Excerpt from The National Convention of the American Cheap Transportation Association: Held at Lyceum Hall, Washington, D. C., January 14th, 1874
A favorite argument against water lines is, that since the introduction of railroads the navigation of many rivers has been abandoned. This is true, and so far as the South is concerned, the cause is palpable. The exports of that sec tion consist almost exclusively of cotton. This is raised in most cases upon bor rowed capital, in the form of provisions and commercial manures, upon which the producer pays an average of about two and one-half per cent. A month. The cotton belt is near the seaboard, making the difference between the two modes of transportation very small, especially when compared with the two and one-half per cent. Interest. Consequently the producer hurries his crop to market by the speediest mode, and this takes the cotton out of the country in a month or so. To navigate these small rivers successfully boats must be built for the purpose, and these boats, after the cotton crop is removed, would be without any kind of Mployment whatever. Had we these great national water lines, however, we can readily understand how the light vessels used on them could ply upon these rivers, removing the crops, distributing supplies, and doing the carrying at in.
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