« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
For a time the new organization flour- | to their opponents to come over and work ished wonderfully. They adopted a leader together with them to defeat the Whigs. who was by no means a man of straw, but Democrats, cried the liberal Globe newsa powerful and able politician ; in fact paper, with the characteristic Old Hunthe original organizer of the party of ker bon hommie, shall we go to work which they were now the most important and elect our whole ticket, which will enfaction. Mr. Van Buren led off the new able us all to partake of the fat things movement very handsomely, pledging him- which will fall from the Democratic cornuself to do every thing to prevent the ex- copia ? or shall we remain divided, and be tension of slavery, and committing himself compelled for a number of years to feed on to nothing farther. It is said that he al- short commons, until we have not strength lowed himself to be placed in this position to withstand an old fashioned North Wesin order that he might revenge himself up- ter—what do you say? The appeal was on the Southern division of the party who irresistible; the two factions closed their had previously defeated his nomination at ranks, and voted together; but, to the Baltimore. However this may be, the amazement of all concerned, they were new faction succeeded in defeating the old beaten by a good majority. one; the Whigs came into power, and Old That men should make sacrifices in a Hunkerism fell prostrate; deprived of of great cause is necessary to their success; fice, and, consequently, as it had nothing they are called upon, in a good cause, to else, deprived of organizing power. To sacrifice whatever is most dear and precious be, at once, without office and without to them; and when such sacrifices have a principle, was the condition of Old Hun- been made, how great is our sympathy and kerism ; it consisted now of a clique of re- pity for those to whom they have availed jected office holders, who could not, for nothing! The Barn Burner faction, stimutheir lives, show any man a reason, or the lated by a patriotism truly elevated, resolshadow of a reason, why they should be ved that no sacrifice should be esteemed too returned to office-an imbecile and wretch- great for the advancement of that cause of ed condition.
which it was the sworn advocate; the Finding their case hopeless, and witness- cause, as it avowed it, of freedom and huing with a sullen discontent and jealousy manity; no sacrifice seemed too great; it the rising
power of their new enemies, for was ready to throw aside that which it held merly their brothers, or their sons, they most dear, its own jewel, its sole principle, began to make overtures to the new fac- its yery
honor. As the principle for which tion. Old Hunker made a very liberal of- it existed was the thing of all others which fer to young Barn Burner that they two it held most dear, that was the thing of all should clap each a shoulder to the wheel, others which it determined to sacrifice. and having, by the union of numbers, It did this, and lost the election ;-catasachieved a victory, they should divide the trophe truly to be deplored !-melancholy spoil between them. In New York espe- comment upon the vanity of human wishes, cially, for some months previous to the and the futility of the best laid schemes ! late election, this union was agitated, and it had laid a wager to swim across the finally agreed upon by most of the leaders. river with a bag of gold, and as a prelimiNewspapers on the Old Hunker side ad- nary step, threw away the bag. dressed hearty and soul-stirring invitations
J. D. W.
CANAL POLICY OF NEW YORK.
ABSTRACT OF THE LETTER OF MR. RUGGLES.
On the 24th of October, SAMUEL B. Rug chimerical, and this was more especially true GLES, Esq., of this city, addressed to a com in the city of New York, among its merchants mittee of gentlemen residing in Rochester, an and capitalists. After an eight years' struggle, able letter in vindication of the policy that has on the 15th of April, 1817, the law authoribeen pursued in the construction of canals in zing the Canal passed through the Legislature. this state, from the time of Clinton to the pre The whole delegation of the City of New York sent period. Being too long for publication voted against it. in the Review, we shall endeavor to furnish, It was during these contests that the politiin a condensed form, all its important facts and cal parties which even now agitate the State, conclusions.
found their origin and early organization. Mr. The great subject of his letter is introduced Silas Wright, since elected Governor, and by asking three questions : "What is the pre Mr. AzARIAH C. Flagg, the late Comptroller, sent state of the Erie Canal enlargement ? came into public life about that time, the active What has brought it to its present condition ? opponents of Mr. Clinton. What are its prospects ?" The three ques In 1823 Mr. CLINTON retired from the office tions, though distinct, he examines together. of Governor; from the year 1810, when the He first gives a graphic sketch of the three first explorations and surveys were made, to political parties at present existing in the state. the year 1823, he had held the honorary post The Whigs, he says, consist mainly of those, of Canal Commissioner, without salary or and the descendants of those, who supported emolument. In 1824, the great work was near Clinton in the great work of the Erie Canal; its completion. His adversaries, having a —they are those who advocate, as part of their majority in both branches of the Legislature, creed, improvements of the interior as well as passed a joint resolution, supported by Mr. of the sea-board, and who believe that the Wright in the Senate, and Mr. Flagg in the commerce of rivers, and canals, and lakes, are Assembly, removing him from that post, which as important to national interests as that of the he had so long and so ably filled. ocean.
The whole community was shocked at this Opposed to this party is that of those who cold-blooded, intentional insult to a great pubcall themselves Democrats. This last is di- lic benefactor. Mr. Clinton was at once put vided into two sections, one of which is wholly in nomination for re-election as Governor the averse to every kind of internal improvements approaching autumn, and he swept Colonel at the expense of the state, and is known by Young, the opposing candidate, from the field the terrible name of - BARNBURNERS," the by an immense majority. most prominent leader of which is Col. Sam In the large views of Mr. Clinton, howvel Young, aided by Mr. MICHAEL HOFFMAN, ever valuable the Erie Canal might be, as the and Mr. Flagg, the late Comptroller.
main commercial artery of the State, it needed Midway between this wing of the Demo the contributions of lateral canals, branching cracy and the Whig party, is that portion who oft into the more interior recesses of the counenjoy the comfortable title of “OLD HUNKERS;" try. He, therefore, recommended successive and it is their creed that public works ought additions to the system, which should connect to be "judiciously” prosecuted-provided they Lake Ontario and the Black River, the Cayuga themselves can fill the offices of honor or pro- and Seneca Lakes, and the fertile regions of fit connected with the administration. The the Genesee, the Susquehanna and the Allemost eminent leader of this school is Govern- gany, with the great trunk traversing the or MARCY.
State. The present generation, enjoying as it does This was the origin of the lateral canals. the daily benefits of the Erie Canal, can hard From the moment of their construction they ly realize the difficulties which its projectors have been the theme of the most malignant were obliged to encounter. Forty years ago, abuse which party could devise. Disregardwhen the plan was first announced of con ing their palpable effects in swelling the revestructing a canal from the Hudson River to nues of the main line and the general comLake Erie, the idea was treated as purely | merce of the State, their tolls have always
VOL. IV. NO. VI. NEW SERIES,
been studiously kept separate from those of Nevertheless, on the opening of the Legislathe Erie Canal, and the expense of maintain-tive Session of 1838, Mr. Flagg again reing them in repair, is paraded by their oppo- newed his recommendation of a direct tax. nents as a perpetual burthen upon
The subject was referred to a Committee of of the State.
Ways and Means, of which Mr. Rugales was In 1827, Mr. Wright, being still in the Chairman, and they resolved at once, as their State Senate, in an elaborate Financial Report predecessors had done for many years
, that the made war upon the whole Canal system, de tax was neither necessary nor expedient. They, claring that the actual income of the canals however, instituted an inquiry as to what was highly exaggerated, and that any appro- would be the fiscal effect of proceeding with priations for other works, unless they should more expedition in enlarging the Erie Canal; be more profitable than the Erie and Cham- and to solve this, they endeavored to deterplain Canals, “would hasten the period when mine what would probably be its future redirect taxation must be resorted to." The formula thus furnished by Mr. WRIGHT, has In conducting the inquiry, the Committee been faithfully repeated by the disciples of his considered the report made to the Assembly, a political school ever since. But the fact has few days previously, by Mr. Bouck and his not verified the prediction. The Canal paid colleagues, Canal Commissioners
, which preoff its debt nine years after the Report, in Ju- dicted that in a few years after the completion ly, 1836.
of the enlargement, the tolls, being at the On the death of Mr. CLINTON, in the year present rates, would exceed three millions of 1828, the political power of the State passed, dollars annually. They added that they bealmost without opposition, into the hands of lieved the public interest would be essentially his late opponents, and Mr. WRIGHT became promoted by as speedy a completion of the Comptroller, and in due course of time was enlargement of the Erie Canal as the facilities succeeded by Mr. Flagg. The manner in for obtaining means, &c., will justify." Thirwhich the accounts are kept in the Comptrol- teen years before this period, the Canal Comler's office, makes two distinct Funds, – The missioners, among whom were Colonel Young Canal Fund and the General Fund. The Ca- and Mr. Bouck, declared that their anticipanal Fund may be full to overflowing, but if the tions as to the tolls" had uniformly fallen General Fund is low, there is a cry of an ex short of the reality," and they added, that they hausted Treasury. The State may own the had no doubt but the same fate awaited their Canals, as it owns any other kind of property; present calculations." They then proceeded and when the loans are cancelled which had to estimate the prospective increase of tolls been made to construct them, the liens held by for the thirty years then next succeeding. The lenders cease, and the revenues of the Canals following is the result :-$1,000,000 for the may
be applied to the general purposes of the year 1836 ; $2,000,000 for the year 1846; and State. When a tax, therefore, is recommen $4,000,000 for the year 1856. The tolls
, ded"to replenish the General Fund," it simply though materially reduced in rates, amounted
, means a tax to pay off so much of the Canal in reality, to $1,614,342, in 1836, and to debt. During the progress of the Erie Canal $2,756,106, in 1816. At the same time, the and before its revenues had been ascertained, Canal Commissioners predicted that within the people paid a tax for its support, but in fifty years, nine-tenths of the merchandize 1846 it was no longer necessary, and it was transported upon the Canal, will pay toll, if it discontinued. In pursuance, however, of the is chargeable for the use of the whole length policy which dictated his Report of 1827, Mr. of the line. They then estimated the “annual Wright, in 1830, as Comptroller, recommen- receipt of tolls at nine millions and thirty one ded the Legislature to levy once more a direct thousand and one hundred and seventy-six tax. The proposition was not adopted. It dollars." was repeated by him the next year, with the The Report of 1838, was made in all honsame bad success. In 1834 Mr. Flagg be- esty of purpose, and without indulging in any came Comptroller, and until 1839, continued idle dreams of the imagination, but it has been the system commenced by. Mr. Wright of made the standing subject for party ridicule urging the Legislature to impose a tax “to and assault down to the present time. replenish the General Fund." In 1836, the The estimate of the Report of 1838 was, revenues having accumulated to an amount that if the Erie Canal should be enlarged, its sufficient to pay off the whole of the debt of tolls would reach the sum of $3,000,000 at the Erie and Champlain Canal, the Legislature the close of navigation in the year 1849. The virtually settled the matter by enacting that Canal has not been enlarged, and its rates of $400,000 should annually be taken from the toll have been reduced, and yet the tolls of the Canal Fund and paid to the General Fund. In
year 1848 were $3,252, 212, and of the preaddition to this sum, an annual amount of ceding year, (which was one of unusual acabout_$310,000 was also received into the tivity,) $3,635,381. If, to the tolls of 1848, same Fund, from the auction and salt duties. I be added ten per cent. for reduction in the
rates, (being $325,221,) it makes a total of gle exception, the Committee advised no $ 3,577,433.
expenditure on any particular work whatever. In this amount are included the tolls of the They stated that if a debt of $40,000,000 lateral canals, the receipts of which, as kept should be incurred for public works, the money separately, are about equivalent to their cost might be safely borrowed, without imposing of maintenance. After making the proper any burthens upon the people; and that if allowance for the actual expense of repairs on the views of the Canal Commissioners, as to the Erie Canal, the net revenue is $3,000,000 the future revenues of the Canals, are correct, as predicted
the whole amount, within thirty years, may The doctrine that no debt should be incurred be reimbursed and added to the productive by the State for the purpose of constructing property of the State.” public works, is comparatively of recent ori In 1838 the Barnburners and Hunkers comgin. It was neither the theory nor the prac-manded a large majority in the Senate, but the tice of this State in 1838. At that time, the Report was favorably received by that body. main question was, would their revenues pay An Assembly bill, authorizing a loan of $1,the interest on a debt?
000,000 for expediting the enlargement, was In the annual message of Governor Marcy, actually amended in the Senate to $4,000,000, of that year; he expressly recommended to the and in that shape it became a law. This law Legislature the expediency of making more seemed to produce universal satisfaction rapid progress in enlarging the Canal ihan it throughout the State. The Canal Commiswas possible to do with the surplus tolls alone. sioners, in consequence of their scanty means, Mr. Bouck and the other Canal Commissioners up to that time had been only able to put unsubstantially recommended the same thing. der contract a few scattered structures ; This implied, necessarily, either borrowing but they were now enabled to operate with money or direct taxation. Even Mr. Flagg much more efficiency. Many aqueducts and would not have recommended the latter method. locks had become decayed, and the safety of The Committee then had only to show that an navigation rendered it desirable to rebuild annual revenue of $3,000,000 would be suf- them, and that of enlarged size. The three ficient to pay the interest, at five per cent. on great aqueducts—two across the Mohawk and a debt of thirty millions, and reimburse the one at Rochester—were in a failing condition, principal in less than twenty years, or on a and the expense of rebuilding them alone was debt of forty millions and reimburse it in twen- nearly $1,000,000. The twenty-nine locks ty-eight years. The soundness of this por between Albany and Schenectady, when built, tion of the Report was not questioned until had been so clustered together as to cause two or three years after it was made. The most injurious delays in navigation; and the attacks were made upon what were called its scanty supply of water afforded to the canal “ fancies” and “visionary” character. But at Lockport rendering it necessary frequently the fancies have become facts. Is not our to take from the manufacturing city of Rochdebt at this very moment in process of rapid ester, the water from the Genesee river which extinction by means of these very revenues ? was essential to the industry of its inhabitants, And is not the much lauded financial provision were evils which it was important to remedy of the Constitution of 1846, founded on the with as little delay as possible. The work put assumption of the adequacy of these rev under contract in the season of 1838, was dienues ?
rected chiefly to these points and purposes. Two years previous to 1838, the State had The great effort was to relieve navigation of passed laws for constructing the Genesee Val- its most pressing embarrassments. The total ley and Black River Canals, at an expense of cost of the works thus commenced under the at least $ 5,000,000, and for enlarging the Erie law of 1838, including all that had been previCanal at a cost which Mr. Bouck and his ously commenced, did not exceed $11,000,000. colleagues had estimated at $12,416,150, but At the opening of the Session of the Legiswhich, for greater caution, the Committee lature of 1839, the war on the policy of 1838 raised to $ 15,000,000. The Canal Engineers was fairly commenced. Governor SEWARD, had also reported most favorably of the en the first Whig successor of De Witt Clinlargement. The surplus tolls, at that time, ton, came into office the firm supporter of that amounted to a little less than $800,000 an policy, while Mr. Flagg, in his Annual Report, nually. Should they not increase faster than used his best efforts to show that the calculawas then admitted by Mr. Flagg and others, tions of the Committee of Ways and Means the time required for the enlargement would of 1838 were conjectural and fallacious,—that not be less than fifteen years, even if its cost the treasury could not safely rely on the rate should not exceed $15,000,000. At a cost of of progress in the canal tolls which their es. $25,000,000, the work could not be accom timate had assumed. Mr. GULIAN C. VERplished in less than twenty-five years at least. PLANCK, a gentleman of eminently conservaTo save interest, therefore, the Committee re tive character, contended that the results precommended a resort to loans. With this sin- dicted would be realized, and would warrant
an expenditure, if necessary, of $45,000,000, left a vacancy in that body, and Mr. RUCGLES
But it was reserved for Colonel Young, the ment to the locks and aqueducts. It was great leader of the opposition, to display his known that this would secure a considerable party in its strongest colors. In a Report portion of the total benefits of the work, by which he made as chairman of the Finance an expenditure of little more than $12,000,000, Committee of the Senate, all ages and nations, and it would serve as a convenient resting and conditions of man-Turk and Christian-point, should this alternative become necesJew and Gentile-every field of literature, an sary. The section work, including land damcient and modern-scraps of verses, Latin and ages, was estimated at $12,000,000 ; but little English–bits of French-the sayings of Zeno- of it had been put under contract. In pursuphon and Thucydides, -of Hume and Mon ance of this policy, the Whig Canal Commistesquieu—the highlands of Scotland—the sioners, caused a section to be inserted in the plains of India—the pyramids of Egypt—the law of April 25th, 1840, enacting that no "new vulture of Prometheus, and the awful male- work should be put under contract on the endictions of Holy Writ, are summoned to find | largement of the Erie Canal,” except a secsuitable epithets for the “serpents and gene- tion one mile long, through the city of Rochesration of vipers" that were seeking to enlarge ter, a lock which required rebuilding at Black the Erie canal. In his better days Col. Young Rock, and such work as should be necessary had been an advocate of Internal Improves to render available the work then in progress. ment, especially of the Champlain canal, near The next year a similar section was inserted which he resided. In 1825, he reported to the at the request of the Canal Commissioners. Legislature an estimate that in 1856 the canal The total amount of contracts on the entolls would amount to $4,000,000.
largement, made by the Whig Commissioners From this time forward the Report and its during the whole time they were in office, does author were made the subjects of every spe- not exceed one million of dollars ; while Mr. cies of party ridicule and obloquy; and, as RUGGLES, on the Genesee Valley Canal alone, late as 1844, Mr. John A. Dix, in a public by reducing the unnecessary cost of some of meeting at Albany, with $2,500,000 of canal its structures, saved upwards of six hundred revenues then rolling in from the west and thousand dollars. So much for the "spendstaring him full in the face, characterized the thrift” policy of Governor SEWARD and his Report as a mere “work of the imagination,” Whig Administration. fit only to be classed with the Arabian Nights' In April, 1840, Mr. John C. SPENCER, who Entertainments!
was Secretary of State, and a leading member In the session of 1839, the Canal Commis- of the Canal Board, formed by uniting in one sioners reported that the enlargement would body the Canal Commissioners and the Canal cost $23,402,800—being $10,000,000 beyond Fund Commissioners, made a Report to the their former estimate. This state of facts Assembly on the subject of the Canal policy raised a new financial question.
of the State. The result at which he arrived The death of the late General STEPHEN VAN was, that the increase in tolls, instead of being RENNSELAER, long the honory and honored one and two-thirds per cent. as stated by Mr. head of the Board of Canal Commissioners, | Paige, would amount to seven per cent. per