The last ten years exhibit a steady and gratifying development of all the great interests of Virginia
She has increased in population, in wealth, in commerce, in agriculture and mineral development, and in mechanical and commercial enterprises.
Her system of internal improvements has already been productive of beneficial results, and given evidence, even in its incomplete and unfinished state, of a golden tide of business and wealth which will seek its channels as soon as they are fully opened.
In addition to this grand material progress, the education of the people has received an impetus such as has not been witnessed in any previous decade.
Our universities, colleges, academies, and female schools, have all not only increased, but set up a higher standard of learning, are attended by larger numbers and are presided over by a class of teachers who, in qualifications, efficiency, and in elevated moral tone and social status, have no superiors, probably no equals, in the Union
A review of the material, intellectual and moral progress of Virginia
, for the last ten years, is full of interest and satisfaction to every citizen of the Commonwealth
But, great as it is, it is destined to be eclipsed by the achievements of the next decade, if we exert only ordinary vigilance and energy.--The great difficulty is always to make a good start.
John Jacob Astor
said it cost him more trouble to make his first thousand dollars than all the millions that grew out of it. Virginia
, in the broad foundation she has laid for her internal improvement system, and the energetic and suspicious beginning she has made of mechanical enterprise, has surmounted the pinch of the hill, and if she push forward now with energy and wisdom, she will have hereafter an easy triumph.
Ten years more, and we may hope that all our railroads will be completed, and, more than all, the James River
and Kanawha Canal, a work which, when accomplished, will completely regenerate this Old Dominion.
We envy the young men of the day, who are just about to step on the theatre of action, and who will witness, in the meridian and vigor of their lives, that glorious consummation for which the men of the present generation have hoped and waited, and may "die without the sight." For more than double the period which the people of Israel
wandered in the desert, has this great improvement dragged its slow length along among the valleys and mountains of Virginia
Generation after generation has laid its bones in the desert, without catching the most distant glimpse of this promised land.
For the last twenty years it has traveled at the rate of about two miles a year, at which speed, if kept up, it would reach the Ohio
somewhere about A. D. 2000.
But, luckily, our French allies have come to the rescue, and, in all probability, a work will be completed within the next ten years which will accomplish as great results for Virginia
as the Erie Canal
for New York.
Thus the Past
is full of satisfaction, and the Future of hope, if Virginia
will use with judgment and energy the advantages she has already obtained.
There is no State in the Union
, even in the opinion of those who are most hostile to its institutions and its people, which combines so many agricultural, mineral, and commercial capacities for greatness, as Virginia
Now that these capacities are beginning to be developed, and are attracting the attention of the world, it requires no prophet to predict that, at the close of the present century, she will be one of the most powerful, populous and prosperous of American States.