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RECAPITULATION AND RESOURCES. - Albert Gallatin, Report of the Secretary of the Treasury; on the Subject of Public Roads and Canals 
Report of the Secretary of the Treasury; on the Subject of Public Roads and Canals; made in pursuance of a Resolution of the Senate, of March 2, 1807 (Washington: R.C. Weightman, 1808).
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RECAPITULATION AND RESOURCES.
The improvements which have been respectfully suggested as most important, in order to facilitate the communication between the great geographical divisions of the United States, will now be recapitulated; and their expense compared with the resources applicable to that object.
I. From north to south, in a direction parallel to the sea coast:
An annual appropriation of two million of dollars, would accomplish all those great objects in ten years, and may without inconvenience, be supplied in time of peace, by the existing revenues and resources of the United States. This may be examplified in several ways.
The annual appropriation on account of the principal and interest of the public debt, has, during the last six years, amounted to eight millions of dollars. After the present year, or at farthest, after the ensuing year, the sum which, on account of the irredeemable nature of the remaining debt, may be applied to that object, cannot in any one year exceed 4,600,000 dollars, leaving therefore from that source alone, an annual surplus of 3,400,000 dollars, applicable to any other object.
From the 1st January, 1801, to the 1st January, 1809, a period of eight years, the United States shall have discharged about 34 millions of the principal of the old debt, or deducting the Louisiana debt, incurred during the same period, and not yet discharged, about 23 millions of dollars. They may with equal facility, apply in a period of ten years, a sum of 20 millions of dollars, to internal improvements.
The annual permanent revenue of the United States, calculated on a state of general peace, and on the most moderate estimate, was in a report made to Congress on the 6th day of December, 1806, computed for the years 1809-1815, at 14 millions of dollars, The annual expenses on the peace establishment, and including the 4,600,000 dollars, on account of the debt, and 400,000 dollars for contingencies, do not exceed eight millions and a half, leaving an annual surplus of five millions and a half of dollars. To provide for the protection and defence of the country, is undoubtedly the object to which the resources of the United States, must, in the first instance be applied, and to the exclusion of all others, if the times shall require it. But it is believed, that in times of peace, (and to such period only are these remarks applicable) the surplus will be amply sufficient to defray the expenses of all the preparatory measures of a permanent nature which prudence may suggest, and to pay the sum destined for internal improvements. Three millions annually applied during the same period of ten years, would arm every man in the United States, fill the public arsenals and magazines, erect every battery and fortification which could be manned, and even, if thought eligible, build a navy. That the whole surplus would be inadequate to the support of any considerable increase of the land or naval force kept in actual service in time of peace, will be readily admitted. But such a system is not contemplated: if ever adopted, the objects of this report must probably be abandoned. For, it has not heretofore been found an easy task for any government to indulge in that species of expenses, which leaving no trace behind it, adds nothing to the real strength of the country, and at the same time to provide for either its permanent defence or improvement.
It must not be omitted that the facility of communications, constitutes, particularly in the United States, an important branch of national defence. Their extensive territory opposes a powerful obstacle to the progress of an enemy. But on the other hand, the number of regular forces, which may be raised, necessarily limited by the population, will for many years be inconsiderable when compared with that extent of territory. That defect cannot otherwise be supplied than by those great national improvements, which will afford the means of a rapid concentration of that regular force, and of a formidable body of militia, on any given point.
Amongst the resources of the union, there is one which from its nature seems more particularly applicable to internal improvements. Exclusively of Louisiana, the general government possesses, in trust for the people of the United States, about one hundred millions of acres fit for cultivation, north of the river Ohio, and near fifty millions south of the state of Tennessee. For the disposition of those lands a plan has been adopted, calculated to enable every industrious citizen to become a freeholder, to secure indisputable titles to the purchasers, to obtain a national revenue, and above all to suppress monopoly. Its success has surpassed that of every former attempt, and exceeded the expectations of its authors. But a higher price than had usually been paid for waste lands by the first inhabitants of the frontier became an unavoidable ingredient of a system intended for general benefit, and was necessary in order to prevent the public lands being engrossed by individuals possessing greater wealth, activity or local advantages. It is believed that nothing could be more gratifying to the purchasers, and to the inhabitants of the western states generally, or better calculated to remove popular objections, and to defeat insidious efforts, than the application of the proceeds of the sales to improvements conferring general advantages on the nation, and an immediate benefit on the purchasers and inhabitants themselves. It may be added, that the United States, considered merely as owners of the soil, are also deeply interested in the opening of those communications, which must necessarily enhance the value of their property. Thus the opening of an inland navigation from tide water to the great lakes, would immediately give to the great body of lands bordering on those lakes, as great value as if they were situated at the distance of one hundred miles by land from the sea coast. And if the proceeds of the first ten millions of acres which may be sold, were applied to such improvements, the United States would be amply repaid in the sale of the other ninety millions.
The annual appropriation of two millions of dollars drawn from the general revenues of the union, which has been suggested, could operate to its full extent only in times of peace and under prosperous circumstances. The application of the proceeds of the sales of the public lands, might perhaps be made permanent until it had amounted to a certain sum, and until the most important improvements had been effected. The fund created by those improvements, the expense of which has been estimated at twenty millions of dollars, would afterwards become itself a perpetual resource for further improvements. Although some of those first communications should not become immediately productive, and although the same liberal policy, which dictated the measure, would consider them less as objects of revenue to government, than of increased wealth and general convenience to the nation, yet they would all sooner or later acquire, as productive property, their par value. Whenever that had taken place in relation to any of them, the stock might be sold to individuals or companies, and the proceeds applied to a new improvement. And by persevering in that plan, a succession of improvements would be effected until every portion of the United States should enjoy all the advantages of inland navigation and improved roads, of which it was susceptible. To effect that great object, a disbursement of twenty millions of dollars, applied with more or less rapidity according to the circumstances of the United States, would be amply sufficient.
The manner in which the public monies may be applied to such objects, remains to be considered.
It is evident that the United States cannot under the constitution open any road or canal, without the consent of the state through which such road or canal must pass. In order therefore to remove every impediment to a national plan of internal improvements, an amendment to the constitution was suggested by the executive when the subject was recommended to the consideration of Congress. Until this be obtained, the assent of the states being necessary for each improvement, the modifications under which that assent may be given, will necessarily control the manner of applying the money. It may be however observed that in relation to the specific improvements which have been suggested, there is hardly any which is not either already authorised by the states respectively, or so immediately beneficial to them, as to render it highly probable that no material difficulty will be experienced in that respect.
The monies may be applied in two different manners: the United States may with the assent of the states, undertake some of the works at their sole expense; or they may subscribe a certain number of shares of the stock of companies incorporated for the purpose. Loans might also in some instances be made to such companies. The first mode would perhaps, by effectually controlling local interests, give the most proper general direction to the work. Its details would probably be executed on a more economical plan by private companies. Both modes may perhaps be blended together so as to obtain the advantages pertaining to each. But the modifications of which the plan is susceptible must vary according to the nature of the work, and of the charters, and seem to belong to that class of details, which are not the immediate subject of consideration.
At present the only work undertaken by the United States at their sole expense, and to which the assent of the states has been obtained, is the road from Cumberland to Brownsville. An appropriation may for that purpose be made at any time. In relation to all other works, the U. States have nothing at this time in their power but to assist those already authorised; either by loans or by becoming stockholders; and the last mode appears the most eligible. The only companies incorporated for effecting some of the improvements considered in this report as of national and first rate importance, which have applied for such assistance, are the Chesapeake and Delaware canal, the Susquehannah canal, and the Dismal swamp companies; and authority might be given to subscribe a certain number of shares to each, on condition that the plan of the work to be executed should be approved by the general government. A subscription to the Ohio canal, to the Pittsburgh road, and perhaps to some other objects not fully ascertained, is also practicable at this time.
As an important basis of the general system, an immediate authority might also be given to take the surveys and levels of the routes of the most important roads and canals which are contemplated: a work always useful, and by which the practicability and expense of the undertakings would be ascertained with much more correctness than in this report. A moderate appropriation would be sufficient for those several objects.
In the selection of the objects submitted in obedience to the order of the Senate, as claiming in the first instance the aid of the general government, general principles have been adhered to, as best calculated to surpress every biass of partiality to particular objects. Yet some such biass, of which no individual is perfectly free, may without being felt, have operated on this report. The national legislature alone, embracing every local interest, and superior to every local consideration, is competent to the selection of such national objects. The materials contained in the papers herewith transmitted, and the information to be derived from surveys taken under the authority of the general government, will furnish the facts necessary for a correct decision. Two communications, by Mr. B. H. Latrobe, and by Mr. Robert Fulton, marked E. and F. are in the meanwhile respectfully referred to, as containing much interesting practical information, connected with observations of a general nature, on the subject.
All which is respectfully submitted.
Note. All the documents were obtained in answer to those queries.