Page images
PDF
EPUB

.: In addition to the Militia, there are in every State and town, and particularly in every large town, a great many volunteer or independent companies. A number of young men of the better class form themselves into a corps, choose their officers, and meet at different times for the purpose of drilling, according as their captains may order. Whoever belongs to one of these corps is exempt from serving in the militia. "Their uniforms, which they choose themselves, are in general very handsome, and each individual is always remarkably well appointed. These corps are generally Rifle companies, or artillery, though there is here and there a corps of cavalry; and I can say from my own observation that some of the light infantry manoeuvre uncommonly well.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

I LEFT West Point with no little regret. From thence I ascended the Hudson to Albany, a town of antiquated appearance, and which the Dutch founded, when they possessed the State of New York. The houses, which are neatly painted, have generally their gable ends turned towards the street; some of them moreover are constructed with small Dutch bricks.

Albany continues to thrive and increase, by carrying on an extensive trade with the interior of the State; and as it is here that the great Canal, reaching from Lake Erie, enters the Hudson, it will soon become a place of great importance.

This stupendous Canal, which, like the great wall of China, forms a visible line on the terrestrial globe, has raised the State of New York to the highest rank in the Union.

* No one need inquire what are the advantages of the State of New York for internal commerce. The map of our State will answer the question, and put curiosity at rest. Neither do we want ability to improve those advantages which Provi,

* Considerations on the Great Western Canal, its advana ages, &c. Brooklyn, 1818.

dence has placed around us. A State which rests her borders upon the ocean on one side, and on the other reposes on the greatest chain of internal seas upon the face of the globe, diversified by interior lakes and tributary streams, with a river whose tides and other facilities for navigation can scarcely find a comparison ; a State that contains a more extensive soil than Portugal, the United Netherlands, or England and Wales put together; a State that stands in the heart of the Union, and could now sustain the whole population of the American empire, and can yearly pay ten or twelve millions of dollars into the treasury of the nation, without inconvenience; whose splendid commercial emporium, even now has a tonnage that no city in the world can equal but London itself; finally, a State that contains a million and a half of wealthy, intelligent, enterprising, and high-minded Republicans, attached to the Union, the Government, and the Laws-we say that such a State presents no common spectacle—we are proud in its contemplation. We are proud too of the great and salutary end to which these resources are bent.”

The length of the great canal is 353 miles. The width on the water-surface is forty feet, at the bottom twenty-eight feet, and the depth four feet. The number of locks is seventy-seven, each lock being ninety feet long and twelve feet wide ; and it is calculated that boats carrying 100 tons

e

may navigate the canal. The cost of making it has been 5,000,000 of dollars. si · It is impossible to form any idea of the vast advantages which must accrue to New York and to the United States in general from this magnificent work. Great as these are even at present, one cannot attempt to calculate what they may be hereafter, as we do not know the resources of the great regions around Lake Huron, Michigan, and Superior. It was only the other day, that some great copper-mines were discovered near the last-mentioned lake. By connecting the Hudson with the great Lakes, the inland States have, as it were, been brought nearer to the Atlantic.;

..; The great river Illinois, passing through the State of that name, and falling into the Mississippi, takes its rise almost on the very shore of Lake Michigan. During the high waters after rain, the Indians, even at the present time, pass up this river and enter the Lake in 'their canoes, there being a complete water communication. This circumstance is a very curious geographical fact, and shows by what a very slight “ dividing ridge” the waters that find their way to the ocean through the St. Lawrence, are separated from those that rush into the channel of the Mississippi. Hence, almost without an effort, a canal could be cut, joins ing Lake Michigan with the Illinois river, which is broad, deep, sluggish, and otherwise peculiarly

adapted to navigation. I have before mentioned, that it is the intention of the State of Ohio to establish a communication with the Great Lakes, by means of a canal through its territory. So easily, and at so trifling an expense can this be effected, that the State of Ohio, though so young, has determined to begin it immediately.

Let any one, with the map of the United States before him, contemplate this vast chain of inland navigation. The Great Lakes, and the interior of the North Western territory, will be connected with New Orleans, and the Gulf of Mexico on one side; on the other with New York, by the Great Canal; and with Lower Canada and the St. Lawrence by means of the Champlain. Canal. Were it not useless in the present age, to insist upon the wellknown advaptages of free institutions and popular governments, one might point to the Canal undertaken by the State of New York, and say to the worn-out and leaden despotisms of Europe: “Be hold what Freedom can accomplish! What work can you produce of such grandeur and utility, as that of this infant Republic?" · The road from Albany to Utica follows the course of that fine river the Mohawk. The country through which it passes is rich and well cultivated, but it is not very picturesque until near the Little Falls. , ' ; . ::"

The channel here resembles a trench, and appears to have been the outlet and drain of a great

« PreviousContinue »