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by voting it down; the other is by postponing it until you lose an
March 3, 1865, failing to obtain a vote on the bill, Mr. Sumner
R. PRESIDENT,- The question before us conthe public convenience to a remarkable degree. But it concerns also the unity of this Republic. Look at it in its simplest form, and you will confess its importance. Look at it in its political aspect, and you will recognize how vital it is to the integrity of the Union itself. On one side we encounter a formidable Usurpation with all the pretensions of State Rights, hardly less flagrant and pernicious than those which ripened in bloody rebellion. On the other side. are the simple and legitimate claims of the Union. under the Constitution of the United States.
Thus stands the question at the outset : public convenience and the Union itself in its beneficent powers on the one side; public inconvenience and all the discord of intolerable State pretensions on the other side.
The proposition on its face is applicable to all the States throughout the Union, and in its vital principle concerns every lover of his country. But it cannot be disguised that the interest it has excited in the other House, and also in the Senate, must be referred to its bearing on the railroads of New Jersey. Out of this circumstance springs the ardor of opposition,-perhaps, also, something of the ardor of support. Therefore pardon me, if I glance one moment at the geo
graphical position of this State, and its Railroad Usurpation in the name of State Rights.
Look on the map, or, better still, consult your own personal experience in the journey from Washington to New York, and you will find that New Jersey lies on the great line of travel between the two capitals of the country, political and commercial. There it is, directly in the path. It cannot be avoided, except by circuitous journey. On this single line commerce, passengers, mails, troops, all must move. In the chain of communication by which capital is bound to capital,nay, more, by which the Union itself is bound together, -there is no single link of equal importance. Strike it out, and where are you? Your capitals will be separated, and the Union itself loosened. But the evil sure to follow, if this link were struck out, must follow also in proportionate extent from every interference with that perfect freedom of transit through New Jersey which I now ask in behalf of commerce, passengers, mails, and troops.
Such is the geographical position of New Jersey. And on this highway pernicious pretensions are set up which can be overthrown only by the power of Congress. The case is plain.
New Jersey, in the exercise of pretended State rights, has undertaken to invest the Delaware and Raritan Canal and the Camden and Amboy Railroad and Transportation Companies with unprecedented prerogatives. These are the words of the Legislature: "It shall not be lawful, at any time during the said railroad charter, to construct any other railroad or railroads in this State, without the consent of the said companies, which shall be intended or used for the transportation of passengers
or merchandise between the cities of New York and Philadelphia, or to compete in business with the railroad authorized by the Act to which this supplement is relative." Here, in barefaced terms, is the grant of monopoly in all railroad transportation, whether of commerce, passengers, mails, or troops, between New York, a city outside of New Jersey, and Philadelphia, another city outside of New Jersey. Or, looking at this grant of monopoly again, we find, that, while leaving the local transportation of New Jersey untouched, it undertakes to regulate and appropriate the transportation between two great cities outside of New Jersey, constituting, from geographical position, the gates through which the whole immense movement, north and south, must pass.
If this monopoly is offensive on its face, it becomes. still more offensive, when we consider the motive in which it had its origin. By confession of its supporters, it was granted in order to raise a revenue for the State out of men and business not of the State. It was an ingenious device to tax commerce, passengers, mails, and troops in transit across New Jersey, from State to State. I quote a confession from the Legislative Journal of New Jersey, as long ago as 1841, in a document by the executive committee of the coalesced railroads, represented by the Camden and Amboy Company.
"It seems plain, from the acts incorporating these companies, and the testimony of those best conversant with the history of their incorporations, that it was the policy of the State, taking advantage of the geographical position of New Jersey, between the two largest States and cities of the
1 Acts of the General Assembly of New Jersey, 1831-2, p. 80.
Union, to create a revenue by imposing a tax or transit duty upon every person who should pass on the railroad across the State between these cities from the Delaware River to the Raritan Bay; but that it was not their design to impose any tax upon citizens of their own State for travelling between intermediate places. . . . . Here, again, the policy and intention of the State is most clearly indicated in exempting her own citizens from the operation of this system of taxation."1
I quote the words of another functionary, equally frank, belonging to the same railroad connection.
"The Company believe that a careful consideration of the whole matter, as well from the provisions of the charter as from a recurrence to the period when it was granted, will produce the conviction that the transit duty was intended to be levied only on citizens of other States passing through New Jersey." 2
The spirit in which this tax has been laid appears from another incident, not without interest to the Senators from New York. The Erie Railroad, so important. to transportation in the great State which they represent, has been compelled, in addition to the usual tax on that part of the road in New Jersey, to pay an extra tax in the shape of "a transit duty of three cents on every passenger and two cents on every ton of goods, wares, and merchandise, except passengers and freight transported exclusively within this State." This imposi
1 Memorial of the Executive Committee of the Delaware and Raritan Canal and Camden and Amboy Railroad and Transportation Companies: Documents accompanying the Governor's Message to the Legislature of New Jersey, October, 1841: Proceedings of the General Assembly, 1841-2, pp. 29, 30.
2 Memorial of the New Jersey Railroad and Transportation Company: Ibid., p. 32.
tion was as late as 1862, and is part of that same system which constitutes the Railroad Usurpation of New Jersey to this day.
This Usurpation becomes still more apparent in the conduct adopted toward another railroad in New Jersey. It appears that a succession of railroads has been constructed, under charters of this State, from Raritan Bay, opposite New York, to Camden, opposite Philadelphia, constituting a continuous line, suitable for transportation, across New Jersey and between the two great cities of New York and Philadelphia. The continuous line is known as the Raritan and Delaware Bay Railroad. On the breaking out of the Rebellion, when Washington was menaced by a wicked enemy, and the patriots of the land were aroused to sudden effort, the Quartermaster General of the United States directed the transportation of troops, horses, baggage, and munitions of war from New York to Philadelphia over this line. The other railroad, claiming a monopoly, filed a bill in equity, praying that the Raritan and Delaware Bay Railroad "be decreed to desist and refrain" from such transportation, and also praying "that an account may be taken to ascertain the amount of damages." The counsel of the monopoly openly insisted that by this transportation the State was "robbed of her ten cents a passenger," and then cried out: "I say it is no defence whatever, if they have succeeded in obtaining an order of the Secretary of War, when we call upon them to give us the money they made by it; and that is one of our calls. They have no right to get an order to deprive the State of New Jersey of the right of transit duty, which is her adopted policy." Such was the argument of Mr. Stockton, counsel for the monopoly, No