« PreviousContinue »
eral government; but in treating every subject which comes properly within the range of the objects proposed by this Journal, we shall seek for truth, and endeavor to establish it by the aid of reason, without reference to the private, or political opinions of others. Unfortunately, political opinions have reference mainly to expedienis, and change with the causes which give rise to them ;we aspire to an object more permanent-we aim to direct the mind of all classes to what we esteem their true interest, and to afford all the light in our power to direct thern in its pursuit. We wish to see the almost boundless resources of this great valley developed, and to connect our humble names with its history.
ARTICLE II. The Geology and Mineral Resources of the State of Missouri.
INTRODUCTION TO THE SUBJECT. No geological survey having as yet been made of the State of Missouri, we conclude that information in relation to its geology and mineral wealth, will be both acceptable and interesting to our readers.
Impressed with this opinion, and urged by a desire to procure such information from a reliable source, we addressed a note to Doctor H. A. PRou'r, of this city, requesting him to furnish us with the result of his scientific researches in reference to this subject.
The following communication from the Doctor, in reply to our note, will advise our readers that he has generously consented to prepare for publication in the Western Journal, a series of numbers upon the geology of Missouri, and the adaptation of its natural resources to the wants of its population.
From the contents of this communication, we are allthorized to expect something more than a mere descrip
tion of rocks and minerals. The writer indicates a design to discuss the subject with reference to both the physical and moral uses of the geological and mineral constituents of the earth : this manner of treating a subject, which is considered dry and uninteresting by the general reader, will impart much value to these essays, and render them both useful and interesting to all classes.
GENTLEMEN-I acknowledge the receipt of your note, in wbich you request me to offer you such information as I have collected in my investigations of the geology and mineral resources of the State, and of the Mississippi Valley generally. A partial knowledge, gained by a few excursions through the country, and from details furnished by others, not always to be fully relied upon, would, perhaps, render any attempt to embody the facts connected with this subject, a work dillicult in its execution and in some measure unfruitful in its results. But owing to a general and increasing desire for geological knowledge, and the great benefits which may flow froin even a partial understanding of the nature and extent of our mineral resources; and knowing ihe influence which early and even imperfect discussions may have on future investigations upon this subject, I feel encouraged by your polite invitation, to throw together such facts as I have obtained; hoping that the future labour of others may fill up the incomplete sketches which I may draw. The field is extensive, and the subjects embraced by it affect more or less the interests of every calling and class of men. For the natural wealth of a country consists in the mineral treasures which are distributed below its surface, and the physical adaptation of its soil to the production of the staples on which human industry is expended, and by which human life is sustained.
In comparing the advantages possessed by different countries, in the distribution of these two great sources of national wealth, we find much diversity. It seems that by a providential arrangement, a country which is liberally endowed with the one is deficient in the other; and the exceptions to this order are, where there exists a seeming adaptation of the one to the wants and purposes which necessarily grow out of the other. The more precious metals are seldom found except in countries characterized by the arenaceous nature and general sterility of their soil ; but being of great value in proportion to bulk, they are easily transported and exchanged for such of the appliances and conveniences of life as the earth fails to yield. The inetals wbich are more useful in forming and fashioning the impliments of agriculture, and the instruments and engines of the mechanical arts, are found associated with great store houses of appropriate fuel, in districts of country eininently adapted to the pursuits of agriculture.
In view of this distinction of natural resources, there will be little difficulty in showing that our own State is peculiarly favored by such a distribution of these advantages as assords all the elements of national greatness and national prosperity, giving to the industry, the energy, and the enterprise of its citizens ample scope in the future development of the resources of the State. Without the knowledge furnished by the experience of the past, and the flood of light which has been thrown out by the modern discoveries in science, its soil might become exhausted, or rather plındered, and its wealth squandered, without promoting materially the wellbeing and happiness of its people, or their progress in the great march of civilization and refinement. To illustrate the truth of this proposition we will merely institute a comparison.
The number of silver mines in Mexico has been estimated by Humbolt at about 3000. Its soil is admirably adapted to the production of some of the best staples of human subsistence. It has consequently both elements of natural wealth-but these have been as yet imperfectly developed, and have contributed but little to the advancemeni of individual or national prosperity. For the abundance of the spontaneous fruits of the earth, and the little lahor required in procuring them, together with the enerpating intinence of an alınost inter-tropical climate, have
rendered its people too indolent to profit by their advantages, or to make much progress in social happiness or national weal:h.
England, on the contrary, is limited in its extent, when compared with the Mexican provinces. But possessing the best association of natural resources, and being favored with a climate which is peculiarly adapted to the development of the physical and moral energies of man, its prosperity stands unrivalled among the nations of the earth. Her agricultural resources, though at one time exhausted, have been improved by the application of the principles of modern chemistry. Her manufactures borrow the elemenis of their fabrics not only from her own bosom, but from the broad surface of the globe-her commerce whiiens every ocean, and her navy stands as graceful memorials of the extent and grandeur of her power. What England has attained by the best application and disposition of her natural resources, might be attained by Missouri through the operation of similar causes, for the same elements of power and advancement exist in the one which exist in the other, and nothing but a gross misapplication of principles, or an abuse of our resources, can prevent us, as a people, from making rapid strides in national prosperity.
Owing to a temporary absence from home, it will not be in my power to furnish you with any other communications until my return. The first of the series will embrace an exposition of the general classification of the rocks, according to the more modern divisions of geology, this being necessary to an understanding of the discussions which follow. The economical geology of the State will then form the subject of consideration, and the adaptation of the resources of the State to the various purposes of life, will close all we wish to embrace in these numbers.
H. A. PROUT
ARTICLE III. THE ECONOMY AND HABITS OF PLANTS.
The effects of climate on the habits of Plants, Indian Corn, Cotton, Irish
Potatoe, Potatoe-Rot.- Mean annual temperature, Meteorology, Dew,
The vegetable kingdom is the medium through which the properties of inorganic matter are elaborated, and made suitable to the purposes of food; and it is through this medium alone, that the animal kingdom derives the means of its subsistence.
This arrangement in the economy of nature, is so immediately connected with, not only the existence, but the moral condition of man, that every fact relating 10 the economy of plants, is worthy of attentive observation.
To the individual of learning, or taste, the vegetable kingdom affords a boundless source of pleasure, as well as instruction; and is eminently calculated to direct the mind to the contemplation of the wisdom and benevolence of the Creator.
To the practical agriculturist, a thorough knowledge of the economy and habits of plants, as also the causes which influence their growth and developement, is highly necessary, for without this knowledge, he is not only liable to misapply his labor, but must remain in ignorance of those moral pleasures which were designed to be associated with his employment.
Our design in the present essay, is simply to notice the economy and habits of the vegetable kingdom, and the effects produced upon plants by change of climate, without reference to their cultivation.
The geographical location of plants, is determined by the degrees of temperature, rather than latitudo; but owing to a diversity of altitude, as well as a diversity in the mineral constituents of the soil, it rarely happens that any one plant takes possession of a large district of