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N 0 RTH AMERIC A.

CHA PTER I.
WASHINGTON.

THE site of the present City of Washington was chosen with three special views: firstly, that being on the Potomac it might have the full advantage of water-carriage and a sea-port; secondly, that it might be so far removed from the sea-board as to be safe from invasion; and, thirdly, that it might be central alike to all the States. It was presumed, when Washington was founded, that these three advantages would be secured by the selected position. As regards the first, the Potomac affords to the city but few of the advantages of a sea-port. Ships can come up, but not ships of large burden. The river seems to have dwindled since the site was chosen, and at present it is, I think, evident that Washington can never be great in its shipping. Statio benefida carinis can never be its motto. As regards the second point, singularly enough Washington is the only city of the Union that has been in an enemy's possession since the United States became a nation. In the war of 1812 it fell into our hands, and we burned it. As regards the third point, Washington, from the lie of the land, can hardly have been said to be centrical at any time. Owing to the irregularities of the coast it is not easy of access by railways from different sides. Baltimore would have been far better. But as far as we can now see, and as well as we can now judge, Washington will soon be on the borders of the nation to which it belongs, instead of at its center. I fear, therefore, that we must acknowledge that the site chosen for his country's capital by George Washington has not been fortunate.

I have a strong idea, which I expressed before in speaking of the capital of the Canadas, that no man can ordain

VoI. II.-1* (5)

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