countries, but will never be the thing for so young a country as this.
When you can make the rivers run back, it will be time enough to make a railway.’
Notwithstanding the pathetic remonstrances and strange vaticinations of the canal proprietors, the Legislature incorporated the road and refused compensation to the canal.
Even while the railroad was in process of construction, the canal directors do not seem to have realized the full gravity of the situation.
They continued the policy of replacing wood with stone, and made every effort to perfect the service in all its details; as late as 1836 the agent recommended improvements.
The amount of tonnage continued to increase; the very sleepers used in the construction of the railway were boated, it is said, to points convenient for the workmen.
The strange spectacle was thus presented, perhaps for the first time, of a corporation assisting in the preparations for its own obsequies.
In 1832 the proprietors declared a dividend of $22 per share; from 1834 to 1837, inclusive, a yearly dividend of $30.
The disastrous competition of the Lowell railroad was now beginning to be felt.
In 1835 the Lowell
goods conveyed by canal paid tonnage dues of $1,975.-51; in 1836 the income from this source had dwindled to $6,195.77. The canal dividends had been kept up to their highest mark by the sale of its townships in Maine
and other real estate
; but now they began to drop.
The year the Lowell
road went into full operation, the receipts of the canal were reduced one-third; and in 1840 when the Nashua
& Lowell road went into full operation, they were reduced another third.
The board of directors waged a plucky warfare with the railroads, reducing the tariff on all articles, and almost abolishing it in some, till the expenditures of the canal outran its income; but steam came out triumphant.
Even sanguine Caleb Eddy
became satisfied that longer competition was vain, and set himself to the difficult task of saving fragments from the inevitable wreck.