Editor's note: the following engraving and text were originally published in Gleason's Pictorial Drawing Room Companion, December 25, 1852. Thanks to volunteer researcher George A. Thompson for finding and cataloging this article. The article was transcribed by Sarah Wassberg Johnson, and includes paragraph breaks and bullets not present in the original, to make it easier to read for modern audiences.
"Canal Boats on the North River, New York" by Wade, "Gleason's Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion," December 25, 1852. Note the sail-like signs for various towing lines and destinations, as well as the jumble of lumber and cargo boxes on the pier at left, waiting to be loaded onto the canal boats (or vice versa).
Next to the immense foreign export and import trade, comes the inland trade. The whole of the western country from Lake Superior finds a depot at New York. The larger quantity of produce finds its way to the Erie Canal, from thence to the Hudson River to New York.
The canal boats run from New York to Buffalo, and vice versa. These boats are made very strong, being bound round by extra guards, to protect them from the many thumps they are subject to. They are towed from Albany to New York - from ten to twenty - by a steamboat, loaded with all the luxuries of the West.
The view represented above is taken from Pier No. 1, East River, giving a slight idea of the immense trade which, next to foreign trade, sets New York alive with action. We subjoin from a late census a schedule of the trade; the depot of which, and the modus operandi, Mr. Wade, our artist, has represented in the engraving above, is so truthful and lifelike a manner.
In 1840, there were
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