Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

that the Milwaukee and Mississippi rail road company be and they are hereby required to surrender to said canal company, so much of the canal as has been constructed, or is in progress of construction, on the said Milwaukee river, whereby the said line of navigation along said river shall remain to said canal company, separate and distinct from any property right of said Milwaukee and Mississippi rail road company.

6th. That the name of the “ Milwaukee and Rock river canal company” be and the same is hereby changed, to the “ Milwaukee river company” and by that name the said company shall, from the taking effect of this act, be known in law and equity, in the same manner, to the same extent, subject to the same liabilities, and clothed with the same privileges in all courts and public places as is conferred on said corporation, by an act entiled “An act to incorporate the Milwaukee and Rock river canal company,” and none other, except such as by this act is provided.

7th. That the interest due from purchasers of canal lands to the canal fund prior and up to the twenty-third day of December, in the year 1841, be and the same is hereby remitted and discharged in full, and the payment of all other sums of money which have or may become due for the purchase of any of said lands, shall be postponed until at least twenty miles of the rail road shall have been completed, tending westward from the town of Milwaukee, and all interest monies which may become due until said twenty miles shall be completed shall be entirely remitted and discharged in full; provided however, that if Congress should not donate to said rail road company the said canal lands, or if said rail road company should not become. organized in season to discharge liabilities falling due against the Territory, then it shall be the duty of the canal commissioners to call in so much of the interest monies due from time to time as will discharge the interest falling currently due against the Territory for debts already contracted, and no more, until further provisions shall be made by law to meet any particular emergency if any such should arise.

8th. That whenever twenty miles of said rail road shall have been completed as aforesaid, the said Milwaukee and Mississippi rail road company shall have power, and the same is hereby conferred upon said company to proceed in the collection of such monies as shall then have become due as principal on sales of canal lands and thereafter from time to time, as any payment shall become due, either of principal or interest, said company shall be competent, and they are hereby vested with the power to proceed and collect in the name of the Territory, any sum or sums of money which may so become due, in the same manner as the canal commissioners are authorized to do by law.

9th. That the sales of canal lands ordered to be made in February, 1842, by proclamation of the Governor, be and the same are hereby postponed indefinitely, and no further sales shall be made until the lands are transferred to the rail road company as herein before provided, or until further Legislative action shall be had, in relation thereto.

10th. That the first and second sections of this act shall take effect and be in force, from and after the same shall be approved by Congress; and the fourth, fifth and sixth sections shall take effect and be in force from and after the time when the same shall be assented to by the Milwaukee and Rock river canal company, by resolution to be duly passed by the board of directors of said company, a copy of which resolution shall be forwarded to the Governor, and placed on file by the Secretary of the Territory, and the remaining sections of this act shall take effect and be in force from and after the passage of this act.

I have thus in order to show clearly my views on this subject, presented them at length in the form of a bill—which no doubt has some imperfections, being hastily drawn up, and may therefore require some corrections or alterations, in case it should be taken up to be acted upon by the Legislature. But it presents a view of the whole subject, which I think it important to be examined as a whole before the Legislature should commit themselves by taking action upon any isolated point, which might render it difficult to correct by subsequent legislation, so as to arrive at a proper adjustment of the different interests involved.

By the process here indicated we arrive at four important results, viz:

Ist. We provide the means of releasing the Territory from its connection with the canal company, and of discharging it from all liabilities.

2nd. A final settlement with and discharge of the canal company. .

3rd. Remittance in full, discharge of interest to settlers on the canal lands, and postponement of principal which may become due, until so much of the road shall be completed as will by necessary expenditures on the road, and the influence of business men and capital, attracted by it, enable all classes, even the poorest, to discharge their liabilities, without distress or inconvenience; and

4th. Such inducements will be held out to capitalists by ceding the lands as a bonus, as will ensure the taking of the stock, and the absolute completion of the work. A measure in which the whole people of the Territory, without regard to sectional lines or localities have immense interest at stake.

If such a work could be accomplished, even with some personal sacrifice and inconvenience, the effort and sacrifice might well be made; but when it is so situated as to be perfectly within our reach, not only without any sacrifice, but carrying with it the means of cherishing and sustaining the individual rights and interest of the citizens, how important it is that every citizen who can exert any influence, should seize upon favorable combination of circumstances which is presented, and secure to the country the lasting advantages within our reach; and how much more is it not only the duty, but the glorious privilege of those interested, by the suffrages of their fellow citizens, with the destiny of the country in their hands, to avail themselves of the means within their control, and finally dispose of the several exciting topics which have been sometime becoming more and more complicated, and at the same time secure to the country great and lasting benefits.

It has been before said, that I had not the means at hand to fur. nish the items of the canal company's account, but that they are open to the inspection of any committee of the Legislature, whenever it shall desire to examine them. The amount in gross is stated in the annual report of the company, which is in the hands of the Legislature. Should the Legislature, however, think favorably to the pro

posals herein made, for extinguishing or purchasing the rights of the company in the further construction of the canal, it will be seen at once that it is a question entirely immaterial to the Territory, what the amount of these several items might be, as in that case the Territory is released from all liabilities of every description and amount, and the canal company will have to look to the railroad company alone for any compensation which they may receive.

Should it be thought (as possibly it may be, by some who are not acquainted with all the circumstances, that the equivalent which the canal company asks to be paid by the railroad company, in consideration of an entire ralinquishment of the canal, is too great for such a purpose, I will remark that, as a question of interest alone, it would hold out no inducement whatever to the company, to make the exchange.

It is true, the canal company have their own interest to take care of, and so has every individual in community. The lawful rights of the canal company are, no doubt, as sacred in the eye of the law, as are the rights of individuals; and had the company no other motive to operate upon it, but its own money, it would by no means accept nor agree to the terms of relinquishment which they have here voluntarily proposed. But the canal company and its members have other and higher motives prompting them to compromise this matter on the most moderate terms. They are desirous that some improvement should be made which shall be a source of state wealth and state pride, and they will not knowingly throw any obstacles in the way of such a work; but at the same time, having labored long and faithfully to secure a work of that description, and having freely invested their means for that purpose, they are unwilling to surrender all, without some small share of an equivalent. As a mere company, they have no desire for any change; but as citizens, the members of the company wish to see public interest preserved, which we doubt not would be in the most effectual manner by the construction of a railroad.

The interests of the company are not the subjects of discussion either for the Legislature or others; they are sufficiently guarded by the irrevocable law of the land; and if it should not be considered

politic by the Legislature to adopt any measure for the improvement of the country, through means of the funds now at their disposal, they certainly will not do it out of favor to the canal company. If the public interest does not demand it, certainly the canal company have not and will not ask for it.

It is a fact worthy to be borne in mind, that the company have never solicited the Territory to purchase out their interest in the canal, nor have they ever asked for any rights or privileges not granted by their charter; but in a spirit of amity have ever been ready and willing to meet the Territorial authorities in any arrangement which might be agreeable to them, provided it were not such as to sacrifice the company entirely. There are those in the community, (though I would not intimate that there are any such in the Legislature,) whose malignity would be satisfied with nothing short of the total sacrifice of the company—but I hazard the prediction that that wish will never be gratified. The company know their rights, and it is their intention to maintain them. But they are nevertheless ready at all times to enter into any arrangement whereby the great and paramount interest of the country can be subserved, even though it cost them a great sacrifice; but they do not feel called upon to surrender, unconditionally, such means as they may possess, unless they should thereby secure through other means, the great result demanded by the true and permanent interest of the country. Should nothing be done by the Legislature at its present session, the company will continue to work on the canal with such means as they can command, and perhaps within the coming year, construct that portion of it embracing the last level of the western termination. An excellent water power can be constructed, and it may perhaps be thought best for the interest of that part of the country to let the work proceed to that extent, and the whole to be transferred to the Territory or State whenever it may be deemed good policy to make the purchase.

I have thus presented to the committee the terms on which, and the reasons why, the canal company are willing to relinquish the rights secured to them by their charter, so far as regards the construction of the canal; and I would respectfully request the committee

« AnteriorContinuar »