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ter acquainted with the subject, that the depression was only a tem. porary one, and that the market would soon assume its wonted level; having adopted that medium of exchange, I did not ferl warranted in specula:ing upon the public money, is 1 casily might diave done, by holding on in the investment a few weeks; and I, Therefore, ili in pelled by a sense of my obligations in Mossrs. Coilier & Pellus, to turn over to them the lead i lind purchaseil, they having proffered to 0.0 the market price, (except the diffe. rence between specie and currency, which loss I bore,) nd als though I was tirus compelled, from an anxiety to redeem my, pledge to them, and to discharge my duties in the utmost good faith 10 the Territory, 10 submit to a loss of about $800, yet thoso gentlemen, by holding on to the lead a few weeks, until it assum. ed its former prices, have made by the rise, wliat I lost by the
fall, and an additional profit of about $2,000.
of the sale to them, although the price was agreed upon, the weight
rosulled 10 myself, they have been prompted soluly by a desire to
.Lato Fiscal Agent.
MEMORIAL OF THE MILWAUKEE AND ROCK RIVER CANAL.
To the Honorable the Council and House of Represeniatives of the
Territory of Wisconsin :
The memorial of the Milwaukee and Rock river canal company respectfully represents : "That an act to incorporate said company was passed by the Honorable L-gislature, and approved on the fifth day of January, A. D. 1838, in the first section of which act it is enacted, among other rights and powers conferred, that said campany “may purchase, hold and convey rcal, personal, or mix. ed esia!c;" without restricting or restraining them from the pur. chase of any particular properiy, either of a real or personal character; and in the sixth section it is enacted that the said corporation shall have the right to construci, maintain and con. tinue a navigable canal, or slack water navigation, from the town of Milwaukee to Rock river, on such routes, and of such dimen. sions, and to terminate at such point as shall be determined on hy said corporation," without in any manner rcs:ricting them in rela. tion to the persons whom they might employ to execute said work. .
That an act was passed by Congress, approved on the 18th of * June, 1838, in the nin:h section of which it is enac:ed, " that !!e
assent of Congress is hereby given to the act of the 'Territorial Legislature of Wisconsin, entitled, “An act to incorporaie the Milwaukee and Rock river canal company,' subject to the prece. ding modifications and the following provisions ;^ none of which modifications or provisions, however, had any reference to the rights of the company in the purchase and sale of property, or in the selection of contractors, or other agents, whom they might em. ploy.
That any subsequent act of the Legislature, for the purpose of
repealing, withdrawing, or in any manner modifying the rights and privileges thus granted, and thus confirmed, would be repug. nant to the rights of the stockholders, clearly illegal, and conse. quent!y null and void.
Your memorialists would further respectfully represent, that an act was passed by your lovorable body, entitled, “An act to pro. vide for giving in the construcion of the Milwaukee and Rock river canal," approved February 25:1, 1839, in the 22d section of which, it is enacted, thai "no canal commissioner, director, or stock holder of ile canal company, or engincer employed on said canal, shall purchase, or be interested in the purchase of any of the lands authorized to be sold by virtue of any of the provisions of this act, nor shall be intcrested in any contract for the con. struction of any portion of the canal, or furnishing materials there. for,” which provision your memorialists conceive to be in viola. tion of their rights, injurious to the progress of the work, and in. jurious to the best interests of the country, as connected with the advancement and early accomplish nent of that important public measure.
This provision presents a complete bar to the citizens of our own country in subscribing :o the stock of the canal, by which act they apprehend that they will be deprived of the ordinary righis
of ciiizons, in the purchase of land, and in furnishing materials and - supplies for the canal. The consequence is, that the stock must bo disposed of in a foreign market, or the whole must languis!). Your memorialists conceive that thc true interests of a country are to be consulted by bringing out the energies of her own people, and directing them to subjects of general utility, instead of paraly. zing them by such res:rictions as tend to dampen their energies, and arrest or retard their action.
Some of our most enterprizing citizens have been restrained from taking the stock of the company, who were anxious :o do so, for the reason that if the work should be commenced, they wished to take and be interested in contracts. Many of our citizens would be willing to take a few shares each, and pay the amount of such shares by constructing portions of the canal, and, in this way, give impetus to a work in which they are all alike interested ; but they dare not do this, lest they should be cut off from the privilege of taking other contracts, in the further progress of the work from the circumstance of their holding slock in the company. We culo not believe that it was the design of the Legislature to give a death blow to this canal, but we are clearly of opinion that such is the cffect of the foregoing provision; and that if the design had beca to defeat it entirely, a more effectual method could not have bren adopted. We presume the design of the Legislature was only to exercise a degree of cautiousness, in not placing loo much power in the hands of the company, and that it was no part of its design to defeat the work.
Is it not, however, possible to be over cautious ? May wc not carry our caution so far as !o do nothing for fear of doing some. thing wrong? Is not the interest of the Territory suffiziently well guarded in the 16th section of the last mentioned act, where it is expressly enacted, that “ the acting commissioner shall, under the direction of the board, examine and approve all contracis made with the canal company for the supply of materials, and illic performance of labor, and in case the canal company shall refuse to submit to such examination and approval, or in case such contract shall not be approved by the board, no money shall be paid over to such contractor for materials furnished, or labor pcr. forrned, out of said canal fund.” It appears to your memorialis's that this provision secures effectually the interests of the Territo. ry, without encrouching on the rights of the company, and silout operating to the prejudice of the enterprize.
It might so happen that the lowest and best bidder for work, at a public letting, would be a stockholder; and it might also happen, that such stockholder would be as competent to discharge the du. ties required, and possess as high responsibility as any other bid. der; and, in case this should happen 10 occur, would there not be an obvious propriety in giving the commissioners a discretionary power, on behalf of the Territory, in the approval or rejection of such contract? Your memorialists are clearly, of opinion' that such discretionary power, which is fully.conferred by the said 16th
section 10 the officers of the Territory, will effectually guard the interests of the Territory, without disfranchising the people of any portion of the country of their common rights and privileges, and promote, at ihe same time, the great objects of the country, by islording facilities in the execution of the work; while, by an opposi'e course of policy, hy a system of unnecessary restrictions, moch injury may be done without any countervailing good being cflected as an offset or compcusation.
Another injurious effect, so far as regards the canal and its in. terests, has grown out of the restrictive provision before referred 10, relative to the purchase of lands. Many of our most public spirited and enterprizing citizens, who came forward in the com. mencement of this measure, subscribed stock, and invested their means to a considerable extent, were settlers on the lands which afterwards, by act of Congress, were ceded to the Territory, and had on i!ose lands very extensive improvements. In order to avail themselves of the provisions of the act of February last, they were compelled to sell their canal stock, by which means alone they would be entiiled to purchase their lands. It will be obvious, from instances of this kiad, many of which could, if necessary, be particularized, that no good bas resulted, nor can it result to the Territ ry by this prohibitory provision, but that much injury has re. sulted to the canal, and mucli inconvenience to the people. So
far as regards the sale of the lands t!e law was inoperative-for co by selling their canal stock-or by giving it away, the people
could enter their lands; but it has proved injurious in the highest
degree to the canal, by discouraging the people from taking any ** interest in it.
In addition to the facts here stated, showing the impolitic tendency of the prohibitions before referred to, we will merely add that it is
in dircct violation of the act of Congress making the grant ; for fie in addition to the general rights of the corporation, before clearly
shown, we find a specific provision in the 5th section of the act of * grant, in which it is enacted, " that no part of the said land shall o be sold for less than two dollars and a half per acre, nor any sale
made until after three months public notice thereof, and to the