Report of the Committee on the salt supply.
Some important and interesting facts are educed from an examination of the report of the committee appointed by the House
at its last session to inquire and report as to the best mode to be adopted in procuring a supply of salt.
This committee, after collecting information and examining the evidence educed by analytical investigation and actual experimental results, recommend the mining of salt as a means of supply to be for preferable and as possessing many advantages over the ordinary mode at present adopted.
From the result of an analysis of a sample of salt taken from what is known as the Findlay well, in Washington county
, it was ascertained that 82 per cent. was pure salt.
The other qualities consisted of sulphate of lime, sulpha.
soda, chloride magnesium, and earthy matter 18 per cent. It will thus be seen that the salt rock in its original state is very well adapted for curing meats, or can be used in salting stock without the trouble and expense of purifying it. Many of the reasons assigned are on the score of economy of labor, transportation, &c., all of which, it would seem, makes the mining process far preferable to the mode of boiling the brine.
One of the greatest obstacles which presents itself in the present mode of manufacture is the scarcity of wood and difficulty of transportation over the Saltville Branch
Nearly all of the difficulties will be obviated by a resort to mining.
A mine, if opened, could not be destroyed by the enemy, and damages could be repaired in as little time as it would take to do the injury.
The only difficulty which presents itself to the mining operation is that the property in which the mines are situated in Washington
counties belong to individuals who have leased it for the term of ten years; but this lease does not confer any right to the lessees to take salt by mining, while it excludes the owners from any right of entry to work the mines themselves, thus presenting a complete barrier to any private parties without the concurrence of the owners and lessees.
The committee concur in the opinion that if the Government
should find it necessary, that power already exists under the impressment act to take temporary possession of and use the mines for the benefit of the army; but, to avoid all difficulty, they think it well, and recommend some legislative act which will amplify the powers in this particular case, and thus remove all obstacles in the way of a speedy and plentiful supply of salt.