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the depth of water in the canal by cross-sections as often as every four rods of its length, and on the upper and lower mitre-sill of each lock.


Such a policy, if properly executed, will give a better and more economical transit to the boats, if they continue to be towed by horses. It will also facilitate the use of steain canal boats, and the full realization of the advantages they may be expected to give as to economy of transportation. The obstacle to their use in 1867 was that the machinery, in its then state, displaced too much cargo to be economical, and was, in other respects, imperfect. The progress of invention since seems to promise more beneficial results. If the movement of the boat can be expedited from 1 miles to 3 miles per hour, including the time consumed in the lockages, the improvement will be of great importance and value. The estimate of the able engineer of the Commission on Steain Canal Navigation, is that the cost of carriage of a bushel of wheat from Buffalo to New York will be reduced from eight cents to four cents. It is not to be supposed that the inventive genius applied to this interesting subject is exhausted, and if these results shall, in any degree, fail to be realized by the present experiments, we may, nevertheless, anticipate more complete success in the future.


It will be seen that on the Erie canal alone the surplus of income over expenditures is about 37 per cent of the gross income. If the three other canals which are to be retained by the State as part of the system be included, the surplus is but 11 per cent.


The present tolls on wheat are 3 cents, and on corn 3 cents per bushel, from Buffalo to Troy-345 miles. They were reduced in 1870 those on wheat from 6, or one-half; and those on corn from 43 to 3 cents, or about 38 per cent.


One cent per bushel taken off the present tolls, and the same proportion on other articles, would annihilate nearly all the net income of the Erie canal, considered alone, and would make a deficiency, in respect to the four canals retained, of half a million of dollars a year, if future expenditure should be the same as in these three years.

The construction of the details of the toll sheet belongs to the Canal Board, and adjustments from time to time may be necessary. Doubtless suggestions on that subject will always receive due consideration. But in the present condition of things to embark hastily and unadvisedly upon a general reduction of tolls might well be considered as improvident, even in respect to the canals themselves. To confiscate the surplus of one cent, or half a cent per bushel, which alone gives the means of making the improvements expected to real ize a reduction of four cents in the cost of transportation, would not seem a wise execution of the trust, even disregarding other considerations which cannot be wholly overlooked.


The question of altering the gates of the locks, or otherwise
lengthening the chambers, may be safely deferred until we can be
more sure of its utility. The fact that, on the Delaware and Raritan
Canal, which admits of long boats, the proportions which exist in
those now used on the Erie canal are preferred, is against that altera-
tion, as is also the judgment of excellent canal engineers. Holding
ourselves ready to accept improvements which have been sub-
jected to trial and scrutiny, until they are practically assured of
success, we ought to exercise the same caution, in respect to rash or
crude innovations, which ordinarily governs men in private business.


The financial results of the fiscal years ending September 30, 1874,
1873 and 1872, for the Erie canal, and for the Champlain, the
Oswego, and the Cayuga and Seneca, are as follows:

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It will be seen that during the last three years the income of the Erie canal considered alone, has been $8,143,536.21, and its expenses $5,079,063.30, yielding a surplus of $3,064,472.91, or an average for each year of $1,021,490.97. The excess of expenditure over income of the three other canals which are to be retained by the State has been $1,820,002.14, or three-fifths of the surplus produced by the Erie. Considering the four as a system collectively, the surplus has been $1,244,470.77, or an average for each year of $414,823.59.


During the same three years the five other canals, to which the constitutional amendment applies, have given an income of $119,864,45, or for each year of $39,954.81, against an expenditure of $1,596,499.74, or for each year of $532,166.59. They have consumed all the net income of the paying canals and have charged the State with a loss of $232,164.52, or for each year, $77,388.17. In addition to this annual loss, the whole burden of the sinking fund to pay the Canal debt is thrown upon the State.


A careful investigation whether the net incomes of the canals retained cannot be increased, ought to precede a surrender of what little now exist. Ordinary repairs should be scrutinized with a view to retrenching their cost, and to obtaining the largest possible results from the outlay. Extraordinary repairs include much which so regularly recurs in different forms, that they must be considered a part

of the maintenance of the works. No doubt they also include improvements which are of the nature of new capital. These and all improvements should be governed by a plan and purpose, leading to definite results; and, instead of scattering expenditures on imperfect constructions, should aim to complete and make available the specific parts undertaken. Unity of administration and of system, both in respect to repairs and improvements, should be established, even if only by the voluntary consultation and co-operation of officers having authority over separate portions of a single work. It is worthy of consideration, whether any legislation can aid in securing the unity in this respect, which existed under our former Constitution.


The State, hearing all parties interested in the use of the Canals, will remember that itself, as an arbiter and trustee, must look equitably to the interests of all. This it will do in a wise, liberal and just spirit. To the last degree possible, it will cheapen facilities to trade. It will aim to preserve for its metropolis its position as the carrier, merchant and banker of the New World.



Inevitable changes must be recognized as the results of modern inventions and improvements in the machinery of transportation. When water routes alone existed, products came to New York for distribution to points which are now more easily and cheaply reached directly by rail. Railroads covering the country like a net work touch so many points that they are a more perfect and complete agency for the reception and distribution of produce, than a water communication connecting a few principal poin; and where the transit from the producer to the consumer requires the use of the rail to reach the water, or after leaving the water, or both, the all rail route will often be preferred. New routes will acquire the business which is naturally tributary to them, and take besides some portion of the general business. The main transportation of Western agriculWhat comes to tural products is for local consumption in the East.

us for our own consumption cannot be diverted. What goes for consumption elsewhere cannot be acquired. The exports of agricultural products to foreign countries are but a small part of the whole production. In those, New York will easily continue to maintain her pre-eminence.

The Champlain and Oswego canals are, as well as the Erie, in some sense, trunk canals; and the Cayuga and Seneca canal connects our interior lakes. It is a noteworthy fact that Mr. Flagg, who so long and honorably conducted the State finances when the Canal Department was a bureau in his office, always insisted that with the four canals now to be retained the system was complete. Those it is now proposed to abandon are not fruits of his policy.


The adoption of the constitutional amendment removing the prohibition against "selling, leasing, or otherwise disposing of" the

canals owned by the State, in respect to all except the Erie, the Oswego, the Champlain and the Cayuga and Seneca canals, undoubtedly contemplate such action on your part as will disencumber the revenues of the canals retained by the State, and disembarrass the treasury of the State from the unproductive works in respect to which the prohibition is withdrawn. It cannot have been supposed possible to sell or lease" those works, on conditions which require the purchaser to maintain and operate them. To "otherwise dispose of" them amounts to a practical abandonment.



Even to deal with them thus involves many important questions. of a business character. Those portions of them which descend toward the Erie canal act as feeders to supply water to that canal. The supply cannot be safely diminished, and might be judiciously increased. The improvement of the water-way contemplated will call for more water. The consideration of what must be done to retain as feeders, portions of these canals not hereafter to be maintained by the State for navigation, or what other provision for a supply of water shall be substituted, is important. To make the change contemplated by the amendment, with as little harm as possible to private interests, and to consider and provide for cases of possible damage which may be caused by the works when falling into disuse, needs careful study of the facts of the situation. It is also to be ascertained what portion, if any, of the property of the State connected with these works can be wisely sold."


The best suggestion which occurs to me on this subject, is to impose the duty of considering and reporting on these questions upon a special commission consisting of four persons. In the meantime, no expenditures should be made upon those works, which are not strictly necessary in view of their probable future.


The State of New York receives nearly seven-tenths of all the imports, and sends abroad nearly half of all the exports of the whole United States. In its commercial metropolis, a much larger share of our dealings with foreign nations in securities and money is transacted, and, as at a common mart, the exchanges are largely made between the people of the United States in domestic manufactures and products, and in public and corporate securities and stocks. More than one-half of the revenues of the Federal Government are collected within its borders; and at least one-fifth of all Federal taxation falls upon its citizens.

Since the Federal Government has assumed to provide a currency for the whole country, directly by the issue of its own notes, or indirectly by bank notes, which are secured upon bonds of the United States, and in case of default by the issuer, are to be paid, before resorting to the securities, by the United States; since it has inci[SENATE JOURNAL.]


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