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The Railroad Land Grant Swindle

The Railroad Land Grant Swindle image The Railroad Land Grant Swindle image
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We commend the following extract from a recent epeech by Senator TnrjRman-, of Ohio, to every an4 et peoially lo any vvho may feel inolined to voto for tbe reeiection of "our Blair," who openly avows bis delermioation to voto for further land grants to railroads : Then look at the astounding subsidies to railroad companies - mere private corporations. To say nothing of the fifty-eight miilion aeres granted to States for purposes of Internal improvoiiieut, most of vvhich havo gons into the' bands of railroad companics - the Union Pacific and branches, Central Pacific, Nuri hém Pacitic and Atlantic & Pacifio - 121,000,000 acres- more land than ii coulainod iu tho Middlo rfïates, stretch' ii'Ji from tho Atlantio Ocean to tho Uisaiasippi River - tliat is to gay, the B8Ton States of New Jersey, Delawaro, Pannsylvauia, West Virginia, Ohio, Iddiiiua, and Illinois, Baside this, a sub-sidy of over 860,000,000 in bonds was granted 10 the two first named roads - every dollar o'f whicb, tbongh íd name a loan, wül, it oan bardfy bo doubted, have to bepaid by tho Uaited States. To the Northeru Pacifio Ruilroad Cc. tbe lund f-ubsidy, oriinally grantecl, wus 47,000,000 aores, to whieh Congreas at its last si-ssion added nearlv 0,000,000 more. So that to this one priv&te coi poration bas been given, oí the best hnds belonging to the poople, a terriiory eipial to that rf rennsylvania and Ühiu combiiicd. In other words Congríes h;ts given to tbis corporatiort tlio incans to buüd, perhaps to build and eqaip, about 2,000 miles of railroad, ta bo tbe privóte property of a few private proper ty of a fow private individuals. - Supppsj tliat the government had built the roaii isalf, with the me,in3 tbus provided for io conjtruition, aod then bastnwed it as a gracioüs gift upoD a comiauy of private persous, favoritos of GoDgress snil of ibe party in power wliai wuuld tbe country gay? And yet wbero is tho difference between that case ar.d tb? rnso aa its'.ands? Wbat is tl.e flüFtrcnce between giving away a road already built ind giving tho meaim to build it '( The re is hut one difiérenos, and that iri prejuilicial to tha estiüs; cm.c. J3y giOg to a private oorporatio:i ihis vaat body ot laúd. Congres bas made it tbo greaiedt land monopolist ihj world over saw. ]iy iis graot of ever 130,000,000 acres to railroad corporutions, it hus de-, prived millioos of landless pcoplo of tba i-bance to rat bome?, except on the payment of exorbtint prices - la ds thtt shuuld have boen resrved fnr actual st'tilers and given to tbom urjder a sygtuni of homestead laws. Not only tiiia, the wealth, power and dominion thus oonferred upon tbiflé great and fuvoieil corporations wil! make thein the overebadowing and ruüug pow' er in it least a dozen States. In lealiity, tbey, and not tho St-.ite Legislatures wül ohooAe Senators in Conrees; tbey, and not the unbiaaed voice of the peopie, will tlect llepreseutatives. Theyr aii.l cet free Status, will ipeak in tbo choioe of Piesidonts. Tbink of a road s'retchirg from Lake Superior to the Pal fie Ucean, euibracinu' with its brancbes more 2,000 niiles of line, tha property of a etngle Corporation, and that onrporatioo OWB' ing every altérnate section of land, or its proeeedsj i:i a belt of eighty miles wide for neatlv tho nhole lcnfth of its lii:.' - forty sectiona, or 35,600 acres to thu mile- 53,000,000 acres in all, or the procecd of thcir sale at sucb prices as thu corporation may see fit to exact - with towns and cities owned by the corpo.iation or a f&vored ring of its atocliiiolder., scattéred islong the rcad, and the great stoekholders, thusowning nearly a:l the stock aud ruling its afiairs, resiiling in Boston, New York and Pbiltdelphia, and'you v;ill have some idea of what tho jSorthern PaciQo Kailroad ín going to be, aud what chanoe lor poltk'tvl promotion any man witbin the iinits ot' ite infiut-üce would have, should (ledaio seek to restrict its monopoly, re 8train its es:icti ins, or othcrwise oppose ta will. Mach is tow nbout tbe relativo rights of capiial andhibor; mach com' 3lairit is bei' g utiereJ at what is aid to be tbe exactious of capital and tho depression of labor. The working men are everywhere forming unions, bolding conjrees f, and issuing books pamphlets and -:ewspiipers, lo udvoente their claims, and protent against the uneqoal distribution of wealth which they terart ís resulting From existiiig laws, and especiaüy from tb. ir tundtney to agarrgate capital. But what aggrogation of capital and privietre was ever eevn eqnal to that created by Congress, by the chiirtcrs ithasgrantd aml tbe douationi it bs made to tho finir railroad oonapanies I hnve named ? Wbat other corporations have ever b'eooine tho owucrs in fee of a territory ecj'isl to soven Sta'r s of the Union, greator tlKin tho are i of Germany ; and iu addition to this we:ilb been clo'hed wi'ha corporate exitence nd itnmprjso corporate privileges of perpetual dnration ? I am certainly not bo absurd as to be an oncmy of railroiuls. No tnau eilcs more i'ully than I c!o the immense advimtages tbey are to a country. No man honor; more thnn I do tbe men who Yely piojct Rnd honeïtly build and manage them. I could rnention names - somo of ti:e detd, Bomeoi the livÍDg- to whom üliio OW88 a greatdebt ofgrat titudo for the constniction oud liberal, wise and euooestful rauni'.gement of ber railwajB, Bat there is a vastdifierence betweeu roada built ander Stato authorily, wilh capital furnifbfd by tbe stnckbolders, supervised by tho State, controlled and inanagfd ber citizens, and limited i u cxtont, a"d roads clrtered by Congress, built witb donatiims of tbe public domain, spuDning moro tlian balf tho oontinent, and owned by a few rich toen in lbo great cities of tbe East. Bcfore I Wave tbis topio, I must cali yotir attentiou to an alarming step tuksn at the lust scísion of Congress. in tbo matter of these huid grans. Bc-foro tben C''i)i;res3 b;id uuvor grauied any but tbe altérnate scctions, desigualad by odd uumbcra, and in defenso of these gi unta it was said that tbe construction oí tbo railrcads would dcublo vulue of the even numbercd sectious rotained by. tbe government, aud beoco therc would be uo 1ü8s of niouey. And accordinly tba pneo ol t'fierettiini'd sections was raised from SI 25 to SI 50 per aore. Tbis dc fenso D6TOT biid any vveiglit with mo, for it trented tbe government as a spcculator in hndn, soekiug to extoi t tbe bigbojt- price from tbe scltler ; -svhereaa I thoaght, nr.d yrt tbink, that it is not aa a speculator, bat as a beceficent parent tlnit the government ought to regard iind nduiinister these lands. lut tliat was tlie defcuse, nnd with tbose wbo look at nothing but dollars and conts it pufïiced. Kut at the last sestion, tbo Benute threr êvea tbi.s defi-i so away. For, in faco of the c: on, and after l'-ull discasiicu, it delibérate Ij passed a b:J gran t ing to the Central brauch oí tJioUiiion Pifi'cRailrdad Ibeeven ncmbrrnd $aotions, ttie boon already gi.ven lo othcr railroad comjianics. And eo, for :i dietanoe ot about tliroc hundred mi!o, lying partly in Rusas, partly n Nebraskn, and pnrtly in Tlio t-rritory of Wyontïng, eveiy foot of land belonging to tbe govfnment vrns granteJ, BO f;ir as the Senato conhl (o it, to raitroad cnrpor.itiorss. And thi" Iiad3 mo to observe that yon must not üipposn that beoanse all tbe land grabbiiip bilis thiit passed tho Senato di o thTOUgh the house, thetefore they ore iloa'i. In view of tlio approacliiag Congroisionnl oleotioiin, and fearful of the pcople, tho liouso Iaid somo of them aside ; but they are still on its calendar fo bo aoted upou nostwiutor; aud sliould tho Kadicul party triumpb in the fall elfctions you raay rest assured that every ono of them wül pass.


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Michigan Argus