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Yet, valuable, useful, and productive as the canal had proved itself, it had lost the confidence of the public, and with a few exceptions of the proprietors themselves. The reason of this is easily shown. The general depression of business on account of the Embargo and War of 1812 had its effects on the canal. In the deaths of Governor Sullivan and Colonel Baldwin in 1808, the enterprise was deprived of the wise and energetic counsellors to whom it owed its existence. Lotteries were deemed necessary as a means to raise money, and in 1816 the canal was voted financial aid. Constant expense was being incurred in the repairing of damages from breaks and the settling of the bed. Four directors were in charge, no one of them in full authority; tolls were uncollected, canal boats were detained, for weeks sometimes, till the owners were ready to unload them. After the death of Governor Sullivan, his son, John Langdon Sullivan, a stockholder in the company, and an engineer and business man, was appointed agent. He compelled the payment of tolls in cash before goods were delivered, charged demurrage on goods not promptly removed, caused repairs to be promptly and thoroughly made, and so improved the business that in 1810 receipts rose to $15,000, and kept on increasing until in 1816 they were $32,000. In 1819 the first dividend was paid, the assessments at that time amounting to $1,455.25 per share on 800 shares, a total expense of $1,164,200.

The aqueducts and most of the locks being built of wood required large sums for annual repairs, the expenses arising from imperfections in the banks and the erection of toll houses and public houses for the accommodation of the boatmen were considerable, but the heaviest expenses were incurred in opening the Merrimac River for navigation.

From Concord, New Hampshire, to the head of the canal at Middlesex Village, the river has a fall of 123 feet, necessitating various locks and canals. The Middlesex Canal contributed to the building of the Wiscassee locks and canals at Tyngs Island $12,000; Union locks and canal, $49,932; Hooksett canal, $6,750; Bow canal and locks, $14,115; making a total of $82,797 to be paid from the income of the canal.

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