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of civilization round the northern hemisphere of the globe, we may expect commercial and industrial activities to increase in a greater ratio. The railways of the whole world at the close of 1869 embraceil an ay. gregate mileage of 118,559, of which 49,801 miles belong to North America, 445 to the West India Islands, 1,424 to South America, 61,043 to Europe, 4,474 to Asia, 583 to Africa, and 789 to Australia. Our continent is rapidly gaining upon Europe, and will soon present an aggregate far in advance of that continent.
The entire cost of construction and equipment of the railways of the world is estimated at $11,445,104,373, averaging $96,619 per mile. Of this amount our North American roads represent $2,267,061,313, or $15,523 per mile. European roads cost, in the aggregate, $5,252,390,863, or $135,189 per mile, being the most costly in the world; and of the European roads the most costly are the British roads, averaging $176,269 per mile. Our own railways present a very modest figure in the expense of construction, amounting, in the aggregate, to $2,041,225,770, averaging $14,225 per mile. The New England roads average about $10,000; the Middle States roads about $55,000; the Southern States about $30,000; the Western roads about $44,000; and the Pacific roads about $50,000 per mile. In our cheaper lines, however, we find a greater annual outlay for construction and repair. The English roads net nearly 50 per cent. of their total receipts, but this large percentage of receipts represents a smaller percentage on the capital invested. As investments, then, our roads continue to present special attractions to foreign capital. In this respect our roads are approximating gradually the standard of the European roads. Those costly enterprises are entirely unsuited to the wants and circumstances of our pioneer roads, which could not command any such an amount of capital as would be required to construct lines upon the European model; nor would the business of our roads enable them to pay anything like a remunerating interest upon such a capital.
The tonnage transported upon our roads during the year 1869 was considerably over 100,000,000 tons, after making a very liberal allowance for duplicated tonnage. Deducting, further, some 20,000,000 tons for coal and other low-priced freight, and allowing an average of $1 50 per ton for the remaining 80,000,000 tons, we have $12,000,000,000 as the approximate value of the freight actually transported over our roads, or six times the amount of capital actually invested in them. The wonderful growth of our internal commerce is illustrated by comparing these aggregates with those of 1851. The transportation of that year did not exceed five and a half million tons, with a value not much exceeding $80,000,000. The average annual increase of tonnage and value of freight nearly equal those figures. In 1850 the tonnage of merchandise, compared with population, gave about 400 pounds per capita. In 1860 the average was 1,200 pounds per capita. In 1869 it had risen to 3,816 pounds per capita. The values of tonnage, per capita, at these different periods averaged $29, 884, and $285, respectively. It is remarkable that the most rapid increase of tonnage and value of freight is found in the older States. The tonnage of the Massachusetts roads rose from 4,094,364 in 1860 to 8,044,498 tons in 1869, or nearly 100 per cent. increase, whereas the population has not increased in that time more than ten per cent. Taking into consideration the increase of 1870, we may easily see that in a single decade the demand for railway transportation for a settled population has nearly or quite doubled. As compared with the returns of 1851, we find that less than double the population of that period is now furnished with nearly six times the length of railway that then existed, and that the tonnage per mile has
nearly quadrupled, making more than ten times per capita the amount of transportation that was found sufficient for the wants of the American people.
The earnings of our roads present several points of interesting inquiry, illustrating the growth of our civilization. The gross earnings for 1869, in round numbers, were about $100,000,000, the freight receipts being to the passenger fares about in the ratio of 7 to 3, or $280,000,000 to $120,000,000. In the earlier history of railways the prepouderance is generally on the side of the passenger earnings, but as the production of newly opened areas is stimulated, and as their relations to the markets at the other end of the line become definite and settled, it is found that the freight traffic gains upon and finally surpasses the passenger traffic. To such an extent has this tendency been developed that it has been seriously agitated to establish railroads exclusively for freight which shall relieve the immense pressure upon the trahsporting capacities of existing lines. The enormous distance across the continent has raised the price of through freights to such a figure that only highpriced merchandise, or raw material representing a high money value, such as gold and silver ores, will afford suficient margin. But even this difficulty is now in process of removal. The transportation of flour at $18 per ton—ten barrels to the ton—from San Francisco to New York has been tried by way of experiment. This cost is but about $3 per ton more than by sailing vessels around Cape Horn, but it is thought that a transportation occupying but three weeks at most will give advantages over a long voyage of from three to five months that will more than pay the difference. The experience of railways shows a gradual increase in their capacity to compete with cheaper water transportation. This is shown in my last annual report, in the case of Holland and Belgium. At the separation of these countries in 1830, the former possessed a much larger commerce and a greatly superior salt and fresh water communication. In 1835 the exports and imports of Belgium amounted to but $50,000,000, which aggregate was fully doubled by the foreign trade of Holland. The inauguration, in 1833, of the Belgium railway system, under the superintendence of an able English engineer, has since changed the relations of the parties; the Dutch, relying upon their ocean and canal navigation, neglected to take note of this rivalry until the remarkable strides of Belgium commerce could no longer be ignored. In 1856 the Dutch-Rhenish Railway was constructed to recover their lost ground, but Belgium had commercially triumphed, the imports and exports of Holland in 1862 having been not quite $300,000,000, while those of Belgium approximated $100,000,000.
Our railway system is developing its leading lines of transcontinental communication. The initial live of this character, with its branches, the Union Pacific and Central Pacific, has already constructed, under various acts of Congress, 2,500 miles. The influence of this work upon the development of our national resources is already felt as a mighty power of civilization. A vast commerce, now in its intancy, will ultimately flow through this great artery and through the rival lines that are destined to speedy construction. Its influence has already been felt in the absorption of the travel that formerly crossed the Isthmus of Panama, showing the tendency of the east and west lines of the world's commerce to settle along the parallel which passes through the south of Europe and along the main line of navigation of the Mediterranean Sea. The completion of the Suez Canal during the last year has very materially shortened the lines of water communication to Eastern Asia across the Atlantic
The grand source of profit to railway enterprise in the United States is in the local passenger and freight traffic. When the foreign trade of a nation comes to bear an undue proportion to its domestic trade its influence is for evil. A healthy foreign trade can grow only out of a massive home industry and traffic. Instead of constituting a chief it should hold but a subordinate part in the activities of a nation. The crowning benefit of railways to the social economy lies in their stimulation of local production and exchange. Hence the exclusive construction of through lines which shall serve only the purposes of foreign trade and a very few points in the interior should be regarded as a departure from the line of normal development.
The multiplication of local lines serving the wants of remote communi. ties is a favorable indication. Massachusetts now possesses a mile of road for every five square miles of territory, sufficient, if mathematically distributed, to place every point of the State within two and a half miles of some working line of road.
The rapid increase of our railway traffic has added a wonderful power to our nationality in the development of our resources. We are no longer the same nation that came out of the war of the rebellion with an enormous debt, with deranged finances, and a chaotic industry. Each year the public debt has borne a smaller proportion to the values of our real and personal estate, a large part of which values has been created by our new railway communications.
Within the last two years an economic administration of the finances has enabled the General Government largely to reduce the principal of this public debt, and consequently to diminish its interest. The value of the tonnage annually transported over our roads is now about five times the amount of our national liabilities. The increasing financial resources of our Government have enabled it to reduce the taxation about $80,000,000 per annum, with the expectation of devolving upon the coming generation a portion of those obligations contracted for the vindi. cation of the integrity of our Union, the benefits of which will inure to our latest posterity. Yet the growth of our resources will soon raise the income disposable for the redemption of the public indebtedness, even under a reduced taxation, to a sum equal to the largest amount that has as yet been disbursed for this purpose. The agency of the public land system, in securing this enormous impulse to our physical develojment, has already been pointed out in this report and in the previous reports of this office.
Before leaving this branch of the subject, however, it is deemed in place to reiterate the opinion, previously expressed, that the process of subsidizing railroad enterprises by donations of public land has been carried fully as far as is compatible with the public interest. Railway construction has now become an investment of capital and labor which stands upon its own merits, overborne by no great public interest requiring the interference of Government.
EXAMINATION AND ENTRIES ON LAND LEDGERS OF THE MONTHLY RE
TURNS OF LANDS SOLD, LOCATED WITH BOUNTY-LAND WARRANTS, AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE SCRIP, AND ENTRIES UNDER TIIE HOME. STEAD LAWS.
The land ledgers or tract books of the General Land Office are designed to exhibit in brief the history of every individual transaction, in the way of acquiring title, under legislation of Congress in regard to the ordinary disposal of the public lands.
These ledgers, according to townships and ranges, are opened for every district land office in the United States, and upon the receipt here of the returns of land disposals such returns undergo critical examination and test as to the regularity of the proceedings in each case, and the accuracy of the title-papers as to the correctness of description of tracts, of area, of the consideration, and thereafter each and every sale, location, and selection are transferred to our land ledgers, thus affording at a glance information as to every land transaction from the earliest period to recent dates.
The various muniments of title, where found correct, are thereafter carefully arranged in numerical order of date, passed over for the issue of patents or complete titles in favor of the beneficiaries, while in regard to cases found defective, measures are promptly taken for their adjustment.
EXAMINATION AND ADJUSTMENT OF THE RECEIVERS QUARTERLY
Preparatory to the adjustment of a receiver's detailed quarterly account the items therein to the credit of the United States are each carefully compared with the entries embraced in the register and receivers monthly returns for the same quarter; the columns in the account appropriated to the areas of the tracts of land sold, and the purchase money, are properly noted.
Adjustments of the accounts are then prepared in the form of a General Land Office report to the Treasury, in which the receiver is debited with the gross amount of purchase money received during the quarter, the amount of $10 and $5 fees, and register and receivers commissions on homestead entries, fees for locating military warrants and agricultural college scrip, while he is credited in the adjustment with the moneys deposited to the credit of the United States Treasurer and any payments he may have made upon Treasury drafts, where such deposit and payment have been carried into the Treasury by warrant, and also with such amount as may have been returned on account of payınent made with revolutionary bounty land scrip.
Such adjustment, accompanied by the receiver's quarterly accounts, the covering warrants, revolutionary scrip surrendered, and a schedule or statement of such differences as may have arisen in the adjustment, are then sent to the First Comptroller for review and final action.
In regard to the quarterly disbursing account similar reports or adjustments are prepared, in which the receiver, acting as disbursing agent, is debited with the amount of the draft issued in his favor to cover the current expenses of his office during the quarter, and is credited with such items as may have been paid by him on account of salaries and commissions, expenses of depositing the public moneys, as also with legally-authorized contingent expenses of his office, so far as such pay. ment may be supported by proper vouchers.
The adjustment, accompanied by the disbursing account and vouchers, is in like manner sent for review and final action to the treasury.
The accounts of the receiver and disbursing agent have been adjusted to 30th June 1870, and sent to the Treasury for settlement.
Accounts of the five per cent. fund accruing to the States of Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, and Oregon, and the
three per cent. to Missouri, have been adjusted to the 30th June 1870, and in every instance where a balance has been found due to a State the account has been reported to the Treasury for payment.
Nothing has accrued to the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida since the adjustments heretofore reported.
In the case of California and Nevada there is no legal provision authorizing a percentage upon the net proceeds of the sales of the public lands within their respective limits.
CALIFORNIA PRIVATE LAND CLAIMS AND DONATIONS IN WASHINGTON
TERRITORY AND OREGON-CALIFORNIA SPANISH AND MEXICAN TITLES.
At the date of our last report, June 30, 1869, there had been reported to the General Land Office for examination, and, if all were found correct, for the issuing of patents, old Spanish and Mexican titles in California, covering by actual survey, under the American system of sur. veying, an area of 6,732,599.87 aeres. During the fiscal year ending June 30, 1870, this area was increased by returns of survey, embracing 362,910.46 acres, making an aggregate of claims of this kind reported, of 7,095,510.33 acres, for which patents have issued in 313 cases, covering 5,023,714.68 acres, leaving a balance of 2,071,825.65 yet unpatented of the claims reported for the action of this office and the Department proper. The claims for which patents have not been issued are in various stages of adjustment, some having been found defective and requiring further report from the surveyor general; others having been decided by this office and taken by appeal to the head of the Department; and some have not yet, in the regular order, been reached for definitive action; the recent increase in the value of land in California, in consequence of the great demand for land in that State for purposes of actual settlement, have made it desirable for the ranch claimants to have the lines of their claims definitively settled so as to avoid conflicts with parties making settlement under the homestead and preëmption laws.
DONATION CLAIMS IN THE STATE OF OREGON AND WASHINGTON TER
The act of Congress approved 27th September 1850, creating the office of surveyor general of public lands in Oregon, and making donations to actual settlers, 9 U. S. Stat., p. 496, as amended by the act of February 14, 1853, 10 U. S. Stat., p. 158, July 17, 1854, same vol., p. 305, and 25th June 1864, vol. 13, p. 184, secured to settlers of various classes mentioned in said acts a fee-simple title to 640, 320, or 160 acres; the amount to which the claimants were entitled being dependent upon date of arrival in the Territory, date of settlement, and whether married or single. Under these laws there have been reported from the district land offices in Oregon and Washington Territory 6,021 donation certificates, covering 2,123,137.68 acres, or an average of 352.66 acres to each claimant, and of the amount thus reported patents have been issued embracing 1,694,582.55 acres.
The operations under the various town-site laws for the year just closed have been very extensive, and we are beginning to realize the