James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from John Stevens, 1816


From Providence in the state of Rhode Island to Savannah, Georgia, a distance of more than a thousand miles, is an inland navigation through rivers, bays, and sounds, with interruptions at only four different portages ... amounting ... to not much more than a hundred miles: ...

New Brunswick to Trenton ... 25 miles ...

Across from the Delaware to the Chesapeake ... at a point between Newcastle and Reedy Island ... 12 miles. ... From Norfolk to some of the waters leading into Albemarle Sound ... 12 to 20 miles. … After Swansborough ... another portage to Wilmington, ... about 40 or 50 miles. ...

Thus ... by means of steamboats and railroads ... the whole of this journey might be performed ... in half the time now taken to convey the mail. ... It may be combined with an efficient system of defense ... by constructing the steamboats so they may at any time be converted into ships of war.

Should Your Excellency be disposed to view this plan of which I have sketched an outline ... I feel the fullest confidence ... of being able to give satisfactory explanations.

Printed Source--Archibald Douglas Turnbull. John Stevens: An American Record (New York: The Century Company, 1928)..

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