Excerpt from Historical Sketch of Niagara Ship Canal Projects
When I passed the portage at Niagara it did not appear to me that any communication between Lake Ontario or Lake Erie could be made that could avoid this portage, and if M. De la Mothe (cadillac) knows a means of doing so, I think he is the only man in the country who does. But, My Lord, even if it were true that a communication with Lake Ontario or Lake Erie could be made, it could only be done with very great expense and it would not follow from that, that De troit would be able to obtain from Montreal any help it might need incase of war with the Iroquois, for such help could not even be given to Fort Frontenac, which has to be passed through on the way to Detroit.
Prior to the surrender of Fort Niagara to the British on July 25, 1759, the western part of the State was under the control of the French Government and there is no record of any attempt to establish navigable communication between Lakes Erie and Ontario during that period, nor for the several decades thereafter.
It will be remembered that a trading post was established at Niagara as early as 1720, and that in the year 1721, there was the beginning of a great trade with the Indians upon the Great Lakes, and that Cadwallader Colden, in his Memorial Concerning the Furr-trade of the Province of New York, presented to Sir William Burnet, Captain General and Governor of the Province under date of November, 1724, called attention to the water-carriage be tween the St. Lawrence, the Great Lakes and the Missis sippi River with short land carriages between them.
In that remarkable memorial he also called attention to the advantages of the inland waterways of the state, ex tending from Albany to the country of the Senecas, over which goods and furs might be easily and economically transported and which he considered more advantageous than the way the French were obliged to take by the great Fall of Jagara (niagara), because narrow rivers are safer than the lakes, where they were obliged to go ashore, if there be any wind upon them.
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