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MVB notes on the Erie Canal, [c14 April 1817]

Remarks on the great Canals extracted from the various publications on the Subject. 

Serious appeal

Benefit of Canal to NYork & Albany.

utility I. Division of trade of onieda, Onandago, Cayuga, Seneca, Ontario, Genesee, Niagara, Chatauqua & Cattaraugus from Montreal to them. 

2d. This trade consists of 

Ist. Grain viz at present supposed to be if one tenth is under cultivation to 3.700,000 Bushels & may will soon increase to 40.000,000. 

2d Lumber, which it is said may be transported as cheap, ^from Cayuga^ as from Fort Edward on Still Water, & Staves & Hedding.

Calculation of relative expence

 a Barrel of Flour costs & will cost as follows





Alby by Ca





12 Cents





18. Cts





30 .

& the same ratio applies to every article of transportation.

Certain Benefits on the State

I. The extension of Western Salt Works by the cheap provision of Fuel.

2d. Supplying a market for

Western Gypshum

$3.50 pr. Ton W.

8.00. Nova Scotia

Probable Benefits

I The trade of the WIlderness round Erie, Michigan & Huron.

2d. The Fur trade, expense of Transportation from Buffalo to

Nyork $5.50 pr Ton 

to Montreal, $15.

2 Thirds of the Furs now go to Montreal, The other third to Newyork Philadelphia & Baltimore, by from Lake Michigan.


3d. 1st. The Trade of Erie Michigan & Huron now centers in Montreal.

2d it consists of Potash Flour & Furs exported & East & West india produce imported.

Reasons why Orleans cannot compete with Montreal for this trade

1st. The distance from any point on the lakes to Mont. is shorter than to N. Orleans.

2d. Their waters descend to the St. Lawrence, & to go to N. Orelans it is necessary to ascend the waters which flow into the lakes before you come to the descending waters of Orleans


By the means of the Canall Newyork will Step in Betwen these rival places & take the trade from them both.

Expence of Transportation

From Buffalo





a Barrel of Flour




55 Cents

a ton of Sugar at Buffalo from












Authority report of Commissioners

Note. All the preceeding calculations are founded on compleat improvements <illegible> <part> <vizours, & none on the other


Pittsburgh & Lousville 

are the great depots of

foreign Merchandize furnished to the Western

parts of 



Indiana &


They are now supplyed from


Baltimore &

New Orleans.

It is supposed that the proposed Canal will secure this trade to Newyork

1st.  Philadelphia, & the difficulties

1 Distance to Pittsburgh 320 miles by land only.

2d. It is by land only.

3d. The road crosses the Allegany Mountains by 5 successive spurs & the road is bad & difficult of Improvemt.

4th. The time in delivering produce from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia averages 16 Days. 

5th. The expence $6 pr. cent. and $120 a Ton 

IId. Baltimore & its difficulties

I Distance from Baltimore to Brownsville 220 miles by land & from Brownville to Pittsburgh 56 miles

2d The distance to Brownville is by land, a turnpike is making under the patronage of the general goverment the 56 miles is by water by the Mongahela

3d. Time of Delivering produce 14 days, from Pittsburgh to Baltimore.

4th. Expence from Brownville to Baltimore to $5.15. cents or $100 pr Ton

IIId Orleans &c

Distance to Pittsburgh 2444

I The voyage from Orleans to PLouisville is estimated at 30 Days & to Pittsburgh 45 days average.

2d. The expence was estimated in 1814 at $3. pr Cent. or $60 pr Ton.

New York

1 Distance to Pittsburgh 682 miles.

2d. consisting as follows 


To Albany 140-water

To Buffalo 280 Canal

To Presque Isle, 86 water

lake Erie

To Le 'Baeuf, 15, land

To Pittsburgh 161 water


C & Alleg



3. Newyork, has advantage over New Orleans in her intercourse with Europe in this

Ist. the Voyage from Europe to NYork is shorter by 25 days

2d She has a great preponderance of capital

5d. In the changes & fluctuations of the Capital navigation of the Mississippi & the unhealthiness of the Climate

From all which it is inferred that European goods could be furnished by the proposed canall at Lousville pr from Nyork 45 days earlier than in the Spring than from Orleans & that the expence 50 pr Cent less than from NOrleans 75 pr. Cent less than from Baltimore & 80 pr. Cent less than from Philadelphia

Newyork will have a Chance

Ist. For the Hemp exported from Kentucky by the way of Pittsburgh

2d. The Lead mines of Lousiana.


Benefits probably resulting from the digging the Canall

I. Revenue from Wharves on its Margin

2d. Mill seats

3d. Manure 

4th We might discov[er] plaster, leads, Salt Springs porclain or fine clay, & Coal

5th Turnpike Stock would increase in Value. 

6th. It would become a great School for Intellect & improvement in Philosophy & Mathematics

7th. Its political effect on the Union [. . .] State, securing the fidelity of the Indians & the affection of our Western Brethren. 

[...] my [...] favor of [...] April [...]


Source: DLC Library of Congress
Collection: MVB Papers (DLC)
Series: Series 3 (17 February 1815-2 December 1821)