« PreviousContinue »
in a blanket. One of the birds was killed at the first onset. The colonel was victorious; but after the battle was over, some dispute arose, and in an instant all was confusion and wild uproar. But for the seasonable interference of the brokers, who acted as umpires, we might have witnessed a battle between the priest and the colonel.' p. 185.
At San Isidro, a village of stone huts with thatched roofs, the author writes,
'I have just returned from visiting a school, and have been much amused with the appearance of the pedagogue. In a large room, furnished with two or three cowhides spread on the floor, and half a dozen low benches, were ten or twelve little urchins, all repeating their lessons at the same time, as loud as they could bawl. The master was stalking about the room, with a ferule in his hand, and dressed in a most grotesque manner. He had an old manta wrapped about his loins, from under which, there appeared the ends of tattered leather breeches, hanging over his naked legs; sandals were bound round his ankles; a leather jerkin, the sleeves worn off, and a dirty handkerchief twisted round his head, above which his shaggy hair stood erect, completed his dress. He seemed perfectly unconscious of his uncouth appearance, but received me very courteously; dismissed his scholars immediately, and at once entered into conversation on the state of the country. He is not satisfied with the present order of things, and made some sarcastic observations on the change of masters, which the people had undergone; contrasting the colonial government with that of Iturbide, very much in favor of the former.' p. 190.
The author reached Tampico on the 17th of December, two months from the time he landed at Vera Cruz. Here his journal in regard to Mexico ends, but several pages of valuable remarks and statistical details are added, respecting the island of Cuba, where he passed a few days on his return to the United States.
The interest of this volume is by no means confined to a narrative of the ordinary events, which happened to a traveller in passing through the country. By far the greater part is taken up with topics of higher moment. As full an expo
sition as can be desired is given of the political resources and condition of the country, its population, revenue, agriculture, manufactures, commerce, and military force. We hazard nothing in saying, that the volume contains the best account which can be found of the present state of Mexico, both in regard to the character of the people, and their prospects as
an independent nation. In the appendix is a sketch of the revolutionary history, with several important public documents. These we pass over for the present, intending at a future period to devote a separate article to a consideration of the political changes in Mexico.
ART. IV.—1. Ordinances of the Corporation of the City of Baltimore, with the Act of Incorporation, and the several Supplements thereto; to which is added an Appendix, &c. Compiled and prepared in Pursuance of a joint Resolution of both Branches of the City Council. By SAMUEL YOUNG. 8vo. pp. 342. Baltimore. N. Warner. 1816.
2. Remarks on the Intercourse of Baltimore, with the Western Country. 8vo. pp. 30. J. Robinson. Baltimore. 1818. 3. Report of the Maryland Commissioners on a proposed Canal from Baltimore to Conewago. 8vo. pp. 84. F. Lucas, Jr. 1823.
4. General Harper's Speech to the Citizens of Baltimore, on the Expediency of Promoting a Connexion between the Ohio at Pittsburgh, and the Waters of the Chesapeake at Baltimore, by a Canal through the District of Columbia; with a Reply to some of the Objections of Mr Winchister. 8vo. pp. 78. E. J. Coale. 1824.
5. Annals of Baltimore. By THOMAS W. GRIFFITH. 8vo. pp. 240. Baltimore. 1824.
AMONG the prominent features, which distinguish the United States from every part of the old world, in every period of its history, are the rapid growth of many of our towns, and the unexampled increase of population in certain districts of the country. No one can pass through our western regions, and witness the marks of industry and enterprise, which everywhere meet the eye, without feeling almost as if he walked on enchanted ground, and that the wilderness had bowed to more than mortal arm. A ride from Albany to Niagara reveals the power of human agency, in developing the resources and multiplying the
means of social being, to a more remarkable degree than had ever been known in the history of the whole eastern continent. And if we go onward and visit the banks of the Ohio, the Wabash, Mississippi, and Missouri, we shall find towns, villages, innumerable cultivated farms, a teeming population, well organised governments, and all the details of commercial and social intercourse, established on a firm basis, and going into an harmonious operation, over an immense space of country, where thirty years ago scarcely a vestige of civilisation could be traced.
The growth of our cities on the seaboard, if it has been comparatively less rapid, than that of some parts of the interior, has nevertheless exceeded anything with which history acquaints us in the eastern hemisphere. Within the last thirty years the population of Philadelphia has increased to a number three times as great as it was at the beginning of that period, New York to a number four times as great, and Baltimore to a number five times as great. New Orleans
has now more than three times the amount of population, which it had when the purchase of Louisiana was made by the United States. But among all the cities, whether of America or of the old world, in modern or ancient times, there is no record of any one, which has sprung up so quickly to as high a degree of importance as Baltimore. At the commencement of the revolution it was a village of five thousand inhabitants, and at the close of the war it had increased to no more than eight thousand. In magnitude it is now the third city in the Union, and has held that rank for nearly twenty years.
Odessa and Liverpool have been often mentioned as cities of the most rapid growth of any in Europe, but these have not equalled the cities in the United States. As to Odessa, it can hardly be compared with any other city, inasmuch as its rise and prosperity have depended on causes peculiar to itself. The building of Odessa was first begun by the Russian government thirty years ago, and from all the aid which it has received by being a free port, and from the royal patronage in erecting piers, wharves, and warehouses, and inducing farmers to settle in the neighborhood by donations of land and other privileges, the city has not yet been forced up to a population of more than about thirtysix thousand. In the last twenty years it has a little more than doubled,
The increase of Liverpool, although at one time rapid, has never been equal to that of New York.
A brief outline of the progress of Baltimore, together with a few remarks touching the causes, which contributed to its sudden elevation, will not be without value in illustrating the commercial history of this country, and showing what can be attained by opportunity and enterprise, under a government which affords the one and fosters the other. Maryland, like New England, owes its first settlement to a love of religious freedom, and regard for the rights of conscience. As early as 1621, Sir George Calvert, afterwards made lord baron of Baltimore in Ireland, obtained from king James a grant of a part of the island of Newfoundland, where he resolved to establish a colony, which should be an asylum for such Roman Catholics as chose to relieve themselves by emigration from the persecutions of the times. In this colony he lived himself for a few years, till he found the climate and local disadvantages an insuperable bar to its prosperity. He then visited Virginia, and the country on the Chesapeake Bay. When he returned to England the king consented to give him a grant of the territory, which now constitutes the state of Maryland, but before the charter could be adjusted, lord Baltimore died. His title, and the mass of his fortune, were inherited by his eldest son, Cecilius Calvert, who obtained the charter and prosecuted the design of his father. Two hundred persons were collected, who agreed to go out and begin the settlement of a colony under the charge of Leonard Calvert, appointed by his brother governor of the territory. They entered the Chesapeake in February, 1634, and debarked at a place, which they called St Mary's, on the north bank of the Potomac, and near its junction with the Chesapeake. Here they established themselves, formed a government, lived in peace with the Indians, and enjoyed as speedy and wide a prosperity, as new colonists could possibly expect under similar circumstances.*
* It is a curious fact, and one which reflects the greatest credit on these early colonists, that fifteen years after they first landed, the general assembly of the people passed an act, entitled An Act concerning Religion, in which the great principles of religious toleration and liberty are recognised in their fullest latitude. The following is an extract from the act itself.
'Whereas the enforcing of the conscience in matters of religion hath frequently fallen out to be of dangerous consequence in those commonwealths
By reason of the liberal conditions offered to emigrants in lands and privileges, the colony increased, and a commercial intercourse with the mother country was gradually opened and extended. Tobacco was the chief product for exportation, although wheat early became an article of importance. As the inhabitants spread over different parts of the territory, a few villages sprung up here and there in places convenient for water communication, but for more than a century after the first landing of the colonists, commerce seemed not to be verging to any particular point.
The site where the city of Baltimore now stands was partly a wilderness, and partly cultivated as a farm, in the year 1729, when an act was obtained from the Assembly for laying out sixty acres of land into lots, and erecting a town on the north side of the Patapsco. The concerns of the proposed town were entrusted to seven commissioners, who were appointed for life, and empowered to fill their own vacancies. These persons bought of the owner, Mr Carroll, the sixty acres of land at forty shillings an acre, to be paid in money, or in tobacco at one penny a pound. This tract was that portion of the present city, which is situated at the head of the basin, or inner harbor. Although the original limits of the
where it hath been practised, and for the more quiet and peaceable government of this province, and the better to preserve mutual love and unity among the inhabitants, no person or persons whatsoever, within this province, or the islands, ports, harbors, creeks, or havens thereunto belonging, professing to believe in Jesus Christ, shall from henceforth be any ways troubled, molested, or discountenanced, for, or in respect of, his or her religion, nor in the free exercise thereof, within this province, or the islands thereunto belonging, nor any way compelled to the belief or exercise of any religion against his or her consent, so that they be not unfaithful to the lord proprietary, or molest or conspire against the civil government established, or to be established in this province under him or his heirs.' Bacon's Laws, 1649, chap. 1.
This law was passed by an assembly composed entirely of Roman Catholics, and is the more remarkable, as being the first legislative act, it is believed, which is recorded to have been passed by any government in favor of unlimited toleration. Penn's memorable law to this effect, for the regulation of his colony, was not made till more than thirty years afterwards, that is, 1682. There is a remarkable coincidence in the spirit of the two, as will be seen by the following clause in Penn's law, which declares that all persons living in the province, who confess and acknowledge the one Almighty and Eternal God to be the creator, upholder, and ruler of the world, and hold themselves obliged in conscience to live peaceably and justly in civil society, shall in nowise be molested for their religious persuasion, or practice, in matters of faith and worship.' This law, it must be remembered, was the result of the enlightened views and benevolence of a single individual, while that of Maryland was the spontaneous act of an assembly of the people.