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straight line, of one thousand six hundred and eighty miles. So that this river, and its branches, spread over a surface of about fifteen hundred thousand square miles, traversing, in the whole, or in part, the following States and Territories ; namely, the Territories of Mississippi, Missouri, North-west, and Illinois; and the States of Indiana, Ohio, New-York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, the two Carolinas, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Louisiana.
Several successful efforts have been made, and more are now in progress and in contemplation, to render the vast internal navigation of the United States still more complete by the help of canals. On this subject much valuable information may be derived from the able and luminous report of Mr. Gallatin, when Se. cretary of the Treasury, on public roads and canals, sent to the senate on the second of March, 1807. This Report, the substance of which will be given presently, recommends to the general government to form canals, from north to south, along the Atlantic sea-coast; to open communications between the Atlantic and western waters, and between the Atlantic waters and those of the great lakes, and river St. Lawrence; and, finally, to make interior canals, wherever they may be wanted, throughout the Union. The United States possess a tidewater inland navigation, secure from storms and enemies, reaching from Massachusetts to the southern extremity of Georgia, and interrupted only by four necks of land ; namely, the isthmus of Barnstable, in Massachusetts ; that part of New Jersey which extends from the Raritan to the Delaware; the peninsula between the Delaware and the Chesapeake ; and the low marshy tract which divides the Chesapeake from Albemarle Sound.
It is needless to expatiate on the utility of such a range of internal navigation, whether in peace or war, to quicken the pace, and multiply the products of commerce; to augment the means, and magnify the resources both of offensive and defensive warfare.
The inconyeniences, complaints ; nay, dangers, re
sulting from a vast extent of territory, cannot be radically removed or prevented, except by opening speedy and easy communications through all its parts. Canals , would shorten distances, facilitate commercial and personal intercourse, and unite by a still more intimate community of interests the most remote quarters of the United States. No other single operation has so direct a tendency to strengthen and perpetuate that Federal Union, which secures external independence, domestic peace, and internal liberty to the many millions of freemen that are spread over an area of territory larger than the surface of all Europe.
Impressed with the weight of these truths, the House of Representatives and Senate, in Congress assembled, in February, 1817, passed a bill, appropriating a fund for internal improvement; the principal features of which were to perfect the communication from Maine to Louisiana ; to connect the Lakes with the Hudson river; to connect all the great commercial points on the Atlantic, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, Charlestown, and Savannah, with the Western States, and complete the intercourse between the west and New-Orleans. On the third of March, Mr. Madison withheld his signature, on account of his scruples, that the Federal Constitution had not given to Congress any power to make internal improvements in the United States; and Mr. Monroe, in his message to Congress on the second of December, 1817, after expatiating on the benefit of canals and roads, declares it to be his settled opinion that Congress has no power to make any such internal improvement; and advises an amendment to the Federal Constitution, that shall give such a power. But the committee of the House of Representatives, on this part of the President's Message, reported, on the fifteenth of December, 1817, that Congress has power: First. To lay out, construct, and improve post-roads through the several States, with the assent of the respective States. Secondly. To open, construct, and improve military roads, through the several States, with the assent of the respective States. Thirdly, To cut
canals through the several States, with their assent, for promoting and giving security to internal commerce, and for the more safe and economical transportation of military stores in time of war; leaving, in all these cases, the jurisdictional right over the soil in the respective States.
If the general government cannot aid the internal navigation of the Union, it is in the power of the State governments to accomplish that important object at a comparatively small expense.
For less than one hundred thousand dollars, a sloop navigation might be opened between Buffaloe and the Fond du Lac, a distance of one thousand eight hundred miles; the only interruption being the Rapids of St. Mary, between lakes Huron and Superior, The Ohio, by one of its branches, French Creek, approaches, with a navigation for boats, to within seven miles of Lake Erie; by the Connewango, to within nine; by the Muskingum to the source of the Cayahoga. The Wabash mingles its waters with those of the Miami of the Lakes; and the waters of the Illinois interweave their streams with those of Lake Michigan, whence to St. Louis boats pass without meeting with a single portage
The Apalachian Mountains extend west of south from the forty second to the thirty-fourth degree of north latitude, approaching the sea, and washed by the tide, in the State of New-York; and thence, in their southerly course, gradually receding from the sea-shore. In breadth about one hundred and fifty miles, they present a succession of parallelridges, following nearly the direction of the seacoast, irregularly intersected by rivers, and divided by narrow valleys. The ridge, called Alleghany, which divides the Atlantic rivers from the western waters, preserves throughout a nearly equal distance of two hundred and fifty miles from the Atlantic ocean, and a nearly uniform elevation of three thousand feet above the level of the sea. These mountains consist of two principal chains, between which lies the fertile limestone valley, that, although occasionally interrupted by transversal ridges, and, in one place, by the dividing or
Alleghany ridge, reaches from Newburgh and Esopus, on the Hudson river, to Knoxville, on the Tennessee. The eastern and narrowest chain is the Blue Ridge of Virginia, which, in its north-east course, traverses, under various names, the States of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New-Jersey, forms the Highlands, broken at Westpoint by the tide of the Hudson, and then uniting with the Green Mountains, assumes a northerly direction, and divides the waters of the Hudson and Lake Champlain from those of Connecticut river.
On the borders of Virginia and North Carolina, the Blue Ridge is united by an inferior mountain with the great western chain, and thence, to its southern extremity, becomes the principal or dividing mountain, discharging eastward the rivers Roanoke, Pedee, Santee, and Savannah, into the Atlantic Ocean; southward, the Chatahouchee, and the Alabama, into the Gulf of Mexico; and westward, the New River, and the Ten. nessee. The New River, taking a course northward, breaks through all the ridges of the great western chain; and, a little beyond it unites,, under the name of Kanhawa, with the Ohio. The Tennessee at first runs southwest between the two chains, until having, in a course westward, turned the southern extremity of the great western chain, it takes a direction northward, and joins its waters with those of the Ohio, a few miles above its confluence with the Mississippi. The western chain, much broader and more elevated, bears the names of Cumberland and Gauly mountains, from its southern extremity, near the great bend of the Tennessee river, until it becomes, in Virginia, the principal or dividing mountain. Thence, in its northerly course, towards the State of New-York, it discharges westward the Green Brier river, which, by its junction with the New River, forms the Kanhawa, and the rivers Monongahela and Alleghany, which, from their confluence at Pittsburgh, assume the name of Ohio. Eastward, it pours into the Atlantic Ocean, James River, the Potomac, and the Susquehannah. From the northernmost and less elevated spurs of the chain, the Genessee flows into the
lake Ontario; and in that quarter the northern branches of the Susquehannah appear to take their source, from among inferior ridges; and, in their course to the Chesapeake, to break through all the mountains. From the Susquehannah, the principal chain runs more eastward, and washed on the north by the lateral valley of the river Mohawk, terminates, under the name of Catskill Mountain, in view of the tidewater of the Hudson.
It is evident that a canal navigation cannot be carried across these mountains. The most elevated lock canal in the world is thatof Languedock; and the highest ground over which it is carried is only six hundred feet above the sea. England, with all her means and appliances, has never yet completed a canal of an elevation exceeding five hundred feet above the waters united by it. The Alleghany Mountain, generally, is three thousand feet above the level of the sea. The impracticability arises from the principle of lock navigation, which, in order to effect the ascent, requires a greater supply of water in proportion to the height to be ascended, whilst the supply of water becomes less in the same proportion. Nor does the chain of mountains, through the whole extent where it divides the Atlantic from the western rivers, afford a single pond, lake, or natural reservoir. Indeed, except in the swamps along the southern sea-coast, no lake is to be found in the United States south of forty-one degrees of north latitude; and almost every river, north of forty-two degrees, issues from a lake or pond. The works necessary, therefore, to facilitate the communications from the sea-ports across the mountains to the western waters, must consist either of artificial roads, extending the whole way from tidewater to the nearest and most convenient navigable western waters, or of improvements in the navigation of the leading Atlantic rivers to the highest practicable points, connected by artificial roads across the mountains, with the nearest points from which a permanent navigation can be relied on, down the western rivers.
The undertaking may be accomplished, by making four artificial roads from the four great western rivers, the Alleghany, Monongahela, Kanhawa, and Tennes