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on the water and on the land, towers above all other inventions of this or the preceding age, as the Cardigan Mountain now before us lifts itself above the little hillocks at its base.
Fellow-citizens, can we without wonder consider where we are, and what has brought us here? Several of this company left Boston and Salem this morning. They passed the Kearsarge on the left, the Ragged Mountain on the right, have threaded all the valleys and gorges, and here they now are at two o'clock at the foot of the Cardigan Hills. They probably went to the market this morning, ordered their dinners, went home to a leisurely breakfast, and set out on their journey hither. Here they now are, enjoying the collation of our hospitable friend, Mr. Cass, at the hour when their families are dining at home. By the way, if they had thought fit, (and it would have been a happy thought,) they might have brought us a few fish taken out of the sea at sunrise this morning, and we might here enjoy as good a fish dinner as our friends are now enjoying at Phillips's Beach or Nahant. This would have been rather striking; — a chowder at the foot of the Cardigan Hills would have been a thing to be talked about.
Fellow-citizens, this railroad may be said to bring the sea to your doors. You cannot, indeed, snuff its salt water, but you will taste its best products, as fresh as those who live on its shores. I cannot conceive of any policy more useful to the great mass of the community than the policy which established these public improvements. Let me say, fellow-citizens, that in the history of human inventions there is hardly one so well calculated as that of railroads to equalize the condition of men. The richest must travel in the cars, for there they travel fastest; the poorest can travel in the cars, while they could not travel otherwise, because this mode of conveyance costs but little time or money. Probably there are in the multitude before me those who have friends at such distances that they could hardly have visited them, had not railroads come to their assistance to save them time and to save them expense. Men are thus brought together as neighbors and acquaintances, who live two hundred miles apart.
We sometimes hear idle prejudices expressed against railroads because they are close corporations; but so from the necessity of the case they necessarily must be, because the track of a railway cannot be a road upon which every man may drive his own carriage. Sometimes, it is true, these railroads interrupt or annoy individuals in the enjoyment of their property; for these cases the most ample compensation ought to be made. I have myself had a little taste of this inconvenience. When the directors of the road resolved to lay it out upon the river (as I must say they were very wise in doing), they showed themselves a little too loving to me, coming so near my farm-house, that the thunder of their engines and the screams of their steam-whistles, to say nothing of other inconveniences, not a little disturbed the peace and the repose of its occupants. There is, beside, an awkward and ugly embankment thrown up across my meadows. It injures the looks of the fields. But I have observed, fellow-citizens, that railroad directors and railroad projectors are no enthusiastic lovers of landscape beauty; a handsome field or lawn, beautiful copses, and all the gorgeousness of forest scenery, pass for little in their eyes. Their business is to cut and to slash, to level or deface a finely rounded field, and fill up beautifully winding valleys. They are quite utilitarian in their creed and in their practice. Their business is to make a good road. They look upon a well-constructed embankment as an agreeable work of art; they behold with delight a long, deep cut through hard pan and rock, such as we have just passed; and if they can find a fair reason to run a tunnel under a deep mountain, they are half in raptures. To be serious, Gentlemen, I must say I admire the skill, the enterprise, and that rather bold defiance of expense, which have enabled the directors of this road to bring it with an easy ascent more than five hundred feet above the level of the Merrimac River. We shall soon see it cross yonder mountainous ridge, commonly called "the Height of Land," and thence pitch down into the fair valley of the Connecticut.
Fellow-citizens, you who live along the line of the road must already begin to feel its beneficial effects. Your country is rather a rough one. There are, indeed, good lands about the base of the Kearsarge, on Beach Hill, Babcock's Hill, and other places adjacent to the road. There are other portions not so fertile. We may infer this from the names they bear. We have come through "Little Gains," "Hard Scrabble," and "Dungeswamp," which latter, I understand, is an Indian word to signify the poorest land in creation. But, fellow-citizens, health and industry, good morals and good government, have made your homes among these mountains prosperous and happy. This great improvement comes to your farther assistance. It will give you new facilities, connect you more readily with other portions of the State, and most assuredly, according to all experience, create new objects for the application of your enterprise and your labor. You do not yet begin to feel the benefits which it will confer on you. I rejoice most heartily that my native State has adopted a policy which has led to these results. I trust that policy may be steadily pursued, till internal improvement in some really and intrinsically useful form shall reach every glen and every mountain-side of the State.
And now, my friends, having thus shortly complied with the wish expressed by you that I should address you in a few words, I take a respectful leave of you, tendering to you all at parting my best wishes for your health and prosperity.
OPENING OF THE NORTHERN RAILROAD TO LEBANON, N. H.
On Wednesday, the 17th of November, 1847, the Northern Railroad was farther opened to Lebanon, in New Hampshire. This event was celebrated by a large number of persons who came from Boston for that purpose, and by a great concourse from the neighboring region. The train made a halt at South Franklin for the purpose of taking in Mr. Webster, then on a visit to his farm in that place. A collation had been prepared for the company at Lebanon. At this entertainment, a toast in honor of Mr. Webster was proposed by Charles T. Russell, Esq., of Boston, Chairman of the Committee of Arrangements, to which Mr. Webster responded as follows.
I wish, Sir, that the gentleman who has done me the honor to propose the toast just given had called upon some other person than myself to address the meeting, and had left me in the position of a listener merely. But I could not properly refrain from expressing my sincere thanks for the manner in which my name has been announced by the president, and received by the assembly. Thus called upon to speak, I cannot disregard the summons. Undoubtedly the present is a moment of great interest, and I now have to perform the pleasing duty of congratulating the directors and stockholders of this road upon the successful completion of their enterprise; and also the citizens residing in this part of the country upon the result which has been witnessed to-day, the entire accomplishment of this most important work. It is an undertaking not only important in itself, but also very important when regarded as a link in the great chain of railroads which is to connect the West with the sea-coast.
For myself, in considering the progress of railroad structures throughout the country, I have been, doubtless many other individuals have been, generally contented with admiring the enterprise manifested, the ingenuity displayed, the industry shown in carrying them forward to completion. But here, on this occasion, there is to me a matter of peculiar interest. Perhaps, and very possibly, this is because the road whose completion is now to be hailed runs not only through New Hampshire, my native State, but also through that part of New Hampshire in which I have a considerable personal interest. This is but natural, for the road passes through my own farm, my own New Hampshire home.
This Northern Railroad is destined to be connected with two other roads of vast importance, each having Montreal for its end. The one will traverse Vermont, passing Montpelier, and proceeding along the valley of the Winooski to Lake Cham- plain, while the other will extend itself up the valley of the Passumpsic. Each, for the present, has its terminus at Montreal; so that the traveller from the Atlantic coast, arriving at Lebanon, might have a choice to make between the routes. This choice, perhaps, may occasionally be perplexing. The passenger from the coast to the St. Lawrence may not know on which line travel is best, or which is most convenient for his purposes. It may not improbably so happen, that the traveller will compromise the matter, deciding to go on by the one route, and return by the other. So far as I am concerned, both lines have my best wishes for their entire success.
My friend, the presiding officer, has spoken of Burlington and Montreal as the termini of this road. But in point of fact, this is a mere link, a part of a line of land navigation, by steam, from Boston to Ogdensburg, and thence, by land and water, to the Great West. I do not exactly remember whether it was Mr. Gouverneur Morris or Mr. Clinton who said, with regard to the Erie Canal, that the object and aim of that undertaking were to "tap Lake Erie, and draw down its waters to New York harbor." One or the other of these two great men it was, and the design has been carried out. It may not, perhaps, be proper for me to say, that the design of this road, with its extensions, is to tap the St. Lawrence, but it can be asserted, and with truth, that it was to relieve that noble river of a large portion of its great, rich, overwhelming burdens; and deliver its freight, or at