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State Colored Men's Convention

1873LA-State_New-Orleans_Report__1873-11-18_excerpt-11.pdf

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Current Saved Transcription [history]

canal that made the Lombards a commercial people. England, in 1755, built her first canal, and has at present more than two thousand miles of canals in successful operation. France, under Louis XIV., projected and carried out the great enterprise of connection the waters of the Bay of Biscay and the Mediterranean, and this canal, several hundred miles in length, is one of the most successful works of its kinds. The Suez canal, lately constructed under French and Egyptian auspices, at a cost between eighty and ninety millions of dollars is one of the grandest enterprises of the age, furnishing water communication by a direct line of less than a hundred miles between Europe and Asia, which had previously been separated by fifteen thousand miles. The Erie canal, Chesapeake and Ohio, and the James River and Kanawha canals in the United States, aggregating more than a thousand miles, and constructed at the expense of more than a hundred millions of dollars, abundantly attest the success and utility of canals as a cheap and reliable highway of traffic.

The Fort St. Philip project is not a new scheme, having been a matter of investigation and survey since 1831 to the present time, surveys and estimates having been made during that period by both the United States and the State of Louisiana looking to its construction, and the estimates of cost ranging from $3,500,000 to $10,000,000.

The public mind, no less than the public needs, demands outlets for the constantly increasing values of the fertile lands of the Mississippi and its tributaries to the gulf and to the Atlantic. New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Norfolk and Savannah have projected systems by which they propose to meet the demands for cheap freight, depending for the completion of the lines of transportation to these terminal points upon a combination of the upper lakes with canals completed partially or in full, or in combination with railroads, minor rivers and projected canals to the Atlantic seaboard. New Orleans and Louisiana present the Mississippi river, supplemented by the Fort St. Philip canal as a cheap highway of traffic, in some sort a competitor of the routes indicated, but having independent merits that demand and justify national aid, even if each of the other routes should receive the same.

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