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[398] year (1843), five hundred and four dollars on each share (averaging $20.16 per annum); an interest on the cost of about one and thirty-nine one-hundredths of one per cent per annum. From the year 1819 to the time the Lowell Railroad went into operation, the receipts regularly increased, so that the dividends arose from ten to thirty dollars per share; and no doubt, in a few years, without competition, they would have given a handsome interest on the original cost. The year that road went into full operation, the receipts of the canal were reduced one-third: when the Nashua and Lowell Road went into operation, they were reduced another third. Those of the last year and the present will not be sufficient to cover the expenditures for repairs and current expenses. The future has but a gloomy prospect. For the past twenty years, and during the time I have had the management of the canal, I can truly say, the directors have spared no pains or expense in keeping it in perfect order for use; and the public have derived great advantage from this water communication, in the transportation of timber (for ship-building) and other heavy lumber, as well as wood and merchandise generally. The inventions and ingenuity of man are ever onward; and a new, cheap, and more expeditious mode of transportation by steam-power has been devised, which seems destined to destroy that which was once considered invulnerable. What is to be done? Improvements in mechanics and the arts will go on, while man has mind. If the canal cannot put out the fire of the locomotive, it may be made to stop the ravages of that element in the city of Boston, should the proprietors, after mature consideration, deem it for their interest so to devote it. The canal was brought into existence by the aid and assistance of the Legislature; and by their power it has received a hard blow. There is yet vitality; and the same power that created and has nearly destroyed it can resuscitate and give to it a valuable existence for the future. I trust, upon a respectful and proper representation of the condition of your interests as they exist at the present time, and the past great exertions of the proprietors to serve the public faithfully, together with the immense sacrifices that have been made, the Legislature will be disposed to view the case as one of equity, and render every aid in their power to preserve and make it more valuable than heretofore. I know of but one way in which the canal can be of much value to the public, and those who now hold an interest therein; viz., by changing a part of it from one public use to another. Discontinue the levels from the Charles River to Woburn upper locks, and from Billerica Mills to the Merrimac River; in the whole, a distance of over fourteen miles. The remaining part, from the Concord River to Woburn upper locks, may then be used as an aqueduct, similar to those in France and other European countries. From Woburn, the water may be conveyed in thirty-inch iron pipes, for the supply of the city of Boston, the towns of Charlestown, and East Cambridge.

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