Imágenes de páginas

shallow and rapid current, navigable by boats during the floods. It is about 800 yards wide at its mouth. There is a portage of only half a mile between this and Fox river, by which Father Marquette first passed on his way to discover the Mississippi. It is over a level prairie, across which, from river to river, there is a water communication for periogues in high stages of the water. Fox river flows through Winnebago lake. Its length is about 200 miles. The country along its banks is fertile, with a salubrious climate. Chippeway is a considerable branch of the Mississippi, which it joins just below Lake Pepin. It is half a mile wide at its mouth, and has communications by a short portage with Lake Superior. The other chief rivers of this territory, tributary to the Mississippi, are the St. Croix, Rum, St. Francis, and Savannah.

Among the smaller tributaries to the Mississippi are the Obian, Forked Deer, Big Hatchet, and Wolf rivers, all of which flow into it from Tennessee; and the Yazoo and Big Black, from the state of Mississippi. The last named rivers are • only navigable for boats.

Besides the rivers which flow into the Mississippi, there are a few small streams which flow directly into the Gulf of Mexico. The Alabama river rises in the mountainous parts of Georgia, in two head-streams named the Coosa and Tallapoosa, and running south-westerly through the centre of the state of Alabama, unite with the Tombeckbee; both the streams then take the name of Mobile, and, flowing south for a short distance, fall into Mobile bay.


The British dominions in North America are intersected with numerous rivers, which, great and small, extend over them the most convenient navigable advantages. The provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the islands of Prince Edward and Cape Breton, are, as will be observed by a reference to any modern map, watered by navigable rivers, lakes, and arms of the sea.

The River St. John, and its tributaries, and several bays branching from it; the rivers Peticoudiac and Mirimachi, open a magnificent inland navigation through the interior of New Brunswick. In Lower Canada, several rivers falling into the St. Lawrence, and the Rustigouche into the Bay de Chaleur, are navigable for small vessels.

The St. LAWRENCE, or Great River of Canada, after flowing through Lakes Superior, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, and through the key of the Thousand Island, is rendered navigable, by cuts and canals, to Montreal, and to the Ottawa, by the Rideau Canal.

The TuAmes, the Ouse, or Grand River, and some other streams falling into the St. Lawrence, are either naturally, or rendered artificially, navigable. The WELLAND Canal is rendered navigable by sailing vessels of considerable burden, from Lake Erie to Ontario, and surmounts the otherwise impassable Niagara. Opening, by canal, a navigation projected from Lake Ontario by way of Lake

Simcoe to Lake Huron would complete an internal navigation of incalculable benefit to Upper Canada.

The Ottawa, or Great North river, although its navigation is in some places rendered difficult by rapids, opens a rich and extensive region which has been rapidly settled upon, and from which great quantities of timber are rafted down to Montreal. (See Trade of Canada.)

Large and small ships ascend from all parts of the world by the gulf, estuary, and River St. Lawrence, to Quebec and Montreal. Numerous steamboats, and various kinds of river and coasting vessels, are (except during winter, when all is locked up in ice) perpetually navigating the waters of the rivers and lakes of Canada.

The SAGAUNY, a river so mighty that it is asserted to discharge as great a quantity of fresh water as the great St. Lawrence, falls into the latter from the north, about 100 miles below Quebec. It is remarkably deep, and large ships ascend it more than sixty miles, to be laden with deals and timber, prepared in the woods, or sawn at the saw-mills, which have been erected. The navigation of its upper course, flowing into Lake St. John, and its flood out of that lake, is interrupted by rapids : appearing, however, to be navigable as high as its soil can afford products for markets. Settlements have been formed, and wheat and various other crops are cultivated on its low lands, but not near its precipitous banks.

Having thus briefly described the extent of river navigation, and, in a previous part, the extent of lake navigation, we will now sketch the progress and extent of water communication by canals.


The first canals in Europe were constructed in Italy, and to a far greater extent in Holland. England had no canal until 1760, when the enterprising Duke of Bridgewater succeeded in an undertaking which was at the time considered an act of wrong-headed indiscretion.

The first attempt to construct canals, unless it were by small cuts from the Mohawk river, in the United States, was the Middlesex canal, in Massachusetts, completed in 1804; and in Pennsylvania, in 1791 and 1792, when the Schuylkill and Susquehanna companies were incorporated for the purpose of opening a water communication between the Susquehanna and the great lakes. Four to five hundred thousand dollars were expended by these companies; but sudscriptions failed, and, in 1795-6, the works were abandoned.

The great canal of America is that which has opened a water communication between the River Hudson and Lake Erie. Connecting by water the great lakes with the Atlantic, is said to have been first conceived by a man, of whom the state of New York is justly proud-Gouverneur Morris.

now see.

The surveyor-general of the state, De Witt, the governor, De Witt Clinton, and others, entertained the project, with the full conviction of its practicability ; and, with this view, in 1808, the legislature of New York ordered surveys, to ascertain the most practicable line, to be made. In 1810, Gouverneur Morris, Stephen Van Rensselaer, De Witt Clinton, Simeon De Witt, William North, Thomas Eddy, and Peter B. Porter, were appointed commissioners for that purpose; the names of Robert R. Livingston and Robert Fulton were added in 1811.

In pursuance of their instructions from the New York legislature, they applied to Congress, and to some of the other states; and the project was treated with ridicule, and as impracticable. But they were men not to be discouraged ; and their report to the legislature, in 1812, is remarkable for intelligence, judgment, and forecast. They boldly, after calculating the estimated expense, predicted that the tolls would amply repay the state expenditure. This report states that

“ It is impossible to ascertain, and it is difficult to imagine, how much toll would be collected. The amount of transportation might be estimated, by subjecting probabilities to calculation. But, like our advance in numbers and wealth, calculation outruns fancy. Things, which twenty years ago any man would have been laughed at for believing, we

“ At that time the most ardent mind, proceeding on established facts, by the unerring rule of arithmetic, was obliged to drop the pen at results, which imagination could not embrace. Under circumstances of this sort, there can be no doubt that those microcosmie minds, which, habitually occupied in the consideration of what is little, are incapable of discerning what is great ; and who already stigmatised the proposed canal as a romantic scheme, will not unsparingly distribute the epithets, absurd, ridiculous, chimerical, on the estimate of what it may produce. The commissioners must, nevertheless, have the hardihood to brave the sneers and sarcasms of men, who, with too much pride to study, and too much wit to think, undervalue what they do not understand, and condemn what they cannot comprehend.

“ Viewing," the commissioners add, “ the extent and fertility of the country with which this canal is to open a communication, it is not extravagant to suppose, that when settled, its produce will equal the present export of the Atlantic States ; because it contains more land, and that land of a superior quality.”

The commissioners, after stating certain facts as the ground of their estimate, say

Standing on such facts, is it extravagant to believe that New York may look forward to the receipt (at no distant day)

of one million of dollars net revenue from this canal ? The life of an individual is short. The time is not distant when those who make this report will have passed away. But no time is fixed to the existence of a state; and the first wish of a patriot's heart is, that his may be immortal.

“ But whatever limit may have been assigned to the duration of New York, by those eternal decrees which established the heavens and the earth, it is hardly to be expected that she will be blotted from the list of political societies, before the effects here stated shall have been sensibly felt. And even when, by the flow of that perpetual stream which bears all human institutions away, the constitution shall be dissolved, and our laws be lost, still the mountains will stand, the same rivers run. New moral combinations will be formed on the old physica foundations, and the extended line of remote posterity, after a lapse of 10,000 years, and the repeated revolutions, when the records of history shall have been obliterated, and the tongue of tradition have converted (as in China) the shadowy remembrance of ancient events, into childish tales of miracle, this national work shall remain. It

shall bear testimony to the genius, the learning, the industry, and intelligence of the present age.”

Gouverneur Morris may proudly claim the honour of projecting this great undertaking. To De Witt Clinton is certainly due the credit of its execution. In conjunction with his able colleagues, he persevered against a powerfully com. bined opposition of party, of prejudice, and of ignorance. The war between the United States and Great Britain, which broke out soon after the presentation of their report, prevented the commencement of operations on the line projected for the canal until 1817. On the 4th day of July of that year, the first excavation was made, and the canal was completed in October, 1825, at an expense of 9,027,456 dollars. In October, 1817, a canal, connecting the waters of Lake Champlain with the Erie canal, nine miles from Albany, a distance of sixtythree miles, was commenced, and finished at the close of 1823, at an expense of 1,179,871 dollars.

In eight years, a period far short of the most sanguine expectation of the commissioners, and contrary to the ignorant and prejudiced opinions of the public, the tells exceeded the estimated returns.

Before proceeding to an account of the canals of each particular state, we will introduce a brief view of the railroads.

RAILROADS OF THE UNITED STATES.—The first attempts to construct railroads were made in 1928. Tramroads were made previously for the transportation of coal, stone, and other heavy articles. In 18.32, the following railways were constructed and in operation : Baltimore and Ohio.

. 60 miles completed and in use. Charleston and Hamburg

20 Albany and Schenectady .

12 Maunch Chunk .

9 Quincy, near Boston

6 There were ninety-two miles in use upon the main lines of railroads. There were in full operation in the United States, during the year 1837, fifty-seven railways, whose aggregate length exceeded 1600 miles, and that thirty-three others were in progress. Some of these works, it is well known, are owned by individuals by virtue of charters from the states through which they pass, and others are owned in the whole, or in part, by the states themselves. More than 150 railway companies had then been incorporated. Different plans, however, seem to have been adopted in the mode of their construction, proceeding as they have done, from separate legislatures and states widely separated, and possessing different kinds of soil suited to their tracks. Mr. David Stevenson, to whom we have before alluded, states “that here no two railroads are constructed alike. The fish-bellied rails of some, weighing forty pounds per lineal yard, rest upon cast iron chains, weighing sixteen pounds each; in others, plate rails and malleable iron, two and a half inches broad, and half an inch thick, are fixed by iron spikes to wooden rafters, which rest upon wooden sleepers; in others, a plate rail is spiked down to treenails of oak or locust wood, driven into jumper holes bored in the stone curb; in others, longitudinal wooden runners, one foot in breadth, and from three to four inches in thickness, are imbedded in broken stone or gravel; on these runners are placed transverse sleepers, formed of round timber with the bark left on; and wrought iron nails are fixed to the sleepers by long spikes, the heads of which are countersunk in the rail : in others, round piles of timber, about twelve inches in diameter, are driven into the ground as far as they will go, about three feet apart; the tops are then cross-cut, and the rails spiked to them.”


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

TABLE of the principal Railways in operation in the United States, in 1840.

[blocks in formation]





Brought forward..

1159 Bangor and Orono.. From Bangor to Orono...... 1836 10

10 Mill Creek..
Port Carbon to Mill Creek


Minehill & Schuyl.
Nashua and Lowell. Nashua to Lowell

1838 15

20 15 Pine Grove.... Pine Grove to coal mines ... MASSACHUSETTS.

Little Schuylkill.... Port Clinton to Tamaqua.. 1831 23 Quincy......... Quincy quarries to Neponset


Lackawaxen canal to the Ri.
River ..
1827 4

ver Lackawaxen...

163 Boston and Lowell.. Boston to Lowell.......... 1835 26 Westchester ........ Westchester to Columbia Andover and Wil- Andover to the Boston and


1832 9 mington.. Lowell Railroad..


Philadelphia and Andover to Haverhill Andover to Haverhill 1838) 10


Philadelphia to Trenton..... 1833 2641 Boston and Provi- Boston to Providence... 1835 41 Ditro & Norristown Ditto to Norristown..... 1837) 19 dence....

Central Railway.... Pottsville to Danville....... Dedham Branch.... Boston and Providence Rail

Philadelphia& Readroad to Dedham .... 1835 2


Philadelphia to Reading.. 405 Taunton Branch.... Boston and Providence Rail

Ditto and Baltimore Ditto to Baltimore...

93 road to Taunton........ 1836 11

330 Boston & Worcester Boston to Worcester.... 1835| 45

DELAWARE. Western Railway Worcester to Springfield

.. 1839 54 Newcastle & FrenchWorcester and Nor


Newcastle to Frenchtown... 1832 16 wich Worcester to Norwich.. 1839 59

16 Eastern Railroad... Boston to Newburyport... 1839 36



Baltimore and Ohio Completed to Harper's Ferry,
Providence and

with branches...

1835 86 Stonington Providence to Stonington... 1837 47


Harper's Ferry to Winchester 30

47 Baltimore and Port CONNECTICUT.


Baltimore to Port Deposit.... 341 Hartford and New

Ditto & Washington Ditto to Washington... 1835 40 Haven ..... Hartford to New Haven..... 1839 40 Ditto &Susquehanna Ditto to York......

1837 594 Housatonic Bridgeport to New Milford.. 40

2491 80



Richmond to Chesterfield Mohawk & Hudson.. Between the Rivers Mohawk

coal mines........

13 and Hudson.........

1832 16 Petersburg and RoSaratoga to Schenec

anoke.... Petersburg to Blakely, on the tady... Saratoga to Schenectady 1832) 22


59 Rochester

Rochester to Cartbage 1833 3 Winchester and PoIthaca and Oswego. Ithaca to Oswego....... 1834 29


Winchester to Harper'sFerry 30 Rensselaer and Sa

Portsmouth & Roaratoga ............ Troy to Balston...

1835 245

Portsmouth to Weldon......
Utica and Schenec-

Ricbmond, Fredetady....... Utica to Schenectady.. 1836 77

ricksburg, and Po. Buffalo and Niagara Buffalo to Niagara Falls.... 1837 21


Richmond to Fredericks-
New York to Harlem. 1837


58 Lockport & Niagara. Lockport to Niagara Falls... 1837] 24

Ricbmond to coal mines, ....

13 Brooklyn & Jamaica Brooklyn to Jamaica........ 1837 12

2504 Auburn & Syracuse. Auburn to Syracuse


SOUTH CAROLINA. Catskill and Canajo

s. Carolina Railroad Charleston to Hamburg on harie..... Catskill to Canajoharie.. ... 68

the Savannah.....

1833 136 Hudson & Berkshire Hudson to the boundary of

136 Massachusetts 30

Tonawanda........ Rochester to Attica .

45 Alatamaha & Bruns-
4045 wick
Alatamaha to Brunswick.... 12

12 NEW JERSEY. Camden and Amboy. Camden to Amboy

1832) 61

ALABAMA. Paterson ........... Paterson to Jersey.. 1834 163

Tuscumbia and DeNew Jersey......... Jersey City to New Bruns

catur .......

Mussel Shoals, Tennessee
1836 31

46 Morris and Essex... Morristown to Newark 20

46 1284


Pontchartrain ..... New Orleans to Lake Pont-
Philadelphia to Columbia... 82


1831 Alleghany.. Hollidaysburg to Johnstown,

Carrollton .......... New Orleans to Carrollton..

6 over the Alieghanies.... 36

11 Mauch Chunk...... Mauch Chunk to the coal

KENTUCKY. mines..

Lexington & Ohio Lexington to Frankfort..... 29 Room Run.........


Mauch Chupk to the mines.. 59 Frankfort & LouisMount Carbon...... Mount Carbon to the mines. 1830 73 Fille....

Frankfort to Louisville...... 50 Schuylkill Valley... Port Carbon to Tuscarora,

79 with numerous branches.. 30 Schuylkill....

13 179

Total length in miles 2290 Carried forward, total... |11592




river ..........

[ocr errors]


« AnteriorContinuar »