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in the shape of a thin wedge. With some modifications, it has the same form with its neighbor Africa, and is just as unvarying in its want of a serrated coast, its sea-line being but 16,000 miles in length, almost the same as that of Africa. Like Africa, too, South America is destitute of peninsulas and adjacent islands; its coast is as unindented as that of Africa and Australia, all three of these continents of the southern hemisphere being in strict conformity. Yet South America is capable of great progress: its conditions are very plastic; it is characterized by the size and number of the great rivers which pass through its very center; its flora and fauna are extremely rich. In the fruitfulness of its soil, its division by mountains, and its water system, it holds great pre-eminence over Africa. An effort to connect its great rivers, and thus to make its immense natural advantages of mutual service, seems to promise a far more prosperous future for South America than can be predicted for Central Africa; yet the native population of the country stand on a very low plane of manhood.

The wedge-shaped plateau of Patagonia is not at all benefited, as previous analysis would lead us to expect, by its long coast and by the nearness of the islands of Terra del Fuego. The fruitful island of Tasmania is far more valuable to Australia than is this island to Patagonia, and even Iceland is a more productive neighbor to Norway. The Terra del Fuego group, embracing a territory of 29,000 square miles, although hard by the South American coast, only injures it instead of blessing it, for it imperils shipping and harbors a population so degraded that they have no wants which can stimulate the rudest civilization. With a precipitous, craggy coast, without trees and without grass, covered only with moss, and be

longing strictly to the polar world, it must give a habitation to the very lowest and most degraded of the human race, isolated from the world, and only casually visited when winds and storms throw mariners upon its shores.

Not every island is to be considered, therefore, as a gain to the adjacent main land. If Terra del Fuego lay at the mouth of the La Plata River, it would have become a valuable auxiliary to Brazil. The worth of an island is relative, not absolute.

The Antilles group is the great insular formation contiguous to Central America. Its area, though comprising 94,700 square miles, is not one-tenth as great as that of the great Sunda group. By situation and physical conditions, it is much more closely connected with North than with South America. The Caribbean Sea is twice as large as the Mediterranean, the one having 801,800 square miles, and the other 1,675,800 square miles. It has been, therefore, more difficult to make the larger tributary to the advance of civilization than the smaller.

North America has entirely taken the palm from South America in the progress of its culture, just as has uniformly been the case with all the continents of the northern hemisphere compared with the southern; and yet the tropical southern continent is far more profusely endowed with the gifts of nature than the temperate northern one. The northern half, on the other hand, enjoys a far greater advantage in its broken coast-line, numerous bays, gulfs, islands, peninsulas, harbors, as well as by reason of its greater want of conformity to a rigid triangular form.

Enlarging, as it does, toward its southern extremity, North America approaches a trapezoidal shape, like Asia, and, as in Asia also, the size of the main body preponde

rates greatly over that of the extremities. Several of these extremities, too, extend toward the east and south, and only a few toward the west. To the North American peninsulas and islands belong the northeasterly island group of Greenland, (which for centuries was considered to be a peninsula, but which, since Parry's discoveries in 1820, has been known to be a group of independent islands,) Bank's Land, Boothia Felix, Cockburn, Melville's Peninsula, Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Florida, the latter 59,000 square miles in area.

The northeast of North America is everywhere much cut up by inlets of the ocean, larger bays, gulfs, and sounds. This is the main characteristic of the shore of the northern United States and Canada. As all these open toward Europe, the situation of this whole region has been especially adapted to the most speedy advance in civilization. The pride of the American can no more plume itself on an independent progress than can that of the European; to the former, Europe is the Orient from which he receives, in an already advanced stage, what the European receives from Asia, his own Orient.

The less important peninsulas of North America, and the side most destitute of them, are turned toward the northern Pacific. To this region belong the Russian possessions, the desolate wastes of Aliaska, and, farther to the south, the peninsula of Old California, which has begun, within the last ten years, to play an active part in the world's affairs. But all three of these are capable at present of little independent advance. They must wait till they feel the impulse of the civilization of the older American States, before they take that place to which the newly-organized commercial relations with China and Japan seem to be leading the way.

North America enjoys a great advantage over Europe in the possession of large inland lakes or seas. The prev alence of articulation and of the adjacent islands is not toward the south, but toward the polar and sub-polar regions, (from 40° to 50° N. lat.,) as in Europe. And although many of these islands and peninsulas are as yet but little known, still the progress of discovery has been so rapid within the past few years, that it would seem, by European analogies, that an important history is yet in store for them. For there is a great kinship between these northern regions of America and the Scandinavian and North Russian domains of Europe. And we know well that no degree of cold has ever intimidated civilization from penetrating in the latter to the very confines of the polar world.

As the White Sea, (48,500 square miles in area,) the Baltic, (167,000 square miles,) and the yet greater North Sea, have broken through the northern regions of Europe, so on a far more gigantic scale have the inroads of the ocean rifted and sundered North America. This we have learned in our recent frequent voyages to the Esquimaux regions. Baffin's Bay, Lancaster Sound, Smith's Sound, Jones' Sound, Barrow Strait, Fox's Channel with its uncounted islands, Hudson's Bay with its 499,000 square miles of surface, Boothia Gulf, Victoria and Georgia Seas, Wellington's Channel, Melville Sound, Prince of Wales Straits, and very many other water passages and basins divide those northern districts into a vast mesh of islands and peninsulas. The superficial area of all these tracts is on a colossal scale; even the Greenland group is estimated to include 766,500 square miles. Within the past few years this whole Arctic Sea has been the scene of numer

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ous expeditions of discovery, some of them on a princely scale.

All this shows that North America is fashioned much more after the analogy of Europe than of South America. The analogy would be much more close, if North America were as favorably affected by climatic conditions as Europe. Both continents are washed at the south as well as at the north by great inland seas, and divided up by them in a manner peculiar to them among all the continents. Of this articulation, America, less favored by climate, has much the larger share. By its admirable harbors, and by the action of the Gulf Stream crossing the Atlantic in two directions, America has been specially fitted to receive the population and civilization of the Old World, and to stand in the closest relations with it. In this, united with the arrangement of its mountain chains and the happy characteristics of its river systems, America bears the palm completely away from Asia. that continent the colossal rivers of the north have no connection at their sources with the head-waters of the great Chinese, Indian, and West Asiatic rivers. It is entirely different in North America, where the St. Lawrence, Mackenzie, Columbia, Colorado, Mississippi, and Missouri flow from the same region, as from a common center, not separated at their sources by an immense plateau, but forming a single river system, from the mouth of one to that of another, flowing in just the contrary direction. We find, therefore, that there, as in North Europe, civilization has followed the water-courses, and has planted colonies as far north as 70° on the coast of Greenland; while in Asia human habitations cease with 65° N. lat.

America seems to be appointed, by its physical condi tions, to plant the banner of human progress at the most

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