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great commercial current of all that region between the Alleghanies and the Mississippi.
The Ohio and Mississippi Railway connecting Cincinnati and St. Louis is another part of that system to which we have alluded. This is a section of the great central route extending from Baltimore to the western boundary of Missouri, and, deviating but slightly from a direct east and west line. Passing through the great central cities, and, dividing the population of the Union into parts nearly equal on the north and south sides, it must be regarded as the most important east and west line on the continent.
We are aware that this work is not regarded with favor by some of the inteligent citizens of St. Louis; but we are fully persuaded that no railway that can be projected to commence at this city can be more important or necessary to the continuance of its growth and prosperity. It constitutes the main trunk from which must diverge all the branches connecting St. Louis with the southern States, east of the Mississippi.
All the principal cities on the Gulf and Atlantic from Mobile to Baltimore will, in time, be connected with this line by railways; and thus a communication will be opened between St. Louis and that great division of the United States lying between the Mississippi and the Potomac, bounded on the north by the Ohio; a region with which we have at present no commerce, and, but little social intercourse, except the small portion adjacent to the Mississippi and its tributaries.
It would be difficult to specify the precise nature of the commerce which would be carried on between St. Louis and the southern States; but, were such a system of railways now complete it would, in our opinion, be the means of doubling our commerce in a few years.
But those of our citizens who do not see the subject in this light may find an argument, nearer home, sufficiently cogent to convince them of the importance of encouraging the construction of the Ohio and Mississippi railway. It is now generally conceded that the central road from Cairo to Chicago and Galena will be completed in a few years; and we have been informed that it will be commenced and prosecuted with vigor during the present season. Now, unless St. Louis forms a connection with this route, it is obvious that an important branch of her trade will be diverted to other markets.
The apprehension felt by some of our citizens that St. Louis would be absorbed by Cincinnati were these two cities connected by a railway is, in our estimation totally groundless. Cincinnati and St. Louis may be regarded as rivals, but not competitors. Not less than three cities, larger than are either of these, will grow up between them, though perhaps not in a direct line, before the end of the present century; and these intermediate cities will only progress the more rapidly if the Ohio and Mississippi railway
should not be constructed. A distance equal to two thirds of that between St. Louis and Cincinnati embraces the three largest cities in the Union; and it is not less absurd to suppose that New York will absorb Philadelphia and Baltimore, as a consequence of their railway connections than that a railway between Cincinnati and St. Louis will in any way retard the growth and commercial importance of the latter..
The charter granted by the Illinois legislature is as liberal as could be reasonably desired, with the exception that it might, probably, have been more acceptable had the company been allowed the privilege of commencing the work at such points as they might deem best instead of being compelled to commence at Illinoistown and at the crossing of the central railway at the same time, and proceed eastward.
We have noticed these two great lines as constituting the basis of a system; and it is in that light that we view them when we speak of them as the most important enterprises that have been projected east of the Mississippi.
The Mississippi and Atlantic Railway designed as a continuation of the line from Philadelphia, by the way of Pittsburg, Indianopolis and Terre Haute, to the Mississippi constitutes the casis of another great system; and would, were both lines now dompleted, be more in demand perhaps than the Cincinnati route; but we are persuaded that, in time, the latter will be found the more important of the two.
A company was organized last summer under the provisions of the general railroad law of Illinois with a view to the construction of a railway from Terre Haute to Illinoistown. In pursuance of this organization the route was surveyed, stock subscribed for, and right of way obtained for the location of a considerable portion of the route; but the legislature having refused to sanction the termini, the prosecution of the work will, as we suppose, be suspended until a judicial decision can be had on the right of the company to proceed.
It is not our province to call in question the policy of a neighboring State. If the route from Terre Haute to Alton is calculated to promote the interest of the State of Illinois more than one from Terre Haute to Illinoistown we have no right to complain of the policy of that State. She must be allowed to judge for herself on all matters touching her own system of internal improvements. If however the Mississippi and Atlantic Railroad Company should be allowed to proceed with their work under their present charter we are assured that this enterprise will be prosecuted with vigor; and in that case the two great central systems of railways, east of the Mississippi, will be brought into connection with the Pacific Railway from St. Louis to the western boundary of the State of Missouri. In a national point of view such a con
nection is greatly to be desired; and we can scarcely doubt that in time such a connection will be established.
Having discussed the advantages of plank roads, in several numbers of the Western Journal, we need not reiterate the arguments heretofore adduced in their favor. It affords us no small degree of pleasure to observe that the people in almost every part of the State have been awakened to the utility of this system of improvement; and we regard the action of the legislature in passing a general law embracing this subject as well timed, and highly creditable to its inteligence.
The law is drawn up with great judgment: and we recognize in all its features the sound and discriminating mind of the chairman of the committee of Internal improvement, the Hon. Thos. Allen, to whose labors the State is, in a great degree, indebted for its present flattering prospect of improvement.
AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE THE FORMATION OF COMPANIES TO CONSTRUCT PLANK AND MCADAMIZED ROADS.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Missouri, as follows:
§ 1. Any number of persons may form themselves into a corporation for the purpose of constructing and owning a Plank Road, or McAdamized road, or a road composed partly of plank, and partly of McAdamizing, used as a covering surface, by complying with the requirements of this act.
§ 2. They shall sign articles of association, setting forth the name which they assume, the beginning, termination, and route of the road they propose to construct, and its general plan; the amount of capital stock of the company; the amount of each share; the names and residence of the subscribers; and the amount of stock taken by each; the term of years to which the existence of the association shall be limited, which shall not exceed thirty, and the number of directors proposed to be elected, which shall not be less than three, nor more than nine.
§ 3. Whenever the stock subscribed, amounts to one thousand dollars per mile of the proposed road, a copy of the article of association, sworn to by at least two of the subscribers thereto, shall be filed in the office of the Recorder of each county, through which the road is intended to pass.
§ 4. Any three or more of the stockholders may call a meeting for the purpose of electing directors, who shall be chosen by a ma
jority of the stockholders present, who shall for that purpose each have one vote only, and the directors so chosen shall hold their offices for one year, and until their successors are duly elected and qualified; notice of the first election for directors shall be given by two weekly publications in some newspaper of general circulation, along or near the route of said road, or if no paper be published in the county, then by putting up printed notices at the court house door, and at the door of each post office near the line of the proposed road, specifying the time and place of holding the election.
§ 5. The directors may determine the particular manner of construction, so as to secure and maintain a smooth and permanent road, the track of which shall be made of plank or timber, or partly of both, or of McAdamizing, so that the same shall form a hard and even surface.
$ 6. The directors of said association shall proceed to survey and locate said road, and may with the consent of the county court of the proper county, locate it over and upon any State or county road or highway, and thereupon, such State or county road or highway, or such portion thereof, as may be occupied and appropriated by said company, shall become the property of said company, for the purpose of making and maintaining said road, and the gates, and toll-houses thereon. And the county courts of the several counties of this State, are hereby authorized to consent to the appropriation and occupation of any such State or county road, over and upon which any such company may locate any such road. § 7. Any such company or association may take releases and conveyances of the lands necessary for the construction of any such road of any and all persons over or through whose lands the road may be located, and any such releases and conveyances may be made and executed by any infant, femme covert, guardian, executor or administrator, and shall be valid and effectual in law, by obtaining the consent of the county court thereto, or the consent of the court having probate jurisdiction. For the purpose of constructing said road, it shall be lawful for such company by their agents and servants, to enter upon any lands to make surveys, estimates and locations, and to take from the land occupied by said road, any stone, gravel, timber, or other materials necessary to construct such road, and the necessary bridges thereon.
§8. If any person owning lands over and upon which such road shall be located, shall refuse to relinguish the same for the use of said road, and no satisfactory contract can be made by such company with such owner, it shall be lawful for such company to notify some justice of the peace of the county, and such justice shall thereupon cause the owner of such land, if a resident of the county, to be summoned to appear before him on a day to be named in said summons, and within ten days from date of the service thereof, and if the parties do not then agree about the price of said
land, said justice shall issue a venire for summoning before him a jury of five disinterested land owners of the county, to be selected by said parties if they can agree to do so, if not then said justice, and such jury after having taken an oath or affirmation, faithfully and impartially, to assess the damages, if any, shall view the lands upon which damages are claimed, and shall determine the amount of the same, duly considering the advantages of said road to said owner, and shall make report thereof to said justice, upon which he shall enter judgment, and from which judgment, either party may appeal to the circuit court in like manner, as is now provided by law in other cases.
§ 9. If the owner be a minor, insane person, or reside out of the county, where the land may be situate, such justice shall enter upon his docket an order of publication, and cause three copies thereof, to be put up at three of the most public places in the township, where the land lies, giving notice of the time and place of the meeting of said jury, to make such assessment of damages, and if no person appear for such minor, insane person, or nonresident of the county, such justice shall appoint some disinterested person to act on behalf of such absentee, and he shall then proceed as in other cases, and in all cases, costs shall be awarded in the discretion of the jury.
§ 10. If the person or persons entitled to receive the amount of damages assessed, cannot be found after all proper search, the company shall prove such fact to the county court, and the said court shall upon such proof, order the money to be paid into the county treasury, subject to be paid over to the lawful owner or owners on demand, but in no case shall the county be bound to pay interest on money so deposited.
11. It shall be lawful in all such cases for the company by their agents, to enter upon the premises, and take and hold the lands in respect to which the verdict was rendered as though payment had been made to the owner or owners, provided twenty days shall have elapsed after judgment has been entered up.
§ 12. The courts having charge of probate business, may in their discretion order administrators or executors of estates or guardians of minors, to take for the benefit of such estates or minors stock in any company, organized under this act in cases where the road is to run through the lands of the testator or intestate, or the lands of minor children, when such court shall be of opinion, that the making of said road would enhance the value of the land of such estates of such minors, and would not operate to the injury of creditors or others, provided the amount of stock so taken, shall not exceed the amount necessary to construct the road through such lands.
§ 13. If such company shall require for the construction or repairs of said road, any stone, gravel, or other material from the land of any person adjoining to, or near said road, and cannot