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against his ambition, or suspects him of | Baltimore, Philadelphia and Boston, lines wishing to forward his own interests; but of railroad are, or will soon be completed, should the same project come from the converging upon Sandusky; and from same individual as a private citizen, in- thence to St. Joseph's a route is in contemstantly the cry is raised of avarice and in plation which will be the main trunk from terest,
which all the great lines of the United States Let us, however, look coolly at the diverge, like the sticks of a fan. From St. matter, laying all jealousies aside. The Joseph's, at the foot of the lake, to Prairie possessor of a fortune instead of sitting du Chien, a point at which a bridge may quietly down to enjoy it at his ease-in be thrown across the Mississippi, the route stead of wasting his income in expensive lies through the forests which are to supluxuries in a residence in some foreign court, ply materials for the entire ronte. At or in a palace in one of our great cities, with no other point can timber be supplied for an eagerness becoming a spirited citizen of the construction of the road ; a consideraan enterprising nation, asks of his fellow- tion which makes it certain that this point citizens only to be permitted to throw all will at all events be taken for the starting that he possesses into an enterprise of such point. dignity and importance to the nation, that For the advantage of the extreme South, he must become, by engaging in it, one of a railroad may easily be constructed in an the most responsible and useful of its pub- almost straight line between Mobile and lic servants.
Prairie du Chien. With this, other southThat the jealousy and detraction of the ern routes will join. By the addition of malicious and the ignorant should pursue only two more grand roads through the such a projector, stimulated by a public United States, with their provincial trunks, spirit so congenial to our institutions, is the entire commerce of the South, West indeed to be expected; but it is at least and North converges with equal ease upon proper to caution the more considerate Prairie du Chien, where it will meet on part of the community of the existence of the one side the navigauon of the Missisa spirit which their own liberality might sippi, and on the other the commerce belead them to forget, and certain arguments tween Europe, America and Asia. in that way acquire more weight with The objections to the two other routes them than was just. Unless the republic proposed—one from Memphis to Santa Fé willingly and gladly employs the capital and San Diego, the other from St. Louis and the ability of its business men, to for- through Fort Leavenworth and the South ward enterprises of national benefit, that Pass to San Francisco-might be stated to ability and that capital will seek selfish and advantage in detail, though they may be private employment, or will go on, as in pronounced in one word, and that is imsome instances, accumulating and swelling possibility. These routes, if constructed, to a vast and injurious importance. Is it must be made by the government, and at not a safe and politic measure under the four times the expense. They start from proper restrictions—is it not a measure regions dirested of timber; and worst of congenial to the economy of our govern- all, they are sectional, and serve the purment, to make the contract offered by Mr. poses of the South to the loss and detriWhitney, for the construction of a grand ment of the Northern and Middle, and railroad to the Pacific ? If it is eco Western States; of course they will be nomical it is politic; if it is speedy and voted down by the North and West jointly. effectual it is prudent and judicious; if it But it were a great error to admit that is both constitutional, effectual and eco the route from Prairie du Chien to the nomical, it is also just and necessary, and mouth of the Columbia River, or, more will commend itself to the judgment of all. properly, to Puget Sound, is to be of no
The route chosen by Mr. Whitney as advantage to the South. On the contrary, not only the best, but in fact the only fea- such are the obstacles and the disadvansible one, begins at the foot of Lake Michi- tages of the St. Louis and Memphis routes, gan, at which is the natural point of con- ending the one in middle California, and centration of all the commerce of the East- the other at San Francisco, to attempt ern and Middle States. From New York, them would be to set back the prosperity
of the entire globe for the space of per- | qualified approbation. It is by his achaps half a century. Puget Sound is the count the best entrance for vessels on the only sufficient port on the Pacific coast. Pacific coast : At low tide the bay of San Francisco is almost a mud flat. San Diego is a Puget's Sound may be described as a colpoint of no importance, with a diminutive lection of inlets, covering an area of fifteen bay; and the passage from that point to square miles, the only entrance to which is Santa Fé is over gorges and torrent beds through the Narrows, which, if strongly forliamong the mountains, whereas the route guard its entrance against any force.
fied, would bid defiance to any attack, and to Puget Sound, through the North Pass,
“ The Inlets, in the order in which they is an even track, presenting not a single ob come from the entrance, have received the stacle of magnitude. Without quoting the names of Carr's, Case's, Hammersley's, Totentire reports of Fremont and Wilkes, in ten's, Eld's, Budd's, and Henderson's; they are regard to these harbors, and the compara
united by passages, which form several islands tive merits of the various routes, it were
and peninsulas. All these inlets are safe, com
modious, and ca pacious harbors, well supplied impossible to do justice to the arguments with water, and the land around them fertile. presented by our author.
On many of the islands and peninsulas are The mouth of the Columbia, long known to be found slate and sandstone, which, though for the difficulties and dangers of its en soft and friable in some places where it has trance, offers no advantage to the navi been exposed on the surface, will be found
suitable for building purposes. gator.
“ Nothing can exceed the beauty of these 6 The mouth of the Columbia River,” says
waters, and their safety. Not a shoal exists Lieutenant Wilkes, " has been long known Inlet, Puget's Sound, or Hood’s Canal, that
within the straits of Juan de Fuca, Admiralty for its dangers, and the difficulties of entrance. These have not been exaggerated;
can in any way interrupt their navigation by and it may be truly said to offer very few ad
a seventy-four gun ship.” vantages as a port. The land near it is well marked. Cape Disappointment, the northern San Diego, San Francisco, and Bodega, point, is high, with several lofty spruce and are the three harbors of California. Of pine trees on its summit. Point Adams on the the first of these Lieutenant Wilkes speaks south is low and sandy. A sand-spit makes disparagingly. Its small size, and its disout from each cape ; that from Point Adams
tance south, are against it: projects to seaward of the other, being nearly at right angles to it. The distance between them is one mile. These have been formed “ There are many drawbacks to this harbor ; by the deposit of the sands brought down by the want of water is one of them, the river the river, or washed by the abrasion of the which furnishes the mission with water disapsea from their respective capes. The bar pearing in the dry season before reaching the lies outside, and on it there is no particular bay, and the surrounding country may be danger unless the sea is heavy, when breakers called a barren waste of sand hills. form on it, and a vessel would be subjected to " The whole country around San Diego is risk in passing. The least depth of water is composed of volcanic sand and mud mixed twenty-eight feet
. The breakers on both spits with scoria : the land is unfit for cultivation, are usually heavy, though at times there is and covered with Cacti, one of the many evilittle or no break on them. The south end of dences of the poorness of the soil; this leaves the north spit has to be closely approached, and the port of San Diego little to recommend it is the point of greatest danger. Here most of but the uniform climate, good anchorage and the wrecks have occurred.
security from all winds." “ The principal dangers in the entrance of the Columbia are the cross tides, their velocity, The description given by this expeand the influence of an under-current, together rienced navigator of the bay of San Franwith the heavy swell."*
cisco is particularly discouraging, and de
serves the grave consideration of those of Puget's Sound, on the contrary, who are building schemes upon the hope Lieutenant Wilkes speaks in terms of un
of its becoming in future the port of entry * Western America, including California and for the trade of Asia. Oregon, with Maps of those Regions, and of the Sacramento Valley." By Charles Wilkes, “ The Bay of San Francisco is thirty-six U. S. N. Philadelphia, 1849.
miles in length by an average of six in width;
a large portion of its southern, eastern, and | San Francisco. It is both small and inconvenorthern shores are bordered by extensive and nient, and cannot be entered, except by vessels wide mud-flats, preventing the landing, at low of a light draught of water." water, of even a boat; so much so that the eastern shore may be said to be inaccessible for a The vast advantages of Puget Sound as distance of thirty miles; and this impediment a resort for large vessels, over all other prevents it from ever becoming useful, except ports of the Pacific coast, render it almost works. On the north it is bounded by the certain that it will become at last the Straits of San Pablo, which divide it from the principal entrance for the trade of Asia. bay of that name.
The advantages of this bay are however * On the western side of the Bay of San united in a providential manner with those Francisco, from the Straits of San Pablo, for a of the surrounding country. The climate distance of fifteen miles, the country is broken is healthy and temperate, and the land and mountainons, and the shores rocky and in well watered and susceptible to a great dented by small bays, which are useless. ** These obstructions reduce this extensive
extent of regular cultivation ; but above bay very much in size, and it becomes still all we desire to call our reader's attention more so when the safety and convenience of to the singular fact, that between this vessels is taken into consideration ; indeed, sound and the bighest point of the Missiswith the deep water, cross tides, and exposed sippi which will admit a bridge, the route situations, there are but two safe anchorages, is levelled and adapted by nature for the viz: Yerba Buena and Sausalito. The former lies on the south of the entrance, between the passage of cars; so even and unobstructed island and town of the same name, and is of is this route, for nearly six hundred conbut small extent, with mud-flats, bare at low tinuous miles of the middle part it will not water, to the channel; it is also very much ex be necessary to make a bridge. After reposed to the prevailing winds, which blow at viewing the several routes, by the Isthmus, times with great violence. It is the usual but and by the South Pass, Lieutenant Wilkes by no means the best anchorage, and has but decides in favor of that chosen by Mr. a scanty supply of water, not sufficient for the Whitney ; namely, from the foot of Lake population of the town, or the vessels that fre- Michigan by Prairie du Chien to Fort which the town is situated, will prevent it from Wallawalla, on the Columbia, and thence ever becoming the seat of trade. The population to Puget Sound. of the town exceeds five hundred inhabitants; and, from its being nearer to the gold mines than “ Steam can be used only for the transportaMonterey, has become of late the most fre- tion of passengers to China by the way of quented.
Panama ; the rates for freight would preclude Sausalito, or Whaler's Harbor, is on the the transmission of merchandise. The route north side of the entrance, under Table Hill, across the Pacific from Panama offers many which protects vessels from the prevailing ditficulties to sailing vessels, in the prevailing westerly winds. This anchorage is the prin- winds, calms, &c.; Panama is, indeed, one of cipal resort of whalers. Here they can obtain the worst ports on the western coast to arrive wood and water, and refit. The water in the at or depart from; the seasons there are divided summer is obtained from small springs. The into the fine and the rainy; the former, or what extent of land around this way is limited to a is called summer, though in north latitude, is few acres, the hills rising precipitately, and the from December to May, and only during this high spurs cutting off communication with the period is it advisable io approach this coast
. country adjoining it.
In the rainy or winter season, from June to “ The Bay of San Francisco is well adapted November, every part of it is liable to hard for a naval depôt, or a place for our whalers to gales, tornadoes, or heavy squalls, succeeded by recruit at.
Its possession insures us the com calms and deluges of rain, and the most danmand of the Northern Pacific, and the protec- gerous lightning. Sickness begins at Panation of our large and extended interests there ; ma as early as March, and continues until Debut I know of no place where a natural site for cember; and with the exception of the fine a town can be found throughout the whole season, the whole coast in its vicinity may be bay; and it appears to me extremely difficult to described as dangerous, and on every account select one where the locality would permit of to be avoided. From December to May, the extensive artificial improvements.”
prevailing winds are from the north and north
west, the remainder of the vear they blow from Bodega is disposed of in brief:
the northeast, southeast, and the west ; but are
at all times uncertain, and calms frequently pre“The port of Bodega is ninety miles north of vail; vessels may be detained on their passage,
from these causes, so long as to make this route any one of the advantages to be derived from of greater length than that now followed by the it, adding to the inland commerce by transportChina trade.
ing the products brought on this iron river' “ As a means of communicating with the from the remotest ports of the globe to all the western coast of South America by the agency cities, towns, and landings on the vast waters of steam, too much value cannot be laid upon of the Mississippi and its tributaries. At the the proposed railroad across the Isthmus. For same time would connect with all our seaten years it may be advisable to use one of ports by the railroads that are now constructthese routes, or until such time as the routes ing towards its northern and eastern terminus, through our own territory can be completed while it would also be the means of furnishing and in operation; but it can never satisfy the the whole extent of our Atlantic coast, includ. wants of the nation, or preserve those advan- ing even Canada, with all they desired of the tages we should look forward to obtain. productions of the east, and carrying back in
Next in order is the southern route by rail. return their merchandise in exchange. It must way across the country, by way of the Gila. be readily seen that all parts of our extended The recognizance of the country through which country would equally participate in its advanthis would pass has been fully made known tages, and none more so than the Southern and to us by Colonel Emory, and his
Western States, whose railroads and navigabie that it would be nearly impossible for this pur waters would all be so many paths by which pose. The altitude of the mountains is in it the trade that must flow through such a chanself sufficient to decide the question; but if we nel would circulate. The general governgrant that this can be overcome, the sterile ment would be equally benefited, by the incountry through which it would run brings creased value it would give to all the public conviction to the mind, that if it is not impos- lands on either side of it. sible it is certainly unadvisable. It can never “ The terminus on Lake Michigan would become an inhabited country, therefore one enable the large supplies required for the pergreat object in the construction of a railroad sons employed, as well as the materials, to be would be lost. Again, if this last fact were not forwarded with great economy as well as facilthe case, the proposed terminus on the Pacificity of transportation, and secure the necessary at the port of San Diego would never accom
timber for the constructiсn of the road. The modate the trade, and half or two-thirds of the country for the first eight hundred miles is ships would not be able to enter. The port is admirably adapted for the purpose, offering no inadequate for the commerce that such an in- impediments whatever; and after this distance tercourse would bring about; and the country such a route will offer as to place the whole around can never furnish the necessary sup. country on the eastern slope of the Rocky plies. The proposition for terminating it at Mountains subservient to its use and support, San Francisco is equally objectionable, and a portion of the country, from the accounts of amounts to an impossibility on account of the those who have visited it, surpassed by none high mountain ranges which surround it. in fruitfulness or climate.The passage
· We now come to the last or most northern through the mountains is known to be withroute. Nature here invites the enterprise. out difficulty, and the course to the point of its The distance is the shortest; it has few if any destination almost a direct line until the lower difficulties to overcome ; the lands it would waters of the Columbia are reached, when a pass through are some of the best in the west short divergence brings it to a terminus on the ern country; and the greater part of the whole waters of Puget's Sound—as I before remarkdistance can become densely populated, and ed. one of the most noble estuaries in the opens out an entirely new country, towards world; withoui a danger of any kind to impede which our own population and the emigrants navigation, with a surrounding country capable are even now wending their way in tens of of affording all kinds of supplies, harbors withthousands, seeking a quiet home from the trou out obstructions at any season of the year, and bles of the Old World.
a climate unsurpassed in salubrity." “ The northern route contemplated has a delightful climate, suitable for the full development of the human frame, and all the accom
Having thus ascertained which route is paniments of civilization. It has been found to be preferred, if a land route is attempted by examination to be practicable throughout at all, it remains next to lay before the the whole distance, and at its western terminus reader in the least possible compass, the there are excellent ports. All the great bar- arguments offered against attempting a riers on other routes are on this line either
communication with China or the Pacific modified into gentle hills or rent asunder, and the way is thus made clear for the undertaking. generally, by any routes across the IsthThe construction of this road across the headwaters of all the great rivers, touching the
A correspondent of the New York limits of their navigation, will at once satisfy | Herald has communicated to that paper
of June 5th, 1849, information in regard | 300 miles nearer still ; but this differto the route by which a railroad from ence of time and of distance would not Memphis would be taken over the moun pay
expense of the delay, the breaking tains to the harbor of San Diego. He up of the cargo, the land or canal carriage tells us that Lieutenant Beall, who has across the Isthmus, the employment of travelled the several overland routes, de another set of vessels on the Pacific side, scribes the Gila River route as impractica- and ti.e division of the profits of the ble for a railroad ; that a railroad along voyage in consequence between carriers by the summits of the Palisades on the high land and two different carriers by water. lands of the Hudson, passing the inequali To this, add that in consequence of a more lies by bridges, would be more feasible favorable trade winds and currents, the than a railway down the valley of the homeward voyage by Cape Horn would Gila. This river flows for miles through he 168 miles nearer than that by the deep and narrow channels or canones. Isthmus. Precipitous cliffs overhang its waters, and If these calculations are to be trusted the rocks form a chain of peaks and pre British commerce will always prefer the cipices along its entire length. We may, Cape route to Valparaiso. Again, by the therefore, conclude with certainty that a computations of Professor Wittish, the road passing through Santa Fe, to the distance from Sydney in New Holland to Pacific will never be attempted. Mem- England, via Cape Horn, with favorable phis will consequently be no longer sailing is 13,830 miles ; time 136 days; thought of as a point of departure for the whereas by a canal at Nicaragua it is main trunk of the Pacific railroad, though 15,848 miles; time 138 days, the sailing it is extremely probable that in the event being more favorable ; to which must be of the completion of the main trunk from added transportation dues, the breaking Lake Michigan, branches will be con up of cargoes, the employment of another structed to unite with it both from Mem- set of vessels, and the consequent division phis and from St. Louis.
of profits among several hands. But of all the arguments in favor of Let us now examine Professor Wittish's the northern route across the continent calculations of distance from England to from Michigan to Puget Sound, none are Singapore in Hindoostan, via the Cape of more satisfactory than those derived from Good Hope with favorable winds. Com& comparison of distances ; for if any paring these with the same voyage, via the person interested in the inquiry will take canal at Nicaragua, also during favorable an artificial globe, and measure with a winds, the first is 13,350, the second string or a pair of compasses, making is 17,738 miles; the time of the first is short steps, the various distances from 128, and of the second 131 days. These the British Channel to Canton, he will differences against the route by the profind that by the overland route from New posed canal, with the tolls and the exYork, or Boston, to Puget Sound across the penses of transshipment &c., make it Continent, the distance to be passed over almost certain that English commerce in direct travel, is some 2000 miles less will always make the voyage to India by than the voyage, either by the Cape of the Cape of Good Hope. To this, add Good Hope, the Isthmus of Panama, also, that the homeward voyage by the Cape Horn, or the Mediterranean. Cape of Good Hope is 17 days less than
The calculations of Professor Wittish, | the outward voyage. of London University, which were made We are next to examine the comparison for a proposed canal at Nicaragua, give of routes from China to England, by the the distance from England to Valpa- Cape of Good Hope with favorable sailraiso, via Cape Horn, at 9400 miles, ing. The voyage from China to England 117 days of ordinary sailing; but the by the Cape of Good Hope is 13,370 distance from England to Valparaiso by miles; favorable time 107 days. From the proposed canal at Nicaragua, would China to England by the Isthmus canal, be 442 miles less, and 11 days sooner in favorable sailing 15,557 miles; time 129 consequence of a more favorable naviga- days. A difference of 2228 miles, and tion. A route across Panama would be | 22 days against the Isthmus route, with