previous next

“ [397] engineer, was found to be one hundred and four feet. By the original survey from Billerica to Chelmsford, the surveyor says, The water we estimate in the Merrimac at sixteen and one-half feet above that at Billerica Bridge, and the distance six miles;” when, in fact, the water at Billerica Bridge is about twenty-five feet above the Merrimac at Chelmsford. This report shows one of the many difficulties the directors had to contend with for the want of requisite scientific knowledge.

On the first (lay of March, the directors passed a vote, appointing Loammi Baldwin, Esq., to “repair to Philadelphia, and endeavor to obtain Mr. Weston's (an English engineer) assistance in conducting the canal. If he cannot come, then that lie endeavor to obtain some other person who shall be recommended by Mr. Weston; and that said agent be authorized to write to Europe for some suitable person for the undertaking, if none can be found elsewhere.” Col. Baldwin Lade a lengthy and able report on the twelfth day of May, 1794. Among other things, he says he has engaged Mr. Weston to make the survey of the route in the month of June, and closes his report as follows: “I consider the prospects before us, in this undertaking, much more flattering in respect to the execution of the work, ill proportion to the extent, than any I have seen in tile Southern States, tile Washington Canal excepted.” About the 15th of July, Mr. Weston arrived; and a committee, consisting of Loammi Baldwin and Samuel Jaques, was appointed “to attend him during his survey and observations relating to the canal.” The survey was completed, and a full report made by Mr. Weston, on the second day of August, 1794. Agents were immediately appointed to carry on the work, to commence at Billerica Mills, on Concord River, and first complete the level to the Merrimac, at North Chelmsford. The season having so far advanced, but little could be done until the next spring, except purchasing materials and making contracts for future operations. The work was prosecuted with great caution, from the commencement to the year 1803, at which time it was so far completed as to be navigable from the Merrimac to Charles River; but delays and great expense were incurred for many years, owing to imperfections in the banks and other parts of the work; and about the whole income was expended in additions, alterations, and repairs; and no dividend could be, or was, declared until Feb. 1, 1819!

The charter allowed assessments to be laid, from time to time, until the works should be completed, and all the debts of the corporation fully and justly paid. One hundred assessments were laid: the first on the first day of January, 1794; the last on the first day of September, 1817; amounting, with interest added to Feb. 1, 1819 (the date of first dividend), to fourteen hundred and fifty-five dollars and twenty-five cents on each share; making the whole cost of the canal eleven hundred and sixty-four thousand two hundred dollars. There have been paid in dividends, from the year 1819 to the present

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
A. Weston (4)
Baldwin Lade (1)
Samuel Jaques (1)
Loammi Baldwin (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: