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Alexander von Humboldt: „Letter of Baron von Humboldt to Mr. Frederick M. Kelley“, in: ders., Sämtliche Schriften digital, herausgegeben von Oliver Lubrich und Thomas Nehrlich, Universität Bern 2021. URL: <> [abgerufen am 16.06.2024].

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Titel Letter of Baron von Humboldt to Mr. Frederick M. Kelley
Jahr 1857
Ort London
in: Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of London 1:1 (1857), S. 69–71.
Sprache Englisch
Typografischer Befund Antiqua; Auszeichnung: Kursivierung; Fußnoten mit Asterisken; Schmuck: Kapitälchen.
Textnummer Druckausgabe: VII.112
Dateiname: 1856-The_Darien_Canal-3
Seitenanzahl: 3
Zeichenanzahl: 4439

Weitere Fassungen
The Darien Canal (London, 1856, Englisch)
[The Darien Canal] (Paris, 1857, Französisch)
Letter of Baron von Humboldt to Mr. Frederick M. Kelley (London, 1857, Englisch)
[The Darien Canal] (Berlin, 1857, Deutsch)
[The Darien Canal] (New York City, New York, 1859, Englisch)

Letter of Baron von Humboldt to Mr. Frederick M. Kelley.(Translation.)

It is with the most lively satisfaction that I have taken notice, duringyour too short visit to Berlin, of the great and solid operations whichyou have caused to be executed since the beginning of January, 1855,by Mr. William Kennish, a skilful engineer, in surveying and levellingthe course of the great river Atrato and its affluents from the W.My learned friend Mr. Alexander Bache, superintendent of the coastsurvey of the United States, had already drawn my attention to theprevious investigations which you had caused to be made; and theseresearches are the more deserving of regard in consequence of yourproposal to extend the investigation, with equal precision, to thepassage between Port Cupica and the river Napipi, as well as toother points situated above the confluence of the Truando—positionsof great importance in the solution of the vast problem of an oceaniccanal.The great number of maps and sections on large scales, which youpossess, furnish all the necessary elements for judging of the possibilityof communication through the mouths of the Atrato, the Truando, anda canal leading from the latter to the South Sea. It is owing to sucha complete examination not having been effected of the mountainouscountry between the Gulf of San Miguel and Caledonia Bay, thatMr. Lionel Gisborne’s project in 1852 has not been executed. Igno-|70| rance of the locality, with the want of hypsometrical measurements,led to the sad results of Lieut. Strain’s courageous expedition.The great object to be accomplished is, in my opinion, a canaluniting the two oceans without locks or tunnels. When the plans andsections can be submitted to the public, a free and open discussion willelicit the advantages and disadvantages of each locality; and theexecution of this important work, which interests the civilised nationsof the two continents, should be entrusted to engineers who have suc-cessfully constructed similar works. The Junction Company will findsupporters among those governments and citizens, who, yielding to noblefeelings, will take pride in the idea of having contributed to a workworthy of the progress of intellect in the 19th century. This opinion Ihave expressed with warmth for more than fifty years. I have laboured,without ceasing, to disseminate the geographical views which tendto prove the possibility of commercial communications, whether bycanals, with or without locks, either simple or coupled with inclines;or by means of railroads, uniting coasts or rivers having an oppositecourse.Through General Bolivar, I obtained the exact geodetic levelling ofthe Isthmus of Panama. I was the first to make known, in my MexicanAtlas, the course of the two rivers Huasacoalco and Chimalapa, accord-ing to documents found in the archives of the viceroyalty of Mexico.I indicated the proximity of the almost unknown port of Cupica to thesources of the Napipi and the waters of the Atrato, as well as the exist-ence, ignored in Europe, of a canal of very small dimensions, con-structed in 1788, under the directions of a monk, curate of Novita, bythe Indians of his parish, for connecting the waters of the Raspadura,an affluent of the Quito, with the waters of the San Juan de Chiram-bira. I think there is nothing more likely to obstruct the extension ofcommerce and the freedom of international relations, than to create adistaste for any further investigation, by declaring, in an absolute andimperative manner, that all hope of an oceanic canal ought now to beabandoned.I have described already in my ‘Essai Politique de la NouvelleEspagne’ * the immense operation of cutting through mountains theopen canal, called the Desague of Huehuetoca, which was executedby the Spanish government at the commencement of the 17th century;and I have now too much faith in the power of the resources offered bymodern civilisation, to be discouraged.I am indebted to Colonel Codazzi, and to the affectionate kindness ofthe Minister of the Interior at Bogota, M. Pastor Ospina, for im-portant communications which remind me that the route from Cupica
* See the last edition, vol. i., pages 202-248, and vol. ii., pages 95-145.
|71| to the river Napipi presents successive elevations; and it would bean additional service to geography, if you would cause this route to belevelled.