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of productive industry within so short a time, considering the extent of our population. Its monuments are scattered all around us, upon the land, the rivers and lakes of the west, in the ships which crowd our eastern seaports, and the villages and cities which now stud the hills and valleys of our older states, in our railroads, canals, and steamships, and in the amazing progress of the west, which, although the forest trees of its most populous parts yet exhibit the fresh mark of the settler's axe, is destined soon to rival the older states in its population and wealth. Although the first steamer was launched upon its waters as late as 1811, the amazing fact is established by statistical evidence, that more than six hundred steamships now navigate the Mississippi and its tributaries ; and although the first steamer, named the Walk-in-the-Water, passed the lakes in 1818, from the city of Buffalo, these inland seas are navigated by two hundred and twenty-five vessels, and sixty-one steamships, some of them magnif.cent in their construction, and of the largest class.

The lines of the railroads of the United States, as we have thus described them, are destined to run along the Atlantic seaboard, and will connect all its principal cities, Portsmouth, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Balti. more, Norfolk, Fredericksburgh, and Charleston, by its luxurious vehicles of transportation, thus furnishing a channel for trade and travel upon the land throughout the whole distance from north to south. At Charleston, Savannah, Pensacola, and New Orleans, we find other lines running into the interior of the west, even to the borders of the Missouri, which will fur. nish safe outlets for their products. In the interior of the western territory, at Indianapolis and Cincinnati, at Milwaukie, Chicago, and Detroit, we find other lines extending to the borders of the lakes, interlocking with numerous canals and navigable streams, and from the banks of these lakes and streams, direct lines running eastward to the principal cities, connecting the western marts of trade with the prominent eastern markets; thus furnishing to the whole country commercial arteries, which are as important to the mercantile prosperity of the nation as the arterial system to the health of the human body. We do not doubt, as we have before stated, that the railroad sys. tem has been carried throughout our country further than our present means will warrant, but we have as little doubt that the most important lines will be carried through, and that the policy of the country, now crude and ill. formed, will be directed to their support by fostering, through local legisla. tion, all those interests favoring production which aim at the public good.

It is not a vain imagining to look forward for the distance of half a cen. tury into the commercial position of our nation, aided by our national enter. prise, and by the influence of canals, railroads, and other public works. And what a picture is here spread before us, if the future is to be adjudged by the past, and consequences by the magnitude of their causes ! The new agents, which have been but recently called to the assistance of man, must vastly accelerate his progress; and with modern nations, years are but as days. What improvements have been in fact made within the last twenty years, in all the branches of the mechanic arts and manufactures, in loco. motion, which have aided in subjecting nature to the dominion of man ! We have full conviction that at that period the rivers and lakes of our country will be crowded with steamships, and manufacturing establishments will smile upon our waterfalls, well regulated by law, and turning out fabrics which will bear a safe competition with those of foreign importation. We believe that our railroads and their kindred works will so course the coun.

try, that to travel to its remotest points will be as easy as to move the little painted blocks on the surface of a chequer-board. The manufacturing dis. tricts of the east will pour their products, whether they be the fruits of machinery or of navigation, into the west by their long lines of railroads, and the golden harvests of rice, and sugar, and cotton, and tobacco, which now adorn the sunny plains of the south, will be carried along the same tracks, to feed the manufacturing system of the east, or the growing population of the west. We believe that the west, in return, will pour

down upon the south and upon the east the agricultural products which will then be spread over the wide surfaces of the prairies of Illinois, the oaklands of Michigan, the rich land of Ohio, and the forests of Indiana, as well as the mountains of lead and copper, coal and iron, which now lie imbedded in the soil of Missouri, Wisconsin, and Iowa, and the bills of western Pennsylvania. We believe that these several products, transported to their places of shipment, will be exported abroad in steamships at the east and west-at New Orleans as well as New York, upon the Ohio as well as upon the Hudsonand that the republic will become a producing and exporting nation, made thus by the agency of steam.

We, of this republic, are cast upon an age and in a country peculiarly adapted to advance the great object of internal improvement. It was deem. ed the duty of our ancestors to toil in battle through wintry forests, with the lurking Indian in their path, and to encounter armies without the means or the opportunity to perfect those public works which so strongly mark the present day. Even after our independence was achieved, and when the republic lay sleeping, excepting at a few points, in its original solitude, their time was employed in framing systems of laws, and laying the foundations of our social state. And we too are engaged in the brick and the mortar, and in erecting the walls of our social edifice. The spirit of our national enterprise seems, however, to be directed to the useful rather than the fine arts. The body of our people are devoted, not to sculpture, architecture, and painting, but to those objects which seem to be calculated to promote the happiness of the great mass. The most perfect models of statuary and painting are still to be found in the old world; and our architectural fabrics are tasteful just in proportion as we copy the ancient masterpieces. But there is one agent which we can call peculiarly our own, and in the application of which, the nation is destined to excel. Just as we are prepared to go forward in building the frame of our national enterprise, a new power presents itself! The spirit of the republic grasps it, links it with freedom as a friend, applies it to every form of matter which can advance human liberty and human comfort, and hails the agency of steam as the bene

and the power which stamps the character of the present age.

In order to judge of the achievements of this mighty agent, it may be stated that the railroad car could be pressed to the speed of sixty miles in an hour; and at that rate it would require but seventeen days for its engines to travel around the globe, did a continuous surface of land encircle it.

factor of man,




No peaceful event of modern times has excited a greater interest in this country and Europe, than the establishment of regular steam communication between the opposite shores of the Atlantic. The experiment, at first denounced as visionary, and which one of the greatest mechanical philosophers of England, even within the last four years, demonstrated to be impos. sible, * has been fairly and fully tried, and its success is no longer a question of doubt anywhere. That trackless waste of waters, which, by the populous eastern world, during the first fifteen hundred years of the Christian era, was regarded as illimitable, or as leading only to that bourne from whence no traveller returns," has become the grand highway of nations. The distance which Columbus, in his first voyage, was seventy days in accomplishing, from Palos to San Salvador, and which the Plymouth pilgrims, two hundred and twenty years after him, were sixty-five days in traversing from Plymouth to Cape Cod, is now accomplished in less than thirteen days! The energy and skill of our countrymen had carried the science of shipbuilding to the highest perfection; and it may be doubted whether greater safety, speed, beauty, and accommodation can be devised by human inge. nuity, than are combined in the splendid lines of packet-ships, which ply between New York and Liverpool, and London and New York. But, upon a calculation of ten years, the average passage of sailing-vessels from Liverpool to New York, is found to be thirty-six days, and from New York to Liverpool, twenty-four. The average passage of the packets during 1839, was less, the outward being only twenty-two and a half days, and the homeward passage thirty-three days and seventeen hours. The shortest outward was made in eighteen days, and the shortest return passage in twenty-two. The establishment of the two great lines of steam. ships which now ply between London, Liverpool, Bristol, and New York, and between Liverpool and Boston, via Halifax, reduces the passage across the Atlantic, to an average of about thirteen days!

A new era has indeed commenced. Enterprise and skill, called into active being by the wealth of Great Britain, have brought distant nations into neighborhood, opened new sources of prosperity, and added new ties to those bonds of national friendship and commercial interest, which have hitherto existed between this and the father-land. Events of such im. portance are entitled to something more than a mere passing commen. tary.

While it is conceded that the British have been the first to demonstrate the superior safety of their steamers on the sea, the Americans were the first to accomplish the passage of the Atlantic by steam power. Fulton, at his

* Dr. Lardner, in his work on the steam-engine, published in 1836, undertakes to show the scheme of establishing a steam communication between London and New York, to be absolutely impracticable.

death, left unfinished a steam-vessel, intended for St. Petersburgh, where the Russian government had offered him and his associates high privileges, in case of its arrival before a certain period. The vessel was finished and fitted for sea, but from some unforeseen cause, the enterprise was suddenly abandoned. Other parties, however, took it up, and on the twenty-second of August, 1818, the steamship Savannah was launched at New York. She was built by Francis Fickett, under the superintendence of Captain Moses Rogers, could carry no more than seventy-five tons of coal, and a small quantity of wood, and was therefore fitted not only with an engine, but with masts and sails, with the design only to make use of the engine on her European passage, when the wind prevented her laying her course. Having completed his vessel, Captain Rogers proceeded to Savannah, in May, 1819, and on the 25th of that month sailed for Liverpool, where he came to anchor on the 20th of June, in 26 days from Savannah. From Liverpool, on the 23d of July, the Savannah proceeded around Scotland to the Baltic, then up that sea for St. Petersburgh, and on the 9th of Sep. tember, moored off Cronstadt. She left Cronstadt on the 6th of October, and on the 30th of November, anchored off Savannah, having, on her return voyage, stopped four days at Arendall, in Norway. During the whole of this period, she met with no accident, except the loss of a small boat and anchors. She made two voyages to Europe. At Stockholm, she was visited by Bernadotte, king of Sweden, who presented Captain Rogers with a “stone and muller," as a token of his gratification at the success of the enterprise. At St. Petersburgh, Captain Rogers received from the Empe. ror Alexander a present of a silver tea-kettle, as a token of his gratification at the first attempt to cross the Atlantic by steam. At Constantinople, Captain Rogers also received complimentary presents from the Sultan.

During the year 1819, a vessel, rigged as a ship, and provided with an engine, was built at New York, for the purpose of plying as a packet be. tween New York and Charleston, Cuba and New Orleans. The experi. ment, so far as speed and safety were concerned, was entirely successful, but failing to pay expenses, was of necessity abandoned.

The idea of establishing a regular steam communication between New York and Liverpool had now come to be seriously entertained by some of the sagacious and enterprising, on both sides the Atlantic. The voyages

of the British steamer Enterprise, in 1825, to the East Indies, by means simi. lar to those used by the Savannah, seems to have settled the question in the minds of the English public, as to the superiority of ocean steam navigation, provided ships could be so constructed as to carry a sufficient quantity of fuel. Practical ship-builders and engineers, after a thorough examination, decided this question directly in opposition to the elaborate demonstrations of Dr. Lardner; and unluckily for the celebrated doctor, the calculations of the practical man, in this case, have proved more to be relied upon,

than those of the man of science.

We do not feel called upon here to discuss the question, whether the “Great Western Steamship Company," or the “ British and American Steam Navigation Company," are entitled to the credit-and an honorable distinction it certainly is—of leading the way in this great enterprise. That is a question which we may take another occasion to examine, when the proper documents are placed within our reach. The Bristol company were indeed first upon the line with their noble ship, the Great Western; but the London and New York company were actually first to accomplish the pas VOL. III.-NO. IV.


sage through by steam with the Sirius, chartered for the express purpose To the unwearied perseverance of Mr. JUNIUS SMITH, an opulent and distinguished American merchant in London, more than to any other individ. ual, is the final and successful accomplishment of this great enterprise doubtless to be attributed. From January, 1833, to the present moment, he has been enthusiastically devoted to the object

. As early as June, 1835, he published his first prospectus of a line of steam packets between England and America. The public were at first disposed to ridicule the project. Nothing daunted, he persevered, and in No. vember following, issued a second prospectus, which began to attract the attention of capitalists. Shares were subscribed, doubt yielded to de. monstration, the requisite capital was soon provided, and the “ British and American Steam Navigation Company" was organized on a solid foundation. In October, 1836, they made their contract for building their first steamship; the keel was laid on the 1st of April, 1837, but owing to the failure of one of the contractors, and other difficulties, she was not launched until the 24th of May, 1838, when she received the name of the British Queen. She left Portsmouth on the 12th of July, 1839, on her first trip to New York, and arrived at New York on the 27th, after a passage of fourteen days and eighteen hours.

No sooner did the fact of the establishment of the British and American company transpire, than the people of Bristol became aroused to the importance of securing to their ancient city the advantages of a steam communi. cation with New York. Mr. Brunel, the celebrated engineer, and other gentlemen connected with the great western railway, came forward with liberal subscriptions. A committee was appointed, assisted by one of the most competent practical ship-builders of the kingdom, to make the neces. sary surveys and examination. Their report was made to the subscribers on the 1st of January, 1836, and on the 2d of June, 1836, the “Great Western Steamship Company" was established by deed of settlement. On the 28th of July following, the stern-post of the Great Western was raised, and on the 19th of July, 1837, she was launched. After testing the work ing of her machinery, she departed from Bristol on the 8th of April

, 1838, for New York, arriving at this port 23d of April, after a passage of four. teen days, twelve hours. She had made fifteen trips across the Atlantic before the British Queen was placed upon the line.

The “ Trans-Atlantic Steamship Company,” formed at Liverpool, in the summer of 1838, put two steamers on the route between that port and New York. The Royal William sailed on the 5th of July, and arrived the 24th, making a passage of eighteen days, twelve hours. The Liverpool sailed on the 6th of November, and arrived the 23d, making the passage in six. teen days, twelve hours. The Royal William was withdrawn from the route in the winter of 1838, and the Liverpool in 1839.

Public attention in London and in New England was soon directed to the establishment of a line of steamers to ply between Boston and Liver. pool; and in 1839, Mr. SAMUEL CUNARD, a citizen of London, succeeded in effecting a contract with the British government, for the transmission of her majesty's North American mails, twice a month from Liverpool, via Halifax to Quebec. The liberal sum of £60,000 per annum for seven years, is to be paid by the government for this service.* Four steamships

* For the terms of Mr. Cunard's contract, see Merchant's Magazine, vol. 1. p. 455.

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