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Alexander von Humboldt: „The Isthmus of Darien“, in: ders., Sämtliche Schriften digital, herausgegeben von Oliver Lubrich und Thomas Nehrlich, Universität Bern 2021. URL: <https://humboldt.unibe.ch/text/1853-Junction_of_the-07-neu> [abgerufen am 17.04.2024].

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Titel The Isthmus of Darien
Jahr 1853
Ort Dublin
Nachweis
in: Saunders’s News-Letter and Daily Advertiser 34744 (13. August 1853), [o. S.].
Sprache Englisch
Typografischer Befund Antiqua; Spaltensatz; Auszeichnung: Kursivierung, Kapitälchen.
Identifikation
Textnummer Druckausgabe: VII.49
Dateiname: 1853-Junction_of_the-07-neu
Statistiken
Seitenanzahl: 1
Zeichenanzahl: 6492

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The Isthmus of Darien. Letter from Baron Alexander von Humboldt to Lionel Gisborne, Esq., M. A., C. E. (New York City, New York, 1853, Englisch)
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The Isthmus of Darien. Letter from Baron Alexander von Humboldt to Lionel Gisborne, Esq., M. A., C. E. (Boston, Massachusetts; New York City, New York, 1853, Englisch)
Letter from Baron Alexander von Humboldt to Lionel Gisborne, Esq., M.A., C.E. (Sydney, 1853, Englisch)
|Seitenumbruch|

THE ISTHMUS OF DARIEN.

The following interesting letter from Baron Alexander VonHumboldt to Lionel Gisborne, Esq., M.A., C.E., has beenmade public:—

Sir

—I trust you will excuse the oldest among the travellers in both the tropics of America and the steppes of Siberia,for having so long delayed to thank you for the information Iderived from your inter sting journal, &c., on the junction ofthe Atlantic with the Pacific. The position I occupy in thiscountry, and the ardent desire I feel to finish, beforemy death,some scientific works which I had the imprudence to begin,considerably interrupt the even course of my correspondanceI therefore hope that I shall meet, on your part also, with thatindulgence which your countrymen have shown me during solong a period. “I have not been beyond the Rio Rimo, which lies east ofthe mouth of the Atrato, since the time when I left the islandof Cuba on my way to Lima by Bogota, Quito, and the riverAmazon, for the purpose of observing the passage of Mercurythrough the solar disc. I was then on friendly terms with avery intelligent merchant. Don Ignacio Iombo, of Cartagena,in America, and I recollect that the Casso (Treasury convoy)of Guayaquil was then on its way to Europe, by the road fromCupica to the Atrato, which was first opened by the Biscavanpilot Poguerache. Knowing, geologically the interruption ofthe mountain chains, and the depression of the range in theeastern part of the Isthmus, my attention has remained fixedduring this last half century on the Bay of San Miguel and theroute from Cupica to the Rio Napipi Owing to my friendlyrelations with Gene al Bolivar. I obtained through him thefirst line of levels across the lsthmus of Panama. Ever sincethe subject has not ceased to occupy my mind as the variousworks and maps which I published since 1810 and my cor-respondence with various statesmen will testify. But all mystriving and urging only led to imperfect trials and projectscalculated for a line to the weat of the meridian of Panamaand Portobello, none of which ever gained my confidence. Ihad, however, the gratification of seeing my views honoredby an eminent member of her Britannic Majesty’s navy, Capt.Fitzroy.—Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, vol. xx.,p. 20) “The increase of human knowledge, and the immense pro-gress of science, arts, and industry, among the western nations,have given us powers which only call for application. Every-thing depends upon energy and perseverance. I therefore con-gratulate you, air, and your courageous friend, Dr. Cullen, aswell as Sir Charles Fox, Mr Henderson, and Mr. Brassey, forhaving given your names to so noble an undertaking. I havealways considered, firstly, the opening of an oceanic canal,without locks; and secondly, the cut at Huchuecoca, in thevalley of Mexico (which is on a comperatively smaller scale,as may be seen by the map and section I published), as twoevents calculated highly to improve the reletions between thedifferent families of the human species. In fact, such a workas the one you contemplate will bring Eastern Asia nearer tothe nations of Europe and America. It will render the wholeglobe more easy to be travelled over—this little globe, ofwhich Christopher Columbus, in one of his letters to the Qurenof Spain, said. ‘el mundo es poco.’ It will facilitate the dif-fusion of productions, especially of precious metals, of whichthe relative value (1 to 15 5-6ths) would change too suddenlywithout this ‘permeability’ of the world. “As early as the discovery of the new continent, civilisationhad spread, in a direction from north to south, over those por-tions of America which He opposite to Asia, those on theEuropean side being then occupied by barbarous huntingtribes. The finest harhours, the most precious products, arelikewise found in the West. Even the currents of the air, bytheir direction, contribute towards the preponderance of WestAmerican power over the rich countries of Asia. The increasingimportance of the west coast of America promises to balance,at some future time, the surprising progress of the AtlanticStates, provided the western States keep themselves free fromthat hideous disease—slavery of coloured people. “Indeed, sir, I feel the most ardent wishes for the happysuccess of this oceanic canal. The attention which the publicof the two continents be-tows already upon your undertakingwill increase, as soon as you are enabled, assisted by furtherexplorations, and a survey extending over all details, and car-ried on by a great number of experienced men, to publish, ona large scale, maps and sections of the line fixed upon betweenPuerto Escoces and the Gulf of San Miguel. The changeswhich the success of your undertaking is sure to effect in theinternational commerce of the world will only disturb suchpeople as in the narrowness of their views oppose themselvesto the natural and providential course of events, and shedtears over the unfortunate discovery of America. The RioHuaxacualco with its portage to the Rio Chimalapa (Tehuan-tepec), of which I published the first map after the itinerariesdiscovered by me in the archives of the vice-kingdom ofMexico, will always be of great importance, owing to its po-sition opposite to Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico, which hasall the appearance of soon becoming a mare clanrum—a lakeof the United States. The nature of the soil, however, doesnot allow great works to be carried out in that locality; be-sides you know the difficulties impeding any canalization orrectification of rivers of great length, and the great variationsof the volume of water, as in the river San Juan; but a rall-way would be a great advantage to the southern States. “The great interest which every one at the present timetakes in the canalization of the Isthmus recalls a similar factto my memory, reminding me of the sudden interest createdby the discovery of guano. “I was the first who brought guano to Europe, of whichKlaproth and Vauquelin published an analysis. During 40years I preached, but always in vain, the usefulness of this sub-stance, and in vain did I recommend its employment in ferti-lising the fields of Europe. But it is only fifteen or eighteenyears since it has at last become a great article of commerce.

“I beg of you, my dear sir, to present my kind remem-brance to the excellent and able Mr. Peterman, &c. Alexander Von Humboldt.