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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 Hampshire, $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 than $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.-NO, I.


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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 receutly 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 bošom, during the present century, the great seats of Commerce and

power of the nation.

J. W, s.




Freeway Hust, 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 his 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 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, a 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 remuberation of labor being increased, while the profit on capital remained the same, labor would obtain all the advantage, without devouring the capital. But tbis would be equally fatal to the Carey theory, because the rate of profit is known to decrease in all countries, and therefore no accumulations

could take place, except from the savings of labor; and no increased portion could accrue to the capitalist as taught by Mr. Carey. Neither Ricardo nor McCulloch saw clearly the operation of the principle of rent, or they could not have supposed that profits could have been kept intact merely by keeping the rate of wages down. For if we were to concede the Carey theory, that the most productive soils are last cultivated, the increased production arising from that circumstance could avail nothing against the extra expense of carrying the products two or three thousand miles, and of replacing the fertility of the soil

, constantly abstracted by the increase of population; and therefore from these two circumstances a constantly increasing amount of labor is required, to bring the same relative annount of necessaries to the point of consumption. When the lowest kind of labor has been brought to that point of remuneration at which nature refuses to increase the number of that class, by its own propagation, the encroachment of rent continues, by the increase and competition of the other classes of society, until the rate of profit reaches that point at which further accumulation becomes impossible; and if population still continues to increase, capital must be consumed. We may

be satisfied of this, by observing the continued decrease of the rate of profit in England, as well as the continued and increasing amount of emigration. While upon this point I must be excused for referring again to the Professor's article of November, in reference to Mr. Porter's statistics. He

says: : “In order to give their proper weight to the facts collected by Mr. Porter, we ought to take into account the population of the British islands at the periods to which they relate. Thus, between 1812 and 1848 the population increased about 50 per cent: according to the theory of Malthus and R. S., the number of persons having incomes between £150 and £500 ought to have increased in a lower ratio, but, in point of fact, it has increased threefold. There ought to have been less than 46,000 of them, while there were 91,101, or twice as many as the law of the English economists allows."

Now I am not aware, that the English economists have laid down any law by which the relative increase of population and income should be reg. ulated, but I think the more we study these statistics the more we shall be satisfied that they thoroughly accord with the Malthusian and Ricardo doctrine. It is true that an idea had got abroad that, relative to population, England was decreasing in wealth, no doubt from the writings of the “ Anti-Corn-Law League,” and the serious decrease in the revenue; and still this may be the fact, Mr. Porter's statistics notwithstanding. Mr. Porter has, however, proved, that the income of a very small portion of the population has increased, but the increase of that income is a very nearly threefold greater than the increase during the same period, of that portion of the population of the United Kingdom subject to the income tax.”

The statement is, that there are 91,101 individuals-of course including clergymen, lawyers, merchants, tradesmen, confidential clerks, agents, engineers, professional men of all descriptions, public servants, landowners and fundholders, and skilled mechanics, whose incomes are between fifteen dollars a week and fifty-while the whole of the upper and middle classes include only 109,000 persons--something over one three-hundredth part of the whole population. After all, this is no proof that the wealth of Eng. land has materially increased ; there are the 299 individuals to each one of the hundred thousand, whose wealth or income, according to Lord Jobn

Russell and the “Commissioners of Inquiry,” have been diminished, which would allow a pretty good margin for accumulation, without any absolute increase of capital. At any rate it is a startling fact disclosed by these statistics, that all the appendages of wealth and luxury are enjoyed-everything beyond the mere necessaries of life, by one three-hundredth part of the population of Great Britain. We cannot forget in the meantime, that the number of landowners has decreased, from two hundred and forty to thirty thousand, and that the late Sir Robert Peel was obliged to lay a tax on property and income to maintain the revenue. Verily the Professor's " law of progress” works slowly in England, and probably he will admit that circumstances alter cases, that the law works in an inverse ratio--the many grow poor

while the few grow rich. But I must return to the third page of the January article, from which I take the following: “If the theory of R. S. is correct—if capital has been gaining power at the expense of labor, and that in virtue of a permanent law, which must continue to operate in the future as in the past—then it is clear, that a duplication of real wages must have been and must ever be accompanied by more than a duplication of profits. If it were not, profits would recede relatively to wages, and our case would be made out. If it were, then the increase of wages and and the still greater increase of profits must be attended by a diminution of the share of products going to rent, which is equally fatal to the Malthusian hypothesis. The conclusion is to be avoided only by supposing the increase of production sufficiently large to cover a duplication and more than a duplication of rent, after satisfying the double demand of labor and the more than double demand of capital. All this, too, be it remembered, with a reduction in the cost of commodities to the consumer of more than fifty per cent."

The whole of this paragraph is a mass of mere sophistry, a tissue of misrepresentation and false reasoning. In the first place no one has said, "that capital lias been gaining power at the expense of labor, in virtue of a permanent law, which must continue to operate in the future as in the past.” The law laid down by Ricardo and others with respect to wages, may be stated as follows: the wages of common labor must always recede to the amount required to command the absolute necessaries of life; and when the price of necessaries permanently rises the money rate of wages must also rise, to cover the extra cost, or the laborers must diminish in number, until an equilibrium is produced, either by an increase of the rate of wages or a decrease in the price of necessaries. When labor is mixed with capital, as it is in the case of skilled labor, notwithstanding this circumstance it must to a considerable extent follow the same law; especially where the amount of capital required to learn the trade or profession is small. Therefore all the simpler operations of manufacturing industry may be classed in this category. The Professor speaks in the latter part of the sentence I have referred to as though any one besides himself had supposed, or hinted, that a duplication of real wages had at any time taken place since the fall of Adam. It may be admitted, that in most cases of the invention or improvement of machinery, the workmen have to some extent shared in the extra amount of profit produced by those inventions; but when the monopoly of the invention ceases, wages always come down to the common level

. And as improvements in machinery are more effective for the production of manufactures than for food and raw material, the manufacturing capitalist has had the opportunity, not only of reducing his workmen to the lowest

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