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France, bank of vs. Bank of Savoy 892 Personal property, sales of commercial
its relativo value compared with silver 89 Portrait and sketch'of John Grigg
and flax, circular of agricultural de-
468 privateers, liability for depredations. 329
Income tax, decision of commissioner. .....
Regulations, commercial, of treasnry depari-
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62, 155, 243, 322
Iron-clad Camanche. taken to california.... 163
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Iron ships, how to protect bottoms of.. 154
463 Savoy bank vs. bank of France
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281 Silver, gold, and copper discoveries. 470, 478
474 Ships of war, how to protect iron bottoms.. 154
Suez canal, what done, what to be done..., 867
Tariff act, decisions of treasury department. 68
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State, valuation of real and per-
SHIP CANALS AND RAILROADS.
The question of transportation is one of the most important that can engage The attention of the American public, since it is that
which, more than upon anything else, the development of our national wealth depends. The great basis of this wealth is the vast expanse of fertile land which has during the last century laid open to the use of the settler free of cost, attracting the labor of all nations, and being aided by the active population of the Atlantic States and numberless machines which have given great effect to labor. This labor and land being thus brought together, the remaining requisite to make available the grand result, was the means of transportation at little cost of time and money. Naturally the country is well supplied with streams following the different water-sheds, but, nevertheless, great sections remained isolated. The Alleghany Mountains form a western wall to the Atlantic slope, down which fows many great streams to the ocean. West of these mountains is the great basin of the Ohio, with the lakes on the north, stretching 1,500 miles and having an area of 90,000 square miles and a coast line of 3,000 miles, draining a country 537,000 square miles in extent and capable of maintaining 22,000,000 of human beings. The land west of this region, almost limitless in size and capacity of cultivation, has an outlet into the great valley of the Mississippi. Thus the Mississippi, with its tributaries, drains the vast Western valley, and the Hudson, the Delaware, and the Susquehanna, with their tributaries, drain the Eastern slope. Between these the great and fertile lake region had
natural outlet. The necessity of one early impressed the minds of statesmen. In 1810, a canal at the West, to connect Lake Michigan with the Illinois River, was projected, and also one on the East, to connect Lake Erie with the Hudson River. Both these plans were ultimately realized. During the time in which those projects were maturing the greatest changes were made in the means of transportation. Steam, as a motor, was even then recognized, but had
not yet put forth its gigantic powers, bringing the most distant cultivated regions within reach of the consumer. The capacity of labor to create wealth from fertile land has hardly any limit if it is within range of markets. Farmers must produce within such limits as will bear the cost of transportation to market, or their labor is of no avail. Happily, during the last forty years, as the population of the United States has increased and spread over fertile lands of great extent, successive improvements in transportation have continually lowered the cost of it, so that the product of lands a thousand miles away can now be brought to our Eastern markets, and yet undersell the products of the Atlantic States. In the early part of the present century the New England States, the valleys of the Hudson, the Delaware, and the Susquehanna not only fed the population, but furnished food for export in such abundance as to enrich the shipping owners and build up a great commercial interest. The transportation down rivers and along the coast was then wholly in sailing vessels, which
however, of improved construction, as well for burden as for speed, and the cost of freight in them was greatly diminished, thereby causing larger quantities of food to accumulate in the cities at cheaper rates for shipping Europe being then at war and harvests bad, the prices paid were such that the lands of the Atlantic States produced to advantage, although they were not of the highest fertility. The steamboat was then introduced, but did not for some years affect greatly the cost of transportation. In 1817 the Erie Canal was begun, and was completed in 1825. By its operation the whole region bordering the great lakes was brought into competition with the lands of the Atlantic States. The change was marvelous. The natural vigor of that Western region was such that the same labor bestowed upon it yielded many fold more than if bestowed upon the Eastern lands. Agriculture then 'migrated West, being able to bear the transportation over lake and through canal and still give the commercial and manufacturing interests more food for the same wares. The great West rapidly prospered. The settlers lined the shores and streams, and their industry sent forth annually larger quantities of produce, aided by increasing steam appliances to shorten distances and reduce cost. It is remarkable that wbile the increased fertility of new lands swelled the volume of food that might be produced for a given amount of manual labor, steam and newly-invented machines swelled the quantity of manufactures that a certain amount of labor could give in exchange. Thus the same number of food buyers and goods buyers mutually multiplied their productions, until it became apparent that the Erie Canal was becoming too limited in capacity for the ever-swelling volume of trade. Its enlargement was then discussed and its necessity universally admitted. Unfortunately it took a political turn, and while one party insisted that it should enlarge itself, the other party insisted that it should be made the basis of a great debt, the interest of which should be paid by the earnings. The latter policy prevailed, and the canal became a political machine as well as a useful bighway. But in addition to what was then done in New York State, the whole Western country became traversed by canals, which communicated with the lakes. Ohio constructed two to drain her interior lands; Indiana made one to traverse ber State and open her rich lands to market; the Illinois canal, projected as a ship-canal, was to join Lake Michigan with the Illinois River and the Mississippi, and allow of ships passing from the great lakes down to the ocean, via New Orleans,
and thus cheapen transportation. The financial revulsion of 1837 changed the plan and reduced it ultimately to a shallow cut, which, however, permits the produce of Western Illinois to reach Chicago at a cheap rate. Thus Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio furnisbed canals which delivered the produce of those States upon the great lakes, to find its way to market through the Erie, the enlargement of wbich was checked by political intrigues. The great canal system may be summed up as follows:
Width, No. of Opened.
locks. Erie Canal, Hudson River to lakes.... 363 $7,143,789 40 84 1828 Pennsylvania Canal, Delaware and Ohio 395
12,381,822 40 200 Obio Canal, Ohio River and lakes.....
4,695,824 40 162 1883 Miami Canal,
178 3,750,000 40 102 1840 Indiana Capal,
379 7,101,000 60 102 1851 Illinois Canal, Illinois River and lakes. 102 8,654,337 60 2 1848 Total.......
1,724 $43,726,772 These are the great main canal avenues, the four last of which drain large States into the lakes. But there are many other lateral canals which feed the main trunks. Thus the Ohio system is 817 miles, and cost $15,007,347. There have also been built nine large canals, of an aggregate length of 693 miles, at a cost of $31,654,834, entirely for the transportation of coal.
The Pennsylvania Canal route was intended as a rival to the Erie, but, from the nature of the country through which it ran, could not be made to compete with it. The construction of the Welland Canal of Canada, it was supposed, would draw off business unless the cost of transportation on the Erie could be reduced by enlarging the boats. The old boats were seventy tons burthen, and it was calculated that 26,000 boats could be locked each way in a season. Hence the utmost capacity of the canal would be 3,640,000 tons. By the enlargement the boats could carry 224 tons, which would give a capacity of 11,648,000 tons for the season. Inasmuch, however, as the down freight is as four to one, the aggregate capacity would be reduced to 7,230,000 tons. Before the Erie was built the cost of transportation from Buffalo to New York was $100 per ton, and the time twenty days. When the canal was opened the time was reduced to eight days and the freight to $14. The freight from Buffalo is now $3 to $7.
Previous to the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, the commerce of the lakes was mostly local, since there were no markets East or West. The produce raised in the country bordering on the lakes descended the streams that ran into them, and found interchange at other lake ports. The canal being coinpleted May, 1825, amidst the greatest rejoicing, boats laden with lake produce left Buffalo for Albany, and 837 boats left Albany for Buffalo, carrying 4,122 tons of goods, and paying $22,000 tolls. The current of produce from the lakes to the East, thus started, went on to accumulate in volume, and is yet on the increase. The magnificent forests of Western New York and the lake shores, that had been valueless, became now a mine of wealth as a supply of lumber to the East. The produce of the fertile land around the lakes poured through the canal in such quantity that the farmers of New England had no alternative but to seek those lands for the prosecution of their industry. Then commenced that migration which, as the census of 1850 showed, resulted in the transfer of 1,428,579 New
Englanders born to Western soil. With the opening of the canal a great change took place in lake tonnage. This change and the subsequent increase will be seen from the following table : American
American Steam tonnage. tonnage.
tonnage. tonnago. 5,500
..tons 316,503 108,243 20,000 6,000 1861.
323,958 101,856 75,000 14,381 1862.
361,997 113,895 215,787 58,711 It is to be borne in mind that constant improvements were going on in the construction, size, speed, and power of the vessels employed on the lakes, and thus sailing vessels became gradually better adapted to the necessities of trade. In 1822 the steamer Superior was launched, and in 1824 another steamer was launched, and in 1825 two more, and 1826 three, one of which made the first voyage upon Lake Michigan on a pleasure excursion. The first business steamer carried troops to Chicago in 1832, for the government in the Black Hawk war. In 1833 there were 11 boats running to Buffalo. In 1840, as will be seen by above table, the steam tonnage of the lakes was 14,381, and has ever since continued to increase. During all this time the size and speed of the vessels increased, and the greatest improvements in loading and unloading by aid of steam were effected. These circumstances enabled a given tonnage to do ten times its former work. Further improvements continued, and in 1843 the Ericsson screw was introduced on the Hercules—275 tons—the first lake propellor. The screws used for giving motion bave since undergone great improvements in shape and adaptation to the work, and the propellers appear now to be generally used. In 1851 there were 52, tonnage 15,729, average 300 tons; in 1860 there were 190, tonnage 57,210, average 300 tons. In the last two years the number of tugs has greatly increased.
Thus we see the effect of the canals in developing the wealth of the West. They bave done a good work and a great work. But their day of greatest usefulness has passed. Before this system of canals was fairly in operation a new agent of transportation had arisen destined to have immense influence. The rejoicing for the completion of the Erie had hardly died away, when the whistle of the locomotive was first heard among us, and a network of rails commenced to spread over the country. About the year 1853 these railroads began to interfere with the traffic of the canals. In the East four great works were constructed. The cost of these roads was as follows:
Capital New York Central.. ..., 297 $24,153,000 $14,333,771 $38,486,771 New York and Erie,...
11,000,000 25,326,505 36,326,505 Pennsylvania ...
386 13,249,125 16,932,517 30,181,642 Baltimore and Ohio.... 379 10,011,800 13,881,833 26,893,633
1,508 $58,413,925 $70,434,626 $131,892,551 These four routes cost nearly $132,000,000 of private capital, and it being no longer possible for the New York Legislature to impose toll on the roads to prohibit them from carrying freight, the traffic was made free in 1852. Since then the tonnage carried by the canals and the two lines of railroads has been as follows: