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Page:Notes on the State of Virginia (1853).djvu/31

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15
RIVERS AND NAVIGATION.

For the trade of the Ohio, or that which shall come into it from its own waters or the Missisipi, it is nearer through the Patowmac to Alexandria than to New York by 580 miles, and it is interrupted by one portage only. There is another circumstance of difference too. The lakes themselves never freeze, but the communications between them freeze, and the Hudson's River is itself shut up by the ice three months in the year; whereas the channel to the Chesapeake leads directly into a warmer climate. The Southern parts of it very rarely freeze at all, and whenever the Northern do, it is so near the sources of the rivers, that the frequent floods to which they are there liable break up the ice immediately, so that vessels may pass through the whole Winter, subject only to accidental and short delays. Add to all this, that in case of a war with our neighbors, the Anglo-Americans or the Indians, the route to New York becomes a frontier through almost its whole length, and all commerce through it ceases from that moment. But the channel to New York is already known to practice; whereas the upper waters of the Ohio and the Patowmac, and the great falls of the latter, are yet to be cleared of their fixed obstructions (1.)



QUERY III.




A NOTICE OF THE BEST SEA PORTS OF THE STATE, AND HOW BIG ARE THE VESSELS THEY CAN RECEIVE?


Having no ports but our rivers and creeks, this query has been answered under the preceding one.