Charles Augustus Davis to MVB, 12 March 1833
Ch[arles] Aug[us]t[us] Davis to MVB, 12 March 1833
12 March 1833
My D.. Sir
I take the liberty to inclose for your Consideration at a leisure moment, a rough outline of a plan touching the realization of the public Lands, Which seems a subject just now occuping the public mind. I am one of those who think that a parent Should do much for his Children, but not every thing. I dont think that a man should materially stint himself that his Children may wallow in idle affluence. I have always thought it bad policy for the present generation to pay for the Erie Canal, that the next should Enjoy it toll free. On Contrary I should say as the present generation has run the risk of the Experiment the most that Should be asked of them is to pay just toll and to keep it in repairs, & leave the next generation to pay for it, because they will be better able to do so.
This much for my views of the present & the future.
Now as regards the public Lands, <illegible> ^<illegible>^ as regards their value, who can predict the amt they may be worth 20 years hence when by the united progress of internal communication which makes remoteness today Contiguity tomorrow, & ^by^ the rapid increase of population, what may be a wilderness now may then become <illegible> fields <illegible> as to <come> to Dollars & cents what may be worth One Dollar now may be twenty Dollars then, the amt swells to a point beyond our present <days> <illegible> reason cant reject the Conclusion.
I cant illustrate the subject better than to call attention to almost Every day occurrences here in this City, where we see farms of old Dutch families, their farmer occupants not willing to reallize a Cent or Expend a Dollar in improving communication or correcting their Children, but laboring in absolute indigence & rejecting all advances made by modern improvements till the march of improvement is at their door, & then die & no sooner dead, than the farm is cut up into lots & descendants almost incapable of knowing how to Enjoy so sudden an acquisition run riot & all goes to other hands, without a fraction of <illegible> to those who were Entitled to it.
The great difficulty under which our country labors is that of Capital The <Elements> of <illegible> are here in abundance but no <illegible> in a <illegible> tangible Shape. Nearly the whole of this prosperous one hundred millions wd. come to us from the many markets of Europe and appear as it wd <illegible>, wd. give such additional Value to the object <pledged> for its <redemption>, as to pay the am’t back again out of that <illegible> of price. Thus giving the present generation all the advantages of its possessions & Enabling it to transmit a vast inheritance to the <coming> <race>.
I am aware that the subject is met by many objections but I am not sure that any of those objections are sustainable
Such plans may frequently have been suggested and the whole subject is no doubt so familiar to you that no factor is <illegible> <illegible>. I give it <humour> as one which as far as I hear it discussed seems to take with our people.
I trust to the goodness of your <illegible> in pardoning the informality of this Communication. Assuring you that I am with Every <illegible> of personal regard & esteem
Yr. friend & obt. <Servant>
Ch. Augt. Davis
Enclosure: "A plan for realizing the public domain . . . ," [12 March 1833].