« PrejšnjaNaprej »
gions, via canal to Washington, and via railroad to Baltimore, 224,951 tons bituminous.
The financial condition of the company on the 1st June, 1867, is shown in the following table : Capital stock (including issues from cancelled loan)...
$1,818,963 50 Mileage loan, due in 1886 ........
2,234,000 00 Total
$4,072,963 50 Cost (including old feeder, (110,925)
$3,264,975 91 Held by Trustees--stocks and bonds.
240,511 03 Contingent lund-stocks and bonds
51.800 00 Dividend fund-cancelled loan, real estate and cash.
405,676 56 Total ...
$4,072,963 60 The company last year paid a dividend of 3 per cent., and bad an available remainder of $83,624 35. It is proposed now to pay regularly semi annual dividends.
PROPOSED PROHIBITION OF RAILROAD EXPANSION. The action of the Constitutional Convention at Albany in prohibiting the consolidation of railroad companies with a combined capital of $20,000,000, is a matter deserving the earnest consideration, not only of the business community, but of the public at large. The alleged object of those who supported this important change in the organic law of the State, was to check the accumulation of capital in the hands of corporations, which might abuse their privileges and increased power to the detriment of legislative independence, and to the prejudice of the interests of the people of the whole State. It was urged in support of the proposition, that the great railroad combinations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania have proved injurious to industrial progress, and that they exercise a controlling influence upon the action of the respective legislatures. On argument it was stated that the sale of the Pennsylvania canals to the railroad companies actually resulted in an increase in the cost of passenger and merchandise transportation contrary to the conditions of sale, the companies being able to purchase the legislature, and thus prevent any action against them for breach of contract. Hence it was argued that the delegates should by their action prevent the organization or consolidation of great corporations, whose influence might endanger the purity and independance of the Legislature of this State.
It is almost inconceivable that so intelligent a body as the Constitutional Convention, should have been led by such reasoning to resort to the unusual expedient of special legislation to check the expansion of a particular branch of industry. If industrial undertakings are to be nar. rowed down to a point below legislative corruptability, then there will be an end to progress. It is obvious that the adoption of this principle would lead to the most serious embarrassments in every department. For the charges of corruption to wbich certain legislatures of this and other States have rendered themselves liable are by no means limited to railroad transactions. Besides, the argument is too sweeping; the fears of the Convention are groundless. There is a point beyond which even a corrupt legislature will not dare to go; as they have to look to
VOL. LVIINO. III,
the people for their election, on great questions of public interest they are not generally for sale. It is hardly necessary to point to any other circumstance in illustration, than the continuing of the fare on the Central Railroad at two cents per mile during the whole of the war period. A large majority of the people desired to ride at a cheap rate, and, therefore, the legislature refused to raise the fare, although wages and railroad material were doubled in price, and every consideration of justice and good sense demanded that the railroad should be permitted to charge a higher rate. But, in addition to all this, it should be remembered that the power really always remains with the people of the State. They reserve the right to amend all charters—to cut down prices, to limit profits, in a word, to cure all abuses. Under such circumstances what have we to fear? A corporation might have great influence for a time; but were it to abuse it, it would very soon be crippled by the people. We have great faith in the American public; diseases may develop themselves, but the curative power is always inherent in an elective government.
The grand question, however, not only for the people of this city and State, but for the whole Northwestern and Atlantic States, is the means of transportation of the surplus produce of the West to the seaboard, The Empire State lies directly in the track of this vast commerce, and all existing modes of transportation are utterly inadequate for the purpose. Even now we need not only two or three, but may soon require a dozen lines of direct railroad communication between this city and the heart of the great grain region, The principal objection then to the action of the Convention is that it ties us up, and prevents us from competing with other States for this rich commerce. Baltimore, Philadelphia and Norfolk are placed at an advantage. A cheap twenty million dollar railroad will not reach from the prairies to New York; and if the proposed constitutional prohibition should become a law, we must relinquish the contest for commercial supremacy. And yet beyond this. special injury to the State, it will be of still greater detriment to the whole northwest, whose interests require all the avenues to the seaboard capital can give them.
Our railroad system has outgrown the local wants for which it was devised. Nearly all the great lines to the West are formed by the con. solidation of old railroad companies and the construction of a few missing links. The New York Central, for example, which has proved so advantageous as an outlet for the West, is, as all know, a consolidation of old lines which formerly worked with little concert of action or harmony. It is obvious that if this great highway were broken up and divided into sections, each under different management, that it would operate most injuriously to the interests it now serves. The capital stock of the New York and Erie Railroad is $25,000,000. Yet this and other railroad companies are to be precluded from increasing their accommodations and extending their facilities !
There is less reason for this limitation, or, we should rather say, there are more objections lo it at the present time than there were a few years since. And there will be still more cogent reasons against it in the future. The time was when direct railroad travel from New York to Albany and Buffalo was regarded as grand achievements. We have got beyond all that now. We require direct railroad transportation, without break of
bulk, not only from this city to Chicago and the Mississippi, but also to the Pacific Ocean. The tendencies of the times are all in favor of the consolidation and centralization of capital for industrial enterprises, and it is difficult to see how or why these tendencies, when manifested in the direction of railroad enterprises—upon which all modern commerce depends—should be checked by legislative enactments. Our industrial undertakings must be on a larger, on a continually increasing scale, as the industries of the country continue to develope.
But we are told that there can be unity of action without consolidation. Most certainly, a person may travel from New York to Omaha and have his baggage checked even if he passes over twenty roads. But is it not self evident that there will be more to overcome to bring about this unity than if one board of directors controlled the entire route? In freight matters union is particularly difficult. The question of charges, of liability for losses, in fact a division of interests in almost every particular arises. The one subject of separate liability would always control with forwarders, (other things being equal) leading them to give preference to the route where there was no division. Then, too, the freight must be carried through without change of cars. But above all we should remember that one management can be more economical than twenty. This is an extremely important element, as it permits lower freights to be charged, and a saving secured in bringing the produce of the west to the seaboard. In a word there seems to us to be no room for argument on this point. The advantages of consolidation are very great-in fact, every day in the development of the country will the importance of through routes under the control of one direction increase.
PUBLIC LANDS OF THE UNITED STATES.
The Hon. Joseph S. Wilson, Commissioner of U. S. Land Office for 1866, has made a report from which we have prepared the following.He clains that prominent among the indications of the growth and prosperity of the republic is the gradual expansion of actual settlements over the immense fields of the public domain. Our liberal system of land legislation has extended, and still continues to afford facilities for opening new farms, founding new cities, holding out incentives for immigration from the crowded capitals of the elder States and from abroad by stipulations for the acquisition of real estate, either agricultural or city property, on terms so easy as to enable the industrious to secure homesteads almost at nominal rates. That system founded by the illustrious statesmen of the Revolution has been enlarged under the lights of experience to meet the wants of increasing millions of settlers by successive legislative acts, from the ordinance of 1785 for the disposal of the public lands to the legislative enactments of the year 1866. It has not restricted its benefits to merely opening rich and boundless fields to individual settlement; investing title in local communities for school purposes in every township of six miles square ; in giving means for the endowment of seminaries of learning and universities; but it has made concessions, on a stupendous scale, for
internal improvements, for opening ordinary roads, for spanning the North American continent with railways, and still further, in meeting the wants of diversified localities by liberal provisions for works of this class to connect centres of trade, and afford rapid means of intercommunication.
The landed estate of the Union is the great inheritance of the American people. How was it acquired, and what is its extent ?
The people of the United States, in emerging from the war of independence, were the holders of extensive regions of country falling within the out-boundaries of the United States, as acknowledged in the definitive treaty of peace in 1783 with Great Britain. These rear or western lands were claimed by several States on the Atlantic, on the ground of exclusive title, in some cases from ocean to ocean, and in others to an indefinite extent in the wilderness.
These conflicting interests gave rise to controversies and discord. The State of New York, now the centre of trade and affluence on this continent, destined in her career of prosperity to reach a pinnacle of greatness second to no commercial power of the globe, readily yielded her claim to the undefined territory, and, responding.to the appeals of the revolutionary Congress, all other like adverse interests were surrendered, whereby the proprietary title of the United States to these western lands became absolute and complete.
The United States held no public lands in any of the original thirteen States, except for public uses, fortifications, arsenals, light-houses, and dock-yards. * Vermont was not a party, as a State, to the Union of 1776, ber territory having been claimed by New York and New Hampsbire, but was admitted as a State in 1791, wbile Maine, which bad been claimed and governed by Massachusetts, did not enter the Union until 1820.
Kentucky was originally part of the Territory of Virginia, but in 1792 was admitted, having no public lands within her limits. Tennessee, which formed a part of North Carolina, became a State of the Union in 1796, but the general government now holds no public lands within the limits of that State, the same having been relinquished by acts of Congress.
Excluding the area of all the States above mentioned from the surface of the republic as it existed in 1783, with limits extending from the northern lakes to the thirty-first degree of latitude, and from the Atlantic to the middle channel of the Mississippi, the residue constitutes the public lands of that year, equal to about 354,000 square miles, or 226,560,000
The whole of this area, every acre of it, has been completely surveyed, and the field-notes recorded, while accurate plats bave been protracted exhibiting in legal subdivisions the entire surface, and all in exact accordance with the rectangular system. That system stands in marked contrast with irregularities as to form in the landed estate of the parent country, in wbicb, although under the direction of men of exalted science, a cadastral survey, after the lapse of centuries of civilization, has not yet been completed, it having been estimated in 1863 that it would require an appropriation of £90,000 sterling a year, for twenty.one years, to extend such survey over the whole of the British islands.
Having thus shown the extent of our public lands as originally acquired, it is now in place briefly to trace their extension to the present limits.
By the treaty of peace in 1763, between England, France, and Spain, it
was agreed that the western boundary of the Anglo-American colonies should be fixed "irrevocably" by a line drawn along the middle channel of the river Mississippi, thereby relinquishing, in favor of France, all the territory claimed by the latter in the region west of the Mississippi.
This lino consequently was received in 1783 as our western boundary, but within twenty years thereafter, a greater statesman (Mr. Jefferson) than the king who had acceded to this restriction took means to strengthen our claim to the region beyond the Rocky Mountains, by restoring
to us the important link of continuity westward to the Pacific, wbich had been surrendered by the treaty of 1763. He considered it coincident with the public law, particularly in view of the American discovery, in 1792, of the mouth of the Columbia, to order an exploration of the Missouri and its branches to their sources, so as to trace out to its termination on the Pacific some stream " which might offer the most direct and practicable water communication across the continent for the
of commerce." This measure was originated before the ratification, on 31st October, 1803, of the treaty whereby the French republic ceded to us the ancient province of Louisiana.
The Florida cession of 1819 from Spain followed, and then the admi:sion of Texas in 1846, retaining ber public lands. The treaty of that year with England, and the Mexican cessions of 1848 and 1853, completed our south-western limits on the Gulf, the Rio Grande, thence westward to the Pacific, and giving us frontier on that ocean and Puget Sound of one thousand six hundred and twenty miles; said cession of 1848 adding to the sea line we had on the Gulf of Mexico, under the Spanish cession of 1819, four hundred miles of coast, extending from the mouth of the Sabine to the Rio Grande, thus making our sea-coast line on the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and on the Pacific, equal to five thousand one hundred and twenty miles.
By these important acts the public lands have been increased in extent Dearly seven times their area at the close of the last century, and are now seventeen times the surface of the kingdom of Prussia, including her territorial increase growing out of the recent war with Austria.
They are in still larger ratio greater in area than England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, including the Channel Islands and the other British European possessions.
The area of our domain was estimated some years ago at upwards of 1,450,000,000 of acres, but is now found, by calculations based on more specific data, to equal 1,465,468,800 acres.
The soil of the flourishing States of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, once a part of the national territory, bas nearly all passed into individual ownership. The undisposed of portions of the public domain, in greater or lesser extent, exist in the northern regious of the Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior; in the southern, east of the Mississippi and fronting on the Gulf of Mexico; in the lier of States baving that river as an eastern boundary, and still further westward in all the other political communities, States, and Territories, stretching to and over the Rocky Mountains, the Cascades, and Sierra Nevada, extending to the Pacific slope, with that ocean as a frontier, and the rich mineral State lying immediately east of and adjacent to the two great States of the Pacific.
What is the system, founded in legislation, by wbich this half conti