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Title:[Letter] 1828 Oct. 2, Tuskaloosa, Alabama, Executive Department [to] Sam Houston, Nashville, Tennessee / John Murphy : a machine readable transcription of an image
Author: Murphy, John

This work is the property of the Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, TN. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching, and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text. For all other use contact the Tennessee State Library and Archives, 403 Seventh Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37243-0312. (615) 741-2764.

Date: October 2, 1828
Extent: 4p
Summary:This document, dated October 2, 1828, is a letter from the fourth governor of Alabama, John Murphy to the governor of Tennessee, Sam Houston. Murphy's purpose in writing the letter is to establish communication between the two chief-executives concerning mutual interests of their respective states. Specifically, a federal fund, approved by congress for the opening of a canal to improve navigation of the river at Muscle Shoal, Alabama. This improvement, according to Murphy, will open the market of New Orleans to much of Alabama, and East Tennessee via the Tennessee River. He states in the letter, however, that he believes the construction of a rail road would be a superior alternative to the canal.
Collection:Governor Sam Houston Papers
Document: sl692

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Executive Department Alabama Tuskaloosa
Oct [October]. 2. 1828 [added: His Excellency Governor Houston State of Tennessee ]Sir

You will excuse the liberty which I take by the present attempt to open a correspondence with your Excellency on a subject which may prove highly important to both states, and certainly not less desirable to the State over which you have the honor to preside than to the State of Alabama . By a very munificent Act of the last session of the Congress of the United States the source of a very considerable fund has been placed at the disposition of the State of alabama for the opening a canal around the obstruction of the navigation at the Muscle Shoal , a work highly important to this State, & I should suppose not less interesting to the state of Tennessee. But even the accomplishment of this object, so much and so long desired, and which must unquestionably prove if so great ability to a large portion of the states of alabama and Tennessee, will not affect every thing which I hope may be conveniently done for their advantage, an which will give to them interesting portions of both states, the full benefit of their great natural resources. The improvement at the Muscle Shoals, will open the great Market of new Orleans to East Tennessee and to a large part of the State of alabama on the Tennessee River I say open it, for the precarious and temporary communication which nature has furnished with that Market, is

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attended with so much differntly [differently], expressed, and uncertainty, as to render it but a small convenience in comparison to the improved and constant navigation which is contemplated by the Canal. The market of new orleans , however, important as it must ever be in general will be frequently attended with material disadvantages. It must often be overtaken in the produce while Tennessee and Alabama would have occasion to send to it, and their state of things must become continually more perplexing, as the improvement of the [unclear: immense valley ] of the Mississippi progresses. The city of Mobile would be more [unclear: free ] from this inconvenience, & will in general, I think, afford a better market for the produce of this state and of East Tennessee, than the City of New Orleans. There would also be the advantage, of passing on that commercial route through the consuming country, for many of the Articles, and giving to the grower the advantage of selling immediately to the consumer. At all events, by opening both markets, very singular benefits must be obtained, and their work be afforded to our citizens every possible means of selling their produce at a fair price, and perhaps of making exchanges highly beneficial to all parties. But I intend mainly to hint at these subjects in the present communication. An intercourse with Mobile must be opened by Canal or Rail Road, connecting the Navigable waters of the Tennessee River with steam Boat navigation on the alabama . I am inclined to think that a rail road would be far preferable to a canal, and indeed nature seems to have furnished

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every facility for a rail Road along the vallies [valleys] running in the direction of the point of communication with the alabama. There is plenty of the best iron ore and mineral coal on the route, which might be of use on the construction of the road itself, and afterwards furnish important articles of home supply; and commence along that road. The Vallies are very hard and of considerable length, so that in them the expense of [unclear: graduating ] the Road would be very inconsiderable. There will be no where be much elevation to overcome and should it be thought best to construct the Rail Road of wood, very durable materials of that description will be found at hand along the whole route. The liberal donation which we have received from the general government, together with assistance from the State of Tennessee [added: [unclear: can ]] in a small degree proportioned to the benefits to be derived by the state from these improvements, opening to it alike and at its option, the commerce of Mobile and New Orleans, would enable the State of Alabama, or both States in conjoined operations, to accomplish the canal at the Muscle Shoals, and the rail Road from some convenient point on the Tennessee, to Steam Boat navigation on the alabama I cannot but believe that were these two objects accomplished, incalcuable [incalculable] benefits to the present and future

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condition of the county would be effectually sound. It would seem to [added: be] doing all, that in this way, can possibly be done to [unclear: assure ] the property of an extensive and fertile tract of country in both states. I submit to the directors and foresight of your Excellency, whether the present would not be a very propitious moment to induce both states to engage in a great and [unclear: conjoint ] effort for their mutual & common benefit. The fund already at command could encourage the state of alabama to engage in enlarged operations, especially if the liberal assistance and cooperation of the State of Tennessee would enable her to anticipate, with more certainty and confidence, a speedy and successful result. The very want of cooperation hereafter, which I think will be more difficult to obtain, may long continue this barrier to the prosperity of both; which some energy at the present favorable moment, and an enlightened spirit of concert works speedily and easily [unclear: remove ]. I write all this without any expression of the will of the Legislature, and the object is to prepare for any favorable impulse, or [unclear: preadventure ] to partake in giving the impulse itself. I should be glad to be favored with the views of your Excellency, and on some future occasion it will afford me great pleasure to give your means more fully & in detail. I am assured that your Excellency would be disposed to permit any practical, useful and liberal object.

[added: I have the honor to be most respectfully Yr [Your] most obt. sevt. [obedient servant]]
John Murphy
[added: His Exl [Excellent]. Governor Houston state of Tennessee]

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