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Scripto | Transcribe Page
State Colored Men's Convention
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Heretofore various methods have been adopted to remove the obstructions at the mouth of the river, but dredging has been mainly relied upon, and the national government has annually for some time made appropriations to that end. And it is due to the present competent management of the federal dredges at the passes of the Mississippi river to say that the result of dredging this season has given great satisfaction to the commercial community, and this method has more nearly met the demands of commerce than in any year previous to its adoption; but the system is defective and incapable of giving the depth of water demanded for a prosperous commerce. Besides, it is expensive and continuous, depending upon a constantly recurring appropriation of public money, and said appropriation of public money, and said appropriation, in its turn, depending upon a varying public opinion and a changing majority in the national Congress.
These seventeen million people of the valley, with their thousands of millions of annual products, demand an outlet commensurate and assured, that no political combinations can disturb; and such an outlet, in the judgment of the most accomplished engineers of the United States, is to be found by an artificial channel or ship canal from the Mississippi river, at or near Fort St. Philip, and running thence six or seven miles to Breton island sound.
Canals as a means of efficient and cheap transportation are neither new nor experimental. The Chinese, more than a thousand years ago, conceived and executed a system of canals many hundreds of miles in length, and the same are in successful operation to this day. Holland adopted the system in the twelfth century, and owes its prosperity to the same. In the fifteenth century was constructed in Lombardy a
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