Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

1139

CHAPTER LXXIIL.

1789 AND 1889—THE CONTRAST.

The Territory of the Union in 1789 and in 1889.-Its Comparison

with Europe.—The Diversified Climate.—The Essential Productions.-Crude Manufactures and Trade.-The Two National Debts.--The Means of Paying.-Condition of the Churches in 1789 and in 1889.—Zeal and Benevolent Institutions.—Theological Discussions. The Effects Produced.—The Anti-Slavery Agitation.-Commerce, Agriculture, Invention.-Immigration.-Education.-Suffrage.--Literature.—Language.

In closing the history of the first hundred years of CHAP,

LXXIIL. the Nation's life, it will interest the intelligent reader to compare the salient points of difference in the conditions under which it began its first century, and those under which it enters upon its second.

The territory of the United States consisted in 1789 of a comparatively narrow strip lying along the Atlantic slope, extending from the eastern boundary of Maine to the northern line of Florida. Sometime before and

1749 during the French and Indian war, large numbers of ad- to venturous spirits threaded their way westward over the 1763. Alleghany Mountains into the regions beyond. At the termination of that war a second migration, consisting of many thousands, began crossing over by the famous Braddock' road into Western Pennsylvania, and there founded settlements in the fertile valley of the Monongahela. At the same time similar migrations were on

Hist., pp. 280, 585.

CHAP. their

way from the same State, along the more northern LXXIII. road cut by General Forbes, to the vicinity of the site 1773. of the present City of Pittsburg. Afterward, equally

adventurous and bold-hearted emigrants passed over from Virginia and North Carolina, through the south middle portion of the same mountains, and under great difficulties established homes for their families within the dark and bloody ground” now known as Kentucky. These were the only settlements of that day outlying the Atlantic slope.

The opening of the second century in this respect is in marked contrast. It finds the Nation occupying a vast territory, extending east and west from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific; and north and south from the Florida Keys, the north shore of the Gulf of Mexico, the line of the Rio Grande, and thence to and along the Pacific Ocean, to the 49th parallel of latitude on the northwest, and a line drawn through the middle of the Great Lakes, and on the northeast to the 47th parallel. A further comparison may aid the American people to appreciate more fully their goodly heritage. The domain of the United States, excluding Alaska, is estimated to lack only a few hundred thousand square miles of being as large as all Europe. The territory of Europe extends from the Straits of Gibraltar to four degrees beyond the Arctic Circle ; along this circle, on both sides, is a vast barren waste, because of the rigidly cold climate. On the other hand, the territory of the United States lies wholly within the choicest portion of the North Temperate Zone, as it extends from the 49th parallel down to within half a degree of the Tropic of Cancer; nor is there an acre of soil within its boundaries, except on the high mountains, that is unavailable because of the climate for pasturage or cultivation. The contrast with Europe is, perhaps, still more re

Hist., p. 507.

:

[ocr errors]

A COPIOUS RAINFALL.

1141

markable in regard to climate and rainfall, as the United CHAP.

LXXIII. States appear to derive more benefit from the Atlantic and Pacific equatorial currents than both Asia and Europe combined. The Atlantic current furnishes the Gulf Stream, which brings the blessings of moisture and warmth to Western Europe; but it also furnishes what is equally important—a copious rainfall to our great Mississippi Valley. The Pacific equatorial current is the origin of the Japan current—three times the size of the Gulf Stream, and four degrees warmer—which causes the mild climate and moisture of our Pacific and Northwestern States, away up to Alaska. The influence of this warm current, which expands all over the surface of the North Pacific, extends along the entire southern portion of Alaska, and to the south down the coast beyond San Francisco. The winds from off it are loaded with warmth and moisture, and penetrate inland about one thousand miles, passing over Oregon and Washington and through the gaps of the Cascade and the Rocky Mountain ranges, until they meet and mingle with the western flank of the vaporloaded winds from the Atlantic equatorial current. The latter are deflected by the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico, and flow north toward the pole to restore the equilibrium of the atmosphere.

The extent of territory occupied by the United States, and the consequent diversity of climate, render the American people virtually independent of the rest of the world for the necessaries of life, such as clothing and substantial food of all kinds, the only exceptions being tea and coffee, chocolate, and a few spices from the tropics, that have in time become essential to the comfort of the people, and as delicacies for the table. We are also dependent, for the most part, on foreign lands for raw silk and india-rubber. Thus, the North and North-middle

Natural Resources of the U. S.; J. H. Patton; pp. 351-360; 364. 2 Nat. Resources, pp. 369-377.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

CHAP. produce the cereals and orchard fruits, while the South-
LXXIII.

middle furnishes tobacco and cotton, and the extreme
southern portion sugar-cane, rice and sub-tropical fruits.
It is interesting to know that the mineral wealth of the
United States, in its diversified forms, much transcends in
importance all that is in the world beside, thus far dis-
covered.

In 1789 the only means of transportation within the
Union was by animal power, such as by pack-horses over
the Alleghanies, or traveling on horseback or by coach,
while freight was carried in wagons drawn by horses or
oxen; by sailing vessels along the Atlantic coast, or in
scows or flatboats on the rivers. The great National
road, constructed by the general Government across the

Alleghanies, from Cumberland, Maryland, to the Ohio 1820. River, was finished to that point in 1820. Thirty-six

years after the first inauguration of Washington, the

Erie Canal, made by the State of New York, was opened. 1825. It united at Albany the Great Lakes with the Hudson

River, and through that with the Atlantic in New York
harbor. In after years a number of other canals were
constructed in different parts of the Union, nearly all of

which have been superseded by railways.
1827. Two years after the uniting of the lakes with the

Atlantic, was made the first railway in the Union; it was
in Massachusetts, and was designed to transport granite
from Quincy to the seashore. Five years later, our first

locomotive began running on the Hudson and Mohawk 1832. Railroad. The building of such roads proceeded very

rapidly, and in 1835 there were in the United States 1,098
miles of railways; but in passing over fifty-four years,
we find that in 1889 they had increased to 163,362. Of
the rails used on these roads about seventy-five per cent
are, at this writing, made of steel, which is fast super-
seding those made of iron,—the introduction of an Ameri-
I Nat. Resources of the U. S.

700.

[ocr errors]

? Hist.,

p.

COMPARISON OF RATES.

1143

LXXIIL

can-improved Bessemer process having rendered steel- CHAP. making both easy and cheap.

Other items in this connection are worthy the attention of the reader. On the through lines of railways from the Atlantic slope across the Alleghanies, the average of the charge for freight in 1865 was 2.9 cents per ton per mile; in 1889 it was 0.609 cents. On the Western and Southwestern roads the average charge for the same in 1865 was 3.642 cents; in 1889 it was 0.934 cents. The combined average rate of the same on these two divisions of roads in 1865 was 3.271 cents, while the average rate of the same in 1889 was 0.771 cents. The average rate per mile for passengers on these roads in 1889 was 2.246 cents. There was in the United States in 1889 for every 19.34 square miles of surface one mile of railroad; and one mile of the same to every 418 of the inhabitants. The gross value of these railways in 1889 was $20,957,668,032. What will all these items be in 1989

We of to-day, with abundance of comforts and home facilities for supplying our wants, have only a very imperfect conception of the difficulties, financial and otherwise, that obtruded themselves upon our fathers, when they were entering upon the first century of our national existence. The people, as individuals, were poor indeed, and so was the new government itself. The separate States and the Continental Congress were both involved in debts contracted in the war for independence. These debts of the States, as a matter of national policy, were assumed by the general government, but that was a transference made for convenience only, since the debts thus consolidated still remained and had to be paid.

The people, in a comparatively crude way, had made for themselves some domestic articles of prime necessity; when colonists they had been for the most part depen

Poor's R.R. Manual.

« AnteriorContinuar »