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LIBRARY
OF THE

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA.
Class

S. SHALER IN PROFESSOR OF GEOLOGY HARVARD COLLEGE BOSTON.A. U.THE STORY OF OUR CONTINENT A Reader in the Geography and Geology of North America FOR THE USE OF SCHOOLS BY N.S. PUBLISHED BY GINN & COMPANY 1904 .

mi
COPYRIGHT, 1891,

BY N.

S.

SHALER.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

TYPOGRAPHY .BY

J. S.

GUSHING

&

Co., BOSTON,

U.S.A.

PRESSWORK BY GINN

&

Co., BOSTON,

U.S.A.

PREFACE.
THOSE who
read this book will at once perceive that

both in the subject-matter and arrangement it departs widely from the ordinary text-books which give an
account of North America.
It

should be understood
is

that the end which the writer sought to attain
that

not

which may be secured by the ordinary school Such works undertake to afford the geographies.
student a large body of detailed information concerning
the existing state of the country, and with
reference to the steps by which
little

or no
to its to pre

the land

came

present estate.

The aim

of this

work has been

sent only those features which can be
relation to the geological

shown

in their

development

of the continent.

The
will

expectation of the author has been that this

work

be used as a reader along with some geography
in a

thorough way the facts of a political and economic nature, such as these text-books ordi
narily present.

which treats

Used

in this

manner,

it

will naturally

lead the student to perceive

how

the present state of

the country

is

due to the processes which have gone

on

in

the remote past, and in this
of

way

to attain to

some

the

most enlarging conceptions which the

geological history of the earth unfolds.

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER
GEOGRAPHY OF NORTH AMERICA

I.

PAGE
i

CHAFFER
THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA
.

II.

18

CHAPTER

III.

THE PRESENT CONDITIONS OF NORTH AMERICA

76

CHAPTER

IV.
.

THE ABORIGINAL PEOPLES OF NORTH AMERICA

.

.

.153

CHAPTER

V.
.

NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES OF NORTH AMERICA

.166

CHAPTER

VI.

EFFECT OF THE FORM OF NORTH AMERICA ON THE HISTORY OF

THE COLONISTS FROM EUROPE AND THEIR DESCENDANTS

.

.

233

CHAPTER

VII.
.
.
.

THE COMMERCIAL CONDITION OF NORTH AMERICA

246

TH

V

THE STORY OF OUR CONTINENT.

CHAPTER

I.

GEOGRAPHY OF NORTH AMERICA.
Method of
study.

Cause and

effect

of climate.

Influence of geographic

conditions on animals and plants; on the life of man. Character of the soil. Origin of its fertility. General influence of geologic and geo

graphic conditions on mankind.

IN beginning the study of the geography of North America, it is well for us to form a clear idea as to the
object which we should have in view in this task. With a distinct aim before us, it is easily seen that labor

may be spared in the effort. It is a large task to form even the most general idea of the history and condi
tions of a great area of the earth s surface. The amount of knowledge concerning any one of the continents is

so vast that to secure a general view of its conditions we have to neglect the greater part of the details con

cerning

its

growth and structure.

marked,

we can more

If our plan be clearly easily put the unnecessary learn

ing aside.

The most

of our school geographies seek to present

to the student a picture of the existing conditions on the earth s surface, to show him the shape of the

lands, the boundaries of states, the character of the im-

the conditions of commerce in other words. are to consider something more than is commonly pre sented in such work. with the change in the . and thus have influenced the charac ter of living things which have found a place upon its its America has come by has become a land. by determining the store of mineral materials under the earth. or a par In this little volume we ticular part of it. and finally in what manner the past history of the continent. to give him a picture of the earth. as it now is. portant natural features. In the effort to see how it. changes of climate. the geography of any country has influenced the life of the animals it is and plants which have found a place upon well for the student to begin his task by noticing a number of familiar facts. how lands. north and south of the tropics each year brings periods of winter and of summer . which may serve to illustrate the effect of surrounding conditions on the sensitive living creatures. the nature of its soil and climate. the shape of its surface. that they readily escape attention. how the history of continental mass. . through what steps it the stages of its growth have affected its climate. indeed. one who has made himself moderately familiar with the round of the seasons has observed the profound Any In the regions effect arising from. and thus depends on the laws which have controlled the development of a .2 GEOGRAPHY OF NORTH AMERICA. the intention being to show the student in a general way how the continent of North shape. measures in a its fitness for the uses of its people has been influenced by geographic conditions. to see that all the living tenants of the lands It is easy and waters are readily and largely influenced by the conditions of the nature about them. man word. so familiar.

it As the sun ascends higher. the conditions of polar cold sweep down towards the equator. then as the sun returns south annual course. nature of the surface. by determining the character of the soil. affects the lives of the plants and animals. The seeds are stimulated to growth. and most of the ani mals which have reposed in hidden places come forth and enter on their busy lives. brings with it a tropical climate. The difference be tween the tropical belt of the world and the regions in its beyond it lies in the fact that within the tropics it is al ways warm with something like the warmth of summer in is higher latitudes. while near the poles the temperature If the summer heat tropical for only a short time. continued throughout the year in any high latitude.GEOGRAPHY OF NORTH AMERICA. After we have in mind the effect produced by the alternate rising and sinking of the sun in high latitudes. and the amount of water it con hills however we may with how the tains. of heights of even a few feet. palms and other plants which cannot withstand the cold would develop over nearly all the earth s lands. when the sun rises higher above the horizon and sends more heat to the earth. where there are streams and a little study see small. the springtime. it is well next to note the effects on the district about of the us caused by differences in the geographic character In any country where there is a range land. In a lake or arm of the sea we note that in the deeper . Every year thus affords a beautiful lesson on the effects of simple changes in the events of the outer world. which marches over the surface nearly to the poles. amount 3 of heat the living beings pass from the sleep of In the winter season to the activity of summer time. we perceive the effect of the alteration on the development of life.

seed. land. we may. The insects swamp differ in a clear way from those of the . because they depend for their subsistence on particular kinds of plants. Even those forms which of the live on other insects have to maintain is themselves where their prey plentiful. marshy. or at times tolerate the air for a few hours at low tide. con which a with the case insects. forms which cannot inhabit the water. where the water is shallow. neither wet nor dry. roots. water there are no plants such as land the vegetable which are without . seeds of a distinct kind. Close to the shore. group particularly tains more kinds of creatures than all the rest of the animal kingdom put together. we have upon or the life is limited to certain soft forms leaves. Next the shore. leaves. closer inquiry shows us that in fact most animals. Most insects require particular parts of plants for their food. lilies.4 GEOGRAPHY OF NORTH AMERICA. find certain higher plants. yet other forms of lowly On the arid hilltops plants or trees possess the land. if the ground happens to be bushes and a that is. and roots can maintain themselves with their below the such as our surface of the water. we find another assemblage of plants unlike any of life is those which dwell on lower ground. Although it is not easy to see that the animal limited in the tions as is same narrow way by geographic condi the vegetable world. but with their upper parts within the air. if the water be fresh. and are equally incapable of living on the high Passing yet further above the water to the lands of a medium degree of wetness. and have which and distinct rushes. These aquatic plants live altogether be neath the surface of the waters. few kinds of trees may grow. are also pro This is foundly affected by peculiarities of the soil. or roots.

and the nature of the possible by In the Southern states of earth on which they fall. favored the construction of fall of rain. history of that part of the continent. of clay. soils of this nature. the country. they can be accounted for only how it came to have present form. the granary of the continent. as we shall see hereafter. and during this summer there must be a considerable and all the while a rather high temperature. character of the crops he cultivates will be determined partly by the nature of the soil. the of heat amount sun sends to him. requires a sandy rather than a clayey and the ancient soil. and mountains. for the reason that the plant requires a very long summer to mature its bolls. character of the climate. upland. indeed. It is profitable to grow it there. cotton Moreover. Northwestern That region is say of we may . whence all land life springs. and yet more by the which the which comes to his fields. the rain. hills.GEOGRAPHY OF NORTH AMERICA. The farmers of the states find their profit in raising grain. lakes. in every country. but the life of man is influenced Not only even more than that of any other animal by the circum If he be a farmer. is the higher life of a land shaped by its geographic conditions. The depends upon the geography of The underlying rocks. the rivers. He rears those crops which are made the heat. mainly determine the nature of that soil. 5 Thus in the state of nature. sandy or character of this soil stony. or the share of rainfall this country cotton is the leading product of the fields. All these features are fixed by the geological : history of the country where we know its its past history. the living beings are distributed with reference to the character of the soil. the stances which surround him. whether it be wet or dry.

has always a very wonderful history. Its semi-tropical favors the development of fruit oranges. as well as by the decay which the atmosphere . having this quality given it by the geological conditions of the rocks made in the time when the con Geographic conditions. waves. and so that portion of the country is by nature set aside for garden ing. by the action of rain. combined with the character of the climate of a country. as well. but have left existing their marks on the character of the soil. soil. and the soil is generally of a clayey nature. Or. The soil is generally so poor that these plants have to be grown with the aid of artificial manures. lemons. was forming. . or wheat in the Carolinas. So much depends upon this history that we must ask the reader to turn his Now the attention for a moment to the nature and origin of this in film of loose material on the surface of the earth which the plants particles of clay find root. pineapples.6 Europe GEOGRAPHY OF NORTH AMERICA. and many forms of and vegetables. rather dry summer affords a suitable climate for the develop ment of such crops. All soils consist in the main of fine bits of rock. Florida climate is the field of fruit culture. make it im tinent possible for cotton to be profitably reared in the North west. the and sand which have been worn from the compact. rivers. the state of Florida is unfit for the tillage either of grain or of cotton the latter crop will grow there. frost. those now or those which have ceased to be. for the reason that the short. and the roots of plants. firm-set under-rocks of the earth. simple as it seems to be at first sight. to take another instance. serves to fix the occupations of the people who win food from the earth. but the soil is not of a nature to make it profitable. The character of the soil.

soil. potash. and therefore the fields will be the sterile. the soil will be however. The when forests or the cultivated crops scanty. bodies. its fitness to nourish crops. and the other materials required to fertile. soda. the rain-water constantly takes decayed rock into solution as salt dissolves This dissolved rock material is taken up by the roots of plants. that is to say. the conditions of temperature and other circumIf . potash. phosphatic matter. leaves. make the bodies of plants. On the proportion of lime. Nearly soil the rocks from which the floors. finely Sinking through the a little of the in water. those of wild nature or of the tilled fields. the geography of those old sea-floors. which are in part so cayed roots. whether . divided that they give the mass a dark color. proportion of fertilizing materials contained in and the depends upon the conditions which existed soil is derived were formed on old seawere our all rocks forming. and affords the ashy matter of their material without which they could not grow. If we take a pinch of and spread it out thinly upon a sheet of white paper and inspect it with a magnifying-glass. we find that the greater part of the material of tolerably coarse grains. and various other materials which the decaying the rock affords to the soil-water. If the bits which make the soil are largely composed of limestone. depends the fertility of soil that is. If. soda. brings to all 7 soil rock material. which generally contains not only lime. it be in the main made lip of quartzy bits of sand. the plants can obtain from the soilwater but little nutriment. are hard bits there these very many fragments of de and stems.GEOGRAPHY OF NORTH AMERICA. large is commonly made up to be seen enough by Mixed with the naked eye or by a simple microscope. but some phos phatic matter.

GEOGRAPHY OF NORTH AMERICA. The growth of ancient animals which built their re mains into rock was determined. striking instance of this effect may be found in the case of the very fertile lime district of A stone lands which are found in the so-called blue-grass Kentucky and Tennessee. . These soils are of extraordinary fertility and of such endurance to cultiva tion that they have been tilled in corn without manuring for one hundred years or more.8 stances. here and there there are beds. were such as to make a plentiful life of shell on the bottom. gles gives it its great fertility for crops of grain and grass. of storing in their hard lime a deal of parts phosphate. Thus we readily see that the character of our soils depends upon geographic con ditions in very remote time. the plants upon it. jected to decay and accumulates in the soil. and will flourish convert the chemical materials which they contributed to the rock into good grain. Each wheat plant will appropriate the waste of these old creatures of the sea-floor. They owe their fertility to the fact that the rock contains a large number of the remains of animals somewhat akin to the shrimps. min with the and so soil. important ingredient These creatures had the habit The rocks beneath the blue-grass district are thin sheets of limestone laid one above the other to the thickness of a thousand feet or more . generally only a few inches thick. which are ex The^s beds decay to a fine which works down powder through the hillsides. which is the most great in soils which are to feed grain. then the rocks formed from the remains of these creatures will abound in materials fish or corals When this rock matter is sub fit for plant growth. as is the growth of posed to the atmosphere. mainly composed of the remains of these little creatures.

the folk next to the shore have a vastly wider which the range of employment. circumstances of the earth s crust determined that in the course of time these old sea-bottoms should be elevated into dry land and exposed to the actions which make Thus we see that each stage in the earth s history soil. there are very many ways in which the geography of Let us. there is apt to be a dearth of harbors. Only small boats which can be dragged through the surf to the dry land can be used. and come to have the later in their Yet peculiar needs which such life imposes on man. note the influence of men. of the sea on the occupations example. development they find a profit in the trade fields of the sea lay wide open to those who dwell upon its borders. They are thus tempted to seafar ing. The in peculiarities of their life depend upon the way which the lands have grown to their present shape. for the past and present influence his career. and so it comes about that the people along such coasts usually make but limited use of the . The fitness of the shore for the uses of the mariner varies greatly. prepares the way for the later stages of its development. Where the coast is very sandy and there are no large rivers passing across the shore to the sea. Our mote life of to-day depends upon the conditions of soil re times. it is Although through the and climate that geo logical conditions most intimately affect the life of man. Thus. while inland people are limited to the district just about them for their field of action. to the construction of boats. Wherever men s dwelling-places are along the shore.GEOGRAPHY OF NORTH AMERICA* 9 Other creatures of to-day. by geographic conditions. they find a considerable share of their food in the animals of the sea.

great variety of materials substances of over at There are fifty different present in one way or obtained are which man great use to another from the realm of the earth which the ver. in regions where harbors abound. both on its eastern and western faces. natural gas. is immediately due to the fact that in for mer stages of the earth s development this part of the coast was deeply carved by glaciers or streams of ice. warmth. the people may become deep-sea sailors and range over the oceans to the furthest lands of the These peculiarities of coast lines. lead. the wealth which comes for man s use from the soil. the other hand. afford good harbors or no. or ways On in the region of Northern Europe. there are large richly stored with a to be gained by mining. materials which serve for light. As we shall see further on.IO GEOGRAPHY OF NORTH AMERICA. and . turn our attention from the industries of are related to the mere surface of the earth. and England. depend upon the ancient his tory of the shores. as along the northern coast of the United States. . whether they earth. lies Iron. zinc. Scandinavia. of the ocean. we find a yet more striking instance of the effect brought Next after about by the ancient history of our sphere. the sin gular abundance of harbors about the North Atlantic. which men. In look America which shows the ing over a map of North mineral fields of the country. gold. which have made the people of those lands the sailors of the world. petroleum. to the work which depends on the underground features. we observe that. below and sil and several other valuable metals coal. soil covering. Holland. although more than half of its area has nothing of particular use to man to be districts won from below the where the under-earth is soil. we If now we must place that which comes from the mines. copper.

II the sources of power our building-stones various sub stances which serve to fertilize the fields worn by crops and a host of other less important supplies for our arts . So with all the other substances won by the miner each owes its abundance in the particular field . the men who follow these pursuits become peculiar in their methods of life. By further change it has been re-elevated. to conditions of the climate or of the other geological features which occurred in the past. which. converted the mass to coal. and sand and clay were accumulated upon it. to the neglect of agriculture. upon its old geographic conditions. we know that it . After a thick layer of peat was formed. The presence of these substances in the crust of the earth depends upon the former history of the area in which they lie in a word. led to the production of the coal bed. . . the profit from winning them is so considerable that often. Ancient climate and ancient . because in a very ancient day that particular field was occupied by great swamps. by delv ing deep beneath the surface.GEOGRAPHY OF NORTH AMERICA. so that it is accessible to man. the population seeks subsistence from the deeper earth below the soil. Wherever these mineral substances abound.is present. If the substance sought in the mine be coal. their ways of thought and action. we may now see it accumulating in our ordinary bogs. in other words. as in most cases they are. in which peaty matter was deposited in the manner in which . . geography. the land it occu pied sank beneath the sea. These peculiarities of the miner s life manifestly depend on the existence of par ticular substances in limited parts of the world. while concealing it and pre serving it from complete decay. Where these substances are won. are derived from this nether realm.

By carefully choosing each year the plants which mature earlier than their neighbors in the field. The maize of Alabama requires five months in its round from seed to seed by selection particular varieties have been formed which will come to maturity in regions where it is but three months between the frost of spring and autumn. the summer is too short for the plant to mature its seeds. by the temperature than that of the Thus in the warm waters south of plants on the land. They are killed by frost before they are fully developed. and using seed from these. facts. the maize or Indian corn. which furnishes by far the number. generally in the region north of the Great Lakes. varieties have been formed which hasten their growth. is The distribution of animals in the sea even more closely determined.12 It is GEOGRAPHY OF NORTH AMERICA. Cape Cod there are many kinds of animals which cannot . in the is found American principal good example grain. important he should see something of these even if the instances he can consider are but few is Perhaps the best illustrations of how closely depends upon surrounding circum A stances are afforded by field and garden plants. It is utmost importance to the farmer to have a crop corn . and so there is a limit determined by the temperature beyond which the maize cannot be . of the of this but in the northern parts of the tilled portion of North America. grown with profit. life the of the earth most valuable grain crop of the continent. hard to give the reader a clear idea as to the way in which the geography of the present day life intimate determines the yet in it now existing on the earth s surface . Further than this it seems impossible to go. and so in a measure adapt themselves to the needs of the short northern summer.

Most animals and all plants are. and which is finally arrested in its movement by the hook of Cape Cod. cannot maintain itself north of the Cape. which do not appear in the some . and by the qualities of the soil itself. south of the Cape. It has seemed likely that it would permanently win this new field. by the winds. in a greater or less measure. man.GEOGRAPHV OF NORTH AMERICA. to all living or extinct species of animals and plants. and animals through plants and so the world of life is swayed about by every accident which affects these cir. The difference is also marked in the or shell-fish a number of species flourish just mollusca. a creature there greatly developed. particularly the highest of them. in order to understand how far the history of the earth in the past has served to affect the beings of to-day. on the movement of the cold current which creeps down the coast of New Eng land and Nova Scotia from the Arctic regions. They are affected. and for a year or two gained a place in Massachusetts Bay. . too. The difference between the temperature of the waters north and south of Cape Cod is brought about by the influ ence of this small promontory. need to comprehend these effects of differences and conceive them as applying. the plants directly. but each time it has been driven back by the cold of the water. by the moisture of the air and soil. the blue-fish. We of a geographic sort. what colder waters a few miles to the northward. in the last two centuries. projecting only forty miles from the main shore. as regards heat. delicate thermometers. 13 pass around this small cape into the colder waters of Massachusetts Bay. The most vigorous and active fish south of the Cape. it has in the warmer seasons worked around the promontory. Occasionally.

or less closely other related species. undoubtedly the forefathers of living forms. Every geographic change alters the height and thus affects the and moisture. plants now do from each other. from the preceding by a mil lion years. for instance. The most important lessons which naturalists have learned by the study of fossils contained in rocks con cern the succession of life in various stages of the earth s At the present time there are somewhere history. about half a million different kinds of animals and plants on the surface of the more Each species resembles earth. it may be. such as those . so that we have to look carefully to see the difference between as. until we have found somewhere near a hun- . but they differed from them in most cases in a clear way :. If we search the s surface say half a very recent time in the earth s we find by the fossils they contain that there history. currents of the air bringing heat thither over its surface. were also oaks and beeches and sparrows. and these rocks which were formed on the earth were of species related to those now living. stage by stage. we can go back into the remote past of the earth.they differ as much from living oaks or beeches as the species of these Thus. own kind. each rear broods of their a million years ago. the rivers which flow from the continents.14 GEOGRAPHY OF NORTH AMERICA. each step separated. them. of the land or the shape of the sea. between the different kinds of sparrows or the several sorts of oaks. and the sparrows of groups are separated in character number differences. or the marine currents which convey the waters of the sea hither and cumstances. The greater by wider which distinguish the beech from the oak but the white oak does not produce any thing but white oaks from its seed.

that known as the Cambrian. on part of the continents which had arisen from the sea. stages. or certain kindred our crustaceans. though akin to that which went before and that which came character. or perhaps mosses and lichens. of There were apparently no land plants. life as a whole. we find stage by stage the higher animals and plants appearing. yet more important conclusion derived from the study of these plants and animals of the past and their relation to the living creatures of to-day is that. has always many in steadily been going upward of in its organization If towards we consider the earlier being. leaving no descendants in our time. and has indeed descended from the first beings which came into existence on the surface of this sphere. we find in the fossils of the beds then laid down on the sea-floor no fishes. There were no life. birds. only animals as lowly in structure as our shell-fish. higher states as. had a particular Studying these facts. frogs. only imperfect sea-weeds. or four- footed beasts of any kind. both that of animals and plants. it except for the lower kinds of plants perhaps for a few worm-like animals. for instance. destitute of The lands were probably or. and then palm-li^e creatures. or worms. ters of the great stone book. lizards.GEOGRAPHY OF NORTH AMERICA. the lowest grades of insects. . First among the plants come the ferns. geologists have one and all come to the conclusion that all the life of to-day has come down to our time from ancestors of earlier days. each showing by its fossils that the life. may and have In the latter chap been. after. the leaves of which are the strata or rock beds of the earth. 15 dred different stages in the earth s history. which is near the time when life came upon the earth. no insects . though A kinds of animals have perished at various periods the past.

while the weaker are destroyed through the Let us suppose that Cape Cod. as an important geographic feature affecting the climate of the sea-water on the coast of the United States. same steadfast advance first come the fishes then.l6 GEOGRAPHY OF NORTH AMERICA. then the higher song birds. their power of associ ating their own action with that of other creatures and . move here and there with the consequent alteration and the changes in the land of climate and other conditions. of their intelligence. : . Every living species of plant and animal has been com pelled to move hither and thither with the changes in The more active kinds. shaping the paths of rivers. and generally determining the geographic influences which. the reptiles then the birds. at first with long. were swept away. Sucking animals are wanting until a late day. process of change. lizard-like tails and teeth. and only in a relatively late day our flowering plants and those which bear fruit and large seeds make their The back-boned animals also show the appearance. . . led life All the while these wonderful changes which have upward in the scale of being have been going the continents have been growing. so in the changing geography of the earth the abler forms survive and leave their strong progeny to inhabit the world. have so much to do with the conditions of life. those the form of the land. after a long time. as it might Then in a very easy way be removed by the waves. slowly rising on. is we have . seen. sea-floor. as we have seen. gradually dividing from the the oceans into separate seas. have lived because of which were better fitted to their vigor. higher kinds appear and finally the kangaroo. which. history is rounded with the appearance of man. then they came with lowly forms related to the Later.

GEOGRAPHY OF NORTH AMERICA. in a somewhat detailed way. North America. If there would arise a contention between the creatures living to the north and south of it as to which should possess the portion of the coast formerly occupied by The more vigorous would gain the ground. A s^ong beings number of such changes. It is very hard to tell the story of life in the past within the limits of a few pages but further on we . In these trials the lowly and weak have been destroyed. the higher and stronger have been preserved. and in this way a slight effect towards peopling the earth with vast would be brought about. the Cape. how the advance of organic life has been promoted by the successive and ceaseless changes in the shape of the lands and the seas. their fitness to remain the masters of the earth. have tested the qualities of animals and plants. some of far greater mo ment. shall try to see in the history of .

parted from the Old World by wide and deep seas. North America. we perceive that there are two great groups of land masses breaking the surface Old World continents. Car boniferous. Brief history of the Method organic and inorganic changes in Cambrian. The Old World continents are either close together. THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. except in the northwest corner of America. Cretaceous. and the effect of its growth on the part of the world in IN this which it is situated. The New World continents. of the great continents are of distinctly triangular Africa. or connected with each other by archipelagoes. with their neighboring islands. or. coming of man. CHAPTER II. which gives a clearer notion of the earth forms. Asia. The chapter we shall consider the manner in which the continent of North America has grown. are. Effect of these features on the : of interpreting the history of the land Successive stages of the devel process of growth of North America. on a globe. Looking upon a general map of the world. Shape and grouping of the lands and conditions of the earth. Triassic.1 8 THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. Three shape . Jurassic. tinents of the New World. These are the larger mass of the isthmus. seas. and South America are . Africa. North and South America. Silurian. though tied into one mass by a long of the seas. Europe. opment in its geography and in its organic life. better. Devonian. and Tertiary times. and Austra and the twin con lia.

islands in a remarkable manner. from the intensity of the cold. if we consider not only the part of the continent which is above the water. turned to the northward by the northern part of South America and the southern portion of North America. In such a condition of the earth. carries This current times as this is very broad and deep all . walls across the seas. where their waters are heated. and none of its heat would be turned to high latitudes about either pole. and Australia. their points turned towards the south pole. towards the poles. has also something like the form Sf Africa and the Americas. thus warming the sea and the adjacent For instance. which. the Gulf Stream. into the Arctic circle than comes to the earth in that realm from the direct If the continents did not form great rays of the sun. but also that which remains in the form of shallow seas. the equatorial current which the trade winds produce and send in a westerly direction would go straight around the earth. and made to flow into the northern is Atlantic. of . The grouping of the continents and their place in the world of waters brings about one of the most beneficent . the world and much water as stream. as it flows westward across the tropical part of the Atlantic as a broad current impelled by the trade winds. it many .THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. rather acute triangles in general form. Europe and the parts North America north of the parallel of 45 would be uninhabitable by man. their Asia has traces of the same form bases to the north. arrangements in the system of the earth s machinery. warmed by more heat the rivers of carries with its tide the tropical suns. By this arrangement the ocean currents are led from the tropics. 19 three-sided figures. where they give off the heat they acquired near the equator.

and as the bettering of the depends upon opportunity to take advantage of varied conditions. such as Madagascar. would be far greater than at Thus. such detached islands do not afford the life small in such an island district a favorable field for the development of organic forms. At the same time. not having the chance to escape. whales and a few other suck-giving animals the creatures which dwell therein erally of a are. probably too great for the life of man. the continents in a very improve the climate of the earth. present. Even the greater of them. This would also be the case with the southern parts of South America.2O THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. the creatures upon it have but continents affords. With the exception of the has but lowly forms of life. whether animals or plants. If the land areas of the earth had remained in the form of detached islands in which the continents began theu . simple way to make the realms both of land and sea better suited operate to for the varied forms of living beings. us note the fact that the large surface of the continents affords a valuable site for the development Next let The sea of the highly organized creatures of the land. cannot include within their area any such great variety of con ditions of soil and climate as even the smallest of the a considerable change of climate comes to such an island. If move to and fro to realms which may The chances of life in general are . which is now by the ocean streams which the continents divert towards either pole. The studies of naturalists have made it by their conditions not plain that detached islands are favorable to the development of a high order of life. afforded by their position in the seas. a small chance to better suit them. the heat of the tropics. gen occupy the much lower organization than those which land.

THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. in Mesopotamia. logic study methods of geo with those which are them comparing by used in making out the history of men in countries where we have no historic records. it seems certain that the air-breathing animals would never have attained anything like the high posi which they have won on the ampler fields that now It is because the development of the continents exist. from a study of the rocks. Thus in Egypt. it is hard to believe that it * history of the earth are by their inquiries made sure that this apparently firm-set land has undergone a vast crease. and in other countries. it is possible to ascertain how its the solid land has acquired present size and shape. Men often build their habita- . ment to of Before entering on our account of the develop North America it will be well for the reader have in mind a general idea as to the way in which. 21 growth. tion much importance in the history of life that we undertake in this chapter to trace the process by which the land of North America has grown to its pres has so shall ent highly organized form. in those countries finds his way to the facts by study have ing the remains which the several folk in succession left in the ground. progressive changes connected with its in changes which may not unfitly be compared to those that occur in the growth of any animal or series of plant. can continent.^V. the chronicles easiest is The way to understand the are either wanting or so imperfect that we cannot tell the varieties of people which have in succession occu The student of the ancient human races pied the land. Looking at the great united mass of the North Ameri. has grown to its present shape from the detached islands of the But the students of the past earlier geologic time.

but the reasons which led to the ancient settle ment commonly led to the construction of a new town. of the races which The work of the geologist in determining the succes is in sive ages of the world general principles precisely like that of the student ancient history clearer to the who concerns himself with the The likeness will be perhaps of man. the place may remain for a little while uninhab ited. reader if we suppose him to under take an inquiry concerning the ancient inhabitants of North America. show the recent possession savages. and so to the depth of many feet in the same place the ruins of one age are piled on those of the next Now let us suppose that stray coins or preceding. and those folk who made the great fortifications of the Mississippi Valley. below the of the country by level of the upper culti we find remains of a slightly more vated tribe of aborigines. or soil stratum. the Mound-builders. he will find scattered the remains of the Indians who were recently Arrow-heads. it is thus often easy to determine the successions of the . by an enemy. other buried treasures of each age lie in the layers of debris formed during the several periods of occupation. When a ruined fire or is or devastated city by earthquake. one stratum after the other. tions for thousands of years on the same site. or ancient graves. here and there bits of pottery. stone hammers expelled by the whites.22 THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. Now and then. It is easy to prove that these Mound-builders . and in other parts of plentiful the country. All over the Mississippi Valley. people even where coins are occasionally wanting frag ments of tools or of arms can be interpreted so as to show the student the successions have occupied the ground. and hatchets. By digging away the debris.

were earlier 23 than the tribes known to the whites. overlaid on journeying a few miles eastward. mains to have once been living. at most points in the Missis the soil coating. but that they have a great extension over the continent. has a mind to dig deeper. aided by the work of others. in general. guiding himself always by observing that he has the same set of fossils in the beds.THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. the student can then proceed to trace the distribution of these beds containing fossils. he has found written in the great stone book a chapter in the history of the earth which came long before the present stage in that to : history. indeed. numerous He knows these re remains of animals or plants. For instance. each carrying. finding certain beds in the Ohio Valley. With his own labor. they become by strata containing another assemblage of . He is almost sure to learn that they exist not only where he has found them. by the fact that their remains lie generally below the level occupied by the fragments of worked stone and earthen ware left by the later ordinary Indians who were known let us suppose that the observer to our people. successive layers. over much of the area of the once uppnj-ocks which are full of continent. In a word. and to pass altogether through He will. Now sippi Valley. The stone in which they are held is laid in fossils. compare them with the forms now dwelling on sea and land. which were evidently deposited one at come after the other. by their general like ness to the creatures of to-day but when he proceeds . he finds that they differ in a very striking way from those now in existence probably not a single species will be of the same sort as those now dwelling on the earth. he will probably discover that.

he may come upon a place where the beds he originally found are upturned in mountains. rocks it will often In his studies of the particular group of happen that. Let us suppose again on the same level in the rocks. that portion of the continent was. and finally he comes to a place where he can find marks of sea-shore action or direction. in going in a particular he finds that sand begins to appear in the limestone beds. fossils. he has deter mined that the beds he is studying were formed on the sea-floor. We know that such corals never flourish save in the waters of the sea. and that beyond it lay a portion of the continent which was above the level of the sea at thf1 laid time when the strata the neighboring he has been studying were sea-floor. the imprint of raindrops on the muds left bare in the recession of the tide. of the sea. from the of character the that. by the presence . Therefore the beds in which they are found were certainly old sea-floors and so the student comes to the conclusion that wherever the given beds exist. or even. then pebbles.24 fossils THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. He thus knows that there was an old shore line in this position. in rarer cases. for abundant stony corals. he may take in succession . say in the state of New York or in Penn sylvania. Yet further east. which were clearly formed at a later day. below the level instance. or have had the higher-lying strata stripped off by the action of and so he finds himself once rivers or other forces . of as. other evidence of the beating of the waves. down on After having determined the place of the sea and land in one stage of the earth s history marked by the beds he has been studying. This is generally easily ascertained. at the time when they were constructed.

have succeeded the history of the earth s in interpreting past in substantially the same way as we determined the succession of peoples in Egypt or Mesopotamia. In the to way above described. as readily see. this great continental ridge ascends to the height . Nevertheless. The geol ogists. the ancestors of those in the following strata. only a part of which rises above the level of the sea. has brought us only a part of the truth we seek to know concerning the history of this continent. North America consists of a broad fold of the earth s crust. require a great deal of skill and labor. or rather many geologists working together for a hundred years or more. Like the other continents. As the Atlantic and Pacific oceans are in their central parts on the average more than fifteen thousand feet deep. each began his inquiries. others utterly destroyed. this arduous work of tracing the his- we / tory of North America has brought us to a few general conclusions concerning the history of this land. de thousand great many termine a great many different groups of fossils. geologists have sought determine how the continent of North America has grown So far this difficult task to its present form. 25 the strata which are above or below those on which he and so. The most important of these we will now endeavor to set before the reader.THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. after having examined a feet in thickness of the beds. tered work into a shape to tell a connected story would. some of them so affected by decay as to be To put this scat illegible. The story of a great land it tory of a people : is is not like the well-arranged his rather as if we had a volume describing the successive years of English history with the pages torn apart and buried in many different places .

So far as we have learned. we find in the rocks then made a good deal of lime It is stone. of the crust first began to break the surface of the waters. and dying. in the form of a great united land. contribute the mate rial to form limestones such as we may find in coral where beds of oysters abound. or other animals which build hard parts of lime. corals. tolerably certain that living creatures abounded. the greater part of which appeared where now lie the northern parts of the continent. or groups of islands of varied size. for however. . the first of these lands. We are. generally believed that these beds of limestone were formed by shell-fish. We know nothing of the animals or plants which were on the land or in the sea in the Archaean age. came above the sea at the beginning of what is called Archaean time. We do not know just where these islands were we can in fact only prove that they were above the sea by the fact that great quantities of stony waste worn away from them by rivers and waves were laid down on the bottom of the ancient ocean. and coal-like matter known as graphite. such as those which make hard rocks out of the mud of the . which were afterwards to grow together and form North America. was probably an age when these limestones and altered reefs or coal-beds contained distinct fossils : the slow-going changes which take place in the earth s crust.26 THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. r of nearly three miles before it comes above the level of In a very ancient time. when this uprising fold the sea. but as archipelagoes. it did not appear as we now behold it. The beds of graphite were probably at one time coal which has been brought to its present unburnable state through There the changes which geologic time brings about.

single million years is ten thousand times as long. 27 these ancient rocks. before he had measured off a distance equivalent He would go near on our scale to one million years. which is about three feet.THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. ocean smith floor. It is Those who have studied the matter most impossible for any . he would have to take ten thousand such steps. A Some idea of this duration may be had by representing the time by a straight line such as is afforded by a long direct road. utterly disappeared. we hfrve a clearer idea as to the conditions of land id and sea the life the latter bore in this part of the world. occupying the part of the continent where now lies Labrador and Canada as . At the close of the Archaean time. but we can obtain no idea whatever The most aged man who ever as to their meaning. say a century. man to imag ine such a duration of time we can only write the figures on the page. Calling the length of a long human life. hundred miles before the distance would be propor tionate to the time which has elapsed since the Archaean six period. carefully are of the opinion that this earliest traceable beginning of the continent took place more than a hundred mil lion years ago. and in the begin- ting of the ages commonly known as the Cambrian. the distance a man may easily step at one stride. like the coins in the gold have altered every bit of s melting-pot. so that the fossils have. lived may have been able to remember something of the events which have happened in a hundred years. he emerged parts of North America at this time seem to have consisted of one or more large islands in the northeastern part of the continent arranged in a some what wedge-shaped form like a V. and would travel about six miles.

all of shapes entirely unlike those of the present day there are among them many habited its species of : mostly belonging to the group of lamp-shells. univalve shells allied to our c^a-snails. indi cated where these great mountain systems had already begun to grow and had elevated a portion of the rising continent above the level of the sea. Lawrence River. as now. Nevertheless. which received the name of trilobites. animals in the same class with our crabs. Unlike the Archaean rocks. There are a great many different these forms. some of them probably as large as Great Britain. however. but are now rare. There were also many shell-fish. below the ocean level. as well as shell-less There were also jointed freely over the bottom.28 THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. the northeastern part of the continent probably assumed something like its present shape. lines of islands. but very differ ent from them. near the St. the greater portion of its sur face still lay below the level of the sea. With the elevation then. or brachiopods. these Cambrian strata contain numerous fossils from which we can in a gen eral way determine the character of the life which in seas. Although the continent was as yet very incomplete in its outlines. These creatures are particularly interesting for the rea- moved . creatures which were more abundant in later ages. On the western and southern sides. many worms forms which which inhabited shells. and east of Hudson s That great field of inland waters was probably Sea. on the lines where now lie the Rocky Mountains of the west and the Appalachians of the east. the plan upon which it was to be built was at least in a general way determined. the region im mediately north of Lake Superior. far south as of this great island or archipelago above the sea.

Upper shortly signs of land plants in traces of what appear to be ferns. which occur in the in Some remains found Lower Silurian strata of the Rocky Mountains seem to indicate that the fishes were probably in existence during the lowest Silurian period. It is probable that the earlier lands were occupied by a lowly vegetation consisting mainly. These come to us in the form of those curious insects which are known as scorpions. both in this country and in Europe. and with a long. Silurian. At the close of the Silurian period there appear at once. owing to the fact that they belong to the series of back-boned animals. if not altogether. in fact. much later creation. and are thus nearer kin to man in than any of the creatures known the earlier ages. we have the first faint or before. and therefore the first to behold the light of those The seas of that day contained no fishes ancient days. 2Q son that they probably were the first animals to possess eyes. remains of animals which dwelt upon the land. plentiful remains of certain species which have a keen interest for us. and hard abdomen terminating in a sting. so far as we can determine from About the beginning of the the record of the rocks. of In the last-named time we have the first mosses. The fact that this creature has a stinging apparatus shows pretty clearly that there were other and stronger animals alive at the same time on the lands. . the whole group of back-boned animals was a .THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. From the beginning of the Cambrian to the close of the Lower Silurian time there are no notable additions to the life of the earth. 1 These 1 first vertebrates are fishes. animals with bodies in general like those of the spiders with four pairs of legs for walking. jointed.

rocks where that we we may be cient seas. Some others akin to the of these are like certain living forms of shark sturgeons or to the gar-pikes of . familiar star-fishes. brought mem ever-new supplies to the plates. affords Another interesting group of animals a group which some of the most picturesque and beautiful creatures of the sea begins to develop and rapidly take on an amazing variety of form in the Silurian These creatures. while their bodies are often pro tected with amazingly strong and closely interlocked plates or scales of a bony nature. by . indeed. had a body shaped somewhat like the blossom of a daisy with long arms where the petals of the flower stand.lt. when they were prepared for battle in their suits of armor. They remind us. the whole sup ported on a long and slender stem made up of limestone disks. Between the joined edges of each of these plates there was a thin living brane which. It is a peculiarity of an interesting kind that all these fit early fishes have jaws armed with strong teeth for attack and defence. which are akin to the more periods. them in such frequent remains sure they fairly swarmed in those an Although much unlike the fishes of the first find present day. we note certain kinships between these old-time forms and those which now inhabit the waters. as well as the stem.D THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. the mouth in the centre of the arms leading to a pear-shaped calyx or body. so that they increased in size with the constant growth of the exquisitely or- . of the clumsy warriors of mediaeval times. North America.arranged one on top of another like a pile of coins.3&amp. were of shapely hard bits which covered and pro tected the internal soft parts.the circulation of the blood. The body and branched composed arms.

or straight-shelled animals. all. and that the . they built on a second wider and longer cell. withdrew their bodies from the old room. by its great weight. ganized body. and the many creeping animals which root-like processes Attached prone upon its floor. indeed. tapering cone. these crinoids were singularly well fitted for life in the ocean depth. and the most of their habi many tations were empty. with the body held some feet above the slimy mud of the ocean bottom. In the course of years they thus formed successive partitions. but the last chamber but served a good purpose in buoying up the shell. these creatures dwelt in a shell which had but one chamber as they grew in . and needed more protection. We and fragments have been discovered which must have belonged to shells having a length of five or six inches. and sealed the space across. with branched arms which could gather food from a wide space of water. Some of the shell of the nautilus unrolled from these forms were of gigantic dimen not infrequently find them having a length of three or four feet. are familiar with the features of the pearly nautilus can imagine the form of the orthoceratites by conceiving its coiled form and made into a very slender. nearly twenty feet. have anchored the size animal to the bottom.THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. except for a single small opening. which otherwise would. In the posed that the animal secreted empty places it is sup some gas. and a diameter at the larger end of straight-shelled sions. 31 to the sea-bottom by strong extending from the base of the stem. When young. Yet another very interesting group of animals which abounded in the Silurian time were the great kindred assail creatures of the living pearly nautilus known by the name of Those who orthoceratites.

the Mississippi Sea. The original islands were ris ing higher from the sea. South ern Indiana. the growth of the continent was steadily advancing. This was doubtless the same great tide of waters from the tropics. gradually became more shallow. to which we . So abundant were they that the lime deposited from formed beds of limestone which may have a thickness of one hundred feet or more. From the close of the Silurian through the Devonian. already in part walled in by the great Canadian or Laurentian islands and those of Rocky Mountain system. As it became shoaler its waters appear to have become more fit for life. and down to the beginning of the time when the coalmeasures were deposited.32 shell THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. their skeletons During all these earlier ages of the continent. was thus made so relatively light that it stood up X/ in the water while the creature crawled along the bottom. and extending their shores so The as to win more of the shallow bottom to dry land. and Southwestern Virginia. until the Appalachians and its floor j just before the coal-measures time the animals of the sea-bottom. as we may term the great waters now occupied by the valley of that river. from the close of the Cambrian to the Beginning of the coalfield of measures. brachiopods. particularly the crinoids. It is owing to the great thickness and purity of these lime stones that the under-earth streams have been able to excavate in them the great caverns of Kentucky. though was subjected to various irregular movements. vast region of ocean. flourished in a marvellously luxuriant way. and ancient corals. was evidently the seat of a great ocean current which swept up from the southward.

so that then as now this ocean stream had an open way to the Arctic Sea. derived from creatures which lived in the water above the bottom of the warm seas. or cavern limestone. from the presence. of coral reefs.THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. between the northward-flowing current of the American shore and the southward-flowing water of the European shore. because flows through the Gulf of Mexico. that this ocean we find evidence stream still swept to the northward through the Mississippi Sea. Yet later in the early stages of the Devo the nian. The next succeeding system of reefs belongs to the Upper the Silurian time. which occupy the central part of such great circling currents At present the Gulf Stream has as the Gulf Stream. tide of very warm water The . give the 33 it name of the Gulf Stream. can only grow where a strong flows against a shore. that which forms Still the falls of the Ohio at Louisville. This for mation consists of very thin layers largely made up of organic remains. a great oceanic area which has near its surface . first of these reefs to appear is found in Kentucky the position of the corals indicates that the warm current came from southward during the Lower Silurian time. We find evidence that such a current existed in various periods. Yet other proof that the ancient Gulf Stream flowed over what is now the central part of the continent is given us by a deposit which occurs in this valley. which. was a wide path between the Laurentian land and the islands where now lie the Rocky Mountains of Canada. the diminished remnant of In this olden day there the ancient Mississippi Sea. another great reef was built. in sub-carboniferous. later. in the rocks formed at the several times. as is well known. and is known as the Ohio or Devonian black shale.

and thus . also. Florida. a great extent which with the uprising of the continent through the earlier ages were gradually coming nearer to the surface of the water. Virginia. sible. Mountain coun the that all indeed. the old sargasso. When of sea-floors. the sea-floor. so that the several ancient islands and archipelagoes.^ Alabama. It is also probable that the Pacific then occupied a con siderable now now occupied by probably extended than at present the Gulf of Mexico prob it . from Mexico to the high north. eral shape. a great deal of sea-weed which grows as it floats in the water. and Texas. portion of the country east of the Rocky It is pos Mountains. were at length united in one great land. This plentiful vegetation nourishes a great quan tity of animal forms. we may fairly date the beginning of the continental history of this country. or sea-weed sea. which had in a way prefigured the form of the conti this time. the Carolinas. as extensive as it is at the present day. indeed. Georgia. was probably much the same then as now. whose remains are contributed to It seems probable that this Ohio shale was accumulated on the ocean floor beneath an ancient When it was formed. Gulf Stream probably flowed between the present site of the Mississippi River and the old islands which were formed by the growing Rocky Mountains. It seems likely that this continent of the coal-measures was at least in some of the ages of that enduring time almost. Mississippi. From nent. Rocky nearly try was at this time below the level of the sea. if not Its gen quite. On the northeastern shore farther somewhat into the Atlantic is and on the south what ably covered the area the whole of well as a part of and as Louisiana. finally arose above the sea.34 THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. the Carboniferous period began.

which had been for so long a most picturesque and im portant group of animals in those early seas. and so ends the history of all the kind. The first of these to be remarked is the rapid disappearance of the great group of trilobites. successors of the The singular perfection of growth and number of species as well as of individuals in the seas which deposited the carboniferous limestones. which took before the coal-beds began to be formed on place just the newly emerged land. as a whole. The most remarkable as well as the most numerous crinoids of that day were more perfect structures than those of earlier times. In the earlier forms. Of the many alterations. the mouth and the further ex tremity of the alimentary canal were very near together and at the same height above the sea-bottom. chimneylike shaft was built up to the height of some inches from the mouth. the continent. in that they had arranged a system by which the excrements of the body were conveyed to a distance from the mouth. forms which we have noted as in the earlier ages. in the sub-carboniferous limestones. In these peculiar carboniferous crinoids a tall. conical.THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. these creatures diminish in variety. and through this the waste of digestion was poured forth into the sea at a point where it would not readily harm the breathing or feeding of the creature. lay of its 35 somewhat to the eastward present position. and the remaining forms decrease in size. we must note certain interesting changes in the of the seas about the continent. we marine life can notice but few. Gradually. . Before we pass to our brief study of the coal-measure time. until finally. they are represented by small species which speedily disappear. attain a existing already crinoids. after the close of the Silurian time.

to the advantage which this sewage system gave these crinoids. very often. perhaps.&quot. The great thickness of the strata of these sub-carbonif erous limestones crinoids. are excavated in beds of this age. A . they multiplied exceed ingly. sub-carboniferous period all these peculiar proboscis-bearing crinoids just described Most of the other simpler forms also pass disappear. shapes destruction of creatures. the close of the With away. foreign countries. which appear to have been mained some of them surviving successful for a long time and over a large part of the earth s surface. these ancient sea-lilies. The result is that the place limestones of this time are much more massive than those of most other ages in which the beds were com monly formed of molluscan shells. thus in is owing to the habit of growth of the and the majestic avenues of the caverns are a measure due to the peculiar habit of growth of &quot. as well as those of many Kentucky. in New crinoids sprung up every available interspace. in Indiana. the shell-fish being destroyed by the violent stirring of the mud on the bot tom by earthquake shocks or sudden changes in the marine currents. large part of the great caverns A of this country. and Tennessee. . is probably to be found in the rapid increase in the variety of fishes which occupied the ocean at that time. few of the principal groups only have re in slightly changed The cause of this rapid to the present day. and swiftly took the of those which perished. all those of noteworthy size.36 THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. Owing. Between their close-set columns a great variety of other living forms flourished and contributed their limy matter to the growing stratum. as thick as the wheat stems in an ordinary field. and attained such numbers that they stood.

and their bodies seem to have been fishes in the sub-carboniferous seas The shaped for swifter Among these fishes were movement through the waters. but were much higher in the scale of being. even in their youngest state. these amphibians are born as tadpoles they have swimming-tails like the common fishes. which probably were developed from fishes. thus they are fitted for swimming. They had stronger and more serviceable teeth. These are the earliest members of the class to which the frogs and toads. gills. as is the case with land animals. take the air into their lungs. These animals appear to have fed on the crinoids.THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. and in their place develop limbs and lungs. and for breath ing the air which is dissolved in the water. water-dogs. 37 were clearly and with effective in great variety remarkably provided jaws. the newts. To a great extent they had abandoned the system of plate and scale armor so common in the earlier ages. After a . these amphibians almost always drop their tails and gills. and. the bodies of which they could readily crush in their powerful jaws. of certain animals belonging to the back boned group. but not for walking. and are thus fitted to dwell on the dry land. time of growth in the tadpole stage. salamanders belong. covering the parts where the tongue and roof of the mouth lie. but no lungs. replacing these instruments of mere defence with those which serve for attack. in these carbon iferous rocks. but no legs. The gigantic salamanders of the Carboniferous period . Yet another momentous change animal life in the character of consists in the appearance. some forms which had the teeth placed like paving-stones over the inside of the mouth. They do not. As is commonly known.

that period really deserves the name of the coal-bearing age for more deposits of carbon were prob . only of interest as showing the condition of the conti nent of that time. the extensive deposits not were then forme J. It is probable that they were the largest land animals of the vertebrate series which at this time dwelt upon the earth. over. other important changes in the character of the took place in the early stages of the Carboniferous period. owing to its pure quality and its wide distribution over the surface of the land and the ease with which it is won by the miner. There. They appear to have lived in fresh water. light. or at least layers of a coaly nature. and were probably nearly as large as the alligators now found in Florida. this The formation and preservation of valuable material . THE COAL-MAKING TIME IN NORTH AMERICA. ably buried in the rocks in that period of the earth s More history than in all the other ages put together. but we cannot pause to consider them. Another Many life feature of the age coal-deposits which demands attention. and mechanical power. had been formed in an imperfect manner in the earlier geologic ages and have been formed in consid erable abundance at various times since the Carbonif erous period. attained a greater size than any of their kindred species now living. is extremely valuable as a source of heat. may have been no others of this group. This effect seems destined to be greater in the future than it has been in the past. but also because of their effect upon the history of its civilized peoples.38 THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. Although coal-beds. the coal formed in this middle age of the conti nent s history.

since been upheaved into mountains. . which appear to have covered all the low-lying fields of the continent with a dense mass of water-loving vegetation akin to the ferns and rushes of the present day. or the plains which ascend from the Missis sippi westward towards the foot of the Rocky Moun in the tains. In this land resembled that now form. This favored the formation of extensive swamps. . The surface of this land recently lifted from the sea was probably equal in area to at least one-third of the existing continent. 39 were due to the peculiar conditions upon which the con tinents entered at the beginning of the Carboniferous These conditions we must now consider. The climate of this period was evidently made very moist by a consid erable and very constant rainfall. probably existing great sandy district of Eastern North and South Carolina.THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. We have already remarked that just before the coal- making age the slow upward growth of the continental mass brought a wide area of seas into the state of shal lows. It is For a long time after the elevation of these lowlands from their condition of sea-bottom they did not become what we can properly term dry land. like as tricts probable that the surface was not anything the sea as the above-mentioned dis above high of plain and prairie. the sur land was extremely unstable again and . time. was then in a condition of broad plains extending eastwardly and west- wardly from the narrow Blue Ridge or original moun tainous Appalachian archipelago. and that the last stage of the elevation converted a great area previously covered by the oceans into dry At first this land was low much of it which has land. face of the While these conditions of climate prevailed.

In endeavoring to account for any peculiar conditions in the ancient stages of our world. are brought about afford one of the most interesting It is well worth the features in the geologic record. It is to the action place for any great geologic time. are most like those we seek to explain in the past. of a coal-bed. in the present condition of the earth. whether these alterations were due to actual uprisings number of scores of successive little was alternately lowered a and downsinkings of the solid part of the continent.40 THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. and then seek in the work of the world in our own day the means of accounting for them. again. that we owe the formation and preservation The way in which these results of the coal-measures. and which closely resembles Then comes a layer of coal. Let us therefore look closely at the characteristic aspects and see what features it presents which need explanation. it is best first to search for facts which. or to swayings in the height of the sea itself. though frequently. but is rarely Above of greater depth. In a coal-bed we perceive that we have at the base some rocks of ordinary character. in their height and so neither held a fixed . or clays. such as sandstone or layers of thinly bedded clay next above these a layer which . layers of sandstone. conglomerates. this coal come again other After a succession of these last-named layers we are likely to . to the it movements. tains a thickness of from six to twelve feet. It is quite sea and that both land varied possible slightly. now have to attention which we shall give to it. below the level of the We do not know sea or slightly lifted above its plane. the extreme humidity of the climate and the instability of the land with reference to the sea. of these two conditions. the miners term a dirt-bed. which often at the soil.

and other plants now living. The stems of these we can considerable distance into the coal-bed often trace upwards for a close itself. in a word. though these accumulations . we readily perceive that this for we soil deposit found beneath the coal was a true find it to contain abundant roots of plants allied to the tree ferns. Looking more closely at the relations of the coal to the under-day or dirt-bed. and where the surface is not too steep to prevent the growth of bogs. and the Scandinavian peninsula were orig inally covered by such bogs. the northern shores of Germany. and so in succession. and fell into the water when the plants All doubt on this point is removed by the perished. shows us that the whole of the is commonly made up of bits of plants partly and pressed close together. rushes. . A examination of the coaly matter by the naked eye. Ireland. that coal-deposits were made from the remains of vegetable matter which grew in swamps. frequently find the remains those of various fresh-water We find that a close likeness exists in between these beds of coal formed the ancient time and the peat bogs which are now accumulating so plentifully in all where the climate is moist and tolerably cool. It is evident.THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. find dirt-beds overlaid 41 by coals and covered in turn with sandstones or shales. until there are twenty or more such series of deposits lying one above the other. along with a little decayed mud of the fine-grained character which settles in stag material nant pools. All the level low-lying lands of Great Britain. fact that in certain coals we of fishes associated with plants. and with the microscope. the reeds. regions but not so cold as to prevent the growth of an abun dant vegetation.

coal. and extends as a mantle over the sur face of the country. the spores of certain pool of fresh water mosses take root along its margin. . and in high latitudes west to the Red River of the North. In moist air. these countries a natural or is found. But in the northeastern portion of its area. how ever. we Within the limit find a vast number of these swamps. North America is prevailingly too dry to permit the freest growth of peat-bogs. and in the moist air they soon form a thick This sheet coating of sponge-like interlacing stems. living not completely decay. artificial of vegetation rapidly extends off over the surface of but as it the water. provided they be not too steep. as it would if freely exposed to the open air. the moss not only extends ^out over the water of the pool on the margins of which it began to grow. furnish the best means of comparing existing bogs Wherever in with those of the coal-measures time. but is converted into a blackened mass of the bottom. continent they are best seen in Labrador and The bogs of Ireland and Scotland. and which we may regard as the first stage of . part of the moss sheet alone is This lower part does is dead.in Scotland and Ire land. at first floating on the surface thickens. and as far south as Florida. In these elevated situations the moss is able to grow by virtue of a large amount of . such as is found . land into of have been to a great extent cleared away to convert the At the present time the climate tilled fields. The upper the lower portion soft woody matter which gradually adheres together. making a uniform deposit of a very dark color known as peat. gradually sinking until the mass rests upon . of the Newfoundland.42 THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. but also climbs up the neighboring slopes.

.

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limestone. as on the the lower of the surface lake. in of the this all. Certain chemical processes generated gases in the mass. so that there also it becomes converted into is peat. water which is 43 it holds in exactly the manner in which retained in a sponge. very like coal in most regards. a change the morass to some depth below the level of the water. which tended still further to expel the water and to bring the vegetable matter nearer to the state of ordinary bituminous coal. The material was brought : into its firmer shape in the following way after the deposit in the swamp had been formed in the manner above described. that which burns with a free flame. which serves the country people Northern Europe. or. except we may fairly assume that all coaland compactness. and thus. were sure speedily to become deeply buried. Although. when dried in the sun. it water kept from perfect decay by the water with which it is surrounded. and to squeeze out the water. soft the peat. part of the moss dies. which tended to a certain weight upon sand. What is now firm material could originally be cut by a spade Peat is in fact its as our peats can be. of These deposits brought rarely. affords the poor fuel. other plants than the though through the agency in the height of the sea carried living mosses. in Peat. and it is sometimes still used in this country. beds were originally in the condition of our bogs. by the conditions which deep burial brought . singular period of the indeed. With the many uprisings and downsinkings land which took place earth s history coal-beds.THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. where in time it became buried beneath layers of clay. save those latest formed. more drive its particles more closely together.

the alteration of the indeed. When the coal-measures were formed. was much moister and had a more equable temperature than in the present time. They think that when the coal-beds were formed there were alternating times when cessions. lie between the coal-deposits . about. original peat has gone so that is far the material converted into anthracite coal that is. in a geologic the surface of the land was occupied by a vast when the glacial sheet and by far-extending. are of the opinion that the peculiar climate of the Car boniferous period was brought about by the same condi tions that produced the glacial period which has just passed away. bearing into the shallow seas great quantities of waste worn from the rocks. glaciers spread sense. When were the and these ice-sheets disappeared. to be changed to firm coal.morasses out from the mountainous elevation. quickly returning. it has been changed into the coal in all which unburnable form of carbon known as graphite. indeed. the material which by heat can be readily converted into gas has been driven off. or plum bago. in rapid We suc that is to say. . . and that plants of the same nature also formed peat Some geologists bogs as far south as Central Alabama. as well as of those portions of the Old World which face the region of the North Atlantic. a substance which is used in making lead-pencils and vessels which are destined to receive the highest heat which furnaces can apply.44 THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. In certain cases. the sandstones and pebble beds which so often formed. or perhaps than in any other period know this by the fact that the of the earth s history. the climate of North America. delicate vegetation which occupied those ancient swamps was able to flourish up to and within the Arctic circle. In certain rare cases.

as we shall see when we come to consider the history of the continent during the Glacial period. Tennessee. now is. Moreover. The carboniferous beds . though most of the plants and animals continued to live. a stable land and a dry air taking the place of the previous oscillating land and humid climate. and Western Kentucky. which were formed during a time when the climate was becoming dryer. rocks was originally more than twice as extensive as it are overlaid by those of the Permian age. the rivers. from which they have since been swept away by the action of the sea. by a wide space occupied by Silurian and Devonian rocks were once united by continuous coal It is probable that the area of carboniferous fields. and so by alternation of these conditions fre quently repeated the beds of the coal-bearing age were accumulated. When the coal-measures were first formed. Illinois. Thus the coal-beds of Indiana. In a word. which are now separated from those of Ohio. the charac ter of the deposits much resembles those made during the Carboniferous time. and of glacial ice. disburdened of their weight. It is of climate in this not yet certain that this was the true condition age of the earth s history. but the facts are better explained in this than in any other way. rose above the sea. and the swamps from which the coal-beds were formed ceased to be devel oped. and Eastern Kentucky. they ex tended over a great part of the continent. which is the last great event in the earth s history.THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. its surface was repossessed by the swamp-making vegetation. 45 continents. the Permian period marks a great and gradual change in the atmospheric state of this part of the world.

good deal of land whereon the coal-measures were laid down folds. likely that at the same time a great deal of mountain-building was done in the Rocky Moun tain region the only extended portion of the continent. indeed.Y. A was wrinkled into great mountainous All the great chain of the Alleghanies lying to the west of the old Blue Ridge. we have boniferous. It and is in the region about the Gulf of St. viz. last or Permian the stage of the Car diately following known as the Trias. sisted of heavy conglomerate composed of large pebbles and bowlders. which Valley and that which lies to the north of it in British America. and layers of sandy . which so marked this continent during the period when In the period imme the coal-measures were deposited. The movements of the land were probably limited to the frequent upris ings and downsinkings of the broad flat lands. coarse sandstones. the higher summits of which rose six These foldings or eight thousand feet above the sea. in In a small part of the continent. In the Carboniferous age there appear to have been no considerable mountains built. that which lies Eastern Virginia and Middle North Carolina. and led to the formation of mountains in Eastern New England Lawrence. to Alabama. and in this portion of the continent several Elsewhere the deposits con coal-beds were formed. N. and extending from near Albany. the con ditions for the formation of coal persisted during this Triassic time. is not affected by the wrinkling move ment of the strata was the district of the Mississippi . commonly strikingly evidence of the flat much mountain-building. took place also in the region to the east of the Blue Ridge.46 THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA.. was about this time thrown into mountain folds.

however. shale. Nearly all the earlier were and of species destroyed or driven genera groups The alteration was. but differ These ing from them very much in form and size. Al see that the creatures were clearly not bird-like. are as numerous as those made by a flock of sea-fowls on the soft margin of the existing coasts. Moreover. When the quarrymen lift the slabs of stone from their place in the beds.THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. prints which they formed on the old sea-shore. To the away from as is this part of the world. somewhat akin to our frogs and salamanders. though most of the tracks were evidently made by ani mals which usually walked on two feet. changed lands there came by migration from some other region a host of air-breathing animals of great size. we find here and there the impressions of two smaller sets of toes which they occasionally rested upon the ground. and which have been preserved by being buried by sand which was blown or washed upon them. all 47 evidently derived mainly from the waste of the recently made mountainous land. it is easy to . The changes in the condition of sea and land conse quent on the alterations of the form of the continent which took place shortly after the close of the Carbon iferous period were very great. greater generally forms than in those which inhabited the water. we occasionally find impressions of a tail . numerous to us the known are best by very amphibians footprints which they have left upon the sandstones of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts. At first these footprints were supposed to have been made by birds on close study. in the air-breathing the case. they often find them thickly covered with footprints which these extinct Often the impressions creatures impressed upon them.

as well as in less important particulars. varied from that of a robin to Some of that of creatures much larger than an ostrich. save from their footprints. By far the most interesting addition to the life of the continent which was made during this period. in varied form. these were the to the group of back-boned animals means which breathed the air directly by from the time when they came forth lungs from the egg. Natu ralists have therefore concluded that these creatures were. Besides the creatures which made the footprints of the Connecticut Valley. and from the depth to which they pene trated the wet sand it seems likely that the animal weighed several hundred pounds. and from the study of their skeletons they have determined where that they were most likely animals which were born from the egg in the tadpole state. of than to any other living animals. these strange animals. This little creature was related to the . ^consists of a species which. really quadrupeds. the Triassic period is remarkable for the great number of true reptiles more or less nearly related to the crocodiles and lizards. first So far as we species in North of America belonging yet know. and afterwards in the manner of frogs and their kindred developed lungs and upon the dry land. becoming thus fitted for life In size. it dragged upon the surface of the mud.48 THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA.belonged in that group of suck-giving animals which bear their young for a while after birth in a pouch. These higher creatures were very plenty and of very differ from the amphibians. and which being born with limbs and lungs. which we know little. the impressions made by the feet have a length of fif teen inches. in most cases at least. and which were probably more nearly akin to the frogs limbs.

It seems likely. Whence they came we do not know. indeed. Australia. in It is doubtful if any part of North America east deposits of this age exist of the Mississippi River except along the borders of the Arctic Ocean. and probably fed on insects such as beetles. Jurassic age. In the Cordilleras. It does not seem likely that the new forms of living beings which so plentifully appear in the Triassic de posits of North America originated within the limits of the continent it is more probable that they migrated to this land from other regions over some bridge from other countries. It is otherwise with the animals. to abound as before. much higher above the sea than it is at the present time. plants of the Jurassic however for many groups of them show great changes and advances in structure. these beds occupy a large area. Next after the Triassic period come the strata of the . that the eastern half of the continent was.THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. It seems likely. however. 49 opossums which still live in North America. as well as to the numerous kindred of the kangaroo which dwell in It was not larger than a small domestic cat. that they differed in no important way from those of the Triassic period. These are most conspicu. however. The plants of the Trias differ less from those of the Ferns continue Carboniferous age than do the animals. but it is evident that the narrowleaved trees akin to the cypresses and pines were be coming more abundant. . during the Juras sic period. and that the strata which were then laid down are now hidden beneath the ocean along the At lantic coast. The known time are but scantily in North America. From them alone we may judge as to the charac ter of the American life. .

a group which began in the earlier ages of the earth s history. however. In the mollusca we find that the cephalopods. consisted in the growth of the animal outside of its shell in such a man ner that the hard parts. This change. They are. indeed. which began in Europe in the Triassic period. On their strong arm-like processes about the head they had hooks for capturing their prey their mouths were provided with powerful beaks they swam with fins and by squirt ing the water through a tube from the space about their gills. an important variation of form. These creatures closely resemble the living squid and The cuttle-fishes. Though all the life shows signs of progress. are much more perfect and vigorous forms. in the Jurassic period. the gain is most conspicuous in the above-named classes. The greatest changes in the living beings of the Ju- . takes on in North America. that their pursuers could not observe the direction of their flight.5O THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. ous and important in the groups of mollusca and in the reptiles. While its ancestors. which had hitherto served to encase and protect the creature in the manner of the snail s covering. these Jurassic cephalopods were among the most active inhabitants of the sea. to which in time they gave birth. and which long continued in the form of chambered shells. were slow-moving creatures with little power of attack ing other forms. . among the most masterful creatures of the waters at the present day. the nautilus and the orthoceratite. They had an organ which secreted an ink-like substance which when thrown out clouded the water so . squids. became an internal skeleton supporting the soft parts of the body which were now defended from assault by the vigilance and strength of the animal.

so far as teeth. as in Europe. as as been have Others.THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. Like the most of the other for the geological formations. Some of these were of great size. or suck-giving creatures. There are a number of different kinds. which. Among them we find a one of which. doubtless in this time in North America. great section of the earth s history known as the Mesozoic. the The mammals. appeared in the Triassic time. become more abundant in the Jurassic period. some of the fossils which have been found this in the Cordilleran region appear to indicate beautiful all change which gave us the most charming of lower animals. far more varied and of higher forms than their kindred of the Triassic age. the Atlantofeet in length. or middle-life. time was closed by a period known as the Cretaceous. nearly the whales. measuring twenty feet or more between the tips of the number of gigantic species. and in a were of the pouch-bearing group. and were as well fitted for flight as any of our birds. this term applied to the rocks succeeding the Jurassic The names was first by Euro In the this pean students. 5 1 were These rassic period occurred in the group of reptiles. latter country the most important deposits of age . that the birds began to develop from the rep It is tiles . greater large nearly known as Pterodactyls. but. later day that these creatures of the all was only mammalian series acquired the habits of eating vegetables or of preying on the larger animals. a It must hundred was saurus. we can judge from It their they were still limited for diet to insects. were provided with wings much like those of bats. extended wings. as we have seen. particularly those of England.

which comes from the It is supposed that the Latin word meaning chalk. New The beds We that a large part of the continent. the deposits of Cretaceous age consisting mainly of sandstones and similar deposit is now the North Atlantic. the waters of which swarmed with small creatures of the lowest animal organization era. The the great groups of lowlier forms devel in the earlier ages. such as is are those of fine. time after the close of the Carboniferous period. and a great part of the Cordilleran region and the Pacific border. America. limestone. and that in places it remained long submerged. These deposits occupy an extensive area in North clays. or chalk. occupy field in the states which lie just north of a ing large the Gulf of Mexico. soft used on blackboards. probably nearly onefourth of its whole surface. being in some parts of the Rocky Mountains thus see seven or eight thousand feet in depth. was below the level of the sea. we now find in the uppermost oped beds of this age trees related to the ordinary broadin addition to . It seems likely that during this time North America was much smaller than it is at present. or had been at any greatest change which took place in the living beings of North America in this age is exhibited in the for plants which appear in the uppermost Cretaceous . in was then a tolerably deep what chalk was deposited sea. Therefore the rocks of this age received the name of Cretaceous. making on the There are no containing only a moderate amount of lime. of Cretaceous age in North America are very thick.52 THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. known as foraminif- A somewhat deep-sea floor of chalk-beds known in North America. through extending from Southern Massachusetts Jersey as a narrow broken fringe.

was. are first known in this age in fact. of species of these From their reptilian forms during the Mesozoic time. The the palms.THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. such as oaks and maples. when standing. There had been hundreds. a water-bird not unlike a loon. differed from ordinary birds in that they had very long jaw-bones armed with pointed Some of these birds were of very great size one of them. : these parts are in process of disappearing. and with this latter change conspicuous marks of the relation of the feathered creatures to the reptiles are lost. Perhaps the most important change in the life of this as well as of the other continents consists in the nearly universal destruction of the great reptiles which. five or six feet in height. though distinctly bird-like. this portion of the earth s history has been well termed the age of reptiles. creatures which. and at the close of that period they nearly all of the Cretaceous disappear. Before the end we note that these great beasts of are strange aspect diminishing in the number of their kinds. as well as many of our plants which bear edible fruit. In certain forms they have ceased to grow in the front part of the jaw in yet other kinds they have entirely disappeared. and in their place we have all the ordinary beaks . we can see that teeth. for time in the history of the continent its surface was occupied by woods which would have looked famil . . One of the most remarkable additions of to the animal in life North America appears to have consisted the introduction of feathered animals. . Although the most of these Cretaceous birds have teeth. from the beginning of the Triassic period down to the close of the Cretaceous. first iar to men of the temperate regions. also. occupied the sea and land. 53 leaved forms of our forests. great abundance. if not thousands.

Another group.North America appears to have been divided by a long arm of the Gulf of Mexico extending from the tropics to the Arctic sea. alteration of climate such as might have destroyed the animals and plants.54 THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. Mississippi. They appear to have died as human beings die of old age. and many others which cannot here be detailed. as was&quot. . ammonites and only one important chambered form. the nautilus. so that on the west was the great though narrow island of the Rocky Mountains. which began in the Silurian period. the species dis appearing from the earth individual being. the kindred of the pearly nautilus and the squid. the cephalopods. . remained. All the lowlands from Massa chusetts to the Rio Grande. and finally gave birth to the beautiful series of the ammonites. The chambered shells. and Louisiana. in the same manner as the During the Cretaceous period. including the whole of Florida. as well as during the most of the earlier ages. which took place near the close of the Cretaceous period. has not yet been It does not appear to be due to any great determined. The cause of these great changes. the continent of &quot. were beneath the also the greater part of Texas and sea-level. also loses some of its ancient and interesting representatives in this time. Alabama. and on the east the more extensive land composed of the Appalachian and Laurentian islands and the districts of the Ohio and upper Missouri valleys. almost vanish from the seas at this The end of the Cretaceous sees the last of the time. but rather to the spontaneous death of these creatures as their places were taken by other and more advanced forms.

easily see that they could not. like their living kindred. probably dwelt. cold-blooded. and many of In the the greater reptiles doubtless fed upon them. The plants in gen eral evidently grew in a luxuriant manner. mountains in this time of change. for them. That the climate of this time of was moist is indicated least in by the occasional occurrence coal-beds. swamps of this time many of the reptiles. and there ably. fore unable to maintain themselves on the surface of This is reptiles in regions the earth in freezing weather. stage of development was probably in the main warm and equable. at the western part of the continent. One species of the latter group. Following the Cretaceous period comes the division of the earth s history. was of enormous tip of fore-limbs size. It is probable that the great strait the Gulf of Mexico with the Arctic Ocean connecting at this time. shown by the abundance of great which are now subjected to very cold The greater part of these beasts were prob winters. have found refuge from the cold by creeping into holes to It would have required a Mammoth Cave have afforded refuge for the larger species. 55 The its climate of North America during this. especially the great turtles. the distance from tip to last great y exceeding fifteen feet. and all the caverns would not have served as sufficient housing We in the earth. in the manner of our living snakes and lizards. the remains of which have been found in Kansas. but the continent underwent a general uplift which brought it nearly to of the present form. that known as the Ter There appears to have been no great development tiary.THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. so that the Arctic regions and the adjacent northern portions of the continent became was closed .

and it remains a characteristic species of marsupials living on this continent. . As a whole. that all the species are of rather small size. as our whales. and had for a long time to remain con tinuously attached to the nipple of the mother. The greatest change which occurred in the beginning of the Tertiary period consisted in the introduction of many forms of animals and plants of higher organization than any which had lived before. or are even amphibious. colder than they had hitherto been. where they were protected by the curious pouch. there placental mammals. of the living pouched mammals as well. feeble. of the well-known beasts of this continent. our bulls or horses them can fly as the bats none burrow under ground in the manner of the moles none of them can stand a strenuous winter. The result of this arrangement was. were in the long ages of the reptilian time a number of These were suck-giving animals which were born in a very immature state. as do many . still remained in the possession of the ocean but the water . none of . which covered them probably was shallower than before. weak-witted crea- . few of them weighing over a hundred pounds. and a host of other familiar ani None of them have hoofs or horns like those of mals. Moreover. the otters. Most of the low.56 THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. water. and of the belt of country along the Pacific coast which had been below the sea during the Cretaceous period. they seem inca pable of making any of the variations of form which enable the higher mammals to live under great variety None of* the pouch-bearers live in the of conditions. the pouch-bearers are small. land districts of the Atlantic and Gulf border. as are the seals. Most noteworthy of these new groups of animals are the higher of the As we have seen before.

Their brains are larger and their intellects more able than all the lower mammalia which have no placenta. almost every condition which the earth affords delvers in the earth they are runners. The higher non-pouched mammals begin their life within the mother in a different way from the marsu In the kindred of the opossum and kangaroo. forms no attach ment to the mother s body. which are able to escape any pursuers. find the measure of intelligence increas Step by step ing. tures . until in man we have the great we dominating intelligence of the world. alert swimmers. the antelopes. effective they afford great beasts of prey. a union between the unborn creature and the mother is means of a structure called the placenta. created by but so far developed that it can quickly care for itself. they attain to than their lower kindred their swift much greater vigor suit forms vary to . probably to the more rapid and perfect devel of the true mammals .THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. It often can follow the mother about in the manner of calves and colts. strong flyers. Through this placenta the mother s blood nourishes the young creature in such a manner that it is generally born. the young. not in the immature state which it has in the marsupials. when it escapes from the egg. the animals ever helping themselves more and more by instinct and reason. as Owing opment the case with the pouched animals. is and does not have to be carried by the parent. which comes away when the infant is born. In the higher mammals pials. 57 and we are not surprised that for ages they made no head against the reptiles of the Jurassic and Creta ceous times. such as the lions and tigers. a creature who de- . and quick-footed forms like . in the earlier part of their independent life.

until they lose the semblance of hoofs. From the numerous and beautifully preserved fossils which have been gathered in that district. they had five toes on each foot. The earliest of the higher mammals appear to have been simple structure than those of Like their predecessors. in the district known as the Bad Lands. principally in the region about the head-waters of the Missouri. middle toe of both front and hind legs. which serve no purpose whatever save to show us how the creature has changed from the conditions of . probably more nearly akin to the sloth than to any other living form. where the fore-limbs had four toes. his pends vastly more on mental powers than upon all the physical gifts which have been afforded him. and does not pro the central hoof. the placental mammals varied along many different lines of change. and the hinder. there is but one evident hoof. which now has but one toe or finger to each foot. also. simple creature. all the impor tant steps of this change from a five-toed to a singletoed animal have been traced. One group of these five-fingered creatures. the fourth toe ceases to have any hoof. or that on the ject beyond the skin . the reptiles. . appears to have undergone its development in North America. three. in the Miocene. In the early Tertiaries we have the Orohippus. and were fitted for walking over the earth or for tree-climbing.58 THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. fade away. others being reduced to the slender splint-bones of the horse. the remaining toe growing yet larger than before and final the ly. In the next stage. becoming much In the third step the side toes larger than the others. By gradual changes from this rather creatures of much more the present day. that which finally gave us the horse and its kindred. in modern times. probably their ancestors.

Gradually the teeth become longer from the grinding surface to the end of the roots the part exposed beyond the gums extended so far that they would endure the rough work of grinding hard and sandy grasses for a much greater : period than any of the earlier forms. flat teeth. as it provides him with a advantage to stronger limb by which he is enabled to escape pursuit. with the advance in the structure of the feet. Though the horse appears to have been developed on the continent of North America. his ancestors. a lioness escaping from her cage pounced upon a donkey and was killed by the s feet. Moreover. 59 The single hoof of the horse is a great the creature. earliest of the horse kindred had low. in an American Zoological Garden. it is a curious fact that none of these creatures existed on this continent or in the neighboring land of South America when man came to occupy this part of the world. also. to suppose that the cause of the destruction of the horse on this continent is to be found in any change of climate or in the subsidence of the land . the admirable development which takes place in the teeth. step by The step. blows of the animal We may note. A few years ago. with short roots of a shape calculated to wear out and be come useless to the animal in a short time.THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. as all know. From North America. they appear to have migrated over some tem porary isthmus which for a time connected the Old World with the New. however. It is not necessary. in this horse series. this solid bony hoof is a power ful instrument of defence. This complete disappearance of an important group of animals from the region where they were developed seems to indicate that some destructive accident befell them.

These creatures had evidently existed from very early times. The insects resorting to them for honey or pollen serve to cross- . and specimens of a scorpion have been discovered in Silurian strata but in the Tertiary time these animals rapidly became more numerous and . The most notable change in the animal of the Tertiary period. that in the Tertiary time the vegetables have varied in order to secure the help of insects. as do the bees and butterflies. The increase life is particularly notice which seek honey or pollen from the blossoms of flowering plants. The fact is. The bees and their kindred the common ants are the most intellectual of insects ex able in those forms of insect . plants of this age are conspicuous for and nuts. birds&quot. they are the only members of this group which have learned how to associate their labor in well-organized communities which build nent habitations for their societies. the fields. It beneath the of fly some insect which to the ravages killed these creatures as a certain may have been due destroys all the horses in a portion of Southern life Africa. varied in their kind. some of their remains being found as early as the Devonian period. sea.6O THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. and mammals in the fertilization of their flowers and the diffusion of their seeds. sweet odors. both on this and other continents. fruits. and As compared with the earlier forests flowering forms. perma The plants of the Tertiary time on this and other continents steadily increase in the number of their . their blossoms. con sists in the great increase in the number of insects.. cept perhaps the white ants. and nourishing in these latter geo logical ages served to secure these ends. fruits The which they have developed bright colors.

giving the species a chance to win its way over the land. and ever and each other. often to be counted by thousands. not being digested in the stomach of the Yet animal. contending against helping varied varying to accomplish these ends. ralists By far the greater number of natu the opinion that the change from one species to another in the progressive alteration of ani mals and plants in the course of the earth s history is are of due to the fact that the descendants of any individual are very numerous. these two great armies of living beings have undergone vast changes. are scattered far and wide over the field. are eaten because they are pala by many animals. and the strong seeds. The fruits. In these and many other ways the animal and plant life in the Tertiary ages became more closely knit to Much gether than they had been in the earlier times. of the rapid variation and advance in the structure of advance both these great realms of life came about through this in the accommodation of animals and plants The plants changed their form to secure the assistance of certain animals. and -of this multitude only one or two can commonly . and thus be carried to great distances. other plants have their seed provided with booklets which may catch in the hair of animals as they pass by the plant. table or nutritious. and the animals to each other. so as to obtain ever greater advantages from the vegetables on which they mainly fed. In this way. The student should understand that the precise way in which these variations are brought about is still a matter of debate. and to protect them selves from the assaults of others. and have secured great advances in structure since the beginning of the Tertiary time. fertilize 6l the seed.THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA.

which are controlled by instincts or reason beavers build their dams squirrels. to maturity. The brains we go from the the intelligence earlier to the later stages of this time increases with the development of the machinery which serves its needs the creatures develop habits of life . in very brief statement. as . by more vigorous seeds. there can be no theory. and mice. living forms have undergone. for instance. These advantages or chase. vive are enabled to do so because they vary from the come some advantageous way. is the Darwinian it seems likely that it explains many of the changes which. this The individuals which have advantage breeding together. in most cases. each species in turn perishing. tion to the intellectual power grow larger in all the mammalia&quot. . and doubt as to the steadfast progress of organic life through the geologic ages. . This. make the beneficial peculiarity yet more marked than it was before. as. . and so from generation to generation the change becomes inten sified. the found in the addi of its species. Darwin s view.62 THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. in the course of the ages. birds. being swifter in flight and having with keener intelligence. the others perishing from lack of food Those which sur or being devoured by their enemies. after had given birth through some process of change to a form better fitted for the conditions of existence in the region in which its ancestors lived. Whatever be the final determination as to the value of Mr. the fortunate parent is apt to hand on to its descendants. and so in a given country a somewhat peculiar variety others in is formed which has an advantage over its kindred in the struggle for existence. their nests . Although the bodily forms of animals gained im it mensely in effectiveness greatest advance in this higher life is during the Tertiary age.

we should doubtless have found that there were no animal sounds in the woods or fields save. where the individuals protect . of the effects arising from the increase in the measure of intelligence in these later stages in the One earth s history exists in the is found in the greater sympathy which more highly organized beings. the chirping of creatures like the crickets and grasshoppers or the and toads. All these sounds. 63 life the larger animals in the fields institute the method of and defend by herds. conspicuous instance of such downgoing is exhibited by the serpents. By no means all the changes which took place in the animal life of North America and other great lands during the Tertiary period led to the elevation of that life. in order to secure the means of sub sistence or protection from their enemies. underwent The most changes which led to their degradation. in this later age mind comes to play a part unknown in the earlier times and lower states of being.THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. the hum of bees. If we could have observed the earth during the reptilian period. each other in a word. like the speech of man. the lowings and bellowings and chatterings of our mammalian species. Many forms. were probably wanting. piping of some creatures allied to our frogs The song of birds. perhaps. indicate that the higher animals are becoming more Thus all conscious of and dependent on their kindred. secure the peculiar advantages which the snake s form affords for constricting the prey and seizing it at to . The ancestors of these forms were origi but in order nally four-limbed animals like the lizards . the more advanced life sympathy between exhibits the progressive gain in individuals which is the basis of human relations.

and in . or rather. as indeed are all the fields of the earth. see that this continent. is still fresh and vigorous. for an animal or to inhabit a peculiar sta tageous plant tion or to do certain acts which require a less highly It organized body than was possessed by its ancestors. the whales have been formed by progressive degradation from fourlimbed animals which dwelt upon the land. It is certain that the Tertiary periods do not include onetenth. This is. too. however. In fact. that the speed with which the advance takes place is in ever-increasing measure. remains. of the duration which we must assign to the preceding ages.64 THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. in a recent geologic time. So. which includes the time in which we now dwell. Not only is it true. though it may have been a hundred thousand years ago. a great and most important truth that these changes generally lead to more perfect states of being. and yet they have carried forward the process of growth in the most important features of animal life to an extent We thus vastly greater than had been secured before. the form became altered so as to give the body great length and flexibility the limbs were lost. and they possibly do not amount to one-fiftieth. all their place changes of species probably serve to fit the creature to Sometimes it is advan accomplish particular deeds. we should say. a stroke. Thus during the Tertiary age. the continent . animal life has made greater advances in all that regards the development of intelligence than were accomplished in all the long ages of the earlier times. better suited than ever before to give nurture to its living tenants. Near the close of the Tertiary period. but a yet greater truth re mains to be stated concerning the development of ani mals. motion was effected by movable scales and the waving flectures of the body.

Just before this great glacial change came upon North America there was a warm climate. a large part of Alaska. we should At lines of the shore perceive only slight differences in the out and in the shape of the interior regions. all the animals and plants which had occupied the northern realm were forced to change their abodes to is more southern lands or probable that . the ice-fields began to extend from the regions about the When poles southward. however. so that time was allowed for the species gradually to . pare a map of the continent made at the time we are considering with one which shows its present geography. this time. perhaps Siberia. of 65 North America experienced a wonderful change in At this time it had a form physical conditions. in were thousand occupied years many for the ice must have won its way slowly to the possession of the great field it came to occupy. Scandinavia. this migration It to perish from the earth. which probably did not vary much from that which it at its It is probable that if we could com present exhibits. a region now so cold that only a few plants of the hardiest sort can maintain a scanty growth. and about one-third of the area of This glacial envelope was not pecu the United States. there came upon the land of ice in its which occupied part coating nearly all the present land-surface of British America. Switzer and Similar great ice-fields were land. one which permitted the development of plants which cannot withstand vig orous winters.THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. over nearly the British Islands. as far north as the middle portion of Greenland. for it formed at the same time liar to North America northern a vast . probably simultaneously developed in the southern part all of South America and in New Zealand. and from the colder mountain tops to the plains.

After a period of unknown duration. As it was when thickest more than a mile in depth. probably for the reason that the ice was deeper there than elsewhere. below present position. which can prob ably be reckoned as thousands of &quot. that section south of the Ohio. extend south of the field from which they had been dis In this great exodus of animals and plants possessed. or. As it tinent rose again above the sea-level. and of those which survived It a great number underwent changes in their shapes. while the southern doubtless required a long time to disappeared. the northern part of the con it portion of the land from New York southwardly along . however. in general. the region not occupied by the glacier. ern part of the continent. appears to have been subjected to a considerable elevation. While the ice lay upon the northern portion of the con tinent. and the Missouri rivers. a good many kinds perished. It seems likely that in Southern states farther this district feet. the surface of that area appears to have been borne down by the weight of the ice to a considerable depth At the same time in the south present level. below its the Potomac. The upward movement of the land seems to have been enough to have extended towards the equator than they are at present placed. this ice-sheet disappeared.years in length. depart. whole as a that is a surprising fact.66 THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. the surface was lowered more than a thousand its perhaps several times that amount. organic beings do not seem to have been very greatly disturbed by the change in the climate and the geography of the continent which the last glacial period brought about. The northeastern portion of the continent appears to have been more deeply depressed than the other por the shores of the tions of its surface.

It then attacked the harder rocks. The front remained in this position for the reason that the south ward movement of the ice was just sufficient to supply the waste which took place in the mild climate to which . For a long time the front of the ice stretched across the continent from the Atlantic seaboard to near the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Dakota. soil which had previously covered the country.THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. the rivers since the shore as. cutting them away in the following man ner fragments of stone imprisoned in the hard ice : and projecting from its bottom acted as gouges as they were dragged over the bed-rock in the forward move ment of the glacier at the same time streams of fluid water flowing over the bottom on which the ice rested washed a great deal of fine debris from the inner parts . Chesapeake. for came instance. Albemarle. Pamlico. forming great bays such as valley the Delaware. the sea overflowed much of the lands near the shore. 6? the Atlantic and along the Gulf of Mexico sank down beneath the sea. While the glacial sheet was upon the northern part in the sea all of the continent. which now lies the Mississippi in the between the junction of the Ohio with the great river and Southern Louisiana. All these bays have been somewhat filled in When by mud washed down by to its present level. the glaciated district towards the edge of the field. the land sank. the rivers had carved deep and wide valleys. While this southern section had been elevated. that in The greatest of them. and Mobile bays. of. it its field towards Its first effect moved slowly from the its interior part of margins was to sweep away the and on the land. has been filled with mud and sand brought from the highlands of the part of its course great central valley.

is In called.however. ward quantities of stone which dropped out when the ice melted. the front of the ice did not remain in exactly the same position any great time. the result was that a consid erable accumulation of gravel. of the continent eastern and northern the over parts lay form of a vast sheet. &quot. sand. When continental glacier was deepest and . or from the valley of the Saskatchewan to Newfoundland. and thence in a north New When the ice westward direction through Dakota. and bowlders was made along it many places this moraine. it doubtless presented an unbroken upper surface over which the observer could have journeyed from the Potomac to Greenland. and it may be a few miles apart. The greatest of these belts extends from Eastern Massachusetts. where it is well exhibited on the promontory of Cape Cod and the neighboring islands on the south. and extends in the form of a long ridge parallel to the mar this line. and as the under-ice streams deposited their coarser sediment where they escaped from the ice-arches at the front of the glacier. More commonly.68 ft THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. As the glacier was constantly carrying for attained. gin of the glacier. Central and Southern Ohio. as has the height of several hundred feet. New York. for forming a belt of morainal deposits. and so there are several lesser ridges parallel to each other. westward through Long Island. without observing any trace of the hills and valleys which were beneath him. thence across the mainland of Jersey. through parts of Pennsylvania and New York. We know from a recent ex amination of the central part of Greenland that such a continental glacier smooths over hill and dale as a win in the ter s fiold snowstorm hides the the irregularities of a ploughed ex- or the hills where Indian corn has been grown.

.

.

When its mass within a few hundred the continental glacier was thick. and remains there only in the form of very limited glaciers which. these detached glaciers were of great size. from time to time. commonly known as till. it But from all the region utterly disappeared east of the Cordilleras. 69 tended farthest to the south. probably. its margin retreated to the northward. as in that of the greater ice-sheet. the part of feet of the ground con tained a good deal of mud. the ice remained for a consider able time with its front in nearly one position. Here deposit was a hundred feet or more in thickness. These lesser detached glaciers also formed morainal walls. Here As and there we little find in small moraines evidence that for a It while the ice frequently paused in its falling back. readvanced after a time mountains. forming a coating of stony and clayey In some places this material. and stones which had been riven from the underlying rocks. and there. the great ice-sheet ceased to be well fed by win ters snows. this till was . there were many smaller glaciers in the mountains of the Cordilleras and profr ably also in those of Virginia which were not connected In the Cordilleras some of with the main ice-sheet. after having retreated a to near its original front. with an ice-sheet of great depth and thickness. occupy high-lying valleys in the good ways. When the glacier disappeared. which occupied the part of the valley in which Leadville now stands. shows that in the case of these valley glaciers. sometimes over large fields. sand. this stony matter fell down upon the sur face of the earth. which were The accumulation of these deposits often of great size. as for in stance that of the upper Arkansas.THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. like those of Switz erland and Norway.

and so made fit for the husbandman s use. the waste being accumulated in beds of clay. and these are the materials which are most necessary for its refreshment. the farmer generally finds a strong soil. have been derived in this way by the sorting of the glacial waste. if properly cared for.7O THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. in which plant food is stored away in a manner which permits it to be slowly yielded to the soil. the glacial period. soda. the surface of the area over which the ice had close of lain At the had a very imperfect drainage. In those These soils are very variable in quality. when the rain waters began to move once more to the sea in a fluid form. but where the material remains in the form of till. Thus we see that the bowlders which are in the way of the plough and give a sterile aspect to a large part of the glaciated districts are really to be considered as maga zines. and The most of the brick clays of this country pebbles. In most parts of the country the soils which are upon the till contain a great number of pebbles. and phosphorus to the soil. which are in part composed of feldspars and mica. of the small The valleys of many streams excavated before the last . lime. All the soils in the glacial districts are mainly formed which by the growth of plants it has gradually been commingled with vegetable matter. is very enduring to the tax which agriculture puts upon the earth. of this glacial detritus. They also often contain small quantities of These minerals apatite or crystallized lime phosphate. upon regions where a great amount of pure siliceous sand has been deposited the soil may be too sterile to give any profitable crops. washed away by the melting waters of the glacier. sand. as they decay furnish potash. which.

never excavates a pit but a glacier . There are certainly tens of thou sands of these basins still occupied by water. owing to the fact worn away the rocks in which they lay. These lakes still gradually disappearing. The result is that when the ice went away. the considerable rivers remained. glacial- /I that the ice had epoch were entirely destroyed. it can cut out deep excavations in soft rocks which may have a depth hundreds of feet. the heaps of debris which were left by the ice blocked a great many channels with sand or clay. when the ice overrode them. but when the ice went away they were many times as numerous. and be walled all round with rocks which were of harder character and therefore wore a less amount. and which are derived from the singular actions .THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. The result of these embarrassments of the streams was the formation of innumerable lakes in the northern half of the continent. except in the pot-holes about a waterfall. while yet others have been drained away through the cutting down are of the barriers through which the outflowing streams have passed. forming lakes of all sizes from tiny pools to very exten sive basins. they made their surfaces slope every but where continuously downward towards the sea . but When the streams of fluid water carved them. changed these inclined a pitted and irregular character. Moreover. all The in basins of a much altered form. the free water accumulated in these basins. but they will long remain as the most beautiful of the many topographical features which give charm to the scenery of the glaciated district. so damming in yet other lakes. The greater part of these basins have been filled in with peat or by the sand and mud washed in by the streams which enter them. planes to slopes of Fluid water coursing to the sea.

which. as we know from the remains preserved in the mud at the mouths of the great rivers of Northern Asia. So far as we have learned. The mammoth was as large as the greatest living elephants. ice which the flowed. effected on the surface over which it ter of the organic life in There were some interesting changes in the charac North America. It is moth was of the probable that the American mam same species with those of Siberia. perhaps larger. these creatures must have had a truly formidable aspect. among were a period. appears to have had the form of a shaggy mane. being than our largest living elephants. the mastodon. which appear to have occurred just after the disappearance of the ice. Ow neck to the ~the of the which on back ing long hair. and certainly of number Among them we the reckon two great species of elephants. were hairy elephants.72 THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. mammals many important alterations Probably before and during the glacial in the closing stages of that time. the higher effected. no great alterations in the plants or the lower animals occurred either in the onset But or the disappearance of the continental glacier. animals occupied this herbivorous great continent which have since disappeared from the earth. with the points ously turned back towards the shoulders of the animal. in curved the form of a sickle. and though closely akin to them. it appears to have dwelt mostly in The mastodon was . as well protected against the Arc tic cold as are the polar bears. Like the mammoth. rather less in size a much smaller creature. which appear for a considerable time to have existed in large numbers on mammoth and this continent. must have presented a The great tusks were curi very different appearance.

slenderer limbed than the living form of North Amer ica. much reduced in size. now occupy certain limited fields within the Arctic The caribou or American reindeer. becomes to the conditions of climate and the other cir grade of a creature s cumstances which affect its existence. while the lower species were not much altered. several times as large as the existing form. It is not known at just what time man first won his way to the surface of this land. the fields from which the glacial ice had recently passed even as far south as Kentucky a large variety of away musk ox.THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. The higher the sensitive it the more development. and about the swamps and streams. Any conditions which affect the distribution of its food are apt to lead to its destruction or force it to extended migrations. In the opinion of certain observers. kinsman of the species. is also to be counted among curious variety of these recently vanished animals. or a closely circle. and of such situations that it is 73 in the mud we commonly find their remains Along with these creatures there dwelt in preserved. where its bones are found in the Big Bone There was also a species of bison. This great change in the character of the higher life. shows us how swift are the changes which are taking place in the more advanced kinds of animals. taller and Lick. as is at about existed have to dog appears A shown by certain bones found in the caverns of East Tennessee. the descendants of which. which disappeared from its surface as the ice-sheet related went away. bits of shaped stone . The last great change in the organic life of North America consisted in the appearance of our own species on this continent. ranged southward into Kentucky. this time. A gigantic beaver.

just before the last glacial period.. yesterday. having the appearance of rude implements which occur beds of gravel near Trenton. to form any judgment as to the cause of the great revolution in climate. fact that.74 THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA. of a and a fragment human skull craters have been destroyed. or its precise effects upon the living beings which inhabited the earth. The present day is really a part of the glacial age remnants of the ice-sheet which recently desolated half the continent still remain in the valleys of the Cordil leras of British America and Alaska. It seems likely that. N. was only in the geological as yet but little concerning the It will probably be a long time details of its history. Similar evidences of the antiquity of man have been found in Europe. a tolerably warm climate prevailed in North America up to near the pole.J. do not just how long ago this Californian man lived. . before we shall be sufficiently well informed as to what Although the glacial period we know took place during this singular period. are to be re garded as evidence that men were here during the time in the when tools Well-shaped have been found in California. old valleys so far old rivers lay is worn down and the country about the that the place where the the hilltops. and cover the We have already noted the greater part of Greenland. in ancient river beds which were filled with the lavas from volcanoes so ancient that their the ice-sheet was most extended. in time to come. but it seems likely that he inhabited that part of the conti nent at least as far back as the beginning of the glacial now upon We know time. these . where it now seems certain that savages hunted the hairy mammoth beside the extended glaciers of the ice-epoch.

THE GROWTH OF NORTH AMERICA.
conditions of

75

warmth

will

revisit

the portions of the

land which are

now

sterilized with excessive cold.

The

change, however,
its

will doubtless require a vast

time for

accomplishment.

All the evidence which the geologist has gathered concerning the continent of North America serves to

show
world

that this land
is

as are, indeed,
It
is
still

all

the lands of the

youth. the sea at such a rate that the ceaseless beating of the waves and the washing of the rains does not serve to

in

its

growing up from

diminish
greater
before.

its area.

On

the contrary,

its
it

area

at

the

present time than

is probably ever has been

76

THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION

CHAPTER
AMERICA.
The
present condition of the continent.
Its

III.

THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION OF NORTH

Comparison with other conti

nents.

mountains, islands, rivers, and other geographic features. Prairies. Climate. Distribution of rain Forests of North America.
Indian summer.
Caflons.

fall.

Storms.

Scenery of North America.
seas.

Water
Coral

falls.

Caverns.

Dead

The

continental shelf.

reefs.

WE

have already traced,

at

least

in outline, the his

tory of the continent of

North America.

We

have

seen how, slowly but steadily, this great elevation has arisen from the ocean, and how it has maintained it
self against

the ceaseless assaults of the waves of the
rivers.
It

sea and the currents of the

has ever been
;

portions wearing away, but always growing upward of its surface have swayed downward beneath the

ocean, while parts of the shallows near the coast have at the same time risen above the water. Again and

again this elevation has changed its shape but from the beginning the continent has always endured, and has constantly become better fitted to be the dwelling;

place of the higher plants and animals which find their habitations on the.land. These changes have gradually converted what was originally a group of islands into a

wide
It is

field of

land suited to be a

now our

home for great peoples. task to consider the existing form, climate,

OF NORTH AMERICA.
soil,

77
influ

and other features of the continent, and their

ence on their living tenants. As will be seen from the map, North America has a distinctly triangular shape, the only considerable de parture from this form being due to the indentation of
the Gulf of Mexico, the last remnant of the original central ocean of the continent, and to the peninsulas and islands which border it on the east. This great tri

angle
is

is

considerably longer than

it

is

wide

;

its

narrow
length

side or base lies against the Arctic
;

Ocean

;

its

and the long sides have an extent of 3750 miles about 5000 miles. On the east lies the Atlantic, and
on the west the Pacific Ocean. Thus, North America and the twin continent of South America are so placed that they part the vast ocean into two great basins.

The same
of lands,

parting is effected by the Old World group but the division which this latter group of
is

continents effects

less

definite
to

and complete.

The

American barrier extends nearer of the Old World.
If

both poles than that

we compare the continent

of

North America with

the united land masses of Asia and Europe, we are struck with the fact that, while the shores of this land

mass are generally straight and with few neighboring island masses, the lands of the Old World are, except in
the case of Africa, singularly fringed with peninsulas and islands. Bearing in mind the story of the growth
of

North America as
it is

it

is

set

forth in the preceding

chapter,

In North

easy to see the reason for this difference. America there are few of those mountain

systems which form the centres of growth in the land, there being in all in this continent about half a dozen
of such systems of elevations, while in the great

mass

78
of the

THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION
Old World which constitutes Europe-Asia there many of these mountain groups,

are about four times as

each forming a distinctly separated region of elevation. When, as is frequently the case, the lowlands between
these elevations have not been lifted above the line of
the sea, the uplifted region appears as an island, at least until, by the process of growth, it so far rises above the

ocean as to be united with the mainland. The consoli dated form of North America is thus due to the fact
that
its

mountain systems are few

in

number, and they

uplift the regions

have generally grown for a sufficiently long time to about them into dry land. There is only one mountain system connected with

North America which
vated that
it

is

so

new and

gives rise to a considerable

so imperfectly ele group of islands.

This system is indicated in the long archipelago which bounds the Caribbean Sea on the east and north, gener This curious elevation rises ally known as the Antilles.

from deep sea on either parts a height above the or fifteen thousand feet.

side,

and has
on which

at the highest
it

floor
It

rests of ten

appears to have

grow

in relatively

modern geologic

begun to and to be still times,

In its present state it closely resembles the ranges of the Appalachian and the Cordilleran mountains in the earlier stages of their history,
in process of upheaval.

when they formed narrow,
tem

strip-like archipelagoes

com

posed of the emerged mountain tops.
lead to the

In time the sys

of the Antilles will probably, by continuous growth, emergence not only of the mountains them

selves, but of broad fields of what are now sea-bottoms, thus repeating the process of growth which has gone on in the older regions of elevation of the continent.
It
is

evident that North America

is

composed

of

OF NORTH AMERICA.

79

several mountainous fields which, by their long-contin ued growth, have lifted not only their ridges, but much of the sea-bottom above the plane of the ocean waters.
It is less evident, but still to the geologist plain, that in the northern and eastern part of the continent the moun tains almost or entirely ceased to grow at a distant

period in the earth s history, and at the present time the powers which construct these elevations appear to

be active only in the region about the southern and western portions of the continent. As a whole, the mountain-building work of Eastern North America was

done

in

as late a time as in

an earlier day, and has not been continued to Europe and Asia. One of the re

sults of this diversity in history is that the

mountains

America have been more worn down than those of the Old World. They have been longer exposed to the
of

and consequently have
height.

action of the rock-destroying agents of the atmosphere, lost a good deal of their original

northeastern part of North America consists of a remarkable group of islands separated from each other

The

by shallow and generally narrow arms of the sea the largest of these islands is Greenland which covers an area of about seven hundred and fifty thousand square
;

miles,

or fifteen
of

times as large as
is

New York
;

state.

The form
it

shape rudely triangular resembles the regular continents, but this resemblance
probably accidental.
is

Greenland

in its

is

The

surface of this extensive

mountainous nature, at least in those parts of it which are open to view but only a small portion of the land in the southern extremity and a narrow and interrupted strip of the eastern and western shores are visible the remainder of the surface is covdistrict

of a

;

:

8O

THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION

ered by a deep coating of snow and ice which probably
rises in the central parts of the island to the height of from five to eight thousand feet above the sea. This

icy covering is the remnant of the glacial sheet which, in recent geologic times, covered the northern half of
this continent.
If it

could be removed, the apparently
it

connected land underneath

would probably prove to

consist of a series of islands separated by shallow straits like those which lie nearer to the northern mainland of

the continent.

These land

areas, slightly detached

from

the continent, which are such a peculiar feature of the northern part of North America, are not islands of the

same decided nature

as those which

compose the
;

Ma

layan Archipelago or those of the Antilles they are probably parts of the continent wherein the valleys,

formed during the time when the land was somewhat higher than it is at present, have been depressed below
the level of the sea.

The Malayan

islands,

those of

Japan, the Antilles, and the most of the other large insulated lands, are, in fact, the summits of mountainous
districts

or the

crests of volcanic

peaks which have

not been united with the adjacent continents, and not merely portions of the continent separated by river or

ice-worn valleys from the neighboring continents. Except Greenland, none of the islands about the northern part of North America have a decided moun
tainous character;
their irregularities

they are only_ moderately elevated, having the general nature of hills

;

that

their shape to the action of water or is, ice in carving out hollows in generally horizontal strata. If this archipelago of Arctic America were not unfit
for life

they owe

on account of

its

extreme

cold,

it

would be a

very suitable region for the use of man.

The

surface

the winter climate was probably not colder than that which is now found in Southern Eng at present . a mountainous land. and have been worn down to their roots by the action of rivers. On the north it is bordered by the peninsulas of the continent. but likely that it is liar conditions of it seems a part of a great valley of the continent which the ocean . as we should call it. or if may never have risen above the level of ever so elevated. except for a narrow strait by the peninsula of Labrador. the elevations of which are very ancient. and on the west by the irregular plain-land district of the central part of the continent. making it man. On the east it is separated from the North Atlantic. and sea-waves. like many . glacial ice. future geologic ages the climate of this region may once again become of a temperate character. North America contains in its north eastern part a singular enclosed sea which bears the fit for the life of The mainland of It is not a bay. it has been.OF NORTH AMERICA. and are of a nature to form a fertile soil the numerous diversified . The its formation are not yet well known. land or the lower parts of the Mississippi Valley but there were no men at that time to enjoy the benefits of It is not impossible that in these favorable conditions. Hudson s as Bay or Sea. is 81 mineral wealth. is many times as large Lake Superior. the rocks have much : inlets of the sea would afford good advantages for ship Sometime before the last glacial period this part ping. but rather a basin like the Black Sea or the Gulf of Mexico. inappropriate name of Hudson s Bay. of the world had a temperature much higher than it has and judging by the fossil plants which have been preserved. and is the most conspicuous and pecu feature in the northern part of this continent. .

which is almost separated from the mainland by the deep indentation of the Bay Fundy. as the Great Lakes have been. but it cannot be considered as altogether due to the erosive work of ice acting during those stages in the earth s history. Lawrence. America. unless. and have subse They quently been lowered below the level of the sea. though in some cases These straits seem to be old wide. have also been deepened and widened by the action of the glacial strearps which have flowed through them of the All these islands they were originally formed. when this part of the con which were excavated valleys is at than it tinent was higher present. a remaining fragment in the early history of the continent divided the eastern mountains of North America from those on the western border of that land area. arms of the sea. These islands include lie Newfoundland. These several masses of land are parted from continent by very shallow. again lowered below the plane of the sea.82 THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION other of the northern valleys of this level. like the of the ocean which Gulf of Mexico. It may have been deepened and widened by the grinding action of the ice during the glacial periods. Greenland should be a single and not an archipelago united by a sheet of with Newfoundland we have the neighboring ice. Along considerable islands of Anticosti and Cape Breton and the peninsula of Nova Scotia. Continuing our sketch of the irregularities of the coast-line of the continent of North America. It is probable that Hudson s Sea may be. we notice the group of islands at the mouth of the St. indeed. the greatest of the islands which near the northern shores of North island mass. Island are com Edward and Prince Anticosti except since posed of ancient rocks which have been much folded .

each knot remaining On as an elevation while the softer parts wear away. They are probably the remnants of high table-lands bordering old valleys which have been in part buried beneath the sea. taking pains to apply the friction equally to every part of the surface : we soon observe that the knotty timber. uniform hardness like the clear wood generally if. : if the is rock be of horizontally stratified beds. into 83 mountain ridges and subsequently greatly worn down by the action of rain and sea-waves. A glacial sheet wears upon different kinds of rock it .OF NORTH AMERICA. which glacial wearing formed these numerous islets by taking two pieces of smooth wood. and the other thickly beset with knots. then rubbing each of them for a time with sandpaper. Along the northern coast of New England is found a fringe of small all districts isles such as border the hard rock shores of which have been subjected to glacial action and constitute the so-called fjord or inlet and island zone of such regions. as it is along the most of the north ern parts of this continent. one of clear timber. which has worn away the rock in a very We can form an idea of the way in irregular manner. These small islands owe their separation from the mainland to the lowering of old valleys beneath the sea and to the cutting action of the glacial sjieet. the other hand. wears irregularly. These lastnamed islands have in the main escaped the influence of the mountain-building process. of however. then it is certain to be of very diverse degrees of hardness. South of Nova Scotia there are for a good distance to the south no important islands near the shore of North America. the clear wood wears down in a uniform like difference is observable where the manner. the rock be crystalline. because of its varied hardness. and so it wears down .

and Long Island. always becomes very irregu shaped when worn by ice-streams. which. of New York the shore is generally bordered a fringe of sea-beach islands which form a barrier by enclosing a strip of shallow waters which sometimes South expand into considerable basins. it may be some miles out from the . clay.! or heap of bowlders.. larly the sea forms Boston Bay we have in Cape Cod. scouring. not being firmly bound together. and sand which have been scraped from the bed-rocks of the region over which the ice moved and carried forward to the front of the icesea has swept away a large part of these materials. So continuous is this strip of land. a number of detached masses of land which owe their origin to another effect of glacial action. The in these islands form a curious feature in the geography of the Atlantic coast. The conditions which lead to the formation of these beaches. fall an easy prey to the waves but the remnants preserved sheet.Y. such as granite and gneiss.84 in THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION an irregular manner under the action of the glacial In this way the surface of crystallized rocks. N. that it is possible to travel in a canoe through the water they enclose almost all the way from the mouth of the Hudson River to Cape Florida. They South of 1 are in the main fragments of the great frontal moraine. but are compelled to break in water twenty or thirty feet deep. such as Albemarle and Pamlico sounds. and consequently to the enclosure of the lagoons. . are very easily under stood. and the plane of many inlets and islands along the shore which is formed of such materials. Martha s Vineyard. Nantucket. When the bottom of the sea shelves gently to the seaward. Block Island. the waves of great storms cannot attain the shore.

These reefs are constructed in part by the solid portions of certain stone-making corals. for a distance of about two hundred miles. and so in time a considerable strip-like island may be formed par cast into a sea. to the mouth of the Rio Grande. They extend from New York. They enclose an almost continuous strip of shallow water navigable for light boats. this sand is heap which soon rises above the level of the Subsequent storms form more sand upon the new island. and in part by the remains of other forms of marine animals and plants which secure a favorable place for their life through the protection which the masses of coral afford. the wind sweeps the sand of the shore into hil locks or even considerable hills called dunes. they grow and multiply with amazing .OF NORTH AMERICA. where there is a strong current of warm. these corals.Along no other coast are these sand-beaches so con tinuous as on the southern shore of the United States. allel to the shore. 85 The tumult of waves stirs up the sand and . clear sea-water sweep ing by them. which separates the United States from Mexico. Where the Gulf Stream sends its tide of ida. there is another peculiar class of coast islands. and as drives it forward to the point where they break in breaking they cease to move forward. the coral reefs. . warm water against the shores of Southern Flor the most favorable conditions for the growth of coral: making animals is secured bathed in very warm water. with suitable food brought to the mouths of each of the tiny animals. from Cape Canave ral to the Tortugas. swiftly grow upward until they reach the surface of the ocean. Finding a lodgement on the sea-bottom at a depth of less than about one hundred feet. Along the coast of Florida. with few interruptions. coast-line.

marle. carry heat and with the possibilities of On find the continental side of the sand and coral island barrier of the Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico we numerous extensive sounds or bays which deserve Those of the Delaware. further confining the path of the great current. more northern But on closer view we see that these reefs are altogether composed of fragments derived from the decay of the coral and of the other animals which dwell amid its branches. gradually restricting the exit place of the water until On still confined to a comparatively narrow channel. the largest on the northern There are many other of . it to warm waters life. and so in time a place is made for the palms and mangroves and other plants which clothe these islands. can do a great geologic We and geographic work. and Pamlico are the most conspicuous on the At lantic coast . though the individual creatures are tiny.86 rapidity. thus see that the colonies of coral animals. The southern part of Florida. The waves beat the coral to pieces and cast the fragments on the top of the reef. Chesapeake. that of Mobile is shore of the Mexican Gulf. seem at THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION and first in a very brief time form barriers which sight exactly like the lagoon islands of shores. perhaps about a third of the peninsula. ing of the in movement some measure the temperature which its probable that this hamper of the Gulf Stream has affected It is of Northern Europe. Albeattention. is composed of coral reefs which have grown in succession to the southward against the Gulf Stream. the eastern side of the stream the coral reefs of the it is Bahamas have likewise pressed outward and westward. the winds blow the fine lime sand into low hills on the top of the reef.

the Pacific coast there are fewer irregularities to be considered. On In Alaska we find a singular group of islands which extend in a long cres cent from the American shore to near that of Asia. the land was lowered and the ocean At present these sounds or bays are the sand and mud which is constantly being up by downward towards the sea. these islands resemble the Antilles. These enlargements of the sea are explained in the following manner In recent geologic time the southern coast of the United States has been at a higher level than at In this time of elevation the rivers cut wide present. After these valleys had been cut. : valleys as they endless swung their channels to and fro in the movements which characterize all streams whose beds are not limited by hard rock. tions is The whole the of this series of eleva They are therefore not to be considered as a definite part of either continent. composed mainly of volcanic deposits. They are. filled and the Ohio. but separated from America by deep water. which extended south to the Gulf but it has filled the whole of its basin with silt. time all these sounds will be filled by the land waste. and has extended the tion of the upper river . at the junc admitted to them. mainlands of Asia and . They appear to be the emerged peaks of a growing mountain a range. branch from the great system of the Cordilleras. so far as we have learned.OF NORTH AMERICA. and of these we know less than of the features of the Atlantic coast. and the shore be brought to a straighter form. broad bay. Thus the Missis pouring sippi River recently discharged near Cairo. but they are of much less importance. In general character. into a long. In deposit beyond the mouth of the depressed valley. 87 these bays of smaller size than those mentioned.

the shore abounds in islands. in promoting the rapid growth of marine animals. which probably owe their separated nature to the same conditions that have produced the islands along the shore. as a fringe of its great mountain system. to the action of the Gulf Stream. to the erosive action of old glacial streams. and thence to the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon. the Californian peninsula is a mountainous district. which has . or rather a continuation of the mountain range. in large part. has not shared in the elevation. when depressed beneath San Francisco. the submergence beneath the sea of old valleys. and a width of 140 miles. and contains very elevated land. which had previously been the sea. It is The base on which this southern part of the range lifted rests. is probably due to the land. and has few The most important of these rare indentations. a spur. From to limit of the southern the United States Oregon the shore is sounds or bays.88 THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION are most likely connected with North America. might afford harbors. 800 miles. Lower California forms the largest and most inter It has a length of esting peninsula of North America. which. from Massachusetts Bay to Greenland namely. Unlike Florida. and . South of Behring Strait. in size being ex ceeded by few such tongues of land. that of the lowering of shaped into a set of valleys below the level of the sea. which appears to have owed its formation. which extends along the coast of California. almost destitute of islands. That such bays are rare on the Pacific coast is probably to be explained by the infrequency of rivers on that portion of the seaboard of the continent and the con sequent lack of valleys. which secrete lime stone in their skeletons.

ican continents.OF NORTH AMERICA. Having considered its coast line. plain that the The preceding chapters have made it growth of this land-mass. as indeed of all the lands which deserve the name of continents. This World. we is probably turn our now attention to the interior portion of the continent of North America. It is thus a great monument is peninsula of of organic life built against the shore. which in form departs widely. which is the largest indentation on the western coast of the Amer only surpassed by the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. set at an angle to the neighboring coast line. trend with the shores against which they lie but those of Yucatan and Florida are . has been brought about by the development of mountain systems : the continents are created by the uplifting of . the singular promontory of Yucatan. Yucatan is not to be thus explained it The . or even California. We have seen that the Floridian peninsula may be mainly accounted for by the supposition that a good part of its mass is formed of animal remains. it 89 is united to the main This peninsula of Lower California is the eastern barrier of the great gulf of that name. though in part composed of coral reefs. There are no large islands in this and only one peninsula which demands notice. from the prevailing shape of the* other great capes of the continent. as does the neighboring peninsula of Florida. and on the east is South of the United States we come into the isthmus portion of the continent. the northern part so high that land. such All the other promontories of as those of Greenland. considerable size. the narrowing lands which connect the northern with the southern continent of the New is district. Nova Scotia. its origin yet to be accounted for.

besides several relatively unimportant systems of elevation which have had little termined to do with the shape or history of the continent. the Cordilleras. the Appalachian. the a true mountain range.9O THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION the surface either in the form of sharp ridges or of the broad table-lands which grow upwards as the ridges We will therefore first review the greater among arise. It extends from the northern part of North America to the southernmost extremity of South America. to near the level of A little to the north of ^he Isthmus of Darien the range rises to a height of some thousands of feet above the ocean. and the We will consider them in the Laurentian systems. then take into consideration the rivers which have their positions de in good part by the mountains which bound and shape their valleys. Only in the Isthmus of Darien do we . every where forming the west coast portion of the twin con tinents. mountains in North America. and we find on its flanks the distinct table-land elevations which almost invariably are formed along with the crumpling of the rocks which construct As we go north the ridges become more developed. is climate and other conditions of The Cordilleran mountain system the northern half of the longest district of elevations on the earth. . The three great mountain groups are. the mountain systems of this continent. order in which they are named. they occupy a wider field. and lastly consider the lakes and There are three very distinct groups of plain-lands. in the order of their importance. find a distinct break in this line of elevation there for about a hundred miles the ridges sink down the sea. which is also their suc cession in importance measured part 1 they now by their size or the and have play played in determining the life in this land.

crumpled. 9! table-land as well as the peaks are higher. except in the region of Central America and Mexico. then another irregular strip of table-land. leaning a little to the west. and the result the wider land of Mexico. every where. east. at least on their eastern side. say. distinct. the Appalachian Mountains the table land on the interior side of the mountain belt is much plainer than on the side which faces the sea. On the western side of the moun tains the table-land is not so evident as on the eastern or continental border of the system. though uplifted. thousand feet in altitude. a region of elevated plains which upholds several mountain chains. or. and the pedestal or table-land district on which they rest rises to the height of about a mile above the ocean shore. three miles above the sCa-level.OF NORTH AMERICA. if at all. Beyond it lies a district of table-lands where the rocks. are not much. Besides the principal ridges of the Cordilleras which extend in a general north and south direction. there are many less important . in the case of We shall find the same arrangement . It seems possible that it has been carved away by the long-continued : action of the sea. and this succession continues until we reach the Pacific Ocean. Thence north is wards to the northwestern extremity of the continent the mountain ranges of this system are numerous and their table-lands. from a point some hundreds of miles Approaching the Cordilleras from the from the mountain ridges then we come suddenly to a true mountain range. The field they occupy is on the average a thousand Numerous peaks rise to about fifteen miles in width. Further west there is an other crumpled district. we find that we begin to climb up a wide plateau by slow degrees.

and very flexible but we may with some thought conceive how thick beds of rock. This experiment is imperfect in its results. Let these pages of paper represent the rocks of that part of the earth s crust occupied by the Cordilleras. as on a map press them together from : the sides and into ridges. represent in a rude. rivers ever shifting their beds the endless wearing of torrents and and always wearing the rocks away. So considered. the left side the west. result sidered in a a tangle of elevations which have to be con map to show the true nature of the system. This pres and the consequent corrugations of the paper. their actual shapes are greatly affected by the various wearing actions which their exposure to the air brings about. acted in the main in an east and west direction. Frost. sea is due to these constructive powers arising from the shrinking of the earth. because the sheets of paper are thin. occupying a field a thousand miles across. above all. diagrammatic way the force and effects of the pressure which created the main chains fold we can them of the Cordilleras. streams of ice. might fold in two different ways under the . and we find that there is a tendency to form folds which run across the page. influence of pressure acting in two diverse lines. It must not be supposed that the Cordilleras or any other mountains owe their shape to the work of the While their height above the uplifting forces alone. it is clear that the forces or strains which is folded these mountains. the right hand side the east. Press the sheets less strongly in the plane from top to bottom of the book. have together taken from this mountain . sure. small. having a general east and west direction.92 THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION ranges of mountains which lie crosswise of the main The system.

and on the other work of the sea. The eastern system presents many points of likeness and of contrast with the more extreme western mountains. and the mountain torrents and rivers which they fed were present subjected to In former geological proportionately greater and more efficient in covering the land. district far 93 of elevated land more of the total there.OF NORTH AMERICA. as the Cordilleran borders the western coast. and both the ridges and table-lands much less than half as high as those features in the western system. Its length is half as great. periods the rainfall was far greater than at present. salt water such as the Salt lies Lake of The Appalachian system of North America near the eastern shore of the continent. for the rea The wearing son that this part of the earth is at singular conditions of drought. Except in the section from Virginia northward. At this comparatively recent time great lakes fed by large rivers existed where there are now arid plains or shrunken sheets of Utah. it is less than half as wide. on the one hand lift them upward which forces opposing they were formed. There are no distinct cross ranges in the Appalachians such as we find in the Cordilleras. The Appalachian system is smaller in every way than the western Cordilleras. while those of the Pacific slope everywhere border the sea. amount than ridges are now remains now fragments The mountain peaks and of the arched rocks of which This is the history of all the eleva Their shape is determined by the tions of this planet. The mountains run in a general . to bring them down to the level action of rain-water or of glaciers in the Cordilleran mountain district is now slight. the ranges of this system do not touch the coast.

until at the Potomac it is a narrow range of elevations rising to less than two thousand feet above the sea. On the eastern side of the Hudson. and attains its maximum height in North Carolina. slight names. There are many subordi of with nate parts of this great assemblage of mountains. . features in numerous successive ridges lying parallel which are. The core or centre of the system is the Smoky Mountains. varying little from that trend. This system is composed to each other. to Northern Alabama. From North Carolina northward this Blue Ridge set of mountains diminishes in height ^nd width in Virginia it gradually descends. like much narrower and lower than the like the Cordilleras. where the ranges sink downward and pass beneath the level of rocks which were formed since these mountains were elevated. each its own peculiar character and history. it is obscurely united to the Laurenwhich is yet to be described. The Appalachian mountain system extends from New foundland.94 THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION northeastward and southwestward path. . They do not make as continuous a barrier between the sea and the interior of the conti nent as do the elevations of the Rocky Mountain district. where tian system. In Maryland and Pennsylvania it sinks down and is barely traceable in obscure. with intervening valleys the ridges. elevations. . at its mouth. disappearing as lesser ridges may under a thick coating of snow. where it exhibits the highest and most bulky mountains found in the eastern part of the continent. and the connected mountains which bear other This ridge is obscurely exhibited in Northern and Alabama it rises in height in Western Georgia South Carolina. Blue Ridge.

Nova Scotia. 95 this system of the ancient Appalachians rises again above the level of the sea in the range of elevations known as the Berkshire Hills in Massachusetts and Connecticut. and also by the fact that we find fragments of its rocks in all the later-formed strata which have been built on the sea-floors near the foot of these mountains.OF NORTH AMERICA. and they show their relative newness by the comparatively small amount of wearing to which they have been exposed. known as the Cambrian time. while the Blue Ridge hills In good part the have a battered and worn-out look. and have thus been protected by those elevations from the action of the sea. They appear to any observant eye as if fresh from the factory. and are yet northward more obscurely continued to the eastward and in the ancient mountains of Northern Maine. and in part grew up during the immediately succeeding periods it is : thus all old land. preservation of these ridges of the Alleghany division is due to the fact that they lie on the continental side of the Blue Ridge. This old axis of the Appalachians was partly in existence in the very ancient stages of the earth s history. and as the Green Mountains of Vermont. and perhaps some of the elevations of Newfoundland. . which has in the long history of the continent cut back the eastern face of this last-named barrier to the distance of some scores of miles from the present shore. Its age is indicated by the pro found erosion by rain and glaciers which it has received. These pass obscurely into the White Mountains. the west of the Blue Ridge division of the Appa lachians we have the numerous and sharper ridges of On the Alleghany division of these mountains these ele vations were formed after the coal-measures were laid : down.

that dinary traveller. and that these ridges have been cut away by At various times the waves of the neighboring sea. so that they no longer appear on the maps as mountain ranges. somewhat like plaited or frilled cloth. Traces of them are found northward in the New York. and in part at a later day. the beds of rock have been folded into great disloca tions. They vary greatly in character generally they have the form of distinct foldings. evenly crumple as in more northern parts of the same field. mountains have been worn down to their roots. however. did not th rocks reason. and Eastport. East of the Blue Ridge and its northern continuation lies a belt of mountains which were formed in part. and thus has worn away their summits. Me. and were shoved about under the action of the pressure which forced them up into folds.. but in Eastern Tennessee long fractures or faults . at the same time as the Alleghany division of the Appa These various lachians. and so has beaten against the upturned folds of the old strata for a very great time. leaving only their foundations to tell of the once great at a elevations which were here. since these mountains began to grow the sea has stood higher level than at present. and between region faintly in Nova Scotia as well. for some often change their shape. In this district. Some of these eleva tions appear to have developed in geologically recent times thus on the island of Martha s Vineyard rocks : .96 THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION The Alleghany chain of mountains may be traced from Northern Alabama to the Catskills in New York. Th^se easternmost Appa lachians are most distinct in North Carolina and Vir ginia. but rent apart. and are not recognized as such by the eye of the or The geologist sees.

a tributary . their strata not having the folded character we find in true mountains. of 97 tertiary age are crumpled into mountainous forms. that the Catskills . the Alleghanies. Thus the French Broad. In the Catskills this table so high. and Eastern Kentucky it rises to about fourteen hun system it is dred feet above the sea. The Appalachian mountain system These rivers at several points almost completely divide the mountain belt. where it attains its greatest elevation of about four thousand feet above the sea. the mass appears to be a noble chain. are really very great hills. North of this point it falls away for the mountains to which it immediately belongs. mountain folds to the northeastward to the region of the Catskills in New York.OF NORTH AMERICA. and the peaked character is due to the excavations of the valleys in a word. The table land or pedestal of the Appalachians on the eastern side has to a great extent been worn away by the sea still . being cut up into sharp peaks by the action of rivers. the earth The pedestal or table-land of the Appalachians is much less conspicuous than that of the Cordilleras. near the land is Mohawk River. but looking closely we perceive that the strata are horizontal. and as in that most conspicuous on the interior In Central Tennessee continental side of the ranges. is greatly inter sected by large rivers. die out . presenting in this as in other features a marked contrast to the Cordilleran system. the mountains of this system rest generally upon a broad elevation which rises to the height of several hundred feet above the level of the ocean. that. locally to yet greater eleva With varying height it follows the line of the tions. place in the last stages of the movement having taken s history.

and continued in the main stream trav erses the Western or Alleghanian section. We must now note the fact that. while volcanoes recently in active operation some in the is abundant It is a state of half activity are no of vol western district. and also the coal of the basin near Richmond. but remains a vast wall between the central and eastern. range. The Mohawk turns around the northern end of the Alleghany ranges and falls into the Hudson. is Thus the Appalachian system system lacks the geo graphic solidity of the of the Cordilleras. The waters of the Susquehanna trav erse all the important ridges of Pennsylvania. tolerably clear that no volcanic outbreaks have taken place in the eastern part of the continental main land for many geologic ages the last accidents of this not long after nature occurred in the time of the Trias : the coal-measures were formed at the time when the red sandstones of the Connecticut Valley and of New Jersey. starts in the eastern part of the Blue Ridge district. Triassic time the region east of the Mississippi seems to have been exempt from the disturbances which volca Va. and the western parts of the continent. noes bring to a country. We have already noticed several points of contrast between the structure and aspect of the Appalachian mountains and the Cordilleran elevations. and flow into Chesapeake Bay. . and falls into The James River heads against the westernmost distinct ridge of these mountains and flows to the Atlantic. which flows in the valley between these ranges and the northern continuation of the Blue Ridge the Mississippi.98 THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION of the Tennessee. trace such still in canic peaks found in the eastern mountain system. which not so completely intersected by rivers.. In all this vast period since the were forming.

In fact. in a certain sense. 99 mountain system of North America is that of the Laurentians. From the insufficient ex but imperfectly determined. of the oldest known to geologists. we make out can plorations only the merest outlines of the history of this interesting district. of old : Indeed. and has been but seldom visited by Lakes. the eastern side being the peninsula of Labrador. worn away by the rains and ice of unimaginably long periods it is therefore to be expected that these mountains would appear as mere wrecks of the original elevations. and the western extending in the trend of the western side of is Laurentian upland Hudson s Sea. worn-down hills of very rocks which are. The . indeed. its superficial geography is as yet geologists. The form of this rudely that of the letter V. This northern district was. the primitive nucleus or germ of North America from its mass has come a very large part of the sands and mud which have gone to form the stratified rocks of the : eastern part of the continent. which occupies in part the space between the two belts of low mountains. they nowhere now attain a height above three thousand feet. so . Wherever examined ancient rocks. destruction of the elevations in the Laurentian district is so complete that we cannot make . out the original trend of the several ranges as in an ancient city where the devastation wrought by time leaves nothing but a confused ruin which we only know to have been the dwelling-place of men by the nature of the materials. an imperfectly explored mountain country lying north of the St. Lawrence and the Great third The Comparatively little is known of this vast field mountain ridges the district it occupies is in hospitable to man. period these mountains appear as low.OF NORTH AMERICA.

the remnant of a system which once had as regarded a great part in the geography and climatal history of the continent. very peculiar . way affect the existing conditions of the land. It seems likely that there are the form of a letter V. by the waste of its former struc The shape of the Laurentian mountain field is tures. Unlike the Cordil leras or the Appalachians. in of and various of the Arctic district Greenland. it does not at present in any decided The ica.IOO this old THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION mountain field can only be shown to have been one period like the newer systems of the Cordilleras and the Appalachians. unexampled among such systems of elevations. except show the wide range of the forces which In about the bring wrinkling of the earth s crust. there are ele so far as they vations of a mountainous nature which have not been much studied by we have several geologists. and the Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas. at indeed. the Black Hills of Dakota. parts the northeastern portion of the continent. All other systems form nearly straight lines or gentle curves. these the most notable are the Adirondacks of Of New York. The Adirondacks appear to be more closely related . subordinate mountain systems of North Amer those groups of elevations which cannot be distinctly connected with the three great fields before mentioned. while this has. Within the United States mountain-built districts which cannot be referred to any of the systems above mentioned. though very As a whole these mountains must be ancient times. are interesting but mostly of small importance. as before noted. two or more distinct sets of elevations in this district which may have been formed at different. but which long since ceased to have any decided influence on its conditions.

like the Laurentians. worn down by the action of the elements to mere relics of their former mass. their only neighbors being a number of similarly detached elevations in the Indian Territory and in Northwestern Texas. that surrounded by lowlands which hundred feet above the sea. is No very distinct order of arrangement observable in these elevations. It is it is a peculiar feature of this group of elevations.OF NORTH AMERICA. The general structure of the ridges shows them tem. are very old mountains. This little mountain system. They lie about midway between the Cordilleras and the Appalachians. and wide valley separated in lachians. Hills of Dakota are an outlying mountain separated from the Rocky Mountains by a re of a gion plain-like character having a width of about two hundred miles. In this field there are some scores of peaks from two thousand to thousand feet high. The to be closely related to the Cordilleran sys mountains rise to the height of over 7250 and occupy a field of about eight thousand square miles. to the tOI Laurentian system than to any other field of mountains but they are not distinctly connected with that system. rise at everywhere most to a few The Black district. Lawrence. having an area of about five thousand square miles. seems to have . The Ozark district of Missouri. of the St. for they are parted from it by the deep . like the Adirondacks. elevations in the continent. and rise to the height of about two thousand feet above the sea. The elevations of this system occupy an area of about ten thousand square miles. for they. feet. the Indian Ter and Arkansas is the most detached group of ritory. as they are also an equally distinct manner from the Appa The Adirondacks form a nearly circular field six of mountains.

valley by its own carving power. which owe the existence of their troughs entirely to the cutting In the first group. The valley of this river appears to be formed . to which itself.IO2 THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION been formed in the early geological ages in a time when the greater systems in the east and west had not begun the most important development which they afterwards underwent. and the lesser. our account with the northern valleys and Beginning rivers of the continent. of these elevations has prepared the for our account of the greater troughs of the land. the greater. the Mackenzie. which occupy broad fields between the separate systems of mountains. we find that into the Arctic the form of its Ocean there falls but one river of considerable size. but the elevations they have produced are of even less consequence than the scattered systems we have just described. the most of the longest rivers of the world belong. the stream generally lies in good part within a single mountain system and determines . The cipal determined great valleys of the continent have their position in the main by the distribution of the prin mountain systems. the least of the three great rivers of North America. considerable continent. lowland where they Although a conspicuous feature lie. the Ozarks have not in the in any way affected the physical history At several points in other portions of the of the great central plain-land of the Mississippi Valley the rocks show the existence of the strains which built them into folds. At the outset we should notice that valleys are naturally divided into two groups. their valleys are shaped by the distribution of mountain sys action of the stream tems in the second. Our study way and the rivers which occupy them.

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Next after that stream it the most extensively fed from lakes. the valley of the Mackenzie is almost unknown except along the greater water-courses which are traversed by the agents of fur companies. and certain ways determined by the ex tremely cold climate of the country through which it flows. From the little which is as yet ascer tained about it. this valley appears to be essentially like that of the Mississippi. they serve to give it the steady flow which characterizes the larger stream. Although the total area of lakes drain ing into this stream is only about half that which goes to the St. There are the same the greater southern river. the continent. that of the Cor on the west and the obscure and as yet unex which continue the western line of the ridges plored Laurentian Mountains towards the Arctic Circle. of any river on St. portions of its The that this ice acts as an obstruction to the floods. Like the waters of is Lawrence. and is . zie carries broad plains on either side of the stream as we find in The stream of the Macken much it less differs from in water than the Mississippi. IO3 dilleras by the barriers of mountain systems.OF NORTH AMERICA. Like the rivers of Siberia. except for the lowness of the mountains on its eastern border. Ow ing to the forbidding cold of this region. a great tide before the ice has melted result is away from the channel. bed to and causes the northern wander about in a very irregular manner. this stream often freezes to the bottom in the winter. Its sources being much of farther south than the is water poured into it main channel. This great extent of lake basins in the northern part of North America is a peculiar feature of the continent. Lawrence. the Mackenzie receives the many great lakes.

the Saskatchewan : ceives the tribute of the Red River of the North. a noble area of fresh water as large as Lake Ontario. its two principal confluents. On its path to the eastward the Nelson River passes across the line of the western Laurentian district of elevations. through the branches of it also re principal tributary. Lawrence that it is possible in the spring-time to pass in a canoe from the waters of the more northern river to those of the neigh boring southern streams with b rt little if any carriage of The reason for this lies in the boat at difficult places. a stream of the third order of size. It also receives the waters of many other large lakes.104 THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION mainly to be explained by the peculiar actions which took place during the glacial period. These. East of the Nelson there are numerous small streams . like the Mackenzie. The valley of the Nelson is so slightly separated from those of the Mississippi and the St. for it which here has hardly any value as a barrier. they all rise in the rela tively flat central trough of the continent formed be tween the eastern and western mountains. which heads against the upper branches of the Mississippi. and also from the valley of the Nelson on the south it also draws away the into s Hudson Sea. gathers the greater part of its waters in is its the district of the Cordilleras. It is : water from a number of large lakes. This stream. the fact that there are no mountain barriers between the head-waters of these rivers. crossed by several streams. which flows to the eastward and falls but obscurely separated from the greater river of the north. unite in Lake Win nipeg. South of the central head-waters of the Mackenzie we find the valley of the Churchill River.

are small. except perhaps the Nile. which flow from the west. They all. it draws away describing. however. only a few feet of height separating the waters of that great lake from the tributaries of the Mississippi. the greatest of all the lake-fed we have been . The basin of the St. which head up against the southern border of this inland sea in Ohio and New York the edge of the barrier rises only to two or three hundred feet above the neighboring lakes of Ontario and Erie. but on the south from the outlet of Lake Superior to the rapids of the St. Lawrence has the foremost place. and apparently unexampled in the other great stream basins of the world. The Lawrence Valley are peculiar. The St. the north it is : The absence of the St. south. the water from a great number of lakes indeed. and great basin of east. rivers the other northern akin to certain regards it is Like them. and do not is command our attention. world in the volume of water it discharges drains a greater area of fresh-water basins than any The river systems of the northern and other stream. On bounded by the Laurentian uplands. into IC5 the Hudson s Sea. Lawrence is also peculiar . of a distinct southern wall to the basin Lawrence. Lawrence the second in im In portance among the river valleys of this continent. They are not well known. and among them the St. rivers of the it : eastern part of the continent are noteworthy for the vast extent of their natural storage reservoirs.OF NORTH AMERICA. gives to that valley a character unknown in that of the other rivers of North America. conditions of the St. Lawrence there is no such high wall as we are accustomed to find on each side of a great river At the southern end of Lake Michigan there is valley. it is.

other great streams that they have to struggle on their way to the sea with a vast amount of alluvial matter brought to the valleys from the beds All such materials of torrents by which they are fed. with long. Lawrence is. Hu and Erie. except the small join it below of the Great . the well-trained eye perceives that it has not the char acter of an ordinary stream. course for the further distance of several hundred miles which gradually widens until it de bouches into the Gulf of St. Lawrence attain the level of the sea but they of . for the reason that it has teristic of nearly all It is charac hardly a trace of sediment in its waters. and : between Lake Ontario and Quebec. ron. it seems river-like. or rapids which lead to the lower level of the other great lakes. as in in the fact that its the case of most rivers. in the basin of the St. as at the Straits of Detroit. amount contributed by the affluents which Lake Ontario.IO6 THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION waters do not descend. By yet another step in the rapids between Lake Ontario and Montreal. for the volume of water which passes to the sea. the St. Taken alto in a tidal estuary gether. The uppermost of these steps or benches is occupied by Lake Superior. Michigan. Marie. nearly between them. It mostly consists it of great lakes and a long arm of the sea even where. Lawrence. from which the Laurentian waters descend to their next lower platform by the Sault Ste. near Niagara Falls. but find their way to the sea by level intervals several great steps in falls or rapids. the waters of the main St. are deposited on the floors Lakes. Lawrence. the least distinctly river-like of all the great streams in the world. the stream to by a gentle declivity from the source of its mouth. The second descent is made where these waters pass over the rapids fall in the great Niagara.

OF NORTH AMERICA. The recent elevation of this valley has not entirely deprived the Hudson of its character of a marine inlet. It consists mainly of a trough between the Catskill Hills. power on the rocks sediment. occupies a broad valley which has only been in small part excavated by the river itself. IO/ Owing to these peculiarities. East of the Hudson we have in the Connecticut one of the New England group of rivers. which deserves mention on account of certain peculiar Like the Hudson it occupies a trough between features. little cutting has no delta. the St. extending from near Lake George to its mouth. or remnant of the Alleghanian table land. . districts which owe their elevation to mountain-build two On the west lie the Berkshire Mountains ing forces. on the west and the Berkshire Hills on the east. Lawrence has no alluvial plain its clean waters have very . The first of these to be noticed is the Hudson. Lawrence and north of the Gulf of Mexico there are a number of lesser rivers. only a few of which deserve mention in this general account of North America. At the close of the last glacial period this valley was occupied by an arm of the sea which extended up through the depression in which lie Lakes George and Champlain. South of the St. The main channel of this stream. or deposit of a feature which is almost in it variably found at the mouths of great rivers when they enter the sea. the Green Mountains of the noblest of Vermont. Lawrence. and their northward continuation. and on the east a broadly elevated district . for in the lower half of its course it is still rather to be classed as an arm of the sea than as a river. then much wider than it is at present. and thence to the strait of the St. at its and mouth.

which to a great extent stores the rain-water in the wet seasons and delivers it to the channels in times of Where these streams flow from the north drought. At the close of the glacial period the valley of the Connecti cut. of these streams that they carry tolerably uniform volumes of clear water. usually at the rate of a foot or more in a mile. During this sea-level. their waters move. like that of the Hudson.IO8 THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION is which likewise to be reckoned as mountainous. from the south towards the north. This feature is due to the fact that they drain from districts thickly covered acteristic by a coating of glacial drift composed of sand and gravel. at least in the parts of their valleys which It is also char are some distance back from the shore. that the rivers commonly discharge into arms of the sea and have more or less distinct remains of terraces. or perhaps into Vermont. time the floor of the great fiord became deeply covered with the debris washed in from the neighboring higher ground. southwardly they generally have steep descents. the the glacial time. as well as all the other parts of the continent lying to the northeastward. the wreckage of the rocks produced during When the valley was re-elevated. in which we may include New Bruns wick as well. broad. falling Where. they have . flat deposit of mud and sand was carved by the stream into beautiful terraces which are perhaps the best examples of such structures which are to be found in this country. was de pressed to the depth of some hundred feet below the and in this time it formed a great inlet extend from the present shore-line to the northern part of ing Massachusetts. as is the case in certain rare instances. however. It is characteristic of all the other rivers in the New England district.

there are a number of considerable rivers. Mobile. but cut through chain. as well as many other lesser but still considerable streams. the Susquehanna and the James. so that all the old shore-lines which mark the ancient sea-level ascend to the northeastward to the mile : at the rate of a foot or more the result is.OF NORTH AMERICA. All those mentioned head in the Appalachian system of mountains. It is quite characteristic of these seaboard rivers which pour into the Atlantic and the Gulf. ICX) very sluggish streams which sometimes. along the Atlantic and Gulf coast. as in the case of the Concord River. but the more western folds of the Alleghany Two other streams. Roanoke. and two of them. the Delaware. the Delaware and the Po all tomac. has been bodily tilted up to the northward and eastward. while those which flow towards the south have steeper descents than before the change took place. none of which present individual peculiarities deserving notice in our general survey of North American rivers. seems to be due to the fact that the region through . Potomac. James. Susquehanna. that the streams which flow towards the north have had their slopes in large part destroyed. South of the Hudson. The cause of this difference in the slope of the streams is found in a change which has taken place in the position of the continent in its northeastern part. wind their way deviously through marshes to the sea. occurring since the glacial ice This part of the land passed away from its surface. divide not only the Blue Ridge portion of that mountain system. entirely divide the ancient Blue Ridge axis. that they do not pass directly into the open sea. Savannah. but debouch in This bays which widen gradually towards the ocean.

very ele vated : it lies at above the sea. flows also through a very arid . tions of its length. All these rivers gather their empties into Behring Sea. though the desert which Borders the Colorado. is unlike that which borders the lower Nile. waters within the Cordilleras owing to the relatively : small rainfall which characterizes the interior region of that mountain district. or canon. The rivers which discharge into the Pacific are few the most important are the Colorado. The Colorado is on many accounts the most remark of water Its able of the three greater Pacific coast streams. waters are mostly derived from melting snows of the Rocky Mountains for the greater part of its length the It is probable that no stream receives few tributaries. the most wonderful narrow The Columbia. . for the were once a good deal longer than they are at present. which discharges through Oregon and the Yukon. which empties into the Bay of Lower California the Columbia. the Colorado flows through a country. mud brought down by the rivers has filled the upper part of them.I IO THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION at a greater height than the rivers cut out the elevation during then shore land which was farther out to : which they flow was recently at present. which in : number . in the middle por valley in the world. desert. they have a great length for the amount which they bear to the sea. a height of about five thousand feet Through this table-land the stream has cut a deep gorge. and channels in the sea than the present coast the subsequent sinking of the shore permitted the sea to extend up the lower part These bays of the valley for a considerable distance. without being joined by streams from the neighboring Like the Nile. other river in the world except the Nile flows so far .

Almost everywhere the branches of these great tribu- . and in part they flow from the low water shed which separates the Mississippi Valley from that portion of the continent which drains towards the high north. except near the sea-shore. In the middle portion of its course the Columbia passes through a vast field of its volcanic rock. but the regions about its head-waters and near mouth are more fertile. as it now. for it drains a country which has a greater rainfall than the other great streams but the region is entirely unfit for agriculture. Throughout by far the greater portions of their course the principal affluents traverse a wide region underlaid by horizontal rocks which have a generally plane surface. now come to the great central system of the con~ This vast stream tinent. and these not of great size. Ill 2^ country. a whole. partly in the western portion of the Appalachians. a field in Consequently few river which little valleys have been formed. The Yukon is a noble stream. became firm land. and thus it has no great . on many accounts the finest river of the Pacific coast of North America. one of the largest areas overlaid by lavas which the world affords. on account of the coldness of the summer season. importance to man. the rivers of the Pacific coast and the lands which border them are a less conspicuous feature in As of the country than those near the Atlantic shore or the heart of the mountains. We has its tributaries situated partly in the eastern portion of the Cordilleras. The reason for this seems to be that is this western district has been for the it greater part of the ages since rain falls. Only the head-waters of the Mississippi on the east and west flow in mountainous gorges or canons.UNIVERS } OF NORTH AMERICA. that of the Mississippi Valley.

the upper Mississippi a region of cold climate. mostly unfavorable for the uses of people of European origin. and they are all much obstructed by rapids in the lower part of their paths. Africa has more great streams than North America. and have only a limited value for human use. the greatest of them are in the tropics. Except the river system of the Amazon. the continent of North America iarly well is pecul watered by rivers. are more or less navigable from the border of the mountains downward to the sea. The upper Missouri trav erses a very arid country. Only a few of their species primitive To . those of the Mis sissippi course through regions which have great variety of temperature and rainfall. but in the tropics. savages dense forests do not afford advantageous places of abode. but sev navigable eral of the most important fall mto the Arctic Ocean. whose waters lie altogether within the tropics and afford no great range of climatal conditions. They contain less game than more open countries. The THE FORESTS OF NORTH AMERICA. The rivers of this southern continent and have a climate however.112 THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION the larger stream. As a whole. taries. rivers of Asia afford in the aggregate more water than those of North America. while the lower portion of the main stream flows through lands where oranges will grow in the open air. and the streams are so placed as to be of great value for the uses of commerce. Unlike the Amazon. South America rivals it in the extent of its uninterrupted navigable waters. as well as that of the Mississippi has a greater stretch of shores naturally accessible to vessels of considerable draught than any other in the world. are.

The natural use of woods is mainly to store the rain water in the mass of decayed matter which rests about which water. except a few small areas . however fertile the soil. 113 or seeds. trees are cut off. diminishes the force of the winter torrents and main their roots. and the farmer finds it greatly to his advantage to have land so open that he can set his plough in the virgin soil and run it straight away for miles without hindrance. and northward to the Laurentian Mountains north of Lake Erie. Even the pioneers race find dense woods a serious obstacle. yielded slowly to the streams. the continent. before the farmer has good is way of the plough. of our own the When the roots are in the it and. was the western margin of the great Appalachian forest which covered all the country east of the above-described lines. thence eastward along the southern border of that river. and there is a great demand for timber for house-build tains the flow through the ing and other purposes. The first prairies are settlers much better for the needs of the of a country than the dense woodlands. often half a lifetime fields. summer season.OF NORTH AMERICA. To man they become most important when population is dense. In the prairie countries the narrow strips of forest along the streams serve for the needs of house-building and for firewood. extending from Central Texas north to near the junction of the Ohio with the Mississippi. and the close-set trees yield nutritious fruits are hard to clear away when it is desired to use the ground for agriculture. The forests of North America at the time when the country was settled by Europeans were probably more continuous than the first men found in any other of the On the eastern part of great lands except Europe.

Thus we find the leaves of the sassafrases. such as our but in the mountain pines. generally the two groups link their boughs together in a common forest. many trees akin to the species which are now characteristic of North America flour ished. and thence south to beyond the Missis sippi. . and for the noble dimensions to which many of these species grow. and a number of other genera attain here a measure of de states velopment unknown to other countries. firs. The oaks. In fact. although the species of this group occupy the larger part of its The western border of the field. ous parts of the Appalachian forests. and cedars . Western Tennessee. In Europe. Central and Western Kentucky. ber of broad-leaved trees which it contains. tulip trees. contains a few narrow-leaved forms. By no means the whole of this great Appalachian woodland is composed of broad-leaved trees. and the level land between the Blue Ridge range and the sea. magnolias. and perhaps some other where the Indians had destroyed the woods by This region is remarkable for the very great num fire. although the forms have long since dis appeared from the European forests. walnuts.114 in THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION Kentucky. this field holds the noblest forests of such trees which are known in the world. of it in Ohio. There are areas of a thousand square miles in extent in but this region which are mainly held by pines or firs . the portion surface. maples. and other kinds now characteristic of North America. hemlocks. This mixture of vegetation of diverse kinds is most common in the mountainous country. North Carolina. at a time not long before the glacial period. tulip trees. narrowleaved share the ground with the broad-leaved forms. in the miocene tertiary beds of Switzerland and Germany.

the forest dis trict occupies the most of the region between the crest of the Rocky Mountains and the sea. The woods of such density that they deserve the name of forests. as well as the variety of species. at least those that are land district of the Pacific coast. begin in California as a narrow fringe along the coast line where the rainfall is sufficient to maintain them. predominate but before we attain the summit of the low Laurentian Mountains. their trunks are short and of small size. southern part of British America.OF NORTH AMERICA. wood fields is Around by the north the Appalachian connected by scant forests with extensive rocky and prairie-like intervals of open land to the wood of the Pacific coast. the number the Appalachian forest and of the narrow-leaved trees. and extend thence northwardly in the in a widening belt until. In no other part of the temperate zone are the timber It trees so varied or so useful to man as they are here. tion timber. . North of that river firs begin to gradually diminishes. 115 On the plains broad and narrow leaved trees generally possess different fields. timber has been one of the most important articles of export from this part of the continent. As we go northward approach the St. and northwest of though forest trees con tinue to occupy the surface. is woods only in the tropics that a greater range of useful The result is that for two centuries is found. the European market having been to a great extent supplied from this field. in Lawrence River. the Arctic cold begins to North stunt the growth of all the arboreal vegetation. so that they have little value for construc this region. Thence to the northward the trees begin to shrink under the influence .

of the neighboring land. and almost everywhere along . Among one of the greatest trees of the world. we find a vast territory where the forests are very scant or entirely Here and there in the Rocky Mountains. siderable areas of wood. forms enormous forests. until in the Atlantic coast to the north of the St. a kind of fir. The field occupied by well-grown trees extends.Il6 THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION Alaska they have a stunted charac ter. This difference is due to the fact that the Pa cific shore is warmed by a great ocean stream. for near a thousand miles farther north on the western shore of the continent than it does upon the eastern. and much of the fordilleran district where the waters drain to the Pacific Ocean. in places where from the position of the elevations in rela tion to the winds there is more rainfall. Lawrence the seat of a cold is current coming from the Arctic These streams of the sea affect the climate regions. It is characteristic of is the Pacific-coast forest that it mainly composed cones in the manner of our these the sequoia is of narrow-leaved trees which bear firs and pines. probably surpass any other giants of the forest. however. being only exceeded in height by some of the In average girth they eucalyptus trees of Australia. doubtless the noblest woods of coniferous trees now existing on the surface of the of area. we have con wanting. the woods in which it occurs occupying in all only a few square miles Another species. the redwood. This magnificent species is now nearly extinct. while of the cold. earth. occupying in general the western half of the Missis sippi Valley. Between the eastern margin of the Pacific forest and the western border of the Appalachian timbered coun try.

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PALMETTO. [page 117 . FLORIDA.

In this way the young forest trees were killed so that when the larger plants of the species perished from old age. These palmettos. Probably about three hundred thousand square miles of what was dense woodland three hundred years ago is now tilled land. naturally dwell within the United States. are abundant in Florida. there were none to succeed them. native. Certain American forest trees. deserve In the tropical portion of the con especial mention. Some of these species are particularly near the shore. and occur along the Atlantic coast as far north as the southeastern corner of lina. for the reason that the large unopen bud at the is This variety of palm .OF NORTH AMERICA. particularly those of this destruction much by fire of the Appalachian forests. a large part It was a com mon habit with our aborigines to set fire to the under growth in order that after the conflagration the fresh growth of vegetation might afford good pasturage for the deer and buffalo. the palmettos. but others have been brought to this country from South America and the Old World. the streams there naturally of this is 117 a narrow belt of thin forests in the lands. Unfortunately the habit of burning the woods is com mon with civilized men as well as with savages. first irrigated It seems likely that when this continent was occupied by man unwooded area was forest-clad. has necessarily been brought about in order to secure tilled fields. Only one im portant group of palms. and has taken place since the country was settled by the whites. and other woodland plants not noted in the preceding description. tinent several species of palms are tolerably abundant. North Caro often called the cabbage tree. of which the larger varieties attain the height of thirty feet. A more extended and deliberate destruction of the woods.

which are termed knees. has. These curious structures appear to serve to give the sap of the roots a chance to come in contact with the air . tions. or bald cypress. that they are often used for well-buckets or beehives. tral Texas. but prefers a somewhat open country. when well grown. a bulb-shaped excrescence on its summit. also. so called because it is never without ranges from Cape Hatteras southward green the southern portion of the Gulf states to Cen through This tree rarely grows in the dense forests. the tree dies. The live-oak. narrow-leaved tree known This. much and endurance. in that from the roots which lie below the water of the swamp there arise spur-like projections often to the height of Each of these projec five or six feet above the soil. They are so large. is tree. though not of it worthy of notice. Another American large growth. which is covered with soft bark and is hollow within.Il8 THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION top of the stem somewhat resembles that vegetable and is often cooked for food. where. The wood is of remarkable strength valuable ship-timber. for the reason that . or the downsinking the caps of the knees are brought below the level of the water during the summer season. affording a very of which is exported to Europe. the sassafras. an earthquake. as by the construction of the land during of a mill-dam. a hundred feet in height. and without a branch for about as the taxodium. not infrequently having a trunk as much as twelve feet in diameter. it forms noble domes of foliage. is a very noble tree. for whenever. leaves. when full-grown. all the swamps contain a species of cone-bearing. In the Southern states of the Federal Union and thence southward to Central America. This plant is peculiar.

States. bearing a large. a of the tropics. a species of the ebony family. and scantily so as far north oped as much simmon Rhode Island and Iowa. and is In the Southern states not disdained by civilized man. The trees and shrubs of the holly family.OF NORTH AMERICA. the per or date-plum. The bark of this tree. commonly known as the Ameri can holly. was much eaten by the savages and wild animals. largest of these species. This caused the plant to be prized on account of its supposed medicinal vir For a long time great quantities of it were tues. are also well developed in the The southern portion of the great Appalachian forest. many-seeded fruit from three to six inches in length and one or two inches in diameter. I IQ played an important part in the commerce of the coun try for some time after its settlement by the whites. shipped to European markets. or custard-apple. extends from New York and Southeastern Ne It is a low. This is sometimes distilled for brandy. It about the size and shape of plums. which is much eaten. attains on the southwestern border of that eastern timber-belt a height of from forty to sixty feet. a single member of a tropical family found within the limits of the United The paw-paw. is abundantly devel characteristic group in the Southern states. a group plants which retain their glossy foliage in of winter and bear bright scarlet berries. has a very aromatic flavor. considerable quantities of fermented liquor are made from it. when it becomes sweet and palatable. The Diospyros. bushy braska to near the Gulf of Mexico. especially that of the roots. and is sometimes distilled for spirits. tree from twenty to thirty feet in height. . bears quantities of fruit This fruit is ex tremely bitter and astringent until affected by the frosts It of autumn.

has beautiful broad leaves. are developed in The tulip name the tulip tree. abounds throughout the plants. The species of the ginseng family. which bears the Indian name of yaupon. is perhaps the noblest of the broad-leaved Ameri It sometimes attains the height of near two can trees. It is one of the most singular features in the commerce of this country that the inhabitants of the most remote settlements in the Appalachian district gain most of their ready money from the sale of a natural product in the far-away Celestial which is principally consumed Empire. : a decoction of its leaves serves as a tea with the whites of that country. quali ties which make it greatly prized in certain constructions. They have beautiful flowers . It is interesting for the rea forest. Its wood is of a dense texture and a white color. and flowers.I2O THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION and has a smooth-bark trunk a foot or more in diameter. with a trunk diameter of six or eight feet. less peculiar. The magnolias It are represented by many species they also have very broad glossy leaves which in some species remain all : winter upon the plant. Among these we may nolias. One of the species of American holly. shaped like those of the tulip. was much used by the savages of the Carolina district in making what the early explor ers called their still &quot. Other groups of trees. roots are very extensively collected and exported to China. tree and the mag different local names. but still of con spicuous features. black drink &quot. a group of peren nial rooted grows in the Appalachian son that its one species of which sometimes form of a low tree. known by many North America. as the name indicates. as they are also in a small way in this country. hundred feet. where they are used for medicinal purposes.

PRAIRIES. was originally. There were also some treeless tracts of south. except along the streams. considerable area in the country farther to the east and These areas of open country were termed by early the prairies. and south of British America. This great variety gives our forests east of the Mississippi a richness and diversified foliage unknown to any other region beyond the tropics. and a portion of Ohio and Kentucky. the French settlers of the Mississippi Valley word designating in the French language what we term meadow-land. One of the most characteristic features of North America is the wide extent of the very level lands lying between the Appalachian and Laurentian Moun and the Cordilleras on the west. occu pying by far the larger part of the Mississippi Valley. but one of the mainly species ranges as far north as Massachusetts. mountain valleys of the southern Appalachian tains is In the Moun another interesting tree. which had no permanent stems. closely akin to the camelias of Eastern Asia.OF NORTH AMERICA. As a whole. largely grasses. limited to the Southern states. Illinois. the stuartia. Nearly all this area west of the Mississippi. but with tops which dried away in the winter season. as well as the larger part of Indiana. These prairies were the seat of a dense growth of plants. tains on the east. and mostly yet remains. 121 The magnolias are of large size and a whitish color. and extending northward towards the Arctic Sea. . without forest trees. the American forests are much like those of Europe. except that they contain many more kinds of trees than do those of the Old World.

the wandering habits of the hunter rather than to seek subsistence in the more elevated occupation of the husbandman. which in their abundance induced the savages to retain. attained a most luxuriant growth in this open country. abounded in beautiful flowers. they found the soil surpassingly fertile and very For the first hundred and easily won to the plough. and thus limiting the forest to the damp margins of the Besides the grasses. and hard surface they shed the rain quickly to the streams and cause those water-ways to be alternately In the days when they were flooded and nearly dry. or adopt. prairies have played an important part in the Owing to their wide extent history of North America. When in the beginning of this century our people came to this open ground. each acre of which required about fifty fifty in days of labor before it could be made fit for ploughing. elk. the flames would often run through this dried grass for scores of miles. the kindred of the sun flowers and daisies. Many species belonging to the family of the Composites. years after the English settlements were founded North America the farmers had to struggle with the dense forest. The occupied by the Indians they afforded rich pasturage to creatures innumerable herds of buffalo. these prairies generally streams. growth which the population and wealth of this country has made during Jthe present century. has been due to the readiness with which these soils of the prairies can soil be brought to yield a crop. they found r*elds of rich and virgin A large part of the lying wide open before them. The prairies are particu- . and deer. When the whites came to the prairie country. destroy ing any young trees which might have sprung up.122 THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION set When on fire by the Indians.

on the proportion of these at differ ent seasons. larly suited for grain crops. they unfortunately do not retain their fertility for any great time. climate of any country is determined by the pro portion of heat. and clouds which occur there. 123 and their vast harvests of this staple food have long been the source of a great export trade with Europe. and for more A than half their area from Central Texas and Central fact. The north side of such a hill will have one climate. sunshine. droughts make tillage hazardous. which itself in the variation in the plants. and even at different times in the days of It is easy to see that there is no definite the year. In the course of thirty years the average yield of wheat is reduced to about half the original quantity. In more than half of the Western plains cannot be trusted to-produce good crops without irrigation. side. is abundant and constant from year to year. This part of the country suffers under certain disadvan East of the Mississippi the rainfall tages of climate. often yielding as much as forty bushels of wheat to the acre when first brought under the plough. at the same level. wind. thing which can be termed the climate of an extended all these elements which go to give character weather constitute its climate. and the south even on the sunshiny . Kansas westward. tolerably little west of that stream the prairies come to feel the arid conditions of the Cordilleran district. CLIMATE. as to the shows usually a distinct difference in all these features. another .OF NORTH AMERICA. Between the top and bottom of any hill a thousand feet high there is The region. moisture. Although the soil of the prairies is at first extremely fertile.

great barriers between the Arctic cold and tropic heat as are formed by the Pyrenees. We have remarked the fact that very highly elevated mass of on its western side. with a very wide continen tal North America has a mountains and table-lands valley between these highlands. much more it united land than Europe or Asia . the only considerable tains. or Hence it comes about Himalayas of the Old World. Caucasus. or even to a very small portion of surface. it is not divided in an east and west direction by any high moun The Laurentian ranges. Alps. that the summers of this continent are generally very warm even as far north as the Arctic Circle. and have been gradually worn down to their very roots by There are thus no such the action of rain and ice. These elevations to a great extent fence out the interior parts of the con tinent from the seaboard region and deprive it of a por- . and its has few great peninsulas. and a considerable system of eleva tions on the eastern border. of the elevations which run in an east and west direction. This extreme contrast between the principal seasons is in the main due to the shape of the surface of the continent. inland seas are not large as compared with those Old World as we have already seen. attention. while the winter cold extends far to the south. Still there are certain general features of the climate of North America which deserve described. of a Thus is not possible to regard the climate country as a matter common its to all of its parts. ceased to grow upwards in a very ancient time. and will now be This continent either is a very .124 THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION house or a large tree we may find condition which are in fact of a climatal of a it and shady sides differences in nature.

OF NORTH AMERICA. and this not melting away in the cloudy summer time. sends a large volume of moderately warm water against these Alaskan shores. and. though oceans. at several some of considerable size in the portion of that moun- . affords an abundant rainfall to a wide dry. forms Alaska. tion of the moisture as well as of the cool air 125 which the it. great ice-streams which flow down the mountain valleys into the sea. The effect is to cause a great snowfall in the highlands. it is this continent lies between the two greater in its interior region relatively little affected by their influence. Atlantic and Pacific oceans would otherwise send to Thus. the mountains of North America have few fields of perpetual snow except in the region about This is the only part of the continent in cold which has a warm ocean stream flowing against regions its shores. fields of ice which withstand the summer heats are found points in the Cordilleras south of Alaska. it is not without influence on the climate of regions probably to the north of the Great Lakes. field of The land which would otherwise be exceedingly effect of this gulf is felt upon all the central and eastern part of the Mississippi Valley. and the prevailing winds being such as to carry the warm and it moist airs from it into the interior of the continent. Being a very warm sea. and having the valley of the Mississippi wide open on its north. The Gulf of Mexico has more effect on the climate of this central trough of the continent than either the Atlantic or Pacific. The Japan current. together with the heat and dryness of Owing the summers. This is the only part of the mainland of North America which has large glaciers but smaller . to the exclusion of the moist air of the neigh boring oceans. sometimes known as the Kuro Siwo.

and most other countries where gla from fields of perpetual snow which cover the upper parts of the mountains and slowly creep down. as in similar sheets in other countries. But in ice to be melted in the until they finally take shape as streams of warm air of the lower valleys.126 THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION which lies tain district a few of lesser extent in the within the limits of Canada. during the heats of summer. they are fed move onward. which is an appendage of this continent. Along the shores of the land this glacier is broken by fissures. a few miles . where there are no extended lates there to a great depth. and northern part of that field within the boundaries of the United States. being possibly exceeded in the depth and width of its ice-fields only by the almost unknown lands about the South Pole. but portion of the Cordilleras that a great deal of snow falls it melts away except in the drift-heaps of the narrow and very elevated valleys. it passes into the It is characteristic of the western state of whitish ice. but in the interior. the island or peninsula of Greenland.whole surface. the glaciers are principally fed by the snow which in the winter season drifts into the valleys and accumu States. In Switzerland. In Greenland the whole of the surface except t-he southern extremity and a strip of land along the east and west shores is that continuously covered with an ice-sheet which is so deep it hides the. the case of the small glaciers of the United fields of enduring snow. in winter. becoming more compact as they ciers abound. Although the continental portion of North America has on the whole less glacial ice than either of the other northern lands. is the greatest known district of glaciers. Where such snow lies for a long time in this heaped condition.

passes into the sea. drag these icebergs for a great distance southward.OF NORTH AMERICA. passing by Labrador. Each of these great floating ice-islands carries with it a store of the cold of the Arctic regions. moving southward to the water which flows in northward from that region the Gulf Stream. These great fleets of icebergs often come directly in the path of ships passing from the of America to England and Germany. Another stream of cold water from the ice-laden regions of Baffin s Bay and Hudson s Strait moves down the shore. and are the ports source of much danger to these vessels. and then gently declining towards Around the the sea on the other side of the peninsula. It cools the water of the sea all about it. Nova . are often two or three thousand feet thick and contain several cubic miles of ice. Being somewhat lighter than the water into which it enters. as far south as Cape Cod water much affects the climate of this portion of the shore-lands of North America. it I2/ exhibits a gentle continuous slope extending up to the height of several thousand feet above the shore. descending through glacial margin the valleys. These icebergs. The result is that the winds which blow from over this ocean to the neighbor ing lands are colder than they otherwise would be. and and this cold Scotia. and also being much rifted by crevices. The deep replace in the equatorial regions currents of the sea. Newfoundland. Wherever the winds . fields the of vast ice. They often journey for a thousand miles or more towards the equator before the heat of the water and the air melts them away. and the air as well. back from this point. as the floating fragments from the glacial field are called. the ends of these glaciers break off and float away to the southward.

but clown to the line of Mexico and Northern Florida strong winds from the north may at times bring a bitter cold air. This stream extends down as far Southern California. similar A brought about by the current which sets south Pacific coast ward along the as from the cold regions of the sea about Alaska. and also in the region about Alaska. In the last-named district the current. they bring a remarkable cool summer. yet it gives to the shore-land region of Alaska a climate a good deal milder than that of Labrador. The winds which blow over it to the land are always much cooler than they would be if there was no such continued inflowing of these Arctic waters. The result of this distribution of the warm currents. The warm currents of the ocean strike the coasts only in the regions about the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. becoming warmer as it goes. Southern Florida and the narrow lands of Mexico and the peninsula district near South America. is that the winter in the northern half of the continent is very cold. is only moderately warm. together with the absence of mountain barriers to the polar winds.128 THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION it blow over ness even result is in the hottest part of the to the coast. In the southern portion of the continent the winter season is milder. lying between warm seas and with a cli- . Thus we perceive that this continent has the greater part of its shores bathed by chilled waters from the Arctic regions. which is situated much farther to the south. and the shores are characterized by the fact that the sea- winds have a low temperature. having traversed a great distance under north ern skies. to Around by the Arctic Sea and south Massachusetts Bay the waters of the sea are far colder than they would be but for such currents.

In former geological ages this a great strait extending to the ocean of high exercised much more influence on North : American climate than it does at present it has been gradually narrowing in the northward until it is but a fraction of what it once was. sea. first latitudes. over it. The most important determining feature in the cli mate of North America is the Gulf of Mexico. which the air over a large part of the continent with a hazy smoke. are the only portions mainland where winter frosts do not frequently If there were a range of moun occur on the lowlands. At the close of the long. extending from east to west across the northern border of the United States. mate controlled by their warmth. hot. there commonly comes a time of drought extending from about the first of September until the winter rains set in in November or December. has a high temperature. Exten and prairie fires occur at this season. As there is not much wind to blow it at this this smoke-laden condition of the season. The lack of wind and sive forest fill often the envelope of smoke are apt to make the temperature . and because of its heat sends a great deal of vapor into the air which blows great sea. tains. It is the rain from the clouds of the Gulf which to fertilize the greater part of the habitable por tion of the continent. away air often continues for weeks. This of the receiving the heated waters of the Gulf Stream. and rather tempestuous summer season which characterizes nearly the whole of North America east of the Rocky Mountains. the region to the south of the barrier would have a much more equable climate than it actually has.OF NORTH AMERICA. at&quot. the valley of the Mississippi and seems the Atlantic lowlands. Indian Summer. such as the Pyrenees or the Alps.

There are a of such dark days chronicled in different parts of the eastern United States. tions certain physical peculiarities. Frequently become so filled with the fumes from of Indian Drifting slowly across the country. and hurricanes although all these classes of disturbances occur in other lands.I3O high. The absence of great may Owing to be very destructive to mountain ranges in the Mississippi Valley and on the eastern and northern parts of the continent. These acci dents of the atmosphere may greatly affect the inter ests of its human occupants in either of two ways : by the force of the winds they may endanger ships near the shore. and the wide difference in temperature in the water of the neighboring seas. the exist ence of wide treeless plains over a great portion of the central region. ordinary thunder-storms. lead to the occur The storms of rence of violent movements of the air. North America are divisible into three classes. VIOLENT STORMS. bring a temporary dark ness as of midnight over the sky of midday. In certain cases the number incidents have been appalling to the people. THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION and so this period of cloudless but has received the name portions of the air the burning woods as to hide the sun. or they may destroy buildings and crops in the interior districts. these masses of smoke sometimes. tornadoes. and in a very sudden manner. darkened skies summer. The fitness of any country for the uses of man is much affected by the storms to which it is liable. In either of these cases the visita life. North Amer ica is very liable throughout much of its area to violent convulsions of the atmosphere. they : .

and are remarkable for the very numerous electric dis charges which accompany them. to Although violent. The group of atmospheric convulsions known as tor nadoes are remarkable and almost peculiar features of the North American climate. is the violence of this movement that heavy bod even those which weigh as much as a railway car. Bodies of cattle or of men may be carried to the height of hundreds of feet before they are cast again strongest trees are frequently uprooted. Usually they are not complicated with the other classes of storms. Where they pass a pond or small lake.OF NORTH AMERICA. and all but the most massive buildings. are 13! more conspicuous and frequently presented in North America than elsewhere. these thunder-storms in be not more destructive appear North America than in Europe. air however. they attend the more serious accidents of the which belong in the groups of tornadoes and hurri canes. but origi nate in the hot days of the year when there is no gen eral disturbance of the atmosphere. . are apt to be destroyed. may be lifted from the earth. The upon the surface. They are frequently of great violence. These storms consist in violent upward-going whirlings of the atmosphere caused by the effort of the warm air next the ground to break through the colder part of that envelope which lies a few thousand feet above the surface of the earth. Thunder-storms in North America more commonly occur in the Mississippi Valley and on the Atlantic sea board district. So great ies. the up-rushing air in the whirl of the tornado will sometimes remove all the water from the basin. Not infrequently. when they lie in the central path of the storm.

The aspect which any country presents to the eyes of men has much effect upon their minds. and they often are only four or five hundred feet in width. tom of a wash-basin.132 THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION Fortunately the destructive path of these storms is very narrow. in the northern portion of the Gulf States. In most cases the portion of their course in which the winds are strong enough to do much damage does not exceed twenty or thirty miles in length. Tornadoes are most frequent and destructive in the parts of the Ohio Valley which lie north of that river. Tennessee. It seems. often died from homesickness when they were forced to dwell in lowland countries. and on the Atlantic shore-land district as far north as Massachusetts. moves upward with a spinning motion much as the water whirls as it flows through the hole in the bot . indeed. to be a truth of importance that all countries of picturesque aspect have an educative value upon men who are bred . SCENERY OF NORTH AMERICA. It is a wellknown fact that mountaineers become more attached to the places in which they have dwelt than do the people of the plains. in the days when hired were as mercenary soldiers to other countries they Europe. The same in was true of the mountaineers of the southern Appa lachians during the late Civil War. and in the territory adjacent to the upper Mississippi. rarely exceeding two thousand feet. They occasionally occur in Kentucky. Even the sturdy Swiss. -These storms generally occur where other classes of atmospheric dis turbances moving across the country push a quantity of cold air above a layer of warm which lies against the ground this warm air being lighter than that which is above it.

they have in the Alps or Pyrenees. As much a a whole. with their depen dent glaciers.OF NORTH AMERICA. the continent of North America is very less picturesque than the continent of Europe. that of the Cordilleras. is with few streams and lakes. the only one in which the elevations attain to anything like the heights very sides sterile. than one-third of the surface is away from the sight of high hills or moun tains. 133 and even upon those who by journeys are able to behold their beauty. a mountain slope which from base to sum mit has an altitude of more than four thousand feet while in the Alps the observer. the general surface of the country is so ele vated that the eye rarely perceives. in them. the greatest mountainous region. Even Rocky Mountains. whence our ancestors came. . more than two-thirds of North America presents to its dwellers the aspect of a slightly varied plain. are the most beautiful and ennobling features which mountains possess. standing at the height . in which the streams have cut but shallow within the valleys. The wide fields of perpetual snow. save the Cordil deserts of Cordilleras snow-fields remain through the arid summer. the peaks of which rise at the higher points to elevations about as great as the Alps afford. and this for the reason that much area smaller portion of is its its occupied by high mountains. and with hill which lack the associated forests and meadows which lend so much charm to the Alpine districts. except near the Pacific coast. While in Europe not more. and in the frozen At only a few points in the Greenland. These are lacking in leras in the coast ranges of north of Oregon. perhaps. which lie within the United States do small North America. surface as compared with Moreover.

Etna. Although the dweller in the plain- land deprived -of the perpetual charm which every morning brings with the sight of the mountains. there are hardly any elevations which deserve the name . indeed. where our race was cradled. The so near the sea except in parts of the Pacific coast north of San Francisco and in Greenland and Mexico. or. such as is afforded by the Bay of Naples and the coast-line near Mt. he may win for himself a nobler impression. and the sterner fields of North America.134 E PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION of a thousand feet above the sea. North America is also less pictu and this for the reason resque than that of Europe that the higher mountains along its shores do not come coast-line of . of mountains which are visible from the ocean shore. If different from those yielded by other coun the student has a true love of nature. somewhat tries. and will train his eye and mind in the knowledge and under standing of the earth which is just about him. one vastly is . in majesty. we must not suppose that our own land of Each is lacking in beauty. or living inhabitants. though in themselves beautiful. the European conti nent. climate. the continents has peculiarities of form. there are no volcanoes in North America so placed as to give the charming effects arising from their sterile but beautiful cones placed upon a luxuriant and cultivated shore. For all these differences which exist between that most beautiful part of the world. may often behold the snowy crests rising to the height of twelve or thirteen thousand feet above his point of view. which serve to make the impres sions it affords the eye. he will majesty and beauty everywhere gain that sense of Ue of his dwelling-place which is the best fruit of all the naturalist s labor. Moreover.

than any which the igno rant mountaineer can possibly receive. have a splendor un Each other known parts of the temperate zone. the lesser plants exist in great variety and afford blos soms of rare beauty. There are few sights in the world more charming than these flowery ing season. of this continent are very much more numerous than those of any other land. which. in all more than one-half of the continent. we have in appreciate the grace and dignity of these trees has gained a liberal education in the beauties of nature. which they occur. and they give a singular charm to the scenery of the districts. as before noted. in of the Cordilleran district. or flowers. as in the prairie country. and in their southern parts bear here and there a wonderful growth of the peculiar American plants belonging to the group of the cactus. of beauty species of tree has its characteristic elements Whoever has learned to of form. First among the natural attractions which the scenery of North America affords we may reckon the forests. 135 more enlarging in every way. Even the deserts which extend from Central Mexico to near the northern limit of the United States. by gaining an adequate knowledge of the history which has led to the construction of the ground about him. The lakes plains in the blossom The size. rivers -of North America. possess many most attractive features.OF NORTH AMERICA. Where the forests are lacking. foliage. If the reader will but clear his mind of the prejudices as to what constitutes beauty in nature which have come to us from European literature and the pictures of the . owing to their great lend an element of dignity to many of its landscapes which is too little appreciated by our people. They are diver sified by mountains.

he will not lack opportunity for securing that sense of the loveliness of the world which is one of the best gifts of a true education. if the country does not continue to rise. but also because they throw much light upon falls the geological history of the country. the streams im mediately set to work to bear it away.136 THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION scenery in that country. carry away the highlands on either side all the while : the underground water is dissolving out the substance of the rocks which are not touched by the streams thus . Waterfalls or are formed a river in wherever its encoun course rapids cannot readily wear away by the cutting action of the stream. the streams and river-beds. and will seek a sympathetic understanding of the land which is about him. the . North America has numerous and interesting water which merit attention not only on account of their beauty and their value in the economic arts as sources of power. and. Where the region has recently been elevated recently in a geologic sense. though it may have been millions of years above the sea. in time. removing the rocks bit by bit to the sea. the main risers and the tributary rapid Gradually streams cut down their beds. and have a usually occupy deep gorges fall. WATERFALLS. swinging to and fro. In ters an obstruction which it time. This work they also do. so that it will flow with a gentle. All flowing water tends to cut away the rocks over which it passes. current from its source to the sea. though more slowly. any river will wear down all the obstructions of its bed. When a mountain range is formed. continuous. though diminishing. with the lower-lying rocks of the continental plains.

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.

The most common cause in the of these sudden interruptions is uniform flow of the stream There the well represented in the Falls of Niagara. by the entangled mass of coral branches and the great amount of lime which the broken-up corals and shells have contributed to the rock. which courses over them. Huron. tinually In this way the face of the fall is it con has working up stream at a rate so rapid that been estimated that only about seven thousand years have elapsed since the cataract was at the mouth of the gorge near Queenstown. makes a hard mass which the water cannot cut away as rapidly as it does the softer materials. some miles in width. This reef. brought down to near the level of the Waterfalls are formed wherever a portion of the rock over which the stream flows is peculiarly resisting to this may The circumstances which down-cutting action. and fifty feet or more in thickness. great river which drains the upper lakes. Michigan. surface is 137 sea. the Ohio River passes over a great coral reef formed in the corniferous epoch of the Devonian age. and Superior.. other interesting cataracts and rapids are formed in other ways. com pact layers of the Niagara limestone are but little worn by the clear water. Although this is the commonest type of great falls.OF NORTH AMERICA. The hard. of such falls are numer about the formation bring ous and interesting. Thus at Louisville. and so it in low-water stages of the forms a series of rapids which stream are impassable for . into the gorge. Ky. flows over bedded limestones and shales -which dip up the stream. They give way only as the soft shales below them are cut out by the whirling waters at the base of the fall the lime stone blocks left without support then tumble in ruins . Erie.

cannot as well as cut their channels downward in such a rapid manner.138 boats. the water falling obstruction. walls. and be made to give power great North America affords not the advantages. The sudden waterfalls rapids and steeper At often of great economic advantage. from step to step over the mountainous countries. The number of these falls in least of its commercial CANONS. often excavate deep valleys with steep while the small. its base. the tor Again. The Spanish applied to these deep ravines the name of . of the peaks often rents gathered near the summits pass from these high levels into the valleys cut by the These rivers. which are generally dry for a part of the year. conspicuous feature in the surface of North Amer found in the deep gorges carved by the rivers in Those pro the rocks of certain parts of the country. clear water-rills of the uplands. A Many waterfalls are formed where a stream passes over dykes or veins which cause a local hardness of the rocks but these have generally the shape of rapids or . They are particularly characteristic of the southern portion -of the Rocky Mountain district. but occur in nearly every part of that vast elevated country. but they are more abundant in North America than in any other. because rivers in a very steep descent. ica is A foundly excavated defiles are four*! in all the continents. THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION canal enables voyagers to avoid the difficul ties of the main stream. their volume is great and their streams very permanent cataracts. in muddy. such points the water can be led from the top of the descent of rivers in is fall to water-wheels at to mills.

OF NORTH AMERICA. Through this field of elevated yet prevailingly horizontal rocks the river has carved a narrow gorge having a length of several hundred miles. The gorge of the Colorado is the most wonderful of these canons. this river constantly carves away the rocks. of the country sloping gently to the river-banks. where the rocks. So steep depth of five thousand feet. which border the river that it is only here and there possible to clamber down the escarpment to the border of the stream. and has been since that time continually wearing down its bed. and has hardly any distinct slope towards the precipices which border the stream. It traverses the great table-land of the Colorado plateau. The history of this marvel lous gorge seems to be as follows the Colorado River is an ancient stream which came into existence in an early age. have been but tions. As it flows down its steep descent. and far exceeds in its proportions any similar defiles in the world. though lifted to a great height above the sea. as is the case in most valleys. canon. cutting its channel nearer and . and through the channel of the river passes away across the nearly rainless region of that table-land. but the water-way has perpendic ular walls. little affected by mountain-building disloca of this elevated country lies at the The summit height of from five to seven thousand feet above the sea. The river heads on the lofty peaks of the main ridge of the Rocky Mountains above. 139 a term which has been adopted into our own In such valleys we do not find the surface language. and at places a cliffs are the : Owing to the height of the country a good deal of moisture which passes from the Pacific Ocean over the Colorado plateau is thrown down as rain or snow.

but none which ap proach in magnitude or beauty the vast gorges of the Cordilleras. perhaps in all. in certain cases at least. CAVERNS. many similar the same section of the Cor action of rivers which cut strongly on rocks which are not much worn by the elements except where the prin cipal stream assails them. There great dilleras are. They all present like evidence going to show that they are due to the : river in the Colorado Canon. the Colorado plateau had been a rainy country while this carving went on. see by this example that canons. are due to the course of a con siderable river through a region where the underlying rocks have been lifted to a considerable height above We the sea. except where the river waters from the mountain region in the east has assailed them. and where the local rainfall has long been slight in amount. this conti- . besides gorges those of the upper Arkansas. would have had a broad valley of the ordinary form occupying the place of this table-land and gorge. and the Yellowstone deserve mention. Owing limestone in to the existence of very thick strata of pure many parts of North America.I4O THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION If nearer to the sea-level. the Platte. Other canons occur in the eastern parts of the United States. But the rainfall of this country has evidently been small in amount for many geological periods there has thus : been nothing to wear away the rocks in this part of the path of the stream. the smaller tributary streams of the main channel would have worn down the neighboring district as fast as the We thus bed of the principal river was deepened.

the beds. They most frequently occur in the southern Ohio Valley and in the portion of Virginia between the Blue Ridge and the peaks of the Alleghany Mountains but they exist in many parts of the country where massive limestones occur. at a great distance from the land.&quot. often being twenty feet or more in depth without a par tition. Growing in this way age after age. each of these animals in dying contributed a good handful of stony matter to the bottom of the sea. nent abounds in 14! extensive caverns : they are probably more plentiful within its area than in any other part of the world. stems of limestone. and there has not been since then time enough for them to be remade. stone tall which are like star-fishes supported on lilies. The layers of this limestone are very thick single strata. of very numerous animals which formed their skeletons or solid supports of lime which tain way to the they gathered from the marine plants on which they fed. the glacier of the last ice period did not cover the sur Where this ice existed.OF NORTH AMERICA. The greatest number of these caves are found in the central portion of Kentucky. In large part these creatures were crinoids or &quot. where the beds of the limestones belonging to the sub-carboniferous period underlie a district several thousand square miles in area. face. and the succession of these beds forms a deposit several hundred feet in thickness tally as they were laid down on they all lie horizon the old sea-floors when : they were formed. it generally wore away the strata in which the caverns existed. These stems were often two or three feet in height. com- . and where part of the which lies . These cavern limestones owe their formation in a cer growth on the ocean-bottom. and as the branched arms were also of lime.

has only a slight power of dissolving limestone but in passing through the soil it becomes charged with car bonic acid gas. which arises from the decay of vegetable and animal bodies in the earth. they become jointed or divided into rude blocks by slight fissures extending in various directions through the beds. to nourish living things again. rocks as effectively as the conditions of the sea-water aid their formation. until it no longer creeps along as it does at first. and thus -enlarges the passage. perpendicular . The rain-water excavates the caverns in the following manner As the rocks are formed. The most of : these cracks run vertically through the strata . . Where the water falls vertically down through the rifts. began to attack these deposits and dissolve them away. some of them are open enough the water the may trickle from the rocks. corals. the rain-water dissolves the limestone. as well as by breaking it away. returning the lime in the state of solution to the sea. massive. but finds room to move swiftly. a chemical compound of one atom and two of oxygen (CO 2). In time these limestone beds were lifted above the sea there the land-water. The pure water as to give passages through which surface to the depths of it falls from the clouds . etc. It then cuts the rock by rubbing the fragments of hard stone against it. became in time very thick and They contain hardly any sand or clay often no more than two or three per cent of the mass is of other materials than decayed animal frames. which lends itself to the destruction of . it makes tall. The water thereby becomes able to take a great deal of carbon of lime into solution. mollusks.. as sugar is dissolved in water.142 THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION posed almost altogether of the hard parts of crinoids. Passing through the rents of the strata.

Va. the upper arches of the caves are constantly broken through. converting the once solid limestone into a mass resembling worm-eaten wood. with it the limestone which it has dissolved from bearing the rocks with which it comes in contact. as it does at the rate of a few inches in each thousand years. where creeps along through the strata to the open rivers. the greater part of which has of the under-earth Although the swift-running streams carve out large chambers. As the sur finally face of the country wears down. They fall in here and there. it forms tortuous horizontal galleries. by a multitude of shallow pits. from ten to twenty feet deep. is a good example of the is Where there remnant of a cavern fallen in. the surface streams. the .domes&quot. and from a hundred feet At the bottom of each of these to half a mile in width.. . it is commonly called a natural tun is in Southwestern Virginia such a tunnel used for the passage of a railway. disclosing in places the underground cavern-making streams. of the earth is covered there is of the vertical shafts or a hole which leads through a hard layer to one domes of the caverns. it is termed a natural bridge. roof. only a small part of the arch left.. That of Rockbridge County. These sink-holes gather all the rain-water and send it down in passing through into the chambers of the caves these underground passages it enlarges their spaces. On lar the surface of the earth of this and other simi cavernous districts the traveller notices the absence of the ordinary small valleys and their accompanying In place of this familiar outline. 143 it parts of the cavern which are called &quot. Where a great length of the is cavern arch nel . and escapes to the rivers and thence to the sea.OF NORTH AMERICA. left.

which are generally related to those of the neighboring open air.144 THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION waters which trickle slowly through the narrow crevices of the rock and drop by drop find their way through the and roofs of the caverns deposit limestone in the This is done in the following manner. Thus. as in the case of the blind fishes. but have lost the power of see . they fly be. which aid them in guiding their way in the Near the mouths of the caves the bats find darkness. the water evaporates in the dry air. and leaves the lime in an icicle-shaped pendant called a stalactite. autumn may the frosty nights of the into the caves. their winter quarters. rock takes up all the lime that it can hold. like the cave crickets. that which creeps spaces. Each drop of water as it passes through the sides spaces of the caverns. so that we cannot ing . have very long feelers. When it enters the open space of the cave. It often is in growth of these masses of lime happens that the time so great that the cavern becomes entirely closed by them. but differ from them in certain interesting ways. place where the parts originally Other forms. a part of it falls to the floor and deposits its lime on an upward-growing mass called stalagmite. readily discover the were. a quarter of a mile from the mouth. while swift-running water excavates the caverns. They usually are without sight sometimes their eyes seem still perfect. . If there is more water than can evaporate on the pendent stalactite. in drop by drop serves to refill their These caverns are occupied by many curious animals. the organ of vision has entirely disappeared. again. it begin. penetrating. and in the When darkness hang themselves by their feet to the stalactites on the ceiling of the chambers their bodies then be.

is Thus this vast subter ranean world eye. they shake themselves free. cfistrict of Kentucky the length of the galleries in the any way caves which could be traversed by man.formation of caverns. the clay covering of the cavern floor becomes During the very rich in nitrate of potash or saltpetre. and fly forth again to the open air. and to many insects : eaten. afforded large quantities of this material for the manufacture of gunpowder. perature. Owing to the fact that sink-hole openings are generally very small. curiously hidden from the inquiring . if there were of getting to their chambers. Many of these bats die during their winter sleep. it is filled with stalactitic material. or sinking a well the people find their way into a vast set of underground chambers. and that the underground streams discharge through small the openings on the banks of the always difficult to enter these caves. The greater part of those which have been discovered have entrances made by the fall ing in of the roof of some gallery which has not become rivers. Where the conditions are most favorable for the . war of 1812 several great caverns. suddenly comes back to their bodies. and life their bodies falling to the floor afford food to the cavern where they fall and are rats. is doubtless much greater than that of the roads upon the surface of the It often happens that in excavating a cellar country. the whole under-earth becomes Thus within the limits of the cavern riddled by them. though : : the atmosphere of the caves has not changed in tem the for it remains the same all the year.OF NORTH AMERICA. 145 come dead cool and lose all until the warm days they hang there as if sensibility of spring come then. particularly the Mam moth Cave.

no dryest climates . They are common in Central and Western Asia. not as is usual with lakes through a river to the Such lakes sea. when the air Lakes of this nature are saline. lakes whatever will be formed. but mostly pools having only a few square Altogether they do not include anything like the area of the Caspian Sea or the Sea of Aral. the most im portant are the Lago di Cayman in Mexico and Utah Lake the latter being the northernmost of these dead seas. but through evaporation into the air. In North America these salt lakes or dead seas are limited to the central portion of the Cordilleran system.146 THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION DEAD SEAS. followed by other seasons of excessive drought. indeed. in regions where no crops can be cultivated sively salt that in their waters. Between these two great basins there are hun dreds of smaller salt-water lakelets and pools. only occur where there is a certain amount of rainfall in certain times of the year. They indicate dry but not the where the rainfall is very small. some of con miles of area. and parts Northern Africa indeed. where. siderable size. they exist in all the conti . in Australia. nents except Europe. they are larger and more numerous than in any other country. . They also are of found in Southern Africa. because of except by means of irrigation. is greedy of moisture. Of these. from the northern part of Mexico to the line between the United States and Canada. the water going away. Among the inland waters of North America must be reckoned the singular basins where the rivers are poured into a depression which they never fill. and generally so exces it no living things can dwell occur They only in the most arid parts of the world.

becomes the quantity of these materials greater than the waters. During this It is rainier time. They all show beaches at higher altitudes than their present shores. and so the salt is caused to fall upon the bottom as it does upon the floor of the all dead the sea.OF NORTH AMERICA. salts. As water of the lake can contain. and the highest of these beaches is at the level where their waters discharged by a river to the sea.gt. which owes its saline arid countries. or is boiled away in pans&amp. which were fed by a rainfall much greater than now comes to the country wherein they lie. thus plain that they were recently fresh-water lakes. period which probably coincided with the glacial ice-sheets covered a large part of the conti nent. If this process is long continued. the fresh-water lakes of the Cordilleras were of when . is evaporated by the salt-makers in pools shut off from the sea. and they begin to fall upon the bottom of the basin. The artificial this salt is made closely follows the which process by find in these lakes formed in we natural method which The sea-water.. the bed of the dead sea becomes deeply cov ered with the attain The accumulations may indeed many hundred feet. a depth of character to the salts which the rivers bring to it. We may here note the fact that district the dead seas of Rocky Mountain which have been carefully studied by geologists are known to have been once liv ing lakes pouring forth by outlets to the sea. 147 is The saltness of these lakes without outlets easily accounted for. The rivers which flow into them carry in their waters certain small amounts of various sub stances which serve to give the salt taste to the ocean the water dries away into the air. it leaves In course of time these saline matters in the basin.

plain table-lands In time. Thus in the southern part of the United States. in It commonly happens is that this continental shelf upraised above the level of the ocean waters. which The width of this shelf is called the continental shelf. the part of the shelf which remains submerged may be relatively from the shore .148 THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION greater area. and pebbles. clay. these regions of become wrinkled : into mountains or elevated into the greater part of the existing continents have been formed in this manner. the lowland region of West course of ages ern Virginia. Missis sippi. and forms dry land. Georgia. and Texas is a part of a recently ele vated shelf of this nature. Around the is coast-line of each of the continents there beneath the level of the sea next the shore a mass of debris. perhaps twenty times as extensive now existing in the country. tion. and then lifted into the air to be folded into ridges and to furnish waste to the ocean floor. sand. the shelf may extend if a hundred miles or more the portion of the continent next the shore has recently been lifted from the sea. and the waves and streams have worn away much of the earth and rocks and laid the waste down under water. first as plains beneath the sea. depends upon the amount of matter which has been rent from the land and delivered to the sea since the land district against which it lies was lifted to its exist If the land has been long in its present posi ing level. . Louisiana. much as those salt-water basins The dead seas are in fact only the trifling remnants of the ancient lake areas of this part of the continent. the Carolinas. CONTINENTAL SHELF. small. worn from the land by the waves or delivered to the ocean by the rivers. Alabama.

Although some this shelf has of the rivers. Along the Atlantic face of the United States . hundred miles three wide. the ice it over the land bore off from this debris has a great moving slowly mass of detritus. extending from the shore for a great At Newfoundland it is distance towards the deep sea. it It is on the average about one hundred miles narrows near the southern end of Florida. deposited on the sea-bottom near the shore been distributed by the waves and marine it currents. and is here known as nearly &quot.&quot. . It is this shelf which affords the feeding-ground of the schools of fishes which abound on the Atlantic coast. this shelf would appear as a wide plain-land district. where it is as marked as it is along the Atlantic coast. adding widening ward. is added to the mass of this shelf. wher ever coral reefs abound. to the the continent should be raised feet. In the future geological ages it will probably be elevated above the sea and form a part of the rocky matter which composes been brought into the sea by the action of the continent. which. they furnish a great deal of limy matter. and from the mouth of the Hudson River north In the region about the Gulf of Mexico.The Banks. . much to the mass of this shelf. At its outer edge the bottom slopes steeply to the depths of the sea. but widens again along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. During the which it last glacial period. This continental shelf If is 149 best developed along the Atlantic coast from Labrador to the southern part of the Gulf of Mexico.OF NORTH AMERICA. or amount of four hundred the sea be low ered by that measure. the larger part probably has come there by the work of the waves and tides which beat against the shore and bear the waste of the rocks out to sea.wide. unless swept away by strong currents to the deep sea.

Wherever we find this shelf. and flows from that part of the sea against the . old sea-beaches. is poured in against the In the earlier ages these reefs were formed much land. out upon the continental shelf. in the Devonian about Louisville. current of pure water from the open seas. Ky. we may be sure that the land has been greatly materials for its formation. in the upper Silurian in central New York . All the modern coral reefs of ~North America have been formed under the favoring influence of the Gulf This great tide of warm water is heated in Stream. and has conveyed the material. Working in former ages at these away a great part of the margin. In the lower Silurian they were beyond the tropics. Throughout its geologic history North America has frequently been a field where coral reefs have been ex Such reefs form where a strong tensively developed. up to some hundred feet above the present shore.. each of which marks the presence of the sea at a higher level against the land than it now occupies. found beyond the tropics.I5O If THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION we examine the country near the shore-line of the eastern part of North America. different heights. so far as it was not dissolved in the water. the tropical districts between Africa and South Amer ica. made in the shallow water between Cincinnati and Nash ville . the sea has cut worn away to furnish CORAL REEFS. we find that there are at various levels. and again in New In modern times they are only occasionally York. and nowhere else do they attain such a development in comparatively high lati tudes as on or near the eastern coast of North America. which has been warmed under a tropical sun.

eastern shore of the last-named continent. they make a great series of these reefs. and finally mingles its currents with those of the Gulf Stream in its slow- moving mass polar region. series But the produce yet most remarkable of all these vast monuments con structed by the frail polyps are those which are found in the reefs of Florida and the Bahamas. and thence to the northward into the Gulf of east of the Indies. where they touch the islands be tween which they pass in entering the Caribbean. from the swiftness of their devel opment and the form of the colonies or communities in which they grow. 15! Diverted from western course by the opposing land. which lie on the east and west of the channel through which the . from which it emerges in the mighty river of The portion of the the sea known as the Gulf Stream. Where the tropical waters flow of the sea having a depth of only about a against South America. or upon shallow places hundred feet below the surface.OF NORTH AMERICA. build up great masses of limestone termed coral reefs. they another of these structures. warm waters which flows to the north of the West Indies passes by the Bahamas. the larger stream turns towards the North Atlantic. they favor the growth of those spe cies of polyps which. Again. of this part of it drifts into the Caribbean portion through the its A spaces between the islands of the Lesser Antilles another part of it. of warm water which flows toward the Wherever these warm waters in any considerable amount strike against the shore. passes around to the north and . part of the current which enters the Caribbean sweeps to the westward across that sea. West The Mexico. unable to find passage through those narrow water-ways.

northern portion of that sea. . built one after another from the north southwardly. being much the farthest towards the pole of any known coral island formed during the pres ent day.152 THE PRESENT GEOGRAPHIC CONDITION. They have constructed a good deal of the low-lying land about the Gulf of Mex and by controlling the flow of water where the ocean streams pass into the North Atlantic. may be attributed the remarkable growth of reefs which To the life-giving influence of constitute the Bahamas. To this stream we owe the growth on the southern margin of Florida of several successive reefs. and probably much effect on the growth of the lands and seas of the North Atlantic region. these two streams in their farther northward course is due the growth of the coral reefs of Bermuda. To the Gulf Stream. properly so called. which lies in the open sea about five hundred miles to the east of Cape Hatteras. they have perhaps affected the temperatures in and about the ico. which have formed the southern part of that peninsula. stream from the Gulf of Mexico pours into the North Atlantic. These coral islands and reefs have had an important influence on the geography of the shores. and to the cur rent which flows north and east of the West Indies.

first The time when continent is the human also lost in darkness. seems clear. most reasonable . of these native people on the whites. 153 CHAPTER IV. and that they found their way from the region north of China along the archipelago of the Alaskan islands. the islands of which lead like stepping stones across the sea. Cause of the failure of the Indians to attain a civilized state due to open nature of the country.THE ABORIGINAL PEOPLES OF NORTH AMERICA. that man continent. or else by way of Behring Strait. Their habits. Capacity and character of the Indians. beings came to this Neither Indians nor . to suppose that they all came by way of the Aleutian Archipelago. and thence down the western coast into the body of the continent. Effect IT is not certain to when or whence the first human It beings came the continent of North America. however. The Mound-builders. and as neither the Esquimaux nor the red Indians had boats fit for long voyages. THE ABORIGINAL PEOPLES OF NORTH AMERICA. Origin of American Indians. however. it is. that the Esquimaux tribes may have found their way to North America across the waters of the Northern Atlantic but as that part of the sea is wide and very stormy. on the whole. but came to it did not originate on this from the Old World. which narrows until the shores of Asia and America fifty are only about miles apart. It is possible. It is much the most likely that the first settlers were from Asia.

So far as trustworthy observations are found. The result is that in many . In that portion of the country. in a time which appears to be at least as ancient as the glacial period. the greater part of the American land was untrodden by man. When these lavas had cooled. On the Pacific coast. in the region now occupied by the state of California. there were many very great outbreaks of volcanic nature.154 THE ABORIGINAL PEOPLES traditions as to the place of their Esquimaux have any origin. there is what appears to be good evidence showing the presence of man in a very much earlier time than is indicated by any satisfactory evi dence from the region east of the Rocky Mountains. We ence of must esteem it probable that in the time when Egypt was occupied by peoples who had attained to a very considerable advance in civilization which enabled them to build great monuments and engrave their history upon them. Some stu dents are of the opinion that the ancestors of our native savages were on the eastern part of the continent as far back as the glacial period. Although several inconclu sive facts point to the conclusion that there may have been people on this land in that remote age. the rivers began to flow again. but found it easier to cut new streamlets on either side of the -compact lava than to remove the stone from their old pathways. filling the places occupied by the rivers sometim-es to the very brim. and being a people without alphabets. Vast streams of lava flowed down the valleys. there is no chance for written history among them. the only certain evidences which we find of human occcupation are of very much later date. there is no evidence of the pres human beings on the eastern side of this conti nent more than two or three thousand years ago.

number of stones shaped to serve the simple purposes and hammers. 155 is &quot. have been discovered. forming a &quot. considerable quantities of gold in the form of grains and nuggets which had been caught between the bowlders or other irregularities of the bottom. makes it seem the more probable that the settlement of the continent was from Asia. Now it happens that the beds of these old rivers when covered by the lava held. and this for the reason that it has required probably not less than from twenty thousand to thirty thousand years for the streams to cut down on either side of their old bed to such a depth below their original position. left with a or watershed between the two streams. When gold mining was begun in California it was soon discovered that these old high-lying river-beds could profitably be worked for the precious metal they Galleries were run from the hillsides into contained. as those of the present do. These remains show clearly of hatchets that man has been upon the Pacific slope of the conti nent for a period far outrunning the term of written history. places the original site of the streams divide river on either side. and the gravel was carried out to separate the precious material from In doing this peculiar mining a the earthy matter. and washed so as the level of the channels. and also one well-preserved spec imen of a human skull. while we have no good evidence of their presence on the eastern portion of North America fact that for anything like as long a time. for a time which doubtless extends much farther back than the remains so commonly found in Egypt. and that long ages elapsed before the settlers .OF NORTH AMERICA. or tools for pounding corn. The men existed in so early a day in the region about the Pacific coast.

in the form and color of their body . dwelling in the country from northern Arizona southward along the Cordilleras to the southern portion of Peru. They occupied the sur face of both continents from the Arctic to the Antarc in a general way in their tic circles with a kindred life. We find no such striking differences as occur among the various peoples of Asia. They had learned to build structures of unburnt brick and stone. They had almost entirely abandoned the occupations of the chase and supported themselves by agriculture.I$ THE ABORIGINAL PEOPLES passed through the difficult country of the Rocky Moun tains and reached the Mississippi Valley and the portions of the continent bordering on the Atlantic Except in the case of the Esquimaux. how ever. manners and customs they are more nearly akin than the diverse peoples on any of the Old World group of continents. and had attained a considerable skill in many other iron. those however. which taey apparently did not know how to smelt. Except among the Peruvians they appear to have had no beasts of burden except the dog. and no domesticated animals which could afford them The Peruvians alone had tamed the llama and food. arts. Their weapons and tools were of stone or copper. the Indian natives both North and South America exhibit a great likeness in their form and general characteristics. peoples. never learned to work and probably did not know how to make bronze. Ocean. had advanced beyond the sav agery of the other tribes. They had. for none of them had invented a written language or formed a highly Certain portions of these organized political system. who are evi of dently a peculiar folk. . No part of this great population had ever attained to an economic organization which deserves the name of civilization.

Each consisted of a body numbering from few thousand individuals. Among dilleras above described the native population appears savagery to have everywhere existed or the lowest state of barbarism. tribes was the office hereditary most cases required that the leader should be a man of physical power and of intelligence. Ignorant of and no literature worthy lectual knowledge was a matter and in this state of culture no great intel advance is possible. which afforded food and wool. in . the agriculture was of the simplest description. The government rested upon adhesion to a chief. Often the war chief was specially and temporarily chosen for a clan. alpaca. Deprived of the resources which the men of the Old World obtained from their domesticated animals. In few. 157 beasts of burden. who held together somewhat in tribe generally a few hundred to a the relation of a great family. it came to be believed that the Mexican and Peruvian peoples formed great states. and the food writing. Commonly each of these tribes . of tradition. we now know by more accurate inquiries that they had made but few steps in the path towards civilization beyond that attained by our ordinary red the tribes outside of the portion of the Cor in the condition of Indians. and of all the northern parts of the continent were without any resources such as domesticated ani mals other than their dogs could afford. and served as The people of Central America. Thus. of the people of a very unvaried character. no system of laws All of the name could exist.OF NORTH AMERICA. though through the fabulous stories of the early Spaniards. This chieftain was commonly selected by the consent of the women in his if any. of Mexico. but it was particular campaign.

After the first whites came to this coun plants. a position in which they were in a measure protected from incursions of other peoples. though seldom. tribe. but it remained in all cases the property of the In some -cases. many of them acquired other domesticated Although the Indians cultivated the land in a rude way. savages. they built rude. such as the Shawnees. on the products of their fields. to a certain measure. we may say that the Indians east of the Mis sissippi were always more settled. They subsisted. effected a certain amount of union with their neighbors. general. they not infrequently drove out the neighbor ing tribes and possessed their land. Thus the Iroquois. formed what was per haps the strongest and most enlightened savage state in this country north of Mexico. who occupied the western part of New York. Yet other tribes. which by one chance and another had remained for a considerable period in one district. try. which they had rudely tilled with of civilization Nor did they*ver attain to the state where the land was owned by individual men. but planted their crops in patches of soil. they did not plough the ground. were nomads driven about by constant battle. . pumpkins. from near In the Atlantic coast to the banks of the Mississippi. in and tobacco. or were themselves driven to other parts of the country. and were more given to agriculture than those to the west of that stream. and gained strength thereby.158 THE ABORIGINAL PEOPLES occupied for a greater or less time a certain space of country but as they were in a state of frequent war fare with their neighbors. and gained much strength from their union. They ranged from South Carolina to Pennsylvania. which they tilled Indian corn. Some of these tribes. as is usually the case with . or Five Nations. stone implements.

.

.

Over a large portion of that great valley we find. birds. and larger animals. tents. These earth works appear to have been in some way connected with their forms of worship. Besides these monumental works there are numerous fortifications which often inclose large areas. Many of the mounds were came probably designed to commemorate the place of burial of their distinguished men.OF NORTH AMERICA. and are constructed with consider able skill for the purposes of defence. but frequently in the shape of serpents. After these a measure. and had. large earthen mounds. commonly in the form of conical heaps. sometimes of gigantic dimensions. in game and been driven to the . which 159 provided sufficient in dwelt but shelter. or they generally in the made ground and covering lodges by setting poles them with mats and the skins rude embroidery. unfloored houses of timber. log cabins. There are many evidences going to show that on the whole the Indians of the Mississippi Valley were rather more domesticated some centuries before the whites to this region than when the country was first settled by Europeans. exhausted the savages had dwelt upon the land for ages. here and there. appears likely that the social condition of this peo ple underwent a certain degradation. Although the vived habit of building conical among certain of visited mounds the in their villages sur tribes after by the Europeans. Their only considerable arts were those of pottery-making and of of animals. the image mounds delineating the forms of the various animals ceased to be built before the land was people of the It they were those had the known by Old World. brought about by the eastward extension of the buffalo.

attested cases of kind treatment on the part of the and also the Indians towards strangers in distress . not infrequently It is exist along with the brutal traits of savages. The flames swept into the east sippi River. and gave them the privileges of the tribe&quot. and many other famous Indians that oratorical ability. the habit of trusting to the soil. destroying large portions of their area. the Shawnee Prophet. As the more eastern Indians. and affording a better pasturage to the large beasts which occupied it. had the chance once again to obtain food in plenty by hunting. generalship. they yet more commonly adopted them into their fami lies. There are many reasons for believing that the Indian of North America is an abler man than we should judge from the rude manner of his life. that . true that our literature abounds in records of atrocities which they committed during their wars. who had been but a short time accustomed to agriculture. that such cruelty was common among our own ancestors a few thousand years ago and against these evil deeds we must set the many well. in a measure.160 soil for their THE ABORIGINAL PEOPLES support. the buffalo appears to have ex range from the far west towards the Missis tended its The nomadic savages of that part of the continent had the habit of setting fire to the prairie grass in the dry season. have shown Pontiac. while they occasionally tortured their prisoners.. ern forests. and so lost a part of the slight civilization to which they had attained. The greater men such as the chieftain Brant. and other qualities which are found only in men of power. however. We should bear in mind. and abandoned. they again became to a considerable extent no madic. and fact. thus bringing the open or prairie land further to the east.

Sequoia. unfit for agri culture. a means of writing his he taught to the young men of his tribe. which are sufficiently walled The mountain valleys. l6l these people thus adopted into the tribe often became. In the last century a half-breed Indian of the Cherokee race. This art If we suppose. The greater portion of North America. of fertile land. It is also clear that the Indian was not deficient in The implements of war and peace inventive power. accomplished the remarkable feat of in venting.OF NORTH AMERICA. about to make them safe refuges. in the course of a short time. The islands of the Antilles are in the tropical districts. unlike the peoples of Asia and Europe. for his failure to gain a firm foothold on civilization in the many centuries during which he occupied this country ? It seems much advance likely that the failure of the Indian to attain in his economic condition was due mainly to the fact that he dwelt in a very open land. lies in one great . advance. so attached to their savage comrades that they could not be induced to leave them. compared favorably with those used by the early peo ples of the Old World whence we ourselves have come. how can we account for his condition. where the climate is unfavorable for human area. and so created at once a method of recording thought such as it required thousands of years for the own language. about its indeed. as the facts justify us in doing. altogether by himself. sive isolated districts of North America The only exten lie so far to the north that -their lands are sterile. that the Indian was not kept in his low position by lack of ability. are usually in over-dry regions. who were nurtured in districts more or less completely shut off from the other parts of the world by decided barriers. peoples of the Old World to attain to. all.

It is likely that if Asia and Europe had been without these animal? which have served man so well. by reason of mountain ranges or broad spaces of sea. moved over in every direction by savage appears in the Old World that all the folk in passing from savagery to civilization. and a little service as pack-animals. If in North America any tribe advanced somewhat in culture.1 62 is THE ABORIGINAL PEOPLES easily It which peoples. These are small animals unfit to draw the plough. no tamable variety of sheep. our own civilization would not have gone very in further than that of the savages whom our race Something also must be displaced on this continent. they were in imme diate danger of being plundered by their more warlike and needy neighbors. They afford only wool. no elephants or camels. A yet more important influence is found in the absence North America of animals which can be domesticated and turned to human use. they were safe from the incursion of savage neigh who succeeded bors. The only creatures capable of domestication were the llama and alpaca. Thus the character of the sur face of North America did not favor the development of civilization. much . and came to have a certain amount of wealth. It is probable that this absence of domesticable beasts was the most serious hindrance to the advance of our savages beyond the condition to which they had attained when Europeans came to the country. no pigs or goats. which were used by the Peruvians. secured their advance by occupying some limited field where. meat. This continent had no wild cattle or horses. and were thus able through centuries to accom plish a great deal of progress in the development of the arts. which is impossible without the seclusion and safety which comes from such isolation.

too. and is scarcely more seaworthy than the pirogue or dug-out. and stone tools which scraped away the charcoal after each application of fire. by far the most advanced towards civilization of any of our American Indians . were debarred from an extended maritime enables the life. siderable It can indeed attain no con development until something like the saw men to shape timber to their needs. pirogues and bark canoes the former consisted of large logs hollowed out by the use of fire. Thus the American savages. is also limited to the size of a single tree. the somewhat cultivated people of that country were subject to very destructive incursions from tribes of wandering savages. The bark canoe.OF NORTH AMERICA. through their ignorance of the use of metals. Such vessels can never have considerable size. art of ship-building requires at least the use of The metal axes and other tools. the condition of the Peruvians. burn the wood. or be in any degree safe in open water. which served to . the other form of boat. Central America. These are the parts of the continent where the occupants of the ground are tolerably well sheltered from the incursion of less advanced peoples about them. Their only vessels were No considerable advance in the arts It is this art. and Mexico. if we may trust their traditions. is possible without a noteworthy fact that our savages never learned the art of boat-building. Even in Mexico. So. The fact that the low grade of our American Indians was in part due to the open nature of the country is shown by the condition of the regions in which. as in Peru. these Indians had gone further toward civilization. 163 allowed for the fact that our Indians never had the good fortune to learn how to extract metals from their ores.

and they were. where the land was of old. were subdivided into small tribes and so hostile one It was fortunate for the country that the to the other that by them no effective resistance could be made scanty bands of Europeans who first came to these shores. however. own extent determined by the physical state of the district which they occupied. Moreover. which characterize so of the continent. easily over come. and to strike serious blows at many frontier settlements. For nearly two centuries.164 at the THE ABORIGINAL PEOPLES time when the whites came to the country. by mountain chains or arms of the sea. Such forays were rarely possible in the conditions of the Old World. it seems likely that the social condition of our American Indians was to a great hands. European settlers in this Indians. may be partly due to the fact that they had in the singular group of domesticated animals which they acquired some other resource than their that afforded by the labor of In a word. the absence of barriers between one part of the region and the other. though brave and warlike. Our own race came to the country so provided with the arts of civilization that the lack of domesticated animals. The only risk of incursion was from the savages. divided by impassable forests and morasses. the arms used by the to the . our own folk felt something of the effect arising from the absence of strong geographic features in the country which might afford them some effective shelter against the savages. through the superior arts of war of the Europeans. as at present. It was easy of for a war-party of Indians to move many hundreds open much miles through the tolerably forests or the plain lands. were of no very great consequence to us.

Although they used these valiantly. to defeat all somewhat larger bodies of white troops. to make head against a thousand well-equipped and skil In cases they have managed fully led white soldiers. during the wars between the Indians and Europeans have the savages ever been able. 165 The ordi savages were of a rude and ineffective sort. soldiery encased themselves. to a somewhat higher development. they and best the organized portions of strongest conquer our American Indians who could bring many thousand In no cases brave but ill-armed men into the field. the rude stone hatchet were the bow and short nary weapons which they possessed. however numerous.OF NORTH AMERICA. they for might have retained possession of the continent centuries after its discovery by Columbus. . in ish conquerors. the weapons were very ineffective against firearms. and the armor in which the European chief So it was that the Span none of their invasions had though hundred were enabled to than a few more soldiers. if they had even the skill in military matters of the African Zulus. but skill such successes were due to lack of in man If the savages had attained aging the civilized forces.

The value of these features differs much at different stages of the development of a people. and relations which their cradle land has to other After a time. In the earliest stage. the pro or those of the deeper-lying earth . Climate of the several great fitted divisions of the continent. North America.. Soils of Share of the land for human use. metals. and last. which go to determine the ways of commerce with other parts of the world.l66 NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES CHAPTER V. Wild and domesticated animals. when these conditions have strongly impressed them selves on the character of the rac. soil. Natural to conditions and resources. tions IN this chapter we shall consider the natural condi and resources of the continent which affect the In such an inquiry we find it necessary once again at the various physical features glance which have been set forth in the previous chapters. and minerals man. they may go forth to other lands. the climate. and for centuries retain the qualities which the country . where they find very different conditions. Of welfare of men. which are afforded by mines and quarries relations of . man: to the savage. when the folk are in the process of acquiring their natural characteristics. of the several parts of the continent. countries are of the utmost importance. fruits. the the country to other lands. Domesticated plants of the United States. Mineral resources. soil. etc. NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES OF NORTH AMERICA. to civilized Value of climate. to these the climate is ductions of the soil the most important next.

has only been in in which they time ration of the Aryan people was discovered in very modern times by a study of their languages. which. Although some of remained branches settled in the tropics and others northern home. most probably in the region about the Scan dinavian peninsula. Rome. who were raised from primitive savagery to a state of some civilization in the northern lands of Eu rope or Asia. who belong to the Semitic peoples. literatures. l6/ of their infancy impressed upon them. some became mainly seafarers. and customs. their religions are always ideal. spread thence throughout Europe. and others have dwelt in the central parts of the continents although. Thus the Aryan people. Europe. Great as are the influences of these early conditions on the character of a people. indeed. all all the differences of condition which the world affords. This sepa so complete that the different branches of that race lost all knowledge of their original kinship. the branches of the race have certain common traits. and the present civilizations of the two icas Amer and Australia are of Aryan origin. they are in a measure affected by the country in which their . the region Thus when where their infancy was spent. a people have certain definite character istics impressed upon them in the cradle land. mingling with other races. they have gone to these in their . a singular capacity for intellec They everywhere show tual development. Western and Southern Asia. all modern races .OF NORTH AMERICA. good part displaced. Greece. their literature of a more finished order than those of other from them have come all the high civilizations except those of the Hebrews and the Arabs. in a word. they are likely to pre serve these features long after they have been separated from their birthplace.

are very different men from the merchants of New York s or New Orleans. if we would have a good idea of the effect of living in the various parts of this continent on the men who are to inhabit it in the time to come. and is in turn reflected in all his ways of living. In respect North America may be conven iently divided into four districts. which determines his work. and of the Cordilleras. the district of middle temperatures rainfall. and is not exceeded in range by that great continent. and modifies their ways of thinking and acting. the exceedingly arid region to the climatal conditions. This is due to the large amount of land . . The climate of North America varies more widely than that of any other continent except Asia. we must consider the relations of the climate. and the tropical country of the extreme south. The fishermen of New foundland or Iceland. depending on the sea for their subsistence. each of which has cer tain portions of great importance to the welfare of men. mineral resources. but in the course of a few generations men become greatly influ enced by the world immediately about them. gives character to his thought. All these districts differ from the countries of of the greater part of the other Europe and those con tinents in the fact that in North America the difference between winter and summer is greater than in those other lands. lives are lived gradually the nature about them deter mines their habits into new channels. soil. for the habits of our forefathers dwell long with us. The effect may not at first be plain. These are the frozen north. There fore. and general geography of these districts.l68 NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES . the nature of the earth about him. of the Northwestern states for the or the prosperous farmers good reason that a man work shapes his qualities.

at least . Labrador. and hot enough to permit the tillage of the soil. north of the Laurentian Mountains lands near viz. in 169 the region near the north pole. which is now and must ever be unfit The for the more important uses of man . and the little known country the northward of these districts. Taking the above-named districts in the order in which they are named we will proceed to consider all in succession the character of their climates. and so the fertile middle region of the British Dominion of crops. The frozen north includes the district within and . and is by the Canadian people. frozen region of the continent includes about onefourth of its surface. in the highlands of the Cordil north of the boundary of the United States. probably a small part of the country yet further to the north. moist. including the valley of the Red River of the North and the Saskatchewan.OF NORTH AMERICA. leras. Lawrence. except the narrow strip of country overspread In the desolated by cold. the to Hudson s Bay. the elevation of the surface causes the cold to be greater. glance at the map A shows how different are these conditions from those all of the other great continents except Asia. which becomes cov ered with snow in winter and makes the winds from that direction excessively cold. the climate is so far bettered by the influence of the air blowing from the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean that the summers are long. central part of the continent. is walled in both on the east and west by countries ster ilized by cold. In general the region on the north polar side of the Great Lakes and the St. with the risk that peculiar seasons may cause a failure . however. and the production of certain kinds of grain and vegetables always. On the west.

For two or three months the vegetation flourishes al most as well as it does in tropical lands but this respite from the cold is brief and precarious north winds may at any time bring frosts. the rest remains frozen.I/O NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES until some great change in the climatal conditions of Within this great realm the region is brought about. the land inhabitable. with its long days and prevailing westerly winds. but not well situated for working. but until the vas 4 ^ supplies in the rocks of more southern countries are exhausted it will have no value for exportation. greater part of this extensive north land is cov ered by scanty forests and wide fields of upland swamps. not much does give promise that this land has geology sufficient mineral wealth to tempt miners to brave Coal. hot summer. make . and roots on which man and his domesticated animals depend for food. of cold the short. only resources of value to men are to be found in the mineral stores of the rocks and the fishes of the The What is known of the lakes and neighboring seas. which might help to its inhospitable climate. . The sum mer warmth melts the water in only the upper part of the soil. that petroleum may be obtained in the valley of the Mackenzie River. is probably of rare occurrence iron and the precious metals are probably found in many It is thought places. and at best the summer is not . fruits. : long enough for the development of the grains. the earth at Throughout a large part of this region a depth of a few feet below the surface remains locked in frost throughout the year. The woods are so low and the trees have such small The and short trunks that they are worthless for timber. brings a brief period in which plants of varied kinds grow with great luxuriousness.

Besides the desert of the high north. oases the very cold country of Siberia can in parts have crops of grain. This is Cordillera district. and has much mineral wealth and . It will proba bly remain for hundreds of years a vast desert. the central part of Australia. stimulating and delightful. though now a desert. which wrap the skies in a dress of fire. The only : use which it can have will be for a great natural park whereto. From southern Mexico the dry land of the to the north ern part of the United States. I/I The fisheries of the seas which border the northeast ern part of the continent are valuable. It thus seems certain that this part of North America has little promise as a dwelling-place for our race. by storing that which can be obtained in time of rain to be used at least won to man s in the cold is season of drought but this region desolated by not to be bettered by human skill.OF NORTH AMERICA. when the more southern For is this use it is admirably suited. a wider and more useless realm for civilized man than any other Even the Desert of Sahara has its part of the earth. use by artificial means. who return home with their harvest and only make at most temporary settlements on the shore. and from the one hun- . there is another portion of the continent which is in a certain way unfit for the best uses of man. . lacks only water to make it fertile and this may be in part . parts of the continent are crowded with a dense population. its summer climate . but they are now resorted to by sailors from the central parts of the coun try. its scenery charming even in winter the face of nature has a splendor from its unbroken snowfields and the surprising beauty of the recurring periods of the Aurora Borealis. the people may resort for the recreation which the wilderness affords.

merges plants. engineers may win the it to the uses of all is man fields having the food-giving value of of- the land within the valley the Ohio River. a low temperature to make the land a desert. on the north into the frozen part of the continent. exceed It is reckoned by Major Powell. the larger part of its surface has a deep soil which in the main was formed in times when tries of As the rainfall was more abundant than at present. It not unlikely that within a century these artificially .1/2 NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES dredth meridian west to central California and Oregon. it contains a great deal of nutriment for plants. In this region crops may in wet summers uncertain ex be with profit tilled on much of the surface. as in other coun high mountains. the land is so high and so separated from the sea-winds that the rainfall is about a foot in the in the year. On account of the natural likely that fertility of from this barren district seems soil. that by storing the water from the winter rains in the valleys above the head-waters of the rivers.000 square miles of this desert land. The arid desert district covers about one-fifth of the continent. not averaging more than and coming to the earth mostly when it cannot serve the need of This region. it will be possible to irrigate field about 50. made sterile by drought. when well watered. little grows upon this earth. a great part of this district is too rocky for tillage. Although. director ingly fertile. very scanty. so that in a portion of the area the dryness combines with winter season. but the is rainfall is so limited that agriculture cept where the scanty streams are led upon the ground in ditches. and is. or where the water is stored in reservoirs for use in the summer season. of the United States Geological Survey. a considerably greater than the state of Illinois.

districts 1/3 America may support a population of the great desert region of North of twenty or thirty Although the climate of this arid district is very dry. coal. etc. the arts. and zinc. abound many parts of the field the heat-giving materials. and in many other im . watered millions. such as natural or earth wax. The clear sunlight and upland air secure it against many diseases which overrun the lower-lying it countries. and this at much cost in labor.OF NORTH AMERICA. probably develop a race of hardy in the country region of the Cordilleras can only The dry give a small part of its surface to tillage. silver. are exten the base metals. It will mountain people. are too far from the sea-shore to enter into commerce. is very wholesome for man and his domesticated animals. mountainous portion of the great arid land of North salt. . are more plentiful than in any other con It seems certain that the siderable part of the world. portant substances. The crops. beneath the soil there is a great no other equal por variety of wealth-giving minerals ever has tion of the earth s surface yielded so large and so varied a contribution of mineral products. secures a . and pe and many troleum. gold. copper. Scanty as are the agricultural resources of this great district. They will only serve for the use of the people who dwell on the ground. soda. iron. even more precious to sively mined . natural gas. except at certain points.. precious metals. America will in the next century be the greatest industries. and platinum. as Switzerland has done of the Alps. field of the world for mining The fact that by irrigation the soil can be made to supply the people engaged in seeking this underground wealth. The . exist in considerable quantities earthly substances.

1/4

NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES

great future to its population, for they will thus obtain cheap and varied food.

Although, as we have just seen, nearly one-half of

North America is not well conditioned for man s use, it must not be supposed that this continent is as a whole a less favorable place for human development
than the other great lands of the earth. The fact is that, excepting Europe, the continent is really better fitted to serve the needs of man than any other of the

Europe, owing to the fact that it has not the true continental form, but is a mere group of peninsulas and islands attached to the western coast
continental masses.

exempt from exceeding cold or drought, two desert-making elements of climate. As a whole the Asiatic land mass is, in proportion to the area, even less fitted for the uses of civilized man than North America for the northern part of the con tinent is subject to the same polar conditions which sterilize high latitudes of North America and the whole
of Asia, is

the

;

of the central parts of the continent are subject to con

tinued drought. Africa is so placed as to escape the effects of cold, but nearly the whole of the northern part of that continent
In Australia at least threeis made desert by drought. fourths of the land so far lacks rain in the growing sea

son that

it is

untillable.

South America has

its

southern

portion in

by

Patagonia so near to the south pole that it is the cold rendered unfit for man s uses, and in the

western portion, where the Cordilleras of South America rise to great altitudes, a combination of cold and drought
desolates a considerable part of the area.
of the great rivers of the Orinoco,

The

valleys
Plata,

Amazon, La

contain exceedingly fertile land, but the greater portion

OF NORTH AMERICA.
of this region
is

1/5

within the realms of tropical heat and affords conditions of cliniate which have never been

found favorable for the

life

of our race or for that of

any other people capable of making a high civilization. When we carefully look over the lands of the earth, we

come

to the conclusion that not
is

more than one-half

of
;

that surface

really

fit

for the uses of the

Aryan

race

the remainder must remain

unoccupied by man, or at

Thus most peopled by savage or barbarian tribes. though North America has a great part of its surface in the condition of what we must call deserts, it is not in this regard in worse condition than the other conti
nents.

the great ad are almost altogether vantage that its well-watered lands those within the region of the middle temperatures,

North America has

for our

own people

states of heat and cold which permit the vigorous development of the peoples who came from northern Europe. Except a small area extending from the Rio Grande and the Colorado south to the isthmus and a small portion of Southern Florida, no part of the con

tinent

subjected to the evils of a tropical climate; even the portions of Southern Mexico and Central America which lie within the region of the true tropics
is

have a large part of the surface so elevated above the sea that the climate is more tolerable to our race than
is

more than about one-twentieth
continent
is

Not generally the case with lands near the equator. of the mainland of the
so far affected

by the equatorial heat

as to

be decidedly unsuited for the uses of our race. If we include the West Indian islands in the lands of North

America, the proportion of tropical realm would be some what extended but a large part of these islands, like
;

176

NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES

the tropical portions of the mainland, are elevated to such heights above the sea that they afford tolerable climates for men of our race.

From the Laurentian Mountains southward to the Gulf and westward to the one hundredth meridian we have a great field of land, of remarkably good, fertile
quality, which possesses a climate which two centuries of experience has shown to be singularly well fitted for

the

home

of people

who

are the descendants of Northern

Europeans.
coast from

of the Cordilleras, along the Pacific the northern line of Mexico to the southern

West

portion of Alaska, is another section of continent, rela tively small in area, amounting to not more than one-

twentieth of the eastern fertile section, which also is admirably suited to the needs of our people. These two
districts

tinental area.

together contain about two-fifths of the con In the Cordilleran district from Southern

Mexico
ble,

to the

have, as before remarked,

southern part of British Columbia we numerous areas of land capa

with engineering skill, of serving the needs of man. This region of detached fertile grounds will probably have a great value in the centuries to come but it is
;

not by nature alone suited to the uses of man, for demands engineering skill to fit it for such purposes.

it

section of North America, that one hundredth meridian and the the between extending Gulf of Mexico to the indis the from Atlantic coast, the work of man is where tinctly determined line

The

eastern fertile

arrested by the northern cold,

is

divided into several

tolerably distinct regions, each characterized by certain peculiarities of climate or soil or under-earth resources.

The

greater part of the field lies within the valley of the Mississippi or in the basins of the streams which flow

OF NORTH AMERICA.

177

great

northwardly towards the Arctic waters of the sea, streams which, like the Mississippi, lie also within the Much more than central part of the continent.
half of this great fertile realm
is

thus situated in the

remote from the sea and The little affected by the conditions which it brings. climate of this section ranges through a great scale of In variations both as regards temperature and rainfall. the extreme north the period exempt from frost is limited to about three months in the year, affording a scant time
interior portions of the land

growing small grains and the roots, such and as the turnip potato, which hasten swiftly to matur These with grass and a few hardy fruits constitute ity. The winter is so long and severe the possible crops.
for the rapidly

that cattle cannot be profitably reared except for
tic

domes

southward to the Gulf Mexico the summer season continually lengthens though the heat of the hottest term does not increase, There it is protracted through a large part of the year.
of
;

From

purposes. the Canadian district

is only a small portion of the Mississippi Valley within the United States that will not afford good crops of

maize or Indian
staples of the

corn,

and wheat, the great export

American farmer.
rice.

The

central district
is
fit

of this valley almost to the
all

Gulf of Mexico

for

grains except the Missouri southward to the Gulf the great length of the season permits cotton to be profitably planted, and

the

common

From

the Ohio and

most important crop of that district. In no other equally extensive portion of the earth is so wide a range of soil products obtainable as in the fields of this great valley. Throughout the greater portion of
this is the
its

extent the animals of the barnyard, which have been

1

78

NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES
"man

the familiar attendants of
flourish as well as in the-

from an early period, Old World cattle, horses,
:

sheep, and swine prosper greatly. Although the climate of this district is characterized by more destructive storms than in any other country extensively inhabited by our race, it seems to be on the whole remarkably well suited to descendants from the peoples of Northern Europe. Except near the Gulf coast, and in other portions of the country which
are liable to agues, the people" are not subject to dis eases which are in any way caused by the climate.

They attain as much vigor as in any other country. The valley of the St. Lawrence, including the shores
of the Great
river

Lakes, and the lands which border the from Lake Ontario to its mouth, have in general

the same character as the country in the northern part of the Mississippi Valley. The summer is generally
short and the range of crops somewhat diminished by In Michigan the brief period in which plants grow. and along the southern shores of Lakes Ontario and

Erie the frosts

come

at a later

time than in the regions

Maize flourishes as north of these great water-basins. well as all the ordinary crops of the Mississippi Valley.

From Lake Ontario
severe
lated
;

to the sea the
flourish,

climate

is

more
is

maize does not
as
it is

and agriculture

be

much

lying in the Although the climate of the St.

in the parts of the continental valley basin of the Red River of the North.

Lawrence Valley

is

too severe for the best agriculture, it evidently suits the people of our race nowhere in other lands on this
;

continent or in Europe are they more vigorous than in
this portion of

North America.

*

A

third area of the fertile lands of

North America

OF NORTH AMERICA.
lies
tile

179

along the Atlantic coast, between the rather unfer soils of the Appalachian Mountains and the sea.

This section extends from

New

Brunswick and Nova
In general, the cli in its character

Scotia south to Northern Florida.

mate of
winters

this district

is

more uniform

than that of the central valley of the continent.
are less cold and the

The
;

summers

less hot

the
;

rainfall is also greater

the

soil

is

than in the regions of that valley on the whole less fertile than in the Missis

sippi district, but it admits of a great variety of crops, except in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and a part of Maine Indian corn prospers as well as all the smaller grains and roots. The great north and south extension,
;

as

in

the

Mississippi
:

Valley, permits a considerable

variety in the products in the southern part of the sec in the northern region tion oranges and rice will grow
;

the hardier grains and roots flourish. In the peninsula portion of Florida

we

find

one of

the most peculiar parts of the American continent. It is a region of low lands, and more than half of its area
is

covered by swamps lying at a slight elevation above

The soil is generally sandy except where it is formed by the decay of old coral reefs which have been elevated above the ocean level. This peninsula
the sea.
is wrapped about by warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and by the Gulf Stream, which flows in the basin be tween Florida and the Bahamas. It therefore has a

very
seas,

warm
is

owing

to the

summer season, the of influence neighboring tempering of moderate heat. The result is, that in the
winter climate, while the

southern portion of the Florida peninsula we have a tropical land, where, as in the region about Biscayne

Bay and thence southward

to the extremity of Florida,

which. there is between the sterile (On mountain ranges of the higher parts of the Cordilleras and the sea an irregular narrow strip. like the Atlantic coast-belt. . but in a greater degree. and produces in certain portions Here. the character of the climate in these areas is even more affected by the amount of rain which they receive in the time of the year when plants In the Mississippi Valley and along the are growing. has its climate affected by the neighboring it ocean. too dry for the best uses characterized by a much more equa is ble climate than any portion It is of like extent in the more eastern district^ ( excellently well adapted to a wide range of fruits. from San Diego north to the southern border of Alaska. the Pacific coast. as in the other very large crops of grain section. par Although a large portion southern part. and various plants of the true tropics find suitable conditions. Atlantic coast the quantity of this rain generally in Thus in the creases as we go from north southwardly. region about the head-waters of the Mississippi the annual may together with the amount of water which be melted from the snow which comes in the winter rainfall. ticularly its it receives a considerable share of of this area.l8O NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES the pineapple. Although the difference in climate in the various parts of the fertile region of North America is to a con siderable degree caused by the variety of the seasons as regards heat and cold. cocoanut-palm. it is of the farmer. the people appear to be very vigorous. because dry though has a length of more than fifteen hundred miles. giving evidence in their condition that the climate is well suited to them. from which moisture. on the average not more than two hundred miles in width. too.

in the and New Brunswick. in the region of Maine water from the form of rain or snow.OF NORTH AMERICA. and thus the moisture is drawn away from the Rocky Mountain district. amounting to about forty inches. amounting to about The sixty inches. about thirty inches. and these are borne inward by the winds. the less the in this amount of contribution which comes way to the earth. it amounts to more than twice of Mexico the Gulf along as . On the Atlantic coast we find. The western portion of the Mis sissippi Valley exhibits a rapid decrease in the amount of its rainfall as we approach the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains. much. ascends to the clouds. l8l while is. and pour the waters upon the land. In general. the rainfall in the summer season is usually so scant that crops can hardly be cultivated with any certainty of yield. or about sixty inches. and again in the southern portion of the coast adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico the amount of rain fall is increased. reason for this increase in the amount of the rainfall as we go southward is mainly found in the fact that in the about the Gulf of Mexico there is an extensive country of sea subject to a very high temperature the region : water evaporates rapidly. on the average. When we attain to even three or four hundred miles of the base of those mountains. season. If . the fertile lands of North America receive more water from the skies than those of Europe. except where the soil can be watered by canals led from the slender streams. an annual fall of skies. the reason for this being that the winds from the Mexican Gulf blow prevailingly towards the northeast. The further we go from the warm tropical seas. for the reason that the air has parted with its moisture before it attains the inland stations.

the land is and so the moisture the winter season. They are more serious in the district west of the Mississippi. and the eastern coast frequently drought over large districts. and where the prevailing winds blow from over the northern Atlantic. the . winter time the difference between the temperature of the tropical seas. [the rainfall is much less in amount than in the cen tral and eastern portions of this continent. however. next the southern part of North Amer ica. the clouds are quickly chilled. where at best the rainfall is so small in quantity that not much of it can be spared Mississippi Valley bring periods of without damage to the fields. where the vapors ascend upward to the clouds. when it can be of no service to plants. this rain fell at a any portion of its surface . where the summers are hot than in America. and the summers are frequently periods The reason for this is simple : in the of drought. not taken from the clouds as in In Europe. and so com pelled to give up their vapor in the form of rain or snow. Again.1 82 NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES time most favorable for crops. and that northward is very great. they are on the whole not more detrimental than the exces sive rains which so often occur in the summer season of European lands. the yearly rain is more summer and winter seasons than in the terri The very warm seasons of the of North America. Moving northward. On the Pacific coast] owing to the fact that the sea is cooler than the waters of the Gulf of Mexico or the ! Atlantic Oceaii. of the land to the In the summer time. hardly would suffer from droughts but this rainfall comes in the largest measure during the winter season. Although these droughts are sometimes destructive to crops. a region of seas even in tory warmed by the Gulf Stream. less is very warm.

much less well watered parts of the continent. it decreases to the southward. In the southern portions of the state of California only a narrow strip made a desert for lack of water. gon and Washington. and in British Columbia to the north of the line of the United States. western shore of the continent current setting which blow over 183 down from it is cooled by a strong the north. character of the this covering we man depend very much upon the shall now consider the nature of which affords subsistence to plants. (All along this coast the high mountains next the shore near the sea act as barriers to prevent the moist air from penetrating any considerable distance into the continent) Behind the Sierra Nevada we have the driest portion of the continent. ^ SOILS OF NORTH AMERICA. the soils of North America are composed through them . is Thus the peninsula of Southern California In the middle portions of the coast near San Francisco It is greater still in Ore the rainfall is much greater. including men. for tillage except as before remarked. other countries. and As in all to all animals. is un where the land may be irrigated by artificial means. come over the Gulf of Mex The consequence fertile particularly in the than the is that this shore is on the whole. southern part.} While on the Atlantic coast the rainfall increases as we go from north of the United States the coast on western southwardly. River the well-watered district of the Columbia valley is much wider.OF NORTH AMERICA. the interior region of the fit Rocky Mountains. In the is sufficiently watered for tillage. which. and so the winds to the coast bring less moisture to the land than those which ico. As all the needs of soil.

then the soil is fertile . The soils of North America are divided into three the north. of the soil is original bedding-place the material is to be remade in broken-up. where the form of new strata. however.184 of the NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES solid state. action of frost and water. though rarely of the highest fertil their owing fruitful. they are likely to be sterile thus while lime : stones by their decay always make fertile soils. the ice in depth they remain permanently In the region south of Jhe area occupied by the glacial epoch the soil of each field is gento . within the limits of the the ice during the glacial epoch. are very deep ity. the region occupied by pebbles and sand and finer-grained mud composing the different classes. under the action of on its way from the back to the sea. soil On are in all cases carried for a considerable distance from the point where they originally lay in the bed rocks. Generally. the farmer s use. . if it happens that the rocks originally contained no fossil animals. is composed rain-water. is whence the grains were in as were all determined by the character of the rocks of the soil have come. If the rocks their time formed of the remains of animals. worn-down rocks which have been taken from the broken into fine bits. the bits from different places churned together so that the resulting soils have a more uniform character than in other regions. stony material with the dead and decaying commingled The fragments of plants and animals. sand stones generally produce soils of a sterile character. limestones. and exposed to decay. and its fertility is in part due to the intercommingling of these two kinds of In large measure the fitness of the soil for material. the All soils are mainly by of rocky matter which. these soils and. as well as for the growth of wild vege tation.

By observing the effect of this is difference on the life of the farmers. although that rock is not exposed at the surface by the sudden alteration in the evident fertility of the soil as shown by change in the character of the This difference in the the trees or by the tilled crops. people have remained poor. and afford very lean soils. and the progress of civiliza tion has been very much retarded. and attain a high state of civilization. 185 erally derived from the rocks immediately beneath the Where the ground has a considerable slope surface. the debris from the rocks hill is may have or been washed by the slipped down the rains to a lower level. extremely fertile the people have grown wealthy from In the farming. the regions of lean soil it was not profitable to use slaves in farming. . We underlying rock. yet further effect due to these peculiarities of soils may be seen in the history of the civil war between the All the fertile lands of states of the North and South. is the state food for plants and which have by their decay formed All this limestone area is a very rich soil coating.OF NORTH AMERICA. but it a conspicuous feature of this region that the soils have the measure of fertility determined by the organic can often tell the character of the under-rocks. we far the peculiar character of the soil life may perceive how influence the Thus in Kentucky the central portion of underlaid by limestones which contain the fossilized forms of animals whose remains afford good of man. A In the South were occupied by farms tilled by slaves. eastern part of that state the rocks are mostly composed In this section the of sand. soils due to the variations in the character of the under lying rocks particularly conspicuous in the Southern states of this country. for the reason that no crops could be reared .

below the junction of the Missouri. Because down upon the earth. through many thousand soil become very extensive. they Alluvial always have a higher measure of fertility. giving little help to the Southern cause. Northern Georgia.1 86 NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES which were valuable for export. They were largely Union men. and Eastern Tennessee. en afford lands rivers the plains along great always of those which are the richest titled to rank among tilled by man. and who were not effective supporters of the Rebellion. from the head-waters of the Ohio and the Poto mac southward to western North Carolina. It seems not unlikely that the failure of the Southern Confederacy to attain its independence may in consid soils. the alluvial plains occupy an area of nearly thirty thousand square miles. These alluvial terraces are built its up in times when the river carries flood waters over a considerable area occu pied by forests or other plants on either side of the stream. Although alluvial soils are most com mon in the region south of the district. sheets of fine-grained Thus in the lower part of the Mississippi Valley. a large part of this alluvial richer soils taken from the deposit is composed of margins of the smaller streams near the head-waters of the main river. erable measure have depended upon this matter of third group of soils is formed of the deposits A made on the banks of rivers in times of their overflow. Penetrating into the interstices of these usually thickset growths. the current of the water is arrested and a good part of its mud falls With the succession of floods years. they are to a certain extent found within that ancient realm of the . were occupied by peo ple who had no interest in slavery. the Appalachian district. The result was that the mountain portion of the South.

and this for the reason that the pebbles are numerous and con stantly in process of decay. that they no longer yield crops which are profitable to the farmer but in New Eng . land. so much of its fertile materials have been shipped away in the ashy matter of the exported products. the soil about as good as is.OF NORTH AMERICA. on the whole. it may be said that the richer soils of the United States lie in regions which are to the south of the area occupied by ice during the glacial period. though the soil was originally poorer than in those states south of the glacial area. except a portion of Illinois and Indiana. ice. There are certain peculiar kinds of soils in North when America which deserve particular mention. and thus avoid the peculiar flooding which brings about the -con struction of such alluvial plains as those which exist in the Mississippi Valley. They do not wear out so rapidly. On the other hand. In general. The greater part of the area which has been brought to the use of the farmer has been won from old forest lands. or in parts of the field where the ice was thin and did not by its deposits greatly affect the character of the soil. iS/ They are rarer and less extensive in the ice dis trict. Thus in Virginia and the neighboring states a good deal of the soil has so far been worn out by tillage. the country was first settled. were origi nally wooded. the earth affords in glacial fields soils which are more enduring to the tax which tillage puts upon them. for the reason that in such a country the deep of gravel and sand retain the water of the flood layers times and deliver it slowly to the streams. To win these forest-covered soils to tillage . and by this decay contin ually yield new stores of plant food. It may be said in general that all the regions east of the Missis sippi.

so the labor of removing the wood must be added to the task which was imposed on the soil-tiller in the prepara tion of his land for use. These stones had to be removed from the path of the plough. In doing this work the pioneers generally fol lowed a method which they learned from the Indians. recently ice-ridden are covered with great bowlders. Generally this bowlder-strewn region was forest-clad. It is difficult to conceive how great has been the in this country. buried at a depth beneath the soil. in the countries originally covered by ice the had a hard struggle to fit the soil for the The larger part of these lands which were plough.1 88 NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES requires a great deal of labor in order to remove the forests and to get the ground clear of the roots of the trees. which caused the trees to die. if they were too heavy for removal. too. or. Gradually the deadened wood decayed. so that in ten or fifteen years it practically disappeared from the ground. . they proceeded to plant their crops in the interspaces between the great trunks. They spared themselves the labor of cutting down the trees and burning their great trunks and branches by cutting a ring of bark from the trunk near the surface of the ground. Then cutting away the underbrush. Even with this simple but very advantageous practice the process of winning a forest-covered surface to tillage is slow and laborious. toil of those who have preceded us who have necessarily given their lives to the subjugation of the land. In the greater part of the region recently occupied by glaciers it requires from fifty to one hundred days labor to remove the stones from an acre field so that the plough may do its work. broken from their bed places in the rocks and scattered over the surface of the ground. built into walls. first settlers So.

contain of the rivers. In large part they are doubtless due to the fact that the rainfall diminishes as We we go westward towards the Rocky Mountains. ing o almost as much fertile land as was included in the forest country of the eastern part of the United States. This prairie district did not begin to be settled until about the end see quarter of the present century. but in large part the swiftness of the move ment is owing to the peculiarly open character of the country which has been settled in the last half-century. When in settlement of the country the central eastern part the process of the pioneers came to the and western portion of the land. and Wisconsin in the most of the country west of the Mississippi as the conditions are tillage favorable for the in the beginning of as they were unfavorable of the United States. was not only without woods. Of course some thing of this rapid march of the people to the west ward is due to steam transportation on the water and the land. do not certainly know the causes which led to the formation of the prairies. they found an exceedingly fertile region where forests were rare. 189 and In the greater part of Illinois. but usually without the covering of bowlders which was such a hindrance in the region in and about New England. . Indiana. afforded this advantage open by land to the farmer in the fact that while it required of the first in part the peculiar We about two hundred years to push the settlements of the white man from the Atlantic coast westward to the Ohio and Kentucky.OF NORTH AMERICA. it took less than half a cen tury to carry the settlements for nearly twice that distance farther to the westward. being generally limited to the immediate neighborhood This vast expanse of country.

those of a greater rainfall fact that all the dead the proved by lakes without an outlet to the ocean. and the undergrowth of the forests as well. The existence which now frequently occur in that region. In these parts only sterile of the continent the soils are not for lack of . in order to secure and many moisture. and when the conditions which make the soils were present in a way in which they no longer exist Over yet larger fields there is a thick soil earlier time when the rainfall in that country.barrens&quot. an formed in was greater than now. By these annual fires young saplings were killed off. but they are . That this is the case is shown by the fact that when what is now called the &quot. of Ken tucky was first occupied by whites. forests because When of the frequent fires set by the savages.moisture. the forest dis better In this way century by century the original were pushed back to the eastward and replaced by prairies. woods In the region of the Rocky Mountains there are vast fields of bare rock lying where the slopes are so steep that the soil cannot maintain itself upon them.IQO NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES &quot. the Indians were driven away and these annual conflagrations ceased to ravage the country. the larger portion of the western section of the area was without woods appeared. and when the older trees died. pasturage for the wild animals which they hunted. in recent times is seas. of our trees cannot stand the lessened In part the prairies are probably due to the fact that the Indians were in the habit of burning the grass in the open or unwooded districts. the rapidly regained the field. show by old shore benches around their margins that they have recently shrunk to a small part of their former size.

potash. fall Rocky Mountains.OF NORTH AMERICA IQI very often made even more desolate than they would otherwise be.any rain fields. and none of these are of any use to man. however. cies plants which otherwise might with There are but few vegetable spe which are adapted to grow upon it. and soda. moment to trace the history of this peculiar salt coating which is visible in the alkali districts of our We western plains and in some all of the valleys of the except perhaps in those small areas of the earth where scarce . the case our western lands. occurs. is brought into the state In ordinary in which in a they may be dissolved in water. by the fact that certain solid substances work up from the depths of the earth and make a This crust is so alkaline crust upon the surface. and so the amount of these substances its in is kept within hurtful limits. that it kills many stand the drought. the needs of vegetation and only in exceptional cases is the will therefore turn aside for hurtful to plants. When. for the reason that their history shows us a beautiful one which generally greatly serves process of the soils. period of as is more abundant in comes to be very dry. the occasional . there In of the is a constant and tolerably rapid decay matter contained in the grains of the soil. soil region of sufficient rainfall a portion of this material is constantly washed away. rocky By this decay a certain amount of lime. The conditions which lead to the formation of these alkali plains is worth the attention of the observer. within the lim which they are advantageous and not damaging to a soil which has been formed in a rainfall plants. in the form of various chemical combinations with other materials.

ward. Then when sum away mer droughts come. the alkaline material which this water contained. and so the surface is rendered sterile beyond the sterility which is given by drought. the coating formed in the dry season is often so thick that it is not altogether dissolved by the rains of the wet season. only where the rainfall has not sufficiently leached away enough of the saline matter that it becomes injurious to plants by forming an alkaline uicrustation. though of one season. where the rainfall is less considerable. and the heat of the air causes the amount water next the atmosphere to pass away in vapor.IQ2 NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES rains soak the soil with water. As soon as the surface becomes dry. and so in a general way the It is upward movement of these salts is beneficial. say twenty inches each year. Yet further west. This water brings yet more alkaline matter. In all fertile lands these movements of salt water towards the surface in times of drought have a beneficial effect. and gradually the coating of the salts next the surface become thicker and thicker. alkaline coating created going further west . but do not send such an of fluid through the porous material as to wash the excess of alkalin* matter. they may in some cases harm the crops Ordinary droughts. are apt to help those of the following year when the rainfall is more abundant. for it is not more than sufficient to bring the desired food to the roots of the plants. not going away in the process of evaporation. remains as a crust on the surface. what is called capillary attraction draws up more water from the depths towards the surface. Beginning a certain in the eastern portion of these plains with amount we find no of rainfall. we begin to find the crust formed in situations favorable for its accumulation. with a diminished rain fall. .

the soil and climate. regarded as an Besides maize the American may be land has yielded two valuable food plants. the peculiarly hot and rather dry character of the American particularly well. which came to this country from Europe. which in North America. and very productive grain known as maize or Indian corn. DOMESTICATED PLANTS OF THE UNITED STATES. oats. North America may be deemed extremely well suited to roots. flourishes so well that it any of the grains in the will grow tolerably well in suits it produces nearly twice as much food per acre as Old World.OF NORTH AMERICA. Although maize many and it countries. wheat. barley. The potato has been carried from of all the continents. human use. The value of a country to mankind depends more upon the useful plants that will grow within it than upon any other natural feature.. On the amount of pro duction of those articles which serve as food for man or his domesticated animals the agriculture of a country Measured by the plants which fit necessarily depends. All the grains. another of the country except some of the peculiar kinds of millet grown in the central parts of Africa. the potato and the tomato. all the grain crops are to a greater or less extent tilled in this country. rye. America has furnished to the world from its own soil the large etc. In addition to the small grains. which were known in the Old World before the discovery of America do well in one part or and fruits . America and extensively introduced in the cooler parts It differs from any other of the edible roots or tubers in the fact that it flourishes . summer essentially American crop. between Mexico and the northern part of the United States.

attain their highest perfec This region also affords crops of some of the tion. United States the number of the plants which can be grown trict. and some of the melons in which are limited their best development to the southern half of the United States. the ochra.194 NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES through a wider range of climate than any food-produc It grows well as ing plant of the same general nature. In general. guavas. The food plants of the United States proper are evenly distributed as regards their perfection With the exception of growth over the whole country. certain tropical ica or subtropical vegetables. is wel adapted to the growth . the Canadian dis corn does not flourish in any part of for Many of the roots are not successful there. as well as the sugar-cane. but they do not attain their best develop ment there. far north as any of the grains flourish. That part of the world. the food-producing plants of North Amer In the more very closely resemble those of Europe. contains a wide area it is fit suitable for the small grains. The whole of North America. ordinary grains. and it also yields tolerably abundant crops near down to the tropics. of the sweet potato. essentially the same kinds of food-yielding vegetables can be grown through North of the line of the all the area of those states. such as the banana and plan tain and the sweet potato. portion including the southern part of Florida and a portion of California coast. Panama northward to the southern of and Mexico. however. vegetables of of the From the Isthmus of a tropical character such as palms. pineapples. Indian food purposes rapidly diminishes. southern portion of the country. as far north as for the purpose of tillage. are more successful than in any part Old World occupied by Europeans. however.

hot summer. Of both these articles North America produces the largest amount which enters into the commerce of the world. the Missouri. is in its origin pecu liar to the New to the climate of World. North America has many impor tant varieties. 195 of the grasses which when dried afford the principal winter food of our ordinary domesticated animals. North America has in general an advantage over any other district of equal size known in the world. Tobacco. may be regarded as The cotton crop of North America produced in the region south of the Ohio. been introduced from foreign lands. and the Potomac rivers. with the generally large supply of A rain with intervening periods of very dry weather. The most impor tant of these. value of the staple crops which are cut and dried for the barnyard animals in northern regions usually exceeds that of any other single agricultural product. are the cotton and the tobacco plants. some of which are indigenous others have . aid the Of the plants which though not serving for food yet work of man. and as re gards the production of these articles of food for beasts. at least the spe cies which enters much into use. Cotton is not a native plant. it supports more species of plants suited for the food of man than are tilled in Europe. long. favors The actual the growth and harvesting of these crops. it having been introduced from either Asia or Africa. and probably as great a number as any other continent affords.OF NORTH AMERICA. principally in the all now . Taking the continent as a whole. and it is so much better suited North America than to any other a characteristic feature of region its is it vegetation. which do not come in the group of foodproducers and which attain peculiar success in North America.

While the general like ness between the animal life of the two regions is great. the neethe and the and tarine. is cul tivated from the northern part of the United States It is a peculiarity of this plant to Central America. their character there are shall not many singular features to note. but only in this southern field is the summer long enough to permit it to ripen its seeds and thus produce the fibres of cotton which are found upon them. the banana. or century plant. southern Atlantic states and those which border upon The plant will grow over the larger part of the tilled area of the continent. many other smaller . on the whole. In the tropical regions of America another plant char acteristic of the continent. give any extended account of the less important crea- We . the Agava. summer making a very strong fibre serving purposes of hemp. as for instance the orange. ANIMALS. that the quality of the product varies very much in dif ferent parts of the country and even on adjacent fields . and the apple and peach. It is only in the fruits that the products of the soil of North America are exceeded by those of the Old World. Tobacco. are more successful in the United States than in the Old World but the grape. date.196 NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES the Gulf. more successfully reared Old World than on this continent. A fermented drink many in much used Mexico is made from its juices. fig. on the other hand. are. Cer is serviceable for of the tain fruits. but it can be reared in any part of the land where the is moderately long and hot. in the The native animals of North America differ more in from those of Europe and Asia than do the plants of the two countries. fruits.

we have a very wonderful variety of beautiful creatures commonly known as fresh-water clams. or creatures lacking the peculiar ity of a bony internal skeleton of the back-boned kind. is It would be possible for the naturalist who the variety of these creatures. or shell-fish.OF NORTH AMERICA. because they are often swept down the streams in times of flood and . these forms are more plentifully developed than in any other part of the world. or articulated animals. we forms which are so interesting that they In the kindred of the mollusca. or Naiades. particularly those south of Canada. Among the group to which man himself belongs. the rivers of North America. Almost every considerable stream has its pecu side of liar species which is not found in other waters. which though very interesting to naturalists are little known to the common reader. his journey. We shall pass lightly over them and give most of our attention to the higher and more familiar creatures found among our back-boned animals. by from any of the lesser rivers. 197 tures such as the radiates. to tell on just what waters he had been placed. the lower creatures of the sea and land. they are capable of travelling with considerable freedom by means of an extended organ commonly called the foot. which is essentially like the instrument by which the snail crawls over the surface of the land. This contrivance is of great use to them. especially in In the Mississippi its the head-waters of streams on the eastern the valley. In the first place. we note the fact that in find several must receive at least a passing notice. even if he had been conveyed to this well acquainted with taking the individuals The Naiades station in ignorance as to the course of are peculiar in many ways. Valley. called by naturalists Unionidae. molluscs. the so-called invertebrates.

or other mischances which might interrupt the growth and development of its surface. This reason seems to be in part at : least as follows the rivers south -of the Ohio. in place of being thrown forth into the water. in the We thus see how the variety and beauty by Unlike most other forms of living beings. at a good height above the sea. these Naiades frequently produce very beautiful pearls though the danger of means the young are secured being swept away in times not those of most value for ornament. as is the case with other shell-fish. these slowmoving creatures cannot migrate to meet the needs group of animals arid plants may be determined the geological history of the region they occupy. have been for many geological periods in about their present state. and thus the creatures have been able to on from go geological period to geological period.198 NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES have to crawl back to a place proper for their needs. perhaps. no other region in the world where an equally extensive system of rivers has for so long a geological time been preserved from submergence beneath the sea and the destruction which glaciers would bring. By this against when the river flows very swiftly. Like their kindred in other lands. gradually changing and developing their peculiarities. these forms. The females have also a pouch along the side of the gills in which the eggs are stored and hatched. There is. The land has not been lowered beneath the sea glaciers have not overridden . It is interesting to note the reason why these Unioni- dae have undergone such an abundant development and have attained so great a diversity in American waters. the accidents of long-continued drought which might dry up their waters. .

species of very large shell-bearing snails which. and so are dependent on the of the part of the world in which they the snails. this we find certain peculiarities characteristic of In the Old World there are several country. it is only the . this group attains a greater luxu many riance on the eastern coast of North America than in States. and better suited to them than those of any other part of the world. of IQ9 conditions dwell. Among the kinsmen of our ordinary crab and lobster the American coast affords a peculiar crustacean. to cer None tain peoples. so even consists in the great development of oysters in the salt and brackish waters of the eastern coast of the United Although oysters are tolerably abundant along other shores. in fact. prove an attractive article of food. of these large forms are native in North America. apparently find The forms grow the conditions to a larger size. pressed by hunger as often were. changing climate. but from certain singular features in its It has the curious habit of personal and race history. or king crab.OF NORTH AMERICA. and among our aborigines. not only on account of its very peculiar form. shedding at once in an annual molting the skin over all split the external parts of its body. leaving its envelope open along the broad front margin in such perfect animal state that the collector often supposes he has the real in his possession. This creature is peculiar to the waters of the Pacific Ocean and to the coast of North America as creature is far north as Nova Scotia. The interesting. known as Limulus. when. these creatures were rarely used for they Yet another interesting feature in our mollusca food. any other region. the remote kindred of the water Among molluscs.

forming an effective armor.2OO NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES shell abandoned which has grown too small for the creature in the course of growth. the world over. cicada. The rattlesnake is a most peculiar serpent in that it has upon its tail shapely bits of hard dried skin. these species of crotalus are by far the most to be feared. show and some other reptiles deserve mention. like that this system of rivers has proceeded from the distant past. but are now no longer found in the Atlantic except on the eastern coast of America. is also a survival of a pattern of creatures which were once common American waters. the Mississippi and the streams which head near its tributaries of The waters abound in gar-pikes. pro sound humming quite like that made by the or when it is locust. but are now limited to In. Although calling its mate.from the tropics north- . Among the peculiar animals of North America. commonly called alligator gars from the fact that the surface of their bodies is pro tected by a strong coating of bone-like plates. like the king crab. Equally interesting is the fact that this singular animal is the last survival of a series of similar forms extending from the Devonian time to the present day. for the reason that they are the most plentiful and hinder part . The some fishes of North America contain numerous in teresting of forms.of the serpent duce a shrill widely distributed. the Mississippi there are several life. which when shaken by the rapid movement which takes place in the of rattlesnakes s body when it is excited. They range. and they. This creature. species other fishes which recall the ancient the Naiades before referred to. Its kindred were once dis tributed far and wide in the ocean waters. there are a number of other poisonous snakes in North America.

robins. but this species only extends beyond the tropics in the extreme southeastern corner of Florida. though not just the same as their European kindred. wrens. it it has poison glands and fangs like other deadly is not known ever to use them. for which were invented European birds. the mocking-bird. in general.. humming-birds. a singular character to the etc. commonly misnamed the buf first dis- falo.OF NORTH AMERICA. There are. 2OI ward to near the northern limits of the United States. tropical portion of the continent there are numerous crocodiles. other noteworthy serpent This is the Elaps. or coral snake of the Carolina district. however. the turkey. a larger and fiercer kinsman of the alligator In many . parts of the region bordering on the Gulf of and thence southward to the Isthmus. much of the those of Europe . some peculiar birds in North America which have no close relations in the Old World the . resemble them closely. In the abound. which at the time when the country was . and is reck oned as innocuous. were reasonably applied to many American species which. common names first sparrows.. Of these the most conspicuous is the bison. The birds of North America like are. give winged life of this country. singular feature of the Elaps is that. alligators Mexico. A although serpents. where there is a little colony of them containing in all perhaps a few very hundred individuals. Among the suck-giving forms there are a number of creatures peculiar to this continent. the etc. a beautiful creature closely akin to exceedingly deadly forms which occur in South America. indeed. but are most venomous and abundant in the southern half of the continent One alone can here be referred to. and in places they attain a great size.

2O2 NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES covered by the whites existed in exceeding abundance on the open plains of the Mississippi Valley. still abounds in the mountain districts of the Cordilleras from the Mexican line northward to the high In the United States. that in place of the millions which existed beginning of this century. but differ from those familiarly known to us. opossums are found. is No kin represented by about thirty-five varieties. There are three species of these opossums known in North America the group is very much more abundant in South America. the largest and most ferocious beast any known in Europe in his toric times. white men first visited Australia. dred of these forms now live on any other of the conti When nents except South America and Australia. was there any so large a beast existing in such vast droves as these bisons. in the fact that they have pouches on the abdomen in which the young are nurtured for some months after their birth. there are probably not hundred now living within the limits of the United A few thousand probably survive in the for States. These creatures belong to the group of suck-giving animals. and southward to South north. The grizzly bear. is in They have now been at the five so far destroyed in the advance of civilization. at least modern geographical times. Among the lesser mammalian animals of this country there are . It probable that nowhere else in the world. ests north of the line between the United States and Canada. greater than . where it of his kind. especially in the woodland districts. all the suck-giving animals had this peculiarity of structure. and occa sionally penetrated in small bands through the woods as far as the shores of the Carolinas and Virginia. America.

there are many kinds existing in Europe and Asia. are All the other noteworthy animals of this continent more or less perfectly represented in Europe and Asia by related kinds. leopards. Of these we will note a few of the more Southern Asia abounds in monkeys. though originally devel species of wild-cat. had disappeared from both North and South America before the coming of man. our American occupied by panther and our several range north of Mexico. 2O3 some very of the beautiful forms which are familiar to readers of this book. which find no representatives in North America.OF NORTH AMERICA. The true camel and the dromedary. jackals. North America has but few species of these interesting animals. tigers. are very interesting little creatures. and even more in Africa. of them of large size. some These are the various kinds of ground squirrels. which along with the horse have . so that when the European settlers came to this country they were able to name most of the conspicuous animals by their evident European kinds. commonly known as prairie dogs. The horse. particularly attractive from the fact that they dwell together in col onies. Although the animals of North America are in a general way like those of the Old World. Their place is imperfectly are wanting in the New. all of which are akin to true These ground squir squirrels which inhabit the trees. The ground United squirrels of the eastern part of the States are less conspicuous because they are solitary animals. on the American continent in early Tertiary oped times. and none of them likeness to The hyaenas. some important. among the beasts of prey of the Old World. rels of the western plains.

and that had long ago passed away before the country was settled by Euro Rhinoceroses and hippopotamuses. the Rocky Moun tain sheep.. together peans. of bulls known to exist in Old World. an apparently untamable animal. the silkworm. the . we make a list of all the domesticated animals which serve mankind in an important way. and twenty-five including the bee. unless we count the turkey such an important contri If bution. which affords quinine. with a host of strange beasts peculiar to Africa. have had no foothold on this continent. it has not furnished a single valuable animal to the use of civilized man. etc. the larger back-boned animals of North America were very far inferior in variety and grade of development to of lands. potato. being their less valuable only representative in the Of the various species the New World. As a whole. In their stead we have in South America the smaller and vicuna or alpaca. This is more clearly seen when we remember that while the American continents have given a great many valuable vegetables to the use of the world. tomato. there are about well domesticated species of tolerably of about twenty . and the so-called Peruvian bark from the chincona tree. there existed but one in this country down perhaps to the time when man first came to it. including in the list the familiar barnyard fowls. those of the Old World group In this respect the animal life of the New World is in singular contrast to its plant life. including the maize.2O4 NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES played so large a part in the history of man in the Old World. Wild bulls and wild goats were lacking in the Americas. appear never to have existed in America. although forms of great size. we have a total cochineal.

OF NORTH AMERICA.
animals which

2O5
the
interests
of

have largely served

man. have afforded, through their strength, their wool, their meat, or in the case of the dog by their companionship But one to man, help in the advance of civilization.
out of this
list,

Of

these, twelve are suck-giving animals which

the turkey, as before stated,
is

is

derived
least

from America, and this creature
all

perhaps

of

in value.

MINERAL RESOURCES OF NORTH AMERICA.
In their savage state men depend almost altogether goods which the world gives them upon the

for the

native animals of the land
plants which yield nuts,

and waters, and the wild

fruits, or fibrous bark.

From

the bodies of the animals they obtain food, and from their skins raiment even their bones serve them for
;

points for their spears, etc. slight ad vance in the arts brings men to the stage where they

rude

tools,

A

work

certain kinds of stone into the shape of

weapons

or domestic utensils.

the develop ment of their industries they burn certain kinds of clay in the shape of pots for cooking and storing food.
in

Yet further on

Slowly they learn to plant certain seeds and to reap It is only, however, when men rise above the state of savagery and set their feet firmly on the
the harvest.

paths which lead to civilization that they look to the In time, under-earth for any contributions to their life.

however, they are led to the use of metals. Copper, which occasionally occurs in its native state
as a metal buried in the rocks, appears in most cases to have been the first metallic substance to attract the

attention of men.

At

first

they dug

it

from

its

bed-

2O6

NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES
Gradually, however, they learned

places with rude tools.
to use fire with rude

blowing instruments, made from the hides of animals something in the fashion of the blacksmith s bellows, which enabled them to produce
the metal not only from the fragments containing it in the native state, but also from the ores, or combinations
of the metal with other substances.

This

art of

smelt

ing copper by the use of fire aided by a blast appears to have originated in the Old World, and to have had no
place

among the natives of this country. As soon as men found the use of fire in winning metals from the

earth, they were put in the way of helping themselves to resources which were denied to them in their more

They soon began to mingle the molten with and thus made bronze, which is very tin, copper much harder and better suited for tools, ornaments, and
primitive state.

weapons.
iron ores,

They

naturally

came

in a short

time to smelt

and thus to find their way to the use of a cheaper and harder metal than they had before known. With advancing civilization this use of the underground resources in the form of metals and other mineral prod ucts has gone forward very rapidly, until now there are hundreds of substances won from the underground and
converted to the needs of man.
easily see that while to the American Indian other savages of simple needs, the character of

We

and
the

under-earth was of no consequence, as he looked to the surface alone for his supplies, the nature of the rocks

beneath the country occupied by civilized men is a mat While the soil ter of the utmost importance to them. is now, and must ever be, the principal source whence men obtain the objects of necessity and the simpler
luxuries in the

way

of food

and jaiment, the under-earth

OF NORTH AMERICA.
affords to cultured

2O/

men a share of their needs only less important than that which is secured from the soil. The importance of the mineral supplies which may be
won beneath
the earth
s

surface

is

increased by the fact

that these valuable products are not found everywhere, All parts of the world but only in favored places.

which are by climate fit for the uses of man have soils which will produce food in a certain abundance, but probably not more than one-tenth of such regions have below their surface mineral resources of sufficient value
to repay the costs of winning result is that in such favored

them by mining.
regions
it

The

is

generally

profitable to the people to devote a great part of their attention to the industries which will secure these prod

ucts of the deeper earth.
districts

Even

if

the

soil

of

such

to dwell

be barren, it may be advantageous for men there and win their living by mining work.

Therefore, in taking an account of the conditions of North America which may affect the welfare of civilized

men, we must attentively consider the distribution
its

of

mineral resources.

Although North America has been known to Euro peans for more than four hundred years, and the greater part of its surface has only been visited by white men during the present century, we have a tolerably good
knowledge
of its mineral

wealth.

We

are,

it

is

true,

ignorant of what in the way of valuable minerals may lie beneath the surface of a large part of British Amer

Alaska, and Greenland, but these lands are so inhos pitable that until the mineral wealth of all parts of the
ica,

world have been exhausted,

it

is

not likely that

much

attention will be given to them. In Mexico and in the Cordilleras northward to a distance of some hundred

208

NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES

miles beyond the Canadian boundary the country has been very assiduously searched for mineral stores, and the nature of that wealth is tolerably well known. The same may be said of the mountainous district of the Ap palachians from Newfoundland to Alabama. As a whole, we know more concerning the mineral resources of North

America than of any other continent except Europe. For convenience we may divide the mineral resources
any country into several classes of materials. As the simplest, we have the stones, which may serve for build ing purposes or for architectural ornaments of various kinds. Next, we have the deposits of metals, such as
of gold, silver, iron, copper, tin, zinc, etc. Thirdly, the re sources which yield heat or light, such as coal, petroleum,

or natural gas.

Fourthly, substances which may afford mineral manures, or materials which may be used in the refreshment of the soils exhausted by the tax which till

age puts upon them. Fifthly, we have the plastic clays, which serve in the arts of the potter, in making vessels
for domestic uses, or

making brick and many other

less

Last of all, we have a large group of important articles. important substances which contribute to our ordinary arts, such as precious stones, the earths which serve in

making
is

paint, etc.

the history of the rocks in which occur. Thus the metals, except iron, are generally they found in rocks which have once been deeply buried, ex

The distribution of much affected by

these several classes of substances

posed to the heat which exists

in

the depths of the earth,

and subsequently elevated into high land, where the beds which once covered them have been stripped away by the action of torrents and glaciers. Building stone, clay, and fuel materials are generally found in their best con-

OF NORTH AMERICA.
ditions, for use

2CK)

where the rocks have not been very much and where changed they have been preserved from the crumpling and other breakings brought about in moun
tain-building.

note that the greater part of the resources which are of value to man to a underground extent owe their presence in veins, or beds, to the great action of animals or plants which have lived in former
It is interesting to

geological ages.
in

This effect of ancient

life is

best seen

coal-deposits. Falling seeds, leaves, trunks, branches, and roots of trees which in other days were
in

our

accumulated

wet

places,
falls

formed

extensive

bogs.

upon tolerably dry ground it and the of which it is almost alto carbon, entirely decays, gether composed, passes by decay back to the air. Two atoms of oxygen unite with each atom of carbon, and
is that the carbon ceases to be a visible sub and becomes converted into a gas, disappearing stance, in the air, in the course of time to be reappropriated by the leaves and again built into wooely matter. The water of a swamp prevents this complete decay and causes the carbon to remain for a while in the form of When now this peaty matter is de peat or muck. the level of the sea and sealed in by beneath pressed

When woody

matter

the result

accumulations of sand, clay, or limestone, the carbon gradually takes on the form of coal, and in this con
dition

may be

preserved for geological ages.

It is

thus
of
of

easily seen that
its

light

when we burn coal and make avail and heat, we are served by the plant life

In gathering the carbon from the at ancient days. the mosphere plants do their work by virtue of the energy imparted to them through the sun s rays. They

can only do this work when the sun

is

shining upon

2IO
them.
is

NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES
Thus the vegetation which forms the coal-beds

not too

It is in the rocks. really imprisoned solar energy much to say that every coal fire yields us the energy of the sunshine of past geological ages, and that

we

could not have this store but for the action of the the case both with petroleum and rock

plants.

The same
g
as>

is

These sub natural gas, as it is commonly called. stances which are now of great value to man, are mainly,
not altogether, derived from the decayed animals and Imprisoned in the plants buried on old sea-floors.
if

rocVs

these fossil remains undergo a gradual decom position, and as a result of this chemical change we
fluid

have the

petroleum and the chemical compound

known

as natural gas.

Where

the Crocks
clay,

lie in their

original level position, the beds of

which form

layers in all thick series of bed-rocks, confine the gases and oil, as substances may be held in a bottle by means
If now we bore through these layers of clay between the porous sandstone in which the oil and gas have been accumulated, these substances rush forth with great force and may be gathered for use. It is easy to see that where the rocks have been crumpled, folded, and broken, as they necessarily are in mountain-built countries, the gas and oil have a chance to escape, and thus it naturally comes about

of a cork.

that the fields containing these substances lie in parts of the continent in which disturbances of the strata

have not taken place.

In a somewhat similar

way

coal-

beds are best preserved in regions where the strata have not been tossed about in mountain-building for where such breakings have occurred, the beds contain
;

ing coal, which are always of a rather

frail

nature, break

but . or if they remain. regions O In a less definite way the most of our other important minerals owe something of their accumulation in profit able deposits to the action of living beings in former The history of this relation of our geological times. but of such a nature that we should take is This history in brief pains to understand it. Thus. metals and other wealth-giving substances to animals and plants is somewhat complicated. which simply water charged with gas. or carbon dioxide. a bed of decayed vegeta familiar of rotten leaves and twigs and the mass tion. constantly pass ing back into the atmosphere in the form of carbonic acid gas. are only found in small patches not well placed for the miner s use. our feet in any old forest. Thus it comes about that our fuel deposits formed by the intervention of organic life are best preserved in of little disturbed rocks. The gas. It therefore absorbs a great deal of this carbon dioxide on its way downward through the soil. this decaying woody matter is. as it is sometimes called. When so charged with this gas it acquires a vastly greater power it had before. a capacity which rain-water has a singular power of absorbing this is made use of in making sodais water. . the rain-water as follows : when it falls upon the lands contains no mineral sub is it stances. by commonly passes through combining with the oxygen of the air. where pure rain-water will absorb but one part of lime. it can take up fifty parts when it has all the carbonic acid gas of dissolving materials than it can hold. materials it when ready to dissolve a great variety of falls upon the surface of the earth. trunks which we find beneath As before noticed. 211 up easily under the action of frosts and streams and are apt to be washed away.OF NORTH AMERICA.

however. If the rivers continue to bring these mineral sub leaving them there when the waters come back to the lands. unfit for the existence marine animals or plants. like the waters of the Syria. These it bears to the all sea. It is probable that this withdrawal of mineral matter from the water goes on about as fast as it is introduced into the ocean from the land. or Salt of Lake in Dead Sea of Utah. common salt and some other saline mate rials. too. constantly increasing the dissolved matter which the water contains. which it penetrates. But all forms of animals and plants do not take different substances from the water in the same propor- . the sea would in time become so charged with these materials stances into the sea. all which can hardly dissolve them at can take them in solution in per pure when armed with this peculiar gas. are so large in quantity that they affect the palate. The very salt taste of the sea is due to the fact that certain of these substances. that these living beings of the sea are constantly re moving these dissolved substances from the water.212 NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES all So. the metals. ceptible quantities state. building them into their bodies. On its way downward through the earth and through the rocks. When the left sea-water is evaporated. The result is that sea-water has in solution greater or less portions of all the substances. The fact is. with in the the other substances. and in time giving them back to the solid earth in the form of deposits accumulated on the sea-floor. which water can remove by the including process of solution from the rocks. that it would be. through the air. these substances are behind in the ocean. it dissolves from them a great deal of mineral matter of very varied kinds. water. including most of the metals.

etc. up a great charge of the materials. The way in which these veins are formed is very As long as the waters that penetrate them are simple. and in time drain away by the pressure of steam and other gases. such as may be formed by a break in the rocks. as. The mineral substances of the rocks may be still further concentrated into veins. tion. or many successive layers. waters they contain become heated. pel them upward to the surface. As they rise they move up through the opening. which im . silver. it hot and under great pressure they are constantly dissolv If. when they have taken ing the mineral substances. for instance. and so forms a vein accumulation which the miner can afterwards explore for the sub- . and so the mineral matter is to a . which have grown upon the ocean floor for a very long time. may be of copper. the materials. the creat ures allied to crabs and lobsters. Some other shell-bearing creatures remove carbonate of The result is that where a deposit lime from the waters. through which the water passing. which are rich in particular mineral If now these beds become deeply buried. take out phosphate of materials. of the remains of animals and plants of peculiar kinds. the deposits accumulated by the death and decay of the creatures contain a peculiarly large quantity of one or another of the forms of mineral substances and so it happens that in strata we may have beds. phosphate of lime. lime on the sea-bottom is composed. as is often the case. towards the air their heat is constantly diminishing the pressure because they come into cooler rocks is also lowered. 213 kinds of sea-weed appropriate particular Certain animals. . certain extent is deposited in a cavity. the way is open to the passage of the substances to the surface through a crevice.OF NORTH AMERICA.

we find ourselves surrounded by a region of varied mineral wealth. the Missouri and Arkansas. Ozarks of Beginning our survey with the best-known field.. the territory of is somewhat naturally divided into three great fields. and thence in the interior districts . and some other smaller areas hereafter to be mentioned. the . the occupied by the old wornIn addition to these three of the St. a geographic dependency of the Cordilleras. the Appalachian Mountains may be taken as extending from northern Newfoundland to country. the Black Hills. As before described. corresponding in position to the site of the three most considerable systems of mountain elevation. Lawrence.214 NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES stances he seeks. there are a number of subordinate areas. On tain the eastern shore belt . we have the Appalachian moun on the western face of the continent. process by which mineral matter shape to be of use to man. also grouped about and within the lesser mountain the Adirondacks of northern New York. which are not distinctly connected with any mountain systems. is concentrated into a As North America regards the under-earth resources. Cordilleran district third important and north that field. northern Alabama. and from the central parts of the Ohio Valley to the Atlantic sea-shore as far south as Richmond. Va. districts. that which has longest served the interests of man and has contributed the most to the economic prosperity of the the Appalachian district. for there the strata are most liable to the breakage which most makes the cavities in which the veins are formed and we also see how organic life serves as an agent in the . down Laurentian Mountains. We thus see how it is that veins are likely to be formed in mountain-built rocks. principal divisions.

southward to central South Carolina and Georgia. which hold a smaller amount of this material. those of and Indiana but the prin cipal mass of the valuable coal-areas of the Appalachians ing considerable areas Illinois. district lie either to the east or west of the principal axes of that system. as before noted. contain good coal. for the uses of man. The most important feature in the Appalachian min found in the very large proportion of car bonaceous substances which occur within its area. mineral field 215 This occupies somewhere near the twentieth that of portion of the area of the continent which part by its climate is made fit for the uses of civilized men. basins. and the eastern. In general.OF NORTH AMERICA. or that stage in the when the most abundant deposits of this nature were produced. the coal-beds of the Appalachian its of coal. and this for the reason that the central dominant part of the chain is composed of rocks which were formed and uplifted before earth s in a mountainous shape the history Carboniferous age. The western field occupies an almost continuous area extending from northern Pennsylvania southward to central Alabama. so large an amount of these pre cious materials which yield light and heat and the power which drives steam-engines. or seaboard. the field of largest area containing more than nine-tenths of all the coal in the eastern part of North America. Outlying parts of the field form western Kentucky. divided into First and most important are the depos three groups. These carbonaceous materials are. . There are thus two areas western of coal-fields in this part of the continent. . No other mountain system of the world contains within its eral district is disturbed district or in the table-lands adjacent to its mountain-built rocks.

The most of these mines are situated in important Cape Breton. there are some small areas which contain good It is expensive to work these deposits. to a of the sea-waves. it does not seem likely that they will prove of much value. and partly included within. have been much disturbed by and their tilted positions make it difficult for miners to win the material. some of which were formed.2l6 lies in NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES the district immediately adjacent to. In place of the continuous belt of coal-bearing rocks. the Alleghany Mountains. many small detached masses of coal the main have been formed. Next south. in Nova Scotia and Cape Breton. for the coal. but in the ages immediately following of upon Beginning with the northern portion lachian basin. great extent. age. the Appa the existence of some deposits of coal in Newfoundland. changes acted with great force all along the Atlantic border. with of of the level the continent have which. So far none of these coal- we observe and bearing strata of this remote island have been worked. by irregular wear folding ing away of the rocks which has resulted from their folded condition. worn away by the action which lies on the western side of the Appalachians. and in places J^elow the floor of the reason that the beds mountain-building. ocean. west of the Blue Ridge. where the coal is followed in dipping strata beneath the sea-level. of the Appalachians the coal-fields have been. Here and the mountain and the there. or principal axis of the Appa To the east lachians. we have on the east half a dozen detached basins. separated by slight intervals from field but as a whole the coals lying to the . lie in a great connected area. not during the Carbo niferous it. .

by the long-continued action of river glaciers and of the sea at higher levels than it now occupies. of Rhode Island. containing an abundance of coals which were formed during the age commonly known is a small basin the great like that as the Trias.. we have the next more southern field of In this interesting basin the coal. is a very hard anthracite. which is of an ordinary soft or so it much changed. indeed. down to a nearly From Rhode Island southward to southern Virginia there are no traces of coal occurring in economic quan In the region about Richmond. bituminous character. although the amount . the whole of the deposits containing coal have either been stripped away by the action of the sea and that of glacial ice or lie buried beneath In the region about Narraganthe level of the ocean. In this field the beds con taining the coal are exceedingly crumpled and twisted by mountain-building action. from its original nature that cannot be burned in an open fire or in a profitable way in making steam therefore. has been very much dis turbed by mountain-building forces. though at present. sett Bay. it has not proved of much service in the arts.OF NORTH AMERICA. partly within Rhode Island and partly in Massachusetts. been planed down by the sea until its nearly level . and was probably at one time the seat of lofty elevations but it too has . coal-making time. which followed almost immediately after This Richmond basin. unlike that of Nova Scotia. The region has evidently been at one time the seat of tolerably high mountains. Va. From Nova Scotia southward to Massachusetts and Rhode Island. coal-bearing rocks. of coal in this basin is large. there tities. the surface has been planed level form.

000 square miles of workable beds. causes the mines to be of a very fiery character. but have proved essentially valueless because of the irregularity of the strata and the quantity of gas which exudes from the deposits. These coals of the Virginian district.2l8 surface NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES is only a few feet above the present level of the ocean. extending from the northern part of Pennsylvania to central Alabama. The coal-fields on the western side of the Blue Ridge. deposit richest. but contain more beds of useful fuel. unlike those of yield a : large Rhode Island. liable to great explosions of what the miners term fire-damp. which when mixed with atmospheric air readily explodes. Including the fields of southern Michigan and those of Indiana. this basin is of no great economic Yet further south and further inland in North value. the These character of which is not yet well known.great coal-field of China. On this account. but have been separated from it by the wearing action of rivers and frost. unless it several parts of the Appalachian coal-fields contain a total area of near 100. and also because the beds lie in very inconvenient posi tions owing to the mountain-building to which they have been subjected. This area is at least several times as extensive as that . and Kentucky. which were once united with the main field. this western coal-field is the largest. Illinois. and on the whole the most extensive of any or likely to be discovered in the world. amount of are extremely inflammable and gas even before they are burned the quantity of this gas. are on the whole not only more con tinuous than those of the Atlantic shore. Carolina there are two or three small fields of similar coal which have been somewhat mined at various times. known should be the.

the Mississippi Valley the great streams of that river system provide the* miner with cheap ways by which he coal in the Appalachian That is. Anthracite is that form of coal in which the material burns with little or no flame. the and their extent. with a smoky flame. and on account of its superior heating powers is of great value. cite. The greater portion of the deal of matter which of gas. since they were buried. The Rhode Island coals are also anthra but as before remarked are too hard for use. . known localities of anthracite occurring in quanti have value ties sufficient to The stores of petroleum in the Appalachian district. and natural gas contained in the Appalachian district are altogether limited to the region west of the Alleghany division of that system. for the reason that it yields no gas. but now divided from that area and from each other by the mountain folds in which anthra cite or hard coals are found. Although these little basins have in all not more than five hun dred square miles. so far from their original character that they are only of value for other There are no particular uses. when heated passes into the state In central Pennsylvania there are a number of small fields originally connected with the west Appa lachian coal-area.OF NORTH AMERICA. for the reason that it yields a great may take the fuel to market. They are so placed as to be near to the most fertile In lands of the continent and to the sea-shore. coal-bearingposition by rocks of the Appalachian district are better suited to the needs of man than those of any other country. occupied by the coal-fields of Great their 2IQ Both Britain. the coal burns district is of the soft variety. hav ing been changed. the coal usually occurs in very thick beds. such as smelting ores.

but the most of this oil and gas field is within the region which has been somewhat elevated by the same forces which have crumpled the beds further to the east. also necessary that in the bed above where the decom position took place there should be dense layers of a clayey sort serving to confine the gas and prevent it escap ing to the surface. which are generally associated to was necessary for a quantity of the remains of gether. It was furthermore important that no . but the breaking of the rocks which was brought about by the mountain-building gave the gas in these horizontal an opportunity to escape. in the crevices of which. It is probable that the same oil and gas found rocks originally occurred in the mountain-built rocks of Pennsylvania and the neigh boring districts. coarse sandstones. They are in deed beyond the true boundaries of the district. but it was required for their preservation in the strata that there should be porous rocks such as oil it To form between the grains. near the Mississippi to the foot of the mountains on the The fact that these substances are found only in is readily explained when we under stand the conditions of their formation and preservation. which has been dislocated by the Appalachian mountain-build ing movements. and it forced along with oil. is it the The oil and gas of the region west of the Mississippi now found in patches scattered over the region from west. the spaces It was oil and gas could be stored. animals and plants to accumulate in strata. leaving the strata without either material. particular localities and gas.220 NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES field of table-lands They occupy the which lie on the eastern flank of the Mississippi Valley in the neighboring portions of the basin of the Great Lakes. By their gradual decay these remains produced those valuable substances.

or the quantity is so small that it is not profitable. have only here and there conditions which permit us to obtain oil or gas by boring through the overlying strata to the bed in which it is stored. easily seen that these conditions necessary for the formation and storage of petroleum are not likely to occur everywhere over a large district and so we It is . it tained in the fluid as Along with the rock oil con comes out of the ground is found a great variety of valuable substances.OF NORTH AMERICA. lest the gas should go out. which is . where the conditions of its natural storage appear to be essentially like those of the American district. 221 breaks should exist in these overlying dense layers. When thus obtained. driving the oil along with it. At amounts to as much as one thousand pounds times this to the inch. cesses there When By in its various pro very inflammable oils known as naphthas. The gas rushes forth with great energy where oil was formed with it this oil is driven out with great violence and may be In other cases there is no oil gathered for the market. which though not fit for lamps may . about the town of Baiku. The petroleum. from these wells of the Ohio Valley now affords the principal supply of kerosene used in the world like so great a the only other region with anything product is that on the shores of the Cas : pian Sea. though the gas may be abundant the supply is often : conveyed in pipes to distant points and used for a great variety of purposes. natural state this oil is a black fluid. found. we find the gas . and escape to the air. or from five to ten times the pressure of steam in an ordinary engine boiler. separated from used for making wax-like candles is it paraffine. or rock oil. is always under great pressure.

peculiar oils. in the manner before described. Beginning on the north. Among iron. they have not been of iron with much studied. and plenty. which serve for lubricating machinery and a great range of other less important products. New York and Pennsylvania iron ores occur in greater has New England western North Carolina. no other region world is known to afford such quantities of rock gas as are obtained in the last-named district. no noteworthy iron ores except in the region bordering on New York In state. They are also plentiful in Nova Scotia and Cape Breton. but it is in Virginia. . certain .222 NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES . afterward converted into iron ore in a curious and interesting way. be used for making gas and in various other arts great variety of dyes a known as aniline colors . on account of the inaccessibility of the island. the water first takes up in the soil. various combinations abound throughout the Appa oxygen lachian region. the ores of the metals found in the Appa lachian district we must give the that first place to those of Ores of this nature is. Although the Caspian obtained in the field promises in the end to in the afford a supply of petroleum possibly as great as that Ohio Valley. perhaps hundreds of feet in depth. eastern Tennessee. where there are some considerable deposits. which were originally composed of limestone. Where the bed of limestone has a thick mass of sandstone. In all this southern region the iron ores are princi pally found in beds. northern Georgia and Alabama. where. and where the rain-water is free to overlying it creep down through the soils to thesv rocks. we find these ores abundant in Newfoundland. eastern Kentucky that we find the great iron district of the Appalachian mountain system.

. though it contains a certain of other metals. generally a good deal of iron in sandstone rocks. The result of these advantages is that in the states above named the manufacture of iron is coming to be a very exten sive industry. A considerable amount of gold former days produced in Virginia and the Carolinas and Georgia but it has proved impossible to work these mines with free labor with the same profit which in . limestone. but the precious metals of the Appalachian district are on the whole of small importance. so when it comes to the layer of lime the water has a good deal of that metal in solution. So. and in its we have left a carbonate of iron. In Nova Scotia a few gold mines are profitably worked.OF NORTH AMERICA. a certain 22$ amount of carbonic acid gas. peculiar advantage possessed by these irons of the southern Appalachian district consists in the fact that good coal lies immediately near the beds. The presence of this gas in the water enables the fluid to dissolve the There is iron oxide with which it comes in contact. Some copper ores have . was was obtained when slaves could be used. taking lime in its place the limestone left Gradu where metal is lay before. It then abandons the and so the oxide of the iron. nearly is made. less more or all the iron of the Southern states changed by the action of the water. The Appalachian amount district. that they have relatively little value. abounds in this district. From this ore. is so far surpassed in these re sources by other parts of the continent. ally in this place manner all the lime goes away. is easily obtained. which it is necessary to use along with the iron ore and the fuel to make the melted matter flow easily. and so the A material for smelting the ore too.

fit The sandstones for statuary purposes. but the product has Ores of manganese. New Jersey. S. and in a field western Florida. North Carolina. southwestern Virginia. The building stones and clays of the Appalachian On the coast of New England the region are valuable. and quarried. occurs in considerable abundance in Massachusetts. when mixed with other in large quantities and materials. which are used not been very great. in making certain kinds of steel and for producing oxygen needed in bleaching processes. New Hamp It is considerably mined. Georgia. are produced in Virginia. are much Vermont. and the shire. These phosphates are dug utilized. are extensively quarried. a combination of iron and sulphur. used for building From Maine to Georgia.. as artificial . somewhat remote from the Appalachian Mountains. and eastern Ten nessee. are extensively. in the central por purposes. Clays from the central portion of the Appalachian district south of The pottery purposes. Zinc ores abound in New Jersey. and Virginia. though locally. which although not building. in Vermont. but at present they are not much mined. of the Appa little changed rocks on the western flank lachians yield at many places excellent water cements. ore is used in making sulphuric acid. granites very eastern Tennessee afford a great deal of marble.C. is excellent for of New Jersey and the Con necticut Valley. which come from the rocks of Triassic age. there are extensive deposits of lime phosphate derived from the remains of ancient ani mals which used these substances in forming their skele tons. are largely New York dug for On the Atlantic in coast near Charleston. and East Tennessee. tions of the Appalachian district.224 NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES been mined in Newfoundland. slates fit for roofrng and other purposes. Iron pyrite.

So large is the sup ply obtained from the mines in this district that it con tributes to commerce more of that metal than any other in In this region also there are equal area in the world. The ore is very rich. The greater part of the deposits of iron and copper yet discovered lies on the southern shore of Lake Superior. where it is used in making steel. Lawrence which has begun to be examined. and on this account can be profitably transported to great distances. a form in which it seldom occurs is iron. promise to be mineral resources of the Laurentian district are All that part of is it of great value. manures for cotton latter. Phosphate deposits. travellers. It is This region remarkable for the large quantities of and phosphate of lime which it contains.OF NORTH AMERICA. containing from sixty to seventy per cent. a dense black ore which has the property region is now of attracting the magnet. 225 and other crops. from which the waters flow towards by Hudson Bay hardly yet explored only the portion which drains into the St. any quantity in other countries. which are principally used for . in what is called the upper or northern peninsula of the In this region the copper is found state of Michigan. though as yet but partly explored. Less valuable de in posits of a similar kind are found at a number of points North Carolina. The larger part of it is and Ohio and taken to the furnaces of Pennsylvania Illinois. copper. of extensive iron. This the seat of what is perhaps the largest production of iron ore obtained in any equally extensive area in the world. in the metallic state. of iron. of which the most val deposits very of uable occur in the form magnetite. and recent discoveries of the same sub These stance have been made in western Florida. The not well known.

In southeastern Missouri and southeastern Kansas there where extensive deposits of lead and zinc occur. but this region has not produced much The rocks of all this district were formed long before the coal-bearing rocks began to be deposited. Iowa there great deal it is a district which formerly contributed a the of lead to is though is no longer commerce of the world. but only in unimportant quantities. affords a good of magnetic character. whole the Laurentian district appears to contain less mineral As a much wealth than that which is found in the region to the southward. Immediately north of Lake Erie there a small district which has yielded some petroleum. and therefore they contain none of this valuable is material. The central portion of the Mississippi Valley. . advantageous to work the mines. of this precious metal. Yet further south. but these stores have proved of less importance since the discovery of This the great iron ore deposits in northern Michigan. manures. The Adirondack foot of the district. some the have once but mines lead. though almost destitute of mountains. mountains of that immediately around the name. there are extensive deposits an interesting field of the valuable ores of manganese. in the region about the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. region yielded deal of iron become exhausted. has sorrfe interesting Thus on the line between Illinois and mineral fields. abundantly occur north of The products of these mines are shipped to Europe. which have long been profitably worked. There are also in the region north of Lake Erie and Lake Superior some silver deposits.226 NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES artificial making the shore of Lake Ontario.

owing to their position. but they are fortunately scattered through the country. though as yet little known. In the Cordilleran district. and oil and gas are also rare. this The variety in the substances also greater than in any other land. inferior to those much of fuel are usually in quality which occur in the eastern part of the United States. in Oregon.OF NORTH AMERICA. they have. while the Cordilleran coals were laid down in later The deposits of rock stages of the earth s history. afforded from district Beginning with the fuel resources. and thus offers a favorable seat for . Wyoming. which but for these small basins of rather infe rior coal would have to be brought altogether from the eastern part of the Mississippi Valley. California. coals were formed in the so-called Carboniferous period. the formation and disclosure of mineral except as regards fuel materials this region deposits a larger store of mineral wealth than contains probably any other equally extensive area is in the world. and in petroleum known central to The deposits of Washington. has but a scanty supply of wood. we note that in this field there are few coals of the same geological age as those on the In general. 22/ from the foot of the Rocky Mountains west to the Pacific. fields are of as great area as those of the Appalachian region. The iron ores of the Cordilleran district are abundant . be of value are limited to the Although these stores portion of California. occurring in Colorado. the whole of the continent is mountain built. The mines and smelt ing works where ores are treated demand a great deal of fuel. a great economic The whole of the Cordilleran district importance. the eastern eastern part of the continent. None of the coal apparently have no great promise.

In no other region are these metals. A largest known deposits of precious metals in the world. Being very heavy. extent but for the high temperature which is encoun The miners not infrequently work in a heat of 120 F. Profitable gold mines are also worked at various points in the eastern portion of the Cordilleras as far north as southern Alaska. this Cordilleran district in deposits of gravel. at the depth of not more than two thousand feet below the surface. is first found of ancient Wherever the gold occurs to the process downwearing. they are far from great mar from fuel suitable for use remote kets and generally in furnaces. found in quantities suf ficient to justify mining over so large a field. The mines of the Comstock lode are remarkable not only for their tered. especially the first two named.. California was the first part of North America to produce any considerable quantities of gold. the ores containing gold. one of the this state. subjected by breaking up the rock. and copper. The most important mineral found in resources of this district are silver. The gold of rivers. releases the gold from its matrix in the form of little pellets it starts on its journey to : of which the country the sea. it finds lodgement among the pebbles of the stream bed or in crannies of the rock . From 1848 until the present date over one thousand millions of dollars worth of that metal have been produced within the limits of very large quantity of gold and a nearly of silver have been obtained from the great value equal vein in Nevada known as the Comstock lode. They have as yet been little the that for reason used.228 NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES and of very good quality. Perhaps the most extensive system of mines in the world are in operation in this deposit. was at formed along the path in veins.

and are gen. particularly surface the In in many parts of the Colorado and Cali flow from of fornia.OF NORTH AMERICA. are one or two hundred feet thick. but containing the most of the gold which was originally held in the rejected gravel. these gravels lying high above their present Sometimes the deposits of sand. by stirring the gravel with water. and does not go away to the sea until it has been pounded of into very small bits its by the action torrents. clay. over which the water flows. which causes the heavy gold to settle on the bottom gradually removing the pebbles. forming thus readily borne away by the streams. of stones driven over by Rocky Mountains. many cases the rivers have in recent left times abandoned their old stream beds and channels. the richest portion of the gold-bear ing material lying at the bottom of the deposit near the bed-rock. and an inclined main of bed . the ordinary rivers. accumulated vast amounts In this gravel containing gold. composed in the magnetic iron. is allowed to flow through the . Where way is to take up the gravel and wash the gold from it round-bottomed pan. and a stream of water the gold-bearing material is put in at the upper end. and gravel. the miner in a large . the auriferous gravel is thin and the gold in quantity. finally obtains a hand full of fine sand. all 229 Unlike the other metals. The more effective way is to wash the gold in a trough with little partitions across its bottom. remains uncorroded in the stream beds. or those which beneath ancient glaciers. save which platinum combine with oxy nearly or less soluble more combinations. the miner wins the precious large relatively The easiest metal from the mixture by simple means. not being oxidizable. gold. containing the precious metal.

23O NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES moved on rockers In this in trough. that the debris thus Carried into the streams . This was at one time a common method of mining the into the sluice-way. the is is caught just above the bars of wood. however. The miner then seeks to bring a stream of water from a distance in such a manner that at his works it may have a head of two hundred feet or more. the whole mass being fashion of an old-time cradle. nel. which rise a few inches above the bottom. A stream of water is made to course is through this chan into it. Directing this stream the bank of steep against gravel. so arranged that he may lead the water down to the workings by means of pipes. He then allows this water to flow from a nozzle like that which sends a stream from a commonly has fire engine. with very many little parti tions of wood. and none of the simpler Where systems are applicable. A from detritus is to have. aided by pouring a little quicksilver from time to time way the gold The process into the trough the quicksilver combines with the gold and helps to hold it in position as the sand and gravel still more effective pass by. and flies out with several times the force which it does from our fire apparatus. only the stream a diameter of from four to six inches or more. and per haps a thousand feet long. a long sluice-way of planks. it often happens that the gold does not amount to more than a few cents to the cubic yard of the mass. instead of the cradle. he washes the whole mass of debris a foot or two in strong diameter and to take them swiftly through the sluice. and the gold-bearing gravel dumped the gravel is very thick. enough to move bowlders The stream is often gold deposits. three or four feet wide. system of winning gold . large amount of It has been found.

though the supply is large. it occurs in associa tion with other substances. Nev. A is worked in Colorado. this it has been found by law. from southern Mexico to the northern part of the United States.OF NORTH AMERICA. covering them with masses of sterile sand and gravel. causing their bottoms to rise to such an extent that they flow out over the tillable lands. and of Eureka. Consequently it is generally more costly to produce the metal than in the mines of northern Michigan. 231 has not been taken away to the sea. manganese. The copper deposits of the Rocky Mountains are in the main limited to the districts of Nevada and Montana while about Lake Superior the greater part of the cop per is found in the metallic form. these North American localities have produced more of this metal than any other mines in the found associated with gold. it is world. and lead abound. Col.. but encumbers the paths of the rivers. largest production of silver has lode. in the Andes in and about Peru. and the lead is extensively pro- . in these Cordilleran districts. which usually occurs in pure form. silver is Almost invariably found in the form of oxides and much The of it in combination with the ores of other metals. and not in the metallic form. and that of Leadville. In consequence of necessary to stop. been from the Comstock in the where district after the silver country of Next South America. little of the iron Iron. . The Cordilleran district also affords a large number of other valuable metals and non-metallic earth products. mining by this hydraulic method. The silver deposits of the Cordilleran district of North America are widely distributed over the southern and western portions of the mountainous belt. Un like the gold.

but prob ably not in sufficient quantities to be profitably worked. The owing building materials of the Cordilleran district are. silver is duced from the from which the where it occurs in the ores extracted. but many kinds of stone formed by volcanic action. so that the character of the rocks and their mineral contents are In large part. for the forest clad than the parts of the district to the southward. or have entirely disap peared. silver mines. the surface is tute of woods and often without a covering generally desti of soil. to the complicated geology of the country. This cover of from hides the the rocks ing vegetation prospector s the other On from line south the Canadian hand. the rapid exten relatively well revealed. which have been produced by the Their plenty long-continued evaporation of lake waters. ward to southern Mexico. in this part of the world is due to the interesting fact fall amount of rain There were numerous large lakes which of old discharged by rivers to the sea. that in very recent geological times the has greatly diminished. Little is known concerning the mineral resources of the Cordilleras north of the line between Canada and the United States. eye. . They include not only the ordinary crystalline and sedimentary rocks. sion of mining in this great field is due to the ease with which the mineral wealth is discovered. but which are now represented by shrunken salt-water basins such as the Salt Lake of Utah. This region abounds in various classes of substances. ex tremely varied. Tin occurs.232 NATURAL PRODUCTS AND RESOURCES. The region reason that it is difficult is much more brush and to explore for its metals. leaving deserts where their waters once stood. such as salt and soda.

EFFECT OF THE FORM OF NORTH AMERICA. on the issue of the Civil War. The first European settlements of North America were placed along the shore of the Atlantic and the these colonies. Influence of geo first . where in the tenth century iTeT. The very earliest European peoples to come to were probably the ancestors of the or Danes. and also the influence of its surface on certain features in the early history of We shall now go further and trace the the which shape of the surface has influenced way and is now affecting the development of the country. Position of interior. From that outpost they rapidly pushed on to Greenland. EFFECT OF THE FORM OF NORTH AMERICA ON THE HIS TORY OF THE COLONISTS FROM EUROPE AND THEIR DESCENDANTS. European settlements. graphic conditions on slavery of the Mississippi River. Influence WE have America greatly already seen how the form affected the way in which of it- North to came be settled from the Old World. thence creeping down along the shore until they came to some point. the place of which is not yet known.- . Commercial growth. in the region south of the Gulf of St. settling the southern and western portion of that country. History of Spanish conquests. Lawrence. Difficulty of penetrating into the Successive steps of the westward movement of the people. 233 CHAPTER VI. occupying the southeastern this continent portion of that country in 870. These Scandinavians present Norwegians found their way to Iceland. in Gulf of Mexico.

234 they EFFECT OF THE FORM OF NORTH AMERICA made temporary maintained settlements. two nations. east of the Rocky Mountains and north of the Gulf states. the section of part of the Pacific coast . the French and the Hollanders. and so won their way the continent. the English. which had originally held large areas of North America. at the time of the very dense forests. the way into the Revolution. had yielded their territory to the English. though their real possessions were practically limited to the region north of the states of Mississippi and Alabama and east of the Mississippi River. To the United States fell that portion of the territory occupied by the British. Dutch. joined interior of the continent. St. Lawrence The extension of the English colonies was limited not only by the resistance of the aborigines. namely. Thus the first European colonists occupied only the northeastern out The French. what is now the United States. brief This early colony was but a time. and a considerable part of that south of the St. Already at the beginning of the century. south of the Great Lakes. through the chain of the Great . the Spanish and French for a little while. River. the United ~States. the channel of the Mississippi. a rough country occupied by the by If Canada had. and the Spaniards contended with each other for the possession of the continent with the result that in the beginning of this century the Spaniards held the whole of the Gulf of Mexico and claimed the greater the English. The English were separated from that field ridges of the Alleghanies. but by the fact that they had no good way into the interior of The French had used the channel of the Lawrence. to the great fertile districts of the Mississippi Valley. the skirts of the continent.

and founded slavery west of the moun tains. Hence it came about that the first people of English blood to found settlements on the waters of the Mississippi were the Virginians. owing to the fact that the Cana dian country remained in the possession of the British. but. who took with them their Afri can servants. and the people of the Amer ican Union obtained control until of ports Great Lakes were useless to them. but about the head of that river was the stronghold of the most warlike of the American savages. The good pathway through the Appalachians was from the Virginia settlements. thence across the head-waters of the Tennessee. Until they were subjugated. and then over Cumberland Mountain to a low gap. pretty thoroughly the territory now occupied by the states of Indiana and Ohio. a tributary of the Ohio. For a long time after Kentucky became occupied by the Virginians -the Indians and their allies. and Michigan. attained on Lake Erie. Lakes. the This end was not the beginning of the present century. Also by way of the upper Tennessee River the state of Tennessee was settled.ON THE HISTORY OK THE COLONISTS. There was a natural way up the valley of the Mohawk from the Hudson. It was century the mother coun dispossessed the French more than thirty years after Kentucky passed into the control of the English people before the region north of the Ohio and south of the Great Lakes was possessed . In the latter part of the eighteenth try had all from Illinois. the British. which gave access to the plain lands and open woods of the Ohio Valley. the people of the United States could not use it. would 235 have been open to the whole of the English people. still held the country north of the Ohio. by way of the Shenandoah first Valley.

The great advantage of routes to the west by the way of the upper Tennessee was that the of the forests were less tangled ground much more even than in the glacial and the surface coun try to the northward. as is the case in all glaciated countries. and after this serious task was accomplished it was generally from ten to fifteen years before the stumps disappeared from the ground to such an extent that tillage was easy. Gradually good wagon roads were made through the northern part of the Appalachian district. Although the numerous wagon-ways which were built between the years 1815 and 1840 from the old settle ments of the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi Valley enabled a large number of emigrants from the older states to gain access to this country. that as soon as they had passed the relatively narrow region of mountains they entered upon broad plains which were generally but partly forest clad. a country much more difficult to traverse than that of Virginia because the undergrowth of the forest was thicker and the surface was scattered over with bowlders.236 EFFECT OF THE FORM OF NORTH AMERICA by our people.as well as for the earlier wagon roads. tlements in the Mississippi Valley were mainly limited to the forest country which occupies the eastern portion was necessary for every farmer to hew down the forest from all the fields which he won to tillage. It . and intersected with swamps. it was not until railways were pushed through these mountains that the rapid occupation of this wide and fertile land began. so that the cost of constructing From 1815 to 1840 the set these roads was not great.. After 1840 the immigrants broke through into the of that valley. It was a great advantage for the railways.

as is much Valley to this day. and so the white population swept over the plains with great rapidity. the of the eastern portion of the Ohio movement of the population could It is probable not have been anything like as rapid.ON THE HISTORY OF THE COLONISTS. in fifty years. afforded ready access to a large portion of the surface. thus see how profoundly the general shape of the continent affected the early history of the Euro peans within its area. whole of this country had been clad with been won If the forests. have advanced much be thus see how im yond the line of the Mississippi. prairie district. We portant to land. The great fertile basin of the Mississippi was not accessible to the English or Dutch settlements. 237 and rapidly drove out the Indians from In this region the task of winning those great plains. that if the country had been densely wooded. . We The swift current of the Mississippi. the frontier could not. at the present time. farms did not demand more than the tenth part of the labor required in the forest-clad portions of the country. The rich forest-lands of the Ohio Valley gave a new field for a portion of this people. but it required more than to the it fifty years to push the farm ing country up and Illinois. a larger area of the continent to the uses of civilization than had in the two centuries of previous growth. The construction of railways proceeded with amazing The great rivers of the Mississippi Valley celerity. nor was it easy to be entered by the French or the Spaniards. man are the simpler physical features of the The Appalachians restrained the colonial popula tion to the Atlantic coast. winning. while edge of the prairies of Indiana has taken scarce a third of the century to extend the culture front district to the base of the from the margin of the Rocky Mountains.

and this stream at the head of its convenient hundred miles to the east of the Moreover. the plain country which ex tends eastward from the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Lawrence and the Falls of Niagara. The branches of the Mississippi River which extend towards it are. as well as by the highlands between is the great lakes and the Mississippi waters. The greater part of the ability and energy of this country since about 1790 to the present day has been devoted to the subjugation of this central valley of the continent.238 EFFECT OF THE FORM OF NORTH AMERICA it and the vast marshes which border of its length. For a long time come the after the Mississippi Valley had be seat of extensive settlements derived from the Atlantic coast. of the The most important commercial growth United States dates from the extension of settlements to the At first the descending waters of Mississippi Valley. whence they have gone to the markets of Europe. and yet later the railways. with the exception of the Missouri. that stream. French and Spanish were kept from So the more than a nominal control of the heart of the continent until the British settlements gained strength to break over the barriers of the Appalachians and possess this im perial domain. so dry as navigation lies several mountain wall. . and afterwards the Erie Canal and its con nected artificial water-ways. Lawrence Valley frost-bound for half the year and is inter rupted by the rapids of the St. made the Gulf of Mexico. it for a great part difficult to settle The way through the valley from the St. have conveyed the crops of this fertile land to the sea-shore. the Cordilleran region remained almost unknown. unnavigable. is. for a considerable distance from their base.

across Since then three other railways have been constructed the continent and a great many branch roads The carried through to different parts of the Cordilleras. and were thereby kept in a nomadic and very savage state. thus divide the westward progress of the English-speaking peoples in North America into three periods. the first extending from the time of settlement in the early years of the seventeenth century to near the end of the eighteenth. it. 239 Added to this to be mostly unfit for farming purposes.ON THE HISTORY OF THE COLONISTS. who found means of wagon road of a rude sort . a period of 150 years. and the Rocky plains which border of warlike Indians. but the rapid led to the extension of the transcontinental commerce construction of several railways across the Cordilleras. the middle of the nineteenth century. in which they . It was not until the Mexican War led to the acquisition of California by the United States. were ranged over by large tribes their support in hunting the buffalo. that the Mountain fact is the district. of in the about in San Francisco region gold discovery the year 1848 speedily gave a certain commercial im portance to this region and made it necessary to con nect it by other means than the sea with the remainder At first this connection was by of the United States. The first railway connection between the Mississippi Valley and the Pacific coast was completed in 1870. in We may which this people were confined almost altogether to the narrow strip of fertile lands to the eastward of the Next. result has been that the last half of the present century has been characterized by the subjugation of this region to the uses of our race. a period from about 1790 to Appalachians. that The these mountains began to be carefully explored.

They have also. the Mississippi Valley. The movements of the population in Canada have been in a certain way parallel to those in the United States. obtained a foothold in the northern part of the conti From Mexico access to the Cordilleras. Mexico had . as affording a contrast between two European races. recently won their way beyond the difficult grounds at the head of Lake Superior. It is worth while to notice of in some detail the history Mexico. the Atlantic coast stage. These three stages in the development of the English-speak ing countries.240 EFFECT OF THE FORM OF NORTH AMERICA obtained. and obtained connection with their considerable settlements on the Pacific coast. the last forty years of the present cen ley. when largest area. substantially. are thus seen to correspond to the great physical divisions of the continent. had won only a small area in Texas. the Saskatchewan and other neighboring streams.people nent. that of the val ley of the Mississippi. broken through the barriers of the Rocky Mountains. by means of a railway. Mexico was occupied as a Spanish colony more than a hundred years before the English-speaking. the English and the Spaniards. that of the Cordilleras and the Pacific coast. control of the Mississippi Val Third. and entered on the posses sion of the wide strip of fertile lands which lie in the valley of the Red River of the North. That portion of the English-speaking people have tury. but with these advantages the is Spaniards in the its beginning of this century. and a portion of the coast of California In two beyond the original limits of their colonies. and the Pacific coast of California relatively easy. in which they have overcome the difficulties which beset the occupation of the Cordilleran district.

The The English-speaking people acquired possession of that part of the continent which is well suited to the production of great staples of agriculture.ON THE HISTORY OF THE COLONISTS. the Spanish settlements have made but trifling gains in population. particularly those of English. 24! centuries and a half. German. far lacks rain that tillage produces little more than the countries food required for local consumption. much The like that of the countries from rapid growth in population in . and thus were enabled rapidly to accumulate wealth. but combined with the aborigines. not only by the rapid development of its industries consequent on the access which was gained to the Mississippi Valley. The Spaniards who settled in Mexico did not displace the Indian popu lation. difference in the success of these two peoples is probably due in part to original differences in the popu The lation. people are attracted to the United States. during which the English-speaking people have subjugated the greater part of the conti nent. Irish. but also because the climate of the Northern states of the Union is so which they came. making a mixed race of relatively feeble capacity. The British everywhere displaced the native people. and have added but little to their domain. These Scotch. and in part to differences in the character of the which they have occupied. and Scandinavian origin. The swift growth in population of the English part of North America has largely been due to the great body of immigrants which have come to that region from northern Europe. and have re mained essentially unmixed with the aboriginal popula In Mexico the greater part of the country so tion. ports have consisted mainly of the foreign ex precious metals.

and also the West India Islands are. been the principal grain crop of the continent. because of the climate and the nature of the soil or because of the quality of the population. and climate of the United States. both of which conditions favor the growth of this plant. with the result that more than one-half the world s supply . as well as on the Atlantic English- sea-board. This plant is nowhere else so successful over a wide area as within the limits of the United Since the settlement of the country it has States.242 the EFFECT OF THE FORM OF NORTH AMERICA Mississippi Valley. A large portion of the more southern district of the continent is well suited to the growth of cotton. the summer is long and moderately dry. Nearly all the crops which are tilled in the Old World do well on one portion or soil The less r another of this surface. which lie in the valley of the St. and from the Pacific coast. and in addition to these re sources of the Old World America has in maize a pecul iar resource. to Texas and a portion of the Cordilleras. circumstances of their develop and by the physical hold on English-speaking people have gained the continent of North America . By the the ment. are well suited for varied and profitable agriculture. by conditions a firm their native character. Law rence. and in a pronounced way of the portions of the Canadian domain. has made it possible for these speaking people to push the Spaniards and the French from the northern shore of the Gulf of Mexico. The soil is fertile. they have possession of all the parts of it which are well suited to the development of the race. Those which are Mexico and the Cen occupied by portions tral American states. undesirable territories for the descendants of northern Europeans. and in the Winnipeg district.

led to the importation of a great who have The political difficulties connected with slavery led to the greatest civil war in modern times. the profitableness of slavery number of Africans. They can be grown to the best advantage on consider able plantations. to which the institution gave we see certain very interesting effects of the con ditions which climate and soil bring about. the peculiar fitness of the country for the culture of cotton and tobacco has been in certain ways it. soil also well suited to the climate and is of Tobacco North than in America. disadvantageous to The institution of negro slavery profitable to the planters who grew these crops . labor which can be entirely at the farmer s command. other lands in the control of the English race. Both of these crops demand large amounts of labor of a cheap sort . The result was that it was only in . increased rapidly in numbers. of this staple is is 243 produced in North America. They require a long summer which shall be rather dry. of these conditions have been very In the first place.ON THE HISTORY OF THE COLONISTS. and thereby to the best interests of its civil ization. and now amount to somewhere near one-tenth of the total population. Although the agricultural conditions of North America are and have been favorable to the growth of a farming population. In the limits of the slave-holding district. that this institution was main was very 1 tained and extended in the southern portions of the United States long after it had completely disappeared from all The consequences great. Slavery rise. and more largely produced in this any other continent. and in the history of the Civil War. the consequence was. was profitable only in the regions where cotton and tobacco could be profitably cultivated.

or Missouri. and was hardly profitable in Maryland.244 EFFECT OF THE FORM OF NORTH AMERICA tained. the Old World. with their system of small farms and free labor. have extensive and as the South was not a maritime coun of the generally shallow nature of because try. district of the agriculture. All the seceding states. the highland Appalachians. as well as of its chance of finding a market for its agricultural products. except Tennessee and Arkansas. and projects far was. Moreover. It was. therefore. Kentucky. essentially unfit for plantations where This district the crops should be tilled by negro labor. . and thus deprived of its natural sources of supply of materials for war. which occupies about onetenth of the portion of the South which is fitted for not be advantageously grown. the Ohio or Missouri Rivers. cut the Confederate states in twain. cut off from free commerce with sea-fronts . soon as the Federal fleets and armies obtained con Southern people were at a trol of this river. although colonies. by the roughness of its towards the Gulf of Mexico. where cotton can Moreover. partly its ports. the hope less The Northern disadvantage in this contest. never was to any extent occupied by slave-holders. the As Mississippi. surface and the peculiari ties of its climate. states. When the Civil War came. it failed to obtain any strength on the sea. the principal river of the continent. the Southern states of the Union that slavery was main it at first existed in all the American It disappeared from the region north of the tobacco and cotton fields it found no place north of . the South found itself at a great disadvantage on account of this peculiar to pographic feature of the country. and thus it divided the South by a wide region characterized by free labor alone.

ON THE HISTORY OF THE COLONISTS. where a large part of the soil-tillers were slaves. . they likewise gave a great advantage to the Northern states in their effort to subdue the rebellion which arose from the presence of that social system. In this way we see that while the physical conditions of the country favored the devel opment of slavery and thus brought about the Civil War. afforded a very 24$ much larger share of able-bodied sol diers in proportion to the population than eould be ob tained in the Southern states.

Exports: furs. rivers. interchange other intelligent labor. fisheries. except for the contributions of of other lands. Gradually. it has been found most advantageous for each country to produce those arti cles which nature has fitted its soil or rocks to yield. tries. Each year creases. Sources of power iron. timber. In this early state only luxu ornaments. Lakes and seas.246 THE COMMERCIAL CONDITION CHAPTER VII. Continuous increase of exchange between coun Railroad transportation of the continent: coast line. but on the ways by which the products may find access to the markets of of the world. or of and it is soil. however. THE COMMERCIAL CONDITION OF NORTH AMERICA. In the broad fields of a continent the question of . Each considerable community produced from its own labor all civilized IN the early days. nearly ries. peoples depended but little on supplies drawn from other countries. all it consumed. In the present state of the more enlightened countries none of them could maintain their populations in com fort. or rare articles of food came from abroad. Underground : water. Relations to Indians. Isthmus of Darien. Conditions of commerce. Importation of slaves. harbors. this of the mine. fuel. Natural conditions affecting the settlement by Europeans. and by which the people may in turn receive the articles for which they exchange their own products. Earthquakes. rapidly in evident that in the future the fitness products of the any country for civilized man will depend not only on what the country can produce.

In an area such as North America the larger part of the may be supplied from the lands diversely situated in other portions of the continental Thus the crops of the farmer in Minnesota may serve to feed the cotton-planters of the Gulf states. along the shore to the Isthmus of Darien. is which One for its of the geographic advantages of North America commerce. southward. for the reason that the along part interior country of this isthmus district is relatively narrow. and the wool of Texas may supply the mills of New Eng land.OF NORTH AMERICA. are very numerous and advantageously situated. It happens that they are less necessary that of the continent. The great variety in the soil and climate and under-earth products of North America has led to the institution of a vast internal and external commerce. these shel ters for ships. The coals of Pennsylvania go to the recesses of the Rocky Mountains. and the preserved salmon from Puget Sound are sold in every state in the Union. Isthmus of Darien to southern California the harbors are not good. From Chesapeake Bay. the harbors though less good are by dredging and jetties made to serve for the needs of On the Pacific coast from the ships of moderate size. there is not much sent away by the sea or taken . internal transportation is 247 almost as important as that which concerns the intercourse with other countries. the extension of greatly favored by the physical features of the continent. needs of any region area. the is internal as well as its of its external the vast extent coast-line and sufficient dor to nature of the harbors along the coast. From Labra the mouth of the Chesapeake. where they may receive and discharge cargoes as well as escape from the dangers of the sea.

rivers in North America the Mississippi affords the most extended system of channels for com merce. but sufficient for the needs of trade. is better provided with such shel any other part of the world except Scandi The extended coast-line of easy for a large part of the states to each other by the way of the sea. . Its navigable waters extend to of seventeen states. from many which it is possible to go by Including the dis tricts which face upon the Gr~at Lakes. of the North America makes it communicate with American Union Twenty-two states face on the sea-shore. and the St. The internal water-ways are also very favorable for commerce. and none governments of the conti of the colonies or separate nent lack this contact with the ocean. The chain of Great Lakes. and all these lakes from the sea. of the finest That at San Francisco southern is one x in the world. make a northern water-way into the centre of the continent. On the coast of California they are not numerous. Lawrence through which they discharge. they are It canals passable by large ships. Lake Superior was separated from the other lakes. Although by water-falls and rapids. Lake Superior will be similarly in time that likely connected by means of canals with the other lakes is now connected by which stretch far to the northwards. This stream and its tributaries furnish water ways to a large part of the states which occupy the great Of the many valley of the continent. all the states large vessels directly to the sea.248 in THE COMMERCIAL CONDITION ships. from From the southern part of the United States on the Pacific coast northward to Behring Straits the harbors are on the whole excellent. From Oregon northward the coast ters than navia.

but the interior country is mostly not far from the coast. On the north and east they are bordered by the wonderful chain of isles known as the Antilles. and the territories of the 249 within the Union. gust to the first of December. is the largest and most fertile group of islands in the world. They have a greater area of fertile soils along their shores than we find in any other mediterranean seas in the world. except seven which lie Rocky Mountains. extending from the middle of Au of . of British American states being in the peninsular district of the continent have no great rivers. afford a wide field for com merce except in the period of heavy storms. .OF NORTH AMERICA. Law Mexico and the Central rence or Hudson s Bay. the Gulf Mexico and the Caribbean. So. known as the hurricane months. Thus the surface of this land is extremely well adapted to the interchange of products of labor between the different portions of the country. too. except the Cordilleran district in the western portion of Canada. have good natural water ways to the ocean. They afford a ready intercommunication between the great central valley of North America and the northern portion of South America. these waters are remarkably well suited for navigation. which next after the Malayan Archipelago. and the mountain districts. are more or less well placed for communication by water either with the St. is The composed even the elevated portions of the Cordilleras. are from the divided nature of the ranges more easily traversed by such ways than the greater elevations of the Old World. greater part of the continent of North America of tolerably level land over which railways can easily be constructed. The great inclosed seas of North America. all the habitable portions America.

that it would be difficult to make it useful for purposes of navigation. and its western shores are so far destitute of good harbors. Australia. In the days before steam navigation the stormy nature of the North Atlantic made the passage to Europe at once slow and dangerous. The great inland sea of Hudson s Bay is only accessible to ships for about four months in the year. is On the west there open sea to the eastern coasts of Asia. in such a of the world is position that there is a swift and easy water communi cation with several states of Europe. save perhaps Europe. and by way of the Mediterranean with a portion of Asia. at least . These difficul ties now have been overcome by steam vessels. None of the other continents. Although it was finally proved possible with great labor to take a ship through this way. and slope so gently out to a great dis tance in the form of mud-flats. and thus it requires only a week for a journey from the ports of the United States to those of Europe where of old it required about six times as long. The only part of North America which is not advan tageously situated for connection with the rest of the world is the northern portion of the continent. and New Zealand.25O THE COMMERCIAL CONDITION position of The east lie North America with reference to the commerce extremely favorable. the islands of the Malayan Archipelago. For two hundred years a great deal of effort was given to finding a passage by the sea from Davis Strait to Behring Strait. On the the western shores of the Old World. Al though these lands of high latitude are much intersected by straits and bays which afford excellent harbors. the long-continued winter keeps them generally in an icelocked condition. are on the whole so advantageously placed with reference to commerce.

through the Isthmus of Suez has removed the necessity of sailing to/near the south pole in order to ports of western America or China. iron. furnishing more grain and edible animals to European markets than are obtained from any other land. Of when the Spanish had control of a large part of the tropical seas. Moreover. the ship canal pirates have disappeared. arising from an abundant production of food articles. Among the metals which may be made the articles of commerce.OF NORTH AMERICA. and lead . the principal necessity which led the English people to search so long for a route by way of the Arctic old. or to the railways which Canada and the United States. The of Good also around the Cape Hope required a passage great deal of time. it was very desirable for British ships to avoid these waters in the journey to the far East. climate. and of certain important metals. In modern days the dangers which ships used to encounter from the Spanish fleets or from Moreover. may connect them with soil. If go to the portion of North America were a the inconvenience arising from the lack of access to the harbors brought about by the long win the northern fertile country. Ocean to the ports of the Pacific has passed away. ter would be very serious. the ice that it 251 channels are so blocked with can never be a useful commercial route. and under-earth North America make it plain that this continent is to have very important relations with the rest of the world. in favorable seasons. but the greater portion of the district which can produce any articles of impor is tance to commerce easily accessible to the Great Lakes. It is already the princi pal food-exporting continent. copper. as well The conditions of the resources in as materials to be used as fuel.

except perhaps in China and certain small parts of Europe. and to a large extent they are upon the great navigable rivers. There are also many In lakes which act as reservoirs to feed the streams. so far as is is destitute of America. It is a peculiar advantage of these stores of fuel that they lie of North America which are near the its tributaries. The coal of North America and the sources of supply of petroleum are more plentiful than those of South any other continent. mainly in portions sea. In New England and other portions of the north. except perhaps Asia. It is a great advantage for the continent of North America that its abundant sup ply of coals will enable it to win these metals from their ores at less cost than in any other region. and the stores are likely to be drawn from the northern continent. this way the mills are supplied with power throughout . we may set the abundance of the means by which power may be won for manufactur ing purposes. known. the Mississippi and Among the resources of North America which have already exercised a great effect on its commercial devel opment. they hold a great deal of water in their interstices and so keep the rivers well supplied. relatively these materials. of The northeastern portion North America and a part of the Southern states which lie within the highland of the Appalachians is exceedingly well fitted to afford these stores of energy. In large part it comes from the streams of considerable fall which are used to drive mill-wheels. and are likely to have a still greater influence in the time to come. where sands and gravel of the glacial period are very thick.252 THE COMMERCIAL CONDITION have the foremost place. This power is available for arts of all sorts which demand machinery.

is applied the use of steam. Not only is the supply for domestic purposes generally drawn from this source. The is condition of the underground waters of a country a matter of much economic importance to its people.OF NORTH AMERICA. These conditions make it certain that North America. UNDERGROUND WATER. and is apt Thus it United States comes about that the eastern portion of the is on the whole a more favorable region for water-power than any other part of the civilized The wide distribution of coals in North America world. resources. rivers drain from great forests.the Mississippi. these woods act as a Moreover. unlike Northern Europe. In the southern Appalachians. where the the year. and deliver the rainfall slowly. which has to obtain a large part of the food for its people from other parts of the world. is likely to be the seat of very extensive manufacturing industries. which to the arts. also very So machinery through extensive fields of the continent containing natural gas afford an additional source of the energy required in it makes possible to obtain cheap fuel. but the springs which discharge the water which has journeyed far underground often contain mineral and other substances which give them a healing value high or they are valuable on account of the temperature which is given them because they . in sponge. this region has a farming country close by its under-earth . that part of the continent the rainfall is large to be well distributed through the year. . at least the portion of the continent east of . To these very favorable con ditions we must add that this district is everywhere near the sources of abundant food supply so that.

In Arkansas there is a group of hot springs whose waters. on account of the recent devel opment result of volcanic action. have a high temperature. probably being in this respect only less rich than the European continent. there In this eastern part of the United States there are no springs of a high temperature. In the Cordilleran district. Pennsylvania. Tennessee. though very pure as regards mineral matter. and have been found valuable in the treatment of many diseases. fact that this region is from the great centres of population makes these springs as yet of small value but it seems certain that in the time to come they will be of much service to man. do we find springs warm enough to be of use in the and gaseous contents rather than for the In Virginia that are given by their heat. North America abounds in mineral springs. the springs occurring in Canada. Virginia. In this region there are also great numbers of . the greatest heat being about 1 00 F. where deep rents in the earth permit the exit of water that has pen In the Appalachian district etrated far underground. They extend from the line between the United States and Canada to Alabama. The waters are generally valued for their mineral qualities alone. The . the Carolinas. are a number of places where deep-journeyed waters emerge. treatment of disease because of their heat as well as their other qualities. Vermont. of all the country east of the Mississippi River. and Georgia. as is usual with such sources. The most important of these are placed. New York. and as a find in these regions a remarkable develop in many ment far of heated springs.254 THE COMMERCIAL CONDITION [ have penetrated into the heated deeper earth. in the mountain districts. the rocks still beneath the moun tains are we places extremely hot.

These waters arise from no great distance underground. we commonly find in the as the pioneers termed them. and are certain to prove of great use in the treatment of diseases. through the joints and the other lines of weak These gas-impelled ness of the strata to the open air. contain a variety of mineral substances. swampy places vast numbers of the bones of the great extinct beasts of this country which passed away soon after the close of the last glacial period. the ground about them emerge in a crowded with the bones of a variety of great animals which have per- . springs are generally quite saline. where several salt springs is boggy field. try. along with the water in which they are dis solved. certain of these &quot. slow chemical changes oi the remains of the deposits.OF NORTH AMERICA. which exert a great pressure and force themselves. Ky. in Boone County. though of ordinary temperature. where the interspaces between the bits of material of which they are composed were filled with the brine of When these rocks are buried beneath other the ocean.&quot. In the ancient days these salt springs were greatly re sorted to by the native plant-eating animals of the coun which drank eagerly of their waters and thereby About secured the share of salt which they needed. Thus at Big Bone Lick. but they contain a great quantity of substances which the fluid has taken up from the rocks through which it has passed. and originate in the stratified rocks which were deposited in the sea. 255 springs which. animals and plants which they contain cause the for mation of gases..salt-licks. Scattered widely over the non-mountainous regions of North America we find many less important sources whence there come to the surface a class of waters which have a somewhat peculiar origin.

as well as an extinct species of bison. and kindred the mastodons. elephants. in . and springs ordinary the wells which often take their place as sources of sup the Atlantic Ocean by wagons The ply for country houses. In the Cordilleran regions and the arid plains which lie on their eastern border. gigantic musk oxen. as they were to his predecessors of an earlier time. and deer lower . skeletons of the bisons. which in the early days of the country it would other wise have been necessary to convey from the shore of in this licks or pack-horses. generally afford tolerably pure In nearly all the region where the earth is cov water. rarely so great as to induce serious disease. were useful to the frontiersman. but water of excellent quality can be ob tained by means of wells from the beds of sand and gravel.256 THE COMMERCIAL CONDITION / In the upper layer ished from the country. of eastern North America. probably the ancestor of the form that abounded These salt country two hundred years ago. elk. we find the down those their of caribou. and also much of the other parts of the continent. ered by glacial debris there are few springs of any importance. but in certain districts it appears to lead to the forma material is tion of concretions of a stony nature within the human body. By boiling down their waters he made salt for domestic purposes. the wells and springs afford water which contains a rather large amount of The quantity of this lime and other mineral matter. because of the relatively slight which prevails there. part of the In the limestone districts which occupy a large Mississippi Valley. producing maladies which sometimes prove fatal. the wells and springs are often excessively charged with substances which make rainfall their waters unpalatable and even unwholesome .

Over a the certain portion of the arid lands to the east of Rocky Mountains it is possible to obtain water by means of wells bored through the superficial rocks to as porous sandstones. we clearly per ceive that the water must ascend by means of the open In this diagram the saucers represent layers of rock composed mostly of clay and therefore impervious to water.OF NORTH AMERICA. how reservoirs in part be remedied by means of the hills. If now we imagine a hole drilled through the bottom of the upper saucer. into which the rain such strata. filling the interspace be tween them with water. ever. and the space between the saucers a layer ing. as was the case with many of the beds in and about the Rocky Moun tains. fact. has percolated. the. When the rocks have a basin-like shape. Where these rocks were formed. A simple illustration of the principle on which these gravity artesian wells work can be secured by placing two deep saucers one within the other. which the time of drought in that part of the continent. where it enters the layer to the lower level of the basin. they naturally contain no . which will serve to retain the in is pure snow-water through the summer season. of open-texture sandstone through which the water can creep from the In hills. as in the case of the salt springs before men tioned. many cases the water yielded by a boring does not come ment to the surface because of the basin -like arrange of the rocks. displacing the water which was built into the rocks at the time that they were laid down. water will often mount up through the tube and attain the surface. this evil will In time. in fresh-water lakes. 257 many of the drier parts of this district are made almost uninhabitable from this cause. but is forced out by the pressure of gases.

Considerable areas in saline material. Northern Mexico. As regards the measure of rain-supply in proportion North America is only exceeded by South America and Europe and as regards the distribution of its rainfall. an all not more than one-twentieth part of the continent and even in a . EARTHQUAKES. to the very discouraging peopl^jwho dwell on the treach- The fitness of is often much affected . . the desert of Central Australia. in is to the different parts of its surface than The only tegion where the too small to permit much rainfall is too small amount to permit the soil to be of some service to either for tillage or pasturage. and the men great promontory of Southern California. so that the country is not unbroken desert. or that of interior Asia. the region about the head-waters of the Missouri River and in Texas are now supplied with water for the farms by borings made in such strata. and which are destructive quakes. the well is fit for the use of man. large part of this very arid country there are numerous streams which flow from the hills where the melting winter snows afford them supply. it has less diversity in the share which comes to its area. any of the great lands except the last named.258 THE COMMERCIAL CONDITION and when they are pierced by borings and the imprisoned gases drive out the water in the manner in which it is drawn from a soda fountain. It has no such extensive deserts as that in the western portion of South Amer ica. lies in the central portion of the Cordilleras. any country for the use of civilized man by the occurrence of severe earth to life and property. where the share of rain culture. and in some places can be made fertile by irrigation.

in which city a number of considerable movements have been observed since the country was first settled by civi- . was abandoned on account of the frequent and disastrous shocks to which it was subjected. while other portions have been Thus the old city of Guate relatively free from them. where. tlements were founded. have frequently been ravaged by these convulsions. they have not yet been observed. the fact that they notwithstanding the were substantially built. and the lands commonly known ridden of all its as Central America. There are certain parts of this district that are exceedingly subject to shocks of a severe kind. but on the west they continue to be frequent and of moderate strength until we pass north of San Francisco. As we go northward into Mexico. in the central part of the peninsula district. erous ground. therefore. mala. On the eastern side of the widening land the shocks grow rapidly less important as we approach the Rio Grande. and well if the shocks that. is we find that this southernmost part of the continent lands. though not safe from earthquakes. there have been less frequent and serious troubles from them. is consider the extent which this continent liable to these the ground. the most earthquake Ever since the first Spanish set cities. the disturbances of the earth become less menacing to life and property.OF NORTH AMERICA. for the reason that a large part of this country has not been long known to Europeans. The measure of this danger tremblings is not yet well determined. to of We shall. come at distant intervals it may happen though the accidents occur in any given district. Beginning with the Isthmus of Darien. and a new city of the same name was founded on a site about thirty miles to the eastward of the old location.

but actually ran up stream. continued with diminishing energy. the region between the people. at least as far north as the region near the line between the United States and Canada. experienced a succession of shakings of such violence that the forest trees were beaten against each other and the strongly built log Exten houses of the pioneers were shaken into ruins. in 1685. and 1755. were observed in Eastern Massachusetts when. and the northern part of Louisiana. but when the region again with great frequency. and into these depressions the Mississippi River poured in such volume that for a time its waters not only ceased to flow toward began The shocks. until 1813. noteworthy shakings occurred. A portion of the New England States tive to life only for the reason that the people mostly dwelt in timber houses. appears to be exempt from tremblings of a notable Mississippi Valley in its central part appears to shocks of great severity. The be liable to occasional junction of the Ohio and the Mississippi rivers. In the whole of the eastern half of the Cor- dilleran district. which the sea. which are by far the best struc- . the is subjected to occasional tremors. and Canada has visited been by earthquakes of considerable repeatedly The most serious effects of these shocks violence. in 1811. The 1727. but they do not appear to have been of much violence.26O lized THE COMMERCIAL CONDITION man. sive areas of the alluvial lands sunk. 1811. North of the southern boundary of Canada the Cordilleran dis earth trict sort. shock of 1755 was one of the most violent which has been observed in the United States it was not destruc . came to rest. of which as yet but one has come into the experience of the white In November.

While the greater part in a very slow of these dislocations take place manner. and though not severe were accompanied by very loud roaring and rumbling noises proceeding from the under earth. but in 1882 a much more serious disturbance took place. movement of the earth was not indeed of great energy. 26l The earthquake of tures to resist such catastrophes. due to the disturbances of the earth s crust which take place in the formation of mountains is . consequences. if not in most cases.OF NORTH AMERICA. South Carolina. the buildings which were built under the supervision of the United States engineers escaped damage. The last noteworthy earthquake district on the con tinent of North America is that of the region about This part of the country Charleston. folding. a small in district affected Eastern New Eng 1727 only land. had experienced several shakings of no great severity in the course of the two centuries which had elapsed since the settlement by Europeans. trous in its mortar. the bending. and breaking movements which we see have taken place in the process of mountain-building. in the district Although little is known concerning it the causes of the earthquake shocks. It is perhaps enough because the mountains of North America are generally . but the masonry of that district is made with very poor withstand earthquakes. they now and then occur with suddenness to cause a sharp jar. likely that they are in many. which injured a The great many buildings and killed many people. and the buildings otherwise not well suited to Hence the shaking was disas It is a noteworthy fact that ravaged by the Charleston earthquakes. mouth principally the country immediately about the of the Merrimac in this disturbance the shocks : continued for about seven years.

we will now consider the conditions which determined the occupation of the continent by settlers from the various states of the Old . rocks. notwithstanding the brief period of written history in this continent. These wit nesses consist of numbers of tall. of the people.262 THE COMMERCIAL CONDITION and in most parts of the continent have probably ceased growing. and as we can by geological evidence often prove that they have stood in their present shape for thousands of years. but by certain geological monuments which bear witness to the fact that for long ages extensive areas of the land have been ments exempt from any great amount of trembling. which indeed does not the experience by extend for any great period into the past. By means of these and other tests. pinnacled of streams. THE NATURAL CONDITIONS OF NORTH AMERICA WHICH AFFECTED ITS SETTLEMENT BY EUROPEANS. As the importance of North America to man has to a great extent depended upon the circumstances of its settlement by European colonists. conclude that the greater part of its surface is fairly secure from violent shakings. we may. such as are often found standing near the borders where they have been left in the process of erosion. chimney-like. This exemption is not only proved of the earth. they afford districts excellent evidence of the stability of the earth in the where we find them. and that on the whole the continent is rather more exempt from these movements than the lands of the Old World. that this land is as a whole tolerably exempt from disastrous move of relatively ancient construction. These natural towers would have been over thrown by a considerable earthquake.

and the way in which the various states of North ern Europe came to have a share in this western land. and as early as the year 1000 at least. in about a hundred years. nearly five hundred years later. with whom the Christian world was in a state of chronic warfare. French. a son of Eric the Red. Colum bus discovered the New World. they journeyed westward to Greenland. and their people con tained many ardent spirits who were ready to give their lives and fortunes to this object. who was probably the first to see Greenland. In this age the only path for this com merce was through the countries in the eastern part of the Mediterranean. which were held by the Mussulmans. Leif. the Catholic portion of Europe was at this time affected by an intense desire to diffuse Christianity among the heathen. When. in way to it through their previous set Iceland. 263 World. made in the ninth century of our Thence. men were not to any extent a commercial people. their voyages remained unknown to the other and most civilized folk of that part of the world. and as in those centuries they were living apart from the rest of Europe. Spaniards. Dutch. Moreover. the people of Western Europe were interested in the results of his explorations in a way that it was impossible for the Northmen to be at the time when Eric and Leif made their journeys. urally found their tlement era. one of those hardy navigators. Still further.OF NORTH AMERICA. The continent of North America was first known to the people of Scandinavia about five hundred years the Northmen nat before its discovery by Columbus . . and English were at this time keenly interested in a trade with the southern The part of Asia. sailed to the southward along the shore of the continent As the North to somewhere south of Nova Scotia.

and the character of the shores which were to be approached. of these conditions lands. make voyages in the tolerably direct route from the Straits of Gibraltar to the West Indies the safest possible sailing. greatly af fected the history of the New World. The Spaniards being in that first the discoverers of America. Following the path taken by Columbus. The Caribbean Sea and the . Therefore it was in a blundering way that the first We can perceive that the settlements were made. hastened to The difficulties plant colonies in the new-found lands. both in their European settlements in the founding and in their subse quent development. and those of the sea physical which had to be crossed to approach them. they soon secured control of the Mediterranean district of America. and the Gulf of Mexico. Of course nothing was known of the nature of the country which the enter Even the currents of prising states sought to win. those steadfast air-currents of the regions near the tropics. the region bordering on the Caribbean Sea.264 in THE COMMERCIAL CONDITION these states a patriotic spirit led to the desire to extend their domains far and wide over the earth. The trade-winds. The of Europe. naturally had the chance in the struggle for the possession of the New World. iards and French. est The path to these possessions was the easi and safest route across the Atlantic Ocean. result of these conditions in the cultivated parts was that the discovery of America by the expedition of Columbus. the Atlantic Ocean. unlike that by the early Scan The Span dinavians. were yet to be made out. and day the most maritime people. excited the liveliest enthusiasm. the Dutch and English. which beset these efforts are hardly conceivable in the present state of the world.

except in the hurricane season. 265 Mexican Gulf are. They were soon reduced to the state of slavery. and also some which During all the subsequent centuries until yielded gold. who tilled the soil and were more easily subjected than the hunting tribes of the more northern lands of the continent. were very intent on finding The profitable mines of gold and silver.OF NORTH AMERICA. inoffensive Indians. and were provided with labor from the enslaved aborigines as well as from the negroes brought from Africa. Spaniards. tropical. The reasons for this relative failure of the lows : Spanish settlements are probably as fol In the first place. except what they captured from the Spanish ships. like all the other adventurers who thronged to the New World. very secure waters for ships. and the peninsula district of Central America were all in a region of great fertility. little to its commerce. these regions . Although the Spanish colonies of the West Indian islands. conquerors in tilling the and were of some service to the soil and in other forms of labor. Mexico. and thus not favorable to much vigorous labor in the second place. the climate of the Caribbean district of America is . the colonists of the other nations won none from North America. they were of the precious metals only moderately successful they have contributed noth ing to the general culture of the world and relatively . Europe its . They were in this regard more fortunate in their share of the new-found continents than the settlers from the other states of . the present. The climate of all these parts of North and South America which first came under the control of Spain is essentially like that of the mother The natives of this region were mostly rather country. of silver in for they quickly discovered very extensive depos Mexico and Peru.

England. as now. the regions of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi. and for a century or more they dis puted with the Spaniards the possession of the country watered by that stream. the enterpris ing sailors of Northern France had resorted to the coast of Newfoundland for the excellent fisheries which that These fishing grounds region then. trough of the continent. For many years before these states under of the New World took to plant colonies in North America. so that few Spanish colonies ever had . or of a mixture of white. the French pioneers settled on the neighboring shores of the mainland. Indian. and negro : blood. and had no semblance of freedom the quality of the people was greatly damaged by a general intermarriage of the conquerors with the natives. and Hol land began actively to seek a share in the lottery of the New World. They were heavily taxed to yield rev enue to the Spanish crown. Lawrence. New lowing the path of the adventurous of the fishermen their country. France. About one hundred years after Spain began to plant her colonies in the southern portion of^ the continent. a pure European population they were composed of half-breeds. they found their way into the broad. lastly. when her great strength at sea made it impossible for any of the other pioneers of Europe to dispute this part with her. Another natural way into the . the French should come into possession most important gateway to the central part of North America the valley of the St. central . and took possession of the great Laurentian valley following up this noble stream.266 THE COMMERCIAL CONDITION remained until this century entirely subservient to the mother country. Fol pilots. of the Banks determined that in the further sharing of the of the World. afforded.

The first hold ings of England in North America were thus limited to the portions of the Atlantic coast which the other stronger. 267 interior of the continent. seemed able to make good their title to all the lands as far north as the Delaware The French had settled on what is now the River. All these European colonies north of the Caribbean district. settled on the shores of that noble inlet of the sea. They came several years after the French nearly all the shore of the con . and from their vantage ground in the Caribbean district. at the time they were settled. coast of Maine. and thus secured the control of the natural passage by way of the Mohawk. found way to the Hudson River. England. and debarred the ships of its all other nations from approaching The Dutch. that by way of the mouth of the greatest river of the continent. most .OF NORTH AMERICA. seemed. as compared with the Spanish possessions about that sea. or more fore-thoughtful. was claimed by Spain. pioneers did not deem worth seizing. through which it was easy to penetrate to the interior of the The English were laggards in the race for continent. John in Florida. was closed to other European states by the fact that Spain held the Gulf of Mexico. without having to pass the Cape of Good Hope. and regarded the greater part of New England as within their rightful domain. except The Spanish. the possession of the New World. who industriously sought to find a pas sage across North America to the Pacific Ocean. had recently butchered the New unhappy Frenchman who had settled at the mouth of the St. tinent which the above-named countries did not claim or possess. indeed. by which they hoped to gain access to the East Indies their shores.

this eastward setting current may make a difference of a day in the duration of voyages to and from New York and Liverpool.268 THE COMMERCIAL CONDITION In disadvantageously situated. flowing to the westward. The slow growth of the colonies in the it American continent north of the Gulf of Mexico is . after a month of struggling with the head-winds and currents. the Spanish colonists to their destination. the move ment of the waters was often sufficient to prolong the voyage so that required two or three months of very trying experiences before the sea-farers won the Ameri can shore. and famine often and the passengers when the baffling the crews ravaged winds and strong currents prolonged the voyages. and Great Britain to the Atlantic coast of The ocean America north of the Antilles. Even with the swift steamships of this day. as well as to the diseases which came from the crowding of many people in the confined room of their holds. The difficulties which came from the need of crossing this stormy ocean were of a serious nature. due to the small size and poor construction of the ancient ships. scurvy. Holland. to be beaten back to the port whence the voyage was begun. they were separated from Europe not by a calm ocean. Ship fever. It was not uncommon for a ship or fleet. over which the trade-winds made the passage safe and cer tain. when the clumsy ships rarely sailed. and hinders ships passing from the ports of France. flows helped in the opposite direction in the northern part of the Atlantic. the first place. current. faster than six or eight miles an hour. and were almost helpless in head-winds. even with favoring winds. In the olden time. but by one of the most turbulent portions of the earth s great waters. seeking America by the northern way. which.

269 doubtless in large measure to be attributed to these dif The ficulties of the voyage across the North Atlantic. and communication with the mother country was relatively easy and certain. . from which colonists were long debarred of the assaults of the Spanish. region was occupied by dense woods. . The and Dutch to lag behind those of the Spanish. greater part of the coast of North America has a Except in the district now occu trying winter climate. It was almost always easy to obtain food from the waters. pied by the sea-board portions of the Carolinas. due to the northern cli mate in the realm they occupied there is no winter cold. So it came about that some settlements were broken up by starvation.OF NORTH AMERICA. by fear afforded little in the way of food. and the greater part All the of the fishes at this season desert the shore. or from the agricultural Indians about the Southern colonies. journey became a name of terror it was indeed as for midable as an expedition to the Arctic regions is at the . or the ships which bore them were driven back to the land whence they set forth. and north of New York the greater part of the ground was beset with bowlders left by the glacial period over the surface of the earth. It was thus difficult for newcomers to main tain themselves on the ground for a time they had to be supplied with food by importations from the mother country. present day. There were other difficulties presented by the physi cal conditions of the northern part of the continent itself. which caused the settlements of the French. Georgia. . and Florida. The Spanish settlements escaped these trials. and these shipments were often lost by storm. the shore-lands The forests are affected by long and cold winters. the forests. Eng lish.

The authorities of that country. like the Spaniards. but serving to unite the foreign and The plans and methods of the the native people. appear to ward to creating great dependencies have looked for of the mother . waging desultory war with the most of the These difficulties with the natives were worst . to agriculture The These aborigines were much less given than the native people of Mexico and Central America. They were warlike. and reared fami lies of half-breeds. They mingled with them on amicable terms. French settlers led in other ways to a closer relation between them and the natives. The French of the St. viceable as laborers. the other colonists had little profit from them on the contrary. and owing to their habits.2/0 THE COMMERCIAL CONDITION character of the Indians on the northern part of the Atlantic coast served also to hinder the settlement of the country. often intermarried with them. tribes. in the the colonists from case of the English settlements Great Britain rarely entered into friendly relations with the Some attempts they indeed made to savages. they soon found themselves . They subsisted mainly by hunting and fishing. embittered by ill treat ment. and the Indian soon came to trolled with a gun. be looked upon as a dangerous wild animal to be con They were driven back before the advancing lines of settlement. who became semi-civilized folk. not easy to subjugate they could not be reduced While the Spaniards made the natives ser to slavery. Lawrence district generally pursued a more humane course with the native tribes of the country. of little use to the state. and became a constant menace to the life of the feeble colonies. were in the main fruitless. Christianize and civilize them but these undertakings . .

Spain. was due to the fact that at the outset the land of this district little whence became dispossess the Spaniards and French appropriate. and . these articles early became valuable to the settlers. their their development quickly and permanently affected of living and the nature of their societies. on the to be true colonies intended their settlements contrary. . never had a place in the English plan they. or offshoots from the life of the result ally mother country. the colo from Britain rapidly swept them away. which had no place in the Spanish set manner tlements for the evident reason that in the warm cli mates wild animals are not covered with close-set hair. . and fish. under the leadership of Frenchmen. After a generation the culture of tobacco in the Vir ginia district gave the colonies of that part of the coast a considerable export trade and enriched their land owners but north of that part of the shore. were always com posed of a far abler population than those of France or own devices. the only important exportable articles were the native products of the earth and waters. The was that while the Spaniards and French gener nists adopted the Indians into their new states. for they were essentially like the country In five or six generations they they came.from strong enough to all the parts of the continent which they cared to part of the difficulty which beset the early colonists of the northern portion of this continent. . A produced which could enter into the commerce of the world.OF NORTH AMERICA. 2/1 country which should be populated mainly by the Ind This scheme ians. The fur trade. All timbers. furs. or isolated in small them their communities where they could be left to The result was that the English colonies. though they extended slowly.

The effect of this trade in skins was as disadvanta geous to the Indians as it was profitable to the whites. Owing to its cold winter cli mate many of the animals of this country afforded ex black bear. these traders brought information concerning lands which would probably long have remained unknown had it not been for this profitable commerce in furs. sable. meet the expenses of their which otherwise would have been so un is profitable that it doubtful if the early settlers could have maintained their hold in the country.2/2 THE COMMERCIAL CONDITION first was the and long remained the most important basis of commerce between the northern portion of the New World and the Old. and bartered with the whites for the products of civilization. wild-cats. beaver. the furrier s whites with firearms and steel traps. of a great enabled them. Incidentally this fur trade had another important influence on the European colonies it led to the development of an en : terprising body of frontiersmen. It brought them alcoholic drinks. exchanging their wares for the hides the Indians had to sell. In this incidental way only did the colonists of this part of the land find the Indians of profit to them. indeed. The These creatures were generally taken by the Indians. cellent pelts. abounded in the forests and prairies. foxes.relations These people were a means between the newcomers and . which seem to be even . to commerce was it pioneering life. the aborigines were in part maintained moreover. who were good hunters and had some skill in As soon as they were provided by the art. mink. and several other animals whose skins were of value. buffalo. whereby friendly &quot. For a time the gain they made from advantage to the whites this . they gathered great quantities of these furs. who pushed into the interior of the continent.

Even guns. were disseminated through the wilderness In general it brought the evils of civilization people.- agriculture to the ensavaging pursuits of the chase. and but few canals by which the products of the remoter forests could be brought to the great Atlantic ports of that country. but has been nearly extirpated by the . to a people who were not by nature fitted to avail them selves of the good side of traps. parts of was once plentiful along the it the Atlantic coast. the principal element in the early commerce between the New World and the Old. which the Indians acquired by bartering furs. For many years there was also an export of the bark and roots of the sassafras. although they made the pursuit turned these wild men away from culture. the possession of modern arms. powder. 273 . more damaging to savages than to civilized people it was the means by which a variety of European diseases. which can readily be conveyed in clothing. The whole of the eastern coast of North America originally bore luxuriant forests. of wild animals easier. As there were no railways. it as the ginseng then. next after the furs. and thus served to degrade them. as now. The roots of a commanded central plant known a high price . and the timber of these woods was. the region north of Cape Hatteras. The more cultivated parts of Europe had long been deprived of the trees fit for ship-building and for other large constructions. a tree which affords an aro matic substance which at that time was supposed to principally from have a medicinal virtue. and fish-hooks.OF NORTH AMERICA. Moreover. much of the supply came from America. such as smallpox. made them much more dangerous enemies to the whites than when they were armed with flint-tipped arrows and stone hatchets.

region off the iron bound coasts of New England . which were not only well suited to their own immediate use. schooling fishes. but also fitted for preservation by drying and salting. and the more northern parts of the Atlantic shore to the people is consequently the profit it has given The limited to this part of the coast. bridges. this occupation was carried on in competi tion with the fishermen of Europe. Still occupation of their ancestors who settled on this shore. who resorted to our shores and returned with their cargoes at the end of the employment was pursued with profit.274 THE COMMERCIAL CONDITION it. New York were and a considerable export trade came from them. It was the good fortune of the European settlers that they found the waters of the Atlantic coast rich in a number of species of fish. the cod holds the foremost place. This fish finds the stormy and of the sea-shore particularly well suited to its rocky parts in and so it abounds the needs. so that they could be carried to distant lands. have also led the seamen of New England and the St. and the thousand other things necessary for man s use inherit nothing but their strength have to be procured anew. when men and energy from the generations which have gone before. particularly the mackerel and herring. continued search which has been made for plant products were of These importance in the development of the colonies. roads. Among these. . where houses. Unlike the fur trade and the timber industry. The sea-fisheries of the region north of early turned to use. Lawrence the people to this day follow the each season. and in New England as well as in the region about the St. for they enabled the people to secure the means necessary to pay the great costs required in the settlement of the wilderness country.

. it is true. but they were If subjected to it they incapable of steadfast hard labor. they served as gatherers of furs and deer-skins. relations of this continent to Africa. just as the people of Northern Europe to visit first part of the continent even before the colonies were Certain species of fish. The great need of the new settlements was to secure. or use in seasons of famine. were of weak did not prove of much service as workmen. enslaved West a large part of the natives of the Indies. Unlike the game the capture of these creatures from the which could smoking sea did for of the forest. and the salmon. an abundance of cheap labor which were involved in the reduc tion of a stubborn wilderness to the use of civilized man.OF NORTH AMERICA. body and North of Mexico the Indian proved essentially useless for all the purposes of civilization. for the difficult tasks on any terms. soon died. not require the pioneers to venture into the wilderness where they might encounter their savage foes. 2/5 they this Lawrence tempted founded. the shad. salting. and were of great value to the early settlers. for they provided at certain seasons quantities of easily captured food be readily preserved by drying. which have the habit of laying their eggs in the rivers and in the lakes from which they flow. were in the primitive time accustomed to resort to the shores of the Atlantic coast in great numbers. Mexico. though easily subjugated. Another important condition of the settlements in North America was brought about by the geographic We have already noticed the fact that the Indians of North America were The Spaniards. but these people. the alewives. and Central America. district to considerable voyages. generally of an indomesticable nature. They would fish and hunt.

at a very cheap price. a well-chosen of would repay his cost in two or three years . this need was met by sending from the Old World numbers of paupers and criminals who had been convicted of unimportant offences against the law. could be conveyed across the calm. or were sold by their own petty kings much soldiers were bartered away by the sovereigns of Europe during the last century. to emigrate to America Even poor people who desired sometimes paid for their voyage Although this supply of labor was for a time important. immediate needs of the European colonies in the New Unlike the American Indian. bring a cargo of near a thousand men. This cheap captive labor from Africa exactly met the as World. tropical seas. who were sold into a temporary slavery to pay the cost of their transportation. But the recently acquired knowledge of the populous districts of the Guinea coast made it easy for traders to purchase in that country. European any number of negro slaves. therefore. the negro is very able-bodied. and the servitude of whites was not very revolting to the spirit of that time. These captives were secured by the natives in the end less wars which then as now prevailed among the Afri can tribes. it was not by such bondage. paid in goods of manufacture. be sold at about the price of a good horse. sufficient for the ever-growing needs of strong hands. with great profit to the slave merchants. Engaged in tobacco planting and sundry other slave arts. There had for ages interior of Africa been a trade in slaves between the and the Mediterranean district.2/6 THE COMMERCIAL CONDITION In a small way. packed so closely that a ship of five hundred tons burden could They could. and can labor as endur- From their own country they ingly as the white men. patient in captivity.

but the immediate profit was great it is indeed difficult to see how European colonies could have grown with any thing like the rapidity into which they developed in the . quite as pily for his anticipation it remote from the Indies as are the ports of Spain. For a time this unhappy commerce proved of great advantage to the colonists of the New World.OF NORTH AMERICA. If it had been breached by the sea America would have been in the great highway of the world s commerce. It true that the momentary gain was dearly bought by the troubles which afterwards came in the conflict for the overthrow of slavery. for it supplied them with the laborers which were needed for their pioneering work. but owing to the barrier of the Isthmus of Darien. It was the purpose of Columbus to find a way to the East Indies and China . to note some of the indirect effects arising from the peculiar shape of the land about the Gulf of Mexico. The rapid commercial and indus trial success of the settlements was in a great measure due to the this extensive and forced migration of Africans is to New World. service. The Isthmus of Darien is so low that if the land should sink by the amount of three hundred feet there would be a good ship channel from the Atlantic waters to those of the Pacific. This slender barrier has been of incalcu lable influence in the history of civilized America. It is for the importation of negro perhaps worth while in this brief account of the influence of the geography of North America on its set tlement by Europeans. . eighteenth century but slaves. that illustrious explorer indeed died with the full conviction that he had found a land near to those parts of the Orient unhap : was found that the country he had discovered was not only far from Cathay.

This brief sketch of the effects of the physical con ditions of North America on the progress of European settlements on its shores. but also the circumstances of its relations to other parts of the earth. and Great Britaip had increased. that the firm control of the Spaniards over the region about the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico was shaken. the one obstacle between the Pacific and Atlantic divisions of the world. may serve to show us how the geographic conditions of the country determine not only the internal conditions of the people who develop within its territory. and not as it is at present. made the seas about the southern part of North America a natural marine fortress. together with the peninsula of Florida. and that of Holland. It was only when the power of Spain had sunk.278 COMMERCIAL CONDITION OF NORTH AMERICA. and the peculiar arrangement of the islands of the Caribbean. . between the fertile and populous districts of Southern and Eastern Asia and the states of Europe. and enabled the Span ish long to hold this field of the ocean against the other maritime nations of Europe. France. The existence of the Isthmus of Darien.

&quot. formation of 87 life 3 186 America. &quot. 215 building materials of coal in 224 215 &quot. river systems mountains. 86 268 &quot. 96 96 97 26 257 167 1 &quot. &quot. component ranges description of erosion 96 93 &quot. Appalachian &quot. 97 94. process of building &quot. principle of race. 98 &quot. district &quot. . 172 177 1 &quot. 242 Agricultural advantages of North America resources of Cordilleran region &quot. routes over 264 1 Bald cypress. effect of Japan current on climate 79 125. &quot. Aborigines of North America. &quot. &quot. origin of district. 226 193. eastern section of North America Agriculture of Atlantic coast region Alaska. Atlantic coast region 79 &quot. mineral resources of 153 Adirondack &quot. comparison with Cordilleras &quot. 214. formation of bays on Ocean. &quot. &quot. nature of Altitude. topography Archaen era in North America Artesian wells. &quot. 95. characteristics Aryan &quot. causes determining discovery of Animals of North America 263 196. 128 Aleutian Archipelago. &quot. &quot. effect on conditions of Alluvial soils. &quot.INDEX. uses of Batrachians 18 37 279 . early difficulties of traversing &quot. 203 .

46 189 Caverns Central district of North America. divisions of areas having differences in general features &quot. &quot. &quot. &quot. life 44 34. &quot.28O INDEX. &quot. 87 201 201 . distribution of of fertility 86. influence on conditions of marine Carboniferous period. suitableness to man 76 23 &quot. of Alaska. &quot. &quot. America 177 &quot. &quot.40. arrangement of strata in district of Pennsylvania ~ 44 40 218 . &quot. &quot. 123 180 1 &quot. &quot. affected by Polar current of Atlantic coast &quot. &quot. 125 125 &quot. anthracite and bituminous &quot. in North America of 46 47 &quot. Civil fertility 141-145 of in War. &quot. climate of &quot. the earth as affected by ocean currents range of in North America Coal. &quot. disadvantages of the South 244 197. &quot. 123 conditions affecting effect of Gulf of Mexico &quot. &quot. origin 8 Cambrian period Cafions in North America 1 15. &quot. &quot. Greenland Mississippi Valley. Lawrence Valley 178 19 &quot. life &quot. &quot. Cretaceous period eastern section of North &quot. Blue-grass district. northern region of North America prairie region St. 168 123 128 125. PAGE Bays of Atlantic coast Birds of North America Bison. &quot. &quot. &quot. &quot. &quot. 79 &quot. &quot. 1 39. &quot. &quot. ocean currents rainfall &quot. Cape Cod. &quot. range of 80 112 &quot. 169 1 &quot. 140 12. 198 Clams. Carboniferous period Cordilleran region 1 44 72 55 &quot. &quot. 168 beds. &quot. &quot. 28 16 38. North America &quot. &quot. 128 1 how &quot. oscillations of level of land in . effect of Japan current on Atlantic coast region &quot. &quot. fresh water Climate.

Cordilleran mountains region. &quot. 242 &quot. 231 internal Comstock &quot. 246 271 of early colonies. . &quot. 28l PAGE Coal. 248 247 228. 219 &quot. mineral resources precious metals readiness with which explored unfitness for occupation 1 73. Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea &quot. 227 228 &quot. mining in Continental areas. &quot. &quot. of North America &quot. in Carboniferous period district 38 215. value for uses of man 74 Copper. Laurentian 225 152 Coral reefs. Gulf Stream 86 151 33. 149 1 Continents. &quot. 1 1. agricultural resources &quot. &quot. &quot. conditions of North America &quot. &quot. production Cretaceous period 53 55 . 50 85 &quot. disadvantages of North America. formation of &quot. figures of formation.INDEX. &quot. 1 1 50 &quot. southeastern coast. 217 270 . &quot. 205 231 district of Cordilleran district &quot. &quot. &quot. favored by shortened distances between points formerly &quot. &quot. 250 249 246 &quot. development of United States inactivity of northern part of 238 &quot. plan of various races in Commercial advantages of geographical position of North America. remote 251 method of growth &quot. 209 &quot. &quot. in &quot. 92 172 171 171. 172 climate extent &quot. principle of shelf 18 89 148. &quot. advantage of water-fronts &quot. influence of Gulf Stream in formation in geological times &quot. &quot. conditions of growth 90. Appalachian Narragansett basin Colonization of North America. lode. effect on geographical and climatal conditions &quot. early use of &quot. &quot. by man Cotton. 232 171 195. 91. North America 250 products of North America 25 1 Commerce.

. 113.. Silurian period 30 Dead &quot. . &quot. 234 238 235 &quot. account of Figure of land-masses of the earth Fisheries of early colonies Fish of Carboniferous period &quot. picturesque value species of trees composing 135 1 14 Fossils found in salt springs 255 o France. S. 176 72 Elephants of glacial period England. &quot. 77 176 occupation by man. effect on subsequent history &quot. 259 262 .. &quot. . progress of &quot. &quot. seas shales.. &quot. &quot. Eastern section of North America.C &quot. . character of &quot. 147 Devonian black 33 period in North America 32 Domesticated animals. . 89 47 120 113 188 112. difficulties &quot. &quot. probable cause &quot. district. 274 37 North America relation of trend to axis continent 200 179 Florida. evidence of former exemption from of New England &quot. share in settlement of America 267 Falls of Ohio River. origin 204 Early settlement of interior &quot. PAGE Crinoids of Carboniferous period &quot.lt. Earthquake of Charleston. Earthquakes. 137 18 . formation of 146. North America in Mississippi Valley 264 261 . of 181 i 260 . agricultural resources extent fitness for &quot. &quot. &quot. &quot. 115 Footprints found in strata of Triassic period Forest products of minor importance Forests. . distribution . share of settlement in America 266 . &quot. &quot.282 INDEX. method of clearing of North America for tillage purposes &quot. &quot. &quot. 260 261 1 &quot.. 35 . &amp. importance to early settlers &quot. &quot.

210 . former extent 34 33 19 of. 109 65 &quot. effect 19 &quot. conditions of drainage &quot. methods of research Ginseng. uses Glacial action during ice epoch &quot. Greenland. commercial advantage of position. 65 &quot. 228 229. &quot. . &quot. conditions affecting preservation supply of North America. effects of &quot. early colonists 164 5 Geological changes. 109 effects on drainage on drainage &quot. climate 80. effect on climate of North America 125 &quot. 2. &quot. &quot. 283 PAGE Fuel deposits.INDEX. &quot. conditions. Fur trade of colonies. &quot. effect in 25 25 21 14. former course of 32 . records. 1 &quot. &quot. 4 20 &quot. &quot. dependence of men upon effect on development of life &quot. agency in formation of Devonian black shales &quot. comparison with archaeological succession of life 6 Geologist. &quot. &quot. difficulty of interpretation researches. of coral reefs on 50 86 &quot. period. &quot. . effects &quot. climatal influence &quot. 8 1 geography glaciers 1 89 26 probable insular nature of resources 80 81 Gulf of Mexico. Greenland district 26 Gold-bearing gravels of Cordilleran &quot. 252 272 18 Geographical aspects of the earth &quot. migration of species moraines of soils 67 70 126 1 &quot. determining present conditions development of North America. 23 1 20 66 70. area experiencing &quot. 1 Gulf Stream. &quot. conditions determining course Course of. 230 mining of Appalachian district Great Lakes. formed in Glaciers of Alaska &quot. &quot. &quot. 223 106 .

&quot. peculiarities of 199 Lakes. geographical conditions on development. influence on history of America 277 125. &quot. 254 81 127 . &quot. &quot. &quot.. 164 160 . &quot. of central North America. 242 129. &quot. . domestic arts of &quot. 12 production &quot. of. Jurassic period effect on climate of Alaska King crab. uses 247 267 119 Horse. picturesque value of Laurentian district. development of Hot springs. 161. social condition &quot. 130 summer effect of civilization Indians.284 INDEX. &quot. 100 14 Life. character of 270 156 222 &quot. 5 Japan current. effect on development 163 influence of absence of domesticable animals on development 162 &quot. 128 49. of Cordilleran district 228 225 &quot. influence in formation of coral reefs Guatemala. Iron ore. abandonment of old city of . former development &quot. &quot. . &quot. value of 58 origin Hudson s Bay.86.. probable Icebergs. . North and South America. effects and nature of 253. ignorance of ship-building. PAGE Gulf Stream. Laurentian district Isthmus of Darien. 151 259 Harbors of North America Holland. likeness formation and distribution of &quot. share in settlement of North America Holly. 163 traits &quot. mineral resources * 135 mountains 225 98.. means of warfare mental capacity and &quot. &quot.. 158 on 272 156 157 &quot. Indian corn. advance in during geological times degradational changes in development of 63 . 99. conditions of growth &quot.

&quot. &quot. resources of.INDEX. conditions determining distribution &quot. geography of 88 Mackenzie River. &quot. sea-faring &quot. &quot. 46 16 141 process of development Limestone. effect of various conditions &quot. &quot. life in 10 &quot. Mexico. district of minor importance &quot. 226 205 &quot. conditions necessary &quot. resources. dependence on geographical conditions first appearance in North America influence of under earth 4 73 10 on occupations of various stages in development Metalliferous ores of Appalachian district &quot. 285 Life. floods of 103 in strata of Triassic period Mammalian remains found 48 201 Mammals &quot. &quot. 14. classification of &quot. relative value 207 206 &quot. Mississippi Valley &quot. &quot. extent of knowledge of &quot. 240 212 . 16 &quot. slight extension of settlements of Mineral constituents of sea-water. life 9 &quot. &quot. uses of &quot. 14 &quot. springs. North America. on 2. &quot. 205 224 21 Methods of geological research. 14 geological succession in geological times. 56 Man. &quot. Cretaceous period Jurassic period &quot. &quot. &quot. of Adirondack district &quot. 117 Lower California. development of mining &quot. appropriation by organisms Mineral fields of North America. &quot. 227 &quot. Laurentian district 225 &quot. &quot. &quot. &quot. Tertiary era for &quot. description of of Carboniferous period &quot. comparison with those of archaeology. formation of Live oak. development of Tertiary era Triassic period 49 28 56 &quot. &quot. &quot. value 253 10 Minerals. 3. of North America &quot. 47 53. &quot. 214 232 208 208 226 products of Cordilleran &quot. Cordilleran region 173. 13. North America &quot. situation &quot. varieties having economic value . 55 &quot.

&quot. physiographic aspects &quot. . &quot. 133 132 &quot. development of extent first of 196 28 77 &quot. population range of climate relative lack of picturesqueness 241 168 &quot. of glacial period in Triassic period localities of present activity Mound-builders Mountain building. England. settlement . mountains origin of aborigines 9 &quot. minor mountain ranges &quot. &quot. &quot. scenery ^. &quot. m 1 1 32 &quot. minerul resources &quot. growth &quot. valleys &quot. &quot. &quot. fitness for agriculture &quot. &quot. 77. 221 31 New &quot. &quot.286 INDEX. &quot. 220. 46 79 77. &quot. life &quot. &quot. 84 67 159 &quot. aboriginal peoples of &quot. &quot. &quot. Valley. geological development &quot. advantage to commerce of geographical position animals climate 250 196 1 &quot. 205 100 107 77&amp. &quot. mineral resources 226 2 &quot. &quot. 137 153 &quot. forests &quot. description of valley of 90 217 210. fitness for fruit culture. &quot. 104 260 108 : peculiar characteristics of valleys Niagara Falls. 153 = &quot. &quot. of Silurian period Nelson River. formation of islands by &quot. &quot. &quot.gt. &quot. earthquakes of &quot. comparative &quot. range of climate in Mollusks of North America 197 Morainal accumulations. &quot. 81 &quot. account of North America. 23 &quot. pearly. 233 193 112 25 21 &quot. PAGE Mississippi Sea &quot. &quot. account of &quot. Mountains of North America Narragansett coal basin Natural gas Nautilus.

. climate &quot. Peat bogs &quot. &quot. currents. &quot. 155 man on Pacific coast Race characteristics. &quot. settlement 237 121. 124 135 128 Population of North America. vegetables originally from &quot. former destruction of timber by &quot.. soils 183 value to man 193. 189 Prairies Precious metals of Cordilleran district Prehistoric 228 154. Pennsylvania coal 43 218 119 210. 180 origin of continental islands. &quot. comparison with those of Europe Plainland picturesque aspect Polar current of Atlantic coast. &quot. 171 Northmen. &quot. &quot. &quot. effect on climate district. influence of natural conditions on 167 . 287 PAGE North America. 42 process by which changed to coal district .INDEX. on climate of the earth falls Ohio River. &quot. 220. climate &quot. &quot. 221 Persimmon. &quot. growth of Prairie lands. . &quot. Northern region of North America. account of Opossum. 122. extent &quot. uses Paw-paw. 123 121 &quot. uses 119 41.. &quot. &quot. 88 117 Palmetto. resources unfitness for occupation by 70 &quot. effect of continental &quot. 1 74 variety of sources of energy 253 204 166 1 &quot. character of &quot. peculiarities of 137 202 16 c Organisms. 19 128 19 &quot. 219. man . discovery of America by 263 Ocean &quot. principles determining the survival of Oysters of North America 1 99 Pacific coast region. effect of distribution effect grouping on on climate of North America . uses Petroleum Physiographic features of North America. fire on 241 1 16 region.

Rattlesnake.288 INDEX. 276 243 275 &quot. &quot. &quot. . cause of distribution . difficulties &quot. benefits of &quot. St. 276 186 7 7. soil on distribution 243 186 Slave trade in time of early settlement of America Soil. stages of progress prairie region. uses coast. former rainfall &quot. character determined by underlying rock * composition conditions determining fertility. &quot. educative value Seasons. &quot. distribution &quot. of North America. . &quot. conditions determining relative amount in North America 182 181. 107 1 &quot.- Valley. . . no 190 settlement sterility 238 190 82. 212 262 269 239 237 &quot. 178 105 255. . formation of &quot. effect on conditions of life 3 Sea-water. &quot. &quot. PAGE Railroads in North America. character climate description 78 &quot. 183 &quot. influence of cotton &quot. 258 181 and Europe &quot. . absence of alluvial plain &quot. facility of construction 249 Rainfall. composition Settlement of North America. Salt springs Sand beaches of Atlantic Sassafras. conditions determining &quot. cause 84 119 132 Scenery. &quot. Lawrence Archipelago &quot. conditions determining &quot. &quot. conditions determining distribution leading to. &quot. 256 &quot. &quot. in early settlement of America &quot. Rocky Mountains life 238 29 231 Silurian period. . and tobacco production on. &quot. &quot. Silver of Cordilleran district Slavery. f 184 . alluvial. 83 &quot. characteristics of Reptiles of North America 200 200 97 River systems of Appalachian district Rivers of Pacific Slope Rocky Mountains.

. production Tornadoes Triassic period. 8 185 186 . civilization &quot. . life of Timber trade of early colonies 56 273 196 131. &quot. mammalian remains found mountain building in &quot. 289 PAGE Soil. footprints of batrachians found in strata life &quot. . formation of &quot. 132 Tobacco. in situ 185 nature and origin Soils of Glacial period &quot. caused to gush by pressure of gases importance of &quot. &quot. success of Springs. uses Temperature. &quot. 184 . absence of alluvial plain in . formation of Storms. determining conditions of formation life = 5 6 . &quot.lt. Stalagmite. . 264 . &quot. distribution of slavery &quot. of North America. of North America. formed by glacial action &quot. North America relative &quot. . effect in &quot. . Nelson River. character of &quot. 187 Spain. on advance of &quot. effect in Il8 determining distribution of life 12 Tertiary era. 256 144 144 131 . &quot. .INDEX. 265 257 253 254 . 47 46 48 46 35 Trilobites. character of Mackenzie River. 6 70 183. character of St Lawrence. . &quot. endurance of .. of in strata * &quot. &quot. of subjugation . classification of &quot. disappearance of Valley of Churchill River. conditions of occurrence 130 Taxodium. &quot. 104 102 104 107 &quot. share in settlement of America Spanish colonies. distribution value as sources of domestic water-supply Stalactite. 185 188 how cleared of forests 188 &quot. :&amp. . difficulty &quot. influence of former conditions on &quot.

. power of North America system of North America . &quot. . . . 89 . life. relation of trend to axis of continent . 108 ... 60 195 193.. . classification of of New England.. characteristics of &quot. formation of Vertebrates. conditions of occurrence..2QO INDEX. 204 213 Veins. &quot. . Virginian coal district Waterfalls. .. scenic value 136 211 211 Water. development in Tertiary time Vegetables of North America originating in North America. 136 . . dissolving capacity of influence in formation of mineral accumulations &quot. 1 38 relation to geology .... . . . 252 247 Yucatan.... . Vegetable &quot. . 102 . &quot. first appearance of 24 217 ... PAGE Valleys. = 137 * economic value &quot.

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