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her inhabitants in such swarms as that her numbers shall not greatly increase while there are vacant lands in any quarter to be had. And to what country can the inhabitants of Massachusetts emigrate so much to her advantage as the Ohio ? Is it not to the interest of New England that the western country should, in their manners, morals, religion, and policy, take the eastern states for their model? Is the Genius of education, etc., of any people so favorable to republican government as theirs; and should they not then, by throwing in of their citizens, endeavor to take the lead, and give a tone to the new states forming in the western quarter? Besides, the products of the Ohio country will interfere much less, or rather, they will be of more utility to Massachusetts than to any other of the Atlantic States; tobacco, flour, hemp, flax, rice, and indigo, being the chief articles for exportation, none of which are raised in Massachusetts in any considerable quantity; but, when the navigation of the Mississippi shall become free, will all find their way to the sea-ports of that State, and much to the advantage of her citizens who shall be concerned in the trade. I have only to add that, however inaccurate this address may appear, yet none will deny that the subject is important; and I pray God it may have a full and candid inquiry by all concerned in the councils of the Nation. I have the bonor to be, Sir, with much esteem,
Your humble servant,
[Hon. Fisher Ames to General R. Putnam.]
PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 22, 1791. Dear Sir :-It was impossible to read your letter, giving an account of the attack of the savages on the settlement at Big Bottom, without feeling a strong sympathy with you under the peculiar distress of your situation. However your fears may have interpreted the sense of the country toward you, I am happy to perceive that they are not indisposed to giving you effectual protection, though it will cost money. That circumstance, too often, throws cold water on the natural emotions of the public toward their distressed brethren. I am happy to learn, by Governor St. Clair, that the last intelligence from
Marietta, etc., left all quiet there. Inured as you have been to war and danger, I think your late alarms must have exposed your fortitude to its severest trials. I wish they may not be repeated.
You know that my opinion of the proper policy of Congress is, to manifest a fixed resolution to protect remote parts of the Union, to nurse the weak, and to console the suffering remote settlements, with a degree of tender solicitude proportioned to their defenseless condition.
Congress has little occasion to make itself known to them except by acts of protection. The most successful way to banish the ruinous idea of the future independency of the Western country is, by doing good to the settlers, to gain their hearts. Our sun will set when the Union shall be divided. But it is not necessary to notice the idea any further. The measures of the present session of Congress, I think, will satisfy you that, because you are remote, you are not forgotten, and will not be abandoned to the savages. I inclose a letter to my old schoolfeilow and townsman, Mr. Battelle. Will you please convey it to him.
Please to accept my sincere wishes for your health and prosperity. I am, dear sir, with respect,
Your very humble serv't, GENERAL PUTNAM.
To BENJAMIN ILARNISON, GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA,
MOUNT VERNON, Oct. 10, 1784. Dear Sir:-Upon my return from the western country, a few days ago, I had the pleasure to receive your favor of the 17th ultimo. It has always been my intention to pay my respects to you, before the chance of another early and hard winter should make a warm fireside too comfortable to be relinquished. And I shall feel an additional pleasure in offering this tribute of friendship and respect to you, by having the company of the Marquis de Lafayette, when he shall have revisited this place from his castern tour, now every day to be expected.
I shall take the liberty now, my dear Sir, to suggest a matter which would (if I am not too short-sighted a politician) mark your administration as an important era in the annals of this country, if it should be recommended by you and adopted by the Assembly. It has long been my decided opinion that the shortest, easiest, and least expensive communication with the invaluable and extensive country back of us, would be by one or both of the rivers of this state, which have their sources in the Apalachian Mountains. Nor am I singular in this opinion. Evans, in his Map and Analysis of the Middle Colonies, which, considering the early period at which they were given to the public, are done with amazing exactness, and Ilutchins, since, in his Topographical Description of the western country, a good part of which is from actual surveys, are decidedly of the same sentiments; as, indeed, are all others who have had opportunities, and have been at the pains, to investigate and consider the subject. But that this may not stand as mere matter of opinion and assertion, unsupported by facts (such at least as the best maps now extant, compared with the oral testimony, which my opportunities in the course of the war have enabled me to obtain), I shall give VOL. 11.—25
you the different routes and distances from Detroit, by which all the trade of the north-western parts of the united territory must pass; unless the Spaniards, contrary to their present policy, should engage part of it; or the British should attempt to force nature, by carrying the trade of the Upper Lakes by the River Utawas into Canada, which I scarcely think they will or could effect. Taking Detroit, then (which is putting ourselves in as unfavorable a point of view as we can well be placed in, because it is upon the line of the British territory), as a point by which, as I have already observed, all that part of the trade must come, it appears, from the statement inclosed, that the tide waters of this state are nearer, by one hundred and sixty-eight miles, than those of the River St. Lawrence; or, than those of the Hudson at Albany, by one hundred and seventy-six miles. Maryland stands upon similar ground with Virginia. Pennsylvania, although the Susquehanna is an unfriendly water, much impeded, it is said, with rocks and rapids, and nowhere communicating with those which lead to her capital, has it in contemplation to open a communication between Toby's Creek, which empties into the Alleghany River ninety-five miles above Fort Pitt, and the west branch of the Susquehanna, and to cut a canal between the waters of the latter and the Schuylkill; the expense of which is easier to be conceived than estimated or described by me. A people, however, who are possessed of the spirit of commerce, who see and will pursue their advantages, may achieve almost any thing. In the mean time, under the uncertainty of these undertakings, they are smoothing the roads and paving the ways for the trade of that western world. That New York will do the same as soon as the British garrisons are removed, which are at present insurmountable obstacles in their way, no person, who knows the temper, genius, and policy of those people as well as I do, can harbor the smallest doubt. Thus much with respect to rival states. Let me now take a short view of our own; and, being aware of the objections which are in the way, I will, in order to contrast them, enumerate them with the advantages.
The first and principal one is, the unfortunate jealousy which ever has, and it is to be feared ever will, prevail, lest one part of the State should obtain an advantage over the other parts, as if the benefits of trade were not diffusive and beneficial to all. Then follows a train of difficulties, namely, that our people are already heavily taxed; that we have no money; that the advantages of this trade are remote; that the most direct route for it is through other States, over which we have no control; that the routes over which we have control are as distant as either of those which lead to Philadelphia, Albany, or Montreal; that a sufficient spirit of commerce does not pervade the citizens of this commonwealth ; and that we are, in fact, doing for others what they ought to do for themselves. Without going into the investigation of a question which has employed the pens of able politicians, namely, whether trade with foreigners is an advantage or disadvantage to a country, this State, as a part of the confederated States, all of which have the spirit of it very strongly working in them, must adopt it, or submit to the evils arising therefrom without receiving its benefits. Common policy, therefore, points clearly and strongly to the propriety of our enjoying all the advantages which nature and our local situation afford us, and evinces clearly that, unless this spirit could be totally eradicated in other States as well as in this, and every man be made to become either a cultivator of the land or a manufacturer of such articles as are prompted by necessity, such stimulus should be employed as will force this spirit, by showing to our countrymen the superior advantages we possess beyond others, and the importance of being upon an equal footing with our neighbors.
If this is fair reasoning, it ought to follow as a consequence that we should do our part toward opening the communication for the fur and peltry trade of the Lakes, and for the produce of the country which lies within, and which will, so soon as matters are settled with the Indians, and the terms on which Congress mean to dispose of the land found to be favorable are announced, be settleil faster than any other ever was, or any one would imagine. This, then, when considered in an interested point of view, is alone sufficient to excite our endeavors. But, in my opinion, there is a political consideration for so doing, which is of still greater importance. I need