« ForrigeFortsett »
the establishment of railroads or not-but the wishes so to experiment: By no means. Shall principle involved in this provision I then main- we bring our experiments into competition with tained, and yet maintain to this day, as being true. each other? I think that that is altogether unIn reference to this matter of loaning the credit necessary. of the State, or the funds of the State, I have to If the Western Railroad does all that is necessay, that the funds of the State belong to the sary to be done, and all that was expected to be State; the credit of the State belongs to the peo- done, under that experiment, then why experiple, and to the individuals who make up that meut farther : Sir, I am not disposed here to go people. But, permit me to say, Sir, that the in- into statistics, although I have seen some statisdividuals who make up the people, have an inter- tics upon this subject. I am not disposed to show est not only in the credit of the State, but they here, if I could, that the reduction upon the carhave an interest, also, in the money that is in the riage of freight is going to be but very small, treasury of the State. I was remarking the other provided you build your railroad from here to day, when I was up before, when the proposition Troy. I rather think that a matter not to be disof the gentleman from Taunton was under discus- cussed here. sion, that that proposition did not go far enough But, in reference to this matter of experiment, for me, but yet that I should vote for it, because I what are the facts ? The great State of New York thought it probably was the best we could get. took the lead, as to these great avenues of travel After it was negatived in the Convention. I which have been opened. She opened her canal made up my mind to take the next best that from Albany to Buffalo. Pennsylvania followed, I could find, and that came as near shutting and she not only opened her canal, but a railroad, down the gates as might be; and hence I voted in order to connect the two extremes of the canal for the proposition of the gentleman from Boston, on either side of the mountains from Johnstown on that is now the subject of reconsideration. If the one side, to Hollidaysburg on the other. It any corporation, Sir, in this Commonwealth-I was an undertaking which required a great lay it down as a rule, and more especially rail- amount of capital, but being an experiment, not road corporations, when fairly looked at and con- an individual who was a capitalist, dared to hazard sidered—will probably yield six per cent., and the his money upon it. It became necessary, then, in community are satisfied that it will yield six per order to ascertain whether this experiment would cent., there will always be a suflicient amount of be profitable or not, that the State should loan its private capital in the Commonwealth to take the credit to the enterprise. It did not exactly loan stock. It probably never will be otherwise in all its credit either, for that great internal improvetime. Hence, if the loosac Mountain is to be ment belonged to the State, and not to an indibored, if there is a tunnel be made through it, vidual corporation. The State took the stock, if a railroad in that direction will be a six per and the State built it. There was no asking the cent. paying stock, there is no danger but that State to loan its credit for the encouragement of sharp-eyed individuals and keen-sighted specu- any association of individuals. The work was lators--the men of money and of means—will be
State property. ready to take that stock; aye, plenty of them; Well, what followed in process of time. The next and there will be no necessity for ever asking the thing we see, so far as the State of New York is loan of the State credit.
concerned, is a railroad laid along, almost upon the Sir, the Western Railroad was a matter of ex- banks of the canal, from Albany to Buffalo. The periment; so, too, was the great canal which was different links in the chain were built and owned opened from Buffalo to Albany. Both of these by different corporations, but they are virtually were mere experiments. Every one saw the ne- Was there any loaning of the State credit cessity of having a great highway from Albany to this corporation. No, there was not. But into Buffalo, in order that the waters of the Hud- stead of this, individuals of capital vested their son and the waters of the lakes might be con- money in different portions of that chain, as they nected. Every one saw the necessity of having advanced from one stage to another. And what a highway between Boston and Albany, as the did the State of New York do : She imposed products of the West might as well and as cheaply upon that road burdens, and because the State find their way to the eastern section of the coun- itself owned the canal, she would not permit the try, as to go down the waters of the Hudson to railroad from Albany to Buffalo to carry a single the city of New York. But, because we have pound of freight over their road, between those experimented once or twice, and may have come two pois without paying precisely the same out well, is that any reason why we should be duty to the State, which the owners of property continually experimenting so long as any person transported upon the canal, paid to the State.
That was very well for the time being. In process believe the stock is worth about eighty or ninety of time, the project of the New York and Erie dollars on the share. But that is not the end of road was started. I supposed the gentleman from
the matter. The road between Albany and BufBoston was going through the history of that en- falo comes to the legislature, and says: “You have terprise; but he did not tell us the end of the mat- | imposed a restriction upon us in regard to the ter. That road went on for a time, and they transportation of freight, and now you have put asked the loan of the State credit to assist them. a road in competition with us. Now, we do not Mark, the first experiment in reference to the ask of you a gift of $3,000,000, but we ask percanal was paid out of the public purse, and mission to carry freight free of tolls at that season the first road built from Albany to Buffalo, of the year when your canal is frozen up. You was an experiment paid for out of individual have imposed upon us a duty, when you could funds. Then comes the New York and Erie not carry a pound of freight upon your canals. road, the object of which was to open another We ask you to remove that restriction, and put great highway between the waters of the lakes us upon the same footing with the other road." and the waters of the Hudson River and the And what did the State of New York do? ocean, for the exportation and the importation of They took off the duty, and that road is now pergoods, from this section to that section, and the mitted to carry freight in precisely the same manproduce of these different sections to New York. ner as the southern road does, and although duty They call upon the great State of New York to is to be paid upon goods transported upon the loan its credit. The loan was made, to the canals, no duty is paid upon that which is carried amount, according to my recollection, of three upon the railroads. millions of dollars. Well, they undertook to This is the history of the internal improvements build their road-that is, the corporation, and not of the State of New York. Now, wlio has sufthe State-with the loan of about three millions fered from that policy? Who but the individuals of dollars of the State credit to assist them. They that live in the State of New York ? constructed the road as far as the village of Elmira, Sir, I should not have said a word in reference and there they stopped, for want of funds. The to the history of these great matters in the State stock was not worth a dollar in the market. But of New York, had not the subject of the Hoosac they formed a connection with another road Tunnel been introduced here. I am opposed to which came down from the head of Seneca Lake the proposition of loaning the State credit, from to Elmira. By this means they were able to di- principle. If I had been here at the time when verge to that lake, take a steamboat, and land the credit of the State was loaned to the Western at Geneva. Now, pray tell me, if they stopped Railroad, I should have been opposed to it, bethere in the construction of their road, how much cause it was a matter of experiment; and I hold better off the State of New York would have that the agents of the people ought never to exbeen for this loan of three millions of dollars ? periment with the people's money. But the loan What was the consequence? The State of New was granted, and I pray it will turn out well for York, to induce that company to carry through the State. their road in a given reasonable time, said : I believe the State of New York also loaned its “Gentlemen, I know you will never proceed an- credit to another railroad, called the Hudson and other inch, and the people of the State will lose Berkshire Railroad. What is the condition of the money they have loaned you. We know that road to-day! I understand it is advertised your work is to come into competition for the for sale for the non-payment of the interest to the same business done upon our canal and by the State. It never will be a road paying six per other road. We cannot raise a single dollar from the road to pay us our three millions, and if you Well, Sir, what is applicable to a great comwill go on and complete your road in a given munity is applicable to a small community, and time, we will give you the three millions of dol. what is applicable to a small community is applilars."
cable to a great State. Now, let us see how this That was the condition in which that great Erie matter has worked, when applied to a smaller road stood. They went through with the work, body than the State. The city of Bridgewater, in and yet, with this gift of $3,000,000, how much Connecticut, under the authority of the legislais the stock worth: Is it worth the one hundred ture, loaned their credit to a railroad called the dollars the share, the par value? By no means, Housatonic. They did this under the mania and and never will be; and I do not believe that any fever that was then raging in relation to railroads. man in his senses believes it ever will be worth Repudiation was the consequence. When the that. After that contribution of three millions, I scrip which was issued by them became redeem
able, there was a perfect tumult in reference to them, and that I regard as an element of reputhe matter; and yet I venture to say that every diation. person in Bridgewater, at the time the scrip was Now, Sir, in reference to these Western States, issued, was in favor of it. Yet repudiation took how came they by these State debts? Just look place, and execution after execution issued to en- at the history of the matter. It was not in conforce the payment. They went to the supreme sequence of the great internal improvements by court of Connecticut, and it was not until the the States themselves. It was not in opening law had been confirmed, over and over again, these great public channels of communication, that they would pay.
but it was because the people of the various secIn consequence of the great amount of internal tions of those States seemed to have an absolute improvements in which Pennsylvania became in- mania for these improvements. Corporation terested, she almost came to the door of repudia- after corporation was authorized by the legislation. Time after time she could not pay the ture, supposing that they would be equally beneinterest upon the money she had borrowed in ficial with those great projects which the State Europe.
had entered into. And what was the conseHow has this matter been at the West? This quence? Why individuals connected with those perfect avalanche of excitement and feeling in re- corporations were the sufferers. I speak what I lation to railroads, which seemed to pervade the know in reference to this matter, for I have been whole community here, found its way to the a sufferer, to some extent, from that mania in one West. And what was the result? Repudiation of those corporations. Under Providence, it was after repudiation, and disgrace after disgrace; and my fortune to have a little patrimony, located I would by no means bring the ancient Commons within the limits of one of them, and it hapwealth of Massachusetts within that vortex of pened to be real estate, and I felt the effects of it. repudiation which has been exhibited all over the Every town, every county almost, became conWestern States.
nected with these projects for internal improveBut I would go even farther than to prohibit ments. And what was the consequence? Why the loaning of the State credit. I would not only individuals failed in their bonds. They would say that the legislature should not loan the State carry their roads through certain sections, and credit, but I would not permit the legislature to then bring up. Then they would go into the authorize any municipal corporation to loan its next county, perhaps, and say: “ If you will take credit to, or take stock in, any corporation what- half a million of our stock, or get leave of the
legislature to authorize you to loan your credit to How came this matter of repudiation to be so that amount, one or the other, you may have the extensive at the West? I think I know some- railroad through your county. Otherwise, we thing about it. The burnt child always dreads must go through the adjoining county.” Well, the fire. I had a slight visitation in reference to Sir, this mania continued to prevail among the that matter, and perhaps I am not exactly a dis-peopleinterested witness in relation to it.
Here the hammer fell, the half-hour, fixed by Mr. WILSON. I wish to ask the gentleman order of the Convention, as the limit for speechif he will have the goodness to inform the Con- es, having expired. vention which of the Western States have repu- Mr. SCHOULER, of Boston. The gentleman diated their debts?
from Freetown, (Mr. Hathaway,) has spoken Mr. HATHAWAY. Why, Mr. President, I about every State, except the State of Massachuthought what I alluded to was a matter of public notoriety. It will be recollected that Penn- Mr. HATHAWAY. I was going to speak sylvania did not pay her interest. I suppose the about that, when the half-hour cut me off. gentleman would not call that repudiation. There Mr. SCHOULER. Well, Sir, I do not know are some of the Western States which, in a like what the gentleman would have said, if the halfmanner, have declined to pay the interest upon hour had not cut him off, but I wish to make a their liabilities. I call that repudiation, but I remark in relation to what he has already said. presume the gentleman would not. The differ- In the first place, I understood him to say that ence between us is a mere difference of words, he had always been opposed to loaning the State and I am sure we shall not quarrel about that. credit to private corporations, though he had He knows what I mean, when I speak of repu- never committed himself fully upon the mortdiation. I do not say that the people of these gage question. He had never expressed his opinStates refuse, absolutely, to pay their liabilities, ion definitely, upon the question of mortgaging but they did decline to pay the interest upon the farms of the people.
Andover and Haverhill Railroad, now Boston
Mr. HATHAWAY. If the gentleman will
Due April 1, 1870,
1, 1871, permit me, I will explain. What I did say was, that in former times, there was a question before
£899,900 is $3,999,555 56
Add for exchange, $320,000. the people in reference to the matter of which the gentleman speaks, but whether it was right Due July 1, 1857,
Sept. 1, 1853, or wrong, I had nothing to say.
April 1, 1859,
300,000 00 Mr. SCHOULER. Now I wish to say a word
Norwich and Worcester Railroad, due July 1, / to the reformers of this Convention. A great
400,000 00 deal has been said about the reform party in this Convention, and, as I place myself in that cate
and Maine, due August 1, 1857,
Bostoni and Portland, now Boston and Maine, gory, I wish to address myself to the reform
duc August 1, 1839,
50,000 00 members of the Convention.
$5,019,555 56 A MEMBER. As brothers ?
Now, Sir, the State has a clear mortgage upon Mr. SCHOULER. Yes, as brothers. Now,
every dollar of property belonging to every one Sir, we have made some improvements in our of these railroads for the money, or rather the Constitution. But that Constitution has yet to credit she has loaned them, amounting, in all receive the sanction of the people, before it be- probability, to not less than from $20,000,000 to comes the organic law of the Commonwealth. It $25,000,000. Does that look like repudiation on seems to me that there is such a disposition to
account of these improvements ? Sir, there is not load it down with all manner of local questions,
a man in this Convention; there has not been that you will kill the Constitution before the
an attempt in this debate, to show where the State people. The very fact of putting into your of Massachusetts ever run any risk, that she is Constitution this provision, which you are con
likely to lose a single cent, by any act of her legissidering, will, in my judgment, deprive it of a
lature in loaning the State credit. great many votes. In certain parts of the State,
Now, Sir, I am ready to leave this question to disguise it as you will, this loosac Tunnel ques.
the legislature. If it should appear that there tion is one which
will have an influence on the is any portion of the State which has not enjoyed acceptance of the Constitution we may submit the benefit of any assistance upon the part of the if it contains a provision incorporated for the
State to develop its resources, and the loan of purpose of preventing the aid of the State being the credit of the State is necessary to carry out given for that work. In the northern and west
any great project which they have in view for ern portions of the State, there is a very strong
that purpose, I say, in God's name, let them feeting in favor of that Tunnet, and if you place have it. in your Constitution a restriction
which shall pre
Sir, I say—and I say it without fear of contravent the majority of the legislature, and a ma
diction--that if the State of Massachusetts had to jority of the people of the State, from expressing pay every cent of scrip to which she has put her their opinions upon the subject of loaning the
name, for the encouragement of these internal credit of the State to aid in its construction, a
improvements, it would be money spent to better large class of the people in those sections of the
advantage than any ever spent since she became State, will vote against your Constitution for
a State. It has raised up the State ; it has added that reason. I want the reformers of this con
to her population ; it has added to her taxable provention to consider that fact.
perty as much as $200,000,000. And if we had Now, Sir, I want the majority of the legislature not lent the aid of the State, or, at least, if they had to settle this question, just as they have settled it
not been carried out—and it is exceedingly doubtunder the present Constitution, in years past.
ful whether they would ever have been carried out However much we may talk about the improvi- without the aid of the State—we should have dence of other States, there has been no improvi- fallen in every respect far behind what we are dent legislation in Massachusetts upon this sub
now; we should have fallen farther behind, in ject of the credit of the State.
proportion to our former position, than any State I hold in my hand the Report of the Auditor,
in the Union. from which I find that the whole amount of res
I am surprised, that at this late day, when we ponsibility upon the part of the State, to the dif
have the light of experience, that gentlemen ferent railroads of the State, is about $5,000,000, should talk about crippling the energies of the and here are the letails :
State, by placing a provision in our Constitution Western Railroad
which shall deprive the legislature—by depriving Due April 1, 1868,
a majority of the people of the State, through the 1, 1869, 90,000
representatives in the legislature-of the power of
Oct. 1, 1868,
expressing their opinion upon this subject. I am become tributary to her. And, Sir, we wish to
on in her legislature, which was the cause of all It will be found very difficult, in practice, to the trouble. In order to get one project through get two-thirds of the members of the legislature the legislature, members were obliged to vote for to go for any measure of that kind. If such a others, in which other members were interested, provision had been incorporated into our present but which were of no public interest or imporConstitution, in all probability, we should never tance whatever. That is the way in which these have had the Western Railroad at all. True, it Western States have become so deeply involved was an experiment. We could not tell how it in debt. And I believe repudiation has taught would work. But, Sir, when it came to be put them a lesson in this respect. But, Sir, these through, and to develop the wealth and resources States are rapidly filling up, and the time will of the Commonwealth, we found that we had come when these very improvements, which, up made a good experiment. But now we have the to the present time have not been productive, light of experience. We know what can be will become productive, and they will more than done, by what has been done. And yet, gentle- compensate for all the losses they have occasioned. men are afraid to trust the majority of the legis- But here in Massachusetts we have involved ourlature, to say whether they will loan the credit of selves in no such difficulties. Everything has the State, or not.
gone on well, and why not allow the system to Sir, it scems to me that it comes with a rather remain as it is ? bad
grace from the members of the Convention, The gentleman talks about experimenting with from the city of Boston, and from members who the credit of the State, and experimenting with the come from those portions of the State which have people's money. I will ask him whether it is not, been enriched by the credit of the State, to come at least, as bad to experiment with the Constituhere and try to cramp the energies of the Com- tion of the State: IIe proposes to experiment monwealth; to try to place a bridle upon our with the fundamental law in reference to this necks, and to prevent us hereafter from ever assist subject, and I ask him whether the credit of the ing that portion of the Commonwealth which has State is any more sacred than the fundamental never received one single dollar for the purpose law of the State ? of developing its resources. I am in favor of Sir, I am willing to stand by the past experience treating every portion of the Commonwealth with of the State, and I believe the people are willing equal liberality.
to stand by it. But I should like to ask the genNow, Sir, the gentleman from Freetown, (Mr. tleman from Freetown, whether he can tell me if Hathaway,) and every other gentleman who has many of these appropriations of other States did spoken here upon the same side of the question, not pass by a majority of two-thirds? I think will find it impossible to make out any argument the probability is, that at the time when there in favor of the provision now before us, from any was such a rush for these internal improvements, act of the legislature of Massachusetts upon the many of the appropriations were passed by a twosubject. If the legislature had been improvident, thirds vote? There are a number of States which that might have furnished some ground for an a few years ago were repudiating States, but one argument. But it has not. The gentleman from by one they have got back again. Pennsylvania Freetown told us of three millions given up by was one of the repudiating States, but she has the State of New York, which she had loaned to entirely recovered, and I have no doubt, in a the Erie Railroad. Why, Sir, if that road could great measure, in consequence of these very innot have been built without the aid of that three ternal improvements which were the cause of her millions of dollars—and I take it for granted that repudiation. Now she is not a repudiating State. it would not have been built-I ask any gentle- I thought a few minutes ago that Mississippi was man here whether it was not a good investment the only State in the Union that actually repuupon the part of the State of New York ? Where diated, but I think Illinois has once not been able could she have invested her three millions to to pay her interest, and she will, therefore, have better advantage? And I may say just as much to be placed in the same category. But, Sir, that for the Erie Canal, which has been so great a State is filling up rapidly, and I doubt not the source of wealth and population both to the State time will come, and within ten years too, when and city of New York. The whole West have the State of Illinois will be able to pay every cent