James Madison

Special Message

December 23, 1811

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:

I communicate to Congress copies of an act of the legislature of New York relating to a canal from the Great Lakes to Hudson River. In making the communication I consult the respect due to that State, in whose behalf the commissioners appointed by the act have placed it in my hands for the purpose.

The utility of canal navigation is universally admitted. It is no less certain that scarcely any country offers more extensive opportunities for that branch of improvements than the United States, and none, perhaps, inducements equally persuasive to make the most of them. The particular undertaking contemplated by the State of New York, which marks an honorable spirit of enterprise and comprises objects of national as well as more limited importance, will recall the attention of Congress to the signal advantages to be derived to the United States from a general system of internal communication and conveyance, and suggest to their consideration whatever steps may be proper on their part toward its introduction and accomplishment. As some of those advantages have an intimate connection with the arrangements and exertions for the general security, it is at a period calling for those that the merits of such a system will be seen in the strongest lights.


James Madison, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/205487

Filed Under



Simple Search of Our Archives