Register of Debates in Congress, Comprising the Leading Debates and Incidents of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress Page: 79
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•To Gales & Beaton's Register.
]8th Congress, ?
i Session. S_
On Internal Improvements.
[H. of R.
ess lt appears that the Tuscaloosa river, a branch 1 The inestimable invention of lock navigation was en-
nfthe Tombecbe, may, at a reasonable expense, be con- tirely unknown to the ancients, who have furnished us
The memorial also
,,cted wit!) the Tennessee river.
that the Alabama river com
> of a water transportation within eight or eleven
miles of a stream equally susceptible of being rendered
avitrable, and ft hich empties into the Tennessee river;
fh&t the latter receives the tribute of several other
* 9 which take their rise and become navigable in
the state of Virginia, passing through some of the most
nrodactive lands, and watering, in their course,the whole
Eastern Section of the state of Tennessee; that the di-
viding ground separating these waters affords a favorable
onnortunity of connecting the waters of the Alabama
with those of the Tennessee river; and that the distance
for the produce of Tennessee to reach a market on the
«ea board, would be reduced from nearly two thousand
miles, to New Orleans, to six or seven hundred miles, to
'the Mobile, which may be connected with the Pensacola
The Cumberland ritfer, in the state of Tennessee, it
is believed, can be connected with the Tennessee river,
which, when connected with the Tombecbe or Alabama
rivers, will open a direct water communication to Pen-
sacola, in Florida, for a large and important section of
the Union. .
Some of the Georgia rivers, it is believed, may be con-
nected with the Western waters.
The cutting of a canal from Lake Pontchartrain, to
communicate with the Mississippi, at or near the city of
New Orleans, is considered of importance, both in a mi-
litary and commercial point of view.
Pearl River, in the state of Mississippi, is also a valua-
ble stream, and is capable of much improvement for the
public advantages. '
Besides the communications, already mentioned, with
the Lakes, it is considered as practicable, at a reasonable
expense, to connect the Wabash River with the Miami
of Lake Erie.
The importance of an early attention to the construc-
tion of canals, round the Falls of Ohio, at Louisville, and
round the Muscle Shoal, in the Tennessee Hiver, will be
Whenever the contemplated water communication,
between Boston and the river Delaware, shall be C0IP"
pleted, it will, it is supposed, leave but about thirty-eight
miles of land, separated by water sources, to Lewis s Ri-
ver, a branch of the Columbia, which empties into tne
Pacific ocean; as, from the Talpahockin, a branch ot
tbe Schuylkill to the Quitepahilla, a branch of the Sus-
quehannah, four miles; from Poplar Run, a branch ot
tbe Juniatta, to the Little Conemaugb, a brancn ot the A -
legliany, 14 miles; from the Yellow Stone river, a branch
of the Missouri, to Lewis's River* a branch of the Cokuri-
bia, twenty miles; making, in the whole, thirty-eig.it
miles. But what distance of canalling, and watei im-
provements, would be necessary to complete this chain
of communication, the committee possesses no means ot
ascertaining. Parts of it, no doubt, will be accomplished
in a reasonable time; yet there can be no expectation
that the whole will be effected for a very long period.
If the survey system, which commenced the last sum-
mer, should be persevered in, the Union, and the seve-
ral States, will be put into the possession of invaluable
information on these interesting subjects.
In viewing the prospects before us tor improvements
on a large scaie, the mind is lost in amazement at tne ex-
tensiveuess of the scenes which appear, tor the peima-
nent benefit and grandeur of the country
The " " " '
extension of the benefits of navigation^
ssil over the globe by land, as we!1, as by sea
with so many astonishing monuments of their greatness;
it instructed mankind in the knowledge that water was
capable of producing the ascent of vessels to its own
level, and that, wherever there is water above, vessels
can go down and re-ascend by water; but th&invention
in itself is not much more wonderful than the prejudices
against adopting it in practice, which have existed in
In the construction of the canal of the two seas in
France, all the science and art appertaining to the sub-
ject were displayed. Locks, 114 in number, were con-
structed, and rocks excavated for great distances ; tun-
nels were cut through mountains, and a reservoir of 595
acres was filled by waters from the adjacent elevated
places, and which were conveyed by aqueducts over
rivers and valleys. This canal, although greatly advan-
tageous to the nation at large, would not have been good
property for private proprietors; but it wa3 the origin
of innumerable canals in Franpe and Holland, which ex-
hibited, in the clearest light, their many and important
public and private advantages; but, notwithstanding
the enterprising character of the people of England, and
although they had the examples of Holland and France
so near at hand, still, near a century passed, before eith-
er government or inhabitants attempted to make any
works of the kind in England. The success of the un-
dertaking of a spirited individual, at length roused the
people to enthusiasm, and awakened a general ardor lor
similar improvements among the landholders, farmers,
merchants, and manufacturers of the kingdom. Since
then, there has been no cessation in the prosecution ot
public works, and the capacity of the country has been
entirely changed; old manufactures were rendered
more flourishing, and new ones were established from
time to time, in places where the land before was of but
little value and thinly inhabited. The towns were ena-
bled to supply a much greater extent of inland country
with their own manufactures. The consumers, in the
interior of the country, imported at lower prices, and, a9
producers, they exported with greater advantages."
The canals united the materials for manufactures that
lay dispersed, and, by lessening tiie expense ot the trans-
portation of bulky articles, they brought stoves ot riches
from the bowels of the earth. They afforded to the in-
habitants of the interior, in every direction, the advan-
tages of coasts which were safe from tempests and wars.
England could never have sustained herself m her migh-
ty struggles with the continent, had it not been for her
unremitted attention to the domestic industry of the
country; and nothing gave as much facility and anima-
tion to this industry, as her cheap, safe, and expeditious
modes of transportation. Prejudices, even as to the
practicability of executing great designs, existed in Eng-
land for a long time; and, when the Duke of Bridg-
water's canal tfas finished as far as Barton, where the
Irwell is navigable for large vessels, Brindley, the engi-
neer, proposed to carry it over that river by aqueduct?,
the ufea was ridiculed, and another emment engineer
was consulted, who replied, at once, that he had ohen
heard of castles in the air, but that he had nevei been
K over it in ie a yea?, to the astonishment of
those, who, a little before, thought it J1
New York works had to encounter prejudices ot every
I description; some entertained opinions tha the who e
I ..... L in she extreme: that it was totally
kviil produce sim
1 thai theist- won®
\ abiv bo
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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/m1/455/: accessed August 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.