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A Succinct View of the Importance and Practicability of Forming a Ship Canal across the Isthmus of Panama   By:

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[Transcriber's Note: Every effort has been made to replicate this text as faithfully as possible, including obsolete and variant spellings and other inconsistencies. Text that has been changed to correct an obvious error is noted at the end of this ebook.]

A

SUCCINCT VIEW

OF THE

IMPORTANCE AND PRACTICABILITY

OF FORMING

A SHIP CANAL

ACROSS THE

ISTHMUS OF PANAMA.

By H. R. HILL.

LONDON:

WM. H. ALLEN, & CO.,

7, LEADENHALL STREET.

1845.

W. LEWIS AND SON, PRINTERS, 21, FINCH LANE, LONDON.

ADVERTISEMENT.

The following observations were thrown together as the result of communications with several gentlemen locally acquainted with the Isthmus of Panama, and who expressed to the writer their astonishment, that amidst the numerous undertakings, of more or less utility, which science has realised in our time, one so important to the whole commercial world, so easy of accomplishment, and so certain to be productive of ample remuneration to the undertakers, as a Ship Canal through that Isthmus, had not been taken up. The idle objection, that if practicable it would not have been left unattempted for the last three hundred years, they considered, would have no weight in an age in which we have seen accomplished works that in our fathers' time, nay, even within our own memory, it would have been considered madness to propose, witness steam navigation and railways. It is not twenty years since Dr. Lardner, the author of a popular work on the steam engine, then supposed to be a most competent authority, declared in his lectures that the application of steam navigation to the voyage across the Atlantic was a mere chimera. So it has been with railways. Would not any man who fifty, or even twenty years ago, had predicted that the journey from London to Exeter would be accomplished in five hours , have been deemed a fit tenant for Bedlam? To contend that because a great undertaking has remained unattempted for a long series of years, therefore it is impracticable, is to put a stop to all improvement. At the suggestion of the friends before referred to, the writer is induced to print the following pages, with the hope of drawing to the subject of which they treat the attention of the mercantile and shipping interests. If they awaken an interest in the subject in those quarters, they will not be thrown away, and he is fully convinced that the more the subject is examined the stronger will be the conviction of the practicability of the undertaking.

23, Throgmorton Street , February, 1845 .

A SUCCINCT VIEW, &c.

From the first discovery of the American continent down to the present time, a shorter passage from the North Atlantic to the Pacific ocean than the tedious and dangerous voyage round Cape Horn has been a desideratum in navigation. During the dominion of old Spain in the New World the colonial policy and principles of that jealous nation, to which Central America belonged, opposed insurmountable obstacles to any proposal for effecting this great object; but the emancipation of the Spanish Colonies, and the erection of independent States in their stead, has broken down the barrier which Spanish jealousy had erected. The rulers of these states are not devoid of discernment to perceive that the exclusion of European Nations from the shores of the Pacific would be productive of immense injury to themselves, and that by making their own territory the high road to the countries which are becoming important marts for the commerce of Europe, they are bringing wealth to their own doors, and increasing their own political importance.

In this, as in most other cases, individual and general benefit go hand in hand; for it cannot be doubted that were such a communication between the two Oceans made through Central America, it would prove of incalculable utility to all nations engaged in maritime commerce, and sooner or later it will unquestionably be opened... Continue reading book >>




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