Register of Debates in Congress, Comprising the Leading Debates and Incidents of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress Page: 28
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APPENDIX—To Gales & Seaton's Hegister.
I8tb '("tIJJGKESS, I
2d Session. '
Documents accompanying the President's Message. [Sen. and H. of R.
izmg treaiies to be held with the remote tribes on the
Missouri by Commissioners to be appointed by the Pre-
sident, and to be accompanied by a military escort. The
Commissioners have been appointed, (General Atkin-
son and Major O'Fallon, the Agent on the Missouri,)
and measures adopted to carry the provisions ef
the act into effect as soon in the spring as the sea
son will admit. . It is believed that much good will re-
sult from the measure, by giving increased security to
our citizens and trade in that remote .region ; but it is
feared that nothing short of permanent military posts
will afford complete security to either.
The appropriation of the gum of $10,000, annually, for
the civilization of the Indians, is producing' ve y benefi-
cial effects, by improving the condition of the Tarious
tribes in our neighborhood. Already 32 schools are es-
tablished in the Indian natioHS, and, for the most part,
are well conducted, in which, during- the present year,
916 youths of both sexes have been instructed in read-
ing, writing-, arithmetic, and all of the ordinary occupa-
tions ot life. So large a body of well instructed youths, of
whom several hundred will annually return to their
homes, cannot fail to effect a beneficial change in
the condition of this unhappy race.
The acts making- appropriation for the repairs of Ply-
mouth beach, the improvement of the entrance into the
harbor of Presqu' Isle, on Lake Erie, and of the naviga-
tion of the Ohio and Mississippi, claimed the early atten-
tion of the Department.
The execution of the two first of these works, was
placed under the superintendence of officers of the
corps of engineers. The first is nearly completed, and
preparatory arrangements have been made for the early
execution of the second. An officer, also, of the corps,
was assigned to the e tecution of the act for the improve-
ment of the navigation of the Ohio, so far as it autho-
rized an experiment to be made in removing the sand
bars, which obstructed the navigation of that river. The
officer was prepared to make the experiment, but the
rive* remained too full, during the Fall, for a fai- trial.
Under the other provisions of the act directing measures
to be taken to remove the snags, sawyers, and planters,
which obstruct the navigation of the Ohio and Mississip-
pi, a contract has been formed, with a gentleman expe-
rienced in their navigation, to tree both of those rivers
from all such obstructions, in conformity with the tjrovi-
sions of the act, for the sum of §60,000, to be paid on the
execution of the work. In the contact it is stipulated,
that it shall be executed under the superintendence and
inspection of an officer of the Corps of Engineers.
In order to carry into effect the act ot Congress, of the
30th April last, authorizing the President " to cause the
necessary surveys, plans, and estimates, to be made, of
tiie routes of such roads and canals, a3 he may deem of
national importance in a commercial or military point of
view, or necessary to the transportation of the public
mail," a board was constituted, consisting of General
Bernard and Colonel Totten, of the Engineer Corps, and
John L. Sullivan, an experienced civil Engineer. It be
came necessary, in giving orders to the board, under the
act, to determine what routes for roads and canals were
of "national importance," in the views contemplated by
the act; as such only as the President might deem to be
of that description were authorized to be examined and
surveyed. In deciding this point, it became necessary
to advert to our political system, in its distribution of
powers and duties between the general and the state
Governments. In thtis regarding our system, it was
conceived that all of those routes of roads and canals,
which might be fairfy considered as falling within the
province of any particular state, however useful they
Blight be in a commercial or political view, or, to t.h'*
transportation of the mail, were excluded from the pro-
visions of the act. The stales have important duties to
perform, in facilitating by means of roads and canals,
commercial and political intercourse among their citi-
zens; and within the spheres of these dutie.i, they are
more competent to act than the General Government s
and there can be no rational doubt, but that, as the po-
pulation and capital of the Several states increase, these,
powerful means of developing their resources will re-
ceive from their respective Legislatures due attention.
But as numerous as this class of improvement is, and im-
portant as it may be to the General Government, m fhe
discharge of the various duties confided by the constitu-
tion to it, there are other improvements, not compre-
hended in it, of a more general character, which are
more essentially connected with the performance of its
duties, while they are less intimately connected with
those belonging to the state governments, and less with-
in their power of execution. It is believed that this
class, and this only, was comprehended in the provisions
of the act. In projecting the surveys in this view of the
subject, the whole Union musi be considered as one, and
the attention directed, not to those roads and canals
which may facilitate intercourse between parts of the
same state,but to those which may bind all of the parts to-
gether, and the whole with the centre, thereby facilita-'
ting commerce and intercourse among the states, and
enabling the government to disseminate promptly,
through the mail, information to every part, and to ex-
tend protection to the whole. By extending- those prin-
ciples, the line of communication by roads and canals,
through the states, the General Government, instead of
interfering with the state governments within their
proper spheres of action, will afford (particularly to
those states situated in the interior,) the only means of
perfecting improvements of similar description, which,
properly belong to them.
These principles being fixed, it only remained to ap-
ply them to our actual geographical position, to deter-
mine what particular routes were of " national impor-
tance," and which, accordingly, the board should be di-
rected to examine, in order to cause surveys, plans, and
estimates, to be prepared, as directed by the act.
rt e first and most important, was conceived to be the
route tor a canal extending from the seat of government,
by the Potomac, to the Ohio river, and thence to Lake
Erie ; and accordingly, as soon as the board was organi-
zed, it was ordered to examine and cause this important
route to be surveyed. Dr. William Howard and Mr. James
Shriver, both of whom were well acquainted with the
localities of the route, were, associated as assistants with
the board. Two topographical brigades (all that could
be spared from the survey of the coast, for the purpose
of fortification,) and one brigade of surveyors, under Mr.
Shriver, were placed under the orders of thtf board.
The examination cf the route was completed in Sep-
tember ; but the survey will not be finished till the next
season. That part of it, however, which is most inter-
esting, the section of the summit level of tile Alleghany, .
including its eastern slope, is completed, which, it is
hoped, will enable the board to determine, during the
present winter, on the practicability of the project.
Should it prove practicable, its execution would be of in-
calculable advantage to the counlpy. It would bind to-
gether, by the strongest bond of common interest and
security, a very large portion of this Onion : but, in order
fully to realise its " importance in a national point of
view," it will be necessary to advert to some of the
more striking geographical features of our country.
The United States may be considered, in a geographi-
cal point of view, as consisting of three distinct parts'; of
which the portion extending along the shores of the At-
lantic, and back to the Alleghany mount iins, constitutes
one ; that lying- on the Lakes and the St. Lawrence ano-
ther ; and that watered by the Mississippi, including- its
various branches, the other. These several portions are
very distinctly marked by well defined lines, and have
naturally but little connexion, particularly in a commer-
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Gales, Joseph, 1761-1841. Register of Debates in Congress, Comprising the Leading Debates and Incidents of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress, book, 1825; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30752/m1/404/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.