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ful, or possibly fraudulent attempts, had been made previous, to these times, to raise a revenue by incorporating no small number of banks. These had failed, as every man of sense knew they must fail-and as they always will fail to produce much revenue to the state treasury, under any circumstances.
And at the period of our lowest depression, as to credit, no money scarcely of any sort, had a circulation among us.
Pork sold for one dollar per hundred pounds, Indian corn for twelve and a half cents a bushel, wheat for twenty-five cents, and every other article of produce was equally cheap where they were produced. And there was not a demand even at these prices, for all the farmer could easily spare. - These times, we can all remember, and, as matters of mere historical fact, we can now look back upon them, with pride and exultation, while we look around us, on the contrast, every where seen, felt and fully realized. Amidst all these gloomy circumstances, there were a few men, in the state, who looked through them, towards better days. The first impalse, which roused into activity, the sleeping energies of the Western people, was Fulton's steam boat. The first one, built on the western waters, was constructed by Robert Fulton, at Pittsburgh, and departed from that place, in December 1812, and arrived at New Orleans, on the 24th of the same month. It was called the ORLEANS. The second was called the COMET, built by Samuel Smith, and went to Louisville, in the summer of 1813. Third, The Vesuviuś, was built by Fulton, and descended to New Orleans, in the spring of 1814. Fourth, The Enterprise, built at Brownsville, Pennsylvania, was owned and constructed by Daniel French, on his patent. This boat made two voyages to Louisville, in the summer of 1814, under the command of captain Israel Gregg. Fifth, The Aetna was built at Pittsburgh, 1815, by Fulton and company. This business of building steam boats, increased annually, until in 1819, forty one steamers, had been constructed on the western waters. The improvements in every part of the machinery, by this time, had so far succeeded, and those who managed them, had, by na 32 ini :
actual experience, so far perfected themselves, in their business that the public attention had been turned towards steam boat navigation.
A new era, may be said to have commenced, which, in its beneficial effects, has produced a great deal of real good, to all the western people. There are now, four hundred steamers navigating our western rivers !! · The inventor of the steam boat, was ROBERT Fulton, a Dative of Pennsylvania. By occupation, he was orginally, a portrait painter. He inherited nothing from his parents except bis genius, but, he was so fortunate, as to marry into a distinguished family, in the state of New York. That family, was not only wealthy, but talented and influential; it was the LivINGSTON family. Although, the power and uses of steam, had long beea known, to a great degree, in Europe; and although, Bolton, Watt and Arkwright had successfully applied it, to a great many useful purposes, yet, until Robert Fulton, brought this power into useful operation, in propelling vessels, nothing practical was effected by it, in navigation. Fulton expended a fortune, on his invention, and died not worth a dollar, leaving behind him, a family of orphans. He even lost his life, in trying an experiment, on a vessel of war, which congress had employed him to construct. His fate, and his services as well as Clinton's, under any modern European government, would have entitled their heirs to a competency, during their lives, in consideration of the services of their fathers, to the country, which had been so signally benefited by their labors. What has the republic done for Fulton's and Clinton's heirs? Nothing, absolutely nothing.
. . : - To the western states, whose lakes and rivers, are unrivaled, in the whole world, for their length, size, and usefulness, aided by this invention; the steam boat is an inestimable blessing. It diminishes space and time. And a voyage may now be made, in two weeks, from New Orleans, to Cincinnati or St. Louis, which would before the steamer was in use, have taken three months to perform. And four hundred tons may be transported in one vessel, now, whereas thirty tons, was all that a
common keel boat, could carry upwards, in its long, tedious and dangerous voyage.
The vast advantages, to be derived from the use of the steamer, are not yet fully unfolded. It seems designed to penetrate, all the great rivers, of the world; those of both continents; to penetrate Africa, to its centre, as well as Asia and South America. It seems peculiarly fitted for all the islands of the Pacific, and finally, to be one in number, of the vast amount of means, now using, to promote commercial intercourse between all mankind; to spread far and wide, all the useful arts of life, of science, of civilization, of humanity; and all the lights of our holy religion. While we sit writing here, England is making efforts to bring into successful operation, the steamer, on the Euphrates and the Red sea. The Niger, the Nile, the Ganges, the Indus, the Burrampooter, the Amazon, the La Plata, the Tocantius, the Magdalena, the Columbia and Orinoko, may yet be navigated, as much, as now are the Mississippi, the St. Lawrence, the Hudson, Delaware, Potomac, Ohio and Missouri. That time is rapidly approaching, indeed, the steamer will one day, be seen, in every harbor, visit every island, coast and country of the whole earth. Give the warrior, who desolates whole countries, and destroys millions of his fellow men, his bloody fame, but give us a fame as pure, and as well deserved as ROBERT Fulton's, and we would ask no more. Unstained with blood, vice or crime, the fame of Fulton, shining brighter and brighter, shall live forever..
During all that period, whose now departed, gloomy ghosts we have made walk, in sad procession, before the reader, not a few of us, in this state, corresponded with our old friend DEWITT CLINTON of New York. All our difficulties were correctly stated to him. On his part, he counselled us as a father would have advised his children. As to funds, he suggested to us, that our school lands and salt reservations, might be sold and they would produce funds enough with which to begin our canals. He suggested to us, “that from our peculiar location, as a state, Ohio might by means of roads and canals, become the centre of travel to and from the Valley of the Mississippi. That canals and roads, passing through our coal aud iron regions, would render those mines very valuable, then almost useless. That our rich soil and its productions, would, by means of these improvements, render us wealthy, enterprising and prosperous.” Having originally advocated our admission into the Union; having been our warm friend, always, even in our darkest days, gave him peculiar claims to our confidence. He stood before the nation, as the principal supporter of Internal Improvements. He was their earliest advocate, whose successful career, drew all eyes towards him.
Assailed at home, by a combination of little men, who envied his greatness, he nevertheless, moved forward in his course, with giant strides, conquering all opposition until he had united the western lakes, with the Atlantic ocean. The people of Ohio saw, with wonder and admiration, the progress of what, was truly considered, at that day, a stupendous work. The completion, of the “ Clinton canal,” (as all, but New Yorkers, will forever call it,) dispelled all doubts, about the practicability of connecting Lake Erie with the Ohio river. The great question was solved. In effect, IT WAS DONE.
Before this time, Ohio always professed to believe, in the practicability of the New York canal. When Clinton and his early associates, in the winter of 1812, perhaps, applied to the states, for aid in making tho great New York canal, Ohio, even then, answered," that she believed in the practicability of making such a canal, and that New York, and her Clinton çould effect it; but, that Ohio, had no money to spare, yet she would cheerfully do all she could in aid of that project, in congress, by her votes and influence." To all the applications of New York, to congress; to the several states, and territories, on this subject, only one, truly friendly answer was returned to them; and, with pride and pleasure we record it; that answer was given by the GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF OHIO.
. Governor Clinton, never forgot that answer, nor did his friends in New York forget it. From that time to this, Clinton's friends, in congress, from New York, have, generally, been friendly to us, whereas, his enemies of that state, have,
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as uniformly been our enemies, on every question, when their votes could injure us, in the national legislature.
SCHOOL LANDS, AND COMMON SCHOOL SYSTEM OF EDUCATION.
The congress of the United States, by several acts, usually denominated - the compact,” gave the people, of all the territory northwest of Ohio river, one thirty sixth part of the land, for the support of common schools. No small portion of these lands, was occupied, at an early day, by persons, who settled on them, without any other title to them, than what mere occupancy gave them. These occupants, made no very valuable improvements, on these lands, but they contrived, in time, to obtain various acts of our general assembly, in favor of such squatters. Such acts increased in number every year, until they, not only had cost the state, large sums of money for legislating about them, but some entire sessions were mostly spent, in such unprofitable legislation.
In the meantime, scarcely a dollar was ever paid over to the people, for whose benefit these lands had been given, by congress. - Members of the legislature, not unfrequently, got acts passed and leases granted, either to themselves, to their relations or, to their warm partisans. One senator contrived to get, by such acts, seven entire sections of land into, either his own, or bis childrens' possession!!
From 1803. to 1820, our general assembly spent its sessions mostly, in passing acts relating to these lands; in amending our militia laws; and in revising those relating to justices' courts. Every four or five years, all the laws were amended, or as one member of assembly well remarked in his place, “ were made worse.” At a low estimate, this perverse legislation, cost the people, one million of dollars. The laws were changed so frequently, that none but the passers of them, for whose benefit they were generally made, knew what laws were really in force. New laws were often made, as soon as the old ones took effect.