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the Genessee Valley canal. The southern counties in common with the rest of the State must be eventually taxed for the lateral canals, and it is much better to pay their proportion by direct taxation than to pay the entire deficit in the form of tolls when the southern railroad shall form part of the "system" of State works. A very strong inducement to the canal counties to aid this work, would be to continue the present exclusive right of the Erie canal to carry freight, which it would then become as much the interest of the southern as of the canal counties to support. Fear and interest are the only motives which can have any decided influence in making the claims of the southern counties respected; a fair commentary on the moral effects of the system of State works in general,
There is one argument however in favor of the policy of making this a State work which we confess our inability to answer, though the justice of the measure may well be questioned. It was observed at Ithaca in July last, that the southern railroad would aid the State in enlarging the Erie canal. We have already alluded to the probability of this road as a State work, being under the necessity of supporting the "lateral ca nals," supposing the Erie canal to meet its own expenses. But, if it be required to hold up the former and to aid in enlarging the latter, we are unable to see the benefits it is to confer on the southern counties, however convenient it may be to the rest of the State.
The Superintendent of the Philadelphia and Columbia railway in his Report to the Canal Commissioners of Pennsylvania (Nov. 1838, p. 43.) says, “Unless some authority is recognized to prevent such as will not comply with the regulations, from continuing in a situation to violate them, it is believed that the State had better put an end to all connection with companies and take the whole business into the hands of its agents under the control of a responsible head. Under such an arrangement, operations on the road would be systematized, the public business done with far more economy, and travel and transportation be performed with greatly increased satisfaction to the public."
Here is an admission that the Pennsylvanian plan has not succeeded, and an earnest recommendation to the State to "put an end to all connection with companies" and enter fully into the forwarding business. This same officer, in another place, says that the experience of that road has fully proved that a railway can be well managed by a State! All the objections which we have urged against the management of railroads by Government are admitted to their fullest extent, and it is proposed to adopt the system of private companies, a measure which would be utterly repugnant to the people of this State, who have already commenced the work of curtailing, instead of extending the power of the Government, by abolishing the auction and bank monopolies, and who will not for a moment listen to any increase of the patronage or expenditures of the Government. To derive from a railroad all the benefits, which that species of communication is capable of conferring, requires a degree of regularity, subordina
tion and discipline, little inferior to that of an army, and it is impossible to expect this from men whose very bread depends on the result of every general election. It would be more to the interest of the Southern Counties to build their railroad at their own cost and to manage it well, than to have the work given to them and managed in the style of the State railroads of Pennsylvania and Michigan. And why should the people of this State suppose that their Government is more capable of managing a railway than the Government of Pennsylvania where it is officially announced, that their present plan is deficient in system, economy and convenience? The mechanical skill of Pennsylvania is at least equal to that of New Yorkand both are very far behind Massachusetts, yet the latter State declines: entering on the construction of public works; and may we not fairly con-clude that she does so because her superior intelligence and mechanical skill enable her to see clearly the impracticability of the scheme?
The speed also on the Philadelphia and Columbia railway does not exceed from 14 to 15 miles per hour, about two thirds of the average velocity on the Boston railroads of similar construction, and about equal to the ordinary rate of travelling on the Utica railway with the cheap or wooden superstructure. This is one of the inevitable results of endeavoring to conduct by mere electioneering agents, a business which requires all the attention, steadiness, skill and character of the ablest men whom individual sagacity can discover and by liberal inducements, permanently retaintheir opinions on the subjects of religion, politics, metaphysics or the fine arts having no connection with the management of works conducted by individuals or companies.
All the railways of Massachusetts are constructed in the best manner with the heavy iron rail, while, in New York, we have only one edge rail-on the Long Island railroad. In the former State all is left to private enterprise, but here, the visionary projects of Government, called "State works," offer the security of the whole population for all the surplus capital to be had on either side of the Atlantic, and thus completely drain the sources on which private enterprise depends. Instead of allowing capital to seek a judicious investment, the State Governments come forward and offer the faith of the State for any sums which can be procured. The capitalist is thus saved the trouble of investigating the merits of the works for the construction of which he loans his money, and he feels just as sure of his interest on the money squandered on the Chenango canal, as on the money invested in the Erie canal. It is on this account, that our railways are so far behind those of Massachusetts, where the "faith of the State" has only been used to aid, not extinguish private enterprise.
Experience has shown that the railway cars, and engines must be under the control of a single head, if the full advantages of this mode of communication are to be reaped, and on this account they are denounced as "monopolies." They have the privilege, in common with the most trivial county roads, of going through any man's property, and for this they are
bound by law to carry passengers and freight at fixed rates, hence they have been justly styled the "poor man's friend." With the so called "free system" in use on Canals and Government railroads, the tolls only are fixed by law, the additional charge for that part of the business done by individuals being regulated by themselves. This anomalous partnership for the transportation of passengers and freight appears to unite the unavoidable disadvantages of State works, with the monopoly unjustly ascribed to private works, for we have seen that the superintendent of the Columbia railway inveighs strongly against it, and some remarks to the same point, founded on the experience of the Erie canal, may be found in the report of the late Comptroller, (Assem. Doc. No. 4, 1839. p. 25.)
Railway companies, being necessarily corporations, have come in for a share of the animosity felt towards banks, with which institutions they have nothing in common except the charter-the objects of the former being to enable an association of individuals to invest their money in forming cheap and rapid communications throughout the year between important points, not merely for the sake of dividends, but for the general advancement of the country traversed, by developing its resources and then rendering available its hitherto dormant wealth. This is effected by a combination of the latest improvements in science with the highest mechanical skill-requiring all the physical and mental energies-in short, bringing into play the highest attributes of man for the noblest purpose as well as the most prominent improvement of the day. We fully appreciate the exquisite skill and taste of the engravers and the occasional taste of the architects of the latter institutions, but, beyond this unimportant similarity we must decline acknowledging even a remote trace of further resemblance in their aims and effects, whether social, moral or political.
We will briefly recapitulate the principal reasons which have determin ed us to take ground against the adoption of this work by the State. The time required for its construction would be much, probably three times greater the cost would be increased in the same ratio-the cost of transportation would be about double, owing to the great capital invested and to the reckless and extravagant manner in which State works are managed— reasonable comforts and accommodations are not to be thought of-the appointments will be, as they always have been, given to political hackswhen the enlargement has proceeded sufficiently far to absorb the entire surplus of the Erie Canal, the southern railroad must support the lateral canals, if the railroad be completed before the enlargement, of which we at least have little expectation, being firmly convinced that, if carried on simultaneously by the State, they will not be completed in 30 years—indeed we consider the adoption of the southern railway by the State to be the most efficient course its enemies could pursue effectually to defeat the project.
We are compelled to omit a part of the memorial of the New York and Harlem Railroad Company until our next, when we shall give it accompanied by remarks and interesting railroad statistics.
MEMORIAL OF THE NEW YORK AND HARLEM RAILROAD COMPANY.
To the Honorable the Mayor, Aldermen, and Commonalty of the City of New York, in Common Council convened,
That your memorialists in soliciting enactments in their behalf, deem it proper, in order to guard against misconceptions, to address to your honor
able body a memorial, setting forth the views by which they are actuated. And in the performance of this duty, the directors deem it unnecessary to advert particularly to the causes which have retarded the full developement of their purposes, and the entire success of their company. They were such as are generally incident to undertakings of equal difficulty and magnitude. Their effects have principally fallen upon the enterprising individuals who projected and aided the construction of the work, and upon the stockholders who furnished the means.
The task, however, is now nearly accomplished. The plan which has cost so much toil and sacrifice, is carried through to the completion of a double track of railway from the City Hall at the Park, to Harlem River; and the causes heretofore operative in creating opposition and multiplying difficulties, have ceased, or soon will cease to exert any material influence. This great work, therefore, cannot be dispassionately viewed in all its aspects, and its value remain unacknowledged.
Your memorialists deem it unnecessary to present arguments to prove the superiority of railroads over former modes of travelling, as they believe it already conceded, not only in the United States, where upwards of four thousand miles of railroads are now in successful operation, at a cost of eighty millions of dollars, but throughout Europe, where they are esteemed the most desirable mode of travelling, so far as comfort, expedition and economy are concerned.
Your memorialists, therefore, deem it only necessary to examine wheth er there is any cause to believe that the city of New York is, in its relations with this company, an exception to the system that now meets universal sanction and support, both at home and abroad, and especially in our sister cities of Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore; where, it must be known to your honorable boly, that railroads have been laid through and across some of their most busy and crowded thoroughfares, to the water's edge.
The Board have taken great pains to ascertain the feelings and opinions of the people generally of those cities, and especially those who own or occupy real estate along the streets through which the rails are there laid; and so far from finding dissatisfaction, they learn, on the contrary, that branches are solicited in streets other than those already supplied; the people's preference of rails to stages and omnibuses being thus unequivocally manifested.
Will New York, the commercial emborium of this great continent, become the first and only city to exhibit opposition to the continuance and extension of railroads within her limits?--an improvement, too, which ranks among the greatest of modern times, and which is destined to produce as great a revolution in the conveyance of passengers on the land, as steamboats have done on the water?
Your memorialists, with their knowledge of the reception of railroads in other cities, would respectfully inquire, what are the objections to the extension of the rails of the company, to such points in this city, on the North and East rivers, as the public and your honorable body may deem necessary for transporting the inhabitants from one extreme part to the other, with despatch, comfort, safety and economy? Especially, as it is generally admitted, that time is money, and that the attainment of greater speed and certainty, amounts in effect to a reduction of expense.
It will not, at this day, be denied, that the advantages of a speedy conveyance are often of greater value than the whole charges of transportation. But your memorialists cannot conceal from themselves, nor hesitate to declare to your honorable body, that so far as they have been able to ascertain the character of the opposition to the extension of their rails, they be
lieve the greatest objection to be, that which has become common, and we may add, popular-the denouncement of all incorporations, as "odious monopolies," however important to public accommodation.
It therefore becomes the duty of the Board of Directors, to examine the validity of this objection, and in doing so, they leg respectfully to represent to your honorable body, that they conceive there is cause to believe, that railroads, in large and populous cities, form an exception to the general rule, even admitting incorporations, to be "odious monopclies."
In proof of this position, your memorialists feel it necessary merely to refer your honorable body to the mode of constructing railroads-to the space they require-to their rapidity of conveyance-to the impossibility of turning out to the right hand or to the left-and to the necessity of uniform speed; clearly to indicate the impracticability of their indiscriminate use by our citizens, in the manner of the canal, the turnpike, and other highways.
If the Board are correct in this view of the subject, the conclusion seems irresistable, that the proprietors of a railroad must be the sole and exclusive carriers and regulators of the vehicles to be used thereon.
It follows, that if the city of New York is to enjoy the superior benefits of railroads, it can only have them, subject to these conditions.
Further, it should not be forgotton, that the rail cars occupy no more space on the public street, than would be occupied by any other vehicles used to perform similar duty; neither should we disregard the important fact, that this company are now conveying more than one million two hundred thousand passengers per annum, on a railroad constructed by them, and kept in order at their expense; by which, it is obvious, that a great saving accrues to the city treasury, the same number fo passengers conveyed in stages and omnibuses, subjecting the city to an increased expenditure, to keep in repair the pavements over which they would travel.
Your memorialists would further represent, that in viewing the work which this company has constructed, and looking at its present condition and probable future usefulness it appears to them but reasonable to inquire, who has been the gainer?
Is it the Stockholder? Is it the Farmer? Is it the Landholder? or is it the inhabitant residing contiguous to the route of the road?
In reply to these questions, it is with deep regret that your memorialists find themselves under the necessity of stating, that up to the present moment the stockholders have never received one dollar of revenue from the company, although they have long since contributed upwards of eight hundred thousand dollars in cash, toward the construction and completion of their present work.
The expenditures on this road, together with the preparations for using it, have amounted to about one million one hundred thousand dollars; and the company have been compelled to borrow the amount which was required beyond thal paid by the stockholders-leaving them now in de bt to the amount of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. The receipts for fair, by the company, will amount, in the present year, ending on the 31st of December, 1839, to about one hundred thousand dollars; being sufficient to defray every expenditure, together with the annual interest upon the debt of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
From this statement it is evident that there is no immediate prospect of a dividend for the benefit of the stockholders; and having thus far perseverd in good faith to complete their great and useful work, and also having conveyed upon the road, from its commencement in 1832, to the present day, three millions eight hundred and ten thousand passengers, by the safest mode and at the cheapest rate, they consider themselves deserving the fevorable notice of the city councils. [To be continued]