Excerpt from The Erie Canal and the Settlement of the West
Dwight spoke of the route to Baltimore via the Susque hanna; but added that the swiftness of that river and its numerous rapids and shoals necessitated a long and tedious return overland, and thus condemned any great ... use of that market.2 He was inclined to believe that Montreal would be the great port; and the large emigration of New Eng landers to the lands lying between the northern boundary of the New England states and New York, and the St. Lawrence river for a quarter of a century after the Revo lution, together with the gigantic plan for waterways, con ceived by Albert Gallatin, makes one feel that many persons shared his view. James Flint, traveling in Pennsylvania and New York in 1819-1820, noted the large areas of fertile land in both these states which were either sparsely settled or passed over entirely, for want of easy routes for settle ment and facilities to market surplus products.3 Many other instances might be summoned to support the convie tion of Governor Clinton and his contemporaries that the future prosperity of New York was dependent upon the building of the Erie canal.'
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