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521 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hope you radicals enjoy this as much as I did:

Reprint of a letter from Martin Van Buren Governor of New York, January
31, 1829, to then President Andrew Johnson.
“The canal system of this Country is being threatened
by the spread of a new form of transportation know as
“railroads”. The federal government must preserve the
canals for the following reasons:
One; If canal boats are supplanted by “railroads”
serious unemployment will result. Captains, cooks,
drivers, hostlers, repairmen and lock tenders will be left
without the means of livelihood, not to mention the
numerous farmers now employed in growing hay for
Two; Boat builders would suffer and towline, whip and
harness makers would be left destitute.
Three; Canal boats are absolutely essential to the
defense of the US, and would be the only means by
which we could even move the supplies so vital to
waging modern war.
As you may well know, Mr. President, “railroad”
carriages are pulled at the enormous speed of 15 miles
per hour by “engines” which in addition to endangering
life and limb of passengers, roar and snort their way
through the country side, setting fire to crops, scaring
the livestock and frightening women and children. The
Almighty certainly never intended that people
should travel at such breakneck speed.

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521 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Posted By neals645 on 10/06/2008 12:34 PM
then President Andrew Johnson.

That would be Andrew Jackson, not Johnson.


Lol! Thanks, Neal. I didn't notice that when I cut/pasted it.

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3,134 Posts
This is a hoax--it's been exposed many times. I'm a professional American historian. It first came to my attention in around 1994. It smelled funny to me--the details were wrong, the language was wrong, the dating was wrong. We began using it in classes designed to tezch students to be skeptical about what they read on the internet.

It's a hoax.

here's a link to Snopes.com on it


and here's a description from a late colleague of mine of his own efforts to authenticate it


but people are still circulating it and you can still find websites using it as a as if it were true.

· Premium Member
521 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Welll...you've still got crabgrass.

Thanks for setting me straight, lownote. I must admit I'm a little embarrassed. I use Snopes frequently, and should have thought about it.

Take care,

· Premium Member
4,483 Posts
Posted By joe rusz on 10/06/2008 10:11 PM
I love to expose hoaxes, so thanks Lownote. Now do you want to buy a copy of my Mrs Field's cookie recipe? It's only $379 at Nieman Marcus.

...and that one is based on the Red Velvet Cake urban legend


One thing that isnt a myth, it was a widely held beleive in the very earliest days of the Mad Dragons as they were called, was that traveling faster than 25mph would result in asphyxiation, until Robert Stevenson took one of his Patent locomotives and blasted across the English country side at the mind beanding breakneck speed of 30mph!

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5,578 Posts
People were also fearful of the bone shattering ride they might have. Most people's experience with "high speed" travel was sitting in a wagon on a board with MAYBE a leaf spring suspension on the board, on wood wheels with iron rims, rolling on cobble stone at best or dirt roads (or no "road" at all) and that was horrible, even at 5 MPH. Imagine what that would be like at 20MPH... surely your bones would break!
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