페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

intended chiefly for military purposes) has been proving the channels of the rivers; hence the com. made by individuals or companies, who have been pany last mentioned determined in compliance frequently assisted by parliamentary bounty. with the suggestions of Mr. Weston, a British en

si On the continent of Europe, where the oppo gineer, whom they had imported for their sersite plan is usually pursued, the evils which we vice), to extend their canal from river to river, a have previously mentioned, almost universally pre distance of 70 miles. In conjunction with the forvail. Baron Dupin, in his valuable treatise on the mer company they nearly completed 15 miles of the public works of Great Britain, most ably and con most difficult parts of the two works; comprising vincingly describes these evils.

much rock excavation, heavy embankments, exten. “ The success which it is alleged has attended sive deep cuttings, and several locks which were the execution of the grand canal by the state of constructed with bricks. In consequence of the New York, may perhaps be adduced in opposition commercial difficulties (in which it is known that to this opinion.

some of the chief stockholders were shortly after “ But the exception is only apparent; tlfe splen- involved, both companies were compelled to suspend dour of the result threw a veil over the many abuses their operations after the expenditure of $440,000. which occurred during the prosecution of that The suspension of these works, and some years after work; some of these abuses are already known to of the Chesapeake and Delaware canal, had a most the public, and doubtless many remained concealed. disastrous effect on every similar work which was The same remark may be applied to many of the projected for many years afterwards. Frequent atpublic works in various parts of the Union. The tempts were made from the year 1795 to resume instances are extremely few in which the benefits operations; and there cannot be a doubt, if the state necessarily resulting from this plan will so far had immediately, on the first appearance of embar. counterbalance the evil, as to render necessary its rassment, bestowed that liberal pecuniary assistadoption. The unassisted efforts of individuals ance (which it eventually proffered when too late), when at once protected and restrained by judicious that these canals would have been completed, and acts of incorporation, will be usually sufficient for some of their patriotic and enterprising projectors the purpose of accomplishing such works of inter rescued from ruin. nal improvement, as the public welfare may really “ Notwithstanding the subscription to the stock require. If such works should require the expen- of the companies of $300,000, which was subsediture of larger sums than an incorporated com- quently tendered by the state, these corporations pany can procure, the public treasury may then be continued to maintain a mere languishing existence. required to supply the deficiency. Such accord “In the year 1811, these two bodies (which were ingly has been the policy of Pennsylvania. Until re- chiefly composed of the same individuals), were rccently, nearly all the turnpike roads, bridges, canals, organised and united by an act of assembly into and rail ways in the state, were executed by char one company-siyled, the Union Canal Comtered companies; the state frequently subscribing pany. to the stock, or making liberal donations in aid of " In this act they are specially authorised to exthe projects.

tend their canal from Philadelphia to Lake Erie, "In some cases, where the commonwealth sub with the privilege of making such further extenscribed for too large a proportion of the stock, or sion, in any other part of the state, as they may incautiously advanced the funds, fraud and extrava deem expedient. As this work may be justly styled gance in the management were the almost inevita the great parent of all the canals which have since ble consequences. We therefore deem it peculiarly been executed in our country; inasmuch as it was fortunate, that, the preamble to the charter of the projected, surveyed, described and held up for the first companies authorised to make internal im- imitation of other states, long ere the subject of provements, contains a distinct recognition of the canals had attracted attention in any other part of principle for which we have been contending. As the Union (although the disasters which we have further investigation of this subject would occasion previously mentioned, retarded its completion until a digression from the immediate subject which we a very recent period); the interest which conseare engaged in examining, we will resume our de- quently attaches to its history, induces us at prescription of the proceedings of the second company. sent to describe it more minutely. to which we have previously alluded, viz. the com " As large sums were required to resume operapany incorporated the 10th of April 1792, to effect tions with success on this canal, the legislature by a junction of the Delaware with the Schuylkill an act passed March 29th, 1819, granted an interest river, by a canal extending from Norristown to of six per cent to the subscribers to the stock to Philadelphia; a distance of 17 miles. The Schuyl- be raised for this purpose: this interest was to be kill river from the former city to Reading was to taken from the proceeds of the lottery before menbe temporarily improved; and thus form with the tioned. By an additional act, March 26th, 1821, works of the Susquehanna and Schuylkill company, the state guarantied this interest. an uninterrupted water communication with the “ The additional subscriptions which were obinterior of the state; with the intention, as we have tained in consequence of this legislative encouragepreviously remarked, of extending the chain 10 ment, enabled the managers to resume their operaErie and Ohio. Experience soon convinced the tions this year, 1821. The line of the canal was two companies that a greater length of canal was re-located, the dimensions changed and the whole requisite, in consequence of the difficulties of im work finished in about six years from this period;

although thirty-seven years had elapsed from the rivers in our country; at the present hour, Pennsylcommencement of the work, and sixiy-five years vania is unrivalled in the number, the magnitude, from the date of the first survey.

and the boldness of her bridges. 66 The Union Canal is nearly 80 miles in length " Rail-roads were also first introduced in Pennfrom Middletown on the Susquehanna to a point on sylvania. In 1816, the first rail-road on which selfthe Schuylkill a short distance below Reading. It acting inclined planes were erected, was executed is calculated for boats of 25 to 30 tons burthen. by Mr. Boggs on the Kiskeminetas river; others

“ At Middletown, it is connected with the grand (of small extent it must be confessed) were exePennsylvania canal leading to Pittsburg and Erie, cuted in several coal mines: at the present time 67 to Tioga in the north, and to the Bald Eagle on the rail-roads, varying from 100 yards to 22} miles, are west branch of the Susquehanna. At Reading it is in actual operation in this state alone; and includconnected with the works of the Schuylkill naviga- ing nine, which are in rapid progress, the aggregate tion company leading to Philadelphia.

number of miles which will be in operation before 6. The course of this canal is nearly parallel to the termination of the present year will be 312. the rivers Tulpehocken and Swatara, a route ren Several of these roads have double tracks, which

ered necessary by the bold and abrupt declivities do not form part of the preceding estimate. Mo which invariably prevail on the margin of those than 35 years ago, Oliver Evans, of Philadelphia, streams."

discovered the hitherto unsuspected value of rail" Pennsylvania may justly claim the credit of be- roads, and published to the world that their merits ing the mother of the internal improvements of the had been unappreciated, their properties misunderUnion. Seventy-seven years ago, two of her en stood, and their capacity for extended usefulness lightened citizens first introduced canals to the pub- undeveloped. He earnestly maintained, that they lic attention, by means of numerous publications; ought not to be confined to limited districts, as the and seven years afterwards, by a survey of a route mere auxiliaries, or inferior substitutes to canals; for the present Union Canal. This work was sub- that they were, in fact, greatly superior to the latter sequently commenced in 1791, and four miles of it for the purposes of general commerce, and on the were navigable in 1794--5, when the work was sus. most extended lines. In these just, and now popupended. One division of the line-the Schuylkill -- lar opinions, he stood alone-holding them not the was resumed by another company in 1816, and has less indubitable because they originated with him. been in operation since 1824. The period of its No human being, either in Europe or elsewhere, commencement and opening was prior to that of had even dreamed that rail-roads were adapted to the New York canal, a work which many persons the transportation of passengers or merchandise, erroneously suppose to be the first in point of date, or that they could be usefully extended beyond a executed for the purpose of connecting the great length of a few miles. rivers &c, of the interior with the sea board. The “ The idea of employing steam as a means of Schuylkill navigation is the greatest undertaking propelling carriages, is well known to be almost yet achieved in America by individual enterprise. coeval with the invention of the steam engine; but The canals of Pennsylvania are more extensive than no mode of effecting this had ever been tried, or those of any state in the Union, being one-third of even suggested, unless the mere project of Wati, the aggregate amount existing in the United States. (which, with great deference be it mentioned, is 837,000,000 bave been expended by Pennsylvania, now acknowledged to be utterly impracticable), and by companies chartered by her, on works to which was never even attempted, be considered as facilitate inland navigation, rail-roads, turnpikes, an exception. Oliver Evans, who had never heard and bridges, in addition to the enormous expendi- of steam being applied to this purpose, was early tures on roads and bridges by her counties. The impressed with its importance, and commenced his sum above mentioned has been laid out since 1791, celebrated experiments in 1784, and finished his and the greater part of it since 1815. It may, per- first engine in 1801. Poverty compelled him to sell haps, create a smile if the canal system, which has it to be used for another purpose. The other maattained such an astonishing growth in the United chinery of the carriage was in existence a few years States, be traced to its very embryo. The little in- ago. He immediately commenced another engine significant canal, of about three-fourths of a mile and carriage, and in the latter part of the winter of in length, formed by cutting off the bends and deep- 1803—4 he propelled it by steam through the ening the channel of Dock Creek, in Philadelphia, streets of Philadelphia, in the presence of more than a work which modern improvements have oblite. 20,000 astonished and hitherto incredulous specrated (with the exception of about 100 yards which tators. No rail-way then existed in America to still remain), was executed more than a century and test the capacity of this rude but primitive locomoa quarter ago, and was, perhaps, the first canal ex tive steam-engine: a temporary rail-way (th ecuted in Pennsylvania, or in the Colonies! The ever attempted in America), was employed to preroad leading from Philadelphia to Lancaster, made vent the wheels sinking into the ruts, or inequalinearly forty years ago, was the first turnpike in the ties, on part only of the road traversed. This was Union. Whilst the old bridges over the Schuylkill the humble origin of that wonderful machine which &c., near Philadelphia (which have given place to is destined to revolutionize commercial intercourse the noblest structures of the kind in America), were by land. The plans and numerous drawings of Mr. the first large structures erected for the passage of Evans were sent to Europe, by his agent, and exc

hibited to many persons; his suggestions were repairing rail-roads is generally less than the cost copied without acknowledgement, and others have of canals. reaped the benefit of his discoveries.

“ 3. Rail-roads are almost without exception) • The superiority of rail-roads to canals, even less circuitous than canals. when horses were employed on both, was zealously 66 4. The transportation of goods and passengers maintained by Evans before it had been imagin- can be effected with a much greater speed on railed in Europe or this country, and their greater roads than on canals. Locomotive engines, on rail. superiority, when locomotive engines should be ways, now travel at a rate which almost realizes adopted, was repeatedly pressed on the public the lover's dream--the annihilation of space and attention. He endeavoured, without success, to time. Riding on the wings of the wind is a dilaurge the execution of a road from Philadelphia to tory process, compared to the more than hurricane Pittsburgh, and several years after, of a rail-road speed which has been already attained on several from this city to New York; in the latter he offered rail-roads. The fleetest of the animal creation has to take stock to the amount of $25,000; but he was been distanced by the iron limbs of a race horse, in ad vance of the age in which he lived. His pro- whose fiery spirit never flagse whose muscles never jects were regarded as visionary; although, at the tire, who, in a single month, can travel over a space present moment, both of these important roads are equal to the circumference of the great globe which in rapid progress, and, in a few months, passengers we inhabit; a courser, who, moreover, can draw, will be whirled over these rail-ways, and gratefully when required, 1000 persons in his train, with a remember their benefactor, Oliver Evans: a man speed which even the philosophers of the age but whose projects have been in this instance accom- yesterday pronounced as the dream of the visionary. plished, and whose predictions have been fulfilled “ The important consequences of rapid travelto the very letter; although a strait jacket. was ling, to those who are in pursuit of business or voted to him formerly, almost by acclamation, as pleasure, may be mentioned--the facility of a frethe reward of his genius. Fitch, who constructed quent and expeditious intercourse among friends and the first steam-boat at Philadelphia in the year relatives, merchants, manufacturers, and farmers1787, and Fulton, of Pennsylvania, who successfully especially in cases of urgency--the conveyance of introduced steam navigation, also obtained poverty the mail, of troops and munitions of war, in case of and ingratitude as the reward of their exertions." invasion or insurrection, &c. Again, many articles

[When the preceeding volumes of the Encyclo- will acquire a new value; provisions, which are inpædia were composed, rail-roads were in their in- capable of long preservation-meat, poultry, fish, fancy; since that period they have acquired a new oysters, milk, butter, eggs, vegetables, &c., may and important character. As they have attracted be brought from an immense distance for consumpgreat attention in the United States, the following tion. Goods can be forwarded to suit the emer. comparison and descriptions, extracted from the gencies of commerce. The port which has access essay of G. W. Smith, also are inserted.]

to the interior by a rail-road may take time by the - The attention of the writer was attracted to forelock, and her merchants may avail themselves of rail-roads when he was a boy. At a subsequent the constant fluctuations, the rapid changes in the period he visited Europe in 1820 and 1821 and ex-markets, foreign and domestic. They may hold inamined the internal improvements of Great Britain, tercourse with the immense regions of the interior particularly the rail-roads of that country), with at the most favourable moment, when the rivers and great attention. Immediately after his return in highways are in the best condition--when their 1821, he commenced his efforts for the purpose of snail-paced rivals, on canals, cannot even creep in introducing them into the United States. "In ad- sight of the districts where the harvest may have vocating their superiority to canals, he for a long been already reaped. Again, their capital can be time stood alone and unsupported. `In the year more frequently circulated from the frequency of 1824 and subsequently, numerous essays and pam- their receipts and expenditures; consequently, a phlets were written by him on this subject, and less amount of capital will be sufficient. distributed gratuitously throughout the Union. 5. Rail-roads are more easily kept in repair,

“These preliminary remarks being made, a descrip- and, when injured, the trade on the line is not necestion of the rail-roads of the United States will next sarily and entirely stopped, although it may be somebe given, including a list of all the rail-roads already times impeded: their repairs can be speedily and made, which exceed five miles in length; and a de- cheaply effected within a certain period of time; conscription of several of the principal works in detail; sequently, the transportation on them will be regular, this will enable the reader to understand the various and without unforeseen and vexatious embarrass. modes of construction which are resorted to in the ment and loss, and the consumer and producer will different parts of the Union, preinising that rail- not at any time be deprived of a market. roads are, generally, preferable to canals, particu

66. Rail-roads can be used during all seasons; larly in the United States, for the following reasons: they are not rendered useless by the frosts of win

"1. They are practicable in every situation where ter or the droughts of summer, which materially the wants of the community may require them. Ca. detract from the utility of canals; whilst the connals are frequently impracticable, either from a stant liability of the latter to accidents, and the deficiency of water, or from physical obstacles difficulty, tediousness, and uncertainty attending which would render the expense enormous. their repairs, diminish the limited period in which

“2. The cost of constructing, maintaining, and they might otherwise be employed. The greater

exemption from injury (at least of that species liable to injury--to injury easily inflicted--suscepti. which interrupts transportation), which character. ble of concealment, and most disastrous in its effects izes rail-roads, has been already mentioned. The requiring much time and expenditure to repair. observation may be made, that no interruption, Anembankment may be perforated by a stick in a few eden of a single day, has occurred on any of the seconds; the water, at first oozing out almost imdouble track rail-roads since their first introduc- perceptibly, would soon enlarge the aperture; and tion into the United States. On the Mauch Chunk the rushing and uncontrollable torrent would sweep rail-road (which is a single line, hastily construct- away the most stupendous embankments, and strew ed, and the materials and plan not calculated for their ruins over the desolated fields below them. duration), interruption has occurred but five days, Many miles of the canal would thus be rendered from its commencement in 1827 to the present time. unnavigable. The injury inflicted on a rail-road is Other roads have been more fortunate. Some of confined to the spot where the outrage is perpetratour canals are situated among the mountains, and ed. Canals have been injured in the manner just in districts much elevated above the level of the mentioned, in the United States; and the writer has ocean; consequently, they are frozen for a longer seen the damage which, on one or two occasions, time than those near the tide water, which are open has been sustained. only 250 days in the year in the northern states; 6. The use of canals is, from all these various and even this brief period may be diminished by causes, not only limited, but also very uncertain: drought in summer, and by leaks, breaches, and fleets of boats are frequently detained without a other accidents. Great interruprion is occasioned moment's warning; sometimes for weeks, and even by the frequent freshets of our rivers, which, rising months; sometimes, also, they are suddenly frozen in their might, shake off the trammels which the up. The present year has afforded a striking illuspuny efforts of man have attempted to prescribe for tration of the defects of canals. The transition Their gorernance: vast masses of ice, huge trees, from autumn to a most severe winter was effected and the wrecks of bridges, dams, and other struc- in a few hours; hundreds of boats were suddenly tures, are borne away by a resistless force, and frozen up, and thousands and tens of thousands of hurled with tremendous violence against the dams tons of coal, produce and merchandise could not be and banks of the canals which they encounter in 'taken to their places of destination. The cities of their progress. Some of the dams of the Pennsyl. Philadelphia and New York were destitute of their vania canal are injured, or prostrated, almost every supply of fuel; the most serious inconvenience, and year. During the last year the navigation of the even intense suffering among the poor, was the rewhole western division was suspended for the sum- sult: several persons perished in consequence of mer and autumn by accidents; and the state canals, the cold; whilst a raging epidemic spread misery have from these causes, been navigable only for a and death in an unusual proportion among the desfew months in each year. During the present year,

titute. The price of fuel rose 100, and even 200, already have three great dams, which are essential per cent. The whole commerce of the country was to the supply of the leading canals of Pennsylvania; paralyzed. If rail-roads had been adopted in lieu been swept with the besom of destruction. This of the existing canals, transportation could have havock will be of frequent occurrence, and the whole been effected without any interruption. The city of commerce of the interior will be suspended, some Baltimore was abundantly supplied, every day, by limes for several months.

means of her rail-roads: fuel was sold at lhe usual " The repairs of the damages on the Pennsylva- price. The saving in this single article has been nia canals, which the recent freshets have occa sufficient to render the value of these roads more sioned, will require many months, and the expendi- generally appreciated. During the previous winter ture of at least $450,000.

a deep snow covered the country—the canals, as “ The opponents of rail-roads have alleged that usual, were sealed with ice, and even the great highthey are peculiarly liable to injury—that the rails ways of the country were for some days impassmight easily be broken or displaced by persons ma able. The snow drifts were heaped up in the exliciously disposed. If this should be done, the cavations of the rail-roads to a height of many feet wagons could be drawn for a short distance on the —but the application of the snow.plough removed natural surface of the ground to the part of the rail. every impediment from the rails, and the interway which might remain uninjured. The injury course continued without interruption. could be speedily repaired, aud the travelling would " The great rivers of our country, by means of be either uninterrupted or slightly impeded. No which most of the interior commerce of our citiinjury would be sustained by the embankments; for zens is conveyed, usually rise, and are in a good it would require as much labour and time to de- condition for navigation very early in the spring, stroy them as was expended in their construction. or in the early and latter part of the winter: they Every work of man may be injured by violence. rise and fall rapidly at all seasons: the canals which Our dwellings, our bridges, our ships, may become connect them are often necessarily of great length, the prey of the incendiary; all our property is at and are trammelled by numercus locks. The cargo the mercy of the desperate and malignani. But does of a boat, if sent from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh by this contingent evil ever induce mankind to forego the Pennsylvania canal (even if the latter were nathe certain benefit which results from the use of vigable as early in the season as the great rivers of such property? Such contingent evil is not, how. the west-a circumstance scarcely ever to be ex. ever, peculiar to rail-roads—canals are much more pected), could not reach its place of destination in

less than a fortnight, even if it proceeded day and of winter or the drought of summer, is productive night--and the time would probably be longer. In of litile injury-when canals, or slack-water navigathe mean time the rivers might subside, and their tion, can be effected at a cheaper rate, or, finally, navigation be impeded. The Susquehanna, at Mid- when by means of a short canal, connecting an ex. dletown, is swarming with vessels which descend tensive line of existing navigation, a transhipment that river during the freshets, and are detained for can be prevented. Every case must depend on its days at the locks of the Union canal before they can peculiar circumstances; and the conclusion will enter it in their regular turn. Again, at the open not, therefore, be invariable. The remark may, ing of many canals, in the spring, the sudden de however, be made, that there is not a canal exluge of trade creates a glut in the market-a depre. ceeding five miles in length, in Pennsylvania, New ciation in the price of produce, which is extremely York, New England, or Ohio (and some other injurious to the proprietors; at other seasons there states might be mentioned), which is not a clear is a scarcity, equally injurious to the merchant and misapplication of capital; in every instance railto the consumer. Both results are prejudicial; they roads would be far preferable. The canal system is derange all calculations, interfere with the regular superannuated and incapable of improvement: it is course of industry, and render trade a lottery. Re unable to withstand the assaults of its youthful, vigularity, not less than certainty, constitutes the gorous, and popular adversary-whose movements

In these desirable and all-im- outstrip the speed of the wind a giant who is daily portant properties, rail-roads are immeasurably su- increasing in strength, improving in skill, abounding perior to canals.

in resources, and exhibiting a capacity in accord7. Rail-roads do not injure the health of the ance with the spirit of the age. This adversary, districts through which they pass: canals occasion engendered by the necessities and nurtured by the wide-spread disease and mortality: the damp at civilization of the nineteenth century, is about to mosphere, hovering over them and their vicinity, terminate the supremacy of its once favoured rival is eminently prejudicial to health; the deadly mi -a rival to which but yesterday it was a feeble asma which is also generated by them, affects the auxiliaryman humble dependent. Commencing its whole neighbourhood; rheumatism, colds, remit career at our Atlantic cities, it may be traced by tent and intermittent fevers, are the almost inva its tracks, in its progress, to the boundless regions riable concomitants of their almost stagnant waters, of the far west-striding over valleys and rivers, and the lands which receive the water îrom their scaling the loftiest mountains, or clinging to the numerous leaks. In our southern climate, canals sides of rugged precipices-resting in safety on are pestilential, and disease and death are their the bosom of the most treacherous and bottomless neyer-failing drawbacks.

marshes, or hewing its way through rocks and “ 8. Rail-roads do not injure land by leakage, every opposing obstacle, with a triumph which nor do they divert water-courses from their accus- might almost rouse the astonished spirit of Brindtomed channels, and thereby interfere with mills, ley from the grave-wending its way into every meadows, and land.

spot where its presence is desirable, and extending "9. Rail-roads do not present inconvenient and its arms to embrace the commerce of a nation-it impassable barriers, whereby farms and streets are diffuses the productions of distant climes with a separated.

profusion previously unknown, and with a celerity *10. The tolls on rail-roads may be less than on almost realizing the dreams of the visionary. Ame. canals.

rica, where the value of rail-roads was first dis"11. The cost of transportation will be usually covered, is destined to be the theatre of their less on rail-roads than on canals, if the preceding greatest extension and triumph--although the discircumstances be considered.

coverer, to whose genius the world is indebted for “12. Rail-roads are susceptible of great improve the treasure, was scoffed at, while living, as an enments; a great augmentation of their .value has thusiast and sunk into the grave poor and brokenalready been produced by recent meliorations: new hearted, the nineteenth century may yet render to modifications and applications are almost daily dis- the memory of the inventor of the locomotive encovered, and others may be anticipated, increasing gine-Oliver Evans, of Pennsylvania—the tardy their utility, diminishing their expense, rendering homage of their gratitude: to the man whose farthem more durable, safe, and convenient. Canals, sighted sagacity foresaw and predicted, and whose on the contrary, have been almost stationary for inechanical intellect effected the triumph of the railnearly two centuries, and, from their nature, seem road system.” to be incapable of any material improvement. 6. Rail-roads are, therefore, more convenient and

Pennsylvania Rail-road. better adapted to the wants and means of our coun “ The legislature of Pennsylvania authorized the try than canals; although, in some few cases (which Union Canal Company (in their charter granted in may be considered as exceptions to the general 1811), to construci rail-ways as appendages to that rule), the latter may sometimes be more eligible-- work. These, however, were intended as particularly when the face of the country is nearly auxiliaries to the canal, and were not executed. level, and when the supply of water is abundant- On the 31st of March 1823, a law was passed, authe climate mild and healthy—when speed is un- thorizing John Stevens and others to make a rail. necessary in the conveyance of goods or passengers road from Pliiladelphia to the Susquehanna; the when interruption of the trade, during the frost remainder of the road to Pittsburgh, which was ask

mere

« 이전계속 »