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from the circumstances surrounding it, must of necessity be entirely absorbed by your road.
I allude, of course, to the great oyster trade, drawn from the exhaustless beds of the adjacent waters of the Chesapeake and its tributaries, the richest of which surround your southern terminus. I might include the endless variety of fish, crabs, and terrapins, so highly prized and so universally sought. To these add vegetables, milk, &C., which will greatly add to the business of the road.
But oysters must become a great staple trade, and an exceedingly profitable one, as will be demonstrated by the following facts and figures : The official report of the State of Maryland shows that last year 24,000,000 bushels of oysters were taken in the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and tributaries contiguous to the Potomac; that is, the area from the Potomac south to Lynnhaven Bay, Tangier Sound, and Cherrystone and York Rivers. Of these, 16,000,000 bushels found a market in Baltimore, and 8,000,000 busbels went to Washington, Philadelphia, New York, &c., and were consumed from the shell. Except a small portion of those taken to Baltimore, which were consumed in the shell, the rest were packed principally for western markets, say about 14,000,000 bushels. Some idea may be formed of the loagnitude of this trade from the following figures: In Baltimore 10,000 persons are employed in this packing business, and it requires a fleet of over 3,000 pungies to supply the oysters, and the value of the trade reached $25,000,000.
Now, all this trade must be transferred to the Saint Mary's River, for the followiad reasons:
By far the greater portion of these oysters are taken south of the Potomac River and in the waters around Point Lookout; consequently, to take them to Baltimore they must go 100 miles past Point Lookout to reach that city, and 100 miles back to the oyster-grounds, whereas by delivering them at the Saint Mary's River, they can make four or five trips to one to Baltimore. Besides this manifest advantage, the packed oysters can be distributed throughout the West over your road in the shortest time. The facility with which you can deliver them, will create a new and very large trade of oysters in the shell to all the cities east of the Mississippi River, and, in fact, to California, for even to that point they can be delivered in the time it takes now very often to deliver them in Baltimore. I think, from the foregoing, you can very reasonably calculate on a source of revenue of great magnitude.
The great advantages of Point Lookout as a summer resort, with safe sea-bathing, abounding with every luxury tbat land and water can afford, will, in my opinion, make it one of the most desirable watering-places in the country, and, being so accessible by your road to Washington, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, will produce a profitable revenue during the summer months.
I leave out of the question all consideration of profits that will accrue to the owners of this enterprise which will arise out of the great increase in the value of real estate from the concentration of a busy population of “workers" at Saint Mary's River and Point Lookout.
I consider that there is over 21,000 miles of railroad connected with the trunk lines of which your road may be said to be the funnel, as it were, to the most convenient outlet to the ocean. With all these trunk lines you can maintain the closest connections, and afford to each the greatest facilities for the transportation of freights and passengers, and yet be entirely independent and neutral as to each of them, being, in fact, from its position, a trunk line for the accommodation of each of them.
I might refer to other details illustrative of the opinions I have expressed, but I have already extended my letter beyond reasonable limits. I think I have satisfactorily shown that my opinion is based upon reasonable grounds, and that my judginent of the value of your road as a cheap and rapid transit for commerce to and from the ocean will be made manifest when, under your executive management, it shall be coinpleted and be in operation. Wishing you every success in the speedy accomplishment of your enterprise, I am, respectfully, yours,
CHAS. W. BUCKINGHAM. Col. S. S. SMOOT,
President Southern Maryland Railroad, Washington City, D. C'.
OFFICE OF THE CHESAPEAKE AND OH10 CANAL COMPANY,
Annapolis, Md., May 7, 1873. DEAR SIR : In reply to your favor requesting information as to the quantity of coal the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company can furnish your road annually, when you shall have made a convenient junction with the canal at Georgetown, I have to say
that the carrying capacity of the canal exceeds two millions of tons per annum, and, with a slight expenditure, can be largely increased. Our coal-tonnage during the past year (1872) was eight bundred thousand tons, and but for epidemic aniong the horses in November last, it would have been, in all probability, nine hundred thousand (900,000) tons.
Notwithstanding the very large coal-tonnaye last year, we confidently expect a largely-increased trade during the present and each succeeding year, as it is generally now admitted that the soft coal of Maryland has no equal for generating steam. The increased demand is pot confined to home consumption, but the supply for the East Indian and the West Indian stations and for transatlantic steamers is, to a great extent, passing over our line. Therefore, a moderate estimate of the increased tonnage of the canal could not be made less than the increase in the past ten years, viz: In 1872 the coal-tounage was........
................................ 816, 103 In 1863 the coal-tonnage was ........
............... 216, 792
.................................. 599, 311 Ilow much of this trade will pass over your roaul it is impossible to say. Jain satisfied that when yonr road shall bave been completed, the establishment of it eval-depot on the Saint Mary's River wonld present so many advantages that the time in lot far distant when it would, in all probability, become one of the distributing-points for the Cumberland coal.
Should these expectations be realized, as you remark, " it will be calculated to bring the respective works which we represent in close and intimate relation," and I am sure the representatives of this con pany will at all times cordially co-operate with you in any measure which will give increased facilities to trade. Very respectfully,
A. P. GORMAX,
President Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company. Col. S. S. SMOOT, President Southern Maryland Railroad,
Washington, D. (.
Articles cut from the sereral papers of the city of Washington reflecting the sentiments of the
people of the District on the importance of the Southern Maryland Railroad. It is understood, on reliable authority, that a strong effort will be made by the friends in Congress of the Southern Maryland Railroad to ingraft an amendment on one of the great railroad bills now before Congress, when they are brought before the House or Senate, for the Government to guarantee the Southern Maryland Railroad bonds. As a national measure, giving the capital of the nation an outlet to the deep waters of the Chesapeake Bay, and in the interest of cheap transportation, as an outlet for the grain of the West, we wish the Southern Maryland Railroad success. But, in our opinion, it has sufficient merit to succeed as an independent measure.
THE SOUTHERN MARYLAND RAILROAD. Bills have been introduced in both Houses of Congress to aid'in the construction of the Southern Maryland Railroad by a guarantee of its bonds by the United States. This measure deserves, and will no doubt receive, the earnest consideration of Congress. It furnishes a line of rapid communication to the ocean at all seasons of the year, and in that respect, as well as affording close connection with the military posts and navy-yard at and near Norfolk, will be of great advantage to the Government. As a line of cheap and rapid transportation at all seasons of the year, it will undoubtedly prove of great advantage to the industrial interests of Washington. The present effectual blockade of this city by ice, and the large fleet of vessels lying in the Lower Potomac apable to reach their destination, thus paralyzing every branch of business, presents an argument that cannot fail to have its effect upon Congress. The single fact that this road will furnish at all seasons of the year unobstructed access to the seat of Government, would seem to establish the propriety and wisdom of granting the aid asked. The great advantages resulting from its construction to the merchants and to every industrial pursuit within this District render it the duty of every citizen to urge its passage by every proper means. There can be no risk in granting this aid, as the guarantee is not to be given until the road is completed and in running orderthus all the safeguards are thrown around it to prevent the possibility of loss. It is to be hoped, for the interests of this District, individual as well as governmental, that the measure will be adopted.- Erening Star.
We print in another column this morning, an extract from the Evening Star commending the passage of the Southern Maryland Railroad bill, introduced in the House yesterday, and take this occasion to cordially indorse all that onr cotemporary has said on the subject. This is a measure the practicability and necessity of which is satisfactorily demonstrated by the reports of competent engineers and the existing icebound condition of river-transportation. Congress evidently expects to collect large amounts of taxes from the District, and in return therefor it can do no better than to enable us to pay those taxes by enhancing the value of District property and developing every available resource to sustain and advance our business prosperity. Let the bill be passed without delay.
THE SOUTHERN MARYLAND RAILROAD-ITS IMPORTANCE TO THE GOVERNMENT AND TO
THE INTERESTS OF THE DISTRICT.
There are several circumstances just at this time which invest this subject with peculiar interest to the Government of the United States and the citizens of this District. At this moment the Upper Potomac, for some thirty miles below this city, is firmly. closed by ice, and the Lower Potomac is full of vessels unable to reach their destination. How long this state of things may exist it is impossible to conjecture, but it is quite certain that this blockade is liable to occur every year, and the immense loss to the business interests may be calculated with reasonable probability.
No one can doubt that any means which will avert this disaster will prove to be of incalculable advantage to the business interests of the District, and that the only means that can prevent its recurrence is the construction of a railroad to the deep waters of the harbors at and near the confluence of the Potomac River with the Chesapeake Bay.
The Southern Maryland Railroad, which was begun some two years ago, has made large progress in that direction, nearly sixty miles of wbich is graded, bridged, and ready to receive the rails. A bill will be presented to Congress asking the Governinent to lend its assistance to enable the company to complete its road to this city at an early day by indorsing the bonds of the company, the principal and interest of which are to be secured in the amplest manner by a deed of trust on all the property of the company,
The wisdom of this policy cannot for a moment be questioned, when it is considered that to the Government itself this road will be of great value. It furnishes a sbort and rapid route for the transportation of troops and supplies of every description, and places the important military posts at Old Point and the navy-yard at Norfolk in close connection with the seat of Government at all seasons of the year. In case of war it is well to supply a line for military operations, which was so greatly needed during the late civil war, and do away with the necessity of maintaining at such a heavy cost in money and lives an ineffectual paval police by armed vessels on the Potomac.
To the business industries of this District it would afford the means of certain and speedy transportation of merchandise. If this road were in operation now, there would not exist the necessity of a single day's delay in the transmission of the cargoes of the vessels now detained by ice, and the products of three large connties would be ponred into our markets daily. The effectual manner in which this city is now blockaded by ice is demonstrated by the fact that the supply of oysters is now brought from Philadelphia and New York, while a fleet of vessels loaded with that luxury are lying in the
Lower Potomac. . We think that this measure deserves the favorable consideration of Congress, and
that the assistance asked should be promptly accorded, either by an amendment to some of the railroad bills now pending, or as an independent measure.
SOUTHERN MARYLAND RAILROAD.
We noticed in our issue of last week the fact that this company would present to both Houses of Congress bills asking aid to complete, at an early day, the construction of their road.
We are gratified to notice that the subject is engaging earnest and general atten ion in and out of Congress. Its importance to the interests of this District are fully realized, and we bardly think that Congress can be indifferent to the general anxiet muunifested that prompt and favorable action should be taken to give the aid asked for.
The fact that the Government are not asked to do anything until the work is conpleteal and in operation, and that ample provision is made in the bills to secure the pronint payment of the interest as it becomes one, and a sinking-tund provided to retire tbe bonds it maturity, affords such ample security that there cau be no risk whatever
to the Government, and the advantages obtained by the construction of the road to the Government, the District, and a large section of the country are so manifest and important that the favorable action of Congress must meet with general approval.
Our space will not permit us to enlarge upon this report, but we would refer to the letter of Mr. J. M. Vernon to President Sunoot, published in the Republican of Friday, containing instructive and useful information as to the extent of our internal traffic and the important relations the Southern Maryland Railroad bears to it.
SOUTHERN MARYLAND RAILROAD.
We learn that the friends of the Southern Maryland Railroad intend to offer an amendment to one of the railroad bills now before Congress, asking the Government to guarantee the interest on its bonds. If the credit of the Government is to be loaned for such purposes of internal improvement, we can see no possible reason why this road should not have it also, as, in an economical sense, as well as a matter of direct benefit to the Government, this road has claims equal, if not superior, to many others that are now asking for this aid.
According to a late able report of naval officers, Saint Mary's River, on the line of this road, has been pronounced as offering some of the best and safest facilities for a naval coal-harbor that can be found in any waters in the country, and they recommend in the strongest possible terms that the Government make it such, in view of the proposed building of this road.
Now, as this road will form easier and cheaper connections with the coal-fields of Virginia and Pennsylvania, of course the Government could, with the facilities of this road, purcbase its supplies at prices far below tbose paid at present, and this, added to the advantages of cheap transportation of troops and supplies to tide-water, would be worth to the Government the full value of the guarantee, even if obliged to pay it ; but as tbis is not proposed, nor does the company ask for the benefit of this credit until the road is built and in working order, we can see no risk in extending the aid asked for.
We have freqnently heard it argued that, had the Government had this road during the rebellion, millions of money could have been saved in the transportation of troops and supplies to the Chesapeake Bay, and General McClellan would have captured Richmond on his first attempt. What this would have saved in the loss of life and money others can better calculate. Whether such a necessity may ever arise again, (and God forbid it,) the reason for the Government possessing itself of such facilities is still as strong, nevertheless.
We are well aware of the danger of such precedents and of the capital the enemies of all such ventares can make out of it; but when a case is presented such as this, with the indorsement of one of the most important branches of the public service, its entire cbaracter is clanged, and can just as reasonably be classed under the head of a public necessity as is the building of dry-docks and navy-yards. This may not be a very opportune time to urge such a matter as this, but we are satisfied that the more Congress will consider its merits the stronger will its claims become. The advantages outside of those accruing to the Government are well understood, and we feel satistied that, notwithstanding our present financial embarrassment, had the people of the District been allowed to express their opinion on the question of a subscription to this road, they would have cheerfully assuined the investment, believing, as they do, that it would have been a profitable one.
THE SOUTHERN MARYLAND RAILROAD.
We are glad to observe that this road is now attracting very general attention. It has been presented to Congress in both Houses for legislative action to aid in its construction, and the press of this city has very generally recognized its great importance, not only to be industrial interests of the District, but also to the Government for the transportation of munitions of war, coal, and supplies of every description.
The importance of Saint Mary's River as a coaling station for the Navy, and a depot of supplies generally, bas been set forth in so strong a light that it must arrest the earnest attention of Congress, and commend the bills pending for aid to coniplete the construction of the road at an early day to the favorable consideration of both Honses.
In an article like this it is impossilile to refer in detail to the great advantages which must result to the District and the Government. It is enough to state that it gives the seat of Government a short, convenient, and rapid outlet to the sea, and to the important military and naval posts on the Lower Chesapeake and at Norfolk.
Although the session is a short one, and other matters are pressing upon the attention of Congress, we feel quite satisfied that this question is of sufficient importance to demand prompt and favorable consideration and action. We are quite sure that there is no measure before either House that will contribute more generally and largely to the great interests of a large section of the country as well as to this District.
THE SOUTHERS MARYLAND RAILROAD.
As this session and end of the Forty-third Congress is drawing to a close, there are many measures depending upon its action in which this District is largely interested, and among them there are none, outside of the settlement of our debt and providing for a new government, that are more closely identified with our future than the bill asking a loan of the Government credit in aid of the construction of the Southern Maryland Railroad ; and, as we have already said, there is no improvement in which the Government can more consistently take an interest than the one proposed in this road, for the simple reason that it will largely be the gainer, and that, too, in a way that will bring it more or less under its immediate control.
Of the special merits of this road in a local sense, and even those in which the Goverpnient will reap the largest share, we do not think it necessary to elaborate further than we bave already. The matter for Congress to decide is the question of the · expediency of loaning its credit; whether it will be safe to do so under proper guarantees, and what means, in the event of this loan, will be at the disposal of the Government to protect itself from all failure likely to arise from such a use of its credit.
This is best explained by the bill itself, and in terms strong enough, we think, to meet the demands of all possible contingencies:
First. That po such indorsement shall be made until the said company shall have made and executed and duly recorded a deed of trust, to the satisfaction of the Secretary of the Treasury, upon all the said company's railroad completed, as provided in the first section of this act, and on all its lands, lots, rolling-stock and real and personal property of every description, providing for the indemnification of the United States . against any loss by reason of any such guarantee or indorsement.
Second. That the said road shall be completed within two years from and after the passage of this act; and, in default thereof, this act shall be utterly void and of noneffect, and the Secretary of the Treasury shall not indorse or guarantee the bonds of the said company, as provided in the foregoing sections of this act.
Third. Tbat in order to provide means to meet the coupons on the bonds guaranteed as aforesaid, as the same shall become due and payable, the Secretary of the Treasury is hereby authorized and directed to retain all moneys arising from the transportation of mails, coal, troops, and supplies of every description for the Government of the United States, and to apply the same to the payment of the said coupons as the same become due; and in case the amount thus retained shall not be sufficient to pay the said conpons as they fall due, then the said company shall deposit with the Secretary of the Treasury a sufficient amount out of the net earnings of the said railroad to make up said deficiency.
Fourth. To provide for the payment of the principal of these bonds, all the surplus earnings, after paying the interest and other expenses, if any such exist, shall be paid to the United States Treasurer, and by him invested in United States bonds for the purpose of creating a sinking-fund to meet both principal and interest at the expiration of thirty years.
Here are conditions, it strikes us, sufficient to meet and provide against all dangers, . and should satisfy the most cautious members of Congress who are opposed to the loan of Government credit on the ground of its likelihood of abuse. All this question requires is a careful examination of its merits, and we are satisfied, if tried by this standard, it cannot fail to meet the approval of Congress; and we hope it will.