National Geographic : 1890 Apr
Geography of the Land. possibility of the future improvement of undeveloped regions. The commerce of the world in coming years will demand the accuracy in the location of distant regions as great as we now have in civilized centres, for time will be too precious to lose a day of it in the precautions that the navigator must now follow in approaching undeveloped coasts. That these truths have guided those who seek to do their share for the future in the labor of the present, we have ample evidence in the activity of all civilized governments during the last century. It is a source of shame and infinite regret that our own government has done so little in this vast field : that the intelligence of our people has not been awakened to put forth their energy in so good a cause, that would eventually increase their own prosperity. But we have not been altogether inactive and complaint must be in the quantity, not the quality of our labors. The establish ment of " definite locations," for the control of sections and regions, is the first step in eliminating errors that have been com mitted and in providing greater accuracy in the future. At a recent meeting of the Society we had a paper presented on this subject, from which we can judge of the good work that has been done by our navy in these determinations, and gain an insight of the similar labor that has been prosecuted by other nations. The bands of electric cables that girdle the earth, afford the most approved means of ascertaining the longitudes of these posi tions; and if we but study a cable chart, it will be found the work yet to be accomplished before the facilities the cables now afford are exhausted, is not inconsiderable. We hope, therefore, this good work may be continued, and that surveying and chart ing the regions thus approached, will shortly follow. There is much labor of this character still required on our own continent, and we will be delinquent in our duty as a progressive people if we do not follow the good beginning already made to its legiti mate conclusion. The duties of government are manifold, and for the benefit of those governed must include legislation that will make manifest the natural resources of the State. The geographic development and political advancement of our own country in the century of our national existence, is a marked instance of the wisdom of pre paring for the future by such acts as legitimately fall within the province of legislation.