Van Buren, Martin (Governor of New York) Letter to President AndrewJackson, January 31 1829.

This letter 170 years ago gives us an example of logic being used by Van Buren, the eminent Governor of New York, to prevent a model shift in transportation. All we need to do in our generation is to quote it verbatim, and then ask ourselves how it might apply to us. Of particular interest is how God is brought in to make the argument conclusive:

To President Jackson, "The canal system of this country is being threatened by a new form of transportation known as "railroads." The federal government must preserve the canals for the following reasons:

One. If canal boats are supplanted by "railroads," serious unemployment will result. Captains, cooks, drivers, hostlers, repairmen, and dock tenders will be left without means of livelihood, not to mention the numerous farmers now employed in growing hay for the horses.

Two. Boat builders would suffer and towline, whip and harness makers would be left destitute.

Three. Canal boats are absolutely essential to the defense of the United States. In the event of the expected trouble with England, the Erie Canal would be the only means by which we could ever move the supplies so vital to waging modern war.

As you may well know, Mr. President, "railroad" carriages are pulled at the enormous speed of fifteen miles per hour by "engines" which, in addition to endangering life and limb of passengers, roar and snort their way through the countryside, setting fire to crops, scaring livestock and frightening women and children. The Almighty surely never intended that people should travel at such breakneck speed."

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