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COMMERCIAL ADVANTAGES OF A SHIP CANAL ACROSS THE ISTHMUS OF DARIEN.-A moment's glance at the map of the world must convince the most sceptical of the immense advantages that would accrue to the commercial world by opening a Ship Canal Communication between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Not only are these advantages universally acknowledged and appreciated, but the time is fast coming when a ship canal will not only be desirable, but actually indispensable. The necessities of commerce even now demand that the two oceans should be con

nected in such a way that ships can freely pass from one to the other, without going round Cape Horn or the Cape of Good Hope, and these necessities must in some way be


Not only would all the commerce to the western shores of America pass through the proposed canal, but, after its opening, no voyages would be made round the Cape of Good Hope to any place eastward of Cape Comorin or Ceylon, as the Coromandel Coast of India, China, and Australia would be much more accessible, in either monsoon, by the Darien Canal than by the present circuitous route, and the voyage out and home, or to and from India and China, could be made within one tropic, whilst, at present, a vessel must pass four times through each tropic in a single voyage out and home.


As regards passages to and from the west coast of North or South America, it will be sufficient to mention, that to pass from Chagres to Panama, for instance, by sea, it would be necessary to sail from 9° N. latitude to 55° S., in order to weather the stormy Cape Horn, and to return up the west coast to 9° N. on the Pacific side; thus going over sixty-four degrees of latitude on the Atlantic, and sixtyfour degrees on the Pacific side, or 7,680 miles, unnecessarily, on a single passage, or 15,360 miles on a voyage to and from: and besides this enormous circuit, it must also be taken into account that, on such a passage, a vessel must run off to the E. as far as 30o W. long., in order to avoid the coast of Brazil, and must beat down, both in the Atlantic and Pacific, against the S. E. trade-wind-in the former when bound from Chagres to Panama, and in the latter when bound from Panama to Chagres. Moreover, the terrific storms from the west often experienced off Cape Horn, might delay her passage into the Pacific for weeks.

In a passage to China by the proposed Canal, a vessel, having cleared its Pacific terminus, would at once enter into the tract of the N.E. trade-wind, which blows between the parallels of 10° and 23° N.; and her course being west, she would be carried with a fair, steady breeze directly to her destination: in like manner, a vessel bound to India would pursue her course under the same favourable circumstances as far as long. 140o E., when she would enter the region of the monsoons, where should the S.W. monsoon blow (as it does from April to September), she could enter it so well to windward, that it would put her but little out of her course, from its eastern edge to the Straits of Malacca, whilst from those straits to Calcutta it would be a fair wind.

On the return voyage from China or India to the entrance of the Canal, a ship would at once run up to between 30o and 40° N., so as to be clear out of the region of the N.E. trade, and avail herself of the strong west winds which prevail between those parallels, to steer an east course to the coast of Mexico, where she would meet the north land-wind, which would carry her with a flowing sheet down to the Isthmus.

On a passage out to Australia, a ship would, after leaving the Canal, enter a narrow tract extending from 10° to 4o N., in which the winds are variable; after having crossed this, she would enter the region of the S.E. trade, which, as her course would be about W.S.W., would be a perfectly fair wind. Having passed the southern limit of this wind in 23o S., she would enter the region of the N.W. wind, which would also be a favourable breeze.

On her return from Australia to the Canal, she might at once run up into the S.E. trade, in lat. 23° S., from whence her course being about E.N.E., she would have a perfectly fair wind all the way; or she might run down part of her easting within the limits of the N.W. wind, and then run up into the S.E. trade, by doing which she would have the wind a couple of points more free.

Thus vessels bound either to or from India, China, and Australia, would have such fair, steady, regular winds, that their arrivals might be calculated upon with precision and accuracy.

The junction of the two great oceans, approximating, as it were, the two hemispheres, is a project worthy of the energy, the resources, and the enterprise of Britain, and calculated to immortalise any company under whose auspices it may be accomplished; and no commercial specu

lation has ever been entered into which will confer such great and lasting benefits on mankind, carrying, as it would do, commerce and civilisation to the remotest corners of the earth. It has long been a desideratum, and now engrosses the attention of the mercantile world.

"We are now upon the dawn of an extension of commerce in the direction of the Pacific, which will work some of the greatest wonders that have yet been witnessed from the energies of mankind." Already have two vast tides of emigration commenced, which will tend to equalise the distribution of the inhabitants of the globe-one of Europeans and North Americans to California and Australia, and one of Chinese to the western shores of America; and it may reasonably be expected, that ere long the cultivation of the West Indies will receive a stimulus from an immigration of Chinese.


The vast saving of time, by the adoption of this passage, which will enable ships to make two or three voyages the same period that they now take to make one, of expense in their navigation, of wear and tear, of interest on the value of ship and cargo, of insurance on ship, cargo, and freight, and the great diminution of shipwrecks and loss of life by sea, will effect a complete but peaceful and beneficial revolution in commerce.

Not only will a great saving of time be effected by the direct diminution of the distance to be traversed between Europe and America, and the east and west shores of the Pacific, and vice versa, but also by the avoidance of the loss of time occasioned by calms in the low latitudes, hard gales off the Capes, and the very long tacks to the Eastward and Westward, beating against the S.E. trade-wind in


the South Atlantic, or the N.E. or S.W. monsoon in the India or China seas, which vessels are now obliged to make; whilst, by the proposed route, fair steady breezes, smooth seas, and pleasant weather throughout the voyage both out and home, may be safely calculated upon.

Nor are the benefits resulting from increased intercourse and proximity the only advantages which may be hoped for: the safety of life and property will be greatly increased; the hardships of thousands of mariners will be lessened to an incalculable extent; and the facilities for benefiting our fellow-creatures will be greatly multiplied.

Ere long, Darien will become the great inter-oceanic portal, the entrepôt of the world, the storehouse of nations, the grand highway of commerce.

The Sun of October 12th, 1850, says, "Before a very considerable time has elapsed, the intention of England and America will have been carried into effect; and then will be seen the extraordinary benefits accruing to both from opening a line of communication-not inappropriately designated, the Dardanelles of the Western Hemisphere. As yet, any large speculation upon the consequences of that great work would only seem to partake of romance and exaggeration. Yet a little serious thought can only serve to assure the most cautious and reflective, that the dreams of the most extravagant imagination are in a fair way of being eclipsed by reality—a new road must be opened to the East for England."

The ignorance of a good route-the jealousy of rival nations—an erroneous idea that there was something too stupendous in the undertaking—a very strong prejudice that the difference of the level of the oceans, and of their rise of tide, would be a fatal objection—a most exaggerated

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