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To Mr. Sewell.
Sir, Your useful Magazine having engaged the public attention to a great national object, the importance of Naval Architecture both to our Navy and our Commerce, I am encouraged, from the reception you gave a little piece on that subject in your Appendix to your Tracts on Naval Architecture, to submit the following Hints to your consideration respecting Inland Navigation, from an old Correspondent. Both objects have an intimate connection with each other; and Great Britain owes much of her power, prosperity, and welfare, to the encouragements given to them. These Hints were written about two years ago for a particular object; and if encouragement is given, I hope to see a Society formed for the Improvement of Inland Navigation, similar to the one that has been instituted for Naval Architecture
What is here suggested, may be useful to a numerous class of
readers who have not an opportunity of perusing larger works, containing in many respects similar information. You have already given us one proof of your readiness to invite communications on useful projects; and I am persuaded you will be equally so, on another that may be no less useful to our internal interests and resources. London,
I am, SIR, yours, July 1, 1792.
HINTS AND QUERIES ON INLAND NAVIGATION
A pamphlet, entitled “ The History of Inland Naviga“ tion in England,” published. some years, having been long out of print, and it being proposed to re-publish the same with improvements, and to continue it to the present time, the following Hints and Queries are submitted for consideration :
The Duke of Bridgewater's Canal, begun in 1759, occasioned many similar projects; and so great has been the spirit excited, that the Legislature have passed no less than thirty-eight Acts of Parliament for the making or perfecting of Canals, or for improving the Inland Navigation of this country. Many of these undertakings are finished; some have failed, and others are at this moment carrying into execution. A complete history of them, stating their particular objects, their extent, and their effects, cannot but be interesting to the public, who have been so much benefited by them.
There have been, perhaps, few objects of internal policy that have so much called forth the powers and resources of the country as Inland Navigation. Rivers and Canals are to a country, what arteries are to the human body. They aid agriculture and manufactures, and create new markets while they extend old ones.
Inland Navigation has not only been the means of enlarging our foreign commerce, but of giving birth to an internal one ; which, with all our predilection for foreign commerce, has far exceeded it in extent, value, and importance. The influence which this Inland Navigation and Commerce has had upon our industry, population, and resources, has been so great, as in many instances to have changed the whole appearance of the countries through which Canals passed.
The reasons are plain. If we appear as consumers, by means of Canals we are enabled to import more cheaply; if as producers, we add facility both to imports and exports. If the materials of a manufacture lie dispersed, Canals unite them, and at the same time supply the persons concerned in the manufacture with all their necessaries on the cheapest terms. The land-owner, whether as possessing the surface of the land or the mines below it, necessarily finds his advantage from new markets, and from having a cheaper carriage both for his manure and his productions. The intrusion upon his pleasure-grounds he may the more easily forgive, when he recollects the gain in return to his estate, his frequent absences from his country residence, and the many defeats in Parliament which Canal-undertakers in general have experienced, solely on this account. Perhaps it may be laid down, as a gene