Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

The sixth exception relates to "miany items of expense koown to exist," which have not been estimated by the Engineer or the committee. Your committee have already remarked, that no one of their number pretends to be skilled in the science of Engineering;- no one of them would be able to make out the particular items of expenditure in the construction of a canal, so as to be satisfied of its correctness; and they will not presume to say, that there are not "many items of expenditure known to exist by the committee of the House," not included by the Engineer or that committee. If any such items were known to exist by your committee, they would feel bound to specify them; but as none such are known, they submit this exception to the decision of ihe Senate, without further remark.

At page 9, it is stated in the Report, that “a number of items have been referred to, which appear to be entirely omitted by the Engineer in his report; but a reference to the contracts already let, will show that the Engineer nevertheless considered them essential and indispensable portions of the wook," and a long list of items are copied from cor.tracts to prove the correc!ness of this statement; but there is a total absence of any statement by the committee, or of any witness exam. iued before them, that any such work will be required as that specified in the list, upon any part of the canal. It is, however, to be presumed, that parts of it will be required, but there is a total omission on the part of the committee to give any specification of items supposed to be omilted by the Engineer.

An examination of the printed forms of contracts for the construction of canals and raii roads, will show that the same form is generally used for every contract; and the forms are made to include every possible description of vork on every part of the line. Contractors are furnished with these forms, and allowed to fill them up as they please; and if a contractor should fill the blank under the head for 'grubbing, felling, and clearing trees without the canal,' in contracting for a section in the open prairie, the error might not be noticed, and if noticed, would not be considered of suthcient consequence to require correction. From the faet that the engineers and commissioners state the estimates to have been made with reference to contracts in the course of execution, it can hardly be presumed that such important omissions have occurred as are suppused in that part of the report now under consideration; and it is positively asserted by the commissioners that the estimates include all the items of expenditure known or believed to exist. And your committee are the more fully satisfied upon this point, from the want of any specification of omitted items by the committee of the House.

Your committee have reviewed the estimates and statements of the committee of the flouse, because an argument was predicated upon them in favor of a change in the plan of the canal. The argument used by that committee is, that this part of the canal will cost a much larger sum than has been estimated by the cngineer, and therefore, the

plan of the Canal ought to be changed, and hence the necessity of reviewing the facts and statements from which this arguinent is drawn, and upon which reliance is had for its support.

It cannot but strike the mind of every one who will look at the report, that the committee of the House take no exception to the estimales upon the Middle and Western Divisions, except to the item of “superintendence and contingencies." At page 20 of the Report it is said, “Your commillee believe the estimate low, but have adopted itex. cept the item of superintendence and contingencies.” At page 21 of the Report, it is said "the cost of the Western Division, according to the Engineer, is $1,272,055 08. In shis estimate, your committee will concur (although they think it too low) except in the item of contingencies and superintendence.” How it could happen that all the important errors in the estimates have been found to exist upon one division of the canal, your committee will not pretend to say: but they do frankly confess their surprise at such a result, It may also be considered as a fact worthy of notice, that whilst the estimaies of Mr. Gooding are considered too low, those made by Mr. Hurd for the improvement of the river, are assumed to be correct; but for the purpose of being“sufficiently liberal” fiiiy per cent, is added 10 Mr. Hurd's es. timales; and yet, by a comparison of the estimates of Messrs. Gooding and Hurd, the estimates of the latter will be found lower than the former by nearly one half, as will appear by the following extracts from the Reports: Mr. Gooding's estimate prices.

Mr. Hurd's estimate prices.

$ cta Earth excavation per c. yd. 23 9-10 Earth excavation,per c. yard. 15 Rock excavation (above

1 23 82-100

Rock excavation (under water, per yd.

1 50

water) per yd. § Embankment,

25 26-100 Embankment av'ge.price, 16 82-100 Blope Wall per perch, 2 78 Slope Wall per perch

50 Lockage per foot lift, 3,000 00 Lockage per foot lift, 1500 00 Dan radioen Foor , River, } Dam across Illinois

8 22 river, per lineal foot.

} Dam across Des Plains ? 25 00 River at Juliet, per ft. )

1510 53 82-100 3,032 78 9-10 Your committee will now proceed 10 the examination of the second and bird reasons assigned why a change should be made in the summit division of the canal, viz: the length of time required, and the difficulties and cost of construction. These are reasons which have ofteu been urged and acted apon by those who have been opposed to the policy of the state's andertaking so stupenduous a work; but the judgment of the people has long sivce been pronounced against their sufficiency. Your com. mittee will not pretend but that there are many difficulties to be encountered in the prosecution of the work, and that from five to eight years may be required for its completion. Having arrived at the same conclusion with all others wbo have examined the subject (except the committee of the House,) that in order to construct such a canal as the

Da

cts.

28 28

pation has a right to expect, the waters of the Lake must be used. The question naturally recurs, shall the State persevere in the work, or shall the project be abandoned? These are the real questions to be considered, in answering the reasons assigned for the proposed change; and as these questions are general and applicable to the whole line of the work, their consideration will be deferred until the second proposition for a change is considered and disposed of.

Your committee in turning its attention to the second proposition contained in the report of the committee of the House, are happily relieved from any extraneous investigations about the estimates of the Engineer; and the question here presented is, shall the project of the canal be abandoned for a distance of sixty miles, and the project of Black water navigation substituted? In the examination of this question, the committee regret that their means and souices of information are not more ample and satisfactory. If the committee of the House have failed in their object of -proving that their plan is "every way the preferable mode of securing the navigation desired,” it does not from thence follow, that the plan ought not to be adopted. It is, however, due to that committee, that a candid examination should be made of the reasons upon which they have predicated their opinion.

· The first reason given is, “hat all the dams and locks necessary to this improvement, can be located on Stale lands; and thereby greatly enhance the value of those lands. Secondly, that a water power will be created almost incalculable in amount. Thirdly, that the cost of the improvement will be greatly diminished."

The fact upon which the first position of the committee is assumed, are not stated in the Report, and it cannot therefore be expected that this committee can decide upon the correctness of that assumption.It is known that every alternate section of land lying upon the river belongs to the State; but in the absence of examinations and surveys, it would seem to be impossible for any one to say, that all the dams and locks can be located on State lands. This reason, although with. out examination, may appear to have much force, cannot be considered as any thing more than a problematical opinion.

The second reason urged, viz: the creation of water power, will not be controverled; but the value and duration of that power, must depend upon so many contingencies, ihat its value caunot be estimated, nor its use for any given time, be calculated upon with any degree of certainty.

- The third reason urged, viz: that the cost of the improvement will be greatly diminished, will not be controverted, but of the value of that "improvement compared with the value of a canal and the comparative, advatages of the two descriptions of improvements have not been discsused in the report.

In the opinion of your committee, the facts stated, and the reasons urged in favor of this change, are not such as wonld justify or authorize Legislative action. In the first place, it may be urged as an objection to this plan, that from the nature of the improvement, it will be

precarious and liable to many casualties. In the second place, the damming of the river, may overflow large bodies of land, and not only render them uninhabitable, but destroy the health of the inbabitarts in their vicinity.

In the third place, it may be urged, that by the adoption of this im. provement, you make it absolutely necessary to transship goods or produce passing up the river for the port of Chicago; and thereby increase the time and cost of transportation. Upon this subject, Mr. Buck. liu in his Report in 1832, says: "In the examination of the Rap. ids of the Illinois River, below the mouth of Fox River, (one of the duties prescribed by the State Legislature of 1830–'31,) it was ascertained ihat the establishment of a still water navigation, was the most certain and effectual method of improving them. It is nevertheless, considered of 100 precarious a nature to be recommended with any degree of confidence in its permanency and usefulness as a substituie for a continuation of the rail way. The banks of the river, as has been before mentioned, expand into a broad low bottom for some miles above the foot of the Rapids, which in high water is liable to inundation to a considerable depth. A steam boat canal, therefore, with high embank. ments, becomes necessary through these low grounds, for two miles and a half, to connect the nearest point, where the river is capable of being dammed with ihe river below the foot of the Rapids. No silua. tion probably can afford a better site and foundation for a dam of the same length; but the immense bodies of ice passing down a river situated in so high a latitude must expose it to great danger, and render it a very insecure and expensive structure."

If the objections here stated to the adoption of this project are not deemed valid, and of a character to require its rejection, the committee might with confidence appeal to the experience and policy of other Slaies. It is believed, that no State in the Union has ever resorted to this description of improvement, where a .canal was practicable. No example or instance of such a case has been referred to by the commit. the of the House, and in inany of the States, canals have been con. structed along the line of rivers, the navigation of which might have been improved, if that description had been considered equal to canals. But the recent discovery of coal mines below Ottawa, as shown by the testimony of the Canal Coinmissioners, is an additional reason, why the canal project should not be abandoned. If these mines should, upon further examination, prove to be as extensive as present appear. ances indicate, the canal should be continued if for no other reason to obtain the advantages which must result from the coal trade; but thero is still another reason, viz: The effect upon the value of Canal lands, and Canal property. At the termination of ihe Canal upon the pres. ent plan, a large and populous city must soon spring up, and the value of the State property at that place, can only be estimated by a comparison between the importance of that point and Chicago; and a reforence to the amount produced by the sale of lots at the latter place. If it be urged, Ibat by adopting slack water navigation, the ralue of all

the lands on both sides of the river will be greatly enhanced, the force of this argument is lost in the fact, that there would be no point on the canal possessing superior commercial advantages; and that there would be no place for the concentration of rival capital seeking investment. The Mississippi river is navigable at all seasons, and the argument which would prove that the canal property will be as much increased in value by slacking the water of the Illinois, as by making a great commercial point at the termination of the canal, would also prove that the lands on the Mississippi five miles below St. Louis, are as valuable as property in that city. For these and other obvious rea sons, the committee are of opinion that the change proposed ought not to be made.

In addition to what has been said in reference to the two propositions fo change the plan of the canal, your committee cannot but express their deep regret, that any proposition should have been submitled in. volving questions of so much importance, and requiring so much consideration and investigation as those contained in the report of the committee of the House, connected with inquiries relating to persons, and to local and sectional interest. It has been the anxious desire of your committee to separate the questions involving the interest of the state, from those of a local, sectional, and personal character, and to ascertain what measures are required to be adopted by the interest of the state. In the opinion of your committee the great question to be decided by the representatives of the people is, as before stated, shall the state progress with the canal or shall ii be abandoned ? Although r.o proposition has been directly submitted embracing these points, yet it must be obvious that any action on the part of the Legislature, wbich Bhall weaken or destroy public confidence in the practicability of the work, or in regard to ihe determination of the state 10 prosecute it with all possible expedition, will at once destroy the means set apart for its completion. It is a work nasional in its character, and the people of Hlinois should rejoice at the opportunity offered, of being instrumental in executing a work of such vast magnitude and importance. The eyes of the civilized world are resting upon us with intense interest, for our success in a work which promises such extensive and incalculable advantages to these United States. The people of the United States are looking !o the completion of this work, as form. ing the last link in an endless chain which shall forever hold these United States in the bonds and pledges of union, and your committee ask in the name of the civilized world, in the name of the people of the United States, and in the name of Illinois, that no local, sectional, or private interest be consulted in the decision about to be made.

The magnitude of the work, and the difficulties attending its execution have been long knowr, and considered. The representatives of the people did not engage in the work without a due consideratioa of those difficulties. The interest which the nation has taken in the project is evidenced hy the act of Congress changing the northern boja

« AnteriorContinuar »