for forming a correct opinion. He says,
this great event, this era in the life of Mr. Clinton
and which will ever be identified with his fame,
posterity will demand a minute detail of the com-
mencement, the progress, and the completion of an
undertaking that ranks among the most important
that has been effected in any age, or in any country.
Posterity will look back to the authors of the bless-
ings, and the benefits, which this great event has
secured to this state and nation.
The question, then, here naturally presents itself,
Who first projected the system of inland navigation
from the Lakes to the Hudson, and the Atlantic
Ocean? and who were the instruments of its accom-
plishment? In replying to these important inquiries,
I am fully aware of the delicacy of the task before me.
The claimants to this honour are numerous and
respectable, and the claims of each to a certain ex-
tent founded in justice. While the minute details
upon this subject are passed over as out of place on
the present occasion, I trust it will not be uninte-
resting to this intelligent assembly, to advert to a
brief sketch of the most interesting facts which this
examination has enabled me to develop, some of
which, it will be found, have hitherto been totally
overlooked in the public communications that have
appeared upon this subject. In viewing the origin
and progress of this great achievement, our attention
is drawn to its numerous friends, who have, in va-
rious capacities, contributed to its accomplishment.
But, in order that each of the numerous benefactors
to this work may have his due share of praise, pro-
portioned to the services he has rendered, it is pro-
posed to divide them into various classes, designating
the nature, character, and extent of those services.
I am fully sensible that fame has given to some a
degree of reputation to which they are not entitled,
to the extent in which it is bestowed; while to others
much is due for the assistance they have rendered