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New York, Finance and Industry (Hayward)

Gazetteer/Almanac

John Hayward, Gazetteer of the United States of America.... (Philadelphia: James L. Gihon, 1854), 111, 112-113.

Finances. — The aggregate debt of the state, at the beginning of 1851, was $23,463,838. About two thirds of this liability arises from the canal debt, and the residue from debts contracted on account of railroads, the general fund, &c…. The annual revenues are derived from state taxes, auction and salt duties, canal fund, &c., which, in general, largely exceed the amount of expenditures for the support of government and of state institutions, for interest on the state debt, &c.

Internal Improvements. — To New York belongs the honor of having given the earliest and strongest impulse, on the American continent, to a system of public works, on a great scale, designed for the promotion, unitedly, of the important interests of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures. The first of these noble enterprises was the Erie Canal, which, at its inception, was denounced, by a portion of the people, as an extravagantly bold and visionary undertaking. It was commenced in 1817, and finished in 1825, at a cost of upwards of $7,000,000. It unites the waters of Lake Erie with those of the Hudson River, extending from Buffalo to Albany, a distance of 363 miles…. Some six or seven other important works of this kind are also completed; several more are in course of construction; and a further number have been projected. Those already finished are the Champlain Canal, connected with the Erie at Waterford, and proceeding 64 miles to Whitehall, on Lake Champlain; the Oswego Canal, also united with the Erie, and extending from Syracuse, 38 miles, to Oswego, on Lake Ontario; the Cayuga and Seneca, from Geneva to Montezuma, 21 miles; the Chemung, from the head of Seneca Lake to Elmira, 39 miles; Crooked Lake, between Penn Yan and Dresden, 8 miles; Chenango, another branch of the Erie, extending 97 miles from its junction at Utica, to Binghampton, on the Susquehanna. The aggregate cost of the six last-named canals is stated at nearly $5,000,000….

In addition to these artificial watercourses, New York has further provided for her own prosperity by the establishment of numerous extensive and costly railroads. A series of these commodious highways, with a large number of branches under divers names, and owned by various bodies of proprietors, extends from New York to Buffalo. A railroad from the latter place, via Niagara Falls, extends to Lewiston, and is there connected with a steamboat line to Oswego. A branch of this road runs to Lockport. There are also railroads between Schenectady, Ballston Spa, and Troy….

Manufactures. — New York is a large manufacturing as well as agricultural and commercial state. Countless establishments for the transformation of all her natural products into articles of trade are maintained every where. Millions of capital are invested in woolen and cotton factories; in the manufacture of salt, iron, and lead; in the fabrication of articles of leather, straw, glass, clay, marble, &c.; in distilleries, breweries, machine shops, flouring mills, and other mechanical agencies for the conversion of raw material into shapes fitted for the use and comfort of man.

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