Letter to William Irvine
February 18, 1788


Mount Vernon, February 18,1788

Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of the 27th. Ulto. and to thank you for the information contained in it. As a Communication between the waters of lake Erie and those of the Ohio is a matter, which promises great public utility, and as every step towards the investigation of it may be considered as promoting the general interest of our Country I need make [no] apology to you for any trouble, that I have given upon this subject.

I am fully sensible that no account can be sufficiently accurate to hazard any operations upon without an actual survey. My object in wishing a solution of the Queries proposed to you, was that I might be enabled to return Anwers, in some degree satisfactory, to several Gentlemen of distinction in foreign Countries who have applied to me for information on the subject in behalf of others who [wish] to engage in the fur trade, and at the same time to gratify my own curiosity and assist me in forming a judgement of the practicability of opening a communication should it ever be seriously in contemplation.

1st. Could a channel once be opened to convey the Fur, Peltry &c. from the lakes into the Eastern Country, its advantages would be so obvious as to induce an opinion that it would, in a short time, become the channel of conveyance for much the greatest part of the commodities brot. from thence.

2d. The trade, which had been carried to between New York and that quarter is subject to great inconveniences from the length of the Commun. number if Portages, and at seasons from Ice; yet it has' notwithstanding, been prosecuted with success.

I shall feel myself much obliged be any further information that you may find time and inclination to communicate to me on this head. I am etc.

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