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Of General Harrison's " Discourse" we have spoken at large in a previous Number.* The object of Mr. Worthington's essay is stated by him to be to endeavour, from the pages of history, to develope the operation of the great law of progress, in relation to the three great motives of political action,
“liberty, religion, and honor, or the love of personal distinction.” To sustain a constitution of government, “ founded on those principles of liberty and justice which admit of an equality of rights among any considerable portion of the population,” he deems it necessary there should be 66 a community of men, of the same race and language, deeply imbued with a common religion, of nearly equal and considerably advanced intelligence, in which both the divine and hereditary right to rule are discarded, sufficiently armed with moral and physical force to keep invaders at bay, allowing only temporary depositories of power, and guarding with jealous vigilance against its encroach
Every one knows to how vast an extent the prosperity of the West has been indebted to the invention of the steamboat. A sort of prophecy, respecting this mode of navigation on the Western rivers, was circulated in a pamphlet, published in New England about 1787, which, we are informed, was written by Dr. Cutler, though published anonymously, on account, says the same story, of the enmity of Dr. Bentley. This was little heeded by the public, though inserted in the earlier editions of Morse's Geography. The pamphlet was written in praise of the eastern part of the Northwestern Territory. In discussing the very important question, how the inhabitants of this region could find a market for their surplus products, the author names four chan
1. “ Through the Scioto and Muskingum to Lake Erie, and so to the river Hudson."
2. “ The passage up the Ohio and Monongahela to the portage that leads to the navigable waters of the Potomac.”
3. “ The great Kanahwa opens an extensive navigation, and leaves but eighteen miles portage from the navigable waters of James River.”
4. “ The current down the Ohio and Mississippi.”
* See North American Review, Vol. LI. pp. 46 et seq.
At the close of his remarks on this head we find the following remarkable passage ;
“ It is worthy of observation, that, in all probability steamBOATS will be found to do infinite service in all our extensive river navigation."
Let it be remembered, that this pamphlet was published in 1787.
Could New Orleans be brought to enjoy equal advantages with New York, in addition to the immense advantages of its own locality, no city on earth could compete with it. As things now are at the mouth of the Mississippi, the opening of the New York route is of unspeakable importance to the West.
The second route is about to be opened, but will be of far less importance than if it led through a similar extent of country in the free States. And for the same reason the great Kanawha route, which drew so forcibly the attention of Washington, and of other distinguished men, will be last opened, and will prove, perhaps, the least important, though Dr. Cutler thought it would “come to be more used than any other” for lighter transportation, especially for the importation of foreign commodities, which, the Doctor thought, might“ be brought, from the Chesapeake to the Ohio, much cheaper than in 1787] carried from Philadelphia to Carlisle." These remarks Dr. Cutler applied to “ the country between the Muskingum and the Scioto.” Unfortunately, Virginia, with all her natural advantages for commerce, has no Philadelphia on the Chesapeake.
If no great national calamity should occur, the southern border of the States of Ohio and Indiana may hereafter seem, to the steam-boat voyager, like one continued rural village.
We will close with an extract from the pamphlet ascribed to Dr. Cutler, written in view of the (originally) bright and flattering prospects of the Ohio Company.
“ The design of Congress and of the Ohio Company is, that the settlement shall proceed regularly down the Ohio, and northward to Lake Erie ; and it is probable, that not many years will elapse before the whole country above the Miami will be brought to that degree of cultivation, which will exhibit all its latent beauties, and justify the descriptions of travellers, which have so often made it the garden of the world, the seat of wealth, and the centre of a great empire.”
Art. III. – 1. Report of Mr. Thomas BUTLER KING,
from the Committee on Naval Affairs, July 7th, 1841. Printed by Order of the House of Representatives. pp. 22. Report Number Three. Twenty-seventh Con
gress, First Session. House of Representatives. 2. Letter from the Secretary of the Navy, transmitting
Copies of Proceedings of the Naval Courts-Martial, in the Cases of Commander Smoot, and Lieutenants Sharpe and Stallings. January 30th, 1841. Document Number Eighty-six. Twenty-sixth Congress, Second Session.
House of Representatives. Navy Department. 3. An Epitome Historical, Statistical, and Descriptive of
the Royal Naval Service of England. By E. Miles, with the Assistance of Lieutenant LAWFORD Miles, R. N., &c. London: Ackermann & Co. 1841. pp.
184. 8vo. 4. The Ports, Arsenals, and Dock-Yards of France. By
A Traveller. London : James Fraser. 1841. pp. 299. 8vo.
We heartily congratulate the country upon the prompt attention of Congress to a subject, the vital importance of which we urged in the last Number of this Journal; we mean that of a “Home Squadron." We accept with the highest gratification this testimony of the purpose of the present administration to guard the country hereafter from those well-founded alarms, which, in a consideration of our defenceless condition, and the causes and prospect of a war with Great Britain, may well have caused us to
66 eat our meal in fear, and sleep in the affliction of terrible dreams.”
This measure was not only necessary to the repose and security, but to the honor of the country. If another such report as that of the last winter's session should come from a Comunittee on Foreign Affairs, it may make us appear intemperate, but whilst we have a squadron for Home Service, we shall escape the charge of utter fool-hardiness.
Mr. King, in his admirable state paper, as well as in the speech which accompanied and supported it, has set forth in forcible language the urgent necessity for self-protection; and as this subject cannot be too frequently considered, we shall transfer to our pages such passages from the “ Report ” as
appear to us most worthy of public attention. We do this the more readily, because we believe the force as yet provided to be altogether too small for the object. Mr. Adams well said, that twenty steam-vessels would be better than two. We hope to see the squadron increased, not only in the number of the steam-vessels, but by the addition of some of those noble ships of the line, of which the Ohio bas lately afforded us such a handsome specimen.
“ The changes,” says Mr. King, " which the introduction of steam power has already effected, and is constantly producing in the naval armaments of the maritime powers of Europe, evidently require the most prompt and efficient action on the part of the government of the United States to meet this new and powerful auxiliary in naval warfare, by so changing the construction, and employment of our navy, as most effectually to protect our commerce, and guard our sea-coast against the sudden approach of an enemy employing this new and formidable description of force ; and it is the opinion of the Committee that no measure is more imperiously demanded by every consideration of prudence and safety than that recommended in the Report of the Secretary, — the employment of a Home Squadron composed in part of armed steamers. He very justly remarks, that, had war with Great Britain been the result, as was at one time feared, of the subjects of difficulty now in the course of adjustment between that power and the United States, not only would our trade have been liable to great interruption, and our merchants to great losses abroad, but a naval force, comparatively small, mnight on our very shores have seized our merchant ships, and insulted our flag, without suitable means of resistance or immediate retaliation being at the command of the government. To guard against such a result, to be ever ready to repel, or promptly to chastise aggression on our own shores, it is necessary that a powerful squadron should be kept afloat at home. This measure is recommended by other considerations. There is no situation in which greater skill or seamanship can be exercised and acquired, than on the coast of the United States; and in no service would our officers and seamen become more thoroughly initiated in all that is necessary for the national defence and glory. In that service, aided by the coast survey now in progress, a thorough acquaintance would be gained with our own sea-coast, extensive, and hitherto but imperfectly known; the various ports would be visited, the bays, inlets, and harbours carefully examined ; the uses to which each could be made available during war, either for escape, defence, or annoyance, be ascertained, and the confidence resulting from VOL. LUI. — NO. 113.
perfect knowledge would give us, what we ought surely to possess, a decided advantage over an enemy on our own shores.”
This view of Mr. Badger is appropriately designated by Mr. King as “excellent and comprehensive." We confess that we read it with something like surprise. We have seen in time past so much of ignorance or indifference in the head of the Navy Department, that we were startled with its energy of tone, and fulness of thought. We already hail Mr. Badger as the leader under whose commanding efforts we are to welcome home again our discarded faith in this “right and left arm of the country.”
Mr. King in his “Report” has noticed the danger to which the Southern coast is exposed in the event of a war with England, from a sudden incursion of the black regiments from Jamaica.
“In the event of a war with Great Britain,” he says, "the fortifications at Pensacola, and perhaps others, might be seized and held by the enemy, or any of our unprotected harbours might be entered by fleets of armed steamers, loaded with black troops from the West Indies, to annoy and plunder the country. There are, it is said, ten thousand black troops in the British West Indies; and that orders have been issued to increase the number to twenty-five thousand. These troops are disciplined and commanded by white officers, and, no doubt, designed to form a most important portion in the force to be employed in any future contest that may arise between Great Britain and the United States ; and by a reference to the map of the West India mail lines, it will be seen that in our present defenceless condition, a force composed of armed steamers and troops of that description, would not only give great annoyance to our coast, but most effectually, and at once, put a stop to all communication round Cape Florida, or through the passes of the West Indies to or from the Gulf of Mexico ; and consequently the commerce of the great valley of the Mississippi must fall into the hands of the enemy, or its vast productions, cut off from market, be rendered useless."
We have discussed this matter in the article alluded to above. We cannot pretermit any occasion, however, of insisting upon its claim to immediate and effectual attention. Any measures in reference to it must originate with southern members ; and we pray God that they may realize its moment in time to save our common country from this appalling peril.