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About the fifteenth 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. The survey made by Samuel Thompson was the one selected forty years later for the Boston & Lowell Railroad.

Agents were then immediately appointed to carry on the work, to commence at Billerica Mills on the Concord River, and first complete the level to the Merrimac at North Chelmsford. Colonel Baldwin, who superintended the construction of the canal, removed the first turf on the tenth of September, 1794. The season having so far advanced, but little could be done until the next spring except to purchase material and make contracts for future operations. The purchase of land from more than 100 proprietors demanded skillful diplomacy. Most of the lands acquired were by voluntary sale and conveyed in fee-simple to the corporation, sixteen lots were taken by authority of the Court of Sessions, while for thirteen others neither deed nor record could be found when the corporation came to an end. Some of the land was never paid for, as the owners refused to accept the sum awarded. The compensation for the land taken ranged from $150 per acre, in Medford, to $25 per acre in Billerica. The progress was slow and attended with many embarrassments, and was prosecuted with great caution from the commencement to the year 1803, at which time the canal was so far completed as to be navigable from the Merrimac to the Charles River, the first boat, however, being actually run over a portion of the canal on April 22, 1802.

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 February 1, 1819. From the year 1819 to the time the Boston & Lowell road went into operation, the receipts regularly increased, so that the dividends arose from $10 to $30 per share; and no doubt in a few years without competition they would

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Samuel Weston (2)
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