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NAVIGATION: THE WORLD'S NEED OF ITS IMPROVEMENT. "THE GATES OF THE
RIVERS." THE PROBLEM OF THEIR OPENING CAN ONLY BE SOLVED BY THE USE
OF IMPROVED IMPLEMENTS AND NATURAL FORCES EXISTING IN ALL WATERS.
The work at the mouth of the Danube, it is at length known, is
wholly inadequate to admit heavy shipping into that great river.
And so at the mouth of the Mississippi. And so at the mouth of the
Vistula, the Rhone, and many other important rivers where
improvement with that purpose has been attempted. We might almost
say all other rivers are barred at their mouths, unless cleared by
frequent artificial aid, or by extraordinary natural conditions.
This fact has not seemingly been fully realized by the general
public, (if clearly stated) and even the faithful, extended and
elaborate labors of engineers at river mouths, in Europe and
America, have often, if not usually, seemed to deal with such
questions as the mouth of the Mississippi as though it was
anomalous and extraordinary, and only to be understood by peculiar
illustrations. For example, one learned engineer argues, in an
official report, that "the Grulf of Mexico is too large" for the
Mississippi, and too large to admit ot keeping the mouth of the
river open for heavy shipping. Another declares that "in order to
understand the question it is necessary to realize that the river
is leveling the continent, and carrying it down to the gulf." Do
such extravagant statements indicate clear conceptions of nature,
and of the work required of man ? Are they wise, or absurd? And
great works (called permanent) are proposed, radi- 4 THE WORLD'S
NAVIGATION. cal changes in the river planned, and various and more
various, and more costly, become the theories and schemes brought
forward, and urged with all the zeal of great...
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