Register of Debates in Congress, Comprising the Leading Debates and Incidents of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress Page: 81
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APPENDIX—To Gatis 6? Beaton's Messier.
18th Congress, £
2d Session. }
On Internal Improvements.
[H. of R.
4t large. Its object is to carry to foreign countries,
wtiat we have to spare, and to bring- back what is neces-
sary or gratifying' to us. And this commerce of the coun-
try will inevitably and daily increase with the improve-
ment of the country.
The prand secret in the whole order of society, in its
felation to political economy, is nothing more than to
hold out such inducements as are the best calculated to
mate the people industrious, and to aid this industry as
much as possible by labor-saving- machines. A nation in
all its wisdom cannot effect this end so well by any con-
trivance as by the simple operation of safe and cheap
modes of transportation by good roads and canals. Sup-
pose two nations to be adjacent; the one intersected
with canals, and the other only accommodated with or-
dinary roads; how much more powerful and rich will
the one be than the other!
The age of a nation does not depend on time, but on
its strength, population, and character. And a nation
possessing, as we do, ten millions of people, cannot se-
riously be destitute of means to accomplish all the im-
portant works, which, on the most ample imformation,
and best deliberation that can be bestowed on the sub-
ject, shall appear to be of essential advantage to the dif-
ferent parts of the country. The General Government
can adopt no other measure which will produce so much
animation and friendship among; her citizens. It will
render access easy, by subduing the mountains and the
floods: and must, by the intercourse and interest which
it will create in the different parts, have a powerful ten-
dency to the preservation of the whole.
A society of people delights in noble achievements;
and it would have been happy for the world, if the pow-
er of nations had been directed to the establishment of
important public improvements instead of exhausting it-
selfin the despicable intrigues of statesmen, and the de-
struction of the human species. Immense sums have
been lavished fo: military glory, while projects which
would tend to cherish industry and morality have not
been sufficiently cultivated.
An abhorrence of many of the arbitrary and bloody scenes
in other countries, has given rise in the western hemis-
phere to self government and toleration i n religion,and the
example of the U. States may produce an influence on
the rest of the world, when she is known to be inclined
to reconcile national differences, rather than to instigate
wars; and is seen preserving a steady devotion to the
happiness of the people, and constantly directing a por-
tion of their resources to such public undertakings as will
advance the population and general wealth; and go
down to posterity as the best evidence of sincerity for the
permanent prosperity of the country. We can never
expect to see a more propitious period than the present,
to commence the internal improvements of the country,
on a scale worthy of the importance of the subject; the
prospect of a long peace lies before us; and there seems
to be nothing else of high interest to engage the coun-
cils of the Union for these many years.
Annexed is a letter dated February 24, 1825, and a
short statement concerning canals.
February 24, 1825.
Sir; Allow me to submit to your consideration a plan
to connect the Mississippi with the Atlantic, by an inter-
nal communication extending along the Northern mar-
gin of the Gulf of Mexico. The,importance of this com-
munication, both in a commercial and military point of
view, must long since have attracted the attention of
yourself, and of the committee of which you are chair-
man, and I shall be happy if my suggestions on the sub-
ject should contribute, in the smallest degree, to its ac-
The route I propose, is intended to commence on the
Mississippi, at the mouth of the river Iberville, and ter-
VOL. l.— U
minate at the mouth of the river Sf. John's, on the coast
of Florida. The Iberville is about thirty miles in length;
and already forms a communication between the Missis-
sippi and the Amit, a navigable aftd tributary stream of
The Mississippi being elevated many feet above the
level of the Lake, it is believed that, ill order to render
the Iberville perfectly navigable, little more will be re-
quired than to remove the obstructions which have been
thrown into it, and encourage the Mississippi to discharge
a part of its waters through this channel. From the junc-
tion of the Iberville with the Amit, there is a Safe and
convenient inland navigation to the head of the bay of
Bonsecure, an arm of the Bay of Mobile. A casal five
miles in length, will connect the navigable waters of
Bonsecure with those of the Perdido, and a canal one
half mile in length, will connect the Perdido with the
Grand Lagoon, which communicates with the bay of
Pensacola, making the whole distance to be opened be-
tween the Mississippi and Pensacola thirty.five and a
half miles, thirty of which will be through a natural chan-
nel, and may be completed with inconsiderable expense
and labor. Prom Pensacola eastward, there is a safe
inland navigation through the Sound of St. Rosa and the
bay of Choctawliatchy. A canal five miles in lengthy
will connect the latter with the bay of St. Andrew's. A
canal of forty-five yards will connect the St. Andrew's
with'the bay of St. Joseph's, and a canal of equal length
will connect the latter with the Lake Wimeco. This
Lake communicates with the river Apalachicola; from
thence to the Bay of St. Mark's, the navigation is a!r
ready open, and secure, being perfectly protected from
the waves of the Gulf, by a chain of islands extending
along the coast. Pensacola is distant from St. Mark's
about 200 miles, and a canal of little more than five
miles will open an inland navigation between them. To
extend this chain of connection from St. Mark's to the
Suwannee river, would be attended with the only diffi-
culty in the whole route, and would require a canal of
about sixty miles. This, however, might be dispensed
with, until the communication across the Peninsula shall
have been completed. This may be effected by uniting
the waters of the St. John's, with those of the river Su-
wannee, and will require a canal of not more than twenty
miles in length. The river St. John's is one of the finest
streams of our country ; it waters one of the most de-
lightful regions of the South, and is navigable forvessels
of 300 tons burden, for more than 200 miles above its
mouth. The two points intended to be connected by
this route, are separated from each other by a distance
of about 800 miles, near 700 of which arc already navi-
gable; and when completed, will be nearer, by 1000
miles, than the present circuitous and dangerous route
through the channel of the Mississippi, and the Gulf
Stream. 1 need not dwell on the importance of this
communication, or on the advantages which would re-
sult from its completion ; they must be apparent to all
who have formed a just conception of the danger, the
delay, and difficulty, attendant on the navigation among
the keys and shoals of Florida, when the annual loss of
property by wrecks, is estimated at $500,000 a sum
nearly sufficient to complete the contemplated route.
I have the honor to be,
Most respectfully, your obed. servant,
R. K. CALL.
Chairman of the Committee on Roads and Canals.
Thirty canals in England yield, on an average, o0 per
cent, per annum, and the stock has increased in value,
in some instances, 600 per cent.
Twenty-two canals cross the mountains which separ-
ate the waters of the East and West in lingland.
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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/m1/457/: accessed October 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.