Loammi Baldwin.

Report on the Brunswick canal and rail road, Glynn County, Georgia. With an appendix containing the charter and commissioners's report online

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— its broad sheet of clear ocean water, almost as salt as the sea,
and its pure sea breeze setting in regularly from the ocean, make
it not only a delightful situation in summer, (as we experienced
it to be,) but give the strongest assurance of the health and com-
fort of seamen and navigators, and of the inhabitants of the town.
We found wells of water as good as could be expected in so low
a latitude. Though not very cool, we believe it to be pure, and
that which we found in town was better than the wells in the im-
mediate vicinity. The extensive salt marshes are overflowed at
every tide with pure salt water, and are not considered at all in-
jurious to health. The sea breeze sweeps delightfully over them,
and we found some of the most healthy families in the vicinity
living immediately upon their edge.

Brunswick may be so protected by fortifications as to become
entirely inaccessible to any naval force that might attempt to ap-
proach it. The inlet between St. Simons and Jekyl Island be-
ing but a mile wide, might be defended by forts on both sides, so
as to cut off any naval armament that might attempt to enter it.
Should an enemy's ship succed in passing this strait, there are
other points for defence, on Cedar hammock, the firm marsh on
the opposite side, on Dennis's Folly, and on Brandy Point — all
well calculated for the strongest and most effectual fortifications.
Whether, therefore, we regard the " commercial advantages of
the port of Brunswick," in reference to the water on the bar and
in the river, — in reference to the short time in which a ship of
large draft may sail in or out of port, against or with the wind,
— in reference to the excellence of the anchorage in port, and
her entire safety from storms while there, — whether we view them
in reference to the health, convenience and beauty of locality ;
or in reference to their capability of being made impregnable to


an enemy — your Commissioners regard tlicm as of a very supe-
rior order ; and with tliis opinion, formed from accurate inspec-
tion and personal examination, we feel constrained to say, that it
is liighly " advisable for the stale to render aid in opt7iing Bruns-
wick to the interior ; " and tiiis aid ought, for the benefit of the
state and its inhabitants, to be rendered efficiently and promptly.
Of the "rail-road avenue to the Altamaha," we can speak in
terms equally unequivocal and equally favorable. The distance
of this avenue is but eleven miles and a few chains from river to
river. From the Altamaha swamp to the bluff' at Brunswick, its
location is as fine and beautiful for such an improvement as can
be found in any part of the Union. Its course is over a cam-
paign country, so level that its inequalities are scarcely percepti-
ble to the naked eye. It lies over a pine barren flat, of close,
compact, sandy foundation from river to river, and when once
completed and settled, the Commissioners are of opinion that it
will be as firm and hard, and as well adapted to rail-road opera-
tions, and as little liable to injury from any causes as could be
selected in the state. There is but one curve in the whole route,
and that very gradual, to avoid the point of a bay swamp, which
would have increased the labor and expense to have run through
it. From this curve, a shade tree of ordinaiy height, on the
bluff' at Brunswick, is distinctly visible to the naked eye, along
the avenue, at the distance of eight miles or upwards ; and it
will require but little additional labor and skill to render the foun-
dation, now almost completed, a dead level the entire distance
from the Altamaha to Brunswick. This foundation has been
thrown up by the superintendent, with a becoming regard to the
public service, and in a style which does credit to his skill and
industry. As far as completed, it is a road of the first order
for horses and carriages, and is daily becoming firmer and better
from use. About the middle of June, when we examined it, the
foundation was thrown up about two thirds of the way, the aven-
ue cut the whole distance, and the superintendent expected to
complete it in two or three months. Nothing will then remain
to be done, but to prepare it for the reception of the rails. In
the immediate vicinity of the entire route, there is an abundance
of the best cypress and live oak for the wood work. The heav-
iest job in its completion will be the junction of the rail-road
with the Altamaha, though this is by no means a serious one. It


may be united either with Rail-road creek, or with the river
itself, or with Six-mile creek ; the latter we think the most elig-
ible, as this creek is wide and deep enough for up country boats,
and enters the river in a deep bight, which renders it very con-
venient for boats to enter. In either route, the distance will be
rather over half a mile, and w.v<y be either excavated to the fine
bluff by a canal and basin, or the road be extended through the
swamp, which is there a rice field in cultivation. Before it en-
ters the ocean, the Allamaha divides itself into four branches ;
on the southern branch, which from examination and information
we found to be the deepest and best for navigating boats, the
rail-road will end.

As to the cost of this work, we have only such data as will
enable us to approximate a reasonable estimate. We have ad-
dressed the Agent of the Charleston rail-road, for accurate infor-
mation from experience, but not having received an answer, we
fleem it our duty not to delay our report, as these matters are
within the reach of every member of your body ; and the dis-
tance is so small as i ot to make the cost a matter of very great
moment. We understand that the first estimate of the Charles-
ton rail-road was 57,5,000 per mile, and that the actual cost has
been found to fall short of the estimate. As the location of the
route for the Brunswick rail-road is^ so favorable, and as the foun-
dation will soon be completed by the public hands, we should
think it would be a safe calculation to set down the utmost cost
at $5,000 per mile, including labor already bestowed by the
hands, or that it could not exceed from $50,000 to $70,000, in-
cluding the cost of all the labor, materials, engine, cars and ware-
houses. We tliink this a high limit for the cost, but that it would
be a trlfing sum compared wiili the immense advantages that
would result to the state from the completion of the work, even
should the state assume th.e entire expense ; but this will not be
necessary, as individuals have already subscribed for stock.

The distance from the Altamaha to Brunswick, and vice versa,
may be peformed with ease by the engine and loaded cars in one
hour. By a proper construction of the ends of the route, a boat
load of cotton might be soon placed into the cars, and be taken
to Brunswick in one trip, while other cars might be ready to re-
turn immediately with freight of merchandize for the boat. In
this way but little delay would be occasioned. We consider this


process much cheaper and more expeditious than loading a boat
by drays from one of our warehouses at any distance from the boat
landing. As by the charter not more liian Iwcnty-five per cent.
can be demanded for any one year upon the amount of capital
invested, should the project succeed, the cost of transportation
would not probably exceed from 12J to 25 cents per bale upon
cotton, and so in proportion for goods — for we believe that all
the cotton-growing country in reach of the Oconee, Ocmulgee
and Altamaha, would go to Brunswick. We are therefore of
opinion, that the great advantages to be derived from this work,
by the extensive region of fertile territory, and the dense, indus-
trious and growing population that trade and will be induced to
trade upon these rivers, render it advisable for the state to give
prompt and efficient aid in completing this rail-road, so as to
connect Brunswick with the interior of the state.

Perhaps the letter of our duty is discharged in giving these
facts, and the opinions founded upon them. But we feel, in
common with our fellow-citizens, so strongly the great impor-
tance of building upon our sea coast a commercial town, for the
sale and exportation of our products, and the importation of those
supplies of merchandize yearly consumed among us, and now es-
sential to our prosperity and comfort, that we believe a more ex-
tensive view of this important subject to fall within the range of
our official functions. Indeed, we should consider our commission
but half accomplished, did we fail, at this momentous crisis of our
commercial relations, to spread before your body those powerful
considerations that form the very basis of the opinions we have
already submitted. Our state is second to but one or two of her
sister states, in her internal wealth and resources. Possessing
almost every variety of soil and climate from the mountains to
the sea coast, with corresponding varieties of mineral, vegetable
and agricultural wealth, she may vie in these respects with the
most favored states, of the most highly favored nation upon
earth. All that our people have to do, to place us by the side
of Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York in internal improvements,
is to arouse from our torpor, and direct our energies aright.
Your Commissioners can say, upon the solemn appeal they have
made, in submitting this report, that they do not believe that
there is in the United States, so small a work of internal im-
provement as the contemplated rail-road, fraught with consequen-


ces so important and so beneficial to the same extent of country
and the same amount of active and industrious population.

The first and most important inquiry for the people of Georgia
is : Have we within our own State, an outlet for our immensely
valuable productions, and an inlet for the foreign necessaries and
luxuries of life, that may be made to vie with the large sea ports
in other States ? that may enable us to command the highest
prices for the /ormcr, and obtain the latter at the cheapest rate to
the planter and the farmer ? Your Commissioners do not hesi-
tate to answer this question for the people of Georgia in the
affirmative. In the town of Brunswick, properly connected with
the interior, we could have a commercial emporium that might
rival any on the Atlantic coast, south of Baltimore. The only
obstacle now existing to the connexion of this noble port with
the heart of Georgia, and with the great wealth and the densest
population of the State, is the narrow slip of land, of little over
eleven miles, between Turtle river and the Altamaha ; and this
obstacle, we have already stated, can, in our opinion, be over-
come by the trifling sum of from $50,000 to $70,000. But
suppose it should cost $100,000, the expenditure is a trifle in
comparison with the immense advantages it would yield, not only
to the treasury of die State, but to the great body of the people.

The next question is : Hoio is the importance of opening the
Port of Brunswick, to be demonstrated ? The answer is ready,
and the various considerations connected with it, of the most
momentous importance to the prosperity and independence of the
State. But look at the map of your State, and it will be seen
by a single glance of the eye, that our noble rivers the Oconee,
the Ocmulgee and the Altamaha, penetrate the very heart of the
State from the Ocean to the Mountains. On these rivers and
their tributaries, and within the range of their trade and influence,
will be seen nearly half the number of our counties, containing the
richest soil, and yielding the most extensive supplies of cotton,
corn, sugar, flour, rice, stock and lumber to be found in any equal
extent of the Southern States ; containing the largest and most
growing population, with a rich and new country every day gain-
ing in resources. The trade that goes down these rivers would
be derived from an extent of country nearly three hundred miles
in length, and from fifty to one hundred miles in breadth. To
all these people and this extensive district, the benefits of Bruns-


wick would be brought, should it be fostered as it might be.
That we have the facilities for the immediate creation of such a
market, yet that we have not such a market, must be matter of
the deepest regret and most humbling reflection to your honorable
body, and to our people at large. That the immense product of
our soil yearly descending our rivers, and transported in wagons,
should pass by the wharves of Darien and Savannah to go to
Charleston, in another State, at a heavy expense, and our supplies
returned by the same circuitous and expensive route, must be
humbling to the State pride and the patriotism of every true
hearted Georgian ; while in the opinion of your Commissioners,
the amount of wealth that would be retained at home, would in
one year compensate us for the whole expense of setting this
road in operation, and opening the Port of Brunswick to the in-
terior. Georgia at this moment presents the spectacle of a robust
man, rich in the vital fluid, submitting to have the veins of both
arms opened, and bleeding to death ; while, by the exertion of
his own strength and energy, he might save himself from destruc-
tion. Savannah we fear is prostrated by the completion of the
Charleston rail-road to Augusta. Our produce already goes by
her wharves-, because the farmer and the merchant can get better
bargains in a foreign market. All the produce on that noble
river, which goes to Augusta, is eventually destined to Charles-
ton. On the other side of our State, the rich country along the
Chattahoochee is draining its products into Florida. While we
are thus losing the advantages of our trade on both sides of the
State, the body of the State is perishing, or finding a scanty sub-
sistence abroad, for the want of that commercial nourishment at
home which the resources of the State and the capital of wealthy
individuals in it are amply sufficient to supply. Under this state
of things, for the want of our manly and vigorous exertion, we
shall soon become like North Carohna, tributary to our sister

Our system of internal improvement has been radically defec-
tive. Instead of directing our operations to one important point
on the sea coast, we have been working from village to village,
and carrying our improvements across the State ; thus giving
facilities to the passage of our jn-oduce into other markets. By
some central operation, we should approximate the ship to the
plough, and bring the mountains to the ocean. We have the


means of avoiding this suicidal policy, by a very trifling improve-
ment. The navigation of the three rivers already mentioned, is
open to the heart of the State, to Hawkinsville, Milledgeville,
and Macon ; and these towns draw the trade from near the moun-
tains. Connect the navigation of these rivers with Brunswick,
where the ship can at all seasons approach, and the merchant and
planter of the interior can find a good market for sale and pur-
chase, and our failing commerce would in a great measure revive
and begin to flourish. It is by such means that South Carolina
has fostered Charleston, till having absorbed the com.i erce of
her whole State, she is now draining Georgia of hers. Let us
learn a lesson from her example. From seventy to eighty thous-
and bales of cotton annually descend the Altamaha, besides other
productions. These will increase as our fertile lands are opened,
and our population becomes more numerous ; and our cotton,
corn, wheat, lumber, bacon, and stock of various kinds, will seek
the best and nearest market on our coast, if such an one is to
be found. In return for these products, very extensive supplies
are, and will continue to be brought up these rivers. The greater
part of these products are now sent to Charleston and New York,
and our goods purchased in the same markets. The advantages
of all these transactions might, in the opinion of the Commis-
sioners, be saved to Georgia, by a sea port of our own — and we
are confident that Brunswick holds out the strongest inducements
for such a saving of our resources. Our capital might be kept
at home — our merchants might annually save large amounts of
freights, commissions, exchange, insurance, storage, travelling
expenses, and thne — a very important item in the account current
of every man of business. The merchants being enabled to
save this expenditure, could afford to give better prices for prod-
uce, and sell their goods at cheaper rates, and on more accom-
modating terms ; while the farmer and planter would be the great
gainers in the end. It would keep wealth at home, diffuse its
comforts more generally, and increase the revenues of our treas-
ury. The merchant could obtain supplies of articles just when
there is a demand for them, and know when he could calculate
on receiving them. He could bring his goods into market much
sooner after he had made his pu-rchase, and of course be sooner
able to pay for them, and better able to afford accommodation to


his customers. The price of our lands would be increased, and
all our productions find a more ready market.

Such are the facilities and advantages that might, in the opinion
of the Commissioners, be afforded to the people of Georgia, by
opening the Port of Brunswick to the interior, by connecting
it with the Altamaha. This would in time, induce further and
more extensive improvements. Trade might, in time be brought
from the isthmus of Florida, from Tennessee, Kentucky and
Ohio — for the northern roads and canals are chained by the ice
in winter, and the dangers of navigating the Gulf of Mexico,
render an eligible and accessible port on the Atlantic, far prefera-
ble to any on the southern coast of Florida. There is no reason
why goods should not be bought as cheap at Brunswick, and
produce comm u d as high a price : s at Charleston or New Or-
leans. The ship can as readily come to Brunswick from Liver-
pool, Bordeaux, and the East and West Indies, as to New York
and Charleston. Why should the freight be higher, or the goods
dearer .'' There would be no delay in running in, and putting
out to sea, and no heavy river charges, and no loss of time to
increase the price of merchandize, sold by the importer and the
wholesale dealer.

Open the Port of Brunswick to the interior, and the enter-
prize of seamen will soon bring the ships there : and your cotton,
your grain, your sugar, and every other article of home produc-
tion will go t ere, and the merchant of large capital will soon
find it to his interest to invest it in Brunswick. The commerce
of these rivers, and the trade of the whole interior of Georgia,
belong, by nature, to some sea-port on our coast. Let the most
eligible, and the best be selected. Let no sectional jealousy
impede the enterprize. Such a sea-port, we think, Brunswick
might be made, being decidedly of opinion, that it affords advan-
tages for a large cooimercial city, if not superior, at least equal,
in every respect, to any on the southern Atlantic coast of the
United States, and decidedly superior to any in Georgia.

Georgia has not a moment to lose in redeeming her own com-
mercial character — in saving to her treasury — to her merchants —
to the whole agricultural, professional; and mechanical industry
of the State, the great blessings to be derived from her ample
resources. Patriotism, state pride, pecuniary interest, all de-


mand, that the great weahh of one of the finest portions of the
world, should be so marshalled as to increase our own domestic
prosperity and happiness, by cultivating the means which the
bountiful hand of indulgent Providence has placed so entirely
within our reach and under our control.

All which is respectfully submitted by the Commissioners.


GEORGIA, Baldwin County.

From the facts and considerations stated in the foregoing Re-
port together with the information derived from sources the most
authentic, within their reach, John G. Polhill, Hugh Lawson,
and Moses Fort, on oath say, that they are decidedly of opin-
ion, that it is advisable for the State of Georgia to render imme-
diate aid in opening the Port of Brunswick to the interior of the


Sworn, ctffirmed to, and subscribed before me, this \Stli July,



To amend and consolidate the Acts granting chartered rights and
privileges to William B. Davis, Urbanus Dart and their asso-
ciates, to establish a Company to construct a Canal or Rail-
road, or both, from the Altamaha to Turtle river, in_^ Glynn
county, or to Brunswick, [jassed 20th December, 1826, and
the 14th of December, 1830.

Bt it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
the State of Georgia in General Jlssemhly met, and it is hereby
enacted by the authority of the same, That Thomas Butler King,
Stephen C. King and William W. Hazard, and their associ-
ates and successors, be, and they are hereby incorporated, with
vested powers, rights and privileges as a body politic, by the
name and style of the " Brunswick Canal and Rail-road Com-

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted^ That it shall and may be
lawful for the said company to create a stock to the amount of
two hundred thousand dollars, to be increased, if necessary, one
third, for the purpose of carrying the said canal and rail-road into
full effect ; that is to say, they are authorized and empowered to
cause books of subscription to be opened at such places and in
such manner as they may deem most conducive to the obtain-
ment of the stock required.

Sec 3. Jlnd he it further enacted, That the capital stock of
the said company shall consist of two thousand shares, of one
hundred dollars each, — but the number of shares may be increas-
ed one third ; and that upon subscribing to the aforesaid stock
the subscribers shall pay the sum of five dollars upon each share.

Sect. 4. Jl'.id be it further enacted, That all amounts paid
in by the stockholders shall be deposited in one of the incorpor-
ated banks in the city of Savannah ; and before the State or the
officers of the Central Bank of Georgia shall pay any amount on
the stock authorized to be subscribed for by any existing law of


this State, or any law which may hereafter be passed, the certif-
icate of the cashier of the bank in which the same may be de-
posited shall be produced to theni, that the same amount on each
share has been paid and deposited in said bank by the individual
stockholders as is demanded of the State or Central Bank.

Sec 5. Jlnd be it further enacted^ That the individual prop-
erty of the said company shall stand pledged to the State for the
amount which shall be subscribed and paid in by the State,
(should the State authorize any subscription,) and that all
amounts subscribed and paid in by the State and said stockhol-
ders shall be applied to (he objects contemplated by this act :
Provided^ that nothing in this section shall be so construed as to
hold the individual property of any stockholder or director liable
for the application of any part of said fund which was or may be
paid in at a time that he was not a stockholder or director.

Sec 6. And he it further enacted., That the said company,
by the name and style aforesaid, shall be capable in law as a body
politic, and as such may sue and be sued, answer and be answered
unto, defend and be defended, in all courts of the State of Georgia,
or any place whatsoever, having competent jurisdiction over any
matter, dispute or transaction touching the business affairs or
well being of the said company ; and that the stockholders may
appoint or elect five members annually, who shall constitute and
form a Board under the name and style of the " President and
Directors of the Brunswick Canal and Rail-road Company,"
who shall be competent to make all necessary by-laws, rules and
regulations they may deem most conducive to the good order,
faith and harmonious government of the said company ; Provid-
ed^ such by-laws, rules and regulations be not repugnant to the
Constitution and laws of this State or of the United States.

Sec 7. Jlnd he it further enacted^ That the aforesaid com-
pany shall be allowed seven years, from and after the twentieth
day of December, eighteen hundred and thirty-seven, in addition
to the time allowed by the above last recited act, to complete
their canal or rail-road, or both ; and the said company shall be
entitled, and they are hereby empowered, to demand and collect,

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Online LibraryLoammi BaldwinReport on the Brunswick canal and rail road, Glynn County, Georgia. With an appendix containing the charter and commissioners's report → online text (page 3 of 5)