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of events and the diffusion of knowledge. Orators have multiplied since his day, and many able legislators bave won reputation in the same fields; yet these incidental writings are valuable for reference, and interesting as the literary exposition of a noble character. The Address before the Philosophical Society, the Discourse on the Iroquois, and the Letters of Hibernicus, are valuable illustrations of the habits of research, the intellectual tastes, the powers of observation, and the impressive style, of a man whose life was mainly occupied with executive duties, and whose fame is eminently that of a practical statesman. It is delightful to cite, after the lapse of fifty years, his eloquent defence of literature and science as elements of a wise policy,– to hear him glory in the memories of Hunter and Burnett, the educated provincial governors of his native state, advocate the need of a knowledge of the past in order to reap the fruits of the present, and designate the advantages, both natural and civil, offered in this country to the votary of science and letters. It is equally pleasing to follow his ethnological investigations of the savage tribe that once possessed the fair domain around him, and to share the patriotic zest with which he examines its soil, forests, and waters, to fix the nomenclature of their varied products. He anticipated, by hints of projects such as De Foe's famous essay bequeathed to posterity, many of the subsequent victories of practical science, when he declared that "here the hand of art will change the face of the universe, and the prejudices of country will vanish before the talisman of merit;" that "it will not be debated whether hills shall be perforated, but whether the Alps and the Andes shall be levelled; not whether sterile fields shall be fertilized, but whether the deserts of Africa shall feel the power of cultivation; not whether rivers shall be joined, but whether the Caspian shall see the Mediterranean, and the waves of the Pacific shall lave the Atlantic shores."
The account of his exploration of Western New York, which originally appeared in one of the journals of the day, offers a wonderful contrast to our familiar experience. Then, to use his own language, "the stage-driver was a leading beau, and the keeper of a turnpike-gate a man of consequence." Our three hours' trip from New York to Albany was a voyage, occupying ten times that period. At Albany stores were laid in, and each member of the commission provided himself with a blanket, as caravans, in our time, are equipped at St. Louis for an expedition to the Rocky Mountains. Here they breakfast at a toll-keeper's, there they dine on cold ham at an isolated farm-house; now they mount a baggage-wagon, and now take to a boat too small to admit of sleeping accommodations, which leads them constantly to regret their “unfortunate neglect to provide marquees and camp-stools ;” and more than six weeks are occupied in a journey which now does not consume as many days. Yet the charm of patient observation, the enjoyment of nature, and the gleanings of knowledge, caused what, in our locomotive era, would seem a tedious pilgrimage, to be fraught with a pleasure and advantage of which our flying tourists over modern railways never dream. We perceive by the comparison that what has been gained in speed is often lost in rational entertainment. The traveller who leaves New York in the morning, to sleep at night under the roar of Niagara, has gathered nothing in the magical transit but dust, fatigue, and the risk of destruction; while, in that deliberate progress of the canal enthusiast, not a phase of the landscape, not an historical association, not a fruit, mineral, or flower, was lost to his view. He recognizes the benign provision of Nature for sugar, so far from the tropics, by the sap of the maple; and for salt, at such a distance from the ocean, by the lakes that hold it in solution near Syracuse. At Geddesburg he recalls the valor of the Iroquois, and the pious zeal of the Jesuits; at Seneca Lake he watches a bald-eagle chasing an osprey, who lets his captive drop to be grasped in the talons of the king of birds ; the fields near Aurora cheer him with the harvests of the “ finest wheat country in the world.” At one place he is regaled with salmon, at another with fruit, peculiar in flavor to each locality; at one moment he pauses to shoot a bittern, and at another to examine an old fortification. The capers and poppies in a garden, the mandrakes and thistles in a brake, the blue-jays and woodpeckers of the grove, the bullet-marks in the rafters of Fort Niagara, tokens of the siege under Sir William Johnson, the boneset of the swamp, a certain remedy for the local fever, a Yankee exploring the country for lands, the croaking of the bull-frog and the
gleam of the fire-fly, Indian men spearing for fish, and girls making wampum, -- these, and innumerable other scenes and objects, lure him into the romantic vistas of tradition or the beautiful domain of natural science; and everywhere he is inspired by the patriotic survey to announce the as yet unrecorded promise of the soil, and to exult in the limitless destiny of its people. If there is a striking diversity between the population and facilities of travel in this region as known to us and as described by him, there is in other points a not less remarkable identity. Rochester is now famed as the source of one of the most prolific superstitions of the age ; and forty years ago there resided at Crooked Lake Jemima Wilkinson, whose followers believed her the Saviour incarnate. Clinton describes her equipage, — "a plain coach with leather curtains, the back inscribed with her initials and a star.” The orchards, poultry, corn-fields, grist-mills, noted by him, still characterize the region, and are indefinitely multiplied. The ornithologist, however, would miss whole species of birds, and the richly-veined woods must be sought in less civilized districts. The prosperous future, which the various products of this district foretold, has been more than realized; with each successive improvement in the means of communication, villages have swelled to cities; barges and freight-cars with lumber and flour have crowded the streams and rails leading to the metropolis ; and, in the midst of its rural beauty and gemmed with peerless lakes, the whole region has, according to his prescient conviction, annually increased in commerce, population, and refinement.
A more noble domain, indeed, wherein to exercise such administrative genius, can scarcely be imagined than the State of New York. In its diversities of surface, water, scenery, and climate, it may be regarded more than any other member of the confederacy as typical of the whole Union. The artist, the topographer, the man of science, and the agriculturist, can find within its limits all that is most characteristic of the entire country. In historical incident, variety of immigrant races, and rapid development, it is equally a representative state. There spreads the luxuriant Mohawk valley, whose verdant slopes, even when covered with frost, the experienced eye of Washington selected for purchase as the best of agricultural tracts. There were the famed huntinggrounds of the Six Nations, the colonial outposts of the furtrade, the vicinity of Frontenac's sway, and the Canada wars, the scenes of André's capture, and Burgoyne's surrender. There the very names of forts embalm the fame of heroes. There lived the largest manorial proprietors, and not a few of the most eminent Revolutionary statesmen. There Fulton's great invention was realized; there flows the most beautiful of our rivers, towers the grandest mountain-range, and expand the most picturesque lakes; there thunders the sublimest cataract on earth, and gush the most salubrious spas ; while on the seaboard is the emporium of the Western world.
A poet bas apostrophized North America, with no less truth than beauty, as " land of the many waters;" and a glance at the map of New York will indicate their felicitous distribution within her limits. This element is the natural and primitive means of intercommunication. For centuries it had borne the aborigines in their frail canoes, and afterwards the trader, the soldier, the missionary, and the emigrant, in their batteaux; and, when arrived at a terminus, they carried these light transports over leagues of portage, again to launch them on lake and river. Fourteen years of Clinton's life were assiduously devoted to his favorite project of uniting these bodies of water. He was the advocate, the memorialist, the topographer, and financier, of the vast enterprise, and accomplished it, by his wisdom and intrepidity, without the slightest pecuniary advantage, and in the face of innumerable obstacles. Its consummation was one of the greatest festivals sacred to a triumph of the arts of peace ever celebrated on this continent. The impulse it gave to commercial and agricultural prosperity continues to this hour. It was the foundation of all that makes the city and state of New York preëminent; and, when recently a thousand American citizens sailed up the Mississippi, to commemorate its alliance with the Atlantic, the ease and rapidity of the transit, and the spectacle of virgin civilization thus created, were but a new act in the grand drama of national development, whose opening scene occurred twenty-seven years before, when the waters of Lake Erie blended with those of the Hudson.
The immense bodies of inland water, and the remarkable fact that the Hudson river, unlike other Atlantic streams south of it, flows unimpeded, early impressed Clinton with the natural means of intercourse destined to connect the seaboard of New York with the vast agricultural districts of the interior. He saw her peerless river enter the Highlands only to meet, a hundred and sixty miles beyond, another stream, which flowed within a comparatively short distance from the great chain of lakes. The very existence of these inland seas, and the obvious possibility of uniting them with the ocean, suggested to his comprehensive mind a new idea of the destiny of the whole country. Within a few years an ingenious geographer has pointed out, with singular acumen, the relation of his science to history, and has demonstrated, by a theory not less philosophical than poetic, that the disposition of land and water in various parts of the globe predetermines the human development of each region. The copious civilization of Europe is thus traceable to the numerous facilities of approach that distinguish it from Africa, which still remains but partially explored. The lakes in America prophesied to the far-reaching vision of Clinton her future progress. He perceived, more clearly than any of his contemporaries, that her development depended upon facilities of intercourse and communication. He beheld, with intuitive wisdom, the extraordinary provision for this end, in the succession of lake and river, extending, like a broad silver tissue, from the ocean far through the land, thus bringing the products of foreign climes within reach of the lone emigrant in the heart of the continent, and the staples of those midland valleys to freight the ships of her seaports. He felt that the state of all others to practically demonstrate this great fact was that with whose interests he was intrusted. It was not as a theorist, but as a utilitarian, in the best sense, that he advocated the union by canal of the waters of Lake Erie with those of the Hudson. The patriotic scheme was fraught with issues of which even he never dreamed. It was applying, on a limited scale, in the sight of a people whose enterprise is boundless in every direction clearly proved to be availing, a principle which may be truly declared the vital element of our civic growth. It was giving tangible evidence of the creative power incident to locomotion. It was yielding the absolute evidence then required to convince the less far-sighted multitude that access was the grand seeret of