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enlarge the capacity of the Erie canal to 500 tons. | from ignorance, narrow and mistaken views of the Governor Fenton, in his message transmitted to currents of trade, managers and owners of railthe Legislature January 2, 1867, on the sub-ways regarded our canals as rivals in the carrying ject of the cost of the enlargement of trade. A larger experience satisfied them that the locks on the Erie and Oswego canals, says: the superior and cheaper mode of transportation "I am informed, however, by the present able by the Erie canal for a certain portion of comState Engineer, and feel satisfied from this and merce, instead of injuring, benefited the railways other sources of information, that a suitable en- by drawing through the State passengers and largement, with single locks of capacity for boats freight, of which they would have a fair share for of five hundred tons burden, plain but substan- half the year, and a monoply during the other tial work, can be effected at a cost not exceeding half, thus enabling them to retain the advantages $6,000,000." Those who would doubt the re- which grew out of the commercial supremacy, straining and economical influence of the uniform which the Erie canal exercised during the season price of transportation upon our canals, upon over all rivals in or out of the State, in bringing railway transportation during the season of navi- through the lakes vast deposits of freight to their gation, have only to recollect that immediately and other mammoth storehouses, where the porafter the close of navigation upon our canals, tion which remained after the close of navigation railway conventions are found in session, revising could be retained and shipped by the canal in the their tariffs and raising them twenty-five or thirty spring, or moved by railway in the winter, as the per cent. In a recent report from managers of price of freights or the demands of the eastern railways in Pennsylvania, the Erie canal is regard-market might indicate the interest of the owners. ed as the regulator of freights in the North.
It is difficult for us to appreciate fully the benThe excess of the cost of transportation by efits conferred upon the State and nation, in all railway over the cost of transportation by their parts, by the facilities of exchange afforded canal has already been stated. We need not by cheap transit. It may be well claimed as the go beyond the limits of our own State to find an source of the material prosperity of this country. illustration of the cost of transportation by the In other countries it adds value to property latter, when, deprived of the State character already existing; in ours, it may be said to create which such works should possess, the private property. The West had scarcely a nominal valinterest of individuals or the greed of gain upon ue before the Erie canal was opened and afforded the part of monopolists, becomes the controlling the means of carrying western productions to marprinciple of their management. The Chemung ket. It is by transit, and that at a low price, canal junction is owned by private parties and managed for the purposes of private interest. It is fourteen miles long, and connects the Chemung canal in this State, with the coal mines in Pennsylvania. The exorbitant charge of $2.58 per ton is made for the transportation of coal, the carriage of which affords by far the larger share of its business. This is confirmed by reference to Document No. 160 of the Assembly of 1867, in the report of the Investigating Committee of the Legislature, made April 6th, "into the matter of tolls charged on coal by the Junction Canal Company of New York;" which states that this combination "enhanced the price of coal consumed by citizens of western New York full two dollars and fifty-eight cents per ton." The toll charged on coal per ton from Elmira to Buffalo, by State canals, is forty cents; from Troy to Buffalo, 345 miles, thirty cents, on bituminous coal.
With the decrease of our forests, coal has become substantially a necessary of life, and its importance as a necessity must rapidly increase; its cost, therefore, is a matter of great interest to the people of this State as well as the whole country.
This example, limited though it be in consequence, cannot fail to arrest attention, and beyond all question foreshadows something of the consequences should similar interests control the great works of the State. Surrender the control of the canals, more especially of the Erie canal, into private hands, and into those very hands is surrendered the power almost to nominate the price of coal; certainly arbitrarily to fix the price of this and many other of the leading necessaries of life.
In the early history of our railways, arising
enabling our people to supply their wants as well as to sell their productions, that we are to compete successfully with the people of other countries. When we speak in this connection, of the East, we should not limit our view within the confines of our own State, but include those States northerly and easterly from our own. Freedom of transit, without monopoly or taxation, is a necessary portion of the free trade between the States, which is the strongest material bond cf peaceful union, and any efforts to interfere with it, create an animus injurious to the community in which they find favor, stimulating those who are injured to divert business to less advantageous routes, and leading in the end to a diminution of revenue and loss of trade.
The importance of continuing to maintain the Erie canal, as the regulator of freight and as the highway of our inland commerce, open, as at present, for free competition to all the people of the United States, subject only to payment of an equitable share in the actual cost of the advantages they thus enjoy, has not escaped the sagacity of discerning men from other States. A distinguished United States Senator, from the Northwest, explained the methods by which, in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa, certain railroad companies had become so far consolidated as to constitute almost a complete monopoly for transportion in those States, with the natural result of exorbitant freights, unjustly putting money into the pockets of the few at the expense of the producers of national wealth. The Senator, on behalf of the people of his State, protested against regarding the Erie canal "in any other light than as a national work," stating in strong terms his reluctance "to let a company occupy the only un
occupied ground for a transit route that there is between the Mississippi river and the Atlantic Ocean, and then set all people that are west of it at defiance, and charge just such tolls as they choose."
In this brief reference to the various benefits which the construction of the Erie canal has conferred upon the people of this State, it ought not to be omitted, as it cannot be forgotten by this generation, the great changes which were at once produced upon its material prosperity.
It should be remembered by the Couvention that the assessed valuation of all the real and personal property in the State of New York, as reported to the Comptroller in 1866, was $1,531,229,636; that the value of the property transported on the Erie canal, in the thirty years from 1837, inclusive, was nearly three times the value of all the real and personal property of the State; that the canals for the last seven years have produced net revenues of $20,636,868; that the Western States had, in 1860, a population of about 9,000,000, which is being decennially augmented at a ratio of 65 per cent; that the
Governor Morgan, whose former official relations to the canal system of the State of New York gave him an intimate and practical knowledge of his subject, during a debate in the Senate of the United States, after predicting the effects upon the people of his own and other States upon the sale of the Erie canal to railway corporations, who he claimed must become the purchasers, and are ever ready and willing to run into debt to extend their monopoly, said: "The Senator from Ohio said this morning they burnt their corn for fuel. Let this monopoly be created and the Erie canal will be made to pay $100,000,000; and they will not only be compelled to burn their corn in the West, but they will also burn population of New York, Brooklyn, Albany, their wheat when they get the entire control of the carrying trade. I think it will be the darkest day for the agricultural products of the West they ever saw."
He might have well included his own people as equal sufferers with the West, in that event, for whatever calamity has befallen one has been equally disastrous to the other, so closely are they bound together in sympathy and interest.
It would truly be the "darkest day" the people of this State ever saw, when the control of this channel of commerce should pass from their hands to complete the combination of collossal railway corporations, consolidating and extending throughout the country, and wielding as they would then $400, 000, 000 of capital, with no check upon the price of delivery of the necessaries of life, except their forbearance, and the easy virtue of modern Legislatures. The imbecility of a people that would permit it, would deserve any fate.
The commercial conventions in Chicago, in 1862, and in Detroit, in 1865, to which the Boards of Trade in every city and village in the Northern States sent large delegations, including many distinguished members of this Convention, adopted similar views, which were expressed in their report, as follows:
"Public sentiment requires, and has a right to demand, that the State of New York shall hold this great thoroughfare-this connecting link between the East and the West-not for local aggrandizement, or State revenue, but as the trustee of the nation; and impose only such tolls on commerce as shall be required to preserve the integrity of the work, and ultimately pay the cost of construction."
These views are sound in political economy, and such substantial adoption of them in the future policy of the State toward her sister States as would, by constitutional provisions, make the Erie canal hereafter a free, national canal, would be a measure of most enlightened policy and as promotive of the interests of our own people as honorable to the commonwealth. The public sentiment of mankind, as well as the dictates of political economy, require that products of vital and common necessity to the race should only be so taxed as to insure adequate and complete means for their transit.
Troy, Schenectady, Utica, Syracuse, Oswego,
Valuation of property, 1866,
A tax of one mill on valuation of 1866,
$299,197,721 00 1,531,229,636 00
It is no exaggeration to say that this vast increase of wealth through the center of the State has been created within 42 years by the commercial operations of that canal. All parts of the State have felt its benefits in some degree. There is not a piece of tillable land upon the Adirondack mountains, in the northern part of our State, or on the Green mountains, in the south, that has not been advanced in value by it. The causes which have produced these stupendous results will prove as powerful in the future as in the past, if unwise measures do not check progress and the full development of our original canal policy.
It is claimed by some that there is no danger of our losing the western trade. We have formidable rivals in railways and canals made or partly in operation or projected, in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and the British Provinces. Five great trunk lines, extending from the seaboard to and beyond Chicago, at present the greatest center of our great inland commerce,
including two trunk lines through Canada, one shortest possible time, and the last Congress ha terminating at Suspension Bridge in Canada, the taken the initiative by ordering the survey for other the Grand Trunk, running over a subsidized ship canal around the Niagara Falls. The mear American road to Portland, Maine, thence con- by which such channel shall be accomplished, a necting with a British line of steamers to Liver- regarded as of but little moment compared pool. The latter line the new Dominion proposes what is deemed the immediate necessity how to own and operate. Canada has expended the channel itself Substantial, however, in the last quarter of a century over $150,000,000 the general demand of the West is, a of British capital in constructing canals and rail- specious as is the scheme of the Niaga ways to divert and control the great prize of this ship canal, it is certainly to be great continent, our Western commerce. She bas vainly apprehended that unless the people of this Sta striven to overcome the commercial and climatic shall comprehend the necessities of the hour a difficulties of her geographical position, ambi- move on abreast with the times, even consti tiously constructing vast public works, and mak- tional restraint, or rather the lack of constituti ing large unremunerative investments, accom-al power on the part of Congress, will not plishing results which at best can only be partial found sufficient to prevent the consummation and transitory, deflecting a portion of our trade this outrage upon State soil, and State domini for a time, by discriminating legislation in aid of and the work itself will stand upon our own s the gigantic struggles for existence of her unprof-a monument of national aggression and State itable carrying systems, from the lines of commerce leading to our seaport cities, but only to return again, reacting to the loss and injury of those who have reaped a temporary benefit from the experi
becility. The limited space allotted to this rep will not permit the further consideration of t branch of the subject.
It is claimed by some that we possess nat geographical advantages which will always g It is only as late as 1865, Canadian commis-us commercial supremacy. This is no doubt sioners in Washington, in their memorandum of if we improve them as we have in the past. terms for a renewal of the Reciprocity Treaty, is true that of all the States, New York al submitted to the Committee of Ways and Means reaches from the Atlantic to the great chair of the House of Representatives, a proposition to western lakes without encountering at one or m enlarge their canals for the passage of American places the formidable obstacles presented by vessels of over 1,000 tons, provided they could Allegany mountains. While her eastern fro receive proper equivalents in reciprocal trade with on the ocean and includes harbors of unsurpas the United States. Will any one say there is no excellence, her western territory is a portion danger to our trade from that quarter, now that the great valleys of the interior. Rivers iss the commercial and financial energies of all the from her highlands flow through her own b British Provinces are concentrated under one head daries into the Atlantic, or find their way by in their new Dominion? The struggle is not given Allegany and Ohio into the Mississippi river up; it will be renewed at any cost. and true and the Gulf of Mexico. Another of her bounda wise foresight warns us to be prepared. is on the St. Lawrence. Rendering her ad tages available by means of railways and ca she is enabled to penetrate into all parts of country by following routes which nature already formed and indicated by her stre While her valleys and rivers, with their nat extensions, reach to the Mississippi, the Moh and the Hudson gather together in one com channel the chief commerce of the great West North, increased like their rivers by continua ditions from their source until they reach ocean.
These gigantic rivalries around us are matters of the gravest moment- they should excite us to the most jealous vigilance with respect to the present. The recent movement proceeding from the North-west, looking to the building of a ship canal around the Falls of Niagara by our National Government, perhaps in equal degree should awaken our attention. The project includes the idea of now constructing the work without the consent of the Legislature of the State." Never before has Congress attempted even the location of a "fort, arsenal or dockyard," within the boundaries of a State, without obtaining title to the necessary land, and the consent of the State Legislature; the people of the West are an energetic people; restiveness, impatience under real or imaginary embarrassment, are the necessary characteristics of such a race. In their view the vast volume of their productions upon its outward progress to the eastern States and the Atlantic sea-board, meets with obstruc- the Atlantic. tions which such a nation as our own This report has already extended beyond it should not hesitate to remove at once. Disap-tended limit. The subjects are so important pointed in the delayed enlargement of the Erie canal; disappointed until doubt has almost arisen as to the ability of the canal when enlarged to meet the necessities of the present and future commerce. The West now demands through her Senators in It will only now be added, great as are all Congress, that some channel for the eastward course natural and geographical advantages of this S of its commerce should be found or forced in the l we cannot retain our commercial suprem
Toward the great lakes and to the natural ern termination of their navigation (Buffalo, the termination of the Erie canal) the trad the West has heretofore substantially concentr By the route through the State of New York 500 miles in length (and a third of that dist through the Hudson river), the trade of the W still retaining substantially its direct easty course, reaches a safe and natural seaport
mercially, financially and politically affecting destiny of this State and the happiness of its ple, that it seems scarcely possible to limit consideration.
without we continue our early canal policy of progressive improvement. In the view of the undersigned our whole canal system is now in the crisis of its fate. Inaction now is an abandonment of our public works-it involves decay, loss of trade, and consequent taxation of the people. The lessons of the times teach us that this is an age of progress and those who do not heed the teaching, whether they be States, parties or politicians, and keep step to the forward movement of the day will be forced behind by their more progressive rivals, who will bear off the palm of sucISRAEL T. HATCH.
PROPOSED FINANCIAL SECTIONS. SECTION 1. The outstanding debts of the State and other liabilities for the payment of which the canal revenues are pledged by the terms of the Constitution of 1846, are the following on the 1st day of July, 1867:
The old canal debt of 1846 (so called),... $3,258,060 00 The general fund debt....... 5,642,622 22 The canal debt under amendment of 1854, 10,807,000 00 The floating canal debt, 1,700,000 00
§ 2. The several debts specified in the preceding section, designated as the old canal debt of 1846, the general fund debt, the canal debt under the amendment of 1854, and the floating canal debt, amounting in the aggregate to $21,407,682.22 on the first day of July, 1867, shall, with the new debt herein authorized, be paid as provided in the next section.
3. After paying the expenses of collection, superintendence and the ordinary repairs of the completed canals, there shall be appropriated and set apart in each fiscal year, 'commencing on the first day of October, in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty-seven, the whole of the remaining revenues of the State canals as a sinking fund to pay the interest as it falls due, and reduce the principal of the several stock debts specified in section two of this article, until the several debts shall be fully paid or provided for; and including the sum of seven millions of dollars hereafter to be borrowed by the Legislature, at a rate of interest not exceeding six per cent per annum, re-imbursable in eighteen years, to be applied and appropriated to the improvement of the Erie, the Oswego, and the Cayuga and Seneca canals to admit the passage of boats or vessels to pass thereon, of at least five hundred tons burden; and the moneys so borrowed shall be applied as above provided, together with the enlargement of the remaining small locks on the Champlain canal to the size of those now on the Erie
then the deficiency shall be supplied by taxation the next year.
§ 4. After the debts specified in sections two and three of this article are fully paid or provided for, according to the provisions of section three, the remaining revenues of the canals, after paying the said expenses of collection, superintendence, and ordinary repairs, shall in each fiscal year be paid into the treasury of the State to pay the amount advanced for canal purposes by taxation specified in the first section, and the interest thereon, until the whole amount so advanced, with interest at five per cent per annum, shall be fully paid, and until any amount hereafter advanced for canal debt or other canal purposes, with interest thereon at five per cent per annum, shall be fully paid.
§ 5. After complying with the provisions of the third and fourth sections of this article, no tolls shall be levied on the canals except what may be necessary to pay the expenses of collection, superintendence and ordinary repairs, and other necessary improvements of the canals.
6. The claims of the State against any incorporated company to pay the interest and reduce the principal of the stock of the State loaned or advanced to such company, shall be fairly enforced and not released or compromised, and the moneys arising from such claims shall be set apart and applied to the payment of said stock so loaned, or to repay the money which may be advanced to pay the same.
7. Every contribution or advance to the canals or their debt, heretofore or hereafter, from any source other than their direct revenues, shall be repaid into the treasury with interest, at five per cent per annum, for the use of the State out of the canal revenues, as soon as it can be done consistently with the just rights of the creditors holding the debts specified in section number two.
$8. The Legislature shall not sell, lease or otherwise dispose of any of the canals of the State, but they shall remain the property of the State and under their management forever.
§ 9. No moneys shall ever be paid out of the treasury of this State, or any of its funds, or any of the funds under its management, except in pursuance of an appropriation by law, nor unless such payment be made within two years next after the passage of such appropriation act; and every such law making a new appropriation, or continuing or reviving an appropriation, shall distinctly specify the sum appropriated and the objects to which it is to be applied, and it shall not be sufficient for such law to refer to any other law to fix such sum.
§ 10. The credit of the State shall not in any canal, and to no other purpose whatever. manner be given or loaned to or in aid of any But if it shall be ascertained that the im- individual, association or corporation, nor shall the provements herein contemplated cannot be fully money or property of the State be given or loaned made and completed for the said sum of seven to or in aid of any individual, association or cormillions of dollars, then no moneys shall be bor-poration while there are any outstanding debts rowed for that purpose. The said several stock against the State. debts named in the first section of this article shall be fully paid by the first day of October, 1878; and if in any fiscal year there shall not be contributed from said revenues a sum sufficient to pay the pro rata contribution of principal in ten years with the balance then in the sinking fund,
Resolved, There should be a constitutional provision to the following effect: The credit of the State shall not in any manner be given or loaned to or ir aid of any individual, association or corporation; nor shall any money belonging to the State, raised or to be raised by taxation, be
loaned or given to any individual, association or, shall not be sufficient to refer to any other law to corporation, except that State contributions to fix such tax or object. public charities, asylums, schools, academies and colleges, may be continued, not exceeding annually the amounts appropriated for such purposes in any year prior to 1866.
§ 15. No deficiency loan shall be made by or on behalf of the State, for a longer period than is necessary to enable the sinking fund provided for its payment to accumulate an amount sufficient to discharge it; and in no case shall such loan be made for more than six years.
The PRESIDENT-The minority report will be referred to the Committee of the Whole and be printed.
§ 11. The State may, to meet casual deficits or failures in revenues or for unexpected expenses not provided for, temporarily contract debts; but such debts, direct and contingent, singly or in the aggregate, shall not at any time exceed one million of dollars, and the moneys arising from the loans creating such debts shall be applied to the purposes for which they were obtained, or to repay the debt so contracted, and to no other purity pose whatever.
§ 12. In addition to the above limited power to contract debts, the State may contract debts to repel invasion, suppress insurrection or defend the State in war; but the money arising from the contracting of such debts shall be applied to the purpose for which it was raised, or to repay such debts, and to no other purpose whatever.
Mr. CLARKE-Mr. President, I desire to submit a minority report:
The SECRETARY proceeded to read the minorreport of Mr. Clarke, as follows:
As a member of the Committee on the Finances of the State, the Public Debt, Revenues, Expen ditures and Taxation, and Restrictions on the Powers of the Legislature in respect thereto, the undersigned dissents from the report of the majority of the committee, in reference to a portion of the article submitted, and offers as a substitute the following, and in a very brief manner further reports thereafter:
SEC. 1. After paying the expenses of collection, superintendence, and ordinary repairs, there shall be set apart, in each fiscal year, out of the revenue of the State canal, from the first day of June, 1867, the sum of one million seven hundred thousand dollars, to be added to the sinking fund, now existing, to pay the interest and to redeem the principal of that part of the State debt known as the canal debt of 1846, until the same shall be wholly paid; and the principal and income of said sinking fund shall be sacredly applied to that purpose.
§13. Except the debts specified in the twelfth and thirteenth sections of this article, no debts shall be hereafter contracted by or on behalf of this State, unless such debt shall be authorized by a law for some single work or object to be distinctly specified therein; and such laws shall impose and provide for a collection of a direct annual tax to pay, and sufficient to pay, the interest on such debt as it falls due; and also to pay and discharge the principle of such debt within eighteen years from the time of the contracting thereof. No such law shall take effect until it shall at a general election have been submitted to the people, and have received a majority of all the votes cast for or against it at such election. On the final passage of such bill in either House § 2. After complying with the provisions of of the Legislature, the question shall be taken by the first section of this article, there shall be ayes and noes, to be duly entered on the Journals appropriated and set apart out of the surplus revthereof, and shall be: "Shall this bill pass, and enues of the State canals, in each fiscal year, from ought the same to receive the sanction of the the first day of June, 1867, the sum of three hunpeople?" The Legislature may at any time after dred and fifty thousand dollars, until the time when the approval of such law by the people, if no a sufficient sum shall have been appropriated and debt shall have been contracted in pursuance set apart, under the said first section, to pay the thereof, repeal the same, and may at any time by interest and extinguish the entire principal of the law forbid the contracting of any further debts canal debt therein mentioned; and from under such law; but the tax imposed by such and after that period, then the sum of act, in proportion to the debt and liability which one million five hundred thousand dollars, in may have been contracted in pursuance of such law, each fiscal year, shall be added and appropriated shall remain in force and be irrepealable and be to the sinking fund, now existing, to pay the interannually collected, until the proceeds thereof est and redeem the principal of that part of the shall have made the provision herein before speci-State debt called the general fund debt, including fied to pay and discharge the interest and principal of such debt and liability. The money arising from any loan or stock creating such debt or liability, shall be applied to the work or object specified in the act authorizing such debt or liability, or for the repayment of such debt or liability, and for no other purpose whatever. No such law shall be submitted to be voted on within three months after its passage, or at any general election when any other law or any bill or amendment to the Constitution shall be submitted to be voted for or against.
the debt for loans of the State credit to incorporated companies, made prior to the first day of June, 1846, so far as they shall, or may hereafter, become a charge on the State treasury or general fund, until the same shall be wholly paid; and the principal and income of said sinking fund shall be sacredly applied to the purpose aforesaid.
§3. After a full compliance with the provisious of the first and second sections of this article, there shall be paid out of the surplus revenues of the canals, to the treasury of the State, on or before the first day of September, in each year, §14. Every law which imposes, continues or for the use and benefit of the general fund, the revives a tax, shall distinctly state the tax and sum of two hundred thousand dollars, for the supthe object to which it is to be applied, and it|port of the State government.