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The obstacles so mentioned were overcome, and Chicago became, in time, the greatest port on the Western continent, New York not excepted in her tonnage.
I attach hereto a plate of the month of the Chicago Kiver showing the sand bars mentioned, set forth in the report by Thos. Jefferson Cram, Capt. of the U. S. Engineers., in the year of 1839. There you will find the sand bars mentioned how they vary and change, when one is washed away, another forms, and that the problems of that day were greater than those that now confront us.
In speaking of the Act of Congress passed in 1822, I also desire you to consider the Act of 1827 conveying to the State of Illinois, every alternate section of land for the distance of over one hundred miles from the waters of Lake Michigan to a point in La Salle County on the West part thereof and extending on both sides thereof for a width of over five miles. The object being,
A National Highway To Connect Lake Michigan With The Illinois And Mississippi Rivers.
Before Illinois was admitted into the Union and while she was still a territory of the United States under the name of the Illinois Territory the Federal Government had directed its officers to examine the Chicago river with a view of connecting Lake Michigan with the Illinois river, and from thence to the Mississippi; that on March 4, 1817, Major Long, acting under the instructions of the War Department, addressed a communication to the Secretary of War, which contained, inter alia,
"a canal uniting the waters of the Illinois river with those of Lake Michigan may be considered the first importance of any in this quarter of the country, and at the aarne time the construction of it would be attended with very little expense compared with the magnitude of its object.
The water course which is already open between the Desplaines river and the Chicago river need but very little more excavation to render it sufficiently capatious for all purposes of the canal."
That in 1819 after the admission of the State of Illinois, John C. Calhoun, then Secretary of War, made a report to Congress on this same subject and recommended that the report of Major Long, heretofore mentioned, be carried out—not only as an aid to commerce, but also as being the most important from a military point of view. (See Volume 4, Public Documents, Second Session, 15th Congress.)
After the admission of Illinois in the Union the Legislature of Illinois prepared a memorial addressed to Congress reciting the necessity of uniting the two bodies of water mentioned as forming an important addition to the great connecting links in the chain of the international navigation which will effectively secure the indissoluble union of the confederate members of this great and powerful republic.
And the memorial continued, said:
"By the completion of this great and valuable work the connection between the North and South, the Kast and the West would be strengthened by the ties. of commercial intercourse and social neighborhood, and the union of the states might bid defiance to international commotion, sectional jealousy and foreign invasion. All the states of the union- would then feel the most powerful motive to resist every attempt at dissolution."
This plea, so eloquently put, backed by Governor Cook