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laugh the destroyer to scorn, and enjoy a prosperity which the utmost efforts of his power and his rage could never disturb.
In enumerating, however, the advantages of a commercial nature, which would assuredly spring from the emancipation of South America, we have not yet noticed the greatest, perhaps, of all,--the mightiest event, probably, in favour of the peaceful intercourse of nations, which the physical circumstances of the globe present to the enterprize of man :-we mean, the formation of a navigable passage across the isthmus of Panama,—the junction of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It is remarkable, that this magnificent undertaking, pregnant with consequences so important to mankind, and about which so little is known in this country, is so far from being a romantic and chimerical project, that it is not only practicable, but easy. The river Chagré, which falls into the Atlantic at the town of the same name, about eighteen leagues to the westward of Porto Bello, is navigable as far as Cruzes, within five leagues of Panama. But though the formation of a canal from this place to Panama, facilitated by the valley through which the present road passes, appears to present no very formidable obstacles, there is still a better expedient. At the distance of about five leagues from the mouth of the Chagré, it receives the river Trinidad, which is navigable to Embarcadero ; and from that place to Panama is a distance of about thirty miles, through a level country, with a fine river to supply water for the canal, and no difficulty whatever to counteract the noble undertaking. The ground has been surveyed; and not the practicability only, but the facility of the work, completely ascertained. In the next place, the important requisite of safe harbours, at the two extremities of the canal, is here supplied to the extent of our utmost wishes. At the mouth of the Chagré is a fine bay, which received the British 74 gun ships, in 1740, when Captain Knowles bombarded the castle of St Lorenzo ;---and at the other extremity is the famous harbour of Panama. * Nor is this the only expe
the For the accuracy of these statements, may be consulted a curious and instructive work, drawn up and published, in 1762, by Thomas Jefferys, geographer to his Majesty ; from the draughts and surveys found on board the Spanish prizes; from other accessible documents, and the statements of eyewitnesses. The title of the book, as it is now but little known, it may be worth while to transcribe. " A Description of the Spanish Islands and Settlements on the Coast of the West Indies; compiled from authentic Memoirs ; revised by Gentlemen who have resided many Years in the Spanish Settlements; and illustrated with Thirty-two Maps and Plans, chiefly from original Drawings taken from the Spaniards in the last War, and engraved by Thomas Jefferys,' &c.
dient for opening the important navigation between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Further north, is the grand lake of Nicaraguay, which, by itself, almost extends the navigation from sea to sea. Into the Atlantic Ocean it falls by a navigable river, and reaches to within three leagues of the Gulf of Papagayo in the Pacific. * Mr Jefferys tells us, it was the instruction of the King of Spain to the Governor of St John's Castle, not to permit any British subject to pass either up or down this lake;' for, if ever the English came to a knowledge of its importance and value, they would soon make themselves masters of this part of the country.'t
We are tempted to dwell for a moment upon the prospects which the accomplishment of this splendid, but not difficult enterprise, opens to our nation. It is not merely the immense commerce of the western shores of America, extending almost from pole to pole, that is brought, as it were, to our door; it is not the intrinsically important, though comparatively moderate branch of our commerce, that of the South Sea whalers, that will alone una dergo a complete revolution, by saving the tedious and dangerous voyage round Cape Horn :the whole of thọfe immense interests which we hold deposited in the regions of Asia, become augmented in value, to a degree which, at present, it is not easy to con
* The reader may consult, on the facility and importance of effecting a navigation from sea to sea 'by this extraordinary lake, a curious memoir by M. Martin de la Bastide, ancien secretaire de M. le comte de Broglio, published in the second volume of “ Histoire Abregée de la mer du Sud, par M. de Laborde. ” · † See p. 43. of “ A Description,” &c. above cited. What Alcedo tells us is still more extraordinary, that it was even interdicted, on pain of death, to propose opening the navigation between the two seas. En tiempo de Felipe II.' says he, se proyectó cortarlo, y communicar los dos mares por medio de un canal, y á este efecto se enviaron para reconocerlo dos Ingenieros Flamencos; pero encontraron dificultades insuperables, y el consejo de Indias representó los perjuicios que de ello se seguirian a la monarquia, por cuya razon mandó aquel Monarca que nadie propuisiese ó tratase de ello en adelante, pena de la vida.' Alcedo, Diccionario Geografico-Historico de las Indias Occidentales, &c. ad verbum Istmo. A similar interdiction and penalty was ordained, respecting the navigation of the Atrato, where there is only an interval of a few miles between the navigable parts of the two rivers. •Es navigable por muchas leguas, pero esta prohibida su navegacion con pena de la vida, sin excepcion de persona alguna, para evitar los perjuicios que se seguirian a las provincias del Nuevo Reyno, por la facilid::d conl' que se podrian internar por el.' Ibid. ad verbum Atrato.
One thing, at least, is certain, that South America, which stands fo much in need of industrious inhabitants, would receive myriads of laborious Chinese, who already swarm in all parts of the Eastern Archipelago in quest of employment and of food. This, to her, would be an acquisition of incredible importance : and the connexion thus formed between the two countries, would still further tend to accelerate the acquisition of enlightened views and civilized manners in China herself.
Such are a few of the results which there is reason to expect from a regulation of the affairs of South America. Never, perhaps, was an opportunity offered to a nation, of effecting so great a change in behalf of human kind, as Great Britain, from a wonderful combination of circumstances, is now called upon, by so many motives, to help South America to accomplish. The meafure has, for a considerable number of years, been mingled, in her councils, among the number of her resolves; and a fhort historywhich, from peculiar circumstances, we are 'enabled to give with unusual accuracy-cannot be without interest, of what has been
done in preparation towards an event which will hereafter occupy · fo great a place in the history of the world.
Though projeas of hoftility-some of them for plunder, some for permanent conqueft-had been undertaken, during the wars between this country and Spain, against particular parts of her 'Transatlantic dominions, the first time, we believe, that a general Ycheme of emancipation was presented to the mind of a Britilha minister, was in the beginning of 1790, when the measure was proposed to Mr Pitt by General Miranda. It met, from that minister, with the most cordial reception ;-and, as the dispute respecting Nootka Sound was then súblisting, it was resolved, if Spain did not prevent hostilities by submission, to carry the plan into immediate execution. When an accommodation was effected, and peace at last decreed, Mr Pitt still assured the General, that the scheme of emancipating South America was a measure that would not be loft fight of, but would infallibly engage the ato tention of every minister of this country.
The man by whom this important suggeftion was made, and in whose breaft the scheme of emancipation, if not first conceived, feems at least to have been first matured, is a native of Caraccas in South America ; descended from one of the principal families of the country. At the early age of 172 he repaired to Spain, and, by the influence of his family, obtained a captain's commiflion in the Spanish army. Early smit by the love of letters, he was anxious to proceed to France for the prosecution of his education, but permission was denied him; and he was forced to