Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/679

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GEOLOGICAL HISTORY OF NEW YORK.

defined, to afford proper sites for great shipping-ports. Hence the cities of this region—Richmond, Washington, Baltimore, and Philadelphia—are situated at the head of navigation, where the rivers come down from the highlands on to the plain; and they are located like Albany, remote from the seaboard, with which they are connected by long and somewhat tortuous channels of inland navigation. New York, on the contrary, is located directly on the coast, because here alone the highlands reach to the sea, and their submerged valleys and river-channels form commodious, rock-girt harbors, immediately accessible from the ocean. It will be seen at a glance that this fact gives it great commercial advantages, and has been the most potent influence in making this the chief port of entry for the country.

PSM V13 D679 Hudson river and the old littoral plain.jpg
Fig. 7.—Map showing Old Channel and Mouth of the Hudson.

On the Southern coast there is no harbor at all comparable with that of New York except Norfolk. This is deep, roomy, and accessible to the sea—advantages which are destined to give it permanent and increasing importance. But it is less central to the population and business of the country; and, while its inland water connections through Chesapeake Bay and the tidal rivers which open into it are more extensive than those which the harbor of New York possesses, they are less favorably situated in their relations to the present and future internal commerce of the country.

The great advantage which New York enjoys for trade with the interior consists in its accessibility from the basin of the Great Lakes where the most rapid accumulation of population and wealth of the last half-century has taken place, and where the business of the country is destined to concentrate in the future. As has been stated in the preceding pages, the drainage of the lake-basin apparently flowed for