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it had only doubled in nine years. The sailing tonnage on the lakes increased in a nearly equal ratio with that of steam. As the steam tonnage of the lakes exceeded that of the Ohio or Mississippi basin, and as the tonnage of sailing vessels is scarcely less than two-thirds that of steam, it seems certain that the aggregate tonnage of the lakes must now nearly, if not quite, equal that of the western rivers.
We have said that lake navigation was safer than river. According to the document just referred to, the number of persons lost on the lakes during the year ending July 1st, 1851, was sixty-seven, (67,) and on the rivers, during the same time, six hundred and twenty-eight, (628.) This comparison does not tell the whole story; for while the lake air is proverbially pure and health-giving, no small portion of the river navigation subjects the traveler to fever-engendering malaria. As a water route, therefore, the lakes should be preferred for travel and freighting. This preference, thus shown to be well founded, should be duly appreciated when long and expensive lines of railroad are to be constructed.
The great interior commercial centers, in the river portion of the valley, are Pittsburg, Cincinnati, Louisville, and St. Louis. Perhaps Cairo may become one. Pittsburg holds its communication with the lake region through Cleveland and Erie. Cincinnati has its present railroad connecting with the lakes at Cleveland and Sandusky. To the former the distance is 259 miles, to the latter 219 miles. An air line to Cleveland would measure 220 miles, to Sandusky 184 miles, and to Toledo 180 miles. A near approximation to an air line would be more feasible to Sandusky and Toledo than to Cleveland, as it would involve less additional cost over the cheapest practicable route. An air line to Detroit, through Toledo, would be 135 miles in length.
For passengers between Cincinnati, Erie, and Buffalo, the Cleveland Road will be preferred. For railroad freights the shorter and cheaper lines to Toledo and Sandusky, in summer, will have the preference. The heavy freights, between Cincinnati and Lake Erie, will, of course, pass by canal, to and from Toledo. The cost of a railroad between these ports will be less, by some 25 per cent, than the Sandusky Road, owing to its having been a pioneer road, paying more for iron, &c., has cost. It may, also, be constructed for a less amount per mile, by some 20 per cent, than that which connects Cincinnati with Cleveland.
And here it will be appropriate to direct our attention to another of the main trunk-lines of the valley, passing through Cincinnati. Perhaps, in the far future, it may
be as important as that which skirts the south shore of the great lake. Commencing at Detroit and terminating at New Orleans and Mobile, it would pass through the cities of Cincinnati, Lexington, and Nashville, and the important commercial towns, Toledo, Dayton, and Florence, besides numerous places of less note. By, a short branch from the Mobile line, it would reach Pensacola; and, by roads already made, it would meet the south shore trunk-road at Cleveland and Sandusky—by the forrner, passing through the flourishing city of Columbus. By this road the principal gulf cities and lake cities would be brought into close communion of interest and feeling. In a straight line, the distance between Detroit and New Orleans is 940 miles. A feasible route could probably be found not exceeding one thousand miles. By river, from New Orleans to Cincinnati it is 1,556 miles, and thence, by the shortest traveled route, to Detroit, over 300 miles-together 1,860 miles. This road, if judiciously located and managed, would, beyond a doubt, be profitable to its owners. Its
way business, if it had no other, would insure that result.
Louisville and New Orleans will, probably, find the best railroad connection with the lake roads by way of Madison, Lawrenceburg, and Dayton. The Cincinnati roads, thence to Lake Erie, will be their roads.
The Central Railroad of Illinois, in connection with its continuation from Cairo to New Orleans and Mobile, and which we will call the Cairo line, is by some deemed the most important trunk-line between the gulf and the lakes. Compared with that which is to pass through Cincinnati, Nashville, &c., it seems to fall quite in the rear. Neither the towns, the natural resources, the populousness of the region it traverses, nor its railroad connections, are equal to those of the Cincinnati line. It has, besides, the disadvantage of reaching Lake Michigan at a point from which, in the transaction of its eastern business, a navigation of more than 700 miles must be performed in order to meet the advanced position on Lake Erie which the Cincinnati line first reaches. This will be a cheap navigation, but it will cost something, and in spring and fall will call for a heavy rate of insurance. The Cincinnati line will have the advantage, too, in its connection with the railroads leading from Nashville to Charleston and Savannah. The time seems distant, if it shall ever arrive, when any other route between the lakes and the Gulf of Mexico will take precedence of that through Cincinnati. The Cairo line, commencing at New Orleans and passing through Jackson, would have the advantage of the railroad business of the river towns, Vicksburg, Memphis, &c., and, by taking a course from Cairo through Indianapolis to Toledo, reach Lake Erie by a line only 100 miles longer than that to Chicago.
Another trunk-line, destined to a high rank, is that which is to connect St. Louis, the city of the Mississippi, with Lake Erie, at Toledo. Its length by an air line would be 408 miles, and by the most profitable route need not exceed 430 miles. It would pass over the lowest summit level between the upper lakes and the river valley, with the exception of that near Chicago. The summit at Fort Wayne is less than two hundred feet above the lake, and, practically, the whole route may be considered horizontal. It passes along the richest river valleys that can be united in one line between the great lakes and rivers; and its course is right for the most direct intercourse between the northern Atlantic States, Canada, and Europe, and the center of the great valley. For heavy freight, it could not compete successfully with the route from St. Louis, by way of Illinois River and Canal, The distance by the two routes to Lake Erie would compare as follows:--From St. Louis to Lake Erie by railroad .
....miles 430 via Toledo. by rivers, canals, and lakes..... 1,067 via Chicago.
by railroad and lakes....... 970 via Chicago. For passengers and freight of high value in proportion to weight, the direct route would be preferred in summer, and would monopolize the business in winter.
At St. Louis and Toledo, the extent of navigation it would connect would be great, and the railroads it would meet extensive. This is to be one of thousands, the way business of which is sure to pay a fair dividend from the start, and the termini of which are, by nature and art, the greatest gathering points of Commerce, by water and by land, which can anywhere be found.
Another very important trunk-road, between St. Louis and Cleveland, passing through Vandalia, Terre Haute, Indianapolis, Sydney, Marion, and Shelby, is in the same general direction, and it cannot fail to transact a large through passenger business and a way traffic that would of itself give it a liberal support. Eastern freights on that portion of this road west of Bellefountain, destined for water transport, will find their cheapest route by way of Toledo and Sandusky.
Several of the trunk-lines herein mentioned will be continued west of the Mississippi. At least two important lines will be occupied from St. Louisone in a north-westerly direction to Jefferson City and Independence, and the other south-westerly into Arkansas. From Hannibal and Davenport, on the Upper Mississippi, roads westward to the Missouri River are in contemplation. The former will connect with a line through Springfield, in Illinois, to Lafayette, Iowa, and the latter with the Rock Island Road to Chicago.
A trunk-line of great importance will be that which, as a continuation of the roads which gather from the West and South-West at the head of Lake Erie, takes its course north of Lakes Erie and Ontario, and so on down the St. Lawrence to Quebec, and thence to Halifax. The various links of which it is composed will probably be constructed within the next five years. This will be a rival line to those by New York and Boston for the travel between Europe and the great valley.
The foregoing seem to be the leading routes along which the most profitable railroads of the great plain will be operated. They will be the main lines on which, within twenty years, the thirty millions of the plain will carry on their traffic with each other, with some fifteen millions on the Atlantic border, and the land portion of their Commerce with foreign nations. At how small a cost per mile they may be built and operated, compared with the railroads of Great Britain and the Eastern States, is worthy of special note. The average cost in Great Britain has been about $170,000 per mile. Mr. Derby, last year, made the average cost of all the railroads in the United States a fraction less than $30,000 per mile. According to a tabular statement of this Magazine, (vol. xxv., p. 121,) the cost in Rhode Island was upwards of $52,000 per mile; in Massachusetts, $45,433; in Pennsylvania, $40,576; in Maryland, $36,250; in New York, $36,861; in Vermont, $35,367; in Connecticut, $31,757 ; in New IIampshire, $30,618; in Maine, $26,338; in South Carolina, $24,807; and in New Jersey, $24,490. In all the other States the cost has been less tban $20,000 per mile.
Some of these have not been thoroughly built, and are, therefore, no criterion of the cost of roads of the best construction. Improvements in superstructure, and reduced price of rails, enable companies at the present time to build at less than heretofure. The railroads now in operation in the West have cost from $14,000 to $20,000 per mile. One of the best, the Cleveland and Columbus, cost $18,244. It could now be made as well for about $15,000.
A railroad eastward of Fort Wayne, Ia., upwards of 130 miles long, is understood to have been let to responsible contractors, to be made and finished for the running of the engine, including equipage, engine-houses, and stations, at $12,000 the mile. Several of the trunk-roads before mentioned, with iron at present prices, could be built in the best manner for $15,000 the mile. That from St. Louis to Toledo could be made deviating but slightly from a straight line, and with a profile as nearly horizontal as could be desired. It could probably be prepared for business for six millions. If any one thinks stock in this road would not be better than in a quartz mining company of California, we are not of his opinion, VOL. XXVII.-N0. I.
The ability of western railroads to pay their owners a large profit has been fully proved. It is but a short time since the first railroad west of Pennsylvania, laid with a T rail, was brought into use. The Madison and Indianapolis, though not one of the great routes, paid during its last fiscal year 10 per cent dividend, after setting aside $100,000 surplus for permanent improvement of the road. It is well known that the Central and Southern Michigan Roads have paid well, although the former cost too much, and the latter has but recently had its chief portion laid with a T rail. Neither has had the advantage of any eastern or western connection with other roads.
The Cleveland and Columbus Railroad has much exceeded the expectations of its sanguine friends in the amount of business it has commanded, and the profits it has been able to divide. The same remarks are applicable, in a degree, to the Little Miami and Mad River Roads. No well constructed and well managed western road bas failed to yield a large income. Such being the result, in the infancy of the country, and without a connection with the eastern system of railroads, what may we not reasonably expect when the population shall be trebled, their economical resources quadrupled, and connections formed with other lines east, west, north, and south; all which may be relied on to come to pass within twenty years.
The trunk-roads of the plain will possess an advantage over those in a country of hills and ridges, in the feasibility of making branch roads in any direction which the local wants of villages may require. They will, also, be much aided by plank-roads which, in the wooded country, are being made from nearly every considerable village, and from the more important prairy towns.
The great plain is provided by nature, in her rivers and lakes, with navigable waters, in length of shores to be counted by tens of thousands of miles. Within twenty years more than ten thousand miles of railroad, and double that extent of plank-roads, will connect its various parts. From mountain to mountain, and from lake to gulf, in a web that will embrace the whole surface, telegraph wires will exchange thoughts, giving to the entire population of 30,000,000 a community of ideas and interests which must soon mold them into a decided homogeneousness of character.
By means of the St. Lawrence waters, improved for the passage of large sea-going vessels to the upper lakes, a direct ocean Commerce will be established ; and, by the Mississippi, ocean steamers will visit Cincinnati, Louisville, Cairo, and St. Louis. Twenty years soon pass away—but their effects on the beautiful plain, magical, as from the rapidity with which they are evolved, they may seem, will last forever. Before its last lustrum shall be entered upon, the delusion, so hugged in the Atlantic cities, that with them is to remain the empire of Commerce for this continent, will, to eyes that are open, be clearly visible.
How rapid is the transition! It seems but yesterday, when, to be carried 80 miles through the long day and night, seemed a great advance on the earlier means of western travel. A few short years will enable men living on the great lakes and the Mexican Gulf to meet each other by the light of the same day, on the morning of which they leave their respective homes. Four-fifths of the dwellers of the plain, when the lines of railroad now commenced shall be completed, with their tributaries of rail and plankroads, will be able to meet each other in some central place, with the travel of one day; and half of them may have ample time for coming together "from rise of morn to set of sun." The people of the Rocky Mountains may exchange salutations with their neighbors of the Alleghanies on the second day of their journey towards each other. Who can doubt that railroads and telegraphs will make us one country in heart as in government; and that the great plain, already preponderating in population, will fix within her bosom, during the present century, the great seats of Commerce and power of the nation.
J. W. s.
Art. VI.-PROTECTION vs. FREE TRADE.
THE LAW OF PROGRESS IN THE RELATIONS OF CAPITAL AND LABOR.
PREEMAN Hunt, Esq., Editor Merchants' Magazine :
SIR:- In the article of Professor Smith in the Merchants' Magazine for January, 1852, he appears somewhat discontented that the discussion between him and myself has not been carried on under a correct title. He has, however, no one to thank but himself for this circumstance; for it arose out of bis Quixotic attempt, at all hazards, to defend Mr. Carey's theory of political economy, even if he broke in unceremoniously upon the discussion of another subject, in which Mr. Carey's views were only incidentally mentioned. For my part, I have no objection to any title which he may please to give it, or to any issue wbich he may wish to make. He will be aware before this reaches him, that I have instinctively followed the course which he has pointed out, though it is that which he has not very concisely followed himself
. Having got thus far, I am rather at a loss to proceed, for the Professor appears something like as a man in the bush, who, being without a compass, has lost his way, and therefore goes round and round, until he comes again to the spot from whence he started. I am also fearful that I may fall into the same track, for, having given up all idea that the Professor would make any further remarks upon my last, I transmitted to you, several weeks since, à rejoinder, of which I have not a correct copy, and therefore such a circumstance is very probable.
But to the subject. The first and second pages appear to be quite irrelevant to the point at issue, and can only have been written to lead the mind of the reader from the real question. We are not at issue upon the increasing facilities of the production of manufactures, nor upon the decreasing price of such articles; these are two points upon which we perfectly agree. On the third page I find the following: “R. S., and those who think with him, will not admit the supposition, that the total product is not increased, by at least a sufficient per centage to pay the increased proportion going to labor, without impairing the remainder belonging to profit. To establish this would be to prove that, in the progress of society, labor is devouring capital.” Now this does not appear to me very intelligible at first sight, and I am not certain that I understand it, or even that the Professor himself is aware of its purport. Now, if we will not admit, “ that the total product is not increased,” &c., we must hold to the contrary, but this would have precisely the opposite effect, to that which the Professor states. The remuneration of labor being increased, while the profit on capital remained the same, labor would obtain all the advantage, without devouring the capital. But this would be equally fatal to the Carey theory, because the rate of profit is known to decrease in all countries, and therefore no accumulations