« 上一頁繼續 »
three and four thousand miles in extent to the surprising elevation of nearly two thousand feet, without the aid of canals or locks.
The next great range of American mountains, and, perhaps the most remarkable in the world, is the Rocky Mountains. This towering ridge, though, more elevated than the Alleghanies, is also more distant from the Mississippi on the east, and the Pacific on the west. From the Mississippi to the Pacific, in latitude forty degrees, is about fifteen hundred miles; and the Rocky Mountains, which crown this gradually swelling surface, rise,with the trifling exception of some insulated peaks, to an elevation of about nine thousand feet. Now it is worthy of notice, that this height is about three times as great, as that of the Alleghanies; while the Mississippi, which is the common reservoir of the streams descending from both, is nearly three times further from the higher range, than from the lower; thereby forming nearly the same declivity on both sides of this immense basin, included between those two lofty ranges of mountains; and hence, the streams flowing from the Rocky Mountains are as easily navigated, as those coming from the Alleghanies.
In addition to all these remarkable facilities for navigation and commerce, the Mississippi valley forms a southern declivity, by which, it gradually descends from the high table-land of the centre of the continent, to the level of the ocean, on the Gulf of Mexico. From this table-land, which rises from fifteen hundred to two thousand feet above the sea, descend the great rivers of North America. Mackenzie's River, flows two thousand miles to the Northern Ocean. The St. Lawrence runs to the Atlantic on the east,-a distance of twenty-five hundred miles.
The Mississippi, which empties into the Gulf of Mexico on the south, measures nearly five thousand miles,including the Missouri as a branch. On the west of the Rocky Mountains, the descent to the Pacific is greater and more rapid; yet the Columbia River is navigable from the ocean to nearly its source; which rises near the origin of the Missouri on the opposite sides of the mountain.
From this general view of the physical structure of the country, it appears, that railroads and canals can be constructed from the Atlantic to the Pacific; or in any other direction, from one extremity of the national domain to another; with such slight and gradual elevations, as not to impede the course of a locomotive, or a canal boat, from one ocean to the other; with only a very few inclined planes or locks.
The numerous and lofty mountains of America, which so beautifully and ' usefully arch the surface of the country, are not only designed to please the eye and delight the heart with their sublime and enchanting scenery; but they are so many inexhaustible mountains of natural manure, to fertilize the valleys and plains below, for the sustenance and happiness of man. An erroneous opinion generally prevails, that the barren rocks and mountains of a country, are only so much waste territory, made in vain; and answering no wise purpose in the economy of nature; whereas, in truth, they are by far the most valuable portion of the earth's surface. For, over and above the rich mountain scenery they furnish,-together with their mineral wealth, the valuable animals, which inhabit them, and the inexhaustible fountains of fresh water which they contain, for the supply of the seas, lakes, rivers, and springs of the coun
try,--they provide the arable land with abundant fertility. No country in the world possesses such admirable proportions of mountains and plains in such surprising extent, as the United States of America.
It might easily be demonstrated, would our limits permit, that considering the present depth and superficial extent of the American soil, and the alluvium that covers it,-in connection with the quality and quantity of the mountain rocks, to supply the waste and deficiencies,-together with the numerous and inexhaustible fountains of water to irrigate the land,—the country will never fail in its fertility, with a civilized, educated and virtuous population, as dense as one to every quarter of an acre. It is an inspiring and pleasing theme of contemplation, to race the indissoluble connection of causes and effects, which Providence has established between the physical geography of America and its people, in adapting the fertility of the soil to the numerous wants of the dense population; which seems designed to oc
cupy it in very few centuries. We
know of no instance, in the works of creation, where more divine skill is displayed, than is found in the wise economy of balancing the action of all the minute causes of waste and supply; and rendering them conducive to the general good. This providential adaptation, no where appears in nature more strikingly, than in the provision made for forming and preserving the soil, which the liberal hand of the Creator has so kindly spread out over the surface of the earth. The geological student will not fail to notice, that this coat of vegetable mould, which consists of loose materials and minute particles, is easily blown away by the winds; and is continually carried down by the rivers into the lakes and seas.
This law operates so uniformly, by removing the earth, not only in the form of sand and gravel, and sometimes large fragments of rocks; but its finer particles, suspended in the waters, tinge the rivers with the native color of the soil; so that its effects are obvious to every one in all quarters of the globe.
The quantity of earth thus removed from the soil by winds, snows, and rain; and carried down to the ocean by the rivers, varies according to circumstances. It has been computed in some instances, that the waters of a river in time of flood, contain earthy matter suspended in it, amounting to more than the two hundred and fiftieth part of its own bulk. By these admirably adjusted laws, the soil is continually diminished by removing its particles from higher to lower levels; until finally they are deposited in the sea, for the purpose of forming new islands, new continents, and new alluviums, for the future sustenance of man and beast; when a more dense population will inhabit the earth. To counterbalance this law of waste and change on the earth's surface, the Creator has so arranged the economy of nature, that the soil has remained the same in quantity and quality, ever since the earth has been inhabited by man; particularly in America, and other parts of the world; where the country has an abundant supply of rocky mountains.
These rocks are continually pulverized by the grinding machinery of nature, by the force of the winds, by the atmosphere, by the frost, by the undermining torrents that separate and carry off the materials, by volcanic action, and other causes; while the continued supply of these rocky particles are scientifically mingled with the valleys and plains, to supply the exhaustion caused by the constant
action of other laws, which waft and float the old soil to the oceans. Who can fail to admire this wonderful economy, where time is constantly at his work, pulverizing the flinty rocks; and, with his stalwart arms and shivering blows, is ever hewing down the cloud-capped mountains, for the sustenance of ungrateful man?
In all this physical structure of gradually arched mountains, and broad sinking valleys, cut and traversed by the numerous navigable rivers, which are fed from the mountains, and irrigate the valleys, he who fails to recognize the hand of the Great Architect, Who has so wisely and benevolently formed this extensive and rich territory, of the first and only free government known to history, must be madly determined in his infidelity. Thus, it would seem from the physical history of America, that it was designed only for one nation, one people, one race, one family,-all occupying one great farm, without any international divisions or barriers, never to be divided or dissolved.
of commerce and national comity. These immense territories are fanned by different climates, more or less adapted to the improvement of health, wealth, and moral excellence; arched with lofty mountains, which drink in the dews of heaven; and after purifying them in the solitary recesses of their rocky bosoms, send the refreshing beverage in pearly brooks and meandering streams into the fertile valleys, for the sustenance of man and beast.
On surveying the physical structure of the globe, we are at once impressed with a strong conviction, that the Creator has wisely formed the Earth into six grand divisions, for the habitation and comfort of man,-namely: Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, South America, and Oceanica. These several continents and islands are so separated and surrounded by oceans and seas, rivers and mountains, that no reasonable doubt can exist, that they were designed to be inhabited by different nations and races; and ruled by independent sovereignties; though mutually aiding and respecting each other; as brethren of the same great human family. These continents are cut in all useful directions by inland seas, rivers, and natural highways, for the facilities
The strength of a nation depends upon the population,-their number and characters. The remarkable increase of the population of America, forms a new chapter in the history of the human family; and contains one of the most prominent elements of national stability. The first census of the United States, taken in 1790, shows a population of 3,929,328. The second census, taken in 1800, contains a population of 5,309,758. The third, in 1810, swells the number to 7,239,903. The fourth census, of 1820, amounts to 9,638,166. The fifth, taken in 1830, numbers 12,858,670. And the sixth in 1840, equals 17,062,566. The census of 1850, enrolls the surprising number of 25,000,000,-including the inhabitants of the newly acquired territory from Mexico: about 25,000,000 being whites, and the remainder are Africans and Indians. The first census contained 3,172,464 whites, 697,897 slaves, and 59,465 free colored persons. The whole number of American Indians, at the time of the first census, who then occupied the present territory of the United States, though it cannot be definitely determined, has been estimated at three millions: and, now, are probably reduced to less than two millions.
These facts show that the white population have nearly doubled every twenty years; while the Indians have
been continually diminishing; and the Africans only slowly increasing. The census of 1850 when complete, making the usual allowance for absentees, and the aboriginal inhabitants of the old and newly acquired territory, will contain. nearly twenty-five million; embracing twenty million of whites, three million of slaves, and two million of Indians and free negroes, with the mixed
In doubling the population every twenty years, the usual allowance is also made for absentees, and an increasing immigration; which some years is found to be in the proportion of one for two births. The census of 1860, numbers in all the races, about 33,000,000; embracing about 25,000,000 of freemen, nearly 4,000,000 of slaves; and over 1,000,000 of Indians. The population of the eleven confederate States amounts to 5,581,669 freemen; and 3,520,116 slaves. This deduction leaves 20,820,609 of freemen in the other States; and 1,641,541 of slaves. The population of the free States, amounts to 18,950,759. The free population of the thirteen slave States which are involved in the rebellion is only 7,657,395. This analysis of the present population shows the superior strength of the United States over the Confederate States.
Allowing the same rate of increase for the future:
In 1870, our population
.200,000,000 400,000,000 .800,000,000 .1,600,000,000 .3,200,000,000
These data reveal the astounding fact, that in the short period of only one century and a half, the United States, which includes only about one
sixteenth of the habitable globe, will contain more than three times the whole number of inhabitants which now occupy our earth. During this period, the United States, at its present rate of progression, will accomplish vastly more in the work of physical, political, literary, moral, and religious improvement, than the whole world has done for the last sixty centuries. Nor can the important fact be passed over in silence, that all this herculean work of individual, social, and national improvement, has been performed thus far by the Caucasian race,-the invincible descendants of Japhet; while the Indians, the children of Shem,—have been constantly decreasing; and the Africans, the heirs of Ham, have been very slowly increasing.
These surprising facts in relation to American population, naturally lead us to investigate its causes and consequences. Political science is indebted to the unparalleled progress of the United States, for first clearly unfolding the true principle on which the multiplication of human beings depends. We now know with both mathematical and moral certainty, that a prosperous country, like the American Union, where all possess an abundance of fertile land, in allodial fee; where all are educated, and all possess every comfort of life, and all enjoy a free government, with equal rights and privileges; with unlimited physical and moral attainments,—not found in any other nation, will double its population every twenty years
North and South America contain more than ten millions of square miles; and each square mile is capable of supporting more than five hundred persons; amounting to over five thousand millions of souls; a number five times larger than the present population of the globe. And, it is much more
surprising, that at the present rate of increase, including the whole population of America, this enormous number of inhabitants, will be occupying this country, within the short period of one century and a half, from the time of writing these lines in 1861.
If we divide the territory of the United States,--which now equals nearly three thousand million of acres, equally between the population of the year 1990, which, as we have seen, will be three thousand two hundred millions, it will give each inhabitant about one acre; which, after making all due allowances for water and waste lands, will be amply sufficient for their support, under a high state of cultivation.
In all probability, according to the present laws of human longevity, which prolong life in some instances, to one hundred and fifty years,-and in many cases to one hundred years,there are infants now slumbering in the arms of American Mothers, who will live to behold and enjoy that day of wonders, when the population of the American Union will exceed three thousand millions of souls; a number equal to three times the present inhabitants of the earth. Each one of this vast number can be supplied with a sufficient quantity of land; and ample sustenance from the soil, waters, and commerce of the United States; a density of population, by no means equal to some other countries in ancient and modern history.
We freely hazard the statement, though it may not, perhaps, escape the criticism of our transatlantic brethren, that the American Union, in less than two centuries, will repeople and govern, directly, or indirectly,-in principle or in fact, the whole habitable earth. If the same ratio of increase continue for the short period of two centuries, and we know of no reason
why it should not,-the United States will fill the world with a population, sufficiently dense, to allow one person to every acre of land on the surface of the Earth. And, at the same rate of increase,-in five centuries,-a period less than one half the lapse of time since King Egbert ascended the throne of England, the world will not be able to contain its inhabitants.
But all our apprehensions of the future, in relation to the supposed evils which may arise from a too dense population, are at once relieved, by considering other laws, which are designed to counterbalance these anticipated inconveniences. Laying out of view those great periodical calamities, which have, and may again depopulate the earth to a considerable extent, the union of natural and moral law will ever continue to furnish ample resources for the increasing numbers of future generations,-where they are permitted to operate freely. For, while on the one hand, the laws of nature, which are but the regular manifestations of the Deity IIimself, are constantly employed in forming new islands and continents, and in enlarging the old ones, by the silent and progressive labors of alluvial deposits, volcanic action, and the coral; that are daily forming new homes for the residence of man and beast,-laws, which, for aught we know, may continue to operate, until the oceans and seas may become new continents of arable land, similar to those now inhabited by the human family;-at the same time the laws of moral science are equally industrious and effective; by constantly improving the social, political, moral, and religious condition of man; and thereby rendering a population more happy and virtuous, in proportion as its density increases.
It needs no argument to prove what