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Niagara County, ss.—Asa W. Douglas, being duly sworn, deposeth and saith, that he has been a number of years past a collector on the canal at Lockport, and kept his office at the head of the locks. That during the past year the locks have not been more out of repair than usual : And that he is fully of opinion that the diminution of the quantity of water in the race, and the increase of the quantity passed throngh the locks, has not, nor could have a tendency to injure the locks.
And this deponent ful ther says, that the increase of the quantity of water passed through the locks, is no detriment to boats passing,
and would not delay them, unless through the negligence of the locktenders; and further saith, that it has not so delayed them during the season past to his knowledge or belief. And further saith not. ASA W. DOUGLAS. Sworn before me, this 29th day of December, 1830. H. GARDNER, Supreme Court Com’r.
Niagara County, ss.--William Landon, junior, being duly sworn, deposeth and saith, that he has for three years past been a deputy collector in the office of the above deponent, and that he knows the matters of fact above stated to be true, and fully concurs with the said deponent in the opinions above expressed, and further saith not.
WILLIAM LANDON, Jr. Sworn and subscribed before me, December 29th, 1830, | H. GARDNER, Supreme Court Com’r.
Niagara County, ss.-John Ladd, being duly sworn, maketh oath and saith, that he, this deponent, has been principal lock-tender at the locks in Lockport, on the Erie canal during the two past seasons, and before that time was assistant lock-tender from the time the canal was completed.
That since he was first appointed principal lock-tender, his wages have not been at any time increased.
That the locks during the season past have not been injured more. by the waters passing through them, than usual, or than the average of the seasons heretofore. And this deponent says that the quantity of water which has been turned from the waste-weir round the locks and passed through the same, could not have a tendency to delay boats in passing the locks, and that no boat has, to this deponents * recollection, been delayed in consequence thereof, during the past season, except in one instance, when in consequence of his being engaged in getting some horses out of the canal, the packet was delayed about five minutes to enable him to fill the upper lock. And this deponent further says, that the waste-weir, has never been of sufficient capacity to conduct enough water around to supply the level below without conducting a part of it through the locks. And that when there has been sufficient quantity passing to supply said level, it was always necessary to keep a part of it passing through the locks, and generally through the floods of the fall and winter and spring months, there has been a larger quantity passing through the locks than during the average of the boating season the past summer —and further saith not.
Lockport, 7th Month 17th, 1827.
I think it not improper to address thee on the subject of the surplus
At the time I purchased the land around the basin and locks in this village, the surplus water referred to had been offered for sale, and stipulations received by the Commissioners; but a public decision was not made on those stipulations until about three months after my purchase. Darius Comstock, of whom I purchased, had stipulated to pay for the water $50 per annum; and it was understood between us, that should the water be given to him agreeably to his offer, and I had no reason to think it would not be, I was to assume the payment. Previous to the decision of the Commissioners, and immediately after my purchase, I commenced the erection of this flouring mill, which is now in part operation, and sold and leased privileges for other small establishments for various purposes, which are now in operation. , Subsequently, and to my surprise, the water was declared to be the property of Messrs. Kennedy and Hatch. The latter, I understand, has petitioned the Canal Board o for protection of their purchase and of their rights. It is not necssary to go into an argument to show that they have no right at this time, that can be protected ; inasmuch as they cannot in any wise use this water, not owning nor likely to own a foot of land on which it can be used. Before purchasing water, they should have secured the land on which that water run; as in the sale of the water, nothing was said about guaranteeing land or sites whereon to use it; and I believe they have no right to expect that I will furnish land on which to build machinery, without being paid for it.
The purposes and intentions for which this waste-weir was constructed, are assumed when the water is passed into the basin below; and it matters not whether this water runs over the rocks or over a water-wheel, provided its passage is not obstructed. Would these men ask for protection if the water now run over the rocks 2 Could they, or any one else, occupy it without my consent Had they land on which to pass this water, the subject would appear in a very different light; but as it is, it is a most singular request to ask for protection. I know of no way that they can be benefitted by this water without coming forward and purchasing the land, which they shall have at a fair price, with all its appendages. I have expended nearly $20,000, and others nearly as much, on the premises; and can these gentlemen expect this property without paying for it?
The course that Commissioner W. C. Bouck j as the one that might be taken by the Board, viz. to pass the water through the
locks, I cannot for a moment think they will take; as it could in no wise enrich the purchasers of the water to do so, and would be attended with various difficulties, which I will briefly enumerate. In passing this water through the locks, they of course could not be used while the water was passing; and as boats are almost hourly passing, this course would not be decisive. Supposing all the water was at once shut off, (and one half of it cannot be in the spring and fall months,) the effect would be to throw 50 or 60 persons out of employment; to make inactive considerable capital; to injure the growth of the village and this section of the county, by showing the people that this water was in a quarrel, and while so, no one could be benefitted by it; to oblige the inhabitants at and near this place to go to Niagara falls, a distance of twenty-three miles, to mill, and for other purposes; and above all, deprive the canal of the benefit of receiving the toll, say of from 2 to 3,000 barrels flour, at 480 dollars per thousand, which would be manufactured here by us if this course were pursued. It would deprive us of paying more for wheat than those persons on the lake shore of Ontario are paying, for the Canada market; for the last season we here purchased a la quantity, a part of which would undoubtedly went to Montreal, had it not been for this mill. I have been told by Commissioner Bouck, and I have no reason to doubt it, that the water sold must be taken by the purchasers where it run; that the Commissioners did not feel themselves obligated by the terms of sale to change the course of the water, or to enter into any controversy that might ensue between the owners of the land and buyers of the water. This I considered perfectly impartial, and the proper course; one which neither of the parties could find fault with. It may be said that I can and ought to compromise with the purchasers of the water. I believe we are both too avaricious to think of this, as they set a higher value upon this purchase than I do, as I understand from others; never having had any proposition from them relative to a compromise. I suppose they wish to ascertain the extent that I can be coerced, before they pay the State any thing on their lease, or make me a proposition. In short, there is no hopes of a compromise with them on any terms; and in preference to quietly yielding the premises, which, with the original cost of the land and improvements, have cost between 20 and 30,000 dollars, I shall suffer the consequences, be they what they may. I am determined to have nothing to do with these men, as every movement of theirs has shown nothing but a disposition to get an advantage without paying for it—to force me to fill their pockets. For this land in question, I have paid and secured to be paid $8,500; sor their claim I understand they have paid nothing as yet to the State. Should the Board think I ought to pay for the use of this water, I am willing to enter into a stipulation on fair terms. The supply is not regular; some days sufficient for 40 run of stone, and again not enough to drive 4 run; and if this cannot be remedied, I think I have paid nearly enough for the property already. But I believe a constant and regular supply can be given from the canal. In that case,
when water is passed with a view to accommodate machinery, an equivalent should be given, and I would be perfectly willing to pay it. At present the water that is passed is merely in such quantities as the canal below requires, and not with any view to accommodate machinery.
I hope this letter will not be burthensome, and that such parts of it as may be deemed proper, will be considered and mentioned to the Board.
With much respect,
WILLIAM L. MARCY, Esq.