Necessity of bridge (long article)
MONDAY EVENING. MAY 87. This paper has the. Largest Circulation of any Evening paper published In tfie United States. Its value as an Advertising medium ts therefore apparent. Tlie East River Hrldso. It is a common subject of remark tliat even the most sanguine believers in the future of this country fail, in the advocacy of public . projects, to estimate adequately the wants of those who are to come after us. When the New York City Hall was built it was considered a daring experiment to establish it so far up - town. The old fogy spirit of the times was not conciliated until it was agreed that the rear of the Hall should be built of cheaper material than was used for the front, on the ground that so few would ramble so far into the suburbs that the appearance ol the rear "was of little or no consequence. The spirit of Jacob Patchen still lives, and has to be combatted by the advocates of every public undertaking. The project of establishing a certain and convenient method of communication between this city and New York is so apparent and so universally admitted, that no one ventures to oppose any plan for that purpose, but there is reason to fear that too many feel the necessity of pushing forward the bridge project only when crowds of people arc kept from their business in the morning or from their homes at . night by the inability of the ferry boats to break through the ice which for several days in the year partially or totally, suspend ferry travel If the subscription paper for the East River bridge project had been passed around among the crowd that surged about the ferry houses on several mornings last winter, we have no doubt the whole amount required could have been secured any morning. But if we ignore the necessity of pushing on the work, until the need of the bridge is as palpable a fact as the East River itself, it will be many years before it is completed. The three pertinent questions which present themselves in connection with this subject are: Is the Bridge necessary? Can it be built? If built, will it pay those who invest their money in it? The necessity of the bridge will not be disputed. Brooklyn is naturally designed to be the home of those who do business in New York. The lower portion of that city is now too valuable to be used for other than business purposes. Every year the business portion of thecityis encroaching upon that used for dwellings.' As the space reserved for the latter narrows, its value increases and in consequence the Island of Manhattan may now be said to be occupied for business purposes, or by the very wealthy, who alone can afford to live there. A large number may be said to burrow rather than live in the business portion of the city, but for the most numerous class of all, those whose taste leads them to seek a neat hut modest home, and whose means will afford them only this, New York affords no accommodation. If we would secure this valuable class, we must make communication with New York cheap and convenient, but above all certain. There is one thing business men cannot afford to lose or risk the loss of and that is time. The inconvenience and loss of half a day's suspension of communication between the two cities are not easily overestimated. Clerks and porters entrusted with the duty of closing and opening stores and offices, suspend business altogether, where they are employed, if they fail to make their appearance at the usual hour in the morniug. A merchant who has a note to meet at three o'clock, may risk his credit by two hours' delay. A country dealer may be waitinp - for him and if he fails in his engagement a profitable trade may fall to a rival house. Punctuality is essential to business success and no man can count on being punctual unless the means by which he reaches his store or office are at all times uninterrupted. The ferries are not and cannot hope to be, and hence the necessity of superadding to these a mode of communication between the two cities which is not liable to be interrupted by the severity of the weather, or by a change of wind or tide which may suspend all travel between two great centres of population. It is not too much to say leaving out of sight altogether individual loss and inconvenience that it would have been better for the owners of property in Brooklyn to have taxed themselves for the whole co3t of the bridge than to have had it demonstrated last winter that no man can afford to live here, whose business demands his attention in New York during the usual business hours. Nothing can save us from the injury done except speedy and satisfactory guarantees that travel between the two cities shall be at all times uninterrupted, and this assurance we can in no way give except by erecting a bridge across the East River. The interest of property worth $200,000,000 is at stake, and it is for those who own it not to permit by a day's delay a doubt as to their purpose to connect the two cities by a mode of travel which shall be at all times open. The gentlemen to whom the work of erecting the bridge has been entrusted are pushing vigorously forward with the enterprise, but it is needless to say that an undertaking so costly will need the most liberal and active support from all, and especially from those whose fortune depends on the value of property in Brooklyn. The work can be commenced as soon a9 the means to insure its completion are guaranteed. The owners of property in Brooklyn should see to it that no delay shall come from their apathy. The project is theirs, and they ought, by an organized effort, to insure its success at once. A year's doubt or delay will inflict upon Brooklyn an injury that ten years may not repair. The second question that comes up is : Is it possible to connect the two cities by a bridge so accessible and convenient as will be likely to attract a large portion of the daily increasing travel between the two cities ? One branch of the inquiry is answered by scientific men; the other, any practical man can determine for himself. That it is possible to erect a bridge admits of no question. The proof of it is in the fact that bridges have been successfully built, where greater obstacles have stood in the way. But it is designed to have a bridge which shall not be merely a scientific marvel - but shall be of substantial practical value. The tunneling of the river Thames was a wonderful . evidence of the combined power of capital, labor and skill. But the work is merely a curiosity. We do not want, it may be said, a bridge that will attract only Bight - seers when the novelty of crossing it shall have ceased to attract our own people. It will be remembered that, under the plan which seems likely to be adopted, the bridge will connect the business hearts of both cities, and it will merge into both so imperceptibly that it will soon cease even to excite curiosity, so commonplace will its use become. On the New York side the bridge will terminate either in Franklin Square or in the neighborhood of the City Hall. Either point will bring the city of Brooklyn practically to the doors of the business stores and working shops of New York. On this side, the bridge will probably terminate near the corner of Fulton and Sand streets, by which so much of the great stream of travel to New York flows. It is designed to provide convenient street cars for passengers, moved by stationary power. These cars will be constantly in motion, and as their course will be uninterrupted, they will cross with greater speed and with more safety than the ordinary horse cars. In summer time the trip will be even more attractive than by the existing ferry boats, and ,vn winter it will he incomparably more com - fo. rhible. The terminus of the bridge on this side is within easy reach of the street cars whict x - onnect all parts of the: city with Fulton etrt 'et and if additional accommodation is recmiri ,(1 it will speedily grow out of the necessity l. lr it. Communication will be spee dier than bj ferry boats, and in fair weather, or foul it will be liable neither to delay nor accident WiU the Bria, - e Pay? This is a question which addresses i, self in the first place to the property - owners of Brooklyn, and in the next to those who look at the bridge merely as an opportunity for makvg a desirable invest ment So far as the first class is concerned it would pay . them to tax thomselyes to build the bridge as a means Of improving their property, even if they never got a dollar directly from it The bridge will to all intents and purposes, bring Brooklyn half a mile nearer to New York than it is. Property in the latter city is at least on an average three times as valuable as in this. The bridge mav not at once equalize these values, but it will go a great way towards it, by advancing the value of property on this side of the river. The property owners of Brooklyn cannot afford not to build the bridge. A repetition of last year's experience in crossing the ferries, with no hope of relief, would injure Brooklyn property, twice the amount the bridge will cost. This was so apparent durina; the severe weather last winter, that if a proposition had then been submitted to the people, to build the bridge at the .expense of the city, it would have been carried almost uuanimously. To property owners who contemplate taking stock in the bridge, the question does not present itself simply on its merits as an investment, but if it should be regarded in this light, we have no doubt of the result of the investigation. The Irridge will pay as an investmeet. In 1835 the aggregate population of this city and New York was a little less than 300,000. In 1870 another national census is to be taken, and there is no doubt but that it will show that within thirty - five years the population of the two cities will have increased fivo fold. Is it unreasonable to believe that within the next thirty - five years the population of this great commercial centre will increase in the same ratio? If it does it there will be within a generation seven millions and a half. Suppose we take it at five millions. Is it not clear that this busy hive of industrious millions will Tequire the Island of Manhattan mainly for business purposes ? Stretching along this business centre isBrooklyn.ready to provide homes for these working myriads. Shall we turn the stream elsewhere, or direct it here? This is the question, and the erection of the bridge will solve it. Similar enterprises will in time be undertaken, but the first will have the choice of location, and will for many years at least reap the golden harvest. But even with our present population the bridge will pay. Ninety per cent, of the earnings of the ferry companies are absorbed in their expenses. It is safe to say that not ten per cent, of the income of the bridge will go in the same way. Stationary motive power, by which the cars are to be propelled, is of all kinds of motive power the cheapest. Ninety per cent, of the earnings of the ferry company go to pay run ning expenses. Yet these enterprises are remunerative. Ninety per cent, of the earnings of the bridge will go to its proprietors. Can it fail to pav ? Apart from the ordinary travel, the bridge will create from the day of its inauguration a business of its own. If land in New York is becoming too valuable to be used for dwellings, it is far too valuable for stabling purposes. Back of our city is ample and cheap accommodation for express companies, stable men, car menj &c. Give them cheap and speady access tD New York, and these classes would go a great way towards paying the interest on the capital invested in a bridge, and the interest will be the chief item. Is it is not without bounds to estimate the passengers traffic from the start at 50,000 per day each way. At the rate charged by the Feny companies from this source alone an income of over 500,000 per annum would be collected sufficient to pay over eight per cent, on the entire capital. We have no fears but that the bridge will be built. Our purpose will be subserved if we show that it ought to be commenced at once, that we may be able to conciliate those who may suffer any inconvenience next winter by the assurance that speedy relief is at hand. The capital required is estimated at six million dollars. This is a large sum and it must be raised mainly here. At all events, until we show that we have confidence in the success of the undertaking, in a pecuniary point of view, we cannot decently ask for help from abroad. No time should be lost in raising here the means needed to insure the completion of the work, and to this end we recommend the incorporators to call a public meeting of the citizens of Brooklyn, that the success ol the project may be placed at once beyond question. Tlie Whiskey Tax. The laws for collecting taxes on distilled whiskey are constantly bringing into public view the rarest exhibition of official and public corruption ever vouchsafed to mankind outside of John Brougham's Pocahontas. Congress at its last session passed an act rendering the sale, or offering to sell, of this article at a price lower than the government tax, viz : $2 per gallon, a criminal misdemeanor. It seems, however, that through a system of artful dodging it is still purchasable almost anywhere in the market at $1.30. Notwithstanding this fact we are called upon to report sales by the government of large quantities forfeited under seizure at $3 ; its officers thus keeping up some show of obedience to law. How this feat is accomplished appears to have excited the curiosity of the distillers, and at a private meeting of those interested in this business, held last week, the cat was let out of the bag. It was there stated that the informers, in case of seizure, who are entitled to a large share of the condemned property, finding themselves kept out of funds by the exactions of the law, are in the habit of making private bargains with purchasers from the government, agreeing, in consideration of their purchasing at two dollars, to deduct seventy cents per gallon from their share of the proceeds, and thus deliver the whiskey at the lowest marketable rates. Those distillers or whiskey merchants who are honest, find that this system utterly destroys all hope of bringing the trade up to a fair basis, and those who are dishonest are outstripped by the government. A parcel of beggars scrambling for pennies scattered upon the highway by a drunken man, or thieves fighting over a division of plunder, could hardly present a more melancholy spectacle. We advise the government to take exclusive possession of the manufacturing and sale of distilled whiskey, or else abolish a sytem of laws totally futile except for the creation of crime. Is General Sherman Going to Palestine ? A few weeks ago the congregation of Plymouth Church, the readers of the Ledger, and the community at large, were agitated by the question, " Is Mr. Beecher going to Palestine ?" It had been given out authoritatively that the reverend gentleman intended to make one of Captain Duncan's excursion party to the Mediterranean and the Holy Land, and the promise of his company had induced many of the Plymouth folks to buy tickets. Mr. Beecher eventually backed out, and there was a prospect of a serious secession from the Duncan party, when the captain relieved himself by securing another non - General Sherman. The General asked for leave of absence to take the trip; it was granted ; he wrote a letter to Captain Dun can commending ins programme, ana tne Captain published it as a capital advertise ment The advantage of having the great military hero with the parry were duly expatiated upon ; the honors and attention he would receive at every place the party visited, and which of course the company at large would come in for a share of, were set forth, and the tickets began to go off again. Now comes a rumor that General Sherman is going to desert that he cannot arrange his private affairs so as to leave the country for so long a time as the trip will take. Here is a bombshell on Captain Duncan's quarter - deck ? Can the rumor be true ? We must demand of the General, as we did of Mr. Beecher; a cate gorical answer forthwith, whether or not he goes to Jerusalem witto the Duncan party. Meantime we are assured that Mark Twain will not back out, and that Maggie Mitchell is going along, so that .if the party loses in clerical and millitary distinction it will make up in the material for social enjoyment. A prize figfit of a novel kind took place on Saturday, near Bt LoniB. The pngiilsts were Con Bcardon and Patsey Shopherd, the Jotter winning Although the fight lasted an hour and fonr minutes there were hut three rounds, the second occupying forty - eight minutes. Thla Is the longest time on record. Beardon is sold to have been badly punished. The sat isfitction this righteous chastisement mast occasion at, good citizens is only impaired by regret that the wholo Bomo punishment was not extended to the other party to the controversy. in its it cruelty a to A of be a to be " " " " " is is to in as in to probably the to is in to .