« AnteriorContinuar »
the contractor as he excavated the rock to dump we had better say, as any man in business would the stone outside, and that would form this rip- say, before he begins to make an appropriation of rap wall? A. Yes, sir.
his money to be disbursed by others than himsell, Q. He would have to dump the stone there "I want to see honest agents and honest any way, would he ? A. Yes.
servants before I am willing to embark Q. Ordinarily he would receive no pay for that, in any great or any doubtful enterprise." -merely dumping the stone as it was excavated. These canal contractors at this time seem to have no additional pay? A. No, sir; in my location control of the officers having charge of the canal of the line there would have been no stone there They are the persons that prowl around our nomof any consequence.
inating conventions. They are the persons that Q. In tho form in which the contracts are make the candidates for such offices. Wbere drawn up is there any clause requiring that stone they themselves will have some personal influ. taken out of excavations shall be allowed the ence with them. And it may be said that if you State, if they are used in the work? A. I believe take away from the people the choice of such offinot; I beliove the contract allows the contractor cers-take away from the nominating conventions to use all the material he finds on his work, and the power of naming individuals at the instigato have pay for it.
tion of the canal contractors, and give that power Q. So that the effect of throwing this line into to the Governor, and let him appoint such officers the bluff or hill would be to give the contractor by and with the consent of the Senate, for a long rock excavation, for which he was paid at a high term of years, you will reach that golden era price, while at the same time, the excavation sup- when honesty shall abound all over the State. I plied him with stone for which he was paid, and should like to see that tried before we put much which he used to make the rip-rap wall ? ' A. Yes, money in it. The same individuals that bang sir.)
around our nominating conventions and take care Q. Is there anything further that occurs to you that proper officers are selected for the canal of interest to this investigation ? A. Here is a board to suit their purposes, will take good care, remark Mr. Hanks makes about section 23. [Page when the power of appointing canal Officers is 77, State Engineer's Report of 1866.] “Section taken from the people and given to the Governor, No. 23 is increased heavily by a change in the lo- to make their influence felt in the choice of your cation of the highway, nearly the whole length Governor. And while I have nothing to say in of the section, by which means three or four regard to the Governors that we have had herebridges are dispensed with;" I do not see how tofore, and know nothing as against their honor dispensing with the bridges' should increase the or integrity, yet the candidates for Governor will expenses heavily.
be men, in spite of all the safeguards you may Q. Anything further? A. I do not think of throw around the office in the Constitution—they anything more.
will be subject to influences of those who will Now it may be said, in regard to all of my argu- make Governors. As I said before, I know ment on this question, that this has nothing to nothing against the honor or honesty of any of do with the proposition before us for the enlarge our late Governors nor the present one, but I ment of the canal and for the appropriation of know this, that they are filled with the same money for such purpose. To me it appears that emotions that exist in other men's breasts-they it has much to do. Until we get a good honest are alive to the emotion of gratitude, at system of accountability and integrity on the part least in one case-I speak of a lato of our public otficers, it is not safe to intrust Governor who is now one of our Senators. them with the disbursement of any more money, I refer to him who owes his election to the office and particularly so large an amount as is called of Senator by the betrayal of one of the reprefor even by the Canal Committee, and as has sentatives of Kings county in the Assembly, of been shown and I think the testimony here will the interests of his constituents. That member show, that eight millions of dollars, the estimated deserted those who trusted and elected him, and cost, will swell up to twice or three times that gave a vote which secured the election of this exsum. Claims will be made for damages by water Governor to the office of United States Senator. and flood, and claims will be made for addi- And, although that man has never dared to offer tional carth embankment to replace what con- himself again to the suffrages of his fellow-citizens tractors have improperly made, and canal officers in Kings county, he has not been dead to public will be found willing to allow such claims as life. The Senator that he made, procured his ap right and just. Now we who are opposed to pointment to go into the Southern States to look this expenditure at this time can say that, after the cotton existing there. He was cotton although the advocates of this enlargement agent of the treasury department for a long time, promise they will have a better system, it until that office was abolished. He returned to had better be left until that better system shall the city of Brooklyn, and was compelled to take be established. It is very easy for the people, at up his abode in one of our most magnificent very short notice upon a submission to them by brown-stone buildings, probably from the savings the Legislature, to authorize an expenditure of of the humble office that he filled as cotton agent. money for the enlargement of the canals or any But the gratitude of our ex-Governor did not stop increase of the public debt, if they think it will be there. He was able to prevail upon the Senate safe to do so, but until wo are satisfied that a to reject every candidate proposed by the Presisystem can be devised that will produce more in. dent for collector of internal revenue for our distegrity on the part of our public officers having trict until it reached that traitor to his party, and the disbursement of so large an amount of money' then the nomination was approved ; and he now
resides in our midst, holding the most important would receive interest punctually. And I know office of collector of internal revenue in one of our at this time that for every one hundred and fortycongressional districts-proving, in this instance two dollars' interest that we pay to our foreign at any rate, that although republics may be un creditors they do not in fact receive more than grateful, republican Governors and Senators cer- one hundred dollars in real cash.
Where we tainly are not. My colleague from Kings county pledged ourselves to pay a dollar, we force upon [Mr. Bergen] informs me that that collector of them greenbacks which no not produce and are internal revenue has just been arrested for fraud not worth that dollar. And I feel a blush of in his office and has been held to bail in fifty shame whenever I come across any traveler from thousand dollars.
Europe who is interested in our public debt, and Mr. AXTELL-Inasmuch as the gentleman has who holds our bonds, received in former times, referred to republican Governors and Senators in because we are compelling that man to submit to his argument, I would like to ask him this ques. a reduction of some twenty, thirty or forty per tion: if he knows the political complexion of that cent of the dues he is justly entitled to receive. class of persons to whom he refers, called the I turn from our State, which ought to be "excel
canal ring"—if he does not know that a major- sior” in this respect, to that State in the far West, ity of them were democrats ?
the State of California, that amidst all the trials Mr. BARNARD-Well
, that may be so, for and struggles of the past four years has remained aught I know. I have not treated this subject of true to her early teachings. In the Stato canals as a political matter at all. I may have of California a dollar means a dollar in gold, referred to canal commissioners that I knew were and nothing else; and when you offer democrats, that have been subject to the same a greenback to any citizen there he does vile influences as the commissioners that were not receive it
dollar--he receives elected on the other side. I should be very sorry it as seventy or seventy-three cents, acto have this question passed upon merely as a po- cording to what it will bring in gold in the litical question. I say the evil may be in the bad market. And California for the last three or four system. I care not who it is that picks my years has remained true in spite of the efforts of pocket-I should be just as much opposed to it our treasury department to get her people to if the pickpocket were a democrat as if he were make a change; in spite of threats that have been a republican. And if we were to look upon all made that acts of Congress would be passed the evidence given in this case, we might imagine compelling her people, under penalties, to recog. that this canal department was one great hen. nize this greenback currency. And now that a roost, composed of the white democratic hen, brighter day begins to dawn there, and now that hungry and starving, the conservative republican she has returned again to her early faith, we may yellow hen, getting a few crumbs from the table, be sure that she will continue to be true to her and, fically, the great, fat, republican black hens, plighted honor. And we may be sure that if the that have fed for a long time upon the riches of State of California and the State of New York, the public crib. And they all seem willing to should ever have occasion to compete together in submit to the clucking and treading of any crown the foreign market to obtain a loan, the State of ing cock that will take care to protect them while New York, with all its wealth and prosperity, feeding upon the public granary. I make no ex. and all its population, will be thrust aside and the ceptions, except that they who have had the right hand of confidence held out to California as power have failed to reform the public evil. I a State that has been true even in adversity. hope the gentleman from Clinton (Mr. Axtell] is Now, Mr. Chairman, as I have said before, when satisfied. If it is not the party, it is the system, our public debt shall be discharged, I cannot go and one or the other must be reformed. Now, so far as is proposed, that we should give up the hurrying on to a conclusion of my remarks, I wish tolls entirely on our canals, or that they should to stato that I do not desire to be considered as be reduced merely to the cost of the maintebeing opposed to the canal system. I have a dance and repair of the canals. I consider them ready said, "Give us an honest management, as our great internal improvement system. I guaranteeing it first by proper legislation, so that regard all our canals, whether they pay a we can see where we stand, and then, after the profit or not, as internal improvements that payment of our public debt from the revenues ought to be under the fostering care of our applicable to that purpose ; and if there is any State. And more than that, in those sections of other portion of the debt referred to in theso re- the State where canals cannot be used, I should ports which properly should be repaid into the like to see a portion of the revenue of these cabals public treasury from the canal revenues inas- given to them so that they may improve their much as it has been advanced for their benefit, I roads and railroads in order that people in every would have that money taken and applied in pay. part of the State can, in a very short time, not ment of the bounty debt of $26,000,000. I wish exceeding thirty-six hours in any case be transto sco the public debt discharged. I wish to see in ported from one extreme part of the State to the regard to our public matters what we can only other. That is what I would like to see-an insee when we are free from debt. I feel that this ternal improvement system that would give a State has not been true to its plighted faith in times revenue, not for the purpose of meeting our pubthat are past. I know that when we have wanted lic expenses, but a revenue to be appropriated to borrow we have made fair offers, and we have to roads and other internal improvements of induced persons not only in this state but in for that kind, throughout the State, in order to proeign countries to advance their money to our mote the prosperity and intercourse of our whole State as loans, under the guaranty that they people.
Mr. BERGEN–Mr. Chairman, whether a State now requires a territory extending over a large should own any more property than is absolutely portion of the State: In those days, outside of necessary for governmental purposes, leaving to this small circle, the cereals were almost the only individual or associated individual efforts under productions the farmer had to dispose of, and his proper restrictions, the developing of its resources, lands, from continued cultivation, and the difficulty and the providing of means of conveying its pro- of procuring manure to renovate them, were beductions from piace to place, or to market, is a coming exhausted, and afforded him a very precaquestion on which individuals differ, but which I rious support. I can even point out large tracts do not propose at present to discuss. The people in the county in which I reside, located within of this State have seen fit to construct a system ten miles of the city of New York, whose cultiva. of canals; they own them; the question now to tion from these causes was abandoned, and they be determined is, what shall be done with them ? were suffered to spring up with thorns and bushes, Are they, or any portion of them, insufficient, or and finally revert back to forests. What farmer likely soon to become insufficient, to perform the in those days, from the river counties of this work? If insufficient will it pay to improve them? State, dreamed of sending hay, potatoes, milk, Are any portions of them unproductive invest- fruit of all kinds, and other vegetables to the city ments ? The subject of the canals, whether man- of New York, and depending upon their producaged by individuals or the State, is one of great tions for his support? Who then, in the midimportance and on their success much of our pros- dle or the extreme western and southern counties perity depends. Iwell recollect, when in progress of this state dreamed of supplying said city with of construction, the Erie canal was called in de- apples and other fruit, and the numerous cities rision, Clinton's big ditch, and many of the farmers and villages that have liko magic sprung up on of Long Island and in the vicinity of New York the line of the canal with the vast amount of vegwere led to believe, that it would bring into com- etables their population consumes, and depending petition with their cereals, the cereals of the upon their sale for his maintenance ? These western part of the State, reduce their value, things have come to pass; these changes in the prove ruinous to their interests, besides creating agriculture of the State have been made, changes a debt which would be an incubus on their shoul- from which the farmers have reaped great benefits, ders, to continue from generation to generation, by means of which their condition has been never to be repaid from the profits of the concern. greatly improved, their comforts increased, and Even many of the leading merchants of the city untold wealth been poured in their laps. Now, of New York, as has been stated by the gentle- sir, this canal at its inception, as I understand it, man from Richmond [Mr. Brooks), opposed its was sustained by the people of this State mainly construction on the ground that it would prove on the ground that it would develop the reinjurious to the trade of the city. In spite of all sources of the State, and be the highway to the opposition, of prophecies of failure, the genius of sea-board for its productions. It has not only aeClinton, its founder, prevailed, and tho canal, in complished this, but much more; it has become 1825, was completed, uniting in one embrace the as is well known, the principal highway for the waters of the Atlantic with those of the great productions of the mighty West, a giant yet in its lakes. I well recollect the day of rejoicing when infancy, whose wailings, like those of a new-born this event took place, happening to be in Buffalo babe, are beginning to be heard, but whose voice at the time the celebration commenced. Instead by and bye will be sounded in our ears like thunof a failure, the Erie canal has proved to be an der, and in whose hands we will be held as childundisputed success, and has more than fulfilled ren. Tney intend to have cheaper transit for the anticipations of its projectors, which none, I their cereals to the markets of the world, they presume, will now dispute. It has not only devel- desire us so to manage our canals as to give it, oped the resources of the central and western and to continue this transit through the natural portions of this state, and caused the wilderness valley in our midst--a transit which will redound to blossom as the rose; but instead of destroying to the interest of the whole State, especially ta the trade of the city of New York and proving that of the metropolis. We have it in our power injurious to the interests of the agriculturists to secure the main portion of this transit, this in its immediate vicinity, it has probably done trade, and not only to continue but to multiply more to build up that city and make it the com- the benefits it has conferred. If we neglect this mercial metropolis of this continent, and to opportunity and refuse—if we adopt a shortfurther the interests of the agriculturists in sighted policy which will tie up our main artery or its vicinity, than all other causes combined. prevent its enlargement for probably the next twenIt has greatly aided in revolutionizing, and will ty years-our present advantages may vanish, and continue to revolutionize agriculture in this State. when too late, we will repent of our folly. The It has been the main cause of concentrating to-day may como, and our refusal to afford increased gether the present vast population of the commer- facilities will force it, when the mighty West, whose cial metropolis and its vicinity, of studding the hands will ere long wield the destinies of this counbeautiful banks of the bay of New York and the try, will, under the plea of military necessity, not Hudson, with beautiful villas, a population which only build the often referred to Niagara ship-canal, outside of the cereals requires an immense amount but also a ship-canal from the Chesapeake to the of other food to supply their wants; food for the lakes by the way of the Susquehanna, a project production of which, in the days of my youth, in favor of whose survey a resolution was passed when the Erie canal was in embryo, and the city in the House of Representatives of the Thirtyhad a population of but 96,000, a radius of about ninth Congress. Gentlemen may say that these ten miles around was able to supply, but which' projects are impossible, that nature has placed in
surmountable barriers in the way; but let them honorable gentleman [Mr. Conger], supposing reflect on what engineering skill has and is ac- that the Europeans might be supplied from elsecomplishing in these modern days in the piercing where, triumphantly asked, where is your marand scaling of mountains and the surmounting of ket? what will produce the increased transit of obstructions, the very idea of which a few years the cereals of the West on your canals ? I would ago would have been deemed chimerical. Let answer that gentleman, that the Eastern States this Susquehanna ship-canal be built and become a and the State of New York and New Jersey, as success, and posterity will see the myriads who is well known and admitted, do not raise one-half are destined to inhabit the mighty West pouring of what is sufficient for their support; that the the main portion of their trade in the lap of Bal. I population of this large territory, with the large timore instead of New York. Who among uscities in their midst, has increased and is increaswould desire this to take place? I will venture ing with great rapidity; that with the increase, as to answer not one. I well recoilect its being has been shown, less of the cereals are produced, whispered around in the Convention of 1846, other productions becoming necessary and more among some of the members from the city of profitable; and that to supply this increase will New York and its vicinity, that now was the time draw, as we now draw, more largely on the virgin to make the best terms we could to make sure of and fertile soils of the West, and this, letting the improvement of the Erie cana) so as to secure alone the probable European demand, will prothe trade of the growing West; that the people duce the increased transit and business of the of the central and western portions of the State canals. This population will require cheap bread, now favor it on account of its affording cheaper and it will be their interest, as well as that of transit for their productions; but that eventually the western producer, to have cheap transit. thero is danger when they find that it brings in the people of this State own the Erie canal and competition with their cereals the cereals of the the laterals I have named; they have seen fit to West, of their opposing it on the same selfish and engage in the transportation business, and are mistaken grounds, that mary of the farmers in running them in opposition to the railroads of this the vicinity of the city of New York opposed the State, those of other States, the Mississippi river, and canal more than twenty years before. We have the canals and rivers of Canada, with other rivals passed this period and there need be no fear on in embryo, To draw custom, to continue to make this score now, for if the cercals of the West their route profitable, they must so manage as to have mainly superseded those of our State, other make it the cheapest and most desirable, or otherand more profitable productions have taken their wise they are in danger of losing their business place. The honorable gentlemen who have ad- and sinking the capital invested. Now, sir, to comdressed this committee have produced the statis- pete with these rivals what would a prudent intics bearing upon the subject under consideration. dividual or incorporation owning the property un. It is therefore unnecessary for me to trouble the der these circumstapces do? Would he allow his committee with a repetition of them. Although route to lay still, and refuse to improve it and endiffering on what should be the true policy of the large its capacity so as to cheapen transportation State, there is one point on which, if I understand and secure not only his present customers, but them aright, they all agree, and that is that the also invite others who are sure to come, bepresent tolls on the Erie, Champlain, Oswego and cause there was a small mortgage on it, and wait Seneca and Cayuga not only are sufficient to pay until its profits had paid off the debt, running at for their collection and the maintenance of the the same time, by this delay, the risk of his rivals canals, but also afford a large profit, sufficient to by their improvements, securing the lion's share pay off in a few years all the expenses of the trade, and of having it diverted to other incurred in their construction and improvement channels? No prudent individual or corporation They also agree, and statistics prove it, that there would be guilty of such folly, or would hesitate is a gradual and nearly regular increase in the a moment in making the necessary improvements, amount of tonnage moved on the Erie canal. On even if a new mortgage was necessary to securė the capacity of the canal, on the amount of the object. No individual
, desirous of prospertonnage which can be moved on it in a year, and ing and accumulating property, who owned promwhether it is now at times taxed to about its full ises worth, say $50,000 which produced a rental capacity, they differ. On this point it becomes of $3,000 a year, and on which there was a mortevery member of this body to make up his mind gage of $5,000, would hesitate a moment to borfrom the best evidence he can obtain, and for my row on its security $5,000 more, to be used in self, after making use of all the light within my improvements, if these improvements would reach, I have come to the conclusion that at times greatly increase and perhaps double its rent. the present canal is taxed to its full capacity, Now, sir, what do the Canal Committee propose which might for some years be prevented if the to do with this property. They propose to imbusiness could be equally distributed through the prove it by gradually enlarging its locks and reseason of navigation, but that in practice this is moving obstructions in its channel, the effect of an impossibility. I believe that the trade of the which will be to increase its capacity and cheapWest, in the cereals and other productions, will en transportation; to make this improvement continue to increase in the future as in the past, from its surplus fuuds, without creating a dollar knowing from personal observation and other of new debt, but simply by making provision for sources that nearly one-half of the territory on extending the time of payment of a portion of this side of the Mississippi is as yet in a state of the present debt if it should be found necessary, nature and uncultivated, but destined soon to be by issuing new bonds to meet those which might made to yield food for the support of man. One fall due, and thus keeping inviolate the faith of
the State to the public credit, and paying, as one another question? Does the gentleman know gentleman opposed to the canal report, he said that the Cayuga and Seneca canal is only made desired to see doue, our present indebtednes in a paying and profitable canal by the tonnage the present depreciated currency. The commit- received from the Chemung canal? tee estimate the cost of this work at $8,000,000; Mr. BERGEN-It does not so appear in the in my judgment, if honestly managed, as pro auditor's report which is my authority. posed, it can be done for about this sum. If To proceed. According to the tables prepublic robbery and stealing are to continue to pared by the auditor of the canal department, be the order of the day, as they appear to (to be found on page 131, etc., of the 2d vol. have been under the late management, then of the Manual), the deficiency account with some no doubt it will cost more. For one, of these unproductive investments stands as I hope that this Convention will inaugu. follows: rate a new era, and that hereafter honesty Cost of superintendence, collection and repairs over will be the rule and dishonesty the exception in receipts during the last 20 years, paid by the Eric and the management of our public affairs. Suppose Chemung canal,... that in consequence of errors, of unforseen diffi. Crooked Lake canal..
309,341 84 culties, of stealings (which God forbid), it should Chenango canal,...
520,316 12 cost more, had we not botter expend the excess
Black River canal...
356.643 41 than run the risk of losing our present advanta- Oneida Lake canal..
Genesce Valley canal,
55,893 13 ges and the future benefit to be derived from our Baldwinsville canal,...
15,511 55 present investment? A prudent individual or corporation, in my judgment, under the circum.
Making a total of,...
$3,071,427 42 stances would not hesitate a moment. The com Or an annual average of........... $153,571 ST pletion of the Erie canal, instead of a failure,
Taking the last year as a guide the deficiency proving to be a success and beneficial to the in- account stands as follows: terests of the community not only in its immodiate vicinity, but directly or indiroctly to the whole Crooked Lake canal,.
7,369 16 State, induced the adjoining portions of the coun- Chenango canal,,..
80,116 18 try to desire lateral canals to further their inter. Black River canal,.
Genesee Valley canal, ests. They adroitly managed from time to time, Oneida Lake canal,
93, 110 68
4,168 72 to procure the passage of laws for their construc-Baldwinsville canal,
2,646 68 tion under the pretense that, they, like the Erie canal, would not only develop the resources of
Making a total of,
$270,584 40 portions of the State then wild and uncultivated,
In addition the auditor says that the locks of but would prove to be paying investments the Chenango in a short time will require rePerhaps more of these promises would have placing at an expense of not less than $1,000,000; been realized, if it had not been for railroads since that those of the Genesee Valley, of which there built, which havo diverted the trade in other are 110, must soon be requilt at a heavy channels. The friends of these laterale, whenever cost, and that the Oneida Lake canal is not now in an expenditure of money was necessary for the navigable order and is awaiting repairs or recorimprovement of the Erie, would unite their forces struction. Judging from the past, as time advanand manage to defeat it, unless appropriations for ces, we must expect these deficiencies to increase their local schemes were included. By this log-instead of diminishing. These canals, however, rolling process, and against the better judgment are entitled to some credit for the business they of some of the ablest
men of this state, the con- afford to the Erie, but after giving them all the struction of such laterals as the Genesee Valley, credit to which in any way they are entitled, it the Crooked Lake, the Chenango, the Black River, yet leaves them unproductive and a clog and an the Oneida Lake, the Baldwinsville, and the Che incubus on the resources of the State. By the mung have been constructed, one of them not as auditor's supplementary account (on the 450th yet completed, whose tolls never have, and prob. page of the 2d vol. of the Manual) there has been ably to the end of time never will pay the cost of expended in the construction, enlargement, maintenance and collection. The Champlain, the extension and improvement of these canals as Oswego, and the Seneca and Cayuga have proved follows: to be, and are likely to continue, paying invost-Chemung canal,.
$1,273, 261 86 ments and are therefore worthy of preservation Chenango canal..
Crooked Lake canal,..
333, 287 27
2, 782, 124 19 and the fostering care of the State.
Black River canal,
3, 224,779 55 Mr. SPENCER - Does the gentleman know Genesce Valley canal,
5,827, 813 72 that the Chemung canal by its contributions to
Oneida Lake canal,
64,837 68 Baldwinsville canal,
22,556 14 the Erie canal, to the Cayuga and Seneca canal and the tolls upon the tonnage from it, and the Making a total of,
$13,528,660 41 tolls which have been received upon it, upon the Now, sir, the question arises, what shall be Erie and the Cayuga and Seneca canals for ton done with these non-paying and unproductive nage delivered upon the Chemung canal, has not canals ? Shall we continue to run them forever only paid the cost of its maintenance, but the as recommended by the majority of the Committee actual interest upon its entire cost of construction, on Canals at a present annual loss of over $270,leaving to-day over $600,000 besides ?
000, with a certainty of a regular increase Mr. BERGEN-I do not so understand it by for the benefit of their respective localities, the report of the auditor.
and that too with a necessity staring us in the Mr. SPENCER-Will the gentleman allow med face of almost immediately expending several