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THE ROYAL ROAD TO NEW YORK.
was that the car wasn't to be side tracked in New York for my personal patronage.
The lights of the swift passing towns bespoke the passage through thickly-settled New Jersey, and a few minutes later the distant lights of the great metropolis appeared; then across the two-mile bridge over Newark Bay, with the black hulls of various shipping lying sullen in the rippling water, with only their signal lamps showing, and Communipaw, the old Dutch settlement, better known now as Jersey City, was reached at exactly 7.48 P. M.
The most impressive sight in America is the sky-line of New York City, from the water, whether it be day or night. At night it is awesome. The millions of lights, the high black buildings, the halo above, are wonderful.
With a last glance down the Hudson at the distant lamp in the hand of the Statue of Liberty, as the ferry boat approached the slip at Liberty Street, my thoughts leaped to France, who were then mourning the death of the great Bartholdi, who had passed beyond. The boat landed. The clock was striking eight.
SOME EARLY RAILROAD HISTORY.
WHEN THE STATE FOUGHT THE RAILROADS.
BY COL. A. K. M'CLURE IN THE PITTSBURG GAZETTE.
HE administration of Gov. Shunk, efforts had failed, the board of canal com
marked the advent and mastery of missioners ordered a series of preliminary the steam railway in transportation. surveys, and the legislature of 1828 author
The question of constructing rail- ized the construction of the road from ways was earnestly agitated in Pennsylva- Philadelphia through Lancaster to Columnia some years before the locomotive had bia by the state. been developed, and when the railway line It was not a popular measure throughout was expected to be merely a tram road the commonwealth, as the great mass of with cars to be drawn by horses.
the people believed that the investment of John Stevens, of New York, a man of state money in railways was little less than broad, progressive ideas, who was abreast extravagant waste, and the appropriations with Fulton in the development of the were very grudgingly made for the consteamboat, was the man who first urged the struction of the road, and it was not until construction of railways. His steamboat, April, 1834, that a single track was comthe Phoenix, that ran on the Delaware and pleted between Philadelphia and Columbia. Connecticut rivers, was brought to the Del- The locomotive had just made its appearaware by sea, and was the first steamboat ance and the first train that passed over the to brave the waves of the ocean. As early new line from Columbia to Philadelphia on as 1812 he publicly advocated the theory the 16th day of April, 1834, had secured a of carriage by rail, and predicted the prac- locomotive known as Black Hawk, then reticability of using steam. He appealed to garded as the finest engine that had been his own state of New York, but was turned constructed. They did not venture to down as a pestiferous crank, just as Prof. make the entire trip in one day, but on the Morse was when he first went to congress 15th the run was made from Columbia to for aid to construct a telegraph line.
Lancaster, where the party rested overIn 1823, after having been repelled in night. On the morning of the 16th the several other states, Mr. Stevens, then at train left Lancaster at 8 o'clock and arthe advanced age of 74 years, made a per- rived at the head of the Schuylkill incline sonal appeal to the Pennsylvania legislature plane at 5:30, making the trip from Lanto construct a railway from Philadelphia to caster to Philadelphia in eight hours and a Columbia. He named such men as Stephen half. Girard, Horace Binney and John Conley of So little confidence had the managers in this city, with Amos Ellmaker of Lancaster, the endurance of the locomotive that an among his incorporators, and Conley was empty horse car followed the locomotive made president of the company. The fran- train with relays of horses at different chise was given for the period of 50 years, points to rescue the party in case the locoand preliminary surveys were undertaken, motive gave out. They had much difficulty but it is evident that the men named as with the locomotive and at times the pasincorporators were not heartily enlisted in sengers had to get out and give a healthy the work, as Stevens was never able to raise push to aid it in starting. the sum of $5,000 to complete a mile of It is difficult for our people in this prothe road.
gressive age to understand the desperate Another charter was granted by the same resistance made by the people generally legislature for the Columbia, Lancaster & throughout the state to the introduction of Philadelphia Railroad, but no attempt was railroads. When Pennsylvania at an early ever made to vitalize the enterprise.
day had given liberal assistance to the conThe necessity for a railway from Phila- struction of turnpikes, making continuous delphia to connect with the canal at Colum- lines from Baltimore and Philadelphia to bia became more generally appreciated each Pittsburg, it was accepted that our comyear, and as all individual and corporate monwealth was in the very front of progress SOME EARLY RAILROAD HISTORY.
and our turnpikes developed an immense industry in what was known as the Conestoga wagons. Hundreds of six-horse teams, with immense covered wagons, were constantly on the highways, as they transported commerce and trade between the east and west, and they created what formed a very powerful political factor, in opposing the introduction of railways, in the
Every few miles along our through turnpikes was found the wagon tavern. There was one or more in every village and wellto-do farmers whose homes were on the turnpikes ran the wagon tavern as a side industry. All of them had very capacious yards about the barn to accommodate the teams during the night. Excepting in extremely inclement weather the horses always stood out securely attached to their wagons. Hay and oats were furnished for the horses at very moderate prices and the driver could obtain a 'snack" or cold lunch in the evening, a bed, hot breakfast and an evening and morning drink of whisky for 25 cents.
The proprietors of the wagon taverns were generally men of influence in the community and when the proposition to construct railways was seriously urged the wagon drivers and wagon tavern keepers made a most aggressive battle.
Mass meetings were held along the lines of the turnpikes to protest against the introduction of railways, which were declared to be of doubtful utility and which could be successful only by the destruction of one of the important industrial interests of the state, that had immense sums of money invested and which would certainly be destroyed. Political orators, always ready to cater to popular prejudice, delivered most fervent harrangues against the proposed injustice of bringing ruin to the great industrial interests which centered in wagon transportation. In some instances senators and representatives were elected soley on that issue.
Fortunately the progress of the railroad was so gradual that there was no violent destruction of the wagon transportation interests and the grand old Conestoga wagon, with its team of six magnificent horses, usually elegantly caparisoned, gradually perished in Pennsylvania.
As early as 1829 the public-spirited business men of Baltimore appeared before the Pennsylvania Legislature and asked for a
charter for a road from Baltimore to the Susquehanna river, thence to the borough to Carlisle in the Cumberland Valley. The committee of the senate reported that it would be against sound public policy to grant the franchise, and the measure failed. The chief reason given for excluding the Baltimore Railroad was that the board of canal commissioners had authorized a survey for a road from Harrisburg to Chambersburg and thence by way of Gettysburg to York, and in 1831 an act was passed for the incorporation of the Cumberland Valley Railroad Company.
The progress of the work was very slow, and the franchise was forfeited for want of subscriptions to the stock, but the legislature extended the time, and on the 2d of June, 1835, sufficient stock had been subscribed to warrant the governor in issuing letters patent creating the company. The bill rechartering the United States bank as a state institution required the bank to subscribe $100,000 to the capital stock of the company, and Mr. Nicholas Biddle, president of the bank, not only paid the $100,000 subscription, but gave an additional $100,000 to aid the enterprise, but when the bank failed in 1839 the stock of the Cumberland Valley Railroad was hardly worth enumerating among the assets.
The men engaged in the enterprise were confronted time and again with almost insuperable obstacles for want of means, and finally it was completed by a large issue of 25 and 50-cent paper money, then commonly known as “shinplasters. Money was extremely scarce after the financial revulsion of 1837, and the people were willing to receive anything in the similitude of money that had any fair semblance of credit.
The road was opened with great ceremony from Harrisburg to Carlisle on the 16th of August, 1837; on the 10th of November the same year it was formally opened to Newville and on the 16th of the same month the shrill scream of the iron horse was first heard in Chambersburg, where there was a great military and popular display.
The interest exhibited by the people of Philadelphia and of Baltimore for the creation of railroad facilities in transportation was quickened by the heroic achievement of New York in the completion of the Erie canal in 1825. Until that time Philadelphia was the metropolis of finance, commerce and trade, and possessed the largest
SOME EARLY RAILROAD HISTORY.
population of any city in the country, but line in the state, little opposition was ex-
he made his home at Harrisburg, and paid
There is a great deal of good in human POPULARITY is a condition of good fel-
of abandoned generosity.
Men of meager intellectual weight,
It is cowardly to ourselves and con- not their own.
The muddled mind of ignorance is only find the end of ambition there.
ture in a false and exaggerated condition,
its normal level again.
envy in the world's eyes.
wake, add strength to-day, with hope for
The morbid confession of a fault is able, that lives with us as long as our
Brain principle sometimes has to be he loved anything beyond his power to
Let the ocean of life be deep as it may,
"STUB ENDS OF Thougut," in book form, can be obtained from the author, Mr Arthur G. Lewis, 10 Granby Street, Norfolk, Va., for $1.25, postpaid.