Our Grand Canal.– We have at length had an opportunity of passing up the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, as far as the Great Falls of the Potomack, being something more than half of the distance that is now navigable. What we have seen of it has filled us with admiration of the grandeur of the enterprize, and the boldness and skill with which it has so far been carried into execution. It exhibits indeed one of the noblest conquests that we can imagine of art over nature. The craggy rocks have been subdued, and the vallies lifted up, to form a commodious passage for the fruits of man’s industry to the markets of the world. It is impossible for anything thinking man to look at this wonderful work, and in imagination to pursue it along its progress to its termination, without a deep conviction of the important political as well as social benefits which may be anticipated from it. Let him then consider that three years ago the first contract for the construction of the work had not been entered into, and he can hardly credit his senses when he perceives how much has already been accomplished, in an undertaking which was but a few years before regarded by many but as the wild dream of visionary enthusiasm.
It is not easy to imagine a more delightful excursion for pleasure at this season of the year, than that in the Canal packet-boat to the Falls, or even to Seneca. The boat is very handsomely fitted and furnished for the service it is employed in, and, in visiting the Falls, the Crommelin Hotel affords a most accommodating resting-place. We recommend the jaunt to all our readers who can spare time and means for such enjoyment. The grandeur of the scenery, through which the canal passes, and that of the Great Falls adjacent, independently of the gratification of curiosity in seeing the Canal, will afford them ample compensation for the time which they will spend in the journey.
Along the whole line of the Canal we observed not a single defect, or any evidence of there having been any. — The hands at some of the locks are not as dexterous in the management of them, perhaps, as longer practice will make them. The passenger who is not on his guard, may chance thus to get a jolt or two; but as this involves no danger, he will not regard it. The bridges over the Canal are few; and a moderate inclination of the body enables those who stand on the roof (or deck) of the boat to pass under them; whilst those who remain in the cabin are as much at ease and as comfortable as if they were in their parlors or drawing rooms at home. The packet-boat is drawn by three horses, at the rate of six miles an hour whilst in motion. The passage of the locks of course causes some detention, but we made the whole passage to the Falls, with about seventy persons on board, in less than four hours. The number of locks from Georgetown to Crommelin is twenty, of which sixteen are now in use. The distance ascended by the Canal to overreach the Great Falls is a hundred and sixty-one feet above tide-water, being the most expensive and difficult work upon the line. Four locks more passed to arrive at the aqueduct which crosses the Seneca Creek, and only seven more to reach Harper’s Ferry.
The ascent from tide-water to Cumberland is estimated at 586 feet. So that the lockage from tide-water to Crommelin is more than a fourth of what will be required for the whole distance to Cumberland. — Nat. Intel.
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