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ment,-though we might weep for dertaking. The ground has been the calamities heaped upon our bre. surveyed; and not the practicability thren of Europe by an insatiable des only, but the facility of the work, pot, who, with the words liberty and completely ascertained. In the next good of mankind on his lips, would place, the important requisite of safe rivet his chains on the whole human harbours, at the two extremities of race, and expend their blood and the canal, is here supplied to the ex. sweat for his own momentary plea. tent of our utmost wishes. At the sure or caprice, we might laugh mouth of the Chagré is a fine bay, the destroyer to scorn, and enjoy a which received the British 74 gun prosperity which the utmost efforts ships, in 1740, when captain Knowles of his power and his rage could never bombarded the castle of St. Lorenzo ; disturb.
--and at the other extremity is the In enumerating, however, the ad. famous harbour of Panama.* Nor vantages of a commercial nature, is this the only expedient for opening which would assuredly spring from the important navigation between the the emancipation of South America, Pacifick and Atlantick Oceans. Furwe have not yet noticed the greatest, ther north is the grand lake of Nicaraperhaps, of all,
the mightiest event, guay, which, by itself, almost extends probably, in favour of the peaceful the navigation from sea to sea. Into intercourse of nations, which the phy- the Atlantick Ocean it falls by a nasical circumstances of the globe pre- vigable river, and reaches to within sent to the enterprise of man :-we three leagues of the Gulf of Papamean the formation of a navigable gayo in the Pacifick.f Mr. Jefferys passage across the isthmus of Pana. tells us, it was the instruction of the ma, the junction of the Atlantick king of Spain to the governour of St. and Pacifick Oceans. It is remarka. John's Castle, not to permit any Brible, that this magnificent undertak- tish subject to pass either up or down ing, pregnant with consequences so this lake ; “ for, if ever the English important to mankind, and about came to a knowledge of its imporwhich so little is known in this coun. try, is so far from being a romantick * For the accuracy of these statements, and chimerical project, that it is not
may be consulted a curious and instruc
tive work, drawn up and published, in only practicable, but The river
1762, by Thomas Jefferys, geographer to Chagré, which falls into the Atlantick his majesty ; from the draughts and surat the town of the same name, about vey's
found on board the Spanish prizes ; eighteen leagues to the westward of from other accessible documents, and the Porto Bello, is navigable as far as statements of eyewitnesses. The title of Cruzes, within five leagues of Pana- the book, as it is now but little known, it
may be worth while to transcribe. " A But though the formation of a
Description of the Spanish Islands and canal from this place to Panama, fa- Settlements on the coast of the West Incilitated by the valley through which dies; compiled from authentick Memoirs ; the present road passes, appears to revised by Gentlemen who have resided present no very formidable obstacles, many Years in the Spanish Settlements ; there is still a better expedient. At Plans, chiefly from original Drawings
and illustrated with Thirty-two Meps and the distance of about five leagues taken from the Spaniards in the last War, from the mouth of the Chagré, it re- and engraved by Thomas Jefferys,” &c. ceives the river Trinidad, which is † The reader may consult, on the faci. navigable to Embarcadero; and from lity and importance of effecting a navigathat place to Panama is a distance of tion from sea to sea, by this extraordinary about thirty miles, through a level lake, a curious memoir by M. Martin de country, with a fine river to supply compte de Broglio, published in the se
la Bastide, ancien secretaire de M. le water for the canal, and no difficulty cond volume of “ Histoire Abregée de la whatever to counteract the noble un
mer du Sud, par M. de Laborde."
tance and value, they would soon would be the traffick which would immake themselves masters of this part mediately begin to cover that ocean, of the country:
by denomination Pacifick. All the We are tempted to dwell for a mo- riches of India and of China would ment upon the prospects which the move towards America. The riches accomplishment of this splendid, but of Europe and of America would move not difficult enterprise, opens to our towards Asia. Vast depôts would be nation. It is not merely the im- formed at the great commercial mense commerce of the western towns which would immediately arise shores of America, extending almost at the two extremities of the central from pole to pole, that is brought, as canal :-the goods would be in a it were, to our door; it is not the
course of perpetual passage from the intrinsically important, though com- one depôt to the other ;-and would be paratively moderate branch of our received by the ships, as they arrived, commerce, that of the South · Sea which were prepared to convey them whalers, that will alone undergo a to their ultimate destination. complete revolution, by saving the Is it too much to hope, that China tedious and dangerous voyage round and Japan themselves, thus brought Cape Horn :--the whole of those im- so much nearer the influence of Eumense interests which we hold depo- ropean civilisatiou-much more consited in the regions of Asia, become stantly and powerfully subject to its augmented in value, to a degree operation-would not be able to rewhich, at present, it is not easy to sist the salutary impression, but conceive, by obtaining direct access would soon receive important changes to them across the Pacifick Ocean. in ideas, arts, manners and instituIt is the same thing as if, by some tions ? The hope rests, at least, on great revolution of the globe, our such strong foundations, that it seems eastern possessions were brought to rise even to certainty ;—and then, nearer to us. The voyage across the what glorious results might be exPacifick, the winds both for the east- pected for the whole of Asia, that ern and western passage being fair vast proportion of the earth, which, and constant, is so expeditious and even in its most favoured parts, has steady, that the arrival of the ships been in all ages condemned to semimay be calculated almost with the barbarism, and the miseries of des. accuracy of a mail coach.t Immense potick power? One thing, at least, is
* See p. 43. of “A Description,” &c. From the East Indies to the South Seas, above cited. What Alcedo tells us is still there are two passages.-One by the north, more extraordinary, that it was even in to sail to the latitude of 400 north, in terdicted, on pain of death, to propose order to get into the great west wind, opening the navigation between the two which, about that latitude, blows ten
A similar interdiction and penalty months in the year; and which, being was ordained, respecting the navigation strong, carries vessels with quickness to of the Atrato, where there is only an in the northern part of the coast of Mexico. terval of a few miles between the naviga. From the extreme point of Mexico, in ble parts of the two rivers.
the north, there is a north wind which t On the surprising facilities of this na- blows all the way to the bay of Panama, vigation, there is some interesting infor- which never varies, and which carries mation given in an “ Account of an in- ships above a hundred miles a day, reaching tended expedition into the South Seas, by to the distance of a hundred leagues from private persons,” printed in the appendix the coast.-The other passage is at 40° to the third volume of sir John Dalrym south, and is in all respects similar to ple's Memoirs of Great Britain and Ire- that in the north, a land-wind blowing land. “ From the bay of Panama," says from the coast of Chili to the bay of Pathat document, “ ships are carried to the
nama, of the very same description with East Indies, by the great trade wind, at that which blows along the coast of Mex: the rate of above a hundred miles a day. ico."
certain, that South America, which last decreed, Mr. Pitt still assured the stands so much in need of industri. general, that the plan of emancipating ous inhabitants, would receive myri. South America was a measure that ads of laborious Chinese, who already would not be lost sight of; but would swarm in all parts of the eastern Ar. infallibly engage the attention of eve. chipelago in quest of employment ry minister of this country. and of food. This, to her, would be The man by whom this important an acquisition of incredible impor. suggestion was made, and in whose tance: and the conrexion thus form- breast the scheme of emancipation, if ed between the two countries, would not first conceived, seems, at least, to still further tend to accelerate the ac- have been first matured, is a native quisition of enlightened views and of Caraccas in South America ; decivilized manners in China herself. scended from one of the principal fa
Such are a few of the results which milies of the country. At the early there is reason to expect from a re- age of 17 he repaired to Spain, and, gulation of the affairs of South Ame- by the influence of his family, obtainrica. Never, perhaps, was an oppor- ed a captain's commission in the tunity offered to a nation, of effecting Spanish army. Early smit by the so great a change in behalf of human love of letters, he was anxious to prokind, as Great Britain, from a won- ceed to France for the prosecution of derful combination of circumstances, his education ; but permission was is now called upon, by so many mo- denied him ; and he was forced to tives, to help South America to ac. bring the masters, whom he could complish. The measure has, for a not procure in Spain, from France, considerable number of years, been at his own charges. It is an anecmingled, in her councils, among the dote, not unworthy of record, that number of her resolves; and a short when the inquisition ordered his history-which, from peculiar cir- books to be taken from him and cumstances, we are enabled to give burnt, he applied to count O'Reilly, with unusual accuracy-cannot be inspector general of the Spanish arwithout interest, of what has been my, to see if the order could not be done in preparation towards an event recalled; but the inspector told him, which will, hereafter, occupy so great that all he could do was to condole a place in the history of the world. with him ; for that the same misfor
Though projects of hostility-some tune had happened to himself. of them for plunder, some for per- When France and Spain resolved manent conquest-had been under- to take a share in the war which was taken, during the wars between this carried on between Great Britain and country and Spain, against particu- her American colonies, it happened lar parts of her transatlantick domi- that Miranda was in that part of the nions, the first time, we believe, that Spanish army which was destined to a general scheme of emancipation cooperate with the French. Acting was presented to the mind of a Bri- thus, and conversing with the memtish minister, was in the beginning bers of a more enlightened nation of 1790, when the measure was pro- than any he had yet seen, the ideas posed to Mr. Pitt by general Miran- of the young American received that da. It met, from that minister, with improvement after which he aspired; the most cordial reception ;-and, as and, in a scene where the cause of the dispute respecting Nootka Sound liberty was the object of all men's was then subsisting, it was resolved, zeal and enthusiasm, and in a country, if pain did not prevent hostilities by the situation of which in so many submission, to carry the plan into im- respects resembled his own, a similar mediate execution. When an accom- destiny for this last was naturally modation was effected, and peace at presented to his wishes. So deeply
was the impression struck, that he afterwards to Prussia, Austria, Italy, has dedicated to this one design al- Greece, and a part of Turkey. He most the whole of his life, and has then proceeded to Russia, where he been the prime mover in every met with prince Potemkin at Cher. scheme that has been proposed for son, whose notice he attracted ; and the emancipation of the Spanish co- by him was introduced to the emJonies in America.
press at Kiow. A native of Spain, After the renunciation, or rather travelling in search of knowledge, the postponement of the design, on and improved by it, appeared to her the part of Mr. Pitt, the next pro- in the light of a phenomenon. She ject for changing the condition of invited him to remain in Russia; for, South America, was started by the in Spain, she said, he would be burnt. republican rulers of France ; as part -Spain was not a country for him. of their scheme for revolutionizing When Miranda opened to her, in the whole of the Spanish dominions. reply, the views to which he had de• But Miranda foresaw the dangers voted himself in behalf of his country, with which that design was pregnant, she manifested the strongest interest and fortunately had sufficient in- in the accomplishment of his scheme, fluence to persuade its renunciation. and assured him, in case of his sucTo prepare the reader sufficiently for cess, she would be the foremost to the particulars of this curious affair, support the independence of South it may not be useless to run over, America. She transmitted a circular hastily, the steps by which the genee letter to her ambassadours in Europe, ral had been brought to the situation to afford him her imperial protection in which he then stood.
every where ; and gave him an inviAt the termination of the Ameri- tation to draw upon her treasury for can war, he resigned his situation in his personal support. the service of Spain, and repaired to It was after this tour through Eus Europe, with a view to study the in- rope, in which Miranda spent several stitutions of the most enlightened years, that he returned, by the way dations, and to draw from them in- of France, to England; and being, struction for the benefit of his native by his friend governour Pownal, incountry. For this purpose, he came troduced to Mr. Pitt, proposed to first to Great Britain,* and proceeded him the plan, of which the submis
sion of Spain on the question at issue * There is a curious proof of the notice prevented the execution. At the which he and his cause attracted in this time when the prospect was thus, for country, even at this early period, in the “ Political Herald and Review," for the
an indefinite period, closed upon him year 1785, pp. 29, 30.
in England, and the first promising "The fame which was kindled in North movements of liberty in France were America," says the writer in that work, attracting the curious from every
as was foreseen, has made its way into quarter of the world, Miranda returnthe American dominions of Spain. That ed to witness the great scenes which jealousy which confined the appointments of government in Spanish America to na
were there passing, and to obtain, if tive Spaniards, and established other dis possible, from France, in her new sitinctions between these and their de. scendants on the other side the Atlantick, Provincials. The example of North Ame. has been a two edged sword, and cut rica is the great subject of discourse, and two ways. If it has hitherto preserved the grand object of imitation. In London, the sovereignty of Spain in those parts, we are well assured, there is, at this moit has sown the seeds of a deep resent- ment, a Spanish American of great conment among the people. Conferences are sequence, and possessed of the confidence held, combinations are formed in secret of his fellow citizens, who aspires to the among a race of men whom we shall dis- glory of being the deliverer of his countinguish by the appellation of Spanish try.s
tuation, the same favour to South rage, and genius, every thing ensures America, which in her old she had
All the ministers agree bestowed upon the United States. in this choice, but they fear lest you By his companions in arms, whom should refuse to part with Miranda, he had recently known in America, as you have chosen him to fill up the he was speedily drawn into some con- place of Labourdounay. I have this nexion with the great leaders at that morning promised Monge that I time in publick affairs ; and when would write to you, and he gave me the revolution was first called upon his word that he would appoint Mi. to draw the sword, he was invited and randa governour in chief, if you prevailed upon to take a command in would consent to let him go.
Hasten her armies.
then to send me your consent. Shall It was while he was serving with I add that our excellent friend GenDumourier in the Netherlands, that sonné is of the same opinion ; he will the scheme for revolutionizing Spain write to you to morrow. Claviere and her colonies was first conceived and Petion are overjoyed at that idea.” by the republican leaders. It was It will be readily acknowledged, communicated to Dumourier by Bris- there was here wherewithal to dazzle sot, in a letter which we have now a man of ordinary ambition. Yet before us, dated Paris, 28th Novem- was the project damped, and finally ber 1792, in the following terms: renounced, by means of Miranda,
“ Spain is ripening for liberty. Its who began to fear that the revolution government is preparing again, pre. was proceeding too fast and too far. parations are necessary to prosper or In the letter which he wrote to Brisrather to naturalize liberty there. sot, in answer to the communication That a revolution must be effected of his proposal, he contents himself both in European and American with starting difficulties. Spain, all must allow. The fate of plan,” says he, “ that you form in this latter revolution depends upon your letter is truly grand and magnione man. You know and esteem him. ficent; but I know not whether the It is Miranda. The ministers were execution might be certain or even lately looking out for a person to take probable. With respect to the Spathe place of Desparbés in Hispaniola. nish American continent and their А
ray of light struck me: I said, ap- islands, I am perfectly informed and point Miranda. In the first place, able to form an exact opinion. But Miranda will soon adjust the mi- for all that regards the French islands, serable quarrels of the colonists; and their present situation, I scarcely he soon will call to order those know any thing at all, and, consewhite people so turbulent, and will quently it would be impossible for become the idol of the coloured me to form a correct opinion of it. people. But afterwards how easily This being in your plan the basis of will he raise the Spanish isles or the the whole operation, since it is from Spanish continent which they pos- the colonies that the force must go sess? At the head of more than which is to put in motion the people 12,000 regular troops who are now of the opposite continent, we must in Hispaniola, of 10 to 15,000 brave be very sure that our information is mulattoes, with whom he will be pro- true and positive. It seems to me vided in our islands, with what ease also that my appointment and my will he invade the Spanish posses- departure for Hispaniola, would sions ? Besides, having under his spread the alarm in the courts of command a fleet, and when the Madrid and St. James. The effects Spaniards have nothing to oppose to of which would be soon felt at Cadiz him, the name of Miranda will be and Portsmouth, which would create worth an army; and his talents, cou- new obstacles to the undertaking,