Imatges de pàgina

is a direct one. The Mediterranean lies in the line between East and West, and may be said to connect both. What an enviable position! On the one hand America, flourishing, young, and active; on the other India, surpassingly wealthy, and itself the connecting link whose shores, abounding with good ports, are almost everywhere the fringes of good and largely-yielding soil. Now is the time for Trieste and Marseilles to bestir themselves. The golden opportunity is offered, and the earliest bidder will obtain the greatest bargains. Who knows where will be the London, the pre-eminent commercial city of future times? It would be odd, indeed, if, contrary to all modern anticipations, it should not be in North America, but in one of the oldest districts of the Old World. The Old World is very much larger than the New, is as rich, or richer, in minerals, and contains a greater proportion of richly-productive soil. After consideration, then, it would not be surprising if the commercial supremacy which successively left Tyre, Rome, and Venice, should desert London-not for New York, but for some place on the ancient coast of the Mediterranean. Should this really happen (of course, it is at present a mere speculation, and a few years will decide the probability or improbability of its ultimate occurrence), there can be no doubt that the Suez Canal will have been the great, if not the sole, cause of the regeneration of the world of the ancients.

"Let England not be blind to the probable influences of the Suez Canal. It behooves her particularly, of all the nations of the world, to be on the alert, even for events which it may take centuries to culminato, for she has the greatest interests at stake. She is now on the top of the pinnacle of glory, supported by the richest possessions, the most flourishing colonies, and the greatest commerce of the world.

"The greatness of England may be said to have had its foundation in the discovery of the Cape route to India. This event developed the energies of the nations of Western Europe, and its effects were almost immediately felt in the rapid rise of Spain, then of Portugal, next of Holland, and lastly of England. They are all nations possessing extensive coasts open to the Atlantic, and therefore received the benefits of the newly-found way to the large world. The discovery converted the Mediterranean into a comparatively small expanse of water, shut out of the wider world; and, ever since, the countries on its shores have gradually lessened in importance; England has become rich, while Eastern Spain, and Italy, and Greece have become poor-because, by the Cape route, she is nearer to China and the East Indies. The fact stands on adamant. The inference is as true. The Cape route is, or will be in a few years, worthless for communication with the East, the way by Suez being the nearer and the safer. Our Eastern commerce must decline, as assuredly as that of South Europe will increase. Such must be the case, even should we continue our hold on India; and we cannot hope to preserve an ascendency over three hundred millions of foreigners if we begin to lose prestige in the world.

"Regarding Eastern commerce, a vigorous activity on the part of the Mediterranean States will be accompanied by a comparative decline on that of England; in other words the salvation of the Mediterranean will be the ruin

of England. But, some people will very naturally remark, we shall still have the American commerce in our hands, and the resources and wealth of America are worthy of comparison with those of the East. Granted; but the retention of half a possession is no recompense for the loss of the other half. We may, however, cull some consolation from the philosophic reflection that half a good thing is better than none at all; and in that light we should be thankful for our own fortune. America is now our last resource, and will be the friend to save us from utter bankruptcy and ruin.

"If the Suez Canal had been completed a century or more ago, before the resources of the New World had been known and appreciated, there is much ground of probability in the supposition that our country would have sunk into respectable insignificance, and that the progress of America in civilization and prosperity would have been far less rapid than it has been under existing circumstances. So widely different must have been the course of events, and so gigantic are the interests concerned, that the subject fills the mind with amazement. Whole countries, nay, continents, would have been materially affected, and not merely a British colony at the Cape of Good Hope, as many persons erroneously suppose. We have, indeed, as Englishmen, much cause for congratulation upon the long delay in removing the barrier between European and Asiatic seas, until the present hour, when the productions of America have been so generally and so abundantly developed. We cling to America as to the last hope of a sinking man.

"These are gloomy forebodings for the future of our country. They will undoubtedly prove true in the end, unless England shakes off the foolish apathy with regard to foreign affairs which seems to have taken possession of her during these last three or four years. She must not be content to confine her whole attention to her own island home, if she has the ambition still to be a power in the world. She must not selfishly withdraw her support from her young colonies, who need her assistance now, but who will be her strong defenders or aiders in the future. She must not allow France or any other power again to undertake the grandest enterprise of the day. On the contrary, she must be ever bold and fearless-active and energetic in every quarter of the globe-resentful of every injury, and foremost in every great work. She has been overreached by the latest French movement. Let her apply a lesson from it, and avert the dangers now threatening her, by excavating a channel across the Isthmus of Panama. Let her begin this great work immediately-not a moment should be lost-and the rich Eastern and Southeastern lands of Asia will be within easy distance of her by a new route in a direct line across the united Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

"By this means only is the speedy destruction of our commercial interests and of our existence as a great independent nation to be prevented. The Panama Canal is the natural sequence of the successful piercing of the Isthmus of Suez. Nay, more—it is absolutely necessary for the safety of England. Apart from its necessity to this country particularly, it will be extremely beneficial to the whole world in general, by reason of its inspiring a fresh enterprising spirit of energy in men, and engendering emulations and instincts

of progressive activity in nations. There is every reason, every necessity in the world, for the work to be commenced, and that quickly. The present is the golden opportunity-procrastination may snatch it away."

Then is it not manifest from this general consideration of the subject that we, too, of the New World have a Mediterranean Sea in our Gulf of Mexico and Carribean Sea? And in the future growth and organization of the world's commerce, can we not reasonably expect that thousands of ships from the Atlantic and Pacific-from the combined fleets of the nations of the earthwill associate in rendezvous in that world's commercial place which those two waters are destined to afford? Every consideration in our geography and resources, as well as the rapid tendency to a complete organization of the world's commerce, point to this one great fact. The Mediterranean of the New World is just as surely to supersede, in commercial importance, the Mediterranean of the Old World, as does the civilization of the New World supersede the civilization of the Old. Our Mediterranean will yet have its Suez Canal. It has its new Rome, its Constantinople, its Genoa and its Venice, its Smyrna and Palermo. In short, to the Mediterranean of the Old World belongs scarcely anything of nature or civilization that does not belong to the Mediter ranean of the New World. Whether in oceans East and West, or whether in continents North and South; or whether in islands and cities, in climates and peoples, we may turn to the long line of historic scenes which have been enacted upon the shores of the Mediterranean of the Old World through thousands of years of man's history, growth, and the rise and fall of nations, the commercial greatness, and the diffusion of the arts and sciences-and there seems to be reserved in the future, and to be enacted upon the shores of the Mediterranean of the New World, still mightier deeds in commerce, in art, in PEACE! Why may we not anticipate a superior and more advanced rehearsal of history? Even now it is being enacted, and must go on.

Having pointed out the routes over which the controlling commerce of the world has passed for nearly three thousand years, and considered the probable influence which the use of the Suez and Darien canals will exert in the control and direction of the future commerce of the distant nations and peoples of the earth, and considered our advantage upon the ocean, and the certainty of the world's commerce seeking our markets through the Gulf of Mexico, and from thence to the great cities in the central plain, where it will be exchanged, distributed, and consumed, we return to the railway system, and consider the special industrial mission of our people. We have already said that the railway systems, in their more mature development, will be dominant over the water systems in affording commercial facilities, and will, in the future, control the industry of the world, and therefore the industrial mission of all considerable peoples who build for themselves these most useful agencies that the arts have produced.

America is destined to be the great railway continent of the world and the essential industrial mission of the American people will conform to their great railway system. Hence their mission must be essentially continental; and now that the continent, from East to West, has been spanned

by a great trunk line, and an entire line of battle formed from ocean to ocean in the civil conquest of the continent, a new movement is already begun which is destined to extend our railway system to the Gulf, west of the Mississippi river, and into Mexico, and from thence through Central to South America; and thus will be indicated the industrial mission of our people. They will go forth, as from the beginning, following the track of the ancient civilization across the continent in a southwesterly direction, and thus continue on in their mission, carrying their arts and their arms into Mexico, and from thence to Central and South America ever marching in unity and order with the railways, as the great vitalizers of their industry and commerce.

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A glance at the elaborate and carefully prepared tables on the two following pages will show that nearly half of all the railroads in the world are within the boundaries of the United States of America. The Anglo-Saxon race first put their mark on the western continent at Plymouth and Jamestown, and now they have compassed it with bands of iron. Reference to other tables will show that this vast work of building more than fifty thousand miles of railway has been accomplished within forty years.

In 1830 there were twenty-three miles of railroad built and in actual operation within the boundaries of the United States. In 1870 the completed railroads of this great country have reached nearly fifty-one thousand miles. The present annual increase of railroads in the United States is about five thousand miles, nor is it likely that this ratio of augmentation will decrease for years to come. Wherever a railroad will add the amount of its cost to the value of the country through which it passes, it is certain to be built. In the infancy of our railroad experience there were thousands of obstacles and difficulties to be overcome: the lack of capital, the want of engineering skill, the absence of that experimental knowledge which makes every blow and every dollar tell its whole value, were serious drawbacks upon railroad building. Warily and wearily the companies went on, adding a few miles from year to year, until their roads were completed. But the same indomitable spirit of energy and enterprise which had settled a wilderness, felling forests, fencing fields, and fighting savages, in its onward course, was equal to the emergency of building railroads. And it will soon happen that the American Union will be covered with a grand network of railways, penetrating not only every State, but almost every county and township in this vast territory.

No continent of the globe is so well adapted, in its topographical character, for a vast system of railways as ours; and whereas we now have 50,000 miles in operation, the child is born that will see on this continent well nigh 150,000 miles, diverging from the center to all parts of our national domain; thus rendering the nation more powerful for good in peace than army and navy can accomplish.

The following table, already referred to, is the most wonderful exhibit of human progress that the genius of man has thus far been able to develop. It spreads out before the understanding an art, world-wide in its use, and the most powerful of all man's works for the promotion of a unity of human civilization.


Statement showing the extent and population of all countries in which Railroads have been constructed, the length and cost of these works, and the extent of mileage to area and population. Compiled from the most recent information.

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Population, Popul'n Length Cost in dollars, absolute. per mile. in miles. absolute.




38,315,000 12.76 47,254 $2,041,225,770
1,962,067 13.27 1,407 107,815,774









6,955,178 47,969 11,098,840



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22,458,548 391,174

Cost per mile.


1,576,664 892






Sq. mile to each mile of Railroad.






54,920 2,825.14

8,000,000 166,667 10,873.33
2,758,784 86,212 13,334.56
5,539,140 92,319 1,605.00

201,157 5,807.42








53,918 486.32

52,108 109.69 27,941 446.43







86,317 126,171









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