Miles in length
Navigable canals 915.5
Navigable canals in progress of execution (1824) 1388
But, if we reduce these numbers in the proportion of 3.7 to 1, which is the relative area of France as compared with England and Wales, then we shall have the following comparison:
Portion of France equal in size to England and Wales
Navigable rivers 1275.5 1261.6 Tidal navigation(3*) 545.9 Canals, direct 2023.5 Canals, branch 150.6
2174.1 2174.1 247.4 Canals commenced —– 375.1
Total 3995.5 1884.1
Population in 1831 13,894,500 8,608,500
This comparison, between the internal communications of the two countries, is not offered as complete; nor is it a fair view, to contrast the wealthiest portion of one country with the whole of the other: but it is inserted with the hope of inducing those who possess more extensive information on the subject, to supply the facts on which a better comparison may be instituted. The information to be added, would consist of the number of miles in each country, of seacoast, of public roads, of railroads, of railroads on which locomotive engines are used.
452. One point of view, in which rapid modes of conveyance increase the power of a country, deserves attention. On the Manchester Railroad, for example, above half a million of persons travel annually; and supposing each person to save only one hour in the time of transit, between Manchester and Liverpool, a saving of five hundred thousand hours, or of fifty thousand working days, of ten hours each, is effected. Now this is equivalent to an addition to the actual power of the country of one hundred and sixty-seven men, without increasing the quantity of food consumed; and it should also be remarked, that the time of the class of men thus supplied, is far more valuable than that of mere labourers.
1. This table is extracted and reduced from one of Ravinet, Dictionnaire Hydrographique. 2 vols. 8vo. Paris. 1824.
2. I am indebted to F. Page. Esq. of Speen, for that portion of this table which relates to the internal navigation of England. Those only who have themselves collected statistical details can be aware of the expense of time and labour, of which the few lines it contains are the result.
3. The tidal navigation includes: the Thames, from the mouth of the Medway; the Severn, from the Holmes: the Trent, from Trent Falls in the Humber; the Mersey from Runcorn Gap.
On the Future Prospects of Manufactures, as Connected with Science