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of consumption; thus dividing their benefits equitably between producers and consumers, and contributing to the development and prosperity of the whole country. The Great Architect of the continent seems to have located its rivers and lakes with express reference to the commercial necessities of the industrious millions who now and shall hereafter occupy it. The plan of improvements suggested by the committee merely follows the lines so clearly indicated by His hand.

stages of water. Estimated cost, $5,000,000. | this report, that these routes lead directly from, 2. A communication by canal or freight railway, or through, the greatest areas of production, to from some convenient point on the Tennessee those sections which constitute the greatest areas river in Alabama or Tennessee, by the shortest and most practicable route to the Atlantic ocean. The railway, if constructed, will be about 430 miles long; the question as between the canal and railway to be decided after a careful survey and estimate of both shall have been completed If by canal, the cost will be about $35,000,000. If by railway, probably about $30,000,000. Large portions of all of the above routes have been surveyed, and careful estimates prepared by the War Department. It is recommended that appropriations be made at the present session of Congress, for completing the surveys of the entire system of improvements proposed, in order to determine accurately the cost of each route, and to enable the Government to enter at once upon the work, if the same shall be deemed practicable and expedient, after such surveys shall have been completed.

In presenting this general plan of improvements, the committee wish to be distincly understood that the ordinary annual appropriations for other important works in aid of commerce should not be omitted.

The cost of the entire improvement, will depend upon the decision to be hereafter made between the canals and the frieght railway portages, on the central and southern routes. If the canals be constructed, the total cost will be about $155,000,000. If the railways be chosen, the total cost will be about $120,000,000. An actual expenditure of $20,000,000 to $25,000,000 per annum will be required for five years, (in addition to the loan of Government credit as above stated,) when the whole work can be completed. The resulting benefits will, for all time, annually repay more than double the entire cost.

The proposed improvements are so located as to distribute their benefits with great equality among all the States east of the Rocky Mountains. Twenty-one of those States are situated directly on one or more of said routes; two States, Kansas and Nebraska, are so situated as to enjoy the full benefits of reduced cost of transportation from the Mississippi river by all the proposed lines. Eleven States, viz: Maine. New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Florida and Texas, nearly all of which consume largely the food of the West, and most of which are to a great extent dependent upon the West for a market for their manufactures and other products, are directly connected by the waters of the ocean with their several termini. The proposed improvements will, therefore, connect by the cheapest known means of transport every one of the thirty-four States, east of the Rocky Mountains, with all the others, and but one State in the Union will be without waterconnection with the whole world. The accomplishment of so great a result, by an expenditure of money comparatively so small, illustrates the wonderful provisions of nature for cheap commercial facilities on this continent.

In view of the fact that private companies in- These four great channels of commerce under variably combine with each other against the public control, and hence unable to combine public, it is recommended that no aid be given with each other, or with existing lines of transto any route to be owned or controlled by pri- port, will, by the power of competition, hold in vate corporations, but that the four great chan-check all the railways radiating from the intenels of commerce suggested, shall be improved, created, and owned by the Government, and stand as permanent and effective competitors with each other, and with all the railways which may be within the range of their influence.

The committee believe that the water routes suggested should constitute free highways of commerce, subject only to such tolls as may be necessary for maintenance and repairs. If, however, Congress shall deem it expedient to require them to provide interest on the cost of construction, and the means for ultimate redemption of the principal, the whole improvements will involve only a loan of Government credit.


By reference to the map of the United States it will be seen that the completion of the system of improvements proposed will provide four great competing commercial lines from the center of the coutinent to the Atlantic seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico. It will also be observed, by reference to the crop maps republished with

rior to the seaboard, and, by affording cheap and ample means of communication, will solve the problem of cheap transportation. If local railways discriminate against them, it will be in the power of the States whose boundaries they touch to prescribe regulations for the correction of such discriminations. A law of Congress prohibiting discriminations agaist river or lake ports, will enable the other States, not directly upon any of said lines, to reach them at reasonable rates. The committee submit that no scheme of public improvement could be more eminently national in its character, nor diffuse its benefits more generally and equitably than the one proposed; and they believe that the entire system of improvements indicated should be considered and acted upon as a whole.

Let us now consider more specifically the benefits and advantages to be anticipated from each route and from the entire system, when completed. 1.—BENEFITS ANTICIPATED FROM THE NORTHERN


From all points on the Mississippi river be

tween Minneapolis, Minn., and Quincy, Ill., the average railway rate to lake ports in 1872 was 17 cents per bushel of 60 pounds. From Chicago to New York, by rail, the average charge during that year was 33 cents per bushel, and the average rate by water was 26 cents per bushel, making the all-rail charges through from the Mississippi to New York 50 cents, and the rail and water charges, exclusive of terminals, 43 cents per bushel. In the section of this report devoted to the Fox and Wisconsin river improvements, and the Hennepin canal, we have shown that an average saving can be effected through their agency of at least 10 cents per bushel on all the cereals transported from points west of the Mississippi river and north of the southern line of Iowa. It is believed by those who have studied the subject, that the enlargement of the New York canals so as to pass boats of 600 to 1,000 tons, will reduce the cost of transportation ou that part of the line 50 per cent. The establishment of reciprocal trade relations with the Dominion of Canada, which shall induce the construction of the Caughnawaga canal, (if such an arrangement can be made,) and which will encourage Canadian shipmasters to compete for the carrying trade on the lakes, will also materially cheapen the cost of transport to New England. The evidence taken by your committee fully justifies the opinion that by the enlargement of the New York canals, the construction of the Caughnawaga canal, and the use of the enlarged Canadian canals, the cost of transport from Chicago to Burlington, Vt., and to New York city, will not exceed from 12 to 15 cents per bushel, making the entire cost from the Mississippi river to Burlington, Vt., or to New York, not more than 22 cents per bushel, against the present cost of 43 cents by water, and 50 cents by rail. We may therefore reasonably estimate that by the proposed improvements upon this route a saving can be effected of 20 cents per bushel, or $6 70 per ton, on all the east tonnage moved be

tween that river and the east.


Equal to 20.4 cents per bushel of 60 pounds. If the freight railway from the Kanawha to tide water be adopted, instead of the canal and slack-water improvement, the cost of transport from the Ohio river to the ocean will, it is believed, be substantially the same as above stated. The central route would be closed by ice only about thirty days each year, and hence it would be an active competitor with all the railways from the Mississippi river to the Atlantic, at times when competition is now suspended by reason of frost on the northern water route. The effect of such a regulator of railway charges would be to greatly reduce the present winter rates, and, by the constant competition it would maintain, to compel uniformly low charges on all rail and water lines from the interior to the eastern and southern seaboard. Its advantages would be greatest, however, to the central tier of States. Four of the largest interior cities of the continent-St. Louis, Cincinnati, Louisville, and Pittsburg-are situated directly upon it. The trade of these cities, together with the other towns and cities on the Ohio river, is now far in excess of our entire foreign commerce. A vast area of the richest agricultural and mineral country in the world is directly tributary to it, and only awaits reasonable facilities for transportation to develop a commerce the magnitude of which it is difficult now to conceive.



Assuming the same rate of charges as in the estimate just made for the central route, viz, 4 mills per ton per mile on open river, 6 mills per mile on slack-water navigation, and 8 mills per ton per mile by canal, the following will represent the cost of transport by this route from Cairo to the Ocean:

Open river, 980 miles, 4 mills per ton...
Slack-water, 70 miles, 6 mills per ton...
Canal, 325 miles, 8 mills per ton...


$3 92

42 2 60

Total ton for entire distance........... *$6 94 Equal to 20.8 cents per bushel of 60 pounds. Assuming a charge of 4 mills per ton per mile on the Mississippi river, and on the improved vicinity of Guntersville, Alabama, or ChattaIt is believed that a freight railway from the Ohio and Kanawha rivers,* a charge of 8 mills nooga, Tennessee, would enable this route to per ton per mile on the James river and Kanawha accomplish very nearly the same results. This canal, and 6 mills per ton per mile on the slack-route will never be obstructed by ice, and hence water improvement, the following statement will represent the cost of transport from Cairo, Ill., to Richmond, Va., by the central water line: Cairo to Great Falls of the Kanawha,

790 miles, 4 mills per ton per mile..... $3 16 From Great Falls to Richmond the distance (equating each lock at one half mile of canal) is 509 miles, of which 348 is canal (equated) and 161 is slack-water. 348 miles canal, at S mills per ton per mile, 161 miles of slack-water, at 6 mills per ton per mile......................

will afford unfailing competition throughout the
year. Its greatest advantages, however, will be
found not so much in furnishing a highway of
valuable connection between the grain-growing
commerce to the sea-board as in opening up a
States of the West and the cotton plantations of
the South, whereby each section will have the
full benefit of those crops for which its soil and
climate are best adapted. It will connect with

2 78
mates of cost are fully 50 per cent. higher than those
96 relied upon by its advocates. The committee have
adopted them from superabundant caution, preferring
to understate the benefits to be anticipated from all
the routes, rather than to exaggerate them. The suc-
cessful application of steam as a motor on canals will
doubtless reduce the cost of transport by this line
very much below the figures named.

Total per ton for entire distance........ +$6 90 *The evidence taken by the committee, and already stated in this report, shows that average charge by the Ohio and Mississippi rivers is now only from 32 to 41⁄2 mills per ton per mile, and in many cases only 2 mills.

† It is due to this route to say that the above esti

The same remark should be made with reference to this route just made with regard to the "central." viz, that the estimates of the committee are much higher than those of its special advocates.

find a market on account of the high transportation charges, the amount moved would have been very much greater. Hence, in addition to the saving in transportation above named, a benefit perhaps equally great would have been conferred upon the producer, in affording him a market for his surplus products.

various Southern rivers, penetrating a very large | fact that large quantities of corn were unable to portion of the cotton districts of the South. It is believed that eventually inland navigation will be obtained at small expense along the coast of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, connecting with the rivers in those States which flow into the ocean. By this route the center of the cotton-producing region can be reached from the center of the corn area at a cost not exceeding 15 to 18 cents per bushel; and hence, in addition to the creation of a new competing avenue to the sea, the home market for food that will be developed, and the increased production of cotton that will be induced will much more than compensate for the entire cost.



The evidence submitted with this report justifies the conclusion that, upon the completion of the entire improvement of the Mississippi river, wheat and corn can be transported from Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and other States above Cairo to New Orleans for an average of 12 cents per bushel, and that the cost from St. Paul will not exceed 17 cents. The average rate from New Orleans to Liverpool in 1872 was about 27 cents, (currency,) which can be reduced, as herein before shown, to 18 or 20 cents, by the improvement at the mouth of the river. Estimating the cost from St. Paul to New Orleans at 17 cents, the two transfers at St. Louis and New Orleans at 1 cent each, and the charge from New Orleans to Liverpool at 20 cents, the total from St. Paul to Liverpool will be 39 cents per bushel. The charge in 1872 from St. Paul to Liverpool, including transfers and terminals at Chicago, Buffalo, and New York, by the cheapest route, averaged 67.5 cents per bushel. The saving to be effected by the improvements of this route may therefore be estimated at 28 cents per bushel from St. Paul to Liverpool, with a proportionate reduction from all other points on the river.

In view of the benefits and advantages to be derived from each of the four proposed routes, and from their combined influence when in constant competition with each other and with the railroad system of the country, it is, in the judgment of your committee, entirely safe to say that the completion of the system of improvements suggested will effect a permanent reduction of 50 per cent. in the cost of transporting fourth class freights from the valley of the Mississippi to the sea-board, and that the cost of carrying a bushel of wheat or corn to the markets of the East and of the world will be reduced at least 20 to 25 cents per bushel below the present railway charges, and that a similar reduction will be effected on return freights.

The actual movement of grain to the eastern and southern markets in 1872, as shown by the carefully prepared statistics submitted with this report, amounted to about 213,000,000 bushels. An average saving of 20 cents per bushel on the surplus moved that year would have amounted to over $42,000,000, or more than two-thirds of the entire expenditure necessary to complete the proposed routes, in additton to the loan of Government credit, as before stated. But for the

To this must be added the enhanced value which such reduction would give to the improved lands of the West, amounting, in the eight northwestern States of Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska, in 1870, to 55,841,000 acres. Estimating the productive capacity of these lands at an average of only twenty bushels per acre, (the average of corn, oats, &c., being in fact very much greater,) an addition of only 10 cents per bushel (one-half the estimated saving) to the value of the cereals those States are capable of producing, would give a net profit of $2 per acre, which is the equivalent of 10 per cent. interest on a capital of $20, and hence equal to an increase in the value of lands to that extent. Twenty dollars per acre, added to the value of improved lands in those States, would exceed an aggregate of $1,100,000,000. This calculation assumes that one-half of the reduction will inure to the benefit of the consumer and the other half to the producer.

Add to all this the increased value of farms in other States, the increased value of unimproved lands, the enhanced value of cotton plantations, the benefits to accrue from reduced cost of movement of the products of the mine, the foundry, the factory, the workshop, and of the thousands of other commodities demanding cheaper transportation, and some conception may be formed of the vast additions to be made to our national wealth and prosperity by the system of improvements under consideration. In comparison with the great benefits reasonably to be anticipated, their cost is utterly insignificant.

The probable effect of such reduction in the cost of internal transportation upon our exports and foreign balances of trade is also worthy of the most careful consideration. America and Russia are the great food-producing nations of the world. Great Britain is the principal market. For many years America and Russia have been active competitors for the supply of that market. Until recently, the farmers of the west have had the advantage of the wheat-producers on the Don and the Volga; but, a few years ago, Russia inaugurated a system of internal improvements by which the cost of transporting her products from the interior to the sea-board is greatly reduced. The result is shown by the importations of wheat into the United Kingdom during two periods of five years each.

Imports of wheat from Russia and America into the
United Kingdom from 1860 to 18 4 compared with the
imports from 1868 to 1872.
1860 to 1864, inclusive-

From Russia....

From United States..................

1868 to 1872, inclusive

From Russia...

From United States...






An increase during the latter period as compared with the former of 70,590,213 bushels

from Russia, and a decrease of 10,584,746 from | show that in some matters we have been suffithe United States.

The cheaper mode of handling grain by elevators has not yet been adopted by Russia, but doubtless will be very soon. When this shall be done, and her wise system of internal improvements, which have already turned the wavering balances in her favor, shall be completed, she will be able to drive us from the markets of the world, unless wiser counsels shall guide our statesmanship than have hitherto prevailed. In fact, as the increased size of ocean vessels is constantly decreasing the cost of ocean transport, and our wheat fields are yearly receding farther westward from the lakes, it is not impossible that when she shall have driven us from the markets of Europe, she will become our active competitor in Boston and Portland, if cheaper means of internal transport be not provided."

A condition of things equally unsatisfactory exists with regard to our chief article of export, cotton. High transportation charges from the grain fields of the northwest to the cotton fields of the south have compelled the planter to devote his cotton lands to the production of wheat and corn, for which they are by nature unsuited, thereby reducing the product of cotton and diminishing the market for grain. The effect upon our cotton exportations is shown by the following statement:

Receipts of cotton in Great Britain in 1860 compared with



From United States....
From all other countries...


From United States..

From all other countries.....


ciently liberal, but in appropriations for the
benefit of commerce and for the development of
our vast resources, most parsimonious.
public buildings, including those in the District
of Columbia, and custom-houses, post offices,
and court-houses in other parts of the country,
we have expended over $62,000,000; while for
the improvement of the 20,000 miles of western
rivers, through which should flow the life-currents
of the nation, we have appropriated only $11,-
438,300. For the improvement of these great
avenues of trade, which were designed by nature
to afford the cheapest and most ample commer-
cial facilities for the teeming millions who in-
habit the richest country on the earth, we have
expended an average of $133,100 per annum;
while for public buildings we have appropriated
an average of over $750,000 a year. Is it not
high time that all expenditures not absolutely
necessary be suspended, and that the imperative
necessities of the country receive attention?

England, in order to encourage and stimulate
the culture of cotton in India for the supply of
her factories at home, guaranteed interest on an
expenditure for internal improvements in that
distant country amounting to over $400,000,000.
The most advanced nations of ancient and modern
times have regarded their highways of commerce
of the first importance, and, in exact proportion
to the excellence of those highways, have been
the development of national resources and pow-
1,115,890,608 er, and the augmentation of national wealth.
It may be said that in the present financial
condition of the country, and with our heavy
burden of indebtedness, we cannot afford to en-
ter upon
It is true our debt is large, and our industrial
the system of improvements indicated.
enterprises are temporarily deranged, but our
liberal and wise statesmanship to insure their
resources are immeasureable, and need only a
full development.




Our cotton exports have fallen off nearly 50 per cent., while other countries have gained nearly 300 per cent. This is doubtless largely due to the war, which stimulated the production

of cotton in India: but it is also attributable to a great extent to the causes above mentioned, and to the system of internal improvements inaugurated by Great Britain in India, for the express purpose of rendering herself independent of us for the supply of cotton. Every cent unnecessarily added to the cost of transportation is to that extent a protection to the cotton planters of India and the food producers of Russia, against the farmers of the west and the cotton planters

of the south.

As we have already stated, the public debt of portion it bears to the public wealth and to the a nation is great or small according to the procommercial prosperity of the people who have it United States in 1800 would scarcely be felt toto pay. A debt that would have crushed the day. In the exact proportion that our wealth increases, the burden of our debt diminishes. For instance, in 1840 the entire national wealth was estimated at $3,764,000,000. At the close The cry of despair which comes from the overburdened west, the demand for cheaper food of the rebellion our national indebtedness had heard from the laboring classes of the east and the debt of 1865 in the year 1840 would have reached $3,300,000,000. Hence to have paid from the plantations of the south, and the rapid falling off of our principal articles of export, all required 90 per cent. of all the property in the indicate the imperative necessity for cheaper country, On the 1st of March, 1874, our debt means of internal communication. If we would was $2,151,880,066. Our national wealth is esassure our imperiled position in the markets of timated at over $30,000,000,000. While, therethe world, reinstate our credit abroad, restore fore, the debt of 1865 would have consumed confidence and prosperity at home, and provide owned in the United States in 1840, the payalmost the entire property, public and private, for a return to specie payment, let us development of our present debt would require only our unequaled resources and stimulate our industries by a judicious system of internal im


A reference to the expenditures of our Government* since the adoption of the Constitution will

See statement showing the expenditures for various purposes from the adoption of the Constitution to June 30, 1873.

about 7 per cent. of our present wealth. It is therefore apparent that the burden of the debt of 1874 is less than one-twelfth as great on our present property as the debt of 1865 would have been in 1840. If by the development of our resources we can maintain the same ratio of increase during the next twenty-five years that.

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prepared by the chairman; it contains, however, I concur in the main in the foregoing report, certain statements and assertions of law and of fact, and recommendations relative to the power of Congress and its exercise, from which I dissent.


we have since 1850, the debt of the nation (if | ments as are required for the full development no further payments be made) will amount to of our unequaled resources? only about 1 per cent. on the national wealth in 1900. In other words, with the full development of our resources, which it is in the power of wise statesmanship to induce, the entire debt can be paid in the year 1900 by the assessment of a tax but little greater than is now required to meet the current expenditures of the Government. If it be true, then, that the burden of a nation's debt diminishes in exactly the same ratio as its wealth increases, is it not the dictate of wisdom and sound policy to pay only so much of our debt as may be necessary to keep our faith and maintain our credit, and to devote whatever surplus revenues may remain to such improve

The undersigned, members of the committee, do not agree that Congress can exercise the power "to regulate commerce among the several States," to the extent asserted in this report. T. M. NORWOOD. H. G. DAVIS.




Illinois Railroad Act of 1873.

AN ACT to prevent extortion and unjust discrimination in the rates charged for the transportation of passengers and freights on railroads in this State, and to punish the same, and prescribe a mode of procedure and rules of evidence in relation thereto, and to repeal an act entitled "An act to prevent unjust discrimination and extortions in the rates to be charged by the different railroads in this State for the transportation of freights on said roads," approved April 7, A. D. 1871.

SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly, If any railroad corporation, organized or doing business in this State under any act of incorporation, or general law of this State now in force, or which may hereafter be enacted, or any railroad corporation organized or which may hereafter be organized under the laws of any other State, and doing business in this State, shall charge, collect, demand, or receive more than a fair and reasonable rate of toll or compensation for the transportation of passengers or freight of any description, or for the use and transportation of any railroad car upon its track, or any of the branches thereof, or upon any railroad within this State which it has the right, license, or permission to use, operate, or control, the same shall be deemed guilty of extortion, and upon conviction thereof shall be dealt with as hereinafter provided.

SEC. 2. If any such railroad corporation aforesaid shall make any unjust discrimination in its rates or charges of toll, or compensation, for the transportation of passengers or freight of any description, or for the use and transportation of any railroad car upon its said road, or upon any of the branches thereof, or upon railroads connected therewith, which it has the right, license, or permission to operate, control, or use, within this State, the same shall be deemed guilty of

having violated the provisions of this act, and upon conviction thereof shall be dealt with as hereinafter provided.

SEC. 3. If any such railroad corporation shall charge, collect, or receive for the transportation of any passenger, or freight of any description, upon its railroad, for any distance within this State, the same or a greater amount of toll or compensation than is at the same time charged, the same direction, of any passenger, or like collected, or received for the transportation, in quantity of freight of the same class, over a greater distance of the same railroad; or if it shall charge, collect, or receive at any point upon this railroad a higher rate of toll or compensation for receiving, handling, or delivering freight of the same class and quantity than it shall at the same time charge, collect, or re ceive at any other point upon the same railroad; or if it shall charge, collect, or receive for the transportation of any passenger, or freight of any description, over its railroad a greater amount as toll or compensation than shall at the same time be charged, collected, or received by it for the transportation of any pas senger or like quantity of freight of the same class, being transported in the same direction over any portion of the same railroad of equal distance; or if it shall charge, collect, or receive from any person or persons a higher or greater amount of toll or compensation than it shall at the same time charge, collect, or receive from any other person or persons for receiving, hand ling, or delivering freight of the same class and like quantity at the same point upon its railroad; or if it shall charge, collect, or receive from any person or persons for the transportation of any freight upon its railaoad a higher or greater rate of toll or compensation than it shall at the same time charge, collect, or receive from any other person or persons for the transportation of the like quantity of freight of the same class being transported from the same point in

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