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Foreign Literature, science and Art.
From the Quarterly Review. on the Forth and Clyde canal, succeeded in really esATLANTIC STEAM NAVIGATION.
tablishing a steam-boat on the river Hudson,
New York and Albany, a distance of about 150 miles. 1. The Progress of the Nation, in its various Socialand His speed was only six or seven miles the hour; but
Economical Relations, from the beginning of the how astounding must it have been to the unbelieving Nineteenth Century to the Present Time. By G. R. and jesting crowds on the river-side who witnessed Porter, Esq., F. R. S. Sect. III. Interchange. the commencement of the project, when they were London. 1838.
compelled to acknowledge its execution! We have 2. A brief Memoir of the Growth, Progress, and Ex-heard it lately stated, that of the two members of a
tent of the Trade between the United Kingdom and leading New York firm in these times, one started for the United States of America, from the beginning of Albany and the other for Bristol, on the same daythe Eighteenth Century to the Present Time, &c. &c. each by sailing-packet-and, each being sixteen days By G. R. Porter. 1837.
on the voyage, the passage to Europe was accomplish3. Advantages of Counter Exchange with the United ed in the same time with that between the commercial States of America. By S. Revans. London. 1838. metropolis' of the new world and the legislative capital
of the same state. Mr. Porter enumerates thirty-nine To us the most interesting portion in the first-named steam-boats as now belonging to the port of New of these publications, is the account Mr. Porter gives York. Our own inquiries may be more recent, and a of the progress of our means of transportation, chiefly year or two is a matter of some moment in these matwithin the last twenty or thirty years. The world has ters, especially in America, where the whole aspect of seen nothing like it before; and we can scarcely expect their kaleidescope society changes as it were at a jar, that it ever will again--since the period includes, almost while the book of the man who undertakes to deamong other things, the entire history of the practical scribe it is going through the press: we should set down application of steam to navigation. Much the same about sixty steam-boats for New York. A daily jourmay be said of the railways, for, as Mr. Porter re- nal from that busy emporium now before is speaks of marks, those which existed previous to 1800 were, the starting of some ten or a dozen for Albany, at the without exception, private undertakings, and compara- same hour, and of an equal number seen meanwhile tively small ones, each being 'confined to the use of crossing the water in various other directions; most of the establishment-generally a colliery—in which it them, be it considered, boats that may well be called occurred;' the public works are all creations of the floating palaces.' And again, looking to the interior present century. In 1801 the first Act of Parliament of that country—a country that would seem almost to for the construction of a public railway was passed. have been made for steam-boat navigation, even more Since that time nearly two hundred have followed it; than steam-navigation for it-vhat a spectacle do we and among these enterprises there are three, of which there behold of victorious science, energy, and art, alone the estimated cost—and they are expected to be making, it would seem, their proud triumphal marches, finished during the present season-amounts to about their progresses!' Instinct with all but life, nine millions sterling!
'Tramp, tramp, along the land they ride, On the water the triumphs of modern art and enter- Splash, splash, across the sea;' prise have been still more conspicuous. Thirty years everywhere rejoicingly rushing on, as if, with all their ago Fulton, after witnessing Mr. Miller's experiments flying flags and noisy engines of speed, themselves to VOL. XXXIV.-SEPTEMBER, 1838.
celebrate the advent of that civilization which they do ions. There are, at this hour, scarcely two ports in so much to extend. There are now about forty Ame- the United Kingdom of any consideration, between rican steam-boats on Lake Erie alone. On the Mis- which steam-boats do not regularly ply. In 1818 the sissippi waters, where, twenty years since, there was most sanguine never dreamed of their being available no such thing as a regular line known, there are now for much more than inland navigation, with here and 300 boats at the smallest calculation; we have indeed there a little circumspect sallying out and skirmishing seen the number rated nearly twice as high. Twenty- along the curves of the coast (something after the style five years ago the adventurer who thought of ascend of the ancients). Who could then have conceived ing the mighty stream of the Father of Waters' pre- that, in 1838, the time-honoured and world-renowned pared himself for a sort of campaign. His packet dynasty of sailing navigation would have been so might tarry at some village on the banks, for wood ruthlessly overthrown by these most irresistible of all and water—or a frolic-longer than he would now be revolutionists,—that, not for purposes of travel only, in the entire voyage from New Orleans to Cincinnati. but in a great measure for those of trade (in all the The distance up from Louisville to the city just named | least bulky articles of commerce), the new system (where it is no unusual thing to see twenty or thirty should have entirely usurped the place of the old? steam-boats lying together)—itself, one may say, a Who could have believed that by this medium would product of this same steam-navigation—is about 150 be maintained our regular communication with all the miles, and is commonly accomplished, we believe, like neighbouring ports on the continent, and through them the same distance between New York and Albany, in with Europe at large?—that every week at least-in ten hours. We have before us an authentic paragraph some cases, daily-London boats would be visiting announcing the arrival of a boat in twenty-six hours, Hamburgh, Holland, Belgium, the French coast, Lisdown to Cincinnati, from Wheeling, 400 miles on the bon, and Cadiz?—that steam-ships would have comother side! What a conception do even these trifles passed, on one hand, the whole 10,000 miles of the give us of the importance of the revolution introduced route to India round the Cape of Good Hope, while by the use of steam in navigation, and especially to a overland advices, by help of the same marvellous population and a country having at once such necessi- agency, were travelling from London to Bombay in ties and such capacities for as those of the United between forty and fifty days?—that, adding a bit of a States!
rail-road between Cairo and Suez (eighty miles), and Returning homeward, in this island, where in 1812 driving the dromedaries off the line (Porter, p. 55), we had but a single steam-boat-a sınall shabby con- people would be calculating' upon sending light goods cern called the Comet, running between Glasgow and from Bombay to Marseilles in thirty days?—and that, Greenock-in 1836 there were 388. Mr. Porter esti- finally, the same dauntless “triply-mailed' enterprise mates the whole number in the British empire at 500; which has wrought all these wonders, more and more but he does not take notice of Government steamers, impatient of any limits to its range round the globe, and the general catalogue must have been largely in more and more emboldened by its success, should rush creased since his tables were made out. The immense forth at length on the broad Atlantic itself-reducing amount of duty' done by these craft—the vast share by one-half, at a single move, the long, long laborious they have thus suddenly taken up of the commerce of distance which Columbus found, and which has ever the country—is in a far greater ratio to that of other since continued, between the Old World and the navigations than even these numbers indicate, for, New? while the latter is of necessity subject to great delays The effect of this achievement is by no means easily and long periods of idleness, it is of the very nature of to be described or foreseen. Even the Americans, the former never to lie still. It was testified, two with all their reputation as a self-possessed and conyears since, before a Committee of the House of Com- sidering people, have displayed unwonted raptures and mons, that more than a million of passengers, includ- antics on occasion of the first arrival of the Sirius and ing those to and from Gravesend, passed Blackwall Great Western at New York—quite as much so as our annually in steam-vessels; and it is a good illustration Bristol neighbours on their return; and we are not sure of one of the multifarious, social, and economical effects that either party is to be blamed for it. We are not of the introduction of this grand invention, that proba- sure that the former are far out of their reckoning' bly ninety-nine hundredths of this multitude are in- when they speak of this as a new epoch in the history duced to all this locomotion by the mere facility of it; of the world. We can enter into the feeling of the the amount of the journeying by land, np and down myriads who crowded the wharfs at New York when the Thames, being meanwhile rather increased than the English boats were hourly expected—when, finallessened. The whole character of a nation may well ly, after days of almost breathless watching (which, be essentially affected by such an operation as this, to fearful spirits, might well have afforded some pregoing on at once, as it is, in every part of its domin-| test for disbelieving the new scheme-some excuse for casting even ridicule on it after all), at length, on the which, we may say, is now barely beginning to be morning of St. George's Day, the doubts, the fears, the made, and that chiefly in a mere mercantile and immescorn, were alike destined to be removed for ever from diate view. This view itself, however, it must be althe mind of every living creature (even, we dare say—lowed-waiving for the present all farther projections but let us say it with due deference—from that of Dr. into futurity—is sufficiently exciting, especially to the Lardner himself): for now appears a long dim train of Americans, who in many respects have more to gain distant smoke, in a somewhat unaccustomed direc- by the new arrangement than ourselves. The intellition;—it rises and lowers presently, like a genius in gence from the Old World, for example, must of nethe Arabian Nights, portending something prodigious; cessity be of more general, various, and lively interest -by-and-bye, the black prow of a huge steam-boat to them, than that of the New World to us. The badashes round the point of some green island in that lance of resources, indeed, is immensely in our favour. beautiful harbour
Not only does America occupy the western hemisphero 'Against the wind, against the tide,
by herself, while all the other continents are pitched Steadying with upright keel.'
against her in ours, but on that side civilization has It was worth something to be a passenger in one of yet made so little progress, things are so literally new, these fortunate boats at this moment. We have be- that the ‘United States of America' might with some fore us the journal kept by one of the favoured few on plausibility assume to be “America' at large, according board the Great Western. From the time of crossing to the complimentary phraseology usual amongst us. the bar of the harbour, all her .poles' were set aloft, The feeling with which we (unless on extraordinary and flags gaily streaming at each,—the foreign ensign occasions) watch for news from America is exceedingat the gaff, and at the fore a combination of the British ly different from that with which foreign tidings are and American,—and at 3 P. M. (the narrative contin-awaited by the people of the United States, whose ues) we passed the narrows, opening the bay of New situation, nationally, in this respect, may be almost York, sails all furled, and the engines at their topmost compared with that of an individual exiled—as poor speed. The city reposed in the distance-scarcely Crusoe says, “out of society's reach.' Of the interest discernible. As we proceeded, an exciting scene we have in them, indeed, too much can hardly be said. awaited us: coming abreast of Bradlow's Island, we The great effort implied in this steam-achievement itwere saluted by the fort with twenty-six guns (the self, and the extraordinary sensation which the issue number of the States);—we were taking a festive glass of it has excited, sufficiently proclaim a just appreciaon deck. The health of the British Queen had just tion of the vast commercial importance, at least to us, been proposed—the toast drunk-and, amid the cheers of the movement in question; and it could not be otherthat followed, the arm was just raised 10 consummate wise between two countries sustaining mercantile rethe naming, when the fort opened its fire. The effect lations—to say not a word of any other considerationwas electrical;—down came the colours, and a burst of a character so unprecedented and unrivalled. This of exultation arose, in the midst of which the Presi- appears clearly enough in Mș. Porter's memoir, which dent's health was proposed. The city now grew dis- we have not yet referred to, “presented to the Statistitinct: masts, buildings, spires, trees, streets were dis- cal Section of the British Association for the Advancecerned;—the wharfs appeared, black with myriads of ment of Science,' at their late Liverpool meeting. the population hurrying down, at the signal of the tele- Take our exports of manufactured goods, for example. graph, to every point of view. And then came shoals Few persons, probably, have an accurate understandof boats—the whole harbour covered with them;and ing of the extent with which •America'-alias the now the new-comer reaches the Sirius, lying at anchor United States—is our customer in this great department in North River, gay with flowing streamers, and lite- of our trade. Mr. Porter gives all the annual returns rally crammed with spectators-her decks, paddle-box. from 1805 to 1836, excepting only those for the years es, rigging, masthead high. We passed round her, 1812 and 1813 (wartime, and therefore of less importgiving and receiving three hearty cheers;—then turned ance), the records of which were destroyed at the towards the Battery. Here myriads again were col- burning of the London Custom-house. The result is, lected;—boats crowded round us in countless confu- that of our products in 1835, the United States took sion;—flags were flying, guns firing, and bells ringing. more than ten and a half millions out of a total of forlyThe vast multitude set up a shout-a long, enthusias- seven millions; and in 1836, nearly twelve and a half tic cheer-echoed from point to point, and from boat out of fifty-three: so that the proportion of our export to boat, till it seemed as though they never would trade with this one party to our whole export trade have done.'
was, in the former year, 22.31 per cent., and in the So much for the first transports; we cannot doubt latter, 23.28. Over-trading there might be in this; that time, experience, and reflection will confirm the there undoubtedly was; but that does not essentially general estimate of the importance of this achievement, I affect the argument on the mercantile interest of the
connexion between the two countries:-unfortunately, sterling. At this date we think it was calculated we it has greatly increased it during the last two years, were taking 13,000 bales weekly, or nearly 2000 daily, though not in the most agreeable way to either party, of this same experimental and contraband article; a we presume.
third part of our whole exports, on the other hand, beAgain, look at the importation of a single American ing meanwhile made of this material, in a variety of article—their cotton, a matter indirectly as well as di- processes, employing or subsisting about one million rectly momentous to us from its effect in increasing of our population! the power of our customer to consume our products, as Of the vast and increasing interest of our ship-ownwell as in enabling us to produce them. Well might ers in the American trade, we need only say that in the world wonder at the appearance of a phenomenon 1836 our navigation entered the ports of the United so new in trade as the vast demand we have mentioned States to the amount of 547,606 tons, and that this for British manufactures in the market of a single amount was in the ratio of 43.62 per cent. to the Americommunity, one so comparatively unknown to them in can tonnage during the same time, while all other fothe same relations, so remote from ourselves, so much reign narigation amounted to only 132,607 tons. There disposed and so well qualified, as one might be ex- is no fear then of our underrating the value of our comcused for surmising at first thought, rather to endeav-mercial connexion with such a country as this, or of our to rival us in some respects than to co-operate with our connexions with it of every other kind, as indirectus in any; and moreover, (comparatively again,) so ly tending to the same end. We have entered thus young, so small, and so poor,—well might other na- much into these statistics to show that we do not fortions, we say, wonder at this phenomenon, did not the get them when we say that, nevertheless, the Ameriexplanation of it appear in another—another wonder, can interest is on the whole vastly greater in us and indeed—yet certainly an explanation. History fur- the Old World than ours, on the whole, can be in them nishes no parallel to the case of the cotton-trade of the and the New; and that, therefore, their interest in the United States, as regards the iminense importance of establishment of Atlantic steam navigation is proporthat trade considered in connexion with the rapidity of tionately greater than ours. its progress. This is too familiar a subject to be dwelt On the other hand, though England is undoubtedly
We will only remind our readers, as Mr. Porter the most interesting of foreign countries to the Amerireminds us, that in 1791 the whole export from that cans, in other points of view as well as in a mercantile, country was less than 200,000 lbs.; and that 1787 was it is by no means so in a corresponding proportion. the earliest year in which any of their home growth All Europe, all Christendom, exists from them. Even seems to have been exported. It was but little before their commerce, with its characteristic energy, persethis date that the first or second congress concluded to verance, and 'calculation,' had gone forth, like our own, lay a small duty on the importation of the foreign ar- into almost all lands, civilized or savage, 'vexing,' as ticle(for it is well known the provinces had been in Mr. Burke said so long ago of the Nantucket whalethe habit of importing it, more or less, from the West men, “every sea with its kecl.' But theirs is not a comIndies for a century previous to that time)—with the mercial interest alone. It is not mere silks, and wines, view of 'trying the experiment,' as the southern mem- and fruits, and jewellery, and ivory, and tea, that the bers expressed it, whether this plant might not be Americans watch for, from France, Switzerland, Italy, made to flourish, “as some persons imagined,' on their and Spain-from Egypt, the Ionian Isles, and Smyrna own soil. Still, the five bags which constituted the - from China and the East Indies, and the King of whole export in 1785, and the six in 1786, would ap- Muscat,' and his mightiness the Emperor «Bob Jackpear to have been of foreign growth. It was after et,' head chief of the Fandangoes, near the borders of this, if we rightly remember, that a few bags of Ameri- their fast-spreading colonial setlements on the western can growth were seized at the Custom-house in Liver- African coast-in return for the produce of their seas pool as not being what the master of the vessel pre- and rivers, their forests and agriculture, their soap and tended they were, so incredible was it that cotton tallow-candles, their snuff and tobacco, their pork, should come from the United States! And now half a shingles, flour, flax-seed, * rice, and ice,t--and their century has elapsed, and what do we see? The ave
*See the 'American Almanac' for 1837. The flaxrage annual importation of this article into Great Bri- seed exported in 1836 amounted to more than 450,000 tain during the last ten years has exceeded two hundred dollars; snuff and tobacco, 360,000; soap and tallow-canand twenty-five millions of pounds, the value of which dles, half a million. These may be called trifling items
separately, but the marvel is, to see what an aggregate (Memoir, p. 7) cannot be less than seven and a half is made out of such trifles. Under the head of manufacmillions sterling per annum, while in 1836 the amount tures, for instance, are 'combs and buttons, about 100,000 was above 289 millions, probably producing, at the dollars, and manufactures of glass about 80,000.
+It is notorious that great quantities of ice have been average price of the season, more than ten millions exported of late, particularly from Boston to Calcutta.