Rivers and Lakes. Edit
Prussia is extremely well watered. The Rhenish provinces are traversed by the Rhine, while their Eastern Frontier is partly formed by the Weser. The Elbe traverses the Saxon provinces; the Oder which is almost an entirely Prussian river, runs through the whole extent of the monarchy, from the Southern frontier of Silesia to the Isle of Usedom, where it falls into the Baltic. Polish Prussia (or Posen) is watered by the Wartha; West Prussia by the Vlusta; and Ducal Prussia by the Pregel and the Niemen. And besides the above there are many other large rivers, as the Ems, Moselle, Spree, Havel Nets &c.
Owing to the flatness of the country through which they flow, none of the great rivers are interrupted by cataracts, and they are all navigable- the Rhine, Elbe and Vistula throughout their whole course in the Prussian dominions: the Oder is navigable, for barges, as far as Ratibor in South Silesia; and the Pregel and Niemen to a considerable distance inland. The establishment of steam packets on these rivers, and the freeing of the navigation of the Rhine and the Elbe from the oppressive tolls and regulations by which is was formerly obstructed, have already been and no doubt will be continue to be, of vast service to the country. Canals have also been constructed connecting the Elbe, the Oder and the Vistula; so that the goods shipped at Hamburg may be conveyed by water to the Dantric, and conversely.
Lakes are exceedingly numerous, particularly in Ducal Prussia and Pomerania. There are also along the coast several bays, or rather lagoons, communicating with the sea by narrow mouths, and possessing more of the character of freshwater lakes than of arms of the sea. They are denominated Haffs, the principal the Curische Haff and the Frische Haff, on the coast of Ducal Prussia, and the Haff at the mouth of the Oder.
The principal seaports are Memel, Konigsberg, or rather Pillau, Dantzac, Stettin (?), and Stralsund. With the exception of Stettin, or rather of its outport, Swinemunde, the water at these ports is rather shallow, seldom exceeding from 10 feet to 12 feet. But at Swinemunde, there are from 19 feet to 21 feet.
The climate of Prussia is not less varied than its soil. Along the Baltic it is moist, and in Ducal Prussia, especially, the winter is long and severe. It is also severe in Southern parts of Silesia, contiguous to the Carpathian mountains. In North Silesia, Brandenburg, and the Saxon and the Rhenish provinces, it is comparatively mild.
The Prussian monarchy is richer in minerals than might have been anticipated from its flatness. Iron is the most generally diffused. It is very extensively wrought in Silesia, principally on account of the crown, but also by private individuals. The iron works in the Rhenish provinces, near Dortmund, Solingen, Iserlohn, &c, and those near Schmiedeberg, Tarnowitz, Sprottau, &c., in Silesia are very extensive. Coals are very abundant in the Rhenish provinces, Saxony and other parts of Silesia, and large quantities are annually produced. Salt, which is a government monopoly, is produced principally in the Saxon provinces, which also yield considerable quantities of copper, and some silver. Silesia furnished annually large quantities of zinc, lead, and tin; but the last mentioned metal is partly, also, supplied by Brandenburg. Amber has long been known as a product of Ducal Prussia. It is principally found along the low, narrow tongue of land between the Curische Haff and the sea.
If we distinguish the mineral products into 1. Metal; 2. Combustible minerals; 3. Stones; 4. Clay, sand and earth; 5. salt, alum & etc; we have in Prussia:
Silver, in Saxony (Mearfield); Westphalia (Slegen); Silesia
Copper, Saxony (Mearfield); Westphalia (Slegen); Silesia
Lead, Silesia; Rhine, Westphalia, Saxony
Iron and Steel, in every province, but principally in the mountains of Silesia, Westphalia and Rhine.
Cobalt, Westphalia (Slegen), and Saxony
Calamine and Zinc, Silesia, Rhine, and Westphalia
2: Combustible Minerals
Pit Coal, Silesia, Westphalia, Saxony and Rhine
Brown Coal, Saxony and Rhine
Turf, in every province, principally in Brandenburg
Amethyst, agate, in Silesia
Marble, Westphalia, Saxony, Rhine and Silesia
Volcaic ??? Rhine Province, and very important
Serpantine Stone, Silesia
Of sandstone, millstone, in Silesia, Saxony, Westphalia and Rhine
Grinding, or whet stone, in Westphalia, Silesia, Saxony
Limestone, in Silesia, Westphalia, Rhine, Saxony, Brandenburg
Gypsum (?) in the same provinces as Limestone
Slate, Westphalia and the Rhine.
4: Clay, Sand and Earth
Porcelain earth in Saxony near Halls
Pipe clay and fuller's earth, Silesia
Sand, suitable for the fabrication of glass, in all provinces
Brick Clay and marl, in all provinces
Kitchen salt in Saxony, Westphalia, Pomerania, and Rhine
Alum, Silesia, Saxony, Westphalia, Rhine, and Brandenburg
Saltpetre, in some provinces
In 1835, there were produced in the monarchy 184,280 cwt. Zinc., 1,653,297, cwt. Iron., 10,896,433 tons coal, 181,534,150 lbs. Salt, &c. The total value of minerals produced in that year has been estimated at 9,186,366 rix-doll.
A Dictionary, Geographical, Statistical and Historical, Volume II, J.R. MucCulloch 1847