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IN CONVENTION, Feb. 27, 1868.
Resolved, That there be printed, in addition to the number already printed, a sufficient number of copies of the debates, documents and journals, to furnish each of the members with three copies; and also one copy each to the Mayor and the members of the Common Council of the city of Albany, and one copy each to the State Law Libraries at Rochester and Syracuse, the law libraries of the several judicial districts, the Law Institute, the Astor Library, and the New York Historical Society in the city of New York, and the Young Men's Associations of the cities of Albany and Troy.
LUTHER CALDWELL, Secretary.
that would increase its ability so as to preserve its present trade and add to it in the future.
products, of their agriculture and industry over the Erie canal. The tonnage from Western States from 1856 to 1866 coming to the Erie canal was The policy of the enlargement of 1854, by re18,717,264. From this State, 3,272,016 If there moving the restriction of the present Constitushould be deducted from the local tonnage of the tion by a vote of the people, is now generally ap State the western wheat that enters the Erie canal proved. It resulted in increased trade and inat Buffalo and from there sent to the mills at Lock-creased revenues. It might be well asked here port, Medina, Rochester, etc., and there manufac- if the capacity of the Erie canal had not been intured into flour, and then shipped to the eastern creased to float boats over eighty tons, in 1846, market, it would decrease the local State tonnage up to 240 tons, and thus cheapened transporta1,000,000,000 tons, for the period above indicated tion one-half, how could the western commerce and increase the tonnage of the Western States a have been retained to the State? It certainly like amount. These facts are important as dis- would have sought other channels to the ocean, closing the sources of our canal revenues and the and once lost to the State it could never be refatal consequences which would follow from the gained, and our people would have to suffer, not loss of the western tonnage to the Erie canal only for the folly of such unwise inactivity and through our neglect to meet the commercial neces- failure to meet the demands of commerce in the sities and the reasonable demands of the north- loss of trade, but in increased taxation for west. the purpose of paying the existing canal debt. The proposition is a plain and incontrovertible No truth is better understood than that the one, that every dollar of toll which our State levies Erie canal, on account of its greater and cheaper upon the property of a citizen of another, in con- ability in transportation, has given to this State sequence of its geographical position, is in viola- its commercial supremacy in the carrying trade; tion of a fundamental axiom of our national Union, and it is believed to be equally true, that no other that each State would best promote its own in- carrying system has the ability to retain it. Railterests, while promoting the interests of the others, way and canal statistics show that, during the last in facilitating the means of transit through it. six years, 48,007,761 tons of freight have been Each should be content with those advantages carried on the canal and the two trunk railways which follow, after having been repaid in this State, at a cost for tolls and transportation for its expenditures in furnishing and maintain- of $135,987,067. The average cost of the railing any channel of trade for others. Mr. Hoff-way charges per ton is $4.42 and a fraction, and, man, whose stringent views were impressed upon the average cost of the canal charges, including every financial feature of the present Constitution, tolls, is $1.88 and a fraction. The striking conand the advocates of whose policy form a portion clusion deduced from these statistics is, that of every political party in this State, in the Con- whilst the Erie canal is only navigable for half vention of 1846, said: "I never can consent that the year, and these two trunk lines of railways the current expenses of the State should be are operated the whole year, the former has transcharged upon the right of way which the sov-ported almost an equal amount of tonnage. But ereign holds, not as property for revenue, but in the most important fact remains to be noticed, one trust for the million to promote travel, trans-in which the industrial and producing classes are portation and commerce." He also said: "Neither deeply concerned, is that the necessaries of life in form or substance do I accede to the doctrine, and the products of industry are exchanged and that the canal tolls shall be taken for general delivered at less than half the cost by the canal. purposes-I deny it. The right of way is the As nearly all the necessaries of life which are right of the million. The sovereign holds in consumed in the eastern portion of our State and trust, and can exercise it only for their benefit, the metropolitan city (the factor in this immense and has no right to make a revenue out of trade), pass through this State upon the Erie it. Such a course must engender the worst canal from the West, the price of freight is a tax oppression and the worst corruptions, aud paid by the industrial more than all other classes. soon realize the worst vices of the worst Such articles are of great bulk and weight, and governments-taxation on all we consume, which tolls fall most heavily on them. They are the will allow nothing to go to or from the markets necessaries of life to all in equal degree. The without tribute to the State." He then only rich man, however, pays for them from his abundenunciated a principle in political economy an-ance, the toiling millions from their hard won nounced a century ago, that a tax upon highways earnings. and trade was bad policy for a government and This the Erie canal has accomplished, regulating unjust to the people. The millions already taken and cheapening charges by other systems of by this State from western commerce beyond its transportation, which were it not for the canal requirements for expenditures in its aid, would would be still more exorbitant. All the tonnage seem, at least now, to authorize the demand for a moved by canal and railway in our State, it will be change of policy, so that in the future only such seen, average about 8,000,000 tons annually, at a tolls should be imposed on western commerce as cost very nearly of $22,000,000. The canals would facilitate and cheapen its transit to the sea- move nearly half the amount at nearly half the board. At any rate, if the Erie canal, after pay-cost by railways. Does any one doubt that in the ing the outstanding canal and general fund debts, economy of transportation by canal and its influis further called upon to repay to the State the ence upon other means of transportation in this amount and interest of the taxes levied and col-State, there is a saving to the people of this and lected from the people, to construct and sustain other States, annually of at least a dollar a tonthe lateral canals, a policy should now be adopted $8.000,000? This is more than it would cost to