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In another part of the “Sketch,” the author thus touches on that vexed subject,--indemnity for damages arising from the construction of rival public accommodation:--

The construction of the Middlesex Canal was a heavy undertaking to its proprietors. It was built in good faith, and has ever been conducted with a strict regard to public accommodation. When the Lowell Railroad charter was petitioned for, the proprietors of the canal respectfully remonstrated against the grant thereof, unless it should contain a provision for some reasonable indemnity to them for the injury they were doomed to sustain. I would ask if the same Legislature did not require that individuals who might sustain any injury whatever in their property, by reason of the acts and doings of the railroad corporation, should be indemnified? In laying a road, by virtue of law, on or over a person's land, the fee of the land is not taken from him; but he is deprived of obtaining any income from it while the road is continued over the same; the award of the commissioners being generally the amount, or nearly so, of the property. On discontinuing the road, the property reverts to him, and he again can derive an income. Now, by granting the right of constructing a railroad by the side of the canal, the proprietors are deprived of the means of an income. Why should they not have some reasonable remuneration? They expended their money in purchasing lands, honorably paying all damages, and building the canal. Did the landholder do more than pay for the property which he, by the act, was deprived of getting his usual income from? Why, then, should there not have been a provision in the act for a reasonable indemnity by the railroad or State? There were certainlly as strong grounds for it as there were for the State to pay $25,000 as an indemnity to the proprietors of the Charles River Bridge. By the grant of another charter, to another corporation, to build a new bridge, they virtually destroyed the income from the old one. Tile only reason set forth for so doing was that of public convenience; exactly the same which was maintained by the petitioners for the Lowell Railroad, in asking for a charter for their road. There is only one difference in the two cases. The proprietors of Charles River Bridge had received over and over again the cost of the bridge, and interest on the same; whilst the proprietors of the canal have received but one and thirty-nine hundredths of one per cent interest on the cost,--their whole expenditure, by the unreasonable act of the Legislature, being now rendered of nominal or little value.

In 1851, it was thought best by the proprietors “to surrender the charter, wind up the concern, sell the property, and divide the proceeds.” In 1852, it was sold at auction, in sections; and they who owned land upon its borders were, in most cases, the purchasers. The process of filling it up

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