitants, scattered throughout eleven of the now states of the Union. In 1790, the population was 3,929,827; and it is now, (1850,7 23,191,876. Our territorial acquisitions and original possessions extend over an area of nearly 2,000,000,000 acres, or over 2,900,000 square miles. The slopes, or those

rivers falling respectively into the two oceans and the Gulf of Mexico, are as follows :

Square miles.
Pacific slope ........

Atlantic slope.....

967.576 Mississippi valley....

....... 1,237,311



.... 2,983,153 Territorial surface of Europe...............3,684,832

Square miles. Viz:-Russia and Poland.............1,999,783

135,288 Germany....................... 90,620 Prussia...

.............. 107,921 Great Britain and Islands... 120,500 France and Corsica .......... 203,736

Rest of Europe...............1,026,984–3,684,832 The continent of America, unlike the continent of Asia and Europe, has its extreme length from north to south. Europe and Asia have their extreme lengths from east to west, and their river basins and river courses slope toward the Arctic and Antarctic regions, or in directions opposite to the great maritime and commercial markets of the world. The United States can have intercourse, by a near route either with India, by the Cape of Good Hope, or the Islands of the Pacific and China, without conferring any transit benefits on either Europe or Central Asia; but Europe and Asia, trading from the Atlantic or Mediterranean, must cross our continen: to reach the Pacific seas by a short route, and, of course, contribute, by the intertransit trade, to the welfare of the people of the continent. Nature has also graduated the great slopes of America, that even the principal products of South America, and of Central America, must seek a market outlet in the Gulf of Mexico, which we virtua'ly command, and there mix with the products of the Mississippi valley, which are brought from

the region of fur and peltries, to where the sugar-cane introduces • us to the climate of the tropics and their fruits. The great basins

of both hemispheres measure nearly 9,000,000 square miles, of which Europe, Asia and Africa, have something over one half, and the United States enjoys the control and advantages of the remaining 3,600,000 square miles. The basins of the old world are separated by immense deserts, irreclaimable plateaus and chains of impassable mountains; and their rivers flow in adverse channels to each other, and in directions unfavourable to the changes and wants of commerce. The basins of America concentrate their waters and their products in the Gulf of Mexico, in the bays of the Atlantic coast, or in the harbours of California or Oregon. We have not yet learned to appreciate the value of these bounties, nor can we justly estimate them while a drain upon the productive capacity of our soil, and a limit to the rise of our rivers, remain to be ascertained by the hundreds of millions who may follow us.

But important as rivers are to the hygiene of a country, and essential to its soil, man has invented a substitute for the natural canal, in the railroad, which begins to interlace and connec: continent with continent. In this, as in other respects, the American people seem to have taken the lead, as the subjoined authentic record will show.

Railroads of the United States, December, 1851. States. No. of roads. In operation. Constructing. Cost. Miles. Miles.


417 90 12,662,645 New Hamphire............


16,185,250 Vermont.

· 410

13,866,190 Massachusetts ......


55,602,687 Rhode Island

50 00 2,614,484 Connecticut..


20,857,357 New York..............

94,361,262 New Jersey....





[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Too Goo

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]


1,464 987 58,494,675 Delaware ........

16 43

600,000 Maryland.

597 30 26,024,620 Virginia ..........

673 1,180 12,720,213 North Carolina...

359 243 6,947,421 South Carolina.

288 13,287,093 Georgia...........

884 445 16,084,872 Alabama ..

221 659 3,636,203 Mississippi ....


436 3,070,000 Louisiana...

170 239 1,661,000 Texas .........


00 Tennessee.....

388 695 7,800,000 Kentucky...

4,909,990 Ohio ......

2,609 1,582 50,775,344 Indiana .........

1,127 868 22,400,000 Illinois......

1,262 2,017 29,581,204 Michigan.

570 41 16,559,000 Wisconsin

178 200 3,800,000 Iowa......


00 Florida..

54 00 250,000 *Missouri.......

50 963 1,000,000 Total

398 17,811 17,898 508,588 03 At this moment we have in operation in the United States 18,000 miles of railroad, over which, it is computed, cars of all kinds pass 216,000 miles daily, or 67,578,000 (Sundays excluded] annually, and over which 10,800,000 passengers are carried daily, or [Sundays excepted] 3,333,450,000 annually. This estimate may appear high; but when we come to consider that a large interest is annually paid on $509,000,000 first required to build these roads; that heavy outlays are constantly incurred for machinery, to suppiy losses by wear and tear, to meet salaries, rents, &c., and that railroad companies make money by their operations, it will not appear so extravagant as at first glance it may seem.

And these railroads, which are but one of the means of intercourse employed by commerce, and in other relations of life, convey to the sea-board those products and manufactures which principally go to make up the maritime and commercial wealth of the Dation, and, by their exchanges, the revenues which support the government. Our imports and exports now exceed $130,000,000 per annum ; and add to this our lake and river trade, amounting to $586,780,131, which is demestic mostly, but for promoting which the railroad is an indispensable agent, and we have an aggregate trade conducted in our waters of $1,016,780,131. The internal and external trade of Great Britain and Ireland does not exceed six hundred millions of dollars per annum, while ours amounts to more than a thousand millions — and all this accomplished in the lapse of seventy-six years !

We have taken the liberty of correcting the above jiems rolating to Missouri, as follows: No. of Hotels, 5. Miles in operation, 38. Miles constructing, 1,200. Cost in dollars, $1,700,000.-EDITOR,


Latest Offiicial

EXPORTS. Domestic produces Foreign produce $1,668,274 $49 544

67,204 2,254

216,088 172,025 14,144,001 2,402,498

174,1155 ,060

505,904 2701 74,042,581 13,441,875

1,4381 5,552,449

[ocr errors]

Maine New Hampshire Vermont Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New York New Jersey Pennsylvania Delaware Maryland District of Columbia Virginia North Carolina South Carolina Georgia Florida Alabama Louisiana Mississippi Tennessee Missouri Ohio Kentucky Michigan Illinois Texas California Minnesota

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »