HISTORY OF CANALS IN NEW YORK.
the heads of two rivers, was far less desirable, in every point of view, than a complete canal communication from place to place, following the valleys of the rivers, aud drawing water from them.
In 1815, Dr. Drake, of Cincinnati, proposed a canal from some point ou the Great Miami, to the city iu which he resided; and in January, 1818, Mr., afterward Governor Brown, writes thus: " Experience, the best guide, has tested the infinite superiority of this mode of commercial intercourse over the best roads, or any navigation of the beds of small rivers. In comparing it with the latter, I believe you will find the concurrent testimony of the most skillful aud experienced engineers of France aud England, against the river, aud in favor of the canal, for very numerous reasons."
Meanwhile, along the Atlantic, various experiments had been tried, both in regard to improving rivers and digging cabals. In October, 1784, Virginia, acting under the instigation of Washington, passed a law " for clearing and improving the navigation of James river." In March, 1792, New York established two companies for "Inland Lock Navigation ; " the one to connect the Hudson with Lake Champlain, tbe other to unite it with Lake Ontario, whence another caual was to rise round the Great Falls to Erie.
These enterprises, and various others, were presented to Congress by Mr. Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury, in an elaborate report, made April 4th, 1808. Subsequent to this report, in April, 1811, the General Assembly of New York passed a law for the great Erie canal, and at the head of the commissioners was Governeur Morris, who had proposed the plan thirty-four years previous.
To her aid in this vast work, New York asked the power of the federal government, and Ohio passed resolutions in favor of the aid being given. No great help, however, was given; and New York, with the strength imparted by the energy of Clinton, carried through her vast work; aud when Ohio began to speak of similar efforts, through the same voice that had encouraged her during her labors, the Empire State spoke encouragement to her younger sh-ter.
When, therefore, Governor Brown, in his inaugural address of Be-cember 14th, 1818, referred to the necessity of providing cheaper ways to market for the farmers of Ohio, he spoke to a people not unprepared to respond favorably. In accordance with the governor's suggestion, Mr. Sill, on the 7th of January, 1819, moved that a committee be appointed to report on the expediency of a canal from the lake to the Ohio. This was followed, on the next day, by