1850 Sault Ste. Marie Canal Bill

Sault Ste. Marie Canal

Lake Superior Journal 9-18-1850

We are pleased to see that the U.S. Senate has passed the bill ceding 500,000 acres of land to this State, for the purpose of constructing a Ship Canal around the Falls of Ste. Marie, and hope and trust our representatives will be able to secure its passage through the House before the close of the session. Let them try.

We but do justice to Gen. Cass in saying that he acted manfully during the debate upon the bill. His argument was clear and conclusive, his views broad and national, and he pressed the point of the military importance of the work with great force. Nor did he omit to present its immense commercial importance.

Senator Felch also ably sustained the bill, although, vowing to his want of the more accurate information which recent explorations have seceured, he seemed to underrate the agricultural qualities of the Upper Peninsula.

Dawson, of Georgia, and Butler, of South Carolina opposed the bill, on the ground that it conteinplated a system of internal improvements, which seems to be a perpetual scarecrow to the minds of abstractionists.

Mr. Davis, of Massachusetts, we regret to see, it first gave the measure a cold reception, but finally supported it, as every sensible man should and would.

Truman Smith, of Connecticut, sustained it with great force and zeal, and was generously seconded by Mesars. Davis, of Mississippi, Douglass and Shields, of Illinois, Bright, of Indiana, and Underwood of Kentucky. As citizens of Michigan, we desire to tender to these gentlemen our sincere acknowledgements for the aid they have rendered oru own Senators, in securing the passage of a measure of so great importance, not only to this State, but to every State bordering on the Lakes and on the Mississippi River. Let Congress pass this bill, and, in a few years, it may take off three-fourths, if not the whole, of the tariff up on copper and iron. We appeal to our representatives to look after it. Quit the Negro business for a few days and let us hear form you on the subject of the Sault Ste. Marie Canal. The diversion, we doubt not, would be a great relief to your minds, and the discussion of the subject like reading the last good novel to the House. But don’t tell them that the country on Lake Superior is not fit for agriculture; that is not so; it is fit for agriculture—and much more so than the New England States, and many others that we could mention. Tell them the exact truth—that the fall is 22 feet; that the length of the Canal will not exceed one mile, and that the excavation will not be, by any means, difficult; that the obstruction to be removed, consists chiefly of earth, and that the rock that must be removed, is loose and shelly; that the principal part of the expense will consists in constructing locks, but that there are excellent stone in the vicinity for that purpose.