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quent one for 30,000 dollars. Deducting certain ture, a net-work of interlocking channels, all of property on hand, the Company now owe, there. which, and lakes of all dimensions, from a mere fore, about 130,000 dollars. It is known, that on pond to the Pontchartrain 18 by 30 miles, are shal-, the 1st of December 1830, the canal was opened; it low, with the exception of the channels of the Miswas found to afford seven feet water throughout, sissippi and Red rivers. The deepest passes from being four feet more than on the falls. All the the Delta into the Gulf of Mexico, at mid-tide, are 12 transactions of the past year have been adjusted feet, and that depth only in the two main mouths with the contractors.
of the Mississippi. The number of intermediate The Engineer states in his communication to the cuts, which the topography of such a country adCompany:
mits, are indefinite, and many of them if executed, “That the experiments which have been made would be of great local advantage: but leaving what since the water was let into the canal by the passing must be remote and contingent, we may notice one of several boats, have furnished to my mind the full. practicable work, in which are concerned the whole est and most conclusive evidence, that the antici, commercial nations of America and Europe. That pations relative to the durability and utility of the is the deepening and securing a permanent channel work will be fully realised, and that the fears of from the south-east mouth or main outlet of the those who, from the great and unusual width and Mississippi. height of the locks, have regarded it as a doubtful In 1813 the writer of this article made an actual experiment, will be completely removed; and finally, survey, and took the soundings in the different that it is only necessary for the canal to be put into mouths of the Mississippi, and found invariably successful operation, to demonstrate its great and that the water rapidly deepened outside of each permanent usefulness to the community, and its bar. At the Main Pass, when a lead could be peculiar and increasing value in a pecuniary point thrown on the bank, we had 30 feet water, and at of view to the stockholders themselves.
a cable's length farther into the gulf, 70 feet. The In a postscript, January 30, 1831, the Engineer bottom shoals more slowly inward and upwards, says:
but at a mile above the bar the largest vessel can “ For the gratification of the stockholders, I will be floated. The idea of a work to remove the bar state, that the canal is now in operation, and that and admit ships of any draught, was natural, when the following steam boats have passed since the once the given elements were known. date of the above Report: on the 1st inst. the steam This work will immortalise some statesman, and boat Cavalier; on the 2d, the steamboat Cumber- is in itself of magnitude too immense as to its cerland; and on this day, the steamboats La Grange, tain benefits, to be called merely national:-its exeVirginia, Gondola and Tippacanoe.*
cution would be an advantage to the civilized world. The Ohio river above Louisville, we perceivę, by To the deepening of the main outlet of the Misthe foregoing notices, is open to, and connected sissippi, may be added as part of the same chain of with Lake Erie by the great canal of Ohio; a rapid improvement, the Florida canal. This work so advance is making to complete another connexion national and so obviously necessary to shorten the by the Alleghany constituent with the basins of distance and lessen the dangers of the coasting Susquehannah and Delaware, and that by the com trade of the United States, must gain increasing pletion of the Louisville and Portland Canal, the attention until actually accomplished. On Tanner's once formidable “ Falls of Ohio," commercially map of the United States a line of this canal is prospeaking, will exist no more.
jected from the town of St. Mary's, on the river of At the town of Beaver (situated at the mouth of the same name, in a direction a little S. of W. to the river of the same name), on the Ohio, a canal is the mouth of Appalachicola. It may be doubted in progress to the town of Erie on the lake, 166 whether the intermediate space has been yet surmiles; about 49 miles of the route in two detached veyed to an adequate extent, to the south of this parts, have been finished at the expense of the State route, to determine either its adoption or modificaof Pennsylvania. From the town of Meadville to tion. There is another consideration which must Franklin, on the Alleghany, a branch of this canal excite doubts of the St. Mary's being the proper is also in progress, and will perhaps be navigable emporium on the Atlantic limit of such a canal. in the course of the ensuing year.
The least attainable depth of water must decide With the Louisville and Portland Canal, termi- that necessary to the canal; and of course, if only 8 gate all works of the kind, of any consequence, or 10 feet can be obtained for a harbour on the gulf deserving particular notice, which have been at side, there would be nothing gained, as far as the tempted in the valley of Ohio, or basin of the Mis- navigation of the canal is to be concerned, in a deeper sissippi. The small canal at New Orleans from harbour on the Atlantic. The proposed distance Bayou St. John's to a basin in the rear of that city, from St. Mary's to Appalachicola, is 250 miles, is a local work of great utility, but a detailed no and where crossing the summit level between the tice is precluded by its limited extent, and the pro- Oscilla and Ocklockonee rivers, the rise is 217 feet bability of its being in great part superseded by a above tide-water in the Atlantic Ocean. lock and canal navigation through the city and On Tanner's map again, there is another canal bayou St. John into Lake Ponchartrain.
route traced from the St. John's river, at JacksonThe Delta of the Mississippi is in a state of na- ville, to Suwanee river. In length, the latter route
* National Intelligencer, January 25th, 1831.
is not half the distance of the former, nor can the their intuitive sagacity: knowledge has, indeed, been intervening heights between St. John's and Suwanee, acquired during the progress of the works, but the be near so great as they are between St. Mary's and expense of tuition has been enormous. In the Appalachicola rivers,
mean time a new race of engineers has sprung up Independent of density of population and concen -men uniting the science of the scholar, and the tration of wealth on its route, a most careful and skill which practice only can confer. Under their extended survey of the isthmus which unites the auspices a great improvement in the management peninsula to the continent, is requisite to a proper and character of public works has already been location of the Florida canal. Such a survey ought manifested. to embrace a minute admeasurement of the depth "*** The geographical features of the United of water along both coasts, but particularly along States have already been described, and their inthat of the Gulf of Mexico.
fluence on the location of the canals in various We have now brought our sketch round to the parts of the country. As the rivers generally break point of outset, and many readers of the Encyclo- through the ridges instead of flowing in the valleys pædia may discover important objects omitted, but after the European fashion and as these ridges it ought to be considered that our article is neces are very numerous and in a great degree parallel, sarily brief. In the composition of our view of this circumstance has confined canals to the vicanals, we have also omitted any insertion of either cinity of the rivers. An additional cause, the supestimated or incurred expense. Our view being to ply of a sufficient quantity of water, which can give the reader a general view of the great canal only be obtained from the larger streams, has renworks actually in operation, and glancing incident dered this course necessary. An evil of great ally on those which are only designed, or in an in- magnitude is an unavoidable concomitant of such cipient state. The fact is, that the advance of popu- localities; the canals are often exposed to the violation and active enterprise is such, that the statis- lence of floods and ice freshets. This evil may tical writer has more than a daily task prepared, sometimes be obviated or diminished by a judi. and no work on the geography of the United States, cious selection of sites; but in many cases skill but must present voids in a few months after pub- is unavailing, and no alternative is presented but lication.
the conversion of rivers into canals, or rather slackThe following statements respecting the canals water pools, or the location of the canals on their and rail-roads in the United States have been ex margin. In either case, the puny structures of tracted from an essay written by George W. Smith, man are frequently unable to contend with the fury Philadelphia, -1832.
of the elements, and a few moments are sufficient “ The spirit of enterprise has been displayed on to accomplish the destruction of works on which a scale commensurate with the extensive territory whole years of unremitted labour and the treasures of the United States. With the exception of Great of a ination have been expended. The damages Britain and Holland, no country on the face of the which have been sustained by the canals in Pennglobe contains as many or as extensive canals as sylvania alone, from the freshets of the present year, this Republic; and the whole of combined Europe have been estimated at $450,000, in addition to the has not effected as much during the last 16 years extensive and incalculable injury which will result as the three states of Pennsylvania, New York, and from a suspension of the navigation during the Ohio only. The total number of miles of canals in many months which will elapse before the injury the Union is 2526 (including about 264 miles which can be repaired. are nearly finished, and which will be navigable “The locks, aqueducts, and other constituent during the ensuing spring). Several extensive ca parts of the American canals, are not constructed nals are in progress, and an immense number of with the same regard for permanency which is obprojected or authorised works are not included in servable in Europe. Wood is usually employed as the summary just given. Nearly four-fifths of the a substitute for stone in the aqueducts (particuaggregate amount have been executed in the three larly those of large dimensions), waste weirs, states above mentioned.
bridges, and the foundation of the locks. Some“ In a country where the science of civil en times even the locks are wholly or in part built of gineering was scarcely known even by name but a timber. Inverted arches of masonry for foundafew years since, many errors may of course be ex tions for the locks have been employed in perhaps pected to exist in the plan and construction of not more than half a dozen locks in the Union works which require the most profound knowledge principally in Pennsylvania. The cheapness of and extensive experience of the profession. Aston timber has rendered the use of masonry in many ishment may, therefore, be expressed rather at the cases inexpedient; and the substitution of the forunusual measure of success which has attended mer material has diminished the cost of construct. the execution of many of these works, than at the ing public works, at the same time it has rendered failure and disappointment which have been so them less durable and more subject to injury.” frequently experienced. Surveyors, millers, and “ The cost of the canals in the United States has judges, &c., have been converted into engineers already been about $21,400 on an average per mile. with magic rapidity, assuming the title without Although many expensive alterations have been previous study or practice; they have been entrust- made, a large additional sum will be requisite for ed with the expenditure of countless millions of the purpose of completing these works in a permadollars without any precaution but a reliance on nent and suitable manner. The amount necessary
for this purpose cannot be accurately estimated; have greatly increased the wealth and welfare of but, if a judgment may be formed from the brief that populous state. * and limited experience of New York and Pennsyl “ Justice, however, requires the remark, that many vania (where much expenditure will still be necess of the American canals have only recently been con. ary), the ultimate cost will probably be at least structed, and, consequently, that the trade on them $28,500 per mile. The navigable canals of Penn- is not yet established to the extent which time will sylvania have already cost $25,185 per mile." create: on a few the navigation has not yet com
“The cheapest canal (probably in the Union) cost meced. The trade will, undoubtedly, increase. about $5200 on an average per mile. (Fractions “ Enormous additional sums, however, will be re. will be generally omitted in these estimates.) quired to improve and strengthen the works on
“The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal cost nearly these highways; few of which are yet consolidated $169,000 per mile. The dimensions of this work or permanently finished. The remark which has permit the passage of coasters; of course the cost been made, that " Canals when first filled with wawas greater than would be requisite for canals in ter should be considered as scarcely half finished,” tended only for boats; the amount of excavation applies with peculiar force to the flimsy and preand embankment was much greater than usual. carious precursors of more substantial works, This work presents one of the cases where canals which the impatience and inexperience of our citiare decidedly superior to rail-roads—namely, for zens have caused to spring into existence with a connecting by a short line an immense extent of na- celerity resembling the growth of a fragile mushvigable waters: although the tolls chargeable on room-rapid but unsubstantial; manifesting sympevery ton render the cost of transportation ten times toms of decay before even the appearance of magreater than on a rail-road of similar extent, and turity.” constructed for perhaps onc-tenth of the cost of the canal-nevertheless, the expense, delay, and incon- Notes on the Internal Improvement of Pennsylvania. venience of transhipment give a preference to a work which permits a continuous voyage. A rival 6. In some parts of the Union a very erroneous rail-road, to connect the same points, has, however, opinion prevails, that the United States are indebteven in this instance, been made, and with greated entirely to the example of New York for the advantage, for the rapid conveyance of light goods, active and beneficial spirit of internal improvement passengers, &c., for which purposes canals are not which at present pervades the whole confederacy. adapted.”
“ The splendid results which followed the execu“ In the United States, the proprietors of the two tion of that stupendous work, the grand canal of thousand five hundred and twenty-five miles of canals, New York, most powerfully attracted the attention which are in operation or in progress, have not, in and stimulated the exertions of other states; many any one solitary instance, received from the tolls de works which had been commenced long prior to rived from these works the current interest of the the date of that canal, ceased to languish, and accountry on the capital expended in their construc- quired new life and vigour from the success of that tion (including therein, as part of the real cost, the splendid example. But the spirit of the age, the arrears of unpaid interest on those portions of the capi. spirit of internal improvement, was already abroad; tal which were temporarily dormant). The Erie and the attention of the people in many of the states, Champlain Canals of New York (now the most was directed to the improvement of the channels productive in the Union,) have not in any one year, by which commercial intercouse was maintained. with one exception, paid the expenses of their repairs The difficulty and enormous expense of transportaand management, and the current rate of interest on tion on the roads of the country, had induced some their actual cost, although in other respects they of our statesmen, even before the revolution, to
The total cost of these canals, including the expense attending the repairs and alterations, has been nearly $12,000,000. The following table is an interesting document.
TOLLS ON NEW YORK CANALS.
The following is a comparative statement of the tolls collected upon the stated New York canals, in the years 1830 and 1831, up to the close of August in each year. Erie and Champlain Canal.
Cayuga and Seneca Canal. 1830. 1831. Gain.
183C. 1831. Gain. April $ 75,470 $116,300 40,820 April 750,13 $1180,20 $430,19 April $956,60 $1214,19 $ 257,50 May 166,140 213,311 47,171 May 2058,95 2829,06 770,11 May 1905,79 2663,42 757,63 June 103,437 142,315 38,878 June 1455,88 2429,06 973,18 June 1556,43 1707,37 151,94 July 81,402 106,858 22.057 July 1238,10 1790,38 552,28 July 1095,10 1164,59 69,49 August 80,605 114,216 33,611 August 1101,09 1826,64 724,95 August 788,06 2219,36 431,30 $510,404 $693,100 $182,696 $6664,15 $10,05 1,83 $3450,68
$6301,98 $7963,93 $1667,95 Gain upon the Erie and Champlain canals, $182,696 Gain upon the Oswego canal,
3,450 Gain upon the Cayuga and Seneca canal, 1,669 Total gain,
turn their attention to canals as economical substi- Pennsylvania,' published in the year 1690,* alludes tutes for land conveyance. The increasing com to the practicability of effecting a communicamerce of the United States, after the revolution, tion,' by water,' between the Susquehanna and a soon demanded and obtained the commencement branch of the river Schuylkill. The extreme breof these works in Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, vity of this paper will not authorise us to draw any Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts. The satisfactory conclusion respecting the mode by events of the war of 1812-14, confirmed the state which this communication was intended to be efments of the advocates for canals. On examina fected; but the tenor of his language, the infancy tion of the period immediately succeeding the of his colony, the modes of commercial intercourse treaty of peace, we discover that many canals, &c. prevalent at that early period, will not allow us to were commenced before the great work of New suppose, that even the prophetic spirit of the York
founder of Pennsylvania foresaw, far less projected, " It would lead us far beyond the prescribed limits the canal which was commenced exactly one cenif we should adduce facts in support of our state tury from the date of this remarkable letter. Canals ment from any other commonwealth than Pennsyl and turnpikes were unknown at this period, even vania: but within these limits we shall obtain in Great Britain; we ought not, therefore, to ex. abundant evidence.
pect to find them in Pennsylvania. “The splendour of one great enterprise in New “Objects of more reai importance at that period, York, appears to have almost eclipsed the brilliancy .claimed the attention, and exercised the wisdom of the numerous achievements of the other states. and liberality of the provincial legislature; roads Their magnitude and importance, although far were then to be constructed through the primitive greater in the aggregate, fail to make an equal im forests; marshes were to be rendered passable by pression on the imagination. Hence, alihough causeways; and bridges to be thrown over the Pennsylvania has expendeıl several millions of dol- minor streams; rude indeed in their structure, but lars more on internal improvement than any state in requiring all the enterprise, and all the financial rethe Union, and we believe more than any two states sources of that early period. Bridging the Atlantic collectively, and although the spirit of internal im- and bridging the Delaware and Susquehanna would provement first sprung into existence in that com have been deemed equally feasible projects by our monwealth (as we shall presently prove beyond all ancestors. Many appropriations were made for doubt), nevertheless, New York is erroneously sup- the purpose of improving the navigation of the posed by many to be her birth place; the theatre of streams; but it was not until a later period that the her earliest, as well as most vigorous exertions. subject of canals began to attract the attention of a The political supporters of a great statesman, some few of our more intelligent citizens. Numerous time since deceased, not content with attributing to letters are extant which are peculiarly interesting, him the praise which he deserved, as the late, but not merely from the character of their writers, but most efficient, advocate for the introduction of ca for the perfect originality of the views contained pals-have vainly endeavoured to wrest from other in them. They prove beyond all possibility of and earlier labourers in the cause, the merit of doubt, that the Union is indebted to Pennsylvania originating, not only the great canal of New York, for the first introduction of canals and turnpikes to but of the system of internal improvement, a system the public attention. which had been advocated, adopted, and actually "If Pennsylvania be justly liable to censure, it commenced, long before the political birth of De is not for her supineness and want of enterprize; it Witt Clinton.
is not for her sins of omission, but of commission. “In Pennsylvania party spirit has not been con She has done what she ought to have left undone; nected with internal improvements, hence her she exercised her energies prematurely; and abor. march, although rapid and constant, has been silent tive efforts were the result; she was in advance of and unostentatious. If we except three of the almost the spirit of the age; and her example, in comuninhabited counties which are in the north western mencing the first canal to connect the eastern and part of this state, five-sixths of every part of the western waters, which, if succ
ccessful, would have commonwealth will be intersected by canals and stimulated other states to rivalry, proved by its rail ways, leaving no point at a greater distance failure a beacon which warned them to shun her from these highways than 23 miles, when the works course. We have already alluded to the corresnow in progress shall be finished.
pondence of some of our citizens respecting the in“Someinteresting letters of William Penn, Logan, troduction of canals--their views were regarded at and other early statesmen of Pennsylvania, are ex that early period (between the years 1750—60), tant, which contain much interesting information with but litile interest in England, and excited the relating to the improvement of the roads, the struc- attention of but few individuals in the colonies; ture of bridges, and the clearing of river channels nevertheless, to these remote efforts, the earliest in the province. The clear views, and above all, projects of internal improvement in various porthe peculiar foresight displayed in this correspon- tions of our country may be traced. dence, would amply repay the trouble of a perusal " At the present day it is difficult to determine to at the present day. William Penn, in his pro- whom we are chiefly indebted for introducing the posals for a second settlement in the province of subject to the public attention. If our information
* See Register of Pennsylvania, June 281h, 1828.
Vol. XVIII.-Part I.
be correct, we may attribute to David Rittenhouse, then in existence in England; Sankey Brook and the astronomer, and to Dr William Smith, provost the Duke of Bridgewater's bad been commenced, of the University of Pennsylvania, the credit of be- but were yet unfinished. The public teachers even ing the first labourers in this hitherto untrodden there, had yet to learn that canals were not visionfield. Afterwards, Robert Morris, the financier of ary undertakings. The sneers of many even in the the revolution, and still later, Robert Fulton, the parliament of Great Britain were to be encounterengineer, of whom Pennsylvania is so justly proud, ed; nevertheless, under all these discouragements, lent their powerful assistance. To describe their the earliest advocates for inland navigation comefforts in detail, would require volumes.
menced their efforts in Pennsylvania. In 1764, they 6. We have previously had occasion to notice the induced the American Philosophical Society to orearliest efforts to introduce canals into the pro- der a survey for a canal to connect the Chesapeake vince; these efforts indicated more zeal than dis- bay with the Delaware. These laudable efforts cretion. Schemes were proposed which, if not were duly appreciated by the provincial legislature; absolutely visionary, at least were impracticable at which finally about the same period authorised a that period. It was proposed to execute canals in survey on a route extending 582 miles to Pittsburg districts where, in consequence of the limited popu- and Erie. This survey was accordingly performed, lation, but little advantage could be received from and a report made, strongly recommending the exthem; consequently, some of their projects have ecution of the project. The adoption of the plan never been executed, and it was reserved for pos..was, however, postponed, in consequence of the terity to attempt the fulfilment of others of their de
more important concerns which occupied the pub. signs.
lic attention immediately before and during the re. " In conformity to our plan, we will now give a volution. After the glorious termination of that detailed statement of several of the more importstruggle, the spirit of internal improvement began ant works already executed, in progress, or in con to' animate the citizens of other states, and several templation-commencing with the Union Canal. works were commenced in North Carolina, VirWe have already stated, that in the year 1762, Da- ginia, and Maryland. The canal through the Dis. vid Rittenhouse and Dr. William Smith surveyed mal Swamp, connecting the Chesapeake bay, Al. and levelled a route for a canal to connect the Sus- bemarle Sound, with the works on the Potomac, quehanna and Schuylkill rivers. The Union Canal, James and Rappahannock rivers, were commenced which has since accomplished this object, passes and partially finished, between the years 1786 and over a portion of this route; the first which was 1791. But these works were all partial and insurveyed for a canal in the colonies.
complete; local in their benefit, and evincing little “ The views of the projectors of this work, were, boldness or skill in their plans or execution. if the difficulties of that period be considered, far “ The great project of Pennsylvania had been more gigantic and surprising tlian have been enter- allowed to slumber, but it was only to acquire fresh tained by their successors in any part of the Union. vigour by repose. It had not been forgotten nor reThey contemplated nothing less than a junction of linquished. The time had now arrived to commence the eastern and western waters of Lake Erie and of this gigantic enterprise; accordingly, on the 29th the Ohio with the Delaware, on a route extending day of September, in the year 1791, the legislature 582 miles. The Alleghany mountain intervening, incorporated a joint stock company to effect a porpresents an elevation of about 3000 feet above the tion of the plan. Robert Morris, David Rittentide, and was wisely deemed to offer an insuperable house, William Smith, Tench Francis, and others obstacle to a continuous navigation; a portage over were named in the bill as commissioners. The this section was accordingly recommended (an ex company was authorised to connect the Susquepedient which, notwithstanding our present com- hanna and Schuylkill, by a canal and slackwater mand of almost unlimited capital, and our im- navigation; and thus accomplish the first link in provements in engineering, we at the present day the great chain by which they intended eventually have been compelled to adopt). The greater por- to connect Erie, Pittsburg, and Philadelphia. tion of the remainder of the route was at first sup “ The intention of connecting the eastern with posed to be sufficient for the purposes of naviga- the western and northwestern parts of the state is tion; if the channels were suitably improved by distinctly expressed in this act, and in a subsequent removing rocks and sand bars, building dams and act passed in the following year (April 10th, 1792). using wing walls, and excavating canals at a few of The policy of effecting such works by joint stock the more difficult, or otherwise impassable sections; companies, assisted by legislative encouragement, a scheme which their subscquent experience prov. is also distinctly stated; a policy combining the ed to be erroneous, and more extensive canals were vigilance of private interest in the expenditure of projected.
money, with the ample and certain resources of the • Duly to appreciate the enterprise of that age, public treasury. All persons who are conversant we ought to consider that the great valley of the Ohio with the history of public works throughout the and Mississippi was almost one boundless forest; a world, will assent to the expediency of this plan: wilderness inhabited only by wild beasts, or the when the public is the sole paymaster, extrava. scarcely less savage Indians; attainable moneyed gance, imposition, and negligence are the almost capital was then almost unknown in the colonies, inevitable consequences.
In Great Britain and the very term engineering' was equally unknown Ireland, where this subject has been thoroughly exin the vocabulary of those days. No canal was amined, every canal (with the exception of two,