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May 1999


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Phil Lord <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
A LISTSERV list for discussions pertaining to New York State history." <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 21 May 1999 16:34:40 -0400
text/plain (52 lines)
Well I have not really dug into that period, but as you no doubt know, in the early planning period, the Albany-Oswego route WAS considered for the Erie Canal (which wouldn't have been the "Erie" canal then).

I could not say that the experiences of the inland (Mohawk/Oneida) shipping route for military goods during the war would have left anyone worried about it, because it seems to me it was of great benefit. And after 1800, turnpikes began to diminish the idea of river traffic being the premier manner of moving goods. 

Unfortunately my archive has been created to end by 1820, with a pre-1812 focus, because it is linked to canal and navigation developments that were done before 1810. 

>>> Walter Lewis <[log in to unmask]> 05/20 11:59 AM >>>
Phil Lord wrote:
> I also would be interested in these discussions. But more to the point, in New York State there was an entire canal and navigation construction phase from 1792 to 1803 that prepared the inland navigation route from Albany to Lake Ontario in ways that enhanced our ability to move goods to the Great Lakes for the War of 1812.
> While I have spotty evidence of the discussions, I have ample evidence of the improvements, which of course pre-dated by many years the beginning of the Erie Canal.

Thanks Phil.  As I reread the message I realized I had understated the
key part of the question (being the word "strategic").

In the flurry of discussion immediately after the War of 1812
(especially in 1815), were people explicitly saying things like: "in
order to defend the upper part of the state we need to be able to get
army and navy supplies to the lakes more easily."
Almost all the discussion of whether to build a canal is in the context
of commerce. The specific timing of construction suggests a possible
military incentive to add to the mix.  Was the federal government
keeping a low profile on this lest they be asked to contribute? General
Brown was developing lands near Lake Ontario.  Did he speak out?

Did the challenges associated with the Albany-Lake Ontario route in
wartime inform the decision not to do a two-part Albany-Oswego,
Lewiston-Buffalo system?

Walter Lewis
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> >>> Walter Lewis <[log in to unmask]> 05/10 9:56 PM >>>
> This seemed like a fairly straightforward citation search but (due
> perhaps to limited local resources in southern Ontario) I haven't nailed
> it down.
> The War of 1812 demonstrated the high cost of moving strategic goods to
> the frontier.
> There were significant discussions  north of the border immediately
> after the war about how to address the problem.  The canal building
> programs at Lachine and on the Ottawa and Rideau were a direct result.
> Surely those promoting the Erie Canal discussed the same issues?  Where
> is it discussed in the historiography of the canal?