The People's Press
Batavia, Genesee County, New York State
As every circumstance in regard to the commencement, prosecution, and
completion of the Erie Canal, has become an object of much interest,
in relation to the various persons who took any part in that great work,
I shall make a few brief remarks, explanatory of the intervening periods
between the dates of the principal documents and correspondence, so
as to form something like a connected series. Commissioners were appointed
in the session of the legislation of 1811, to make examination and report
to the legislature a plan for effecting that noble design.
The Commissioners traversed the water communication from Schenectady,
by way of Mohawk River, Wood Creek, and Oneida Lake, to Ontario; and
then by various roads which lead to the Niagara River and Lake Erie;
and after directing engineers they had employed in making some disconnected
levels in various places between the great Western Lakes and the Hudson
River, they made a report of considerable magnitude, to the legislature,
without designating therein any particular site for a canal, and continued
making reports without defining any distinct plan or route; they, however,
in these reports, were in favor of an inclined plane canal, which would
render it an artificial river from Lake Erie to the Hudson, the source
of which would be Lake Erie.
The late war put a stop to the prosecution of the project,--indeed every
thing which the commissioners had done up to the year 1816, was merely
preparatory; at which time the following correspondence commenced between
De Witt Clinton, Esq., and Joseph Ellicott, Esq. on the subject; and
as this correspondence, (which has been obligingly furnished,) marks
a period when the first efficient exertions were made, and practical
data given, I shall lay it before the public.
by Linda Schmidt
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