Char[le]s E[dward] Dudley to MVB, 23 December 1821
Decemr. 23rd 1821.
I had the pleasure of writing you on Friday last in reply to your letter of 15th. Inst; but in my earnestness on the subject of that letter, I omitted suggesting, at that time, an idea that has lately presented ^itself^ to my mind, and which has, with other matters, no doubt had a share of your reflection.
The subject of Roads & Canals, it appears, is again on the carpet at Washington: Now, could an appropriation of $500.000 for three years, say a million & a half, be obtained from the General Government towards the completion of the Erie & Champlain canals, it would greatly aid our State Finances; and the equivalent to the united states, would be a public Highway for the transportation of military & naval stores to the Lakes and frontiers, free of expence forever. The great item in the Revenue of the Government is "Customs", and of which, if my memory serves near ten millions have been derived, in some one year, from the City of Newyork. The Imposts collected at that City must encrease whenever the Erie canal is completed & in full operation; and as a matter of calculation, apart from the justice of the claim which the state of Newyork may be supposed to have on the National purse, (but which at present I am not disposed to discuss) the Government might well afford to furnish from one to two millions of Dollars.
There is no need of telling you the value that such assistance would be to the People of this State; for I know your opinion is, that the burthen is yet to be felt; and as you have ever been the advocate for Internal Improvements, and but for your speech in the Senate in 1821, the Canal operations would probably not now have been commenced, I can freely appeal to your public spirit on this occasion, without appearing to be too enthusiastic. There are many reasons which, in my opinion, could be urged in favor of an attempt to obtain an appropriation (which ought not to be a paltry one). This State would become more completely identified in feeling with the National Government—a great cause of complaint and jealousy would be obviated; & the Nation would justly participate in the glory, which at some period must attach to the Canal System, and, in some measure, to those who projected it.
Here, Sir, is a fit opportunity for the exercise of your influence, as well as for the display of your talents. The People of this State will expect something on the great scale from so able a Representative as yourself; and as you already possess their confidence, you may, by a successful ^effort^ in procuring the appropriation for the Canal, secure their gratitude forever.
With sentiments of great Regard
Your friend &c