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The indications that the entire country between the Alleghany and Chippewan or Rocky Mountains, was once covered by an im. mense ocean, are without number. That the whole partakes of an alluvial character, is believed by all intelligent persons, who are acquainted with it. Of this fact I have not the smallest doubt. Professor Drake, of Cincinnati, a gentleman alike distinguished for genius and liberal acquirements, is known to have expressed such a belief, repeatedly; and perhaps there is no other person west of the mountains, whose opinion is entitled to more deference. His qualifications fit him in an eminent degree to decide on such a matter; and the enlightened views be has heretofore given to the public, on various subjects of natural bistory, are sufficient to confirm this assumption.
The position which I assume, then, is this: There was a great ocean hemmed in by prodigious mountains. The southern boundary might have been a corresponding line with the island of Cuba, extending across what is now the Bay of Mexico, and meeting probably at Yucatan. I refer to this point, because it is the most prominent one in Central America; and because, from its position, projecting far into the sea, it seems reasonable to presume that there might have been a connecting link between them, and that here was the southern limit of this most extraordinary inland ocean. This line is, of course, imaginary ; but that such a barrier existed, either there or somewhere contiguous to it, can scarcely be disputed.
If, then, we assume the hypothesis that the two continents were connected, in the way suggested, we have boundless scope for the imagination. From the eastern extremity of St. Domingo, to the coast of New Spain, or Isthmus of Darien, cannot, I should think, be less than fourteen hundred miles ; and from the northern shore of the Bay of Mexico, to the southern boundary of the Caribbean Sea, it appears to me the distance is quite as great. According to the position I have assumed, and which was understood to be the opinion of Mr. Secretary Thompson, all this vast area must have been submerged and shattered to pieces, by long-smothered volcanoes, which at length burst forth with tremendously conyulsive throes, forming at the same time the numerous islands now familiarly known to us If, moreover, we are to imagine — and the supposition
What now are known as the Western, will then receive the appellation of the Eastern States; while the Western will be those bordering on the Pacific Ocean. Splendid cities will then exist, where now the Indian, the lord of the dark forest around him, lies down upon his copper face, dreaming of the happy hunting-grounds of his fathers, with whom 'must soon dwell the whole human race. On that day a mere handful will be found lingering on the borders of the great deep that must at length engulf them. Where then will be the capital of this Union?. Possibly in the Valley of the Mississippi. St. Louis may be the favored spot, or even the unbroken wilderness still farther West, In view of a spectacle so full of national glory, well might our favorite bard exclaim :
Who shall place
Distant, the brightening glory of its flight,
Till the receding rays are lost to human sight.' Eos. KNICKER DOCKER. VOL. XI.
seems altogether rational, that this immense territory was full of inhabitants, having probably its numerous towns and cities, and abounding in riches, refinements, and the arts, we feel it to be a theme calculated to excite the strongest emotions of astonishment and wonder. It was probably the most awful event that ever took place in this part of the world, and must have led to greater physical changes than any other, since the memorable and righteous deeree that swept the earth with the deluge. That such was the fact, is a conviction deeply impressed on my mind, and brings forcibly to recollection the vivid conception of the poet Cowper, who shows the fearful effect of omnipotent power:
When God performs,
His dreadful part alone.' What connexion there might have been between these suppositions and the depopulation of Central America, whose long desolate cities and solitary places have struck the eye of travellers with such sur. prise and admiration, and of which we have very lately had such lively descriptions,* must be matter of conjecture. It would seem by no means extravagant to suppose, that the inhabitants of the narrow link now connecting the two continents, were either buried under their ruined walls, or driven away by the distressing calamity that pursued and overwhelmed them. Let us bear in mind the probability that the throes and convulsions may have been long continued, as was the case recently on the Mississippi, carrying dismay and terror to the hearts of all.
Many long centuries, probably several thousand years, must have passed, as is evinced from the present aspect of things, since the occurrence of those extraordinary manifestations of the divine will. The immediate consequence of all these convulsive movements of the elements, so astounding and destructive to former generations, was the draining of that boundless region, that natural garden of the world, the magnificent and fertile valley of the Mississippi. However calamitous may have been such consequences to others, those of the present generation can easily perceive the wisdom of the decree that accomplished so great a change. Countless ages were required to clothe this virgin soil with such prëeminent beauty and unnumbered charms, as now fill the eye of the enraptured beholder. It is not only the most delighful, the richest, and the fairest portion of the earth, but capable of sustaining a population of at least a hundred millions. Even now, at distant intervals,
"Wide the wood recedes,
New colonies forth, that toward the western seas,
Spread like a rapid Mame among the autumnal trees!' The human powers, with all their interesting exhibitions and higher attributes, will here, in all likelihood, reach the highest possible at:
* See articles on 'American Antiquities,' in the KNICKERBOCKER MAGAZINE.
tainment. The arts and sciences will be cultivated to the utmost limit of perfection, and will here unfold all their brilliant evidences of utility and grandeur. They are already transplanted hither, and are taking deep root; and farther time, with the multiplied population that will soon throng those extensive borders, will carry them to rapid maturity. The pure religion of the Sun of Righteousness will follow close in the train, and even now holds a powerful and happy sway. It will not be less ennobling in its effects, than gratifying to those who are pure in heart; spreading its glorious mantle over all the sons and daughters who profess its faith, and giving the light and consolation of the gospel to every inhabitant.
Among the numerous advantages and attractions which entice the enterprising adventurer to a land so favored, will be found one of a prominent and important character. It forms a peculiar feature, having nothing corresponding to it in any other section of the globe. This relates to the splendid rivers which are almost without umber, and which, for thousands of miles, fertilize and beautify it, in every direction. Notwithstanding the length of these rivers, and the immeasurable floods of water they discharge, I have never been able to learn that in any instance does the largest and longest of them exceed in any one place a mile and a half in breadth. Even this is very rare ; for the mighty Mississippi itself, in its average width, is not over three quarters of a mile. Few of the other rivers exceed half a mile, and most of them are considerably less. So uniform are they in this particular, and so gentle are their general currents, that they are rendered navigable by steam-boats almost to their sources.
Who does not perceive in all this the evidences of kindness and benignity? Who does not see the clear marks of exalted wisdom and unbounded liberality? Who does not comprehend, that in the uniform narrowness and gentleness of these noble rivers, are found increased conveniences, and an essential diminution of dangers ? Without these clearly-defined advantages, much of their utility, which is every where the leading attribute in the works of nature, would have been lost. But the whole is formed, as it would seem, with the express view to the accommodation of a people who should have a safe and easy intercourse with each other; whose rational enjoyments should be extensively multiplied; and who should be zealously devoted to the noblest and most useful pursuits.
Another strongly-marked characteristic of this vast domain, is visible in its general smooth and level surface, surpassing in this respect probably all other countries. Its fair face is no where disfigured by lofty, shaggy, and broken ridges ; there are no sandy plains, of interminable length ; no unfathomable, yawning, and impassable gulfs, restricting intercourse, and multiplying difficulties ; nor any other insurmountable obstacles. It is therefore singularly adapted to the construction of those noblest monuments of a free people, commodious rail-roads and canals, those eminently useful channels of easy, cheap, and rapid communication.
The fertility of the country is proverbial, and its climate is known to be mild and salubrious. Its productions are most abundant, and infinitely varied. This necessarily results from its prodigious extent, reaching, as it does, almost from the torrid to the extreme of
the frigid zone - from the soft cotton and sugar clime of the south, to the dreary and inhospitable ranges of the reindeer and polar bear of the north.
The geological attributes are in many respects extraordinary. Minerals of the most useful kinds, and without limit, are known to abound; more particularly coal, iron, lead, copper, etc. Woods, of almost every variety, and of unsurpassed beauty; marble, of various kinds, some of which is exquisitely variegated; and the coarser but more useful articles of granite, freestone, limestone, and all other materials, designed for the ordinary use and comfort of the human family, are liberally spread in every direction, through those teeming and highly favored abodes.
Safety and joy go with yon bounding bark !
the bounding bark,
Sounding, mid clash and din, their wreathéd shells.
"Oh give me the moss-covered bucket again! When people talk about change, and the fashion of changing, in this world of ours, it sounds trite enough. Ever and again some wanderer comes back to the spot whence he started in youth, and exclaims over what he sees, as if change were a new thing, and the people who have staid quietly at home, and seen the tide of affairs rising, day by day, to its new marks, are ready to laugh in his face for making such an ado over what seems to them so natural and easy, and in no wise surprising. But there is sometbing in this hasty flitting of familiar things, that is worth exclaiming over; and particularly in some parts of our country the rapidity with which a change of aspect is effected, passes all history and experience, and even sober poetry. Those who live in the centre of a city, and pace over sidewalks, and along closely-built walls of houses, never see it; and the people of our country towns may still walk over the scarcely widened path that took them to school, and not see it; but suburbans, who have been trampled upon in the march of cities country-ward, can talk about change. • Lots for sale : inquire of
·,' says an officious little board at the end of a long row of newly-planted stakes. What of that? Nothing, but that I remember here a stony lane, so steep that nothing passed over it but the rushing red clay waters, after a rain, or stumbling cows, hurried home from pasture, and I miss the gay barberry bushes that guarded its inaccessible sides. • Paradise Row. Desirable lots for sale.' What of that? Nothing, but that to level it, they have smoothed the prettiest dimpled orchard that was ever moulded for a children's play-ground. Look where they have filled up the bowl,' down whose green sides the ripe apples rolled from the trees on the top, till they reached the huge heap in the centre, from which we made our selections! Is there any thing in the sight of the plough slowly scooping out furrows of red earth, or the man who, with folded arms, directs each time where the next course shall be run across, that I should stand and watch the process ? Let me tell you something about that rough, rain-seamed hill they are taking down so coolly. The time has been when no one thought it defaced the fair earth's surface. As I stand looking at it now, the vision of what it was, hovers over it, some three feet elevated in air. But it is easy for my fancy to fit it with a foundation, and re-turf and re-plant it, till I can stand there again in the home of my childhood. Let me shape it out to you, if I can, with these few trees they have left, and the roads, (streets they are now,) which still run on each side, leaving it still a sightly corner place. If it were raised again, and the bank on the sunny south side had its original turfy but abrupt slope to the road, while a supporting stone wall, of six or eight feet height, surmounted by a white fence, curved around the corner, and ran along the eastern front, how easily we could open the gate, walk up the rustic stone steps, and take the