Mexico, as it was and as it is/Appendix 1
A SUPPLEMENTARY LETTER ON THE SANDWICH ISLANDS, THE CALIFORNIAS, AND THE FOREIGN POLICY OF THE UNITED STATES IN REGARD TO THE ENCROACHMENTS OF ENGLAND.
If there is anything that peculiarly distinguishes the statesmanship of England, it is the prospective wisdom with which its Ministers (while guarding the momentary interests at home,) seek new vents for the labor of its population and for the surplus of that population, also, when it becomes too crowded within the limits of the British Islands. It is the want of this vigilant policy that peculiarly characterizes our own country. In the midst of a vast territory, with ample room for the expansion of our inhabitants for hundreds of years, we are careless of the future, and we do not look with wariness to those geographical points of vantage around the earth of which England is gradually possessing herself, for the extension and guardianship of her commercial interests. We thus permit a grasping and ambitious rival to monopolize positions which, if they do not directly affect the people of our own generation, cannot fail, especially in the event of war, to injure and annoy our posterity.
We have seen Great Britain add Affghanistin, Scinde, and the Chinese Empire, to her control within the last two years; at the same time fixing her power steadily in Canada, by the suppression of every symptom of rebellious spirit. We have seen her firmly planted within her fortresses at Bermuda, establishing herself at the Balize, and encroaching on Guatemala; we have seen her holding the key of the Mediterranean at Gibraltar, and the power of the Straits at Malta and the Ionian Isles; we find her in the southern Atlantic, at St Helena, and in the Indian Seas at numberless islands; and we learn that she at last pounced, without warning, on the Hawaiian group, with the same spirit that animated her conquests in China, (although she has since officially disavowed the acts of her officer.) Britain has thus encircled the globe with her power, and in this greedy acquisition of territory, and prudent husbandry of resources, our Statesmen should at least perceive a warning of danger from a bold and ambitious rival, if they do not learn a lesson which, under similar circumstances, they would be studious to emulate.
The temper of our Republic is entirely too much devoted to the interests of the passing day. We writhe under debt, and we rush into repudiation. We suffer under financial distress, and we adopt some palliative expedient that saves us from momentary ruin. We dislike the policy of the hour, and we attribute it exclusively to Executive misrule; and the continual distractions of the whole scheme of our popular government seem but to nourish an unceasing nervousness as to who is to rule, and who to control the national patronage. This spirit is creating a vacillating system, which, in the end, must become nationally characteristic. If persisted in, it will destroy all stability of purpose and extended aim of statesmanship; and, while it generates a class who are willing to become pliant tools of power in return for official emolument, it will ultimately act the hopes and the enterprise of all those industrious citizens who are willing to labor and amass wealth by a slow, but safe course of national policy, wisely adopted and steadily pursued.
It was not my purpose, however, to address you a homily on national politics when I commenced this letter; but I thought these remarks altogether proper, as introductory to some account of the character, situation, and resources of the Hawaiian Islands and the Californias, in connection with the observations I design making upon our wide-spread interests in the Pacific, the Indian Seas, and the Western Coast of the Americas, and the encroachments of England.
I will proceed, then, without further preface, to offer some notices of the Sandwich Islands, and afterward of the Californias, showing their great importance, at least, to the trade of our country.
The eight Hawaiian Islands form a volcanic group in the Pacific, lying between 18° 50' and 22° 20' N. latitude, and 154° 53' and 160° 15' W. longitude, embracing a surface of rather more than six thousand square miles, of which the Island of Hawaii contains about four thousand. The whole population is estimated at one hundred and nine thousand, and although the soil is in many places not of a kindly character, and better adapted to grazing than agriculture, yet, in the upland valleys, there are extensive patches of rich land that may be easily cultivated, and capable of producing two crops of wheat annually. This, however, is all the better for the natives, as the comparative poverty of the earth requires the constant care of the laborer, and is, therefore, more likely to create an industrious class than in more prolific climates.
On the low grounds, coffee, sugar, tobacco, cotton, mulberry and cocoa, may be readily produced; and to these may be added, yams, potatoes, cocoanuts, bread-fruit, arrow-root, the kalo, or aurum esculentum; and among fruits, the strawberry, raspberry, ohelo, melons, chirimoyas, limes, oranges, guyavas, pine-apples, grapes, peaches, figs, citrons, tamarinds and kalo. Oil may be easily extracted from the nut of the kukui tree.
In former times, one of the chief productions of these Islands was sandalwood, with which the forests abounded. In the year ending in March, 1832, three hundred and ninety-five tuns of this article, valued at seventy-four thousand four hundred and seventy-one dollars, were imported into China from various places. In 1816 it was the chief source of revenue, and became, also, the chief source of the demoralization of this group. In that year, four hundred thousand dollars worth was exported to the Indies, where it was used by the Hindoos in their religious ceremonials, and by the Chinese in various manufactures of articles of luxury and taste. So great, however, was the demand, and so easily satisfied in the forests of the Sandwich Islands, that the natives were tempted by a ready sale to destroy almost every tree; until, under a wiser administration of their interests, they entirely forbade the cutting of the timber. The wood is represented as again beginning to flourish; so that, in the course of a few years, it will be made once more a source of fruitful revenue.
Besides the sandal-wood, a number of other richly-veined woods are found, and are said to be as valuable for articles of furniture, as the choicest products of the Brazilian forests, Game, poultry, wild goats and hogs, fish and wild fowl, are to he had in abundance; and, although horses have been brought in numbers from the West Coast, yet they always command a high price and are greatly valued. There are no serpents, and but few insects; and, while in the interior any temperature may be gained by gradual elevation, even to constant snow;—on the coast the thermometer averages about 79° Fahrenheit, and the climate is so salubrious, equal and mild, that, in the native language, "there is no word to express the general idea of weather."
The chief harbor is at Honolulu; and the following Table will afford you some idea of the extent of the commerce of the Island previous to 1832. In 1823, from forty to sixty whalers, mostly American, were to be seen in the Isles at one time; and the trade in sandal-wood was carried on briskly.
Of the number of ships that touched at Woahoo, one of the Sandwich Islands, during the eight years ending with 1831, distinguishing between English and American, and between Whale and Merchant ships.
|UNDER OTHER FOREIGN FLAGS.|
From 1836 to 1841, not less than three hundred and fifty-eight vessels belonging to the United States, chiefly whalers, arrived at Honolulu, each of them expending, on an average, from six hundred to seven hundred dollars. During the same period, seventeen vessels of war of our country also visited the Islands, and in this number is included the Exploring Expedition, which made extensive observations in Science and Natural History among the group.
In the same five years there were only eighty-two English vessels, also mostly whalers, and nine men of war; seven French merchantmen, and five men of war; and a few scattering vessels from Mexico, Chili, Tahiti, Sydney, China, Russia and Prussia. At the port of Lahaina, the average annual number of our whalers is from thirty to fifty, and from twelve to twenty in the rest of the ports.
The Imports for four and a half years previous to the 12th of September, 1840, are stated in "The Polynesian", to have been $1,567,000, of which $742,000 were from the United States.
The Exports for the same period were $1,388,100, of which $65,000 were in sandal-wood, $59,500 in hides, and the balance in goat-skins, salt, and sugar. During the same time ten vessels were owned by residents, of which seven were the property of our citizens, and three of Englishmen.
I have derived from Mr. Jarves's excellent work on these Islands, published last February, in Boston, the substance of the following statistics:
He estimates the value of American property touching annually at Honolulu, including the outfits of whalers, at the lowest possible calculation, to be $1,200,000. If to this be added the cargoes of oil, &., the amount would unquestionably be swelled to at least $4,000,000. More than two thousand seamen navigate our vessels, exclusive of those employed on board of our national ships, and to the above sums we should join the value of the latter vessels, when estimating the American property which owes its security and protection to the harbors of these Islands. The value of the property of other nations is of course in proportion to their shipping; but it may safely be stated, that the interests of the United States are four times greater than those of England, and that the importatious are in the same ratio.
|IMPORTS FROM 1836 TO 1841.|
|From the United States,||||$935,000|
|"Mexico, (specie, and bullion)||167,600|
|EXPORTS DURING THE SAME PERIOD.|
|Sperm oil, (Vessels from Honolulu)||13,900|
|Sundries, supplies to shipping,&c,.)||275,000|
It must be recollected, that large amounts of the imports were purchased for reshipment, from this central position, or entre-depot, to California, the Russian settlements, and the Southern Islands.
There are sixty families of Americans, including the missions, on the Islands, and about an equal number formed by intermarriage with the natives. The Americans exceed, by several hundreds, all other foreigners, the most numerous of whom are English and Chinese. The cost valuation of our citizens property, in buildings, furniture, &c, cannot be less than one hundred thousand dollars; while the whole amount invested in permanent improvements, agriculture, vessels, and stock in trade, is certainly over one million. In 1836, it was rated at but four hundred thousand dollars, and the property of other foreigners at one-fifth.
When the first missionaries arrived in these Islands, in 1820, they found an idle, vicious, profligate population; a nation given up to sensuality, lying, drunkenness, riot, treachery, lewdness, and murder; men with whom retaliation signified justice, and who retained, amid their moral ruin, but a single virtue, and that one the stoic power of endurance, derived from listlessness and an utter disregard of life.
But under the management of the judicious persons who were sent out to these Islands, the whole aspect of affairs has been changed. Amid the taunts of careless visitors, and the immoral interference of many whose pride it should have been to rebuke a spirit of disorder, and to encourage the missionaries in their noble labors, they have persevered in the foundation of a Christian Church, and the formation of a Government, which, "if left to itself, and treated by other nations with justice and courtesy, is fully competent to discharge all its relations, not only for the maintenance of its own internal peace, and the security of person and property to all who visit its shores, but to conform to all the settled principles of international law."
The missionaries have overcome a multitude of difficulties. They have almost blotted out the vices that characterized the Islands, at their advent. They found intoxicating liquors forced on the natives by the French Government, through the hostile intervention of its navy, and they put down intemperance by the moral power of societies. They met the introduction of a different sect by additional zeal. They found a people grossly ignorant, and they taught them the wisdom of other nations. They found a band of savages, with a rich soil, fierce tempers, and abandoned habits; and they have, while civilizing the people and bringing them into the folds of Christianity, taught them the value of their lands, the dignity and usefulness of commerce and labor, and the excellence of virtue. After twenty years of missionary labor, one of these gentlemen was called on to deliver a course of lectures on political science, and the result was a Constitution and a Code of Laws—regulating every department of an organized Government on a plan as near as wisdom would allow the adoption of our system among a people emerging into civilization. Two extensive editions of the Bible have been distributed over the Islands; more than seventeen thousand Protestants gather in the churches, and eighteen thousand children are educated in the schools!
Thus silently, and almost unknown to us, away in those distant seas, has a nation been called into existence by a few Christian teachers, without arms, and by moral influences alone. Barbarous idolatry, and brutal sensuality, have been abandoned, and Christianity and civilization have taken their places. The commercial advantages of the Islands have, at the same time, attracted the attention of our enterprising people, and while they have formed the chief resort of our whalers and oar navy in the Pacific, they have ministered to a trade more extensive on our part than on that of any other nation.
In the preceding part of this letter, I gave yon some account of the Sandwich Islands, their trade and importance to our Union; and I will now proceed to present some notices of the Californias, with the view of drawing your attention to certain conclusions to which I have come, in regard to American interests in the Pacific.
Lower California, although discovered in 1534 by Grijalva, was almost unknown for more than a hundred years, when the first Jesuit missionaries commenced their labors in the year 1683. Salvatierra, Ugarte and Piccoli, with the Virgin for their patron, attempted the conquest with arms, and by moral influences; and although in 1786 fifteen missionary establishments had been made, yet the whole of the peninsula seems to have turned out barren and valueless to trade, except so far as the Pearl-fishery produced a very considerable revenue. In 1567, according to Acosta, six hundred and ninety-seven pounds of this precious article were imported into Seville; but in 1831, (the latest account I can find of any authority,) the whole fishery had dwindled into utter insignificance. There were then but four vessels and two boats engaged in it; and the two hundred divers who manned them, obtained, in all, but eighty-eight ounces of pearls, valued at little more than thirteen thousand dollars.
Upper California, however, is different in its natural characteristics. No great impression was made on it by the missionaries in their "spiritual conquest" until 1768. Since then it has gradually progressed, (under the influence, I believe, of the Franciscan monks,) until twenty-one missions are numbered within its limits, and twenty-three thousand and twenty-five Indians, troops and Creoles, have come within their dominion, of which number only about five thousand are of Spanish extraction. Each of these missions has a tract assigned to it of fifteen miles square; and the Indian population, gathered from the neighboring wandering tribes, is placed within its boundaries, under vigilant surveillance; worked, fed, clothed, taught the Christian doctrine, and subjected (according to Forbes,) to an absolute slavery. They are idle, stupid, pusillanimous, sickly, and have made no progress, either in the arts necessary for personal comfort or of national government
The portion of Upper California, at present occupied by settlers and missions, is about five hundred English miles in extent, and runs, in breadth, from the sea to the first ranges of hills on the west The area of this occupied land is about thirteen millions of acres, forming but an insignificant portion of the whole territory, which, in "superficial extent, is equal to many of the most extensive kingdoms of Europe." Beyond the western hills, about forty miles from the sea, the country is a wilderness, held by scattered tribes, but little known and seldom visited.
But all the explorers who have visited California, describe it as a magnificent country. The territory behind the highlands is "reckoned superior to the coast, and is said to consist of plains, lakes, and hills, beautifully diversified, and of the greatest natural fertility; capable of yielding every variety of vegetable production, and abounding with timber of the greatest size." The mean temperature of San Francisco in December is 53°, the maximum being 66° and the minimum 46, while the hygrometer is said to indicate a remarkably dry atmosphere.
In different districts, the country is varied by hill and dell, and by occasional mountains rising to the height of a thousand, and sometimes three thousand feet, while the adjacent soil is of the richest loam. A river has been traced some hundreds of miles upward, toward the northeast, from the bay of San Francisco. From Monterey to Santa Clara, the scenery "may be compared to a park which had been planted with the true old English oak, with its undergrowth cut away, and the stately lords of the forest left in complete possession of the soil, which was covered with luxuriant herbage, and beautifully diversified with pleasing eminences and vales."
In the garden of the Mission of Buenaventura, Vancouver was struck with the quantity and variety of the productions, not only indigenous to the country, but "appertaining to the temperate as well as to the torrid zone;—such as apples, pears, plums, figs, oranges, grapes, peaches, pomegranates, plantains, bananas, cocoanuts, sugar cane, indigo, and every useful variety of kitchen plants and medicinal roots." "It would not be easy," says Forbes, "to match such an assemblage as this elsewhere, and yet this is only a part of the fruits and vegetables now cultivated in California."
The forests are thick and abundant, filled with oaks, elms, birch, planes, and great varieties of pines; and the ranges of hills and mountains which bound the maritime portions to the northeast, shelter it from the only winds that might injure the fruits of the soil, and tend to preserve the eternal spring that seems to reign for ever over this favored land.
Immense herds of horses run wild in California; and it is said that, in some places, the horned cattle even render the country unsafe for passengers. Deer, a variety of birds, and exhaustless quantities of fish, are also found; but I will better convey to you an idea of the productions of the country by transcribing some of the tables given by Mr. Forbes, whose long residence on the Western Coasts of America, entitles him to the greatest confidence and respect Agriculture in general, is but poorly conducted, the implements being nearly the same as those that were brought by the earliest settlers; and the grains that are cultivated are only wheat, barley, maize, and frijoles, or, a bean used as the favorite food by all the natives.
The following is the whole produce on the portion of Upper California, which was cultivated in 1831:
|Maize or Corn,||10,926|
|Garvanzos and peas,||1,083|
The wheat and barley may be calculated to be worth $2 the fanega; the maize $1,50; and the fanega itself, to contain about two bushels and a half English measure. The wheat, it will be perceived, is greater than any of the other grains; and this is the reverse of what usually occurs throughout the rest of Mexico.
The mills for grinding flour are few and primitive; and although, as we have seen, all sorts of vegetables and fruits, from the potatoe to the vine, fig and pines, may be readily cultivated; and although the same extent of ground will produce about three times as much wheat as England, and returns maize one hundred and fifty fold; yet every species of agriculture seems to be abandoned that is not merely and absolutely necessary to support existence. Pasturage here, as well as throughout most of the Spanish settlements, appears to be the great object of the farmer; and he derives his profits from it in the easiest manner, by the sale either of his beeves and horses, or of their fat and hides.
The following table will give you the total number of cattle, of all descriptions, for the year 1831:
In addition to these, there are numbers at large which are not marked as belonging to any of the jurisdictions, missions, haciendas or towns; and are hunted, lassoed and slain, to prevent their interference with the pasturage of the more useful cattle. But from all this vast multitude but little advantage is gained, except in the hides and tallow. Butter and cheese are almost unknown, and the dairy consequently altogether neglected. A fat ox is worth $5; a cow $5; a horse, for the saddle, $10; a mare $5; a sheep $2 and a mule is worth $10.
In former times, it was not unusual to find a thousand head of cattle driven to the city of Mexico from the large estates on the Pacific; and although the practice is still continued, yet it is not to the extent as formerly. During the first few years after the opening of the ports, the trade with California was but trifling. The amount of exports was then estimated, at about thirty thousand hides and seven thousand quintals of tallow, with some trifling cargoes to San Blas, being not more than $130,000 in total value; but within a few years past the trade has considerably increased, and a brisk intercourse has been conducted, almost entirely by Americans, with the Sandwich Islands. There is but small internal commerce, and although it forms part of the Mexican Republic, it is almost entirely cut off and isolated from the great mass of the nation.
Besides a genial climate, and an exceedingly prolific soil. Upper California has several of the best harbors on the Western Coast of America.
Monterey, which was recently taken possession of by Commodore Jones, in the most impromptu manner, is tolerably safe, though but an open roadstead. San Diego has a good and secure anchorage. San Pedro is an extensive bay, with good holding ground, but almost totally unknown. San Juan has an anchorage of five fathoms throughout the bay, and San Francisco, (a narrow arm of the sea, penetrating far inland, by a safe and deep channel,) forms one of the most capacious and secure harbors in the world. It is perfectly shielded from every wind, and the largest frigates may ride in safety on its bosom.
It is useless to contrast the trifling result produced by the missionaries in California after a century's labors, with that of the missionaries in the Sandwich Islands, after but twenty-five years. Yet we cannot help noticing that, while in the Islands there are seventeen thousand persons in the church, and eighteen thousand in the schools, the total number of reclaimed Indians in California is not more than eighteen thousand six hundred and eighty-three, and those, even, are generally unable to read;—without books, bibles, or paper, and altogether incapable of self-government. The ministers of both creeds have, doubtless, been zealous in spirit, but certainly with very unequal success.
You may now very reasonably ask me, (after having perused all these details,) of what interest are they, either to yourself or our country? and why I should direct your attention to a portion of the territory of a neighboring power with which we are at peace, and likely to remain so?
I trust sincerely that these pacific relations may long continue. It is the interest of both Powers that they should do so, and especially that of Mexico. An ardent friendship between us, founded on mutual faith and similar republican institutions, cannot fail to affect the destinies of this Continent; and I trust you will not imagine, therefore, that I am pointing out the treasures of the Califomias for the purpose of alluring people to the enterprise of another Texas. But the condition of Mexico is extremely unsettled. It is impossible to declare or imagine what will be the ultimate issue of the continual revolutions, that have torn the vitals of that beautiful country for twenty years. She may consolidate her provinces, she may adopt a Federal Government, or she may dismember her Empire, each State setting up a separate and independent rule for herself; but, in any event, it is proper that we should not so cautiously watch her, as watch Great Britain in regard to her. Mexico partakes in the Spanish pride of territorial dominion and retention of her soil; but she is in extreme difficulties. She owes (we have seen,) a debt of $60,000,000 to England; and to the United States a debt of more than $2,000,000. Her maritime revenues are mortgaged for an internal debt of $18,650,000; and, in all, she owes nearly eighty-five millions, England being always the largest creditor, to the extent, perhaps, of three-fourths of the whole.
How is she to pay England? To liquidate a portion of the debt and interest due the United States, (of little more than $200,000,) she was obliged to resort to a forced loan from her citizens, as you have recently observed. Suppose that a dismemberment takes place, or, that England, after accumulating her claims and wrath, until she thinks the amount and energy sufficient for all exigencies, suddenly orders her Minister in Mexico to demand payment or his passports—what must inevitably be the result? I will tell you in the language of Forbes, in order to show that this is no vain imagination of the moment excited in an American fancy. The value of California is known and appreciated in England.
"California," says our author, at page 146, "is quite a distinct country from Mexico, and has nothing in common with it, except that the present inhabitants are of the same family; it is therefore to be apprehended, that on any cause of quarrel between the two countries, it will be apt to separate itself from the parent State."
This shows you the possibility of a disunion, without any very violent effort or loss on either side; but, at page 152, he boldly broaches the idea of cancelling the English debt, by a transfer of California to her creditors. "This," says he, "would be a wise measure on the part of Mexico, if the Government could be brought to lay aside the vanity of retaining large possessions. The cession of such a disjointed part of the Republic as California, would be an advantage. In no case can it ever be profitable to the Mexican Republic, nor can it possibly remain united to it for any length of time. . Therefore, by giving up this territory for the debt, would be getting rid of this last for nothing. * * * * If California were ceded for the English debt, the creditors might be formed into a Company, with the difference, that they should have a sort of sovereignty over the territory—somewhat in the manner of the East India Company. This, in my opinion, would certainly bring a revenue in time which might be equal to the debt; and, under good management and with an English population, would most certainly realize all that has been predicted of this fine country."
Now, may not this sudden usurpation of the Sandwich Islands be a premonitory symptom—a step in advance to a movement upon Mexico? Look, for a moment, at the map of the world. England already has control of the Eastern part of Asia; is looking toward her possessions of the Hudson Bay Company, and is evidently excited by our Senatorial harangues on the Oregon Territory. Her rival, Russia, has encroached on the Californias by a settlement at Bodega, and is known to have attempted to procure the cession of an upland tract in the Hawaiian Islands, under the pretense of a desire "for soil to cultivate wheat." France has the Marquesas. We are prosecuting our claims on the North Western Territory. England requires a central rendezvous for her fleets in the Pacific, and she seizes the Sandwich Islands. They are in the direct line of trade from the West Coast to China. Mexico owes Great Britain an enormous debt which she is unable to pay. A project is on foot to cross the Isthmus of Panama by a railway or canal. Steam navigation has already been introduced into the Pacific, and we all know how rapidly the facilities were advanced within a few years to reach India through the Red Sea.
Now I confess to you, that, combining all these circumstances—the value of the Islands and the Main, the greediness of England, the manner in which she is pushing her Empire all over the world—I cannot but see danger in the sudden attempted seizure of the Hawaiian group, and think it time that the statesmen of our country should take a decided stand in the politics of this hemisphere. I think I have shown the importance of these Islands to our commerce, and the value of the Californias, both as a country of vast natural resources, and as a territory which, in the hands of a European Power, would become a central point, whence it might powerfully influence the future destinies of this Continent.
"The Pacific Coast of Spanish America," says the author I have already quoted, "is, in uninterrupted extent, equal to the whole coast of the Old World from the Naze of Norway to the Cape de Verd in Africa. What reflections must this give rise to, when we consider that this line of coast comprehends Denmark, Germany, Holland, the Netherlands, Great Britain, France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, the countries around the Mediterranean, and part of Africa? And certainly the American shores are bounded by countries, naturally more rich than all these ancient and powerful countries united."
It seems, then, that the true wisdom of our Government should be directed toward the preservation of this immense territory intact, and under the growing influence of Republican systems. A wrong step in statesmanship in our day and generation, may involve us in all the foreign difficulties and questions of the "balance of power," and affect the fate of our hemisphere for centuries to come. But, under any circumstances, let it be our care to keep sacred the soil of our immediate neighbor in the hour of her weakness, and to protect the Islands that have been founded and raised to national dignity and importance, by American zeal and American enterprise. It is our pecuniary and our political interest to do so.
THE ENCROACHMENTS OF ENGLAND.
No one who has been in the least attentive to the diplomatic negotiations of our country, can fail to know, that the question of total political separation between this Continent and Europe, is one of no recent date.
When the revolutions of the Southern Republics were in some degree quieted, and it became evident after the battle of Ayacucho, that the dominion of Spain must cease entirely over her American colonies, the Government of the United States hastened to interfere, by her ministers abroad in behalf of the independence of the revolted provinces. It did so, in order to prevent the useless effusion of blood, and to produce a pacification of this hemisphere, under which the commercial interests our Union might be fostered, and the people of the newly emancipated regions take their place among the enlightened nations of the world. In these negotiations with the European powers, both Mr. Adams and Mr. Clay produced some of the ablest state papers that adorn the archives of our Department; and it would be well to refer to them at the present period, when the encroachments of England, on the flimsiest pretexts, are again beginning to be visible all over the world, while she is extending her sway, not only for the peaceful purpose of her commerce, but for empire and territory. The foundation of the exclusive system of our country, has been laid "in principles of morals and politics new and distasteful to the thrones and dominations of the Old World;" and they are now, most probably, seeking with slow and secret advance, to regain by gradual and unheeded progress, what the political ferments of Europe, at an earlier period, forced them to abandon.
In the summer of 1825, a large French fleet visited the American seas and the coast of the United States. The purpose of this armament was unknown. But the watchful statesmen of those days regarded a visit of that character with jealous eyes; and the Minister of the United States at the Court of Paris was immediately directed by Mr. Clay, to inform the Cabinet to which he was accredited, that any such movements, made in lime of peace, ought hereafter to be notified to us. Mr. Brown was instructed, at the same time, to call the attention of the French Government to the condition of the islands of Cuba and Porto Rico; and li was distinctly intimated, that inasmuch as we were altogether contented with the present ownership of these possessions, "we could not consent to their occupation by another European power than Spain, under any contingency whatever." A similar communication was made about the same lime to Mr. Canning; and it is known that these frank and amicable representations were heedfully respected by the Government? both of England and France. The real purposes of the French fleet of 1825 are still utterly unknown; but the idea that its object was the occupation of Cuba and Porto Rico gained considerable ground, from the current rumor of the day the weakness of Spain the revolted condition of her provinces the intimate alliance between that monarchy and France, and "the disproportionate extent of the armament to any ordinary purposes of peaceful commerce."
It is also known, from the interviews between Mr. Middleton and Count Nesselrode, at St. Peterburg, in August, 1825, that the Russian Cabinet had resolved to discountenance every enterprise against these Islands, and thus maintain the only state of things “that could preserve a just balance of power in the Antilles."
President Monroe, in his message to Congress in 1823, most distinctly lays down his ideas of the true policy of the United States in regard to this Continent.
“The citizens of the United States," said he, “cherish sentiments the most friendly in favor of the liberty and happiness of their fellow men on that (the European) side of the Atlantic. In the wars of the European Powers, in matters relating to themselves, we have never taken any part, nor does it comport with our policy so to do. It is only when our rights are invaded, or seriously menaced, that we resent injuries or make preparation for our defence. With the movements in this hemisphere, we are of necessity more immediately connected, and by causes which must be obvious to all enlightened and impartial observers. The political system of the Allied Powers, is essentially different in this respect from that of America. This difference proceeds from that which exists in their respective Governments. And to the defence of our own, which has been achieved by the loss of so much blood and treasure, and matured by the wisdom of their most enlightened citizens, and under which we have enjoyed unexampled felicity, this whole nation is devoted. We owe it, therefore, to candor, and to the amicable relations subsisting between the United States and those Powers, to declare, that we should consider any attempt on their part, to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere, as dangerous to our peace and safety.
“With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power, we have not interfered, and shall not interfere. But with the Governments who have declared their Independence, and maintained it, and whose independence we have, on great consideration, and on just principles, acknowledged, we could not view any interposition, for the purposes of oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European Power, in other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States. In the war between those new Governments and Spain, we declared our neutrality at the time of their recognition, and to this we have adhered, and shall continue to adhere, provided no change shall occur, which, in the judgment of the competent authorities of this Government, shall make a corresponding change on the part of the United States indispensable to their security."
In March, 1826, Mr. Adams, then President of the United States, prepared a very luminous message on the subject of the Panama mission, in which he takes occasion to give a historical account of our relations with the new Republics, and to enforce the doctrines so clearly stated by his predecessor. He deemed the acceptance of an invitation to join in the deliberation of that Congress, as by no means violating the ancient well established policy of our nation by entangling us in dangerous alliances, and he resolved that we should concur in no engagements which would import hostility to Europe, or justly excite resentment in any of her States. "Our views," says he, “would extend no further than to a mutual pledge of the parties to the compact, to maintain the principle in application to its own territory, and to permit no colonial lodgments, or establishments, of European jurisdiction upon its own soil.
It will be perceived, therefore, that two Administrations at the commencement of the national existence of the new Republic, solemnly determined on an unqualified political and colonial separation from all European powers. They were anxious to preserve a state of mutual liberty and independence, and yet it was not deemed expedient to imitate the example of the Old World, by the formation of an American Holly Alliance, in defence of our freedom, as Europe had done in defence of legitimacy and allegiance. It, nevertheless, would seem, that as the great head of the Powers of this Continent, it becomes us now to persist in the policy wisely adopted near twenty years ago; and to be warned, in time, of every symptom of approaching danger.
If England extends her power, by gradual advances, from the Balize into Guatemala, (now under Indian rule,) and then into Yucatan, (now in revolt,) she will hold the key of both Americas, by controlling the passage across the Isthmus to the Pacific. If she pushes her claims on Mexico, and grasps the Californias; retains her hold on China, the mouth of the Columbia and Canada;—and, while she continues the possession of the Bermudas, sweeps our Eastern coast by armed war-steamers, marked under the peaceful disguise of West India Mail Packets(!) we will shortly find ourselves as comfortably and securely walled in by British bayonets, as the most loyal of Her Majesty's subjects could well desire.
And yet, all this would be effected by mere supineness on our part, and by neglect of determined firmness, and intimations similar to those of 1825, in regard to the French fleet, and the occupation of Cuba and Porto Rico. If I am answered, that these are dreams and visions of things that may occur, but perhaps will not in our day and generation; I reply, by the expression of a hope that the period of time-serving policy is over in our Union, and that the statesmanship of America is not hereafter to be confined by a horizon of four years, or, at most of eight.
If one-half the foresight that is employed in Britain to sustain a population over-taxed, over-worked, and surrounded by institutions far behind the spirit of the age, on a territory of small dimensions, were infused, especially, into the foreign relations of our own country, with its vast domain and happy people, the germ of a thousand ills would be destroyed for the future. If we begin right in our national career, we shall not be forced to remedy an accumulation of political errors by subsequent legislation, or, like England, to resort to unnatural stimulants and predatory wars for the purpose of infusing artificial life into a decrepit Empire.
In connection with the subject of our trade and interests in the Pacific, and the proposed junction of the Atlantic and that Ocean by a Canal across the Isthmus of Panama, I take the liberty to insert a very valuable note from Mr. Forbess "California," relative to Steam Navigation in that Sea.
EXTRACT OF A LETTER TO THE EDTTOR ON THE SUBJECT OF STEAM NAVIGATION IN THE PACIFC, FROM A GENTLEMAN FORMERLY RESIDENT IN ONE OF THE MEXICAN PORTS ON THE PACIFIC.
London, Dec. 20, 1838.
I have taken some pains to make myself acquainted with the grounds on which the "Pacific Steam Navigation Company" is founded, with its proceedings as far as they have gone, and its prospects as far as I can comprehend them. Of this you may rest assured: that it has already received the patronage of the leading merchants trading to the Pacific; several of them having subscribed with the expressed object of forwarding an undertaking fraught with so many public benefits, while others have entered more largely into it, with the view of participating in the great profit which it promises as an investment. The general result given in the 34th page of Mr. Wheelwright's pamphlet, showing 466,950 dollars as the amount of annual receipts on four steamers, costing from 400,000 to 450,000 dollars, and against the same only 236,630 dollars of annual expenditure, whereby the company will realize an annual profit of 230,320 dollars, or (at 48d. exchange) £46,064, is so extraordinarily large, that my first impression was to look upon the project as one hatched by parties connected with our Stock Exchange; but on turning to schedules A. and C, I not only found that the above results were verified by a committee of British merchants residing in Lima, and presided over by Her Majesty's Consul for Peru, but that a note was added, giving reasons to hope for still larger profits, under economical arrangements in the management of the items of expenditure.
It appears that this plan, speculative though it seems, dates its rise from the circular ofiicially issued by Her Majesty's Consul General for Peru, dated Lima, 18th June, 1826, directed to British merchants and residents generally, requesting their attention to dispatches from Her Majesty's Government, promising facilities to carry it into effect, and requesting their active cooperation. No undertaking, therefore, could originate under more respectable auspices; and from inquiries I have made, I have no hesitation in stating that the gentlemen who have taken it up in London are of the utmost respectability, and influenced by the most honorable motives.
The Author of “California" has not expressed himself in favor of the extension of this proposed line, from Panama to the Northern Pacific, further than as the reader may construe his remarks in pages 315 to 320. But I feel confident, after viewing the success of steam in the Arabian Gulf and Red Sea, in the Mediterranean, and backward and forward to England, at all seasons of the year; and, above all, in so many safe and expeditious voyages across the Atlantic, that the day is not far distant, when either the directors of the present Pacific Steam Navigation Company, or some new Company, will take up the Northern line. The numerous population along the Western coasts of Central America and Mexico, and the rich products of the adjoining provinces in gold, silver, pearls, cochineal, and indigo, ought to afford profitable employment for steamers as far up as the Gulf of California at least; and were emigration ever turning its tide to California, in the way suggested by the author, whether under the direction of her Majesty's Government, or of a public company, the aid of steam could not fail to be required.
Under the strongest presentiment that these ideas will not lie many years inoperative, I have made calculations of the distances from Panama to the principal northern port; which I here subjoin, as not without importance in the present inquiry. These calculations do not pretend to be exact to a mile, or to an hour; but they are sufficiently so for our purpose. Nine miles are allowed per hour.
The distances from Panama to San Diego, Monterey, San Francisco, Bodega, and Columbia river are given in two ways; first, by the line of coast, via Mazatlan, and second, from Panama direct.
TABLE OF DISTANCES AND HOURS FROM PANAMA TO THE FOLLOWING PORTS, VIS:
|From Panama to the Gulf of Nicoya||- - - -||435||48|
|""the Gulf of Papagayo,||- - - -||590||65.30|
|""Realejo,||- - - -||680||75.30|
|""Sonsonate,||- - - -||847||94|
|""Yztapa,||- - - -||937||104|
|""Socunusco,||- - - -||1095||121.30|
|""Tehuantepec,||- - - -||1210||134.30|
|""Acapulco,||- - - -||1495||166|
|""Navidad,||- - - -||1810||201|
|""San Blas,||- - - -||1962||218|
|""Mazatlan,||- - - -||2091||232|
|""Guaymas,||- - - -||2091||272|
|""Rio Gila, where it joins the Colorado,||2793||310|
|""San Diego,||via Mazatlan||3016||335|
|direct from Panama,||2760||306.30|
|""San Francisco,||via Mazatlan||3456||384|
|""Russian Settlement at Port Bodega,||via Mazatlan||3514||390.30|
|""the British Settlement at Columbia River,||via Mazatlan||4034||448|
|""Behring's Straits via Columbia River||5970||663|
|""Woahoo, Sandwich Islands||- - - -||4260||513|
|""St. Peter and St. Paul, Kamchatka, via Woahoo||7380||820|
|""Jedo, in Japan, via Woahoo||7950||883|
|""Canton, via Woahoo||- - - -||9540||1060|
In the above table, the distance to Behring's Straits and the ports that follow, is given to satisfy the reader's curiosity, and not with a view to any practical utility, in the way of Steam Navigation, unless greatly improved and cheapened. It is not impossible that chemists may discover some new power, equal to steam, and producible at less expense, or that our engineers may invent some mechanical mode of propulsion for vessels, rendering the Isthmus of Panama the most direct and expeditious route, not only to these ports, but to Manila and the whole Eastern Archipelago.
It will be seen from this table, that the British settlement on the Columbia river might be reached from Panama, by steam, in nineteen days, or say about forty days from England. By the same route, the important port of San Francisco might be reached in sixteen days from Panama, or thirty-six from England; and the Russsian settlement at La Bodega, in about six hours longer time. What a change in our communications, when the nearest Russian settlement on the west coast of America, will be brought within thirty-six days and six hours steaming, from our own shores; when even St Peter and St Paul, in Kamschatka, will be within fifty days, steaming; Jedo, within fifty-seven; Canton, within sixty-four, and Woahoo, in the Sandwich Islands, within forty-two days! Such are the wonderful results, that sooner or later may be expected from the mere power of steam, (improved and cheapened, as it may be, by fresh discoveries,) and the resumption of the old line of communication between Europe and the Pacific, via Chagres and Panama.
I here use the word resumption deliberately; for, from the era of Columbus (1502) down to 1824, that line was the high road between Spain and her colonies, along the West coast, not only for Spanish settlers and merchants, but for whole cargoes of goods and regiments of soldiers. The famous Vasco Nunes de Balbao, so early as 1513, crossed the isthmus, with troops, from his settlement of Santa Maria del Darien, to the Gulf of San Miguel, S. E. of Panama; and the latter, eleven years afterward, viz. in 1524, had already become a city of sufficient importance to have a governor, and to furnish to Francisco Pizarro, Diego Almagro, and Fernando Luque, the men, arms, and ships with which they proceeded to the conquest of Peru. Soon afterward, it became the seat of a Royal "Audiencia," and, until the suppression of the Spanish galleons, and the opening of the free trade, was the grand emporium of all the merchandise from Spain, destined for the southern coast of New Granada and Peru, and the northern ports of Guatemala. During the late war of Independence in Peru, several regiments from Spain were sent up the Chagres to Panama, and from thence, by transports, to Peru; and it was by the same course, that Cruz Mourgeon—the last Vice-king appointed by Spain for New Granada—passed, with his forces, in 1822. The history of the Buccaneers proves that, as early as the days of Queen Elizabeth, our own piratical countrymen, and other lawless inhabitants of the West Indies, were quite familiar with this route, which they passed and repassed at pleasure; and until the trade with the Pacific, by Cape Horn, became open to our own merchants, they supplied the wants of the Spanish colonists on the Pacific coasts, through Jamaica, by the same channel. It is therefore clear, that in resuming that old line of communication, without the aid of either Railroad or Canal, (though doubtless either of these would greatly facilitate the transport of passengers and goods,) the Pacific Steam Navigation Company makes no new or dangerous experiment. A British merchant, then sailing on board the vessel whose course is given in the map attached to the present work, so recently as 1824, took on board in Panama and carried to San Blas, a thousand bales of goods, bought and packed in Jamaica, and which had been conveyed across the isthmus, by the way indicated. The expenses on each bale placed in Panama were seven dollars three rials, and consisted of the following items, viz.:
|Freight on each bale from Jamaica to Chagres,||2||0|
|Agency at Chagres,||0||4|
|Freight per canoe from Chagres to Cruces,||1||5|
|Duty of Deposito in Cruces,||0||4|
|Mule-hire from Cruces to Panama (7 leagues),||2||4|
on each bale of about 150 lbs. weight. The canoes on the Chagres are large enough to take eighty of these bales at once; have "Toldos," (a kind of awning, made of cane and palm leaves, impervious to the sun and rain,) are quite safe, and managed, with great adroitness, by negro watermen remarkable for their size and strength.
It would require some nicety of calculation, to enable me to institute an exact comparison between these charges, and those on the same goods carried round by Cape Horn. I am inclined to think, that on goods outward the latter would be the cheapest route; but, on lace, fine linens, silks, and jewelry, the additional expense could not be sensibly felt; and where the object is to be first in a market; in the time of war, to save risk; and at all times, to save interest of money, the Panama and Chagres route—even as it was in 1824, and is now— must be the preferable one, both as regards the above description of goods outward, and bullion, specie, cochineal, and indigo homeward.
Besides the seven dollars three rials above mentioned, I may state that, in 1824, the transit duties levied in Panama were three dollars two rials on each bale; but by a late decree of the government of New Granada, all the transit duties have been abolished, so that, perhaps, at this moment, the whole charges may not exceed six dollars per bale, from Jamaica to Panama, I lately conversed with an intelligent Havana merchant, D. R. Clarke, Esq., now in London, who has been six voyages from Jamaica (backward and forward) to Panama: he never incurred the smallest loss or risk either from the river, the road, the natives, or the climate; but to avoid delay, he thinks that a tram railroad,* either from the junction of the Trinidad with the Chagres to Panama, or from Portobello to Panama, would be of great use, easily made, and cheaply supported. Perhaps the former would be preferable, en account of the dangerous fevers which prevail in Portobello, but not on the Chagres.
The above remarks are made, presuming that Her Majesty's government establishes a line of steamers through the West Indies as far as to Chagres, and that the Pacific Steam Navigat on Company take the passengers and goods up at Panama, in the Pacific, carrying them thence, on their way south and north, without delay; for the reader will find that a vessel (a fast-sailing schooner, of the class known under the designation of “Clipper'') took thirty-two days in sailing from Panama to San Blas, a voyage which, by a steamer proceeding direct, might be accomplished in nine days. A dull sailing vessel would have taken perhaps sixty days, or more, to perform the same voyage, from the extreme difficulty of sailing out to the westward from Panama Bay, in consequence of calms, alternating with squalls from all directions, and the struggle she would have to maintain, in proceeding along the coasts of Central America and Mexico, against opposing winds and currents. The same "clipper” (though to go eleven and eleven-and-a-half knots per hour, was not unusual with her,) took twelve days on her voyage from Valparaiso, in sailing from the Equator to Panama. I mention these apparently uninteresting minutise, to establish the important facts, that even were such a canal made as the author of "California” recommends, without steamers ready at Panama (as the Pacific Steam Navigation Company proposes to have them,) to carry on, at once, goods and passengers northward and southward, little advantage would be gained, as regards ports to the southward of Payta, or northward of Manzanillo, on the coast of Mexico. The saving of time would not be very great, and the expense, allowing for tolls on the canal, would, I fear, not be much less, than by the voyage round Cape Horn.
I do not think that steamers from Panama northward, would pay the owners farther than San Blas or Mazatlan: were, indeed, the tide of emigration setting strongly to California or the settlements on the Columbia River, occasional trips might be made so far profitably; but as for Woahoo, Jedo, Canton, and other places named in the calculations above given, steamers (from Panama to them will never pay, until in the progress of discovery, the expenses of steamers are brought down nmre nearly to a level with those of sailing vessels. If ever this desirable event be realized, the ideas here thrown out will assume a practical importance; and it will behoove Great Britain, as queen of the sea, to maintain by steam the same naval character which she has earned by canvas. The Isthmus of Panama will then become a point of very great importance.
The author of "California" hints the poesibility that the Isthmus might be ceded to some European State: if it ever should be so ceded, the nation holding it will acquire an immense influence and power over the communications of the world, (supposing the above improvements in steam,) with a territory wellwooded, well-watered, fertile in the extreme, rich in gold and pearl fisheries, capable of supporting a numerous population, and not, by any means, generally unhealthy; while the inhabitants will acquire that wealth and prosperity, which the advantages of their situation secure to them. But even allowing—as is most probable—that New Granada will continue to retain its sovereignty over the Isthmus, there is nothing in the history or character of that Republic which can justify our fears that it will not religiously maintain its stipulations in favor of the route across to Panama. Of all the South American Republics, New Granada has shown the greatest respect to public faith; and the Hurtados, the Arossamenas, the Gomezes, the Quezadas, the Paredeses, and other respectable inhabitants of Panama, are too much alive to the continuance and improvement of the old overland intrcourse, whereby their city has flourished, not to protest against any injurious imposts, or prejudicial interference. I believe that hitherto, no passenger nor merchant travelling across to Panama, can justly complain of any outrage, either to his person or property, from either the local authorities, or from individuals. They are all aware, that nothing short of the resumption of the old line of communication between Europe and the Pacific, can restore their former prosperity, and develop the latent resources of their beautiful country; and they are prepared to make every exertion to secure so desirable an object.
Had the line of steamers above suggested been now in operation, it is obvious that the present French blockade of the Atlantic ports of Mexico could have been counteracted, by sending the cargoes of vessels warned off to Chagres, across to Panama, and thence to the Mexican ports of the Pacific.
In conclusion, I may state, that I understand proposals for Steam Navigation on the Atlantic ports have been submitted to the Mexican government, by a firm of great standing in that country and in London, and that a favorable answer is expected by the first packet.
PANAMA AND THE PACIFIC. A MEMORANDUM SENT TO THE FOREIGN OFFCE, ON THE ADVANTAGE OF USING THE ISTHMUS OF PANAMA AS A MORE RAPID MEANS OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN EUROPE AND THE PORTS OF THE PACIFIC OCEAN. BY THE HON. P. CAMPBELL SCARLETT.
In passing within the last few months down the coast of South America, on the Pacific side, from Valparaiso, through Lima, to Payta, in the neiorhborhood of Guayaquil, and to Panama, and from thence to the Atlantic Ocean across the Isthmus of Darien, I had occasion to observe the truth of representations frequently made to me by British merchants in those settlements: how much shorter and more certain might be the communication of intelligence from those places to England by that route, than by the passage round Cape Horn. That passage in merchant vessels to and from England direct, averages
|For Vaparaiso,||- - - -||100|
|"Lima,||- - - -||110|
|"Guayaquil,||- - - -||120|
a length of time, which is not only inconvenient for commercial objects, but which in some degree cuts off the British settler from correspondence with his friends and family, and unnecessarily prolongs the period of receiving such intelligence as the British Consuls in those quarters may find it expedient to convey to the Government. Whereas the passage by Panama might, with ease, be effected in the following periods:
|From Valparaiso,||- - - -||62|
|"Lima,||- - - -||51|
|"Guayaquil,||- - - -||46|
as the following details will show:
|From Vaparaiso, to Lima,||- - - -||11|
|"Lima to Payta or Guayaquil,||- - - -||5|
|"Payta to Panama,||- - - -||10|
|Across the Isthmus,||- - - -||1|
|Thence to England, touching at one of the windward islands||35|
Taking Lima as a central position, by this calculation, it appears that the difference of time in conveying correspondence from the western coast of South America to England, may be thus stated:
|From Lima by Cape Horn,||- - - -||110|
|""Panama,||- - - -||51|
|Difference of time in favor of the route by the West Indies,||59|
The passage from Panama to Chagres is perfectly easy, being only twenty-one miles by land, and the remainder by a river, safe and navigable for boats and canoes. This was the route by which the several towns and provinces on the Pacific Ocean made their communications with Europe, before the separation of the Colonies from Spain; but the frequent revolutions which have taken place in South America, and the consequent poverty and want of enterprise in the Spanish part of the population, seem to have put a stop to the regular and periodical communications between these places, which were formerly established by public authority.
The following table demonstrates that a vessel, sailing from England, and doubling the Cape of Good Hope, has to sail as follows:
|I.||1st, for Ceylon,||10,760||miles (geographical)|
|2nd, for Calcutta,||12,770||"|
|3rd, for Port Jackson,||16,950||"|
|4th, for Canton,||16,700||" without touching at the Indies.|
|5th, for Panama,||24,140||"|
|II.||That the same sailing from England, and doubling Cape Horn, will be:|
|1st, for Valparaiso,||10,840||miles|
|2nd, for Panama,||15,716||"|
|3rd, for Canton,||23,156||"|
|4th, for Ceylon,||26,616||"|
|5th, for Port Jackson,||20,840||"|
|III.||That the same vessel, sailing from England, and passing through the canal at the Isthmus of Darien, will have to sail only:|
|1st, from Europe to Panama,||4,171||miles|
|4th,"Port Jackson and Hobart Town,||11,530||"|
|By Cape of Good Hope.||By Cape Horn.||by Panama Canal.|
|To Port Jackson,||16,650||10,840||11,536|
|To Canton,||20,970 (touching at Calcutta.)|
I. Distances, in a right line, of the principal stopping-places for steamships, departing from Falmouth, by the Cape of Good Hope, in India, Sumatra, China, Australasia, Islands of Owhayi and Otaheite, and upon the Western Coast of America:
|Canary Isles||Cape Verd,||849|
|Cape Verd||Ascension Isles,||1,210|
|Ascension Isles||St. Helena,||720|
|St. Helena||Cape of Good Hope,||1,740||——||6,400|
|Cape of Good Hope||Cape of Aiquilles,||720|
|Cape of Aiquilles||Isle of France,||1,820|
|Isle of France,||Ceylon,||1,820|
|Batavia||Swan River (Coast of Australasia),||1,630|
|Swan River||Hobart-town (Van Dieman's Land),||2,160|
|Hobart Town||Port Jackson,||720||——||6,190|
|Port Jackson||Sandwich Islands,||3,600|
|Port Jackson||Society Islands, Otaheite,||3,104||——||6,704|
|FROM ENGLAND TO CANTON.|
|From which we see that, by doubling the cape of Good Hope, they sail from—|
|1st, Falmouth to Calcutta,||13,730|
|2nd, Falmouth to Canton,||17,190|
|3rd, Canton to Panama,||7,440||——||38,360|
II. Distances, in a right line, of the principal stopping-places, for steamships sailing from Falmouth by way of Cape Horn, for Panama, Australasia, Canton, &c.
|Olinda||Rio de Janeiro,||1,460|
|Rio de Janeiro||Buenos Ayres,||1,400|
|Buenos Ayres||Cape Horn,||2,040||——||9,040|
|III. Distances by the Projected Canal at Panama:|
|Chagres||Panama, across the Isthmus of Darien,||12||——||6,172|
|Port Jackson||Hobart Town,||720||——||7,364|
This communication might be very easily effected by the addition of a few small fast-sailing vessels of war, or steamers, which should make periodical visits to the towns I have mentioned.
The advantages of a direct communication between Panama and the West Indies, has already been felt and obtained by the practice of the admiral on the West India station, who is accustomed to dispatch a sailing vessel of war, at stated periods, to Chagres, in order to bring official and other correspondence, as well as specie, from the Pacific coast of South America.
I am the more induced to make these representations, from a conversation I had with Commodore Mason, in which he expressed his concern, that he had not adequate force under his control to give protection to British commerce on the South American shore of the Pacific, and his confidence in the opinion, which has been much confirmed by my own observation, as well as by the report of others, more competent than myself, that such commerce has a tendency to increase if duly protected; and that, if vessels of war were more frequently enabled to visit the ports on the coast from Valparaiso to Panama, better security would be afforded to British merchants against the revolutions, to which the property of all persons resident on those shores is so often exposed, from the feebleness of the Governments, and the successive changes which are the consequence of that weakness.
The establishment of steamboats would render the return of correspondence, against the prevailing southerly winds, of equal rapidity. The trade-winds are not violent in that sea, and men-of-war, in particular, have generally made the pas¬sage down the coast with great dispatch. However, the introduction of Steam Navigation in the West Indies, having already shown that merchant sailing vessels are disposed to carry sufficient coal in ballast, for the supply of fuel; it is equally obvious that the same facilities might be afforded to carry out coal to the Pacific coast, until such time as, from its raised value and the increased demand for it, the inhabitants of those regions may think it worth their while to work the veins of coal, which are well known to exist at various places on the western coast.
- London, Sept. 6, 1835
- In his work on California
- Forbes, 268
- Forbes, 285
- Forbes's California. London, 1840. Mr. Forbes is, or was until recently, British Consul in one of the ports of the west coast of Mexico.
- I call it British, believing we have not yet relinquished its Northern Bank.
- *I mean a road with rails, where the carriages and wagons are dragged by horses and mules, both of which abound and arecheap in the isthmus
- This is unnecessarily long. The journey, by way of the Isthmus, has been accomplished from Lima to Liverpool in 48 days.
- South America and Pacific. Lond. 1838. Vol. II. P. 281