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Erie Canal, the, The greatest work of internal improvement constructed in the United States previous to the Pacific Railway. It connects the waters of the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Hudson River. It was contemplated by General Schuyler and Elkanah Watson, but was first definitely proposed by Gouverneur Morris, at about the beginning of the nineteenth century. Various writers put forth essays upon the subject, among them De Witt Clinton, who became its most notable champion. The project took such shape that, in 1810, canal commissioners were appointed, with Gouverneur Morris at their head. In 1812 Clinton, with others, was appointed to lay the project before the national Congress, and solicit the aid of the national government. Fortunately the latter declined to extend its patronage to the great undertaking. The War of 1812-15 put the matter at rest for a while. That war made the transportation of merchandise along our sea-coasts perilous, and the com