Moving cargos



Publication Details

Birtchnell, T., Savitzky, S. & Urry, J. (2015). Moving cargos. In T. Birtchnell, S. Savitzky & J. Urry (Eds.), Cargomobilities: Moving materials in a global age (pp. 1-16). New York, United States: Routledge.


Alongside musings on anatomy, the 'utility of forests', comets and the 'prodigious number of plants on the earth', eighteenth-century thinker Christoph Christian Sturm's Reflections on the Works of God in Nature and Providence marvelled at two phenomena that were greatly boosting global trade. The first was the compass which gave direction even on the darkest nights and cloudiest of days in the midst of the ocean. The second was the 'miraculous' advantage that the sea lent to moving goods as compared with land. Sturm reflects that a body of water 'is not more loaded with the ship and her cargo, than it was with the water which the ship removes from the places which she occupies'. This movement across the sea enabled Europeans to 'procure treasures from other parts of the world', and inspired Sturm to honour those 'who are obliged to brave the seas, and undertake long and dangerous voyages for the benefit of society, and consequently for our particular profit'.

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