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Some months ago I published a pamphlet entitled Remarks on 
Supplying the City of Boston with Pure Water, which was distributed 
to a great extent through the city. The views therein expressed 
were received with much more favor than I had reason, under the 
circumstances, to anticipate ; and as I believe them to be still im- 
portant, I now propose to review the several positions therein taken. 
In doing so, I shall of course have occasion to notice the objections 
which have been made to them ; and especially those made by Mr. 
Hale, in his Inquiry into the best mode oj supplying the City of 
Boston with water, &c. I may truly acknowledge that the appearance 
of this last pamphlet is the occasion which calls me again before the 
public; but in the following pages I shall by no means limit myself 
to the consideration of the objections therein made. I trust the author 
will excuse me for using his name for the sake of brevity ; as he 
must be sensible that the disguise assumed on the title-page is too 
transparent to serve any valuable purpose. 

In my former Remarks, I stated that I had endeavored to look at 
" facts and to form opinions for myself" on tliis subject of water ; 
and that inquiring into the subject in this spirit, I had come " to some 
definite conclusions, not altogether in accordanee with the opinions 
of the commissioners." Of course it was to be supposed that Mr. 
Hale and myself would differ in our opinions. I certainly had no 
expectation of bringing him to the approval of my views ; and I 
apprehend he did not expect me to be satisfied with his answer to 
them. My end I hope is, (and certainly his should be) to impart 
information to our fellow-citizens, so that they may form a correct 
judgment on this most difficult subject; so that the public mind may 
settle down in the approval and acceptance of that system of supply, 
which shall combine the best water and the greatest quantity with the 
greatest economy. In doing this, I shall endeavor to meet Mr. Hale's 
statements fairly, and qualify them, so far as they ought to be quali- 

fied, by other authentic statements either from himself ox others ; and 
if he should deem it of importance to notice these further kebiarks, 
I hope he will have the same end in view. 

In my Remarks I stated that I was inclined to favor the plan " to 
distribute the water, for dobiestic purposes, free from charged 
From this doctrine Mr. Hale " feels bound to dissent;" and gives 
some reasons which appear to have much more weight with him than 
they do with me. As this is still a matter of no public interest at 
present, I beg to refer the reader, who is desirous of seeing what my 
views are, to note A, at the end of this pamphlet, where he will find 
the substance of two communications published in the Courier, Sep- 
tember 24 and 25, 1844. I will notice this point no further at present 
than to say, that I am not tenacious of this plan ; I entertain no par- 
ticular desire to have it meet with public favor. And yet I should 
exceedingly regret to have the city accept any act, or so commit itself 
in any manner, that it shall find itself restricted hereafter from the 
full and free control of the water when it is brought into the city. 
The distribution, and the terms of distribution, should, I think, be 
always in the hands of the City government, to be affected through 
the ballot-box, like all other municipal interests. 

Disposing in this manner of a question somewhat incidental, I 
propose to handle the matter again in the same order 1 did before. 
This is different somewhat from that adopted by Mr. Hale ; but I can 
better examine and meet his views, by bringing them into connection 
with mine in the order I have adopted, than to follow him. 

The three propositions which I undertook to maintam in my 
Remarks were, 

1st. The water of Charles River is better than that of Long Pond. 

2d. It is vastly more abundant. 

3d. It can be introduced into the City at greatly less expense. 
And to the reconsideration of these several propositions I propose 
mainly to limit myself now. I shall notice some other matters at 
the close. 

Preliminary, however, to a consideration of the first point, I propose 
to consider the adventitious causes of impurity in Charles River, 
which form the staple of Dr. Channing's pamphlet, and which Mr. 
Hale dilates upon with apparently great satisfaction. 

In the first place, I wish to call the attention of the reader to the 
striking difference, noticeable in the tone and manner of treating this 
point, by Mr. Hale in 1837 and in 1845. In 1837 (Report, p. 15) 
he says, " The opinion has been often expressed that the Charles is 
rendered very impure by filth from the various mills upon its course. 
The amount of this is exceedingly minute when diffused through the 

river. We are of opinion, therefore, that this ought not to be taken 
as seriously affecting the quality of the water of Charles River." 
And in page 62, in answer to objections of Mr. Baldwin to Mystic 
Pond on account of mills on the stream flowing into it, the Report 
says, " With regard to the influence of mills in rendering waters 
impure, we have already expressed our opinion in the report, when 
giving an account of Charles River." This is all very temperate and 
correct language — used undoubtedly under a responsible sense of 
the facility with which any water may be rendered unpopular by even 
a slight enumeration of possible causes of impurity. How singu- 
larly such sensible remarks as the above, contrast with the whole 
scope and sentiment of Mr. Hale's pamphlet from pages 47 to 54. 
Let me quote the following: "Into this basin (at Watertown) the 
water is received over another dam, on which are situated Bemis's 
mills, the seat of cotton and other manufactories. At Waltham, three 
miles only from the spot at which the water is to be taken out of the 
river for use, is a third dam, on which are situated the celebrated 
Waltham factories, with all their works for dying and bleaching, and 
also a great variety of other manufacturing establishments. All the 
waste water, and impure substances discharged from these manufac- 
tories, and from the residences of 2500 inhabitants, including the 
operatives at the factories, are discharged directly into the river. 
These, of course, go to swell the mass of those fluids, which three 
miles below, is to be pumped into the reservoir on Cory's hill, and 
conveyed thence to Boston, for the daily beverage of its inhabitants." 

Now can it be that the same hand that sketched the effect of these 
mills and factories in 1837, wrote the above in 1845? And if so, 
can it be that the dams and factories are identically the same in 
number, and about the same in extent, now as then ? All this is cer- 
tainly true; and it must be left to others to judge what can have so 
utterly and entirely changed the author's opinions and views, where 
there is absolutely no visible cause. The fact I suppose to be indis- 
putable that there has been no new dam erected on the river, within 
twenty miles of Watertown, during the last fifteen years ; and scarcely 
any extension of works. I have made inquiry, and can learn of 
none. What was said by the commissioners in 1837 is just as true, 
and as worthy of confidence, now as it was then. If the views then 
expressed were not Mr. Hale's real views, he must be esteemed to 
have been disingenuous ; and if they were his real views then, it re- 
mains to be explained how his views have become so completely 
revolutionized with so little, or no, change in the circumstances. 

In this connection I will introduce some other extracts showing 
the animum in which Mr. Hale writes. Speaking of the impurities 

(though perhaps not derived from mills) in that river, Mr. Hale says, 
[Daily Advertiser Feb. 10,) this impurity was " one of the objections 
to the adoption (by the commissioners of 1837) of this source of 
supply." But he afterwards affirms {Advertiser, May 19th,) re- 
ferring to the action of the commissioners of 1837, " the Charles 
River source was the nearest and cheapest, but it was rejected on the 
ground of the less degree of purity of the water." Here instead of 
its being one, it is taken to be the sole, cause of rejecting the nearest 
and the cheapest source. Now let us see what the Report of 1837 
says, and all that it says, on this subject, (p. 31.) " As the con- 
stancy of the supply, however, in this plan (that is, Charles River) 
depends upon the operation of machinery, which always implies some 
shade of uncertainty, though in this case, as our estimate provides 
for two complete engines, pumps, and buildings, either of which will 
elevate the supply by operating twenty hours per day only, the 
chance of failure must be very small ; yet taking into consideration 
the possibility of such a contingency, and likewise the better quality 
of the waters of Spot and Mystic ponds, we are of opinion that the 
first plan, founded upon Charles River as a source, ought not to be 
adopted." Will any one pretend that the sole, or even the leading, 
reason for rejecting Charles River, as here set forth, was the impu- 
rity of the water .'' Certainly not ; — it scarcely makes a reason at 
all in relation even to the Medford ponds ; and it is all but certain that 
it would not have been thought of at all, had the decision lain between 
Charles River and Long Pond. The enumeration of the Medford 
ponds as of " better quality " than Charles River, implies that Long 
Pond was not so considered ; for there was as much reason to name 
Long Pond, as Mystic and Spot Ponds. 

Still farther, to show that Charles River was not rejected on the 
ground of its impurity, but on other ground, let us make one ex- 
tract more. In answer to some of Mr. Baldwin's objections, p. 53, 
the commissioners say, " if it were possible to raise water by steam 
power, with9ut expense, our examination would have ended with 
Charles River or Mystic Pond." But how and why would the exam- 
ination have ended with Charles River, if that source " was rejected 
on the ground of the less degree of purity of the water" .? Surely 
the " expense " would be no greater to raise a less pure, than a 
more pure, water. Again, if Charles River was rejected on account 
of impurity, why did the commissioners estimate upon it at all ? Why 
go to the labor of finding the cost of a supply of water, which, on ac- 
count of its quality, thev did not intend to take } 

Again : Why does Mr. Hale now print Dr. Hobbs's letter } Why 
did he omit it in 1837 ? The letter was written in 1834. If it con- 

tained views deemed to be important, why was it not printed by the 
commissioners in 1837 ? And if deemed not to be important, why 
is it printed now? Its real importance was just the same then that 
it is now ; and the reason for publishing it much greater then than 
now, because Mr. Hale was acting in a more responsible capacity. 

It seems to me, therefore, impossible to dismiss from the mind the 
idea that Mr. Hale has exposed himself to the charge of having beea 
disingenuous in 1837, or of having indulged an unjustifiable spirit of 
amplification and exaggeration in 1845. 

And as further proof of this disposition to exaggeration in 1845, 
let me call attention to two prominent overstatements, which I chance 
to have the power to correct ; how many similar ones may be in his 
book, which I have not now the power to correct, I know not. On 
p. 49, he says : " On the immediate banks of this basin (from which 
the water is to be taken) are dwelling houses on both sides the river, 
and also slaughter houses, soajj and candle toorks, and other manufac- 
turing estallishmenis.'''' Afterwards he again speaks of the offal of 
slaughter houses, alluding to the same establishments. Now proba- 
bly some surprise will be felt at learning, that, as possible sources of 
impurity to the waters proposed to be taken, these establishments 
can have as little effect, as if they were established down the river in 
Cambridge or Brighton. Those on the north side stand beside a 
canal, I should judge to be seventy rods long, which takes the water 
from the pond above the dam down to the mills ; and if any drain- 
age come either from these establishments or the mills themselves, it 
can never pass up against the current to mix v/ith the water of the 
pond. Every "establishment" here referred to, is more than 400 
feet heloio the dam. And those on the south side are separated en- 
tirely from the water of the pond by Baptist, or Jackson's, brook, 
which runs into the Charles below the dam, and which must take all 
the drainage, if there be any, from every one of these establishments. 

Again : Mr. Hale says, '• At Dedham the river receives the waste 
water of such common sewers as are required for a manufacturing 
population of from 3000 to 4000." One can hardly express his 
amazement at such a statement, — so full of error. In the first 
place, the population of the whole town in 1840, was but 3,290 ; and 
this is not a manufacturing population to any considerable extent, but 
an agricultural one, scattered through three or four distinct territo- 
rial parishes. In the second place, the Charles Eiver scarcely runs 
through the town at all, and sHriis it only on one side; of course 
nearly all the population live at a distance from the river. In the 
third place, there is not a dam on the river where it touches Dedham, 
and of course there are no manufactories on the river ; and there is 


no tributary stream, of any consequence, in that town to which the 
remark could apply. In the fourth place, the people of Dedbam 
probably do not know what a common sewer is, having no such thing 
on their premises ; and should any one inquire for a " common 
sewer" there, he would he directed to a person who took in plain 
needle work. The only establishments in Dedham, worthy of being 
called factories, are on Mother Brook, which runs out of, not into, 
Charles River. 

The person who supplied Mr. Hale with such facts as I have here 
noticed, must, I should think, have earned more than a penny a 
line. The ability to draw so long a bow, should have received a 
compensation in some degree commensurate to the rarity of the acj 

But I have expatiated quite enough on this subject. There is one 
plain and conclusive answer to the whole difficulty, root and branch, 
namely ; that the real causes of impurity be removed. It is needless 
to criticise the precise meaning of the act which has been rejected ; 
but sec. 19 was, beyond all doubt, intended to give the city a com- 
plete remedy against all such practical causes of impurity ; ' and a 
new act should, and would, embrace provisions to obtain the same 
object, only more clearly expressed. Equity would require the city 
to pay the actual expense ; but it could be but a trifle. And no 
serious doubt need be entertained that the owners of the establish- 
ments on the dams would meet the wishes of the city in a liberal 
and accommodating spirit. Under, such legal provisions, we should 
drink our Avater with as little apprehension as we eat our food. 
When we purchase our meat and vegetables, we seldom examine 
them for taint or decay, because the presumptions are that the 
butcher and sauceman are under the restraints of the law, and would 
not offer offensive articles for sale. Just so, it being unlawful to 
render our water impure, we should drink it freely without any ap- 
prehension or fear that the provisions of the law would be violated. 


That the Water of Charles River is letter than that of Long Pond, 

The waters of Charles River and Long Pond are to be compared 
by the qualities or ingredients ; 1st, which they exhibit to the senses ; 
2d, which are developed by analysis ; and 3d, which result from the 
circumstance of one being a running, and the other a stagnant mass. 

1. As to the qualities or ingredients which they exhibit to the senses. 
— Water is usually considered pure when it is free from odor, taste 

and color. Now as I am not aware that any body pretends that the 
water of either Charles River or Long Pond is objectionable on the 
score of taste or odor, I shall limit what I have to say under this head 
to color. July 1, 1834, Dr. Jackson says, of Charles River water, 
" clear, transparent, colorless.'''' Of Long Pond water he says, " Has 
a slight tint of browns He says of another specimen take7i from 
the outlet, that it was free from color ; " but as it is not proposed to 
take the water from the outlet for the use of the city, it is not very 
obvious how this latter examination bears upon the question. Mr. 
Hayes, May 24, 1837, (near three years after Dr. Jackson,) says of 
Charles River, " Nearly colorless ; " and, to the praise, as I appre- 
hend, of Long Pond water, he says, it " resembles (Charles River) in 
physical qualities." February 27, 1845, 1 obtained a bottle of water' 
from Charles River, which was exhibited at the senate chamber be- 
fore the committee, and afterwards on the Jirst day of debate on the 
Water Bill in the house of representatives, and which I have still in 
my possession, which I regard as colorless, or nearly so. On the 
3d or 4th of March, 1845,1 obtained another specimen which was ex- 
hibited on the second day of debate in the house of representatives. 
I believe these specimens were regarded as colorless by the members 
of that body. The water of the last specimen is lost ; any one may 
still inspect the Jirst. 

I am aware that, in point of color, the commissioners of 1837 
ranked Long Pond water before that of Charles River ; but as the 
number of specimens examined, and the times and circumstances 
under which they were taken are not stated, what they say of their 
examination may be entirely true, and still the conclusion may be 
erroneous. So in the chamber of the senate before the committee, 
I believe there was a sample taken from the outlet of Long Pond as 
colorless as the sample from Charles River, but the samples generally 
(for there were several taken from different parts of the pond) most 
certainly were not. I have also had specimens from Charles River 
taken at different times, say April 14 and 25, and May 14 ; and also 
of Long Pond, taken (I suppose) about March 1st, and (from the ex- 
act point of the pond which we propose to tap) April 25th. On care- 
fully comparing these samples as to color, the last specimen of Long 
Pond was whiter than the first, and whiter than some of Charles 
River ; while the first specimen from Charles River was a good deal 
whiter than the last from Long Pond, and the last from Charles River 
much whiter than the first from Long Pond, and somewhat whiter 
than the last from Long Pond. 

Now this appears to be the true state of facts, so far as my know- 
ledge or reading goes, and which does not appear to be contradictory 

to any other authentic knowledge on the subject. There have been 
three times, with long intervals between, and at different seasons of 
the year, when the water of Charles River was found to be color- 
less, or nearly so ; while there is not, that I am aware of, the slightest 
evidence or good reason to suppose, that any specimen was ever 
taken from Long Pond at the point where we propose to take it, that 
was free (or nearly so) from color. The inference I draw is, that if 
we take Charles River we shall sometimes, probably often, have the 
water colorless, or nearly so, and can then have our clothes washed 
white ; while, if we take Long Pond, we shall have it with ^perpetual 
discoloration, though this discoloration may occasionally be less than 
that of Charles River. 

Dr. Gould, describing a specimen of Charles River water received 
from Dr. Channing, who received it from Mr. Hobbs, says, it " ap- 
pears to be what we doctors would call sadly jaundiced; that is, it 
has a greenish yellow tinge, about the color of chlorine gas,, probably 
arising from chlorophyll, the coloring matter of plants," &c. Having 
occasion to call on Dr. Gould, he showed me the identical bottle from 
which he took the water above described. ]t was a common jank 
bottle of black glass ; I noticed that it was partly full, and feeling de- 
sirous of examining it myself, Dr. Gould was obliging enough to 
allow me to take it. I took it to my store, put the water into a clean, 
white, glass decanter, {and have it still for the inspection of the cu- 
rious,) and I find it to be just about the most free from color of any 
Bpecimen I ever saw of surface water. I think the advocates of Long: 
Pond may be safely challenged to produce a sample mo-re free from 
color, f om the point of the pond at which we propose to take it. 
Dr. Gould says, however, that the color has changed ; which he at- 
tributes to its having been kept from the light. Whether this can be 
so, I leave to others to judge. 

In all the specimens which I have seen, the subsiding substance ir» 
the Charles River water has uniformly been of a less offensive char- 
acter than that of Long Pond. 

Though animalcules are exhibited to the sense of sight, I shall de- 
fer the consideration of them to the third ground of comparison. 

2. Qualities or ingredients developed hy analysis. — There ap- 
pear to have been three distinct analyses of both these waters, at 
distant intervals ; viz. Charles River, by Dr. Dana, Dr. Jackson, and 
Mr. Hayes : Long Pond, by Dr. Jackson, Mr. Hayes, and again by 
Dr. Jackson. The result of Dr. Dana's analysis has never been pub- 
lished. Mr. Hayes (p. 9, Report of 1837,) gives the earthy matter, 
when dry, in Charles River water, 100,000 grains, 3.22 grains, 
and in Long Pond water 3.03 grains ; when burnt, Charles River 


1,8 grains, Long Pond 2.1. Dr. Jackson in 1S34, gives earthy mat- 
ter in Charles River, when dry, 4. grains, and Long Pond 6. grains ; 
or fifty per cent, more in Long Pond than Charles River. In 1845, 
(p. 142, Proceedings before Joint Committee, &c.) he found in the 
sample taken from that part of Long Pond, where it is proposed to 
take it for the city, 6. grains in 70,000 grains, or (to compare it with 
the foregoing results) near 8.7 grains ; that is, near fifty per cent, 
more than he found in the same pond in 1S34, and more than twice 
as much as he found in Charles River, and almost three times as 
much as Mr. Hayes found in Charles River. Dr. Jackson does not 
seem to have tested the substance by burning in either case. 

But there are more subtle analyzers than the crucible — the living 
fibre of men and animals. Mr. Lincoln, a representative of Boston, 
stated, in debate on the bill, that a gentleman (a clergyman) who had 
resided many years on the banks of Long Pond, told him that he had 
known periods when the fish had become diseased and unfit for the 
table — supposed to arise from some deleterious ingredients in the 
water. An authority worthy of being quoted on such an occasion, I 
esteem worthy of being referred to on this. So Col. Baldwin, speak- 
ing of Concord River in 1834, says, that besides being charged with 
coloring matter, like Charles River, it " has the additional objection 
(that is, additional to the objections to Charles River, which has no 
such quality) of its possessing some poisonous quality. I remember 
when the locks, (kc. of the Middlesex Canal were built 30 or 40 
years ago, the workmen obliged to labor in the water, complained 
that it made the hands and feet sore, and if a little scratch occurred 
to their flesh, or the skin was torn or bruised away, the water would 
cause it to fester into a serious wound, and it was often necessary to 
suspend working in it that the sore might heal. This character of the 
water was confirmed to me a few days ago by Mr. Wilson, a master 
carpenter, who has been employed twenty years in the direction of 
the canal works there (Billerica,) whose expression was, if a man 
gets a little piece of skin knocked off his hand while working in it, 
the water would fester it up so thai I do not know hut it xoould eat his 
hand up in time ; but working in the Merrimac River would wash it 
well again." Now Concord River water is, to a great extent, Long 
Pond water ; and, unless both these stories are fish stories, it might 
be well to exercise some caution. 

3. Qualities or ingredients, which result from the circumstance of 
one leing a running, and the other a stagnant, mass. — Before enter- 
ing upon this topic, I wish to introduce the following letter from Mr. 
Hayes. The substance of my letter to him, to which this is an an- 
swer, will appear from the questions which he has embodied in his 


" RoxBURY Laboratory, 13th May, 1845, 
"J. H. WiLKiNs, Esq. 

" Dear Sir, — Your note, with the pamphlet, came to hand this 
evening. The queries, which you have proposed to me, refer to an 
important and not less exciting subject. In the brief replies, which 
follow, I must be allowed to express my opinion, without reference to 
considerations of comparative expense, quantity of supply, elevation 
of source, &;c. ; keeping in view only the facts of science, so far as 
they have a practical bearing on the points you have named. To 
your 1st, ' Are you aware of any general principles, on which pond 
water should be preferred to river water .'' ' I reply, that I am not ac- 
quainted with any general principles, which would lead to such a 
choice being made. 

" 2d. ' Are you aware of any particular reason, why the water of 
Long Pond should be preferred to that of Charles River .'' or, on the 
contrary, have you in mind particular reasons why the water of 
Charles River is to be preferred to that of Long Pond ? ' 

" For the general purposes of consumption, either of these sources 
would afford an abundant supply of excellent water. For all general 
purposes, I know of no reason for preferring one over the other. Of 
the desired supply, a very small proportion would be used for drinking 
in its natural state. It is in reference to the part so used, that [ ex- 
press a preference for the water of Charles River. 

"Both these waters belong to the same class, and differ but slightly, 
so far as physical characters are presented. The foreign matter dis- 
solved in them, differs but little in chemical composition. They are 
peaty waters, and contain all the substances of organic origin, usually 
found in such waters, in a changing state. 

" The proportions of these matters, when referred to weight, are 
very small, but they are sufficiently great to affect the senses. The 
substances of organic origin, found in these waters, change in char- 
acter and composition by exposure to atmospheric air, or by exclu- 
sion from it, as well as by elevation of temperature. The free access 
of air favors a change, by which a colored water becomes nearly 
destitute of color ; the elements of the oi'ganic matter become differ- 
ently arranged, and soluble colorless substances, and insoluble colored 
principitates, result. These changes are much aided by the presence 
of other substances, especially those belonging to a different class 
of organic matter. Chemically speaking, therefore, the addition of 
matter repulsive to our senses, may not increase the amount of or- 
ganic impurity, but contribute essentially to diminish that already ex- 
isting. It would be a forced comparison, to represent an almost pure 
water by ' wort,' or an infusion from which beer is made ; but the 
action of the added impurities in water is not unlike that of the yeast, 
used with the intention of producing a more transparent and pure 
fluid. Flowing waters, most rapidly undergo the changes, resulting 
in a diminution of the colored organic matter, at first dissolved. 

" Water, to be palatable and salubrious, must contain air, or gases, 
dissolved in it ; and all waters, which are particularly prized for drink- 
ing, contain the larger quantities of gases, or air. In this respect. 


the waters of ponds and rivers differ ; and in the water of Long 
Pond and Charles River, the quantities are unlilve. The river water 
contains a much larger proportion of air and gases, giving briskness, 
or a sparkling appearance to the water. In the sample furnished to 
ine by the water commissioners, for chemical analysis, ihe dissolved 
gases contained more oxygen than exists in the same volume of 
atmospheric air ; indicating that the changes requiring the aid of 
OJfygen, or the purifying processes, had been completed. 

" The existence of the larger animalcules, in greater abundance, 
in the pond waters, is an indication, as Dr. Gould has observed, of 
impurity. In the water of Charles River the number is compara- 
tively very small, as is that of the infusorial insects ; partly from the 
fact, that they become the prey of other animals and fishes in flowing 
water. In flowing waters, the elements which have presented the 
forms of organic life in animalcules and insects, become the materials 
of vegetable growth ; and classes of plants result from, or depend on, 
the decay of animal life; all tending to the purification of the water. 
In future years, the surface, drained into Long Pond, will doubtless 
become changed, and the increase of impurities will then be concen- 
trated in that water. 

" Briefly, these are the reasons for preferring the ' living,' flowing 
water of Charles River to that of Long Pond. I have supposed, ihat 
from both these sources the obvious causes of impurity would be 
removed. Respectfully, ^, ^ j^ HAYES " 

These are the views of Mr. Hayes, the same gentleman who ana- 
lyzed the waters for the commissioners in 1837, and who reported of 
the water of Charles River that " it is more brisk and sparkling than 
either of the other specimens.'''' And though Mr. Hale (Daily Adver- 
tiser, February 10,) thinks these qualities are of little value except as 
accompanying Champagne, yet I can entertain no doubt that nine out 
of ten of those who, from principle, choice, or necessity, do not take 
champagne at all, but take cold water in abundance, will be glad to 
find these qualities in their water. It is certain that many animals 
appreciate the diffei'^nce between running and stagnant water. A 
clever horse, if left to himself, will pass into the current, and not stop 
to drink at the stagnant margin. 

I come now to the consideration of water insects or animalcules. 
In my Remarks, I quoted the authority of Dr. Lee, of New York, to 
the effect that these were not to be found in river or spring water. I . 
have reason to suppose Dr. Lee's proposition requires considerable 
qualification ; still I suppose the remark to have grown out of an im- 
portant practical truth, viz, that animalcules are much less likely to be 
found in running, or river, water, than in pond water ; and when 
found, are less numerous and less formidable (if I may use the word) 
in the former than in the latter. In what I have to say of these dis- 


gusting objects, I wish to be understood as speaking only of such as 
are visible to the naked eye ; for it is to such only that any one can 
attach nnuch importance. 

Before I enter upon the subject, I will take occasion to say that I 
am not without apprehension that some will think me not only con- 
tending against what cannot be avoided, but also against what it is 
not desirable to avoid if we can. I am not without suspicion that 
some esteem the presence of these creatures as a positive advantage. 
What can be the object of publishing to the world such facts as the 
following, unless it be to induce a taste for such things ? " Whatever 
its (the water of the Mississippi) effect on health may be, it is certain 
that it contains a sufficient amount of animal matter (20 kinds of ani- 
malcules in a living state, active, and in great abundance) to he some- 
what nutritious.'''' Again, " That they (animalcules) are capable of 
affording a considerable degree of nourishment even to man is clear ; 
and the facts not un frequently stated of persons subsisting for some 
length of time upon water alone, will not appear paradoxical." 
These facts were communicated to Dr. Channing by Dr. Gould. 
They are sent out to the people by Dr. Channing. 

Now my doctrine is that the presence of visiile animalcules is an 
objection to water ; that it is to be avoided entirely, if possible, and 
to every practicable extent, if not. However nutritious they may be 
to all, and however agreeable to some it may be to take their food 
and drink at the same time ; I must be classed with those who are 
willing to forego all such advantages, and are desirous of taking their 
food from a plate and their drink from another vessel ; and the fol- 
lowing remarks on this subject are submitted for the consideration of 
those only who sympathize with these views and tastes. 

We are told upon authority that I feel no disposition to dispute, 
" that animalcules exist in all water exposed to the open air" ; but 
this is to be limited to invisible animalcules, and is not true with re- 
gard to visible ones. Dr. Gould does not appear to have found visi- 
ble ones (to the naked eye) in either sample of Charles River water 
sent him by Dr. Channing ; nor does it appear that any specimen has 
been taken from that river in which they are or were visible. And 
here I cannot with propriety forbear to refer to Mr. Hale's manner of 
• quoting. Page 48 of his Inquiry., Slc, he quotes Dr. Gould as fol- 
lows, in regard to a specimen of Charles River water, " Animalcules 
of several kinds are detected without difficulty." This is given as 
Dr. Gould's statement. Now what is Dr. Gould's language ? " Ani- 
malcules of several kinds are detected without difficulty by a micros- 
cope^ upon allowing the waters to settle and pouring off the top." 
Now this is an important qualification ; and as not one pei^son in a 


thousand has a microscope, I submit that Mr. Hale's quotation cannot 
be true, and is therefore a misrepresentation of Dr. Gould, whose pro- 
position undoubtedly is true. 

The following extracts will place this matter in its true position. 
They are from Dr. Gould's Letter to Dr. Channing, an authority I 
regard as highly as any one. " In lakes or ponds of water, which 
may be called standing water, they (animalcules) will be found in 
greater abundance than in river or running loater.'''' Again : " They 
are much more abundant in stagnant than in running water.''"' Again : 
" Though they may be in myriads at some little shalloio tnarginal 
nook, they loill scarcely be found at all at the flowing outlet, although 
it be the same water of the same pond.'''' (This last was Dr. Jackson's 
experience of Long Pond water in 1834.) And the following is 
worthy of very particular consideration, " their presence indicates 
impurity in the water; and that which abounds most in them maybe 
pretty safely set down as 7nost impure.'''' Can language be plainer, 
can ground for inference be stronger, that the water of rivers is more 
pure than the water of ponds .? And this not only in regard to animal- 
cules, but to other organic matters which give life and sustenance to 

Here then we have the doctrine I contend for ; and now how do 
facts agree with it. Dr. Jackson analyzed for Mr. Baldwin 9 differ- 
ent waters, viz. Spot Pond, Waltham Pond, Sandy Pond, Baptist Pond, 
Ponkapog Pond, Massapog Pond, Long Pond, Farm Pond, and Charles 
River ; and what was the result as to animalcules .? In six out of 
the eight ponds he found animalcules ; hni found none in Charles Ri- 
ver. Again, Dr. Jackson analyzed 6 specimens of pond water for 
Mr. Eddy in 1836, and what was the result.^ In every one, with a 
single exception, he found animalcules. Besides the discoveries of 
the Doctor, I have inspected a great many specimens of Charles Ri- 
ver water, and I have never been able to discover any animalcules 
with the naked eye. I have also inspected many specimens of Long 
Pond water, and have often seen them alive and active. Citizens 
were invited to call at the mayor and aldermen's room, just before 
the vote on the water-act, to inspect several specimens of water. I 
called, and took particular notice that while the specimen of Charles 
River water was free from these creatures, all the specimens of pond 
water (Long Pond included) abounded with them. 

It is matter of some surprise to see with what zeal and industry 
Dr. Channing, and after him, Mr. Hale, endeavor to break down all 
distinction between one water, or one kind of water, and another, 
in regard to animalcules, as if there were absolutely no degrees of 
better and worse, pertaining to them. They seem to insist, with a 

pertinacity worthy of having the truth to support and justify theniy 
that all waters in this respect are alike, and that "the only remedy 
against them is, to avoid too curious a search by microscopic eyes," 
&c. But they are supported by neither theory or fact, at home ; nor 
are the consumers- across the ocean so accustomed to their presence, 
or so indifferent to it, as we might be led to infer from extracts of 
evidence given by Mr. Hale. As I deem the matter of considerable 
importance, and as I believe the evil can be, and ought to be, in a 
great degree, guarded against at the outset, and we and future gen- 
erations be spared the disgust of witnessing forever these crea- 
tures in our drink, I propose to quote somewhat more largely from 
the testimony of Dr. Clark and others, before the Parliamentary com- 
missioners referred to by Mr. Hale, than he has done. 

Dr. Clark was professor of Chemistry in the University of Aber- 
deen. He appears to have given much attention to water, to its ordi- 
nary impurities, and to the most effectual method of removing them. 
His examination before the commissioners was long and minute ; and 
he was obviously a witness whose opinions were considered as enti- 
tled to great weight. 

" Question 41. Is the presence of water insects of any conse- 
quence, and is that peculiar to London water, or have you found 
them in the water of other districts in England > Answer. Those 
insects are not peculiar to the London waters, hut the London are the 
jirst of the waters supplied for the use of the inhahiiants of Towns, in 
which J EVER, saw them. They are not general in the waters of other 
towns, at least in Scotland, (Aberdeen, his residence, is in Scotland,) 


NOT IN A CHOICE STATE Fo:i DRINKING. They are an indication in 
general of a vegetating process going on (in) the water; I think I 
have observed, from examining a great variety of specimens of water 
kept in glass vessels, that the two things generally go together, (viz.) 
the vegetating process and the breeding of those insects. Either cir- 
cumstance I should apprehend to be a presumption of the other, and 


The above question and answer I regard as exceedingly pertinent. 
I shall have more to say of these London waters ; but I copy the next 
question and answer to show the effect of the-e impurities upon the 
consumption of water by those classes of inhabitants in London which 
ought to be the greatest consumers. 

" Question 42. Can you state what effect on health is likely to 
ensue from the constant use of water containing animal or vegetable 
impurities ? Ans. I am not prepared to make any statement upon 
that subject ; nor am I aware that, in regard to a question of so much 


interest, there has been much accurate information obtained. How- 
ever, there is one very obvious consideration as regards the health of 
the inhabitants, that if you have water not jit for drinking, in which 
there is matter offensive in any degree, by so much as the water is 
offensive you lessen the habit of drinking water. Now you cannot 
restrict the supply of water to such quality as is naturally repulsive 
— you cannot thus render the inhabitants abstinent from water, with- 
out interfering with the healthful functions of their bodies. It was 
with no small concern that I learned how few of the inhabitants of 
London, and especially of the lower oders, drink water. In 
making my experiments upon these (London) waters, when I inquir- 
ed of the servants about me how they liked particular waters, it was 
with perfect surprise I discovered that they — generally mere lads — 
knew nothing about the taste of the water. They are the same sort 
of persons as would be accustomed to drink water in other places, but 
they have another beverage here."" 

And what beverage do the friends and advocates of Temperance 
think would be likely to be resorted to under such circumstances ? 

" Question 82. Are the animalcules of which you speak those visible 
to the naked eye, or those which you discovered by a microscope .'' 
Ans. I speak only of such as I have observed by the naked eye ; 
but it is wonderful how the naked eye improves in its power of ob- 
servation by some practice in watching those animalcules. 

'■'■Question 83. Have you found any water supplied to the Metro- 
polis more especially characterized by those animalcules than other.? 
Ans. I found the animalcules to abound in the waters of all the 

This answer requires some qualification or explanation ; Mr. Wick- 
steed, engineer of East London Water Company, in answer to the 
Question (4527) "are there insects in the water (of the East London 
Company) in hot weather V answers, " Not that I am aware of ; I 
have not seen any." Quest. 4516, to same, " Where is your water 
taken from } Ans. From the River Lea, near Lea-bridge." 
From this testimony of Mr. Wicksteed, there can be no reason to 
doubt that the Lea-waters, distributed by the East London Com- 
pany, are an exception to Dr. Clark's assertion ; and his answer 
probably should be understood as true only under the circumstance 
of having received a quantity of it at Aberdeen from Mr. Wicksteed, 
and having " kept the water for a long time in open vessels in a large 
laboratory." {Quest. 27.) Under such circumstances animalcules 
may have been developed. 

" Question 84. Do you find this common ? Ans. I have never 
found them (animalcules) in the Scotch waters that I have been ac- 


customed to in Towns, nor indeed had I ever observed them at all 
in any town's water, till I examined London water. 

" Question 85. Do you think the poor inhabitants of London are 
prevented from drinking the water supplied to them from finding 
objectionable matter in it ? Ans. Certainly." 

" Question 96. You have seen the mode in which it was proposed 
by the late Mr. Telford to furnish an increased supply of water (to 
the Metropolis) ? A7is. Yes. Quest. 97. He proposed to take it 
from Hertfordshire on one side, and Surry on the other ; what opinion 
have you formed as to the modes suggested ? Ans. My real im- 
pression, from a consideration of the whole subject of water in con- 
nection with London, is, that the source of supply that should not be 
departed from is the Thames ; it is so copious. Then, with regard 
to the supply of water to London from a distance, there are many 
points that one would like to know beforehand ; for instance, I fOund 
some water in the neighborhood of Watford, in one of the rivers, the 
Gade, about one half harder than the water here (London). One 
vv'ould require to know a little more about the hardness of all the 
waters that have been proposed to be brought to London, and to 
Jcnow ichether there would not be a tendency to vegetation in the course 
from the source to London. I do not mean absolutely to say there 
would be as much vegetation as we now have in the London waters ; 
but, I should like to see, from the experience of other places, whether 
such would not be the result. My opinion is, that there would be as 
much vegetation and as many insects as from those loaters.'''' 

'•'•Question 98. On the whole, from your consideration of the sub- 
ject, you think the Thames would probably be the source from which 
to derive the additional supply to the Metropolis ? Ans. For this 
reason, as well as others, that where there is such a river there is an 
inexhaustible supply ; and there are so many instances where, having 
started with a limited supply, the inhabitants have experienced consi- 
derable inconvenience from a deficiency, that I do not think it would 
be desirable to look for a supply from any source but a large river." 

I now notice the evidence of Mr. Robert Thorn, quoted by Mr. 
Hale. He appears to have been the engineer for supplying Green- 
ock, Paisley, and Air with water ; and plans for supplying other 
towns were furnished by him, but the duties of his business (cotton 
spinning,) rendered it impossible for him to attend to their execution. 
In describing his plan, he says (Quest. 109) " The distinguishing 
features of my plan are, the obtaining some natural basin at a suffi- 
cient height, either in itself containing a large supply of water, or into 
which a great extent of surface can be drained. Thus -a reservoir is 
formed, which I take care shall be deep enough to maintain the water 


at a low temperature^ and to prevent the hreeding of insects and the 
growth of vegetables ; and capacious enough to hold at least 4 months'' 
supply of water. ''^ These are the features of his plan, to find, or make, 
a reservoir which shall hold in a state of stagnation 4 months supply 
at least. And though it is a part of his plan to " take care" that 
this reservoir shall be " deep enough to prevent the breeding of 
insects," can any body doubt that he tells the truth when he says he 
" had seen animalcules in the water in particular parts of Scotland !" 
and particularly " wherever the water was shallow and warm," 
which of course was not in his own reservoirs which were deep and 
cool. It is needless to call the attention of the reader to the different 
views of a source entertained by Mr. Thorn and Dr. Clark, who 
would look to no other than a " large river." 

Besides the fact stated by Dr. Clark that insects in water prevent 
the consumption of it by classes which ought, and under other circum- 
stances would, use it freely as a drink, we may get some apprecia- 
tion of the importance attached to the matter by several witnesses 
examined before the commission. 

Dr. Clark speaks of the importance of having reservoirs neither too 
large nor too small ; not too large, lest the process of vegetation and 
of breeding insects should be promoted ; and not too small, lest an op- 
portunity for settling should not be afforded. Mr. Thorn feels obliged 
to make" his ponds of 4 months' supply, deep and cool, to prevent 
animalcules being developed. Mr. Haivkesby, the resident engineer 
of the Trent water works at Nottingham, says (Quest. 5330) " if we 
observe the growth of certain small aquatic plants, or — more espe- 
cially if we remark ascending to the surface of the water small bubbles 
produced by gases resulting from the decomposition of organic mat- 
ter, we know that a haiitat is being formed for insects, and that if this 
process be not arrested, insects will soon make their appearance in 
considerable numbers ; we therefore infer from these early indica- 
tions that the time has arrived at which it becomes prudent to antici- 
pate the coming depuration of the water by cleansing out the reser- 
voir." And at the Southwark works in London, where the Thames 
water has animalcules, in order to have the water as free as possible 
from them (Quest. 5933) " in summer weather we frequently let the 
water out (of the reservoirs) in the afternoon, and take in a supply of 
cool water for next day's distribution," is the statement of Mr. Quick, 
the engineer. 

Hence, although the inhabitants of London are to a great extent 
afflicted with the presence of these noxious creatures in their water, 
and on that account forego to a great extent the taste of it, year in 
and year out, in its natural state ; and although Mr. Thorn discovered 


them in Scotland "whenever the water was shallow and warm," yet 
there is no doubt that their presence is everywhere in Great Britain 
regarded as a nuisance of a serious character, and to be guarded 
against by all the precautions and remedies which science and ex- 
perience can render available. We can discover no symptoms of 
indifference to them among the people, nor manifestation of faith in 
the doctrine that " the only remedy against them is, to avoid too 
curious a search," &c. The remedy of the paupers of London is to 
go without the water, or mix spirits with it to disguise its disgusting 
quality ; and we ought hardly to feel any disappointment, if a like feel- 
ing and a like habit should prevail here under like circumstances. 

But Mr. Hale informs his readers " that the London companies ob- 
tain their supply exclusively from rivers or springs — chiefly from 
the Thames — and none of them from ponds." 

The London water works derive their supplies from the Thames, 
the River Lea, and what is called the New River. We have seen, 
from the testimony of Mr. Wicksteed, for many years the engineer of 
the East London Company, that the water drawn by him from the 
River Lea is free from visible animalcules. It remains, then, to 
consider those circumstances of the Thames and the New River to 
which the breeding of these insects is probably to be attributed. 

Although Dr. Clark found animalcules in the water of such Lon- 
don companies as take the water of the Thames " much above any 
part affected by the sewage of London," yet it certainly is not above 
the influence of other causes which are known to favor the develop- 
ment of these creatures. The tides of the river affect the rise, fall, 
and stagnation of the water, many miles above the point where water 
is taken by any London company. Steamboats are continually ply- 
ing up and down the river, going as far as Richmond at least. 
The natural current of the stream is therefore rendered sluggish, 
and entirely checked at high water. Besides, there are numerous 
densely populated towns on the margin, the sewage of which proba- 
bly flows into the river, and may be as prolific in this species of nui- 
sance as the sewage of London. The town of Brentford, celebrated 
for mud and filth, is so situated, and probably so drained; and also 
other towns. So that below the lock or locks at Tedington, the 
Thames may be said to lose the essential character of a river, or 
running stream, and acquires that of a turbid arm of the sea. It is 
no more to be expected that the water of the Thames should be free 
from animalcules in the parts under consideration, than those of the 
Mississippi should be below St. Louis, where we know they abound. 
The flow of each is altogether too sluggish to check the development 
of the nuisance in question. 


And how is it with New River, the supply of the oldest water com- 
pany, whose works were completed in 1613, — 232 years ago? 
"The supply is from the springs of Chadwell and Armwell (two 
thirds) with additional supply (one third) out of the (river) Lea, near 
Chadwell in Hertfordshire, which is about twenty miles from London, 
in direct distance ; but the course of the river is about thirty-nine miles." 
This supply being originally from springs and a river, and the same 
river which gives the East London works water without animalcules, 
we must look to adventitious circumstances for their development 
between the source and the delivery of the water. And what are the 
circumstances which might be expected to produce such a result.? 
In the first place, the water traverses an artificial channel of great 
extent, near forty miles, open and exposed to light and air, very slug' 
gish in its current from two causes, viz. its circuitous course — going 
round two miles to gain one — and from its very slight fall — being 
only three inches in the mile. These are just such circumstances as 
are calculated to create an a joHon expectation of animalcules; and 
joined to the fact, that in a good many places the stream becomes quite 
wide, and therefore "shallow and warm," we should be rather sur- 
prised if animalcules did not appear. It will be remembered that Dr. 
Clark gave as a reason for not quitting the Thames for a supply, 
that he thought the tendency to vegetation and breeding insects in 
the water, during its course from a distant source to London, would 
produce as many as were in the Thanties, (see above, p. 18.) It is 
not unlikely that he had in his mind the example of the New River 
in this respect. 

In the ser-.ond place, it is not unlikely that the very extensive reser- 
voirs of this company contribute to the development of this nuisance. 
I name this as a cause which may operate, though I am not at all 
certain of the fact. The reservoirs are very extensive, and the water 
lies stagnant in them some time ; and if not long enough to generate 
animalcules, still it may aid preexisting causes of development. 

It seems to me, therefore, that the existence of animalcules in the 
New River water and the Thames water, under the circumstances of 
the case, does not at all weaken the general doctrine in regard to 
river and running water, nor blend the distinction I have endeavored 
to consider and establish between river and pond water. 

And here I close what I have to .lay on the subject of animalcules ; 
entering my protest against all statements and arguments going to 
show that there is no distinction in waters in regard to them ; believ- 
ing that such statements and arguments are falacious and deceptive. 
The foregoing facts and statements I believe sufficient to establish 
beyond controversy, that there is a distinction between river and pond 


water, and, of course, between Charles River water and Long Pond 
water, which is worthy of influence upon the judgment of the com- 
munity in electing between them. On the influence which this 
distinction shall have, may depend the fact whether the citizens of 
Boston, in all coming time, shall have foreign water suitable and 
popular for drinking^ or fit for ivashing and cleansing only. 

There are some peculiar circumstances, worthy of a passing notice, 
attending Charles River. The fact that its stream, from the 
mouth to the source, is but a succession of ponds, affords the water 
peculiar facilities for becoming clear of sediment ; while the constant 
ingress and egress of the whole contents of the river, into and out of 
each of these ponds every day, changes the water so often and so 
rapidly that no suitable time is allowed for the development of any 
processes of vegetation or of breeding insects. In dry times, the 
ponds fill up by night and are drawn off" by day ; and this to such an 
extent, that probably scarcely a hogshead of the water lies in bulk, 
unmixed with other portions, for eight and forty hours together, unless 
it be in some nook or eddy. This constant alternation of rest and 
motion is a most favorable promoter of purity ; so that in dog-days, 
when one would take a drink of Charles River water, he will feel a 
moral assurance that it has not been ten days from the springs, and 
in its course has been subjected to a succession of purifying processes ; 
while, in regard to that of Long Pond, he will feel a like assurance 
that it has been steeping near six months on the marshes and peat 
bogs of Natick, without having undergone any purifying process at 
all, except what results from perfect stagnation : a process, which, if 
.it tends to purify in one way, most certainly tends to rendei impure 
in another. Within ten yards of the point in Long Pond, whence it 
is proposed to take the water, as laid down on the map, is an ex- 
tensive swamp, the hillocks and mounds of which are submerged 
when the water is high, and left dry when the water is low. This 
swamp is full of all manner of vegetable growth, from the white birch 
and alder, down through all grades of aquatic shrubs and plants. 
All this vegetable growth deposits its foliage and stems in the pond 
annually, where it lies and decays in mass ; and this, right at the 
mouth of the proposed tunnel. 

Second Proposition. 

The Waters of Charles River are vastly more abundant than those 
of Long Pond. 

The commissioners of 1844 say (p. 25) : " The maximum supply 

which, in their opinion, can be held in reserve (in Long Pond) by 
artijficial means, for regular and permanent use, is computed not far 
to exceed twelve feet per second." This is more than I can see 
good reason to regard as a minimum, and it is a minimum which in 
this connection we want. There is, in my judgment, serious ground 
to doubt whether any artificial means can infallibly supply twelve 
feet per second. It confessedly depends upon snow and rain ; for 
the springs do not sometimes yield one sixth of that quantity, and the 
average natural yield is less than one half. And snow and rain are, 
in the wisdom of Providence, sometimes in a great degree withheld. 
The system does not rely upon the natural resources of the pond, to 
yield half that amount ; and the artifcial ones proposed, are subject 
to all the liabilities to failure which must necessarily attend experi- 
ments of this nature. 

But of the amount in Charles River, in the dryest seasons, there 
can be no doubt. In this connection, I wish to put upon record the 
following statements, furnished me in a letter from Lemuel Crehore, 
Esq., of Newton Lower Falls, dated Feb. 22, 1845. He says : 

" After years of controversy between the proprietors of mills on 
Mill Creek (or Mother Brook, as it is more usually called,) and the 
Neponset, and those on Charles River, some time about 1832, an 
agreement was matured between the parlies, that one third of the 
water should pass to the former, and two thirds to the latter ; and in 
1840, to carry into full effect the stipulation, two canals were con- 
structed, the one on the Creek, (or Mother Brook,) twenty feet wide, 
that on Charles Biver, forty feet wide, and each twenty rods, or three 
hundred and thirty feet, in length. The sides are walled two feet 
high, and the bottoms level with timbers across every twenty feet, 
and kept perfectly smooth. 

" That (canal) in the (Mother) Brook, or Creek, is situated im- 
mediately north of the old road leading to Dedliam village ; that on 
the Charles River, about one mile above the dam at the Upper Falls 
(in Newton.) These were completed in the summer and autumn of 

" To determine whether the object had been effected with accuracy 
by what had been done, sundry comparative admeasurements were 
made in the two canals, during the low stages of the water, in 1841, 
and occasionally at subsequent periods. In 1841, the follov^ing were 
the results in the Charles River branch : — 


min. sec. 

Cub. ft. per S. 

July 23—14 deep 




5 4, 

330 feet 

= 50 2-3 

" 24—14 " 




5 26, 



" 43 1-2 

" 26—12 " 




7 0, 



" 31 3-7 

" 29—12 " 




6 0, 



" 36 1-2 

Aug. 3 — 12J " 




5 40, 



" 39 2-3 

" r— 13 " 




4 40, 



" 51 

" 24—121 " 




4 45, 



" 47 17-57 

Sept. 4 — 143 " 




3 4, 



" 72 


" In 1843, 1 have been able to find but one memorandum of an ad- 
measurement, which was probably at its lowest. 

Aug. 3 — 131 in. deep. Velocity 5 min. 30 sec, = 44 32-33 ft. per sec." 

In 1844, obstruction in the river was discovered, so that, instead 
of one third, something more than one half the water was found run- 
ning through the Motherbrook Canal. " After its removal, (i. e., the 
obstruction,) no rains intervening to materially affect the stream, it 
was measured, and the results were as follows ; — 

July 26 — 14 in deep. Velocity 5 m. sec, = 51 1-2 ft. per sec. 
Aug. 4 — 15 " " " 4 " 30 " " 61 1-27 " " 

« i7_i7 1' « « 3" 30 " " 882-21 " " 

"These admeasurements were made, and minutes preserved, by 
Mr. A. C. Curtis, agent for the proprietors on Charles River, from 
whom I procured them. 

" In addition to what flows through the canal, at the place of ad- 
measurement, there falls into Charles River below, Garfield's Brook, 
Rice & Parker's Brook, Stoney Brook, Waltham Brook, (between 
upper and lower factories in Waltham,) Major Jackson's Brook, and 
Baptist Pond Brook at Watertown, (all) which may be safely esti- 
mated at one fifth in (additional) quantity." 

It is worth remarking that the velocity, in the above instances, was 
measured by putting light substances afloat. Now it is very apparent 
that causes might operate materially to retard the speed of the float- 
ing body, so as to show that speed considerably less than that of the 
water ; but no cause could operate to give the floating body a greater 
velocity than the water which bore it : so that, whatever errors may 
have resulted from the imperfect mode of operation, it is almost 
certain they are on one side, that is, they made the quantity less than 
it really was. 

In my Remarks, I did not feel inclined to attach much importance 
to the greater quantity of water in Charles River than in Long Pond ; 
because I did not see reason to believe that the city would ever 
require more than twelve feet per second, or seven millions gallons 
per day. But since those Remarks were published, I have heard so 
much about the importance of an " abundant," " never failing" sup- 
ply to the city, " for all coming time," &c., that I can hardly be 
blamed if I catch a little of this expansive spirit, and inquire 
whether Long Pond is the source which can supply it ; and if the 
"abundance" confessed to be in Charles River, is not worthy of 
more weight than I have hitherto been disposed to claim for it. 

However unfortunate it may have been in other respects, it is 
certainly a great advantage to me, that the commissioners of 1837 
were divided in their opinions. It gave occasion to Mr. Baldwin to 
urge some very strong objections upon his colleagues ; and it gives 
me occasion to avail myself of some very appropriate answers, i. e., 


appropriate on the supposition that the demand for water will be as 
great as those commissioners, and also those of 1844, suppose. 

One of Mr. Baldwin's objections was, that the works recommended 
by the majority, (Mr. Hale and Mr. Treadwell,) were not adequate 
for such an increase of population as he contemplated ; and that, if 
adopted, the city would go on in "• piecemeal way," " and never 
satisfy the wants of the citizens." Mr. Baldwin (who was in favor of 
Long Pond) probably did not dream that he was to be met by his as- 
sociates on his own ground, and to be battled with his own weapon, 
and in a manner too perfectly indefensible ; but so it was. The 
majority say (p. 56) : " Let us look a little farther into the future. 
When the population shall have increased to 240,000, which may be 
in thirty or forty years, all the water which will be supplied by tho 
conduit from Long Pond to Corey's Hill, or all the water from 
Long Pond, will be required for their use, and an additional 
population can only he supplied by neiv ivorks.'''' " It appears^ there- 
fore, that additions loill be required to the works, ivhichever plan may 
be adojjted.'''' 

With such prognostications as this before them, it ill becomes those 
who advocate Long Pond, to dwell upon its capacity to furnish a per- 
manent and everlasting supply for the use of the city, when, by the 
prediction of one who is the most prominent in their ranks, it may be 
entirely drained in thirty years. If any confidence at all is to be placed 
upon such opinions, then certainly it does become a matter of serious 
consequence whether the selected source will furnish forty cubic feet 
per second cer^ainZj/, or only twelve, and that proiZemaficaZZ^. I will 
just add, that the commissioners of 1837 estimated the yield of Long 
Pond about 12^ per cent, greater than those of 1844. How the next 
board would estimate it is doubtful. 

Third Proposition. 

The water of Charles River can he introduced into the City at vastly 
less expense than that of Long Pond. 

In my Rebiarks, in supporting this proposition, I went upon the 
supposition " that enough was as good as a feast " — that an ade- 
quate, and even liberal, supply of the present wants of the city, with 
provision for increased demand, arising from a more general habit of 
using the water, and from increase of population, was just as valuable 
as a supply four or five times greater than can at present be wanted^ 
and which must run to waste till a demand shall be created. But Mr. 
Hale, I suppose, would hardly agree to this doctrine. " If it (what I 


would save in providing for the supply when wanted and not lefore) is 
to be regarded as a saving, it is a saving purchased at the sacrifice of 
4,500,000 gallons in the amount of supply." Well, if the supply be 
4,500,000 gallons greater than can be used, and will run to waste if 
attained, where is the sacrifice ? It is very easy to talk about an 
abundance of pure water, and it is easy to talk about the magnitude 
and magnificence of the cost that shall furnish it ; but really that 
abundance is utterly valueless which cannot be appropriated, and 
that magnitude of scale and expenditure is a public loss which is un- 
called for by public use and convenience. 

In the Eemarks, I undertook to show that a sufficient supply of 
water from Charles River can be delivered into the same reservoir at 
the same place, and that the quantity can be regularly increased till 
it equals in amount that from Long Pond, at an expense but little 
more than half the estimates for bringing 7,000,000 gallons from 
Long Pond. 

Reasoning, as I could, on the data before me, and the best opinions 
I could form, I arrived at this conclusion, viz. — " So far then, as the 
city supply is concerned, it seems that the larger work of bringing 
water from Long Pond, possesses absolutely no advantage whatever 
over the smaller one, of bringing it from Charles River ; and of 
course that the expenditure of $436,000, which the larger is esti- 
mated to cost more than the smaller, is a sheer waste of so much 
public money, for which the public derive no benefit whatever." 

What were the data and opinions which formed the groundwork of 
such conclusion ? I will state them. 

1st. That the demand for water, when the loorks should he com- 
pleted, would not exceed ten gallons a day, for every man, woman, 
and child in the whole city ; and that this demand might regularly 
increase till it reached twenty-eight gallons per head daily in thirty 

2d. That the number of inhabitants at the completion of the works 
might be 120,000 ; and that this might increase to 180,000 in fifteen 

3d. That the estimates of 1837, in regard to Charles River as a 
source, loere to he relied upon ; and might be reduced in the ratio 
that coal and other leading articles had since fallen in price ; and 
also somewhat by the increased facility in the manufacture of en- 
gines, &c. 

If I had any success in showing that these points were to be relied 
upon, or if in reviewing them now, I can establish them as sound, 
the conclusion I before came to, that near half a million of dollars 
could certainly be saved by resorting to Charles River, must be re- 


garded as established and confirmed. But if I should fail to establish 
each of these positions, it will not by any means follow that Charles 
River should be abandoned ; for I shall maintain that the whole 
7,000,000 gallons (which is all that Long Pond can supply) can be 
delivered now, at the outset, into the reservoir on Cory''s Hill, cheaper 
than it is estimated to bring the same quantity from Long Pond. 
This proposition being established, it becomes a matter of inferior 
moment whether the former positions be established or not. 

The first point I propose to review is, Will the demand for water^ 
at the completion of the works, exceed ten gallons per day for every 
inhabitant, as well those who do not take the water as those who do ; 
and will the demand, arising from a more general habit of taking the 
loater, carry up the consumption to twenty-eight gallons jjer head per 
day in less than thirty years ? Will the present demand exceed ten 
gallons per head of the whole population? I think not, because I can 
find no instance on record where such a consumption has occurred at 
first ; and I know of no reason why more should be expected of 
Boston, under such circumstances, than of other places vastly more 
deficient in water than Boston is. 

Before I proceed farther, I will notice what I regard as a great 
error in Mr. Hale's representation of the consumption in Philadelphia. 
He limits himself to the city, leaving out the districts, and makes the 
consumption come up to twenty-eight gallons or more for each inhab- 
itant. Now every one conversant with this matter, knows that the city 
of Philadelphia is but the central portion of what is usually under- 
stood by Philadelphia. It is the central region cut out from the sub- 
urbs, or districts as they are there called. Thus we are accustomed 
to hear of the Navy Yard at Philadelphia ; but Philadelphia city has no 
navy yard ; it is in a district. The city of Philadelphia is the central 
and wealthy portion of that mass of population which lives upon the 
business of the place ; while the working classes, the mechanics, 
artisans and laborers, are found in the districts. In other words, the 
inhabitants of the city are precisely the folks who will take water, 
while the inhabitants of the districts are those who, to considerable 
extent, will not, because they cannot afford it. Now if Boston were 
supplied with water, it would be just as absurd to select a half dozen 
streets, where necessity or choice should induce every occupant to 
take it, and hold them up as an example of the consumption of water 
in this city, as to abstract the city of Philadelphia from its suburbs, 
and hold that up as an example. The true way and the only way 
worthy of the slightest regard, is to take the tvhole water district, as 
well the suburbs as the city. You then get the mass composed of all 
classes ; those who can and will, and those who cannot and will not, 


take the water. Hence, although Mr. Hale may be correct in stating 
that the city consumes twenty-eight or even more gallons per day 
per head, so is Mr. Shatluck doubtless correct in stating that the con- 
sumption of the loater disLrict is only eighteen gallons per day per 
head. Now which is the true method to adopt ^ Most certainly the 
principle adopted by Mr. Shattuck is the true one. Mr. Hale may, 
with propriety, say that such a principle does not give a perfectly 
true result, because there are parts of the districts to which pipes do 
not extend, and that of course the option of taking is not extended to 
all. This may be true ; but it only shows the difficulty of making a 
calculation that is entirely correct — it no way justifies the use of 
one obviously and clearly incorrect. 

I am aware that Mr. Hale makes the distinction, and speaks clearly 
enough of the city ; and yet, from keeping out of view the true cha- 
racter of the city and the true character of the districts, and the inti- 
mate connection between them, and limiting himself to the consump- 
tion of the city alone, I think he has done the subject injustice, and 
induced others to form notions of the consumption of water, which 
well-established general facts, or even all the facts of this particular 
case, will not at all justify. 

Philadelphia city was supplied with foreign water about 1780, and 
has had it ever since. Successive works have been erected, the pre- 
sent one having gone into operation in 1822. In 1826, the districts 
were supplied ; and at the end of 1831 the consumption of the whole 
water district was about 11 gallons per head per day. Now consid- 
ering that the city portion of the water district had taken foreign water 
50 years, and the district portion had taken it for over 5 years, and 
the whole had arrived at a consumption of only 11 gallons, is it un- 
reasonable to suppose that the city commenced with much less, and 
that it would be a very moderate time to allow hoth 10 years to come 
up to a consumption of 10 gallons per head per day ? If so, how 
very liberal is it to allow Boston to commence with a consumption 
which was not attained there in less than 10 years. 

Besides Philadelphia, Mr. Hale takes London as an example. Mr. 
Hale affirms, on the authority of the evidence taken before the Parlia- 
mentary commission in 1843 and '4, that the consumption of the 
Metropolis was equal to 24^ imperial, or near 29 wine gallons to each 
inhabitant. I suppose Mr. Hale took this from Mr. Wicksteed, 
(Quest. 4484.) It is only an estimate or supposition, not derived from 
actual data ; and though an opinion, or off-hand estimate of Mr. W. 
is generally worthy of confidence, yet I think this is not. For as 
London is supplied by eight different and independent companies, 
nothing can be clearer than that nobody could be authorized to speak 


for them all. The agent or engineer of each company might speak 
for that company and for no other ; and from these answers of all, 
an aggregate might be made up. Mr. W's. statement was made 
merely as a basis to calculate the expense of pumping, and not to 
give any information as to the quantity consumed. 

Now in the volume above referred to is the testimony of several of 
the engineers of the different companies, to which I beg to call the 
reader's attention. W, C. Mylne, the engineer of the New River 
Company, (as his father was before him,) states (Quest. 5760) that 
" the population within the district is nearly 900,000 individuals :" 
that is, nearly half the population of the metropolis ; and I believe it 
is generally supposed that this company supplies about as much water 
as all the other companies. Quest. 5716, "What is the quantity of 
water at present (March 21, 1844) distributed by the New River 
Company .? Ans. The average annual quantity of water supplied 
by the New River works for the last 3 years has been 614,087,768 
cubic feet." A cubic foot is 74 wine gallons. Hence the amount 
furnished annually is 4,605,658,260 wine gallons ; or 12,618,242 gal- 
lons per day. Apportion this quantity among 900,000 individuals, 
and it gives to each almost exactly 14 gallons per day. Now I do 
not see where there is room for error in coming to this result. 

Mr. Wicksteed puts the consumption in the East London district 
at 18 gallons daily per head. 1 suspect he means those who take it, 
but it is not certain. Mr. Quick, the engineer of the Southwark 
Co., computes that district (Quest. 5874.5 and 5926) to contain 
23,000 tenants ; — 18000 take water, and 5,000 do not. At 6 indi- 
viduals to a tenant, the population is 138,000, and the supply is 
2,160,000 gallons per day, which yields 15f gallons per head per 
day. In regard to 1000 of their tenants, Mr. Quick remarks they 
are " consumers, having manufactories, tanners, fellmongers, hair- 
washers, glue-makers, curriers, dyers, hatters, brewers, distillers, 
steam engines, railway stations, hospitals, &c. which take large 

Now taking what I suppose, but do not know, to be true, that the 
gallons of Mr. Wicksteed and Mr. Quick are imperial, equal to about 
5 quarts, and that Mr. Wicksteed allows 18 gallons to each inhabitant, 
(which I doubt) the supply to an inhabitant in East London district is 
near 23 wine gallons, and in Southwark district about 19 wine gallons. 
The supply of New River we have seen is . 14 gallons 
East London is ..... 23 " 

Southwark is ...... 19 " 


Average . . . 18| 


Here then we have the particulars of 3 out of the 8 water districts 
of London ; and we find that the average supply to each inhabitant daily 
cannot exceed 18| wine gallons. Now what can there be in the 
other 5 districts, embracing a population that cannot exceed 6 or 
700,000, or say £ of the New River district, that can call for such an 
enormous consumption of water as shall not only go themselves, but 
shall carry all the other districts with them, embracing twice their 
own population, up to 28J- gallons per day ? It is utterly preposte- 
rous to suppose any such thing. 

On the contrary there are abundant reasons for supposing that the 
remaining districts would not increase the average, but rather dimin- 
ish it ; for it is well known that the west of London embriices the 
population which quits the Metropolis in the warm weather, and is 
also more free from manufactories than the more central and eastern 
parts. I can therefore find no reason to suppose that the actual eon- 
sumption of London at this moment exceeds 18 wine gallons per day 
per head. 

And I find the common statements of the enormous consumption of 
water in London have not passed without suspicion on that side of the 
water. Mr. Thorn, whom Mr. Hale quotes, says in relation to them, 
" I have seen them and heard them explained. Judging from my 
knowledge of the facts in other towns, I should say that the quantities 
set down were seldom delivered ;" and afterwards he says " these 
facts lead me to question reports which state the family supply beyond 
13 (16 wine) gallons, per diem. In London, doubtless, the quantity 
used for watering streets, for public works and the like, must be very 

B. G. Soper, Esq., resident in London, who made a report upon 
the filtration of water, (p. 168, Appendix,) is incredulous in regard 
to the reported large quantities of water consumed in families. He 
says : " I will state some experiments I have recently made to 
ascertain the real quantity of water consumed in a private family. 
These experiments have convinced me that there is considerable mis- 
statement or miscalculation on the subject of the supply of water to 
private houses. 

" My family consists of five grown persons and six children ;" 
have two cisterns, both together of a capacity of one hundred and 
fifty imperial gallons ; " the water being turned on three times a 
•week, if both cisterns were entirely empty before the water came in, 
the total consumption would be four hundred and fifty gallons per 
week." But from repeated guages, is certain that the " whole con- 
sumption of water in my family does not exceed three hundred and 
fifteen gallons per week, or forty -five gallons per day." This being 

for eleven persons, is about four imperial, or five wine, gallons per 
head, per day. He adds, " that from twenty to twenty-four dozen of 
linen are washed in the house, weekly," and " I am not aware that 
any economy is particularly practised by the servants, or that there 
is a deficiency in the common amount of scouring and waste usually 
practised." After such an experiment, he might well doubt the usual 

William Gravatt, (p. 259,) the engineer of contemplated works at 
Bristol, intended the works to be competent to afford twenty gallons, 
per day, to each inhabitant ; but says, " the quantity persons actually 
require, is very much less. I have taken some pains to find out what 
quantity of water which families, who are cleanly, and are abundantly 
supplied, would use. I have (at Bristol) allowed twenty gallons a 
head, but the quantity that a family will use is only four gallons a 
head each day," (or five wine gallons, agreeing in this respect with 
Mr. Soper's experiment.) He adds further : " The actual consump- 
tion of water of an English family — a man and his wife and three 
children — taking the cleanest of several families of the working 
classes, was under twenty gallons a day, (or four gallons, five wine 
gallons, a piece.) This is far greater than the average of a great 
number ; where I saw, on going into their houses, that they were 
clean, I .ascertained this to exceed by far the quantity they could 

Having then, as I conceive, shown that in regard to both, London 
and Philadelphia, the consumption of water ought not to be taken at 
over eighteen or twenty gallons per head per day, instead of twenty- 
eight and a half, as taken by Mr. Hale ; I will now refer to the con- 
sumption of other places, which are esteemed to be well furnished 
with water. Mr. Thorn, as quoted by Mr. Hale, says, " the quantity 
supplied to Glasgow did not amount to thirteen (sixteen wine) gallons 
for each, and nearly one quarter was suffered to run to waste." " In 
Perth, the quantity applied to each individual, was only eight gal- 
lons. In Grenock and Paisley, where the pipes are kept constantly 
full, and there is nothing to prevent the people from using what they 
please, the quantity taken is less than twelve (fifteen wine) gallons 
for each." "Plymouth has only ten gallons per head — man, 
woman and child." At Ashton-under-Lyne, where, according to a 
Report of I. R. Coulthart, Esq., the supply is most copious, (p. 75, 
appendix,) " fifty-five gallons per day to each house, or ten gallons 
per day to each individual," is given ; i. e., to each who take the 
water, but considerably less when averaged upon the whole popula- 
tion. Large quantities are used for manufactqries which are excluded 
in this estimate. 


At Nottingham, Mr. Hawksley, the engineer, says (p. 136, appen- 
dix,) " it is impossible to state the quantity of water consumed by 
each class of tenants, as all take it ad libitum. The quantity deliv- 
ered by the Trent Water Company, is after the rate of seventeen or 
eighteen gallons per diem, or eighty or ninety gallons per house, but 
this is inclusive of trade consumption," and is estimated on those who 
take the water only, and would be much less if averaged upon the 
whole population. The works went into operation in 1831, and in 
1844, only two thirds of the houses took water. Mr. Hale refers to 
the case of Nottingham (p. 29) ; and unless the reader were particular 
to notice the distinction between water-takers or tenants, and . the 
whole population, he would be likely to derive a very erroneous im- 
pression (as Mr. Hale appears to have done) of the water consumed 
in that place per head of the whole population. Mr. Hale goes 
through some statistical arguments, the force of which I hardly see, 
but the result, I apprehend, is clearly erroneous. There are but four 
and a half individuals to a tenement, and Mr. H. infers that each person 
has twenty-five wine gallons per day. Now Mr. Hawksley distinctly 
states (Q. 5248) that he supposes the consumption in a laborer's 
family to be forty gallons per day (or fifty wine gallons) ; which, di- 
vided among four and a half persons, is about eleven wine gallons 
per head, of those who actually take the water ; and this would be 
reduced one third, or say to eight gallons, if averaged upon 50 per 
cent, more, or the whole, population. And it is to be kept in mind 
that the water-takers here have the water on at all times, and may 
draw it, for use or waste as they see fit, at any hour, day or night. 
' And as five-eighths, at least, of their tenants appear to be of the 
laboring class, it shows that a very large proportion of the water sup- 
plied goes to the great consumers, such as " brewers, dye-works, 
steam-engines, and inns, and other places of large consumption." • 

But Mr. Hale (p. 28 and 29) says : " There are other towns which 
are supplied at a rate exceeding the estimate of Mr. Thorn, above 
stated. The situation of the town of Preston is described in the 
testimony of the Rev. I. Gray (should be Clay) before the above- 
mentioned commissioners, as having been very similar, before the 
establishment of a water company, to that of Boston at the present 
time, except that it is much smaller." Having then a place, acknowl- 
edged to have been as Boston is, I suppose the experience of that 
place in the enjoyment of water, may be taken to illustrate what that 
of Boston will be in the enjoyment of a like blessing. It becomes of 
some importance, then, to get at the facts. 

In stating this case of Preston, I will quote Mr. Hale's, supplying 
in brackets such additional facts or remarks as seem relevant. " Water 

was supplied from various sources, wells, pumps, water casks, rain 
water cisterns, &c., besides private works erected in 1729 [answer- 
ing to our Jamaica Pond works] which afforded a limited supply. 
Under an act of Parliament, [obtained in 1832, and took near 2 years 
to get into full operation] the Preston Water Works Company had 
been established, which brings in an abundant supply of excellent 
water from a distance of 7 miles. Already [i. e. in 10 years] more 
than half the houses in the town, 5,026 out of 9,994 are supplied with 
water by the company, and there is [i. e. was *' during the last three 
years"] an increase in the number who take it of about 400 annu- 
ally." [If this increase has been regular, what was the original num- 
ber of water-takers ?] Omitting a few sentences not important, Mr. 
H. goes on thus, " The average supply is about 80 gallons, to each 
house daily, factories and public establishments included. [" The 
quantity of water provided is at the pleasure of the consumer, the 
mains being constantly full and at high pressure."] This is equal to 
16 imperial or 21 [20] wine gallons to each individual supplied [but 
as only half the individuals are supplied the amount averaged upon 
the whole is but 10 gallons] of a chiefly laboring population [like 
that of Boston,] and evidently [?] with a small allowance for public 
and manufacturing purposes." Evidenily ! "By means of the 
company's fire plugs, and carts adapted to the purpose, the police com- 
missioners are enabled, in dry weather, to promote the public comfort 
and convenience by regularly watering the principal streets." " Fire 
plugs are placed in all the streets, &c." in which there are mains. 
" The quantity is at the pleasure of the consumer," factories and all. 
These quotations are from Mr. Clay, But Mr, Robert Anderson, 
manager of the Preston water works, gives some additional facts, 
p. 159, Appendix. He says, " Our actual consumption of water is 
76 gallons per house (daily,) lut this includes all the large consumers^ 


is the evidence of " a small allowance for public and manufacturing 
purposes."] The average consumption in tenements of the laboring 
class — [such, " chiefly,"' as mentioned above] is 45 gallons daily," 
[so that the public and manufacturing purposes consume the " small 
allowance" of the difference between 45 and 76 gallons to each indi- 
vidual water-taker, or a trifle over 40 per ct. of the whole. 

Here then we come to a result in a town which 2oas like Boston, 
and which it is expected, in the consumption of water, Bos^ton may- 
emulate. After having had a full and abundant supply of water 10 
years, half the people take it and half do not ; those who take it con^ 
sume 15 gallons per head daily, (76 per tenement of little over 5,) 
or 19 gallons wine measure; but as only half take it, the consump- 


tion averaged upon the whole population Is 9^ wine gallons per head 
per day. And yet I am not considered "liberal" because 1 think 
that Boston, whose situation is granted to be similar to that of Pres- 
ton, will not require at the outset a supply greater than Preston has 
been growing up to in 10 years. 

Here I close my reference to the consumption of water in other 
places. I have taken considerable pains to come at facts ; and have 
endeavored to learn the lesson which experience would teach. It is 
idle to suppose that people here are going to do very differently from 
what they have done elsewhere ; and so far as we have regard to the 
general practice elsewhere, we shall be in no danger of important 
errors. I have made no allusion to New York ; for she has so en- 
tirely disappointed all calculation, reasonable and unreasonable, that 
I believe she is regarded on all hands as an anomaly. 

And what does experience teach that bears upon the proposition 
under consideration ? Does it teach that when our works are finish- 
ed, the demand for water will exceed 10 gallons per head per day ? 
Certainly not ; — but on the contrary that this amount is " very libe- 
ral," and considerable time will be required to grow up to such a 
consumption. Does it teach that the consumption will come to 28 
gallons per head per day in less than 30 years .? No such thing ; — 
but, on the contrary, that the consumption of Boston will not attain 
even to 20 gallons in 30, if it does in 100, years. Here then is a 
great gain upon my former estimate ; a gain, sanctioned, as I con- 
ceive, by all experience without exception. Should, therefore, any 
one consider the minimum of 10 gallons to begin with too small, but 
that 20, as a maximum, is sufficient, he may considerably increase 
this minimum, without at all impairing the general result of my 
former calculations; while those who think 10 gallons to begin with, 
and 20 gallons to grow up to, are quite adequate and sufficient, will 
not fail to notice how very far within the truth those calculations 
really are. 

The second element, assumed by me as a basis to estimate the 
demand for water, was, tJiat the population of Boston might be 120,000 
when the works were completed, and might reach 180,000 in 15 years ; 
and my estimates were made on such a number and such an increase. 
On this point Mr. Hale says nothing ; and, of course, I suppose I may 
assume that it meets his views. Although I conceive that the com- 
plete establishment of my points does not require me to reduce this 
estimate, yet there are certain facts which I did not before take into 
account, and which have so important a bearing upon this question, 
that I hardly feel justified in omitting to notice them. 

In the first place, if the population be 120,000, when the works are 


completed, they will not all be dependent on the contemplated works 
for water. To say nothing of East Boston in this connection, it is 
entirely reasonable to assume, that the Boston aqueduct will continue 
to supply to the extent of the present works, if not to the capacity of 
the pond. The present company will reduce their water rents to the 
city's scale, and they will be certain to retain their customers ; and 
if the city should ever distribute water gratis, for domestic purposes, 
it will then be for the interest of the city to purchase those works at 
a fair value, and to use them to supply the southern district : so that, 
whatever may be the policy of the city hereafter, I do not see any 
reasonable ground to doubt that those works will be relied upon for 
such supply as they can afford. 

These works, I believe, are now supposed to supply about 30,000 
inhabitants, situated in different and remote portions of the city. But 
as the supply is, to a considerable extent, partial and insufficient, and 
in many instances delivered under great disadvantage, I suppose it 
would hardly be prudent to rely upon these works to supply a greater 
district than 25,000 ; and if that district be selected, so as to deliver 
the water under the most favorable practicable circumstances, I do 
not know of any reasonable ground to doubt that it may be fully sup- 
plied. If, then, we deduct from the supposed population of Boston 
at the completion of the works, (120,000,) the district supplied by 
the present works, (25,000,) we shall have only 95,000 inhabitants 
relying upon the contemplated works for a supply ; and the expenses 
necessary to deliver 10 gallons daily to 120,000 persons, would de- 
liver nearly 12§ gallons to 95,000 : so that the calculations in the 
Remarks, which gave only 10 gallons, are really good for 12f gal- 
lons, to each inhabitant in the district to be supplied. 

Again, as to the increase of the city, or 180,000, to be supplied in 
15 years. It is obvious that a great part of the increase to our popu- 
lation in the next 15 years is to be in East Boston, where the con- 
templated works can give no supply. I say obvious, because this 
increase must be on the outskirts somewhere, and the circumstance 
that the lands in East Boston are in the hands of individuals who are 
always alert in crowding them into the market, while those on the 
neck belong to the city, in whose behalf no such alertness is usually 
exercised, will, I conceive, operate, for many years to come, to bring 
into occupancy the lands of East Boston much faster than the vacant 
lands in the city proper. I conceive, therefore, that it is a very 
reasonable estimate to allow to East Boston a population of 25,000 
at the end of 15 years. Here, then, will be a population of 25,000 
which cannot be supplied, and another 25,000 which will be supplied 
from another source : making 50,000, to be deducted from 180,000, 


to be supplied 15 years hence : leaving only 130,000 to be supplied 
at that time, or 10,000 more than were allowed in my former calcu- 
lations to start with. I do not care to trouble the reader to go through 
a calculation to see how strongly such facts fortify my former calcu- 
lations. Their bearing is obvious, and their precise value may be 
readily calculated. Here, again, the reader cannot fail to notice how 
very far within the truth my former calculations, based upon popu- 
lation, present and prospective, really are. 

I now come to the third and last element or ground of calculation, 
adopted in the Remarks, viz., that the estimates of 1837, in regard to 
Charles River as a source, were to be relied upon, and might be 
reduced in the ratio that coal and other leading articles had since 
fallen in price, and also someivhat by the increased facility in the 
manufacture of engines, &c. Mr. Hale admits that the estimates for 
pumping are sufficient if the works were " executed under his (Mr. 
Treadwell's) supervision ;" that is, sufficient for the work then esti- 
mated, but not for the addition I put upon them for a part of the 
time. But he objects to various deductions made by me, which I will 
notice in detail. 

1st. As to fuel. "The reduction" made by me, he regards as 
" excessive by at least one half." On what grounds he objects to my 
reduction, I am at loss to conceive, as he gives none. The estimate 
of the comissioners of 1837 was based on using bituminous coal at 
$10 per chaldron. I reduced it to $8 per chaldron in this way, 
viz., by " the general reduction which has since taken place in fuel, 
the substitution of anthracite for bituminous coal, and the improved 
methods of generating steam since adopted." Now, is this reduction 
unreasonable .'' It is certain that there has been a general reduction 
of fuel within that time. It is certain that anthracite has been sub- 
stituted for bituminous coal, to a great extent, within that time. And 
I supposed also, that new (and I presume improved) methods of 
generating steam have been since adopted, certainly to the extent re- 
quired by the above change of fuel, if no further. To substitute 1^ 
gross tons of anthracite for 1 chaldron of best bituminous coal, is, I 
suppose, very liberal — more so than need be. I submit, then, that 
an allowance of $ 6 per gross ton for anthracite (or $8 for 1^ 
tons) is a very liberal price. Hence I conceive I have a right to in- 
sist, that the deduction I made is a fair one, even if there have been 
no improved methods of generating steam adopted since. 

But it is truly surprising that Mr. Hale should object to this deduc- 
tion ; for in a written estimate which he submitted to the committee 
of the legislature, when he was giving testimony before it, he him- 
self put down bituminous coal to $8 ; — just as I had done. Why he 
thinks this too low now, does not appear. . 


2d, As to cost of engines. I made a deduction on the estimated 
cost of engines in 1837, of 10 per cent, or 87,000. To the whole of 
this Mr. Hale objects. The grounds of this deduction are thus stated 
by me : " The two engines are heavy items in the cost (say $70,000) 
and are constructed almost entirely of iron. It is not obvious, there- 
fore, why a similar reduction on the iron used for them should not be 
made as upon that for the pipes." (I had just gone through with a 
reduction of f ths on the cost of the pipes, to which Mr. Hale does not 
object.) " There can be no doubt, too, that, in the last seven years, 
important improvements have been made in constructing engines; so 
that from both considerations, it appears to be a moderate assumption 
that engines, of the capacity estimated, can be constructed 10 per 
cent, cheaper now than in 1837." But Mr. Hale will allow no de- 
duction on either of these grounds. But if there had been a fall in 
iron, (as there notoriously had been at the time of writing) why 
should not the cost of the engines be reduced to that extent } Surely 
there can be no reason. Then as to improved methods of construct- 
ing engines ; — if nothing is dispensed with or altered now that was in 
use then, surely the vastly increased demand for engines since, must 
have given important facilities in manufacturing them. New me- 
thods, by which labor and expense are saved, are introduced into 
every species of manufacture; and the competition growing out of 
a brisk demand is constantly operating in the same way to reduce 
price. In whatever way I am able to look at this matter, I do not 
see the slightest ground to question a reduction on the cost of the en- 
gines to the extent proposed. 

But besides these deductions from indisputable facts, a letter was 
submitted by Mr. Derby to the legislative committee from Messrs. 
Hinkley &, Drury, engine builders of this city, of established reputa- 
tion, in which they offered to construct an engine that would raise 
2,304,000 gallons, of 10 Ihs. each, 100 feet high in 10 hours ; — but 
as the weight of a gallon is usually reckoned only 8 lbs., the work 
would be equal to raising that quantity 120 feet, or to the top of 
Cory's Hill, — for 22,000 dollars. The pumps, gearing, fixtures, 
and other matter ready to put in operation, were supposed to be from 
$2,500 to 3,500 additional ; — say in all, 825,000. Here instead of 
having a deduction of 10 per cent, on the cost of 1837 (835,000), we 
have a saving of f ths, or near three times as much as I asked. Be- 
sides this, we are offered an engine that will do in 10 hours nearly as 
much work as one of those of 1837 would do in 20. 

So far then as the deduction of 10 per cent, on engines is con- 
cerned, I think I have shown that it is not unreasonable ; and that 
Mr. Hale has no just ground to object to it. But, on the contrary, a 
larger deduction might have been reasonably made. 


Again, Mr. Hale objects that I have put upon the works more labor 
than was contemplated by the commissioners ; and " that so far 
as the estimate of 1837 is relied on for an authority, it should be 
taken as conclusive only for the quantity for which the scale of work 
was specially adapted." " It is, therefore, unreasonable to assume 
the estimate of 1837 as sufficient for a greater permanent practical 
effect, than the works proposed were designed to produce." Let us 
look at the details of this plan of 1837. The first and largest item 
in the proposed works was the pipe from the source to the reservoir. 
The next was provision for two engines, each of which would do all 
the work in 20 hours per day. Now as to the pipe, why may it 
not convey water 24 hours as well as 20 hours } It is an arm that 
never tires ; and if no more strain is put upon it in the additional 
4 hours which it is used, it is not obvious why it may not be so used. 
The proposed conduit from Long Pond is to convey water 24 hours 
in the day ; and it is not very obvious why as strong an objection 
may not be made to that arrangement, as to imposing a similar con- 
stant service upon an iron pipe. The only ground of objection that 
seems to me can be entitled to the least consideration, is afforded 
by the circumstance that my calculations sometimes required both en- 
gines to be at work at the same time ; thus increasing the velocity of 
the water in the pipe. How much, if anything, this may be worth re- 
garding, I am not prepared to say ; and it is hardly worth estimating, 
as the time is so short in which this extra duty is required, as we 
shall see. 

And as to the engines, no theory requires that lialf the motive 
power should be constantly idle. Prudence requires that there should 
be a spare engine to resort to in emergencies ; and it comes to pass 
in this case that the spare engine is half the motive power provided. 
But if the work to be done required 3 or 4 engines, still it would not 
be necessary to provide more than a single spare one ; — just what it 
is necessary to provide in this case, where the work is only that of 
one engine. Now the utmost labor, which any of my calculations 
imposed upon the two engines, was to raise 3,420,000 gallons per day, 
for a short portion of the 15 years. This is near 27^ hours' work of 
one engine, or 13J hours of two. I put the question then to practical 
men, if this be an unreasonable effect to rely upon the engines to pro- 
duce } Is not reasonable provision made for all ordinary contingent 
interruptions ? I think there is ; and more especially, when it is fur- 
ther taken into consideration that all engines are tested by a pressure 
many times greater than that under which they ordinarily operate; 
and for limited periods may be safely relied upon to perform twice 
their ordinary work. 


I find that for 13 out of the 15 years, on which I calculated, no 
more than the labor of one engine is required, and no increase at all 
in the velocity of water in the pipe. If, then, it should be found prac- 
tically expedient lo increase the works or engines at the end of 13 
years, instead of 15, the result will not very seriously affect my cal- 
culations. Siill I regard the probability much more reasonable thatthe 
new outlay will not be required in 20 years, than that it will be needed 
in 13. 

There is another item, introduced by Mr. Hale, to be noticed. He 
says, that to the estimate of 1837 for water rights, " we must add for 
increased value of the water right at Watertown at least $25,000." 
The estimate of 1837 was 815,000, of course Mr. Hale's present 
estimate is $40,000. It is admitted on all hands that the water of 
Charles River, in the dryest time, equals 40 cubic feet per second. 
All that Long Pond yields is 12 feet per second. But the commis- 
sioners allow 1 foot for loss between the pond and reservoir, relying 
only upon receiving 11 feet per second. As it is proposed to lose 
nothing between the river and reservoir, the present course of my 
argument does not require that the whole water right of 40 cubic feet 
should be purchased ; it would be sufficient to acquire a right to draw 
11 cubic feet per second out of the 40 ; and it would not be mate- 
rial whether this right were the first, second, or third, provided it 
came within the 40. Now it comes to pass that the water power at 
the Watertown dam is divided into various distinct rights, which may 
properly he denominated first, second, &c. ; — the first drawing to 
the extent of its right to the exclusion of the second, and the second 
to the exclusion of the third, and so on. The first and second rights 
of water are now used to operate two distinct mills. The first, a 
grist mill, with all its right of water and appurtenances of every kind, 
together with one third the water right of the second mill, together 
with an undivided half of another piece of property, is in the hands of 
a single individual ; and I have in my pocket book a bond executed 
by him, by which he obligates himself to sell me, or to my order, the 
whole of this property for 125,000. If the city shall wish to avail 
itself of this obligation, it shall freely have the power to do so. 

As this grist-mill has the first right to water, it is obvious that 
nothing more need be purchased, if its right to draw be adequate 
to supply the city, or be equal to 11 cubic feet per second ; and if 
so, all the other pieces of property may be at once sold. I have 
therefore taken some pains to ascertain what the right of water at- 
tached to this mill is ; and from the best information I can obtain 
it amounts to 30 cubic feet per second, or near 3 times as much as 
we are to get from Long Pond. 


This oae mill, then, having the first right to 30 cubic feet per 
second, its value, even in dry times, can be affected but little for 
many years by the draft the city will make upon it. 4 feet per 
second will give near 2,600,000 gallons per day ; and this is less 
than ^ of the power. And it is to be borne in mind that during 8 or 
9 months in the year, the water wastes over the dam, and the draft of 
the city would injure no right at all ; and that it is only during 3 or 
4 months in the year, that the mill privilege would be affected by 
such draft. Hence it appears to me quite certain that a right to 
draw from Charles River more water than can be had from Long 
Pond, can be obtained for a sum considerably less than $15,000, the 
estimate of 1837. On the ground that the water power of the grist 
mill has been accurately cast, which I have no reason ta doubt ; and 
that there are no flaws in the title, which I have no reason to suppose ; 
I should esteem it a very satisfactory business transaction to sell 
the city the right to draw forever any amount of water it would bring 
into the city, under 24 cubic feet per second (or twice the product of 
Long Pond), for $15,000, or the bare estimate of 1837. 

I believe I have now noticed all the points of objection made by Mr. 
Hale to my former estimates ; and I trust I have shown satisfactorily 
that those objections are generally not entitled to any weight. But, 
on the contrary, that the positions taken by me are far within the 

Mr. H., however, has introduced an estimate of the cost of pump- 
ing at the new water works at Philadelphia, which I beg leave to 
notice. By this estimate, the expense of pumping 2^ millions, daily, 
115 (not 127, as stated by Mr. Hale) feet high, is, $531,000 

My estimate for pumping the same quantity, is, 471,000 

$ 60,000 
Mr. Hale says of the former : " This is near $100,000 (not very 
near) over the estimate of Mr. Wilkins, although the distance which 
the water is conveyed is but one mile, instead of 3i- miles." 

Feeling much surprise on seeing this estimate, I took occasion to 
address the engineer ( W. E. Morris, Esq.,) and made some inquiries 
in regard to its accuracy. His answer confirms its general correct- 
ness, but states the height to be 115 instead 127 feet. But Mr. Mor- 
ris gives a key to the great expenditure. The duty of his new 
engines (like most others in this country)'does not exceed 15 millions 
pound, one foot high, with a bushel of coal. The duty of the engines 
estimated in 1837, (and which, Mr. Hale thinks, may be relied upon 
if constructed under Mr. Treadwell's supervision) was 60 millions, or 
four times that of Mr. Morris's engines. Of course, Mr. Morris con- 


sumes 4 times as much fuel as would be required on the plan adopted 
by the commissioners of 1837. The estimated cost of coal per year, 
for the Philadelphia works, is, 89,100; -J of which is consequently 
lost, = $6,825. This sum represents a capital, at 5 per cent., of 
136,500 ; which taken from the estimate 531,000 


leaves 6394,500 

as the cost of raising 2^ millions in Philadelphia, on the principles 
adopted in 1837. This is $70,000 less than my estimate. Mr. Mor- 
ris says, the " pumps are driven by condensing crank engines, 
intended to work expansively, but the cut-off valves not yet used. A 
material saving is anticipated, when the half stroke is put in opera- 
tion." It apppears, therefore, that the engines, at present, work to 
disadvantage, and consume more fuel than they will when completed ; 
and, as they now work, the practical effect is near 10 per cent, 
greater than the estimated. 

I cannot but express surprise that such works should have been 
constructed at this day. Mr. Morris says, " I was desirous to see at 
our new works this kind of machinery (referring to the Cornish engine) 
introduced. But anxiety to secure cheapness of first cost, and ap- 
prehensions of delay and failure arising from the novelty (in this 
country) of the work, prevented its adoption by the water commis- 
sioners." He adds : " There are engineers in Philadelphia, who, I 
believe, would be willing to construct steam water-works, and guaranty 
double the above stated performance," (or a duty of 30 millions lbs.) 

Under all the circumstances of such a case, one would about as 
soon expect that water commissioners would resort to actual horse- 
power to pump their water, and estimate the expense by the quantity 
and price of hay and oats, as to such machinery. 

I shall have further occasion to consider the practical duty of en- 

I have now gone over all my former propositions ; — have ex- 
amined them anew, and the several grounds on which they were 
based. The result is a conviction of their truth. I have endeavored 
to do this in a fair and libei*al spirit, in regard to points involving ex- 
pense ; and to err, if at all, upon the safe side. The result is a 
renewed conviction, that, on the principles then adopted, the savino- 
of $436,000, as then stated, may be effected, without the slightest 
detriment to the supply of the wants of the city, by resorting to 
Charles River instead of Long Pond. All the reasoning by which 
such a conclusion was reached, appears to me to be valid and irrefu- 
table. But if we qualify my former conclusions by what I noio 


believe to be facts, viz., that the population of the city, to be supplied 
by the contemplated works, present and prospective, was then much 
over-estimated, and the maximum consumption per head was also 
much over-estimated, I can see no good reason to question that the 
saving would far exceed this sum. For myself, I think this sum 
worth saving, " and that it is an economy worthy of the attention of 
the city ;" — whatever views of such economy may be entertained by 
Mr. Hale and the advocates of Long Pond. 

But, after all, the scheme of introducing 7 millions gallons of water 
per day, is so magnificent, and spreads such an extent of canvass to 
the breeze of popular favor, when compared with one that at present 
promises but 2^ millions per day, though in the end it promises even 
more than the other, that it becomes a matter of some moment, if it 
can be done as I think it can, to take the wind out of that sail, by 
showing " that the whole 7 millions gallons can he delivered now, at 
the outset^ into the reservoir on Cory^s Hill., cheaper than it is esti- 
mated to bring the same quantity from Long Pond.''"' 

When Mr. Hale was examined before the committee of the legis- 
lature, he gave in for the use of the committee a written estimate of 
the expense of delivering 7 millions gallons daily at Cory's Hill from 
Long Pond and Charles River. 

In this statement, all land and water damage was omitted entirely, 
in both estimates ; and a few unimportant items were also omitted in 
the Long Pond estimate. I subjoin a copy of this statement, so far 
as relates to the point in question, putting in, in brackets, the items 
which were omitted, and which should clearly be embraced. I do 
this to save printing the statement twice. 

Estimate of supply of 7,000,000 gallons of water per day, by pumping from Charles 
River, on the basis of the calculation of 1837 — corrected for the increased amount 
of supply, and also for reduced cost of materials. 

Cost of Construction. 

Reservoir on Cory's Hill, same as Long Pond estimate, . . $30,715 

2 iron pipes, 30 inches diameter, 3 1-4 miles, 33,820 feet, at 9 63 (per foot) same 

as Long Pond estimate, ...... 325,686 

4 Stop cocks, ........ 1,000 

[4] Engines, double the estimate of 1837, ■which was for 2 1-2 millions gallons 

m 26" hours] ........ 126,000 

Buildings, &c. estimate of 1837 increased 50 percent. . . . 33,000 

Annual Expenses. 

Coal for 2 1-2 millions, 507 chaldrons, for 7 millions, 1420 ditto, at $8, de- 
livered at [Charles River] instead of $10, as estimated in 1837, 11,360 

Superintendent, Enginemen, Firemen, Wear, Tear, Insurance, &c. 
[estimated, in 1837,] at .... . 6,738 

Add to above 50 per cent. . . . . . 3,369 


[Expenses] per annum ..... S21,467 

Equal, at 5 per cent., to a capital of ..... 429,340 

[Water rights and land damage, as per Report, 1837] , . . 18,949 



Estimate of same supply from Long Pond, .... 749,191 

[Water and land damages, as per Report, 1844,] .... 121,000 
[Sundry small items omitted from page 32] .... 4,700 

|_Making a difference in favor of Long Pond,] .... 89,199 


According to this estimate, corrected, so as to cover the land and 
water dannages and a few items omitted, Mr. Hale's statement shows 
the Long Pond scheme to be cheaper than Charles River by $89,179. 

Now the first thing to be noticed in this paper is, that though it 
purports to be an estimate " on the basis of the calculation of 1837, 
corrected for the increased supply, and also for reduced cost of ma- 
terials," this basis is soon abandoned. In this estimate is an item for 
two iron pipes of thirty inches each. But why two, instead of any 
other number, would not have occurred to any one, from inspecting 
the paper alone. In the estimate of 1837 there was only one, and 
that of twenty-one inches. And taking that of 1837 as a basis, and 
correcting it " for the increased supply," what is required ? Of 
course one pipe, that shall bear the same relation to that of 1837 as the 
increased supply bears to the supply of 1837. This is obviously 
the true problem — and the whole of it. The increased supply is 
7,000,000 gallons per day ; and the supply of 1837 was 3,000,000 
gallons per day. What is wanted, then, is a pipe whose capacity 
shall be to that of one of twenty-one inches, as seven to three. By 
calculation, this is found to be one of thirty-two inches diameter ; 
only a little larger than one of the two here estimated for. That is, 
one pipe of thirty-two inches diameter will deliver 7,000,000 gallons 
in the same time, and under the same circumstances, that one of 
twenty-one inches will deliver three millions ; and it will deliver it 
with a less proportional expenditure of power, because the friction in 
a large pipe is proportionally less than in a small one. 

Here, then, instead of providing tiuo pipes of thirty inches, we 
have only to provide one of thirty-two inches ; and the estimate must 
be corrected by the difference in cost. 

Now the two iron pipes, of 30 inches, are here estimated to cost $325,686 ; of course one 
costs . . _ . _ . . . . Sl62,843 

By the ordinary rules of increase in cost as the size is increased, there should 
be added for a 32 inch pipe a trifle less than 125 per cent. ; but call it 
12s per cent. ....... 20,355 

The cost of one 32 inch pipe . . . . ; 183,193 

Take this from the cost of two 30 inch pipes , . . 325,686 

Makes a saving of . . . . . . 142,488 

Now take from this the balance against Charles River, as above stated, 89,199 

Leaves in favor of Charles River, .... 853,289 

Here, then, we come directly and irresistibly to the result, that 


7,000,000 gallons per day can he delivered into a reservoir on Cory^s 
Hill cheaper, by $53,289, than the same quantity can he delivered at 
the same place from. Long Pond. 

It seems to me that the propriety of the corrections here made is 
too plain to leave any doubt. But I should hardly do justice to the 
argument if I omit to notice at least one other item. I refer to the 
engines. Allowance is here made for 4 engines, each of which will 
deliver 3 millions of gallons in 24 hours. Of course 7 millions re- 
quires two engines to be at work all the time, and one a third of the 
time. In other words, one engine is allowed to be idle all the day, 
and another two thirds of the day. I can entertain no doubt but that 
this allowance is too large, and is unreasonable ; and I think one en- 
gine might with safety and propriety be dispensed with. But as my 
proposition will permit me to be liberal, I will allow provision for 
three engines, any two of which will do all the work, leaving one to 
be resorted to in emergencies. This plan would require the three 
engines to be increased in power -^th each, or the three should have 
the power of 3^, such as were embraced in the plan of 1837. But 
to increase the power of engines one sixth will not require an equally 
large increase of expense. I presume that y'^ added to the 
cost, will effect this increase of power. The cost of each engine in 
the above statement is $31,500, and three such will cost $94,500 
add Y(j fo^ increased power . . . . 9,400 

Cost of the 3 proposed engines . . . 103,900 

which deducted from the cost of 4 in the estimate 126,000 

leaves a saving in engines of . . . $22,100 

Add this to the former balance .... 53,289 

Makes balance in favor of Charles River . . 75,389 

or something more than 8 per cent, of the whole cost. 

But seven millions is estimated by the commissioners to be a sup- 
ply for 250,000 inhabitants. Of course only a part of that supply is 
wanted at present, and the rest will be required nobody knows when. 
So that to this advantage here stated, of $75,389 in favor of Charles 
River, must be added all the saving that may accrue from the cir- 
cumstance that only a part of this supply is wanted now, while the 
rest will be called for gradually, through an indefinite period of time. 

Thus far the argument has been based upon the principles of the 
estimate of 1837. The foundation of that estimate was, of course, 
the duty of an engine, or the mechanical effect that might be pro- 
duced by the consumption of a bushel of coal. This was assumed to 


be 60,000,000 lbs. raised one foot high. This, although far exceed- 
ing the duty of any engines that have been set to pumping in this 
country, is still far below the practical result brought to pass in Eng- 
land. Mr. Wicksteed had an engine erected in 1838, to pump water 
for the East London works, which performs a duty of 90 millions, or 
50 per cent, more than that estimated upon in 1837 by our commis- 
sioners. And this was not any hap-hazard result, brought about by 
a kindly working that nobody could account for. He says, " Messrs. 
Harvey & Co. were bound, under heavy penalty, to effect an average 
duly during 12 months' regular work of the engine, equal to 90 mil- 
lions lbs. raised 1 foot, by the consumption of 94 lbs. of good Welch 
coals, which was accomplished.'''' (It is to be remarked, however, 
that it is only the best of bituminous coal that weighs 94 lbs, to the 
bushel. Generally it weighs less.) 

Besides this result effected by Mr. Wicksteed, at page 170 Appen- 
dix to the Parliamentary Examination, so freely quoted from in the 
foregoing pages, may be found the following extract on 


" To give a correct idea of the performance of the most economical 
steam engines yet constructed, Mr. Farey has made the following 
computations : — 

" Taylor's engine, at United Mines, which has made the highest 
performance of any yet constructed, has, on an average of all the vari- 
ations of its performance, during the 12 months of the year 1841, 
raised 92^ millions lbs. water, one foot high, by each bushel of coal 
which has been consumed by it ; and in 1842, the average was 99^ 

" An average of the two years would be 95|- millions. A bushel of 
the coal actually used is considered, on an average, to weigh 94 lbs., 
and if Taylor's engine be reckoned to raise only 94 millions one foot 
high, by the consumption of 94 lbs., then one pound of coal will raise 
one million pounds of water one foot high.'''' 

No one is more sensible than I am that we are liable to disappoint- 
ment in the results of mechanical operations, both favorably and un- 
favorably, in a manner for which we cannot easily account. But in 
the matter of a steam engine, where an effect has not only been pro- 
duced, but been guarantied under heavy penalty that it should be 
produced, it is difficult to see why what has been done, may not be 
done again. If Harvey and Co. engaged with Mr. Wicksteed to 
make, under heavy bonds, and did make, an engine to effect certain 
results, why would they not engage with the city of Boston to do the 
same thing } Undoubtedly they would. And if they would do so, 


I doubt not some of our own builders would do the same, even if 
they went across the water to obtain the necessary knowledge, 

I cannot, therefore, see any good reason to doubt that the estimated 
duty of the engine, in 1837, is from 40 to 50 per cent, lower than 
need be ; and, of course, that the quantity of fuel might be estimated 
at the same rate less. It will be seen at once that such a saving in 
an annual expense would relieve the Charles River estimate of such 
a sum as could not fail to give it, in any possible aspect of the city's 
wants, a decided preference. 

I had intended, in this connexion, to have obtained and presented 
some estimates from city builders of engines, to show what could be 
effected in the present state of that art or science as practised now. 
But I have been deterred from soliciting such proposals or estimates, 
because I did not feel free to put them to so much trouble with so 
little prospect as is at present offered of their obtaining a job. 

From the foregoing facts and estimates, I cannot doubt, and I can 
see no good reason for other people to doubt, that a much larger 
quantity of water than 7,000,000 gallons daily can be delivered on 
Cory's Hill from Charles River, at the estimated expense of delivering 
that quantity from Long Pond. 

I here close what I have to say upon Charles River and the ex- 
pense of pumping. 

A few other matters claim notice, and especially, the proposed 
conduit from Long Pond. 

In my Remarks, I stated in relation to the Long Pond conduit, that 
" in this construction there is novelty so far as my inquiries have ex- 
tended. I can find no example where a structure, so frail and un- 
substantial, has been relied upon to perform so important service ; 
and for myself, I hope I shall never see it relied upon. If the Long 
Pond scheme is to be executed, let it be done on a plan less liable 
to failure, less liable to perpetual patching and repairing, than this 
project contemplates. But even at the best, a structure like this, if 
executed in the most substantial manner, like the Croton-works, is 
much less secure than one of iron pipes." Mr. H. questions all these 
propositions. Though there is a flavor of flippancy in the passage which 
I do not feel disposed to justify, I believe all the important allegations 
to be true. With regard to " novelty," Mr. Hale refers to sewers 
constructed in London, Philadelphia and New York, 8 inches thick 
or two courses of brick, as examples to the contrary. Now I do not 
regard them as pertinent to the point. In the first place, they are 
laid deep in earth, never disturbed. Those in Philadelphia are laid 
to the depth of 3 to 30 feet ; those in London never less than 10 feet 
deep (without the utmost necessity,) and varying to 20, 27, and even, 


in one instance, to 68 feet deep. Now, I think, these are important 
circumstances that tend to give support to the structure. In the 
second place, they are not " relied upon to perform so important 
service," as the proposed conduit. If a drain gives way, the evil is 
local. It may obstruct a street for a few days, and put a neighbor- 
hood to inconvenience. But if the proposed conduit should fail, it 
would affect the whole city. No region would escape its injurious 
effects ; while some could hardly endure them. I submit the point 
then, that, if all Mr. Hale claims for the strength and stability of the 
drains he names, were well established, it still would not obviate the 
charge of " novelty " in relying upon " a structure so frail and un- 
substantial " " to perform so important service." The different im- 
portance of the services, I think, greatly qualifies the folly or wisdom 
of the risk incurred in their performance. As to the remaining point, 
that a structure of this kind, " if executed in the most substantial 
manner, like the Croton-works, is much less secure than one of 
iron pipes," I beg leave to quote from Messrs. Treadwell and Hale's 
Report of 1838, p. 16, as follows : " We believe, if anything may be 
relied upon for conveying water from one point to another, it is an 
iron pipe. Experience for more than half a century in Europe, and 
for many years in this country, attests its excellence. We may, 
therefore, consider this as perfectly safe." I regard this as quite 
satisfactory authority as to the security of iron pipes. Now, the 
Croton conduit has been delivering water during three years only. 
It is notorious that it has repeatedly been examined, and repairs found 
necessary ; — and these requiring a large expenditure. On p. 33 of 
Proceedings before a Joint Committee of the Massachusetts Legis- 
lature, &c., I find the following item in a statement for the year 1844, 
made by Mr. Shattuck, viz. 

" From which (viz. amount of water rents for 1844) deduct the 
annual cost of maintaining the aqueduct from the Croton River to the 
city, about $25,000." If then iron pipes be " perfectly safe," it may 
be assumed that it would not cost $25,000 per annum to maintain 
them, as the Croton aqueduct appears to ; and therefore I think the 
proof is furnished that works like the Croton, are less secure than 
iron pipes. 

But even the sewers named by Mr. Hale, are not worthy the con- 
fidence and the commendation which he claims for them. The Phil- 
adelphia and New York drains have just been laid ; and whether 
they will be successful or not, time will decide. It is not safe to de- 
duce an argument from them ; especially an argument which will be 
of little or no weight in regard to the present question, even if the 
sewers should remain firm. New York has built her palaces almost 


to the clouds, with walls of 8 inches only ; and, perhaps, Philadelphia 
has done the same. It is no wonder, then, that their underground 
masonry is of a like slight character. Experiments are so rife that 
no wonder they are tried in such cases. The disposition to run great 
risks for small gains, in this country, is so connate and urgent, that 
we perhaps ought to marvel less that these cities reduced their sewer 
walls to 8 inches, than that they did not reduce them to 4. 

Let us look now to the London sewers, referred to by Mr. Hale. 
The English brick is 44 inches wide and 9 inches long ; and gen- 
erally I find that a brick in length and width is usually reckoned a 
wall of 14 inches. Hence those bricks are 12J per cent, greater 
than ours ; and this difference may be of importance. As a small 
per centage upon the result of a voyage may often make all the dif- 
ference between a good or bad voyage ; so a difference in the size of 
brick, no greater than this, may make all the difference between a 
successful and unsuccessful experiment. The act of Parliament 
(1667) for rebuilding the city of London, (repealed in reign of 
George III.) directed, " that sewers 5 feet high and 3 feet wide, shall 
have side walls \~ brick thick, the top 1 brick on end ; the bottom to 
be paved plain, and then 1 brick on edge circular." Qii. 3409. This 
act was without doubt the origin of the custom, which has prevailed, 
and still does prevail, in most of the districts of London, of building 
the side walls, let the form be what it may, IJ- brick or 14 inches 
thick. Even when the form was changed, as it appears to have been 
in the city, still this thickness was preserved ; while the Westminster 
and other districts retain both the form and thickness contemplated 
by the act. But within a few years, the Holborn and Finsbury dis- 
tricts have taken upon themselves to construct egg-shaped sewers with 
walls of 1 brick. As to the egg-shaped form^ I am not aware that 
any one objects to it ; though some do not allow it any advantages in 
regard to strength, and many do not to the extent claimed. As to 
the reduction of material in the Holborn and Finsbury districts, quite 
a diversity of opinion prevails among those who have these matters 
in charge in regard to its safety and expediency. There seems to be 
considerable feeling existing among the commissioners of the different 
districts in regard the Holborn innovations. Mr. Hale, with a little 
infusion of a spirit, which I have regretted as characterizing a single 
paragraph of my Remarks, has referred to the testimony of " four 
eminent civil engineers," as commendatory of the deviation. Mr. 
Hale stretches the testimony of these gentlemen to establish a point 
which, from a careful reading I am satisfied, was not in the mind of 
one of them. I mean the proposition, that an oval or egg-shaped 
form has " superior advantages in point of strength'''' over a circular 


one. When these gentlemen spoke of the " greater" or " greatest" 
strength to be attained by this form, they were in their mind always 
comparing it with the Westminster form, and not with the circular. 
If Mr. Hale would establish this proposition, I think he must bring 
some other witnesses, and develop some new scientific principle. I 
have never before seen the proposition laid down, and, of course, 
never noticed any attempt to prove it. I will quote some testimony 
not favorable to Holborn form. 

Mr. Thomas L. Donaldson, Chairman of the Westminster Com- 
mission of Sewers 8 years, and a Commissioner 27 years, examined. 
Qu. 4158. " Do you consider that a straight side is as much equal to 
sustain pressure as a curved side ? Answer. Yes ; built with brick." 
Qu. 4159. " You think a curved side has no greater power to sustain 
pressure ? Ans. No, for the difference of form is made up of soft 
mortar." It is very plain, that, to obtain the full benefit of a curved 
side, the brick should be bevelled or radiated ; in which case one 
witness ( Qu. 2025) was in " doubt whether there would be the ne- 
cessity for any mortar at all." 

Mr. Richard Kelsey, Surveyor to the Commission of Sewers for 
the city of London, since 1832, examined. Qu. 3397. " What do 
you consider a good sectional foi^m of sewers for a main sewer ? 
Ans. If you have a semicircular top and a semicircular bottom, and 
straight sides, I think that all the conditions of a sewer are answered." 
This is the more candid from the fact that in his district the sewers 
are, mainly, of an oval form. Qu. 3406 (to same.) " You say that 
some of your sewers are elliptical, or egg-shaped, or oval ? Ans. 
They are true ellipses some of them. Inclined sides have been 
largely used. They were introduced by my predecessor prior to 
1823." Qu. 3408. " What are the dimensions of the brick work ? 
Ans. 14 inches all round." Qu. 3409. " Do you not think that is 
heavier than necessary } Ans. I do not like to trust to anything else, 
I think the commissioners ought to build, as it were, forever." This 
witness then states that the Fleet street sewer, built in 1668 with 9 
inch walls " and 14 inch contrefortes at intervals," fell in, at 3 sepa- 
rate places, in 1715, 1725 and 1737, and was rebuilt with 14 inch 
walls ; while the ancient brick arch of the Walbrook sewer, 1 J- brick 
(or 14 inches) thick, stood near 400 years, till destroyed in 1834. 
Qu. 3412 (to same.) " Do you not think it would be possible, by 
altering the shape of those sewers, to make 9 inch brick-work answer 
where you now put 14 inch brick-work ; that is to say, make a 
cheaper, and at the same time a stronger, sewer ? Ans. I think not. 
I do not feel myself justified, as an officer of the commission, in re- 
commending them to do that which, if they went into a court of 


justice, they could not justify." I do not know how such testimony 

as this, strikes others ; but the facts stated and the opinion given 
seem to me exceedingly pertinent and judicious, as applied to sewers ; 
and vastly more so, if applied to a conduit of the importance of the 
proposed one. 

But I have not quite done even with the sewers. Mr, Hale refers 
to the testimony of Butler Williams, Esq., Professor in Putney Col- 
lege. The testimony of this gentleman is of a very diffusive and ex- 
pansive character, abounding in maps, diagrams, figures, formulas, 
and statistics, to a much greater extent than that of any other witness ; 
— not to say more than that of all the rest put together. He appears 
to be a man fully up to the spirit of the age in detecting and repudi- 
ating the errors and mistakes of a by-gone generation, and even of 
some of his contemporaries. He would, I doubt not, soon become 
rich — a second CrcEsus — if he could appropriate to his own benefit 
a moiety of what the world might save if it would adopt his sug- 
gestions. Mr. Hale says : " The witness (Mr. Williams) knew of 
repeated instances in which the latter structure (the Westminster 
sewer) had failed for want of sufficient strength in the straight sides ; 
he stated that he had recommended the former (the Finsbury sewer) 
to be substituted, which he had never known to fail." This is Mr. 
Hale's account of Mr. W.'s testimony, and the fair inference from it 
would seem to be, that it was a not unfrequent occurrence for a West- 
minster sewer to fail, while a Finsbury one was certain to stand. 

Now let us look at his testimony. Qu. 5823. " In respect of the 
strength, how have you found sewers with upright walls, and with 
arched walls, to stand ? Ans. No instance of the failure of the 
arched sewer has come to my knowledge, I have seen one instance 
near Netting Hill, where the upright sewer had fallen in, been rebuilt, 
had again fallen, and was rebuilt, a third time, with extraordinary 
precaution," &c. This is the whole extent of his oion knowledge ; — 
had known of no failure of an arched side, which (with the economy 
of masonry) is a modern innovation, and has not had time to fail yet, 
and had " seen one instance " where a straight side had given way 
twice (before it was finished.) This is the whole of his own knowl- 
edge. He says Mr. Sopworth, an engineer, recites an instance of 
failure in Newcastle of a straight-sided sewer, which had been re- 
placed by a " circular" one (not egg-shaped) which had not failed. 
But whether the old sewer had lasted 50 or 500 years, is not stated. 
The whole, then, of the " repeated" instances of failure which this 
witness " knew," was the single " one instance" of failure at Net- 
ting Hill. 

This Notting Hill case appears to have been a remarkable one, 


and to have drawn out the advocates of the different kinds of sewers. 
Mr. Williams took his pupils to see it, much as an anatomist takes his 
pupils to witness a hospital operation, or a post-mortem examination. 
The facts appear to have been these. Mr. Connop, proprietor of the 
estate, employed J. Stevens, a city architect and surveyor, to lay otit 
the ground and erect buildings thereon. Being in the Westminster 
district, the sev/ers must be constructed on the Westminster plan, 
though Mr. Stevens (a veiy fair and candid witness) preferred the 
Finsbury form. The sewer was constructed, and the owner dis- 
covered that it had given way, and called Mr. Stevens's attention to 
it. Mr. Stevens says : " I went into the sewer, and through it, as far 
as practicable, and found the sides had collapsed. I found the ground 
had slipped (a stiff clay, very liable to sudden slips, being on a hill 
side) from 40 to 50 feet from the sewer, and the width between the 
walls was only 1 foot 7 inches, instead of 2^ feet, the original size. 
Was summoned before the commissioners, and stated that I believed 
the failure to have originated in the form of the sewer. The com- 
missioners thought otherwise, and ordered it to be rebuilt on same 
plan ; that they would send a person from their office to be constantly 
on the spot and give directions. The sewer was carefully rebuilt. 
When about 100 feet of the sewer had been constructed in this (care- 
ful) way, and the ground filled in upon it, we perceived indications 
of a fresh failure, and in 3 or 4 days after, the pressure of the 
ground became so great, that the ends of the struts were forced 
through 3 inch planks. Hence we were obliged to take it up a 
second time." (This testimony is abridged, but is in the language of 
the witness.) Mr, Connop then applied to the commissioners to ob- 
tain leave to reconstruct the sewer in the Finsbury form, " but rather 
more round." The commissioners held a regular court upon the 
question. Their own surveyors examined the matter, and made a 
report. This report says, the surveyors had examined the premises, 
and " are apprehensive whether the parts which have lately been 
built, will be found to withstand the lateral pressure of the banks any 
better than the poi'tion which was first built, owing to the insufficient, 
unworkmanlike and injudicious manner in which the work is pro- 
ceeded with." " The persons who have contracted for building the 
sewer (have) a sum so little above the actual cost of the brick- work 
alone, that scarcely any price is allowed for the digging, strutting, 
and filling in the ground." The Report goes fully into several other 
causes of the failure. Mr, Joseph Bennett and George Bird, contract- 
ors, Were examined, and thought the failure owing to " want of judg- 
irieiit ill the building." The question was finally taken on granting 
Mr. Connop's request, and decided in the negative, nen. con. After- 


wards Mr. Stevens says, we have " rebuilt the sewers in the form 
prescribed by them (the Westminster,) and they stood perfectly 
well." Thus ended the only instance of failure in straight sides that 
Mr. Williams knew of. Many details are given in the testimony of 
Mr. Stevens, and also of Mr. Donaldson, which I have not room even 
to condense ; but are well worth the notice and consideration of those 
who take interest in such matters. 

I here dismiss the subject of sewers. If all Mr. Hale claims for 
the improvements in their construction, were true, it would not justify 
a similar construction of the proposed conduit, because the circum- 
stances are not the same, and the necessity of guarding against failure 
anything near so pressing. But unfortunately, the merit claimed for 
them by Mr. Hale, is not established. No other district of the metro- 
polis, except Holborn and Finsbury, have adopted the economy of 
constructing 1 brick walls ; nor is there any appearance that any 
others will. We have seen what the Westminster commissioners' 
opinion is, and also, a city surveyor's (Mr. Kelsey.) In the city, so 
far are they from adopting 1 brick sides, that they make 14- brick 
tops — which is 50 per cent, more than the act of parliament required. 
The whole scheme (so far as economy goes) appears to be the repe- 
tition of an experiment (only under worse conditions,)- which was 
tried a hundred and fifty years ago, and which then failed. Those 
who are on the stage 15 or 20 years hence, (or perhaps sooner,) will 
probably have occasion to notice its failure again. But as its failure 
is of small moment, we may never hear of it. 

Let us return now to the proposed conduit. Whence did the idea 
of such a structure originate .'' If we examine the Report of 1837, 
we may get some light, and discover, that in this case, as in most 
others, necessity loas the mother of the invention. On p. 33, the com- 
missioners say : " We have no doubt but a conduit may be con- 
structed from Long Pond to Cory's Hill, which shall be as much 
beyond the reach of interruption in its operation, as any work of 
human art can be beyond the reach of accident. We cannot pretend, 
however, that the cost given in our estimate is sufficient to produce 
a work of this permanent character, and we should not think it ex- 
pedient to increase the expenditure beyond the limits of our estimate, 
as the object of supply may be obtained upon either of the other places, 
(i. e. Charles River, or Spot and Mystic Ponds,) with more advantage 
to the city than by this, if its execution must be at an expense much 
beyond that which we have assigned to it.'"* That is : We cannot 
pretend that a structure of a " permanent character," that may be 
" beyond the reach of interruption," can be made for our estimates ; 
and the estimates ought not to be increased, because for such a sum 


the object can be otherwise obtained. Hence came the necessity, by 
a short process, of either abandoning, out-and-out, Long Pond as a 
source, or of devising and estimating for a structure, conceded to be 
not of a " permanent character." No other alternative was left 
them ; and I cannot but regard it as unfortunate that they did not ac- 
cept the first, and abandon the second. 

I hardly know how far I am called upon to set forth the demerits 
of a structure, in favor of which the commissioners themselves have 
said so little. They do not seem to have considered it of such a per- 
manent character as every body must concede to be desirable ; and 
how far it was allowable to run risks, for the sake of the proposed end, 
they left for others to judge, but for themselves, the majority did not 
recommend it. It is proper to add that, so far as economy of mate- 
rial is concerned, the conduit of 1844 was like that of 1837. 

But from some cause or another, not very satisfactorily explained, 
Mr. Hale's views of the strength of this structure appear to have 
undergone a change since 1837. In testifying before the Legislative 
Committee, he stated that he considered a brick aqueduct, like the 
one proposed, to be as durable as iron pipes ; and page 55 of In- 
quiry, &c., he says : " The [proposed] structure, taking into con- 
sideration its comparative size, is demonstrately stronger than that of 
the Croton aqueduct." In his testimony, he based his opinion upon 
experience had since 1837. Now I submit that no experience what- 
ever (however favorable its character might be,) in 7 or 8 years, is 
sufficient to warrant any such opinion. What is experience, in this 
short period, woi'th in testing a work which is, or should be, (in the 
language of Mr. Kelsey,) built to last forever } But there has been, 
in that time, no pertinent experience that I am aware of, except of 
the Croton works ; and from the published reports of the expenses of 
repairing that, experience seems to justify anything but such an 

Now, as to the proposed conduit being "demonstrately" stronger 
than the Croton, considering its size, I for one should be glad to see 
an attempt at demonstration. Until such attempt be made, I deem it 
quite sufficient to invite the reader to inspect the sections of each 
work furnished by Mr. Hale, on page 80 of Proceedings before the 
Legislative Committee, &c., or page 58 of Inquiry, &c. ; — bearing 
in mind that the stone masonry at the bottom is 2J feet thick, and laid 
all the way up in cement, while the foundation is always of stone 
where the conduit passes upon embankments. I am utterly at a loss 
to understand the grounds upon which such an opinion is so confidently 
put forth. All I can say is, that I should be unwilling to hazard §uch 
. an assertion, until I was prepared to lose whatever reputation I might 


chance to have acquired for good judgment and discretion, — be it 
much or Jittle. 

One other circumstance has been forced upon my attention, bear- 
ing upon the character of a conduit for conveying water, which I beg 
to notice. In the Parliamentary examination, so often referred to 
above, several wimesses spoke of the exudation or percolation of 
water from without into the sewers. Sometimes this was of an ex- 
ceedingly offensive character, especially when the sewer passed 
through churchyards. When men went into the sewers to cleanse 
them, the character of this exudation became manifest. Mr. John 
Roe, who appears to have been the suggester of the Holborn and 
Finsbury innovations, and Samuel Mills, testify to this exudation. 
Qu. 1973. " You do not believe that the nuisance arises in all cases 
from the main sewers .? Ans. by Mr. Roe. Not always from the 
main sewers. (Mr. Mills,) Connected with this point, I would 
mention, that, where the sewers came in contact with churchyards, 
the exudation is most offensive. Qu. 1974. Have you noticed that 
in more than in one case ? Ans. Yes. Qu. 1975. In those cases 
have you had any opportunities of tracing in what manner the exu- 
dation from the churchyards passed to the sewer ? Ans. It must 
have been through the sides of the sewers. Qu. 1976. Then, if that 
be the case, the sewer itself must have given away ? Ans. No ; I 
apprehend, even if you use concrete, it is impossible but that the ad- 
jacent waters loould find their way even through cement ; it is the 
natural consequence. The wells of the houses adjacent to the sewers 
all get dry, whenever the sewers are lowered. Qu. 1977. You are 
perfectly satisfied that in course of time exudations very often do, to 
a certain extent, pass through the brickwork ? Ans. Yes ; it is im- 
possible to prevent it.'''' 

From this testimony it appears to be certain that a brick conduit, 
like the one proposed, does not, and cannot, protect the current 
within it from the percolation of liquids without. The thinner the 
walls, of course, the liability to exudation is the greater ; and by 
building them of a great thickness, probably little or no injurious ef- 
fect of this character could result. Now there is one part of the pro- 
posed conduit which will, as it appears to me, be pai'ticularly exposed 
to an objectionable percolation. For 4 or 5 miles from the point of 
leaving the Pond, the conduit is to pass through a perfect swamp or 
morass, with scarcely any exception. In order to convey the water 
in this direction, it must, at the beginning, be almost entirely sub- 
merged in mud ; and until it passes by Morse's Pond, which is but 12 
feetjower than Long Pond, it cannot, to any considerable degree, be 
raised out of it. By looking at a map which accompanies the Repdrt 


of 1844, (a part of them at least,) the reader will be able to trace the 
line of conduit here referred to. A more thorough New England 
swamp, than this is, I never beheld. And how any reliance is to be 
placed upon obtaining a practicable foundation, is more than I can 
see. But this is not the point I have in mind. This extensive swamp, 
embracing that portion drained by Snake brook into Long Pond, at 
the very point where we propose to tap it, and that portion drained 
by a nameless, but I presume equally snaky, brook into Morse's 
Pond, appeared, when I saw it in April last, to abound in frogs and 
other offensive water animals, as well as to be steeping with a rank 
growth of vegetable matter. While these offensive things, especially 
the living, proved that the water was not poisonous, they certainly 
satisfied me that it was everything short of it. I do not intend to 
exaggerate in this matter ; and if any one thinks I do, I wish he 
would visit the locality. Pass up the Worcester turnpike, survey the 
bogs, right and left, where the turnpike crosses the swamp as laid 
down on the map. Then pass up the county road, and survey the 
swamp drained into Long Pond. Consider that the conduit must be 
submerged in this semifluid mass, and that the walls of it are to be 
so thin that percolation is inevitable ; and then make up his mind 
how he is going to relish the water when it gets to Boston. Several 
advocates of Long Pond have told us that they have drank those 
waters ; but they do not seem to have tried the juices of this swamp 
by themselves. 

Though the conduit is laid down to pass through this swamp, it 
may be said, that it is not necessary it should pass there, but may be 
constructed in the firm land on the borders. This may be true ; but 
if the borders are what they appear to be, the difficulty will not be 
overcome. If the hills are a loose, gravelly substance, as they appear 
to be, the water of this swamp will percolate them freely ; and as 
the conduit must he placed lower than this swamp-drainage, the con- 
duit will still be immersed in it. So that, unless extraordinary pre- 
cautions be taken, through these 4 or 5 miles, either by thickening 
the walls or otherwise protecting them, for which no estimate appears 
to be made, it is not at all apparent how the difficulty is to be sur- 
mounted. This swamp water will, probably, find a readier passage 
through an 8 inch wall, always wet and never hardened, to Cory's 
Hill, than through hillocks and mounds to Long or Morse's Pond ; 
and be its quality what it may, we shall probably have it. 

I here close what I deem it expedient to say in relation to the pro- 
posed conduit. I for one confess I have no confidence v/hatever in 
its strength or durability. With my present views, I never would be 
accessory to, or share, in any degree, the responsibility of erecting so 


frail a structure to perform a service so important. I am, therefore, 
constrained to repeat that, " if the Long Pond scheme is to be ex- 
ecuted, let it be done on a plan less liable to failure, less liable to 
perpetual patching and repairing, than this project contemplates," or 
will, in all probability, require. 

Mr. Hale, on page 25, says : " In the city of London, water is 
supplied by several rival companies. In some instances, the pipes of 
three or four companies, in addition to gas pipes, pass through the 

same streets The consequence of the rivalry between the 

companies is, that they produce an average income to their proprie- 
tors of not more than two or three per cent, per annum. Another 
consequence of the low price is, that the quantity used is much larger 
in proportion to the population supplied, than in any other town of 
England." This I esteem a very remarkable statement, — full of 
error. It is true that the metropolis of London (but not the city^ 
which is supplied exclusively by the New Eiver Company) is supplied 
by several water companies ; but they have long ago ceased to be 
rivals. I believe there is one company on the Southwark side of the 
Thames which has not yet lost money enough, and has recently laid, 
or attempted to lay, pipes into a parish belonging to another water 
district. But, generally speaking, there is no rivalry between the 
companies; — their districts are defined, and they do not interfere 
with each other. Mr. Mylne, Mr. Wicksteed and Mr. Quick, all 
speak with as much definiteness of their districts as we should of our 
wards. As to the statement that the pipes of three or four water 
companies pass in the same street, I cannot but think Mr. Hale is 
mistaken. Possibly the pipes of tioo companies may pass the same 
street, where the different sides belong to different water districts ; 
but, except in such cases, it seems to me the statement cannot be cor- 
rect. In looking over the Parliamentary Commissioners' Report, so 
often referred to, I noticed no such statement. Mr. Mylne, the en- 
gineer of the New River Company, speaks of the great confusion and 
evils of laying gas and water pipes in the same streets, and gives 
a diagram exhibiting a striking complexity in their interlacing ; and 
though the gas pipes belong io four different companies, all the water 
pipes belong to one. I cannot but think that, if rivalry between the 
companies existed, it would appear in some portions of this Report. 

But, besides this absence of evidence of the fact stated, there is 
some of a positive character. Mr. Fletcher, the counsel for the city 
before the Legislative Committee, based a strong point of argument 
upon the fact that between the London companies there was no com- 
petition, but that they had carved the metropolis into districts, and 
each company took its own. And. he seems to have derived his in- 


formation from a Parliamentary Report, which I have not seen. 
I beg to quote what Mr. F. is stated to have said, from p. 114 of 
Proceedings before a Committee, Sfc. "A parliamentary examination 
— to a copy of which Mr. F. referred the Committee — had shown 
that in London great trouble had arisen from this cause (the supply- 
ing water by private companies.) They had there thought to avoid 
the miseries and evils of permitting a monopoly of water by establish- 
ing a number of companies, thinking that competition would reduce 
the prices. But these companies combined together, each took a 
particular section of the city, and raised the prices by agreement. 
The monopoly was worse than before, and one witness said that he 
had been afraid to attend the commission until compelled, for fear 
that the compan)^ would stop his supply of water." I will add that it 
is well known that the companies are on the best possible terms, and 
if from any cause the supply of one company fails, others connect 
their mains with it and supply its customers. 

To this rivalry, which we have seen does not exist, Mr. Hale at- 
tributes the small dividends of the companies. I apprehend that the 
true cause of the small dividends is the great disadvantage under 
which the water is delivered. The works are old works; — iron 
pipes have been substituted for wooden ones; — new improvements 
have been introduced. (Qw. 5269.) All these expenditures have 
gone into that " receptacle of things lost upon earth" — a construction 
account. The expenditure has been so great that the companies 
cannot realize a greater dividend than that received. For I have seen 
no evidence, nor do I know of the slightest reason to suppose, that 
the companies have not, and do not, regulate their water rents with 
the sole view of getting the greatest possible income. Mr. Hale at- 
tributes these small dividends to the " low price " of the water. 
There can be no greater mistake ; for, on the contrary, the London 
water rents are the very highest of any I have noticed. Dr. Clarke 
(Qm. 31) says : " 3s. 4c?. seems as accurate an estimate as can now be 
made" " of the water-rent paid by each person in London." But at 
Nottingham (Qm. 5269) it is but Is. Qd., or less than half of London ; 
and at Preston it appears to be but little, if any, higher than at 
Nottingham (Qm. 13, p. 159, Ap. ;) while the several places named 
by Mr. Thorn {Qu. 140,) have water at even a much lower rate. I 
have noticed no place in England or Scotland, where the water rent 
is anything near so high as in London. The difference in the income 
of the London companies, and those of Nottingham and Preston, 
arises from the different expenditure for individuals supplied. In 
Nottingham this is .£1, in Preston £2, (but will be less as water 


becomes more generally taken ;) while it is in London £S, and no 
reasonable ground to expect much increased consumption. 

Mr. Hale deduces, from what he considers this low price, the con- 
sequence " that the quantity used is much larger in proportion to the 
population supplied, than in any other town of England." Whether 
such be fact or not, it is clear that it cannot be attributed either to 
rivalry between the companies, or the low price of water. But I 
have already shown that there is every reason to suppose the con- 
sumption of water in London is greatly overstated ; and that it does 
not probably exceed ISf gallons, per day, per head. I have great 
doubts whether it in reality should be stated so high. In making the 
calculation, (p. 29,) I took the delivery of 3 companies to each indi- 
vidual per day. Now, if each company delivered to an equal number 
of persons, this method would show a correct result. But as the 
number of individuals in the several water districts is greatly differ- 
ent, it would seem more correct to adopt the following method to 
obtain an average consumption, viz., 

inhabitants, galls, each, gallons per day. 

New River Company, 900,000 14 = 12,600,000 

East London " (about) 300,000 23 = 6,900,000 
Southwark " 138,000 19 = 2,622,000 

1,338,000 22,122,000 

Now, if we apportion 22,122,000 gallons among 1,338,000 persons, 
each will receive very nearly 16J- gallons. So that, instead of allow- 
ing 18§ gallons per head per day, to each inhabitant of London, it 
would seem to be nearer the truth to allow but 16^ gallons. Whether 
this, or even the other, be a greater consumption than is elsewhere 
in England, is of no importance. Neither is large. 

I here close what I have to say upon the pamphlet of Mr. Hale. 
In this review I have endeavored in no case to pervert his meaning, or 
to misrepresent him. If I have in any case done so, it has been unin- 
tentional. I have, also, endeavored to use no fact or argument to 
prove what it did not fairly tend to prove. Whether my review has 
a substantial substratum of facts to sustain the points intended to be 
established, I leave others to judge. 

With a few general observations I propose to close these Further 

For all purposes of general reasoning in discussing questions 
like this, we are obliged to assume average results. But this is liable 
to lead to an erroneous view of the subject. Now, in the consumption 
of water, it is obvious from the nature of the case, as well as from 


experience, that in the hot summer months much more water will be 
consumed than in the cold winter ones. Probably a difference equal 
to twenty-five per cent, between the extremes, is not too much to 
be allowed. If the Long Pond scheme be adopted, permanent pro- 
vision must be made for the maximum demand during the whole 
year ; i. e. 25 per cent, more than will be wanted in some parts of 
the year, and 122- per cent, more than the average demand. So 
again, with regard to the future population of the city, and the demand 
for water growing out of the number and habits of that population — 
how much uncertainty must be allowed to hang over it. The Long 
Pond scheme contemplates to burden a population of 125,000 with all 
the expense necessary to supply 250,000. But if this demand fluc- 
tuate between summer and winter to the extent of 25 per cent., and 
the works be calculated to deliver but 11 cubic feet per second, and 
that be only an average supply according to the calculation of the 
Commissioners of 1844, it is obvious that a scarcity of water will be 
felt many years before the population comes up to 250,000, and 
before the average consumption be 28 gallons per head daily. 

But why limit the population to 250,000 ? The territory of the 
peninsula is limited ; but still there is room for an immense in- 
crease. Besides South Boston and the neck lands, it is understood 
that the proprietors of the empty basin in Back Bay are ready to fill 
up every foot south of the Mill Dam and east of the Roxbury branch, 
as soon as the city shall build upon the lands of the public garden, or 
otherwise release them from the restrictions imposed upon them. 
Should this be done, (and it is difficult to see good practical reasons 
why it should not be done rather than compel population to go out of 
the city,) it will add immensely to the e^i^tent of the city, and it will 
be a region which must depend entirely upon water works for a 

But it is rather a contracted view of this subject to limit the supply 
to the city. From a reservoir on Cory's Hill it would be practicable 
and convenient to supply the low parts of Old Cambridge, Cambridge 
Port and East Cambridge, of Brookline, Brighton and Roxbury ; — 
all which are fast filling up with a population living upon the business 
of the city. It is as certain as anything of the kind can be, that, 
within less than 50 (if not within 20) years, there will be a water 
district containing much more than 250,000 inhabitants, which might 
with the utmost convenience and propriety, draw its supply from the 
city's reservoir ; and there is nothing in the way that I can see, why 
in process of time even this number may not be doubled, or trebled. 

Now the great beauty of the Charles River plan, is its adaptation to 
sill these varying elements. The expense of pumping is the great 


leading expense ; and the excellence of the scheme is, that, be the 
demand great or small, the city need not pump a gill more than is 
wanted, and when another gill is wanted, it may be had for the 
pumping. The present generation is not thus taxed (to any con- 
siderable extent) to provide for a doubtful and far distant demand ; 
but as that demand grows up, whether in the city or out of it, it can 
be readily and conveniently supplied. How the Long Pond scheme 
dwindles into insignificance, in view of the demands of such a water 
district as is most certain to grow up within a convenient distance of 
the proposed reservoir ; and how short-sighted is the policy that 
would, without necessity, and, indeed, without a single substantial 
reason, adopt a plan which forever puts it out of the power of the 
city to supply it ! 

Of the great importance of furnishing the masses of a densely 
populated district with a full and copious supply of good water, no 
one is more sensible than myself; and no one would more cheerfully 
take his share of the necessary burden, in order to afford such a sup- 
ply to this city, than I would. It is becoming and proper that a great 
and growing city, like Boston, should receive this supply without 
stint. I would have every inhabitant take the water, — pay for it 
who could (if that be the plan adopted,) and without pay who could 
not. It is not because I would stint the use, that my estimates of 
consumption are below Mr. Hale's ; but because from the experience 
of other places I do not find reason to suppose that, with a full supply, 
and right to use or waste in houses, ad libitum, the consumption would 
exceed my estimates. I say in houses, because I am inclined to 
think that the water should be taken into every house where it is 
used, and that no individual should be allowed to take it from the 
street. Public hydrants, or stand pipes, for the use of the poor, are 
fast going out of use in England. They are extremely liable to get 
out of order ; and during many months they are kept from freezing 
with great difficulty. Hence in the erection of new water works it is 
getting to be the custom to have no public hydrants for the use of 
citizens, but to carry the water into the houses of all who are to use 
it. And this method is found to be economical ; — much less water is 
wasted and much less stolen. The municipal corporations pay for the 
poor ; but they are supplied in their houses. And truly, it seems to be 
a pitiful condition to impose upon the indigent and infirm, who from 
a decent pride would feel it a much greater hardship to expose them- 
selves in the street for a supply than to pay for it if they were able, 
that they shall obtain their supply from a public hydrant, in order to 
obtain it gratis. Especially when that hydrant, open to whole neigh- 
borhoods, is, and will be, drawn from by many who are well able to 


pay for their supply. I am inclined, therefore, to think well of the 
practice now growing up in England, of abolishing public hydrants, 
except for strictly public purposes. 

To return from this digression, I repeat that, in my judgment, 
Boston should have a supply of water from a foreign source ; and I 
cannot better give my views than in the language of Mr. Quincy, ap- 
pended to the second edition of my Remarks, viz., 

" 1st, That water ought to he introduced into the city of Boston. 

" ^d, That this great and all-imjjortant interest of the city ought 
never to be placed under the control of one or more 'private corpo- 

" 3rf, That ponds, such as now exist in our vicinity, ought never to 
he depended upon as the source of supply. 

" 4th, That a eivee was the only source on which a supply of that 
element, so essential to life and comfort, should be allowed to depend.'''' 
(In this Mr. Quincy agrees with Dr. Clarke and Mr. Hayes.) 

Who can read and reflect upon these positions of Mr. Quincy, 
whose municipal experience far exceeds that of any of his successors, 
and to whose wisdom and ability the city owes many of its most 
valuable improvements, without feeling and acknowledging that they 
are the results of enlarged and comprehensive views of the city's inter- 
est ; and that, as such, they ought to be adopted. 

I think this enterprise should be undertaken by the city itself, not 
that its powers should be delegated to others for the purpose. The 
regular organs of municipal operation should, by their own agents, 
execute and manage, now and forever, this great and important pub- 
lic interest, especially within the jurisdiction of the city ; and I think 
no act of the legislature, granting pov/er to execute it, but taking the 
execution, control and management out of the hands of the regularly 
constituted city authorities, ought ever to be accepted, either as a 
" boon" or a bane. I do not wish to review the act which has been 
rejected ; nor to characterize its provisions in such terms as I think 
they richly deserved. Nor would it become me to give advice in 
regard to the future. To impart counsel becomes those who have 
treasured up wisdom from an enlarged experience ; and to cause it 
to be received, is the province of those who, from nature or education, 
possess largely those qualities which exercise sway over popular 
sentiment. But it is the lot of the humblest to entertain hopes and 
fears ; and it is the privilege of the humblest to express them. I 
would, then, express the hope that the legislature will never grant, and 
that the citizens of Boston will never accept, an act that interferes 
with the regular and orderly working of all the various departments 
of our city government. I hope no man, or body of men, will ever 


be allowed to expend public money, or run the city in debt, except 
those to whom the law has given authority to assess taxes, to raise 
the money, or pay the debt. I hope no man, or body of men, will 
ever be authorized to fill or exhaust, on the city's account, any treas- 
ury but the city treasury ; and that every dollar ever in hand, or ex- 
pended for the city, will be in the custody, or paid out under the 
sanction, of the city treasurer, whose oath of office, and whose bonds, 
and whose annual accountability, give some assurance of honesty and 
security. I hope no man, or body of men, will ever be allowed to ride 
over the authority of the lawfully constituted surveyors of our high- 
ways, — impeding our streets, jeoparding life and limb, and, perhaps, 
subjecting the city to great expense in way of damages. Finally, I 
hope that the citizens will see to it, that the execution, control, 
management and use of this great and important interest be always 
kept in the hands of the city government, to be affected through the 
ballot-box like every other interest ; and that they will be " deaf as 
adders" to every attempt to persuade them to allow a different 

I here close these Further Remarks. The views I here express, 
are respectfully submitted to the consideration of such fellow citizens 
as take an interest in the question. I hope they will serve to en- 
lighten the mind of the public upon a topic which deeply affects their 

I will add one word in regard to Spot Pond. The proprietors have 
their charter, and are endeavoring to get their stock taken up. They 
have acquired privileges, apparently with the acquiescence of the 
city ; and if they can get their stock subscribed for, and if they will 
give the city government, or one branch of it, the supervision and 
control, which they have publicly promised, I do not see why they are 
not entitled to a fair opportunity to exercise their franchise. I should 
hope that such an opportunity would be allowed them — though their 
scheme is by no means my choice. 


Note A. Page 4. 
From Boston Courier, Sept. 24 and 28, 1844. 

If, then, water be introduced by the city from abroad, shall all the inhabi- 
tants use it freely 1 or shall those loho use it fay water-rents ? In advocating 
the former of these methods, I should wish to be very cautious of expressing 
any overweening confidence in my own views. The subject, like all sub- 
jects involving taxation, has difficulties ; and if I have come to the conclusion 
that the payment for water had better, on just and equitable grounds, be made 
by a general tax upon the property of the citizens than by water-rents, still I 
am by no means insensible to the objections that can hardly fail to occur 
to every one against such a method, or to the weight of reasons in favor of 
the usual course of collecting rents. 

There are three distinct purposes for which water should be brought in, 
and for which, to a greater or less extent, it will undoubtedly be used : 

1st. To furnish a domestic supply. 

2d. To promote public safety, by furnishing the means of extinguishing 

3d. To promote cleanliness and health, by furnishing the means of wash- 
ing the streets, &c.; and also of supplying many or few public fountains. 

In most of the disquisitions on the subject which have fallen under my 
notice, it seems to me that the first of these purposes has engrossed an un- 
reasonable share of interest, and that the second and third have received 
scarcely any notice. The public attention has been awakened by statements 
of scarcity of water at particular seasons, in particular houses or neighbor- 
hoods ; and the blessings of a supply of pure soft ivater for domestic purposes, 
both to the rich and poor, have been dwelt upon, till we hardly can realize 
that there are any other purposes, and those of a general character, for which 
water is desirable. But if we will direct our attention to the second of the 
purposes mentioned above, and estimate the effect of an abundant supply 
of water on the public safety, so far only as indicated by its effects upon 
rates of insurance, especially in the city of New York, where the inhabitants 
have recently passed, through a transition state, from a very indifferent to a 
most copious supply, the conclusion is irresistible, that this second purpose 
is one of prominent, if not paramount, importance. Since the introduction of 
the Croton Water into the city of New York, the rates of insurance have 
fallen nearly or quite 40 per cent. It is not at all probable that the whole 
of this reduction is attributable to the introduction of water ; but it is reason- 
able to conclude that a considerable portion, say as much as 25 or 30 per 
cent., is to be ascribed to that cause. Nor is it to be expected that the rates of 
insurance in Boston would be affected to the same degree by the introduction 
of water, as they were in New York ; for Boston is better secured against 
fire now, than New York was before water was introduced ; and the rates of 
insurance never were so high here as in New York, before the introduction of 
water. Still, if, as it would seem, the introduction of water into Boston 
would substantially diminish the risk of damages by fire, the conclusion is 
irresistible that there would also follow a substantial reduction of the prem- 
iums of insurance. By the risks referred to in this paragraph, I have in my 
mind, more particularly, those attaching to personal property — a kind of 
property of which every man has a greater or less portion, and by the loss of 
which, whether insured or not, he is more or less affected, and affected, too, 
not by any means in proportion to its value in dollars and cents. The risks 


attaching to real estate, I shall have occasion to refer to again, in a different 

But the public safety, as affected by the introduction of water, is not to be 
measured entirely, or indeed, mainly, by the rates of insurance. A sense of 
security to our persons, to our families, to our homes — protection against 
death or injury to ourselves, our relatives and friends under our roofs, against 
being suddenly, if not ruinously, broken up in our business or in our abodes, 
— enters essentially and largely into all estimates of public safety. In all 
these particulars, every man, woman and child, has a deep and inestimable 
interest : an interest entirely irrespective of station and condition, which not 
only equally puts at naught the efforts of rich and poor to calculate its value, 
but quenches all inclination to do so. 

Now we all know, and are accustomed to the fact, that all our means of 
defence against fires are provided at the public expense, by a general tax. 
In this manner we furnish and repair our engines, our hose, our ladders. In 
this manner we keep up an organized fire department, consisting of a chief 
engineer, six or eight assistant engineers, and a numerous body of foremen 
and privates — and we pay them for their services. In aid of the same 
general object, the city government have, for years, been in the habit of ap- 
propriating several thousand dollars for building cisterns. If, then, all these 
means of security against injury by fire, have been and are provided by a 
general tax ; and if the introduction of water will make these means of 
security much more perfect, where, it is pertinent to ask, is the injustice or 
hardship of paying for this introduction, so far at least as this purpose is sub- 
served, by a public tax 1 

So also with regard to the third purpose above stated — viz., supplying 
water for the purpose of cleaning the streets, &c., and for public fountains — 
few will be disposed, I trust, to deny that such a supply would contribute 
much to the general cleanliness, health and comfort of the city. Boston is 
full of narrow, densely populated courts, lanes and alleys, which ought to be 
familiar with the dash of the bucket and the friction of the scrubbing brush ; 
but which are, alas, strangers to both. Scarcely can the rains of heaven 
reach them. 

If, then, we raise annually a large amount by taxation for what is denomi- 
nated by the city government the Internal Health Department — embracing 
the removal of offal and all nuisances, the sweeping of streets, and, generally, 
the prompt and effectual removal of every visible cause of taint to the atmos- 
phere, and of sickness to the people ; and if the introduction and free use of 
a copious supply of water would greatly contribute to the promotion of this 
invaluable object, where, it is again pertinent to inquire, is the injustice or 
hardship of providing this additional means at the public expense'? 

And as to a few public fountains — the city government are in the habit of 
appropriating more or less of the people's money for the recreation of the 
people. The Common is a special object of favor, and no inconsiderable 
sums are annually expended in ornamenting it, and in keeping it in order. 
The same, to a certain extent, is true of the public grounds on Fort Hill, 
and perhaps other places. Now, if we are accustomed to pay for these 
things, from a treasury filled only by taxation, is it unreasonable to suppose 
that the erection and maintenance of some four or five fountains, located in 
different parts of the city, imparting both pleasure and health to whole neigh- 
borhoods, to be paid from the same purse, would be begrudged by the citizens 
generally 1 I think not ; and if they did, it would appear to me very un- 

The purposes I have here treated of, are strictly public purposes. The 
objects to be attained are strictly puS/zc objects — always so considered, and 
always as such provided for. Still, the importance of these purposes are 
very likely to be under-estimated. 


We have seen that two of the three purposes for which water should be 
introduced into the city, and for which it will undoubtedly be used, are 
strictly public purposes, and that the water for these purposes may, con- 
sistently with all our habits and notions, be paid for by a general tax. The 
other purpose, viz., domestic supply, though named first, I have, without any 
particular intention of so doing, reserved for consideration in the last place ; 
and it is obvious that the whole difficulty of my case lies in reconciling the 
paying for the water used for this purpose by a general tax, to our sense of 
justice and equity. 

For the better discussing of this subject, it may be expedient to consider 
the inhabitants of the city to be divided into three classes, viz., owners of 
real estate, occupants in independent circumstances, and the indigent. It is 
not necessary for my purpose that this division should be very accurate or 
distinct — generally, 1 wish to embrace among the indigent all those who 
really suffer for want of water, and also those to whom the water would be 
of important use, but who cannot afford to take it and pay for it, and who, in 
the judgment of an individual or of a board clothed with power to give 
licenses, would receive licenses for its free use. Nor will it affect the force 
or application of my remarks, that many of the independent occupants of 
dwelling houses are to that extent also owners of real estate ; for such may 
be placed in both classes, and be affected alike with each class. 

Now, as to the supply of those occupants who are indigent, is there any 
good reason why that should not be paid for by a general tax 1 I believe it 
is customary in all cases to provide for the poor gratis, even where the water 
is owned by private companies. Surely, where it is owned by the city, the 
claims of this class cannot be resisted. It is agreeable to all our habits of 
thought and action, to aid this class by a general tax. It is true that our 
tendency is to limit this aid to paupers ; but it is not so limited in practice. 
If, by some aid at home, it appears probable that a person or a family may 
be saved from pauperism, it is usual, in practice, to give it. If persons in 
indigent circumstances, out of which class paupers come, and, of course, 
always will come, can be supplied with water, so that they can be prevented 
from coming into the poor house by doing washing, or any other work re- 
quiring a supply of water, it is not only the cheapest, but by far the most 
orderly, way in which the city can give its aid. The citizens of Boston 
derive much satisfaction from their charitable institutions at South Boston ; 
and they feel a lively interest in the welfare and comfort of the less success- 
ful and prosperous portions of the inhabitants of the city. I cannot, there- 
fore, think it necessary to argue very strongly the point that, if water be 
brought into the city at the public expense, it should be supplied to the poor 
and indigent also at the public expense. This will dispose of a considerable 
portion of the supply for domestic purposes. 

And I will take occasion here to remark, that, with this disposition of this 
class of consumers, we dispose of all those considerations which we are ac- 
customed to hear urged in favor of bringing water into the city at all. All 
the grounds of a public necessity arising out of actual suffering for water, 
exist in this class ; and whoever would sympathize -with this suffering, must, 
so far as I can see, agree, that it should be alleviated at the public expense. 
No one can consistently advocate the payment of a water-rent, in order to 
supply those who cannot pay for it, and still ought to have it. 

I now come to consider the domestic supply for the remaining two classes, 
viz., the owners of real estate, and the independent portion of housekeepers 
or occupants. These two classes are the tax-payers of the city, and may be 
considered as the only tax-payers : so that, whether the water be paid for by 
a general tax or by water-rents, the payment must finally come from these 
classes. _ What we wish, therefore, is, to see (so far as the supply of these 
. classes is concerned) how the principle of a general tax will operate. 


The real estate of the city is this year valued by the assessors at seventy 
millions of dollars. It is undoubtedly worth more. It would be fair lo consider 
about one half, or thirty-five millions, as destructible by fire, and properly a 
subject of risk. It matters not whether it be actually insured or not. If it 
be subject to destruction or injury by fire, a risk of that destruction or injury 
is taken by the owner, or is paid for by him ; in either case, the burden, to 
the full extent of the risk, is upon him. 

Now, whatever diminishes this risk is a real saving, and is a direct matter 
of benefit to the owners of real estate. No one, I apprehend, can have the 
hardihood to question that the introduction of a copious supply of water will 
greatly diminish the risk. I do not, as before stated, suppose the effect 
upon the risk, or upon the rates of insurance, here, will be as great as 
they have been in New York ; still it can admit of no doubt whatever, that 
the owners of the real estate of the city will, and must, of necessity, derive 
a great, in the aggregate very great, benefit from the introduction of water, 
which the other class does not derive. 

I can see no general reason why about the same proportion of these two 
classes should not take the water. If supplied gratis, I suppose all would 
take it ; if water-rents be paid, about an equal proportion of each class would 
probably take it. And if water-rents be paid, it is to be presumed that the 
worth, or cost, of what each tenant of these classes has, he pays for. This 
is the least that can be expected. 

Now it is obvious that neither as a class, nor as individuals, do the occu- 
pants of dwelling-houses derive an advantage merely from the introduction 
of water, to equal, in any considerable degree, that derived by the owners of 
real estate. If water-rents be paid, they pay the worth of the water, leaving 
the whole benefit incident to the having a supply for the extinguishment of 
fires, to be realized without payment by the owners of the houses. To 
illustrate by examples. A owns the dwelling-house occupied by B. B 
takes the water, and pays a water-rent of $6 per annum. A saves in in- 
surance upon the same house, from the introduction of water, just the same 
sum annually, say $6. Now, it is clear that A and B derive just equal 
benefits from the introduction of water ; but, by the supposition, B, the oc- 
cupant, pays a full equivalent for his benefit, while A, the owner, pays 
nothing for his. 

I would not imply that the saving in insurance upon dioelling houses 
would equal the water-rents to the tenants or occupants of those houses ; 
yet I suppose that there are some cases in which that saving would equal 
the water rents ; and when the stores and warehouses are considered, which 
will not usually pay water-rents, it may not be a very extravagant suppo- 
sition to suppose that the saving on all would nearly equal the water-rents. 

With the best and most popular adjustment of water-rents, (if we have 
them,) it must be many years before the amount of rents will pay the inter- 
est of the cost of the work. Of this all experience teaches the truth. Now, 
if water-rents be assessed, and an amount collected to half the amount of 
interest to be paid on the cost, it is obvious that the other half must be raised 
by general tax. How will this tax bear upon A and B, the owner and oc- 
cupier of a dwelling house — supposing B to be worth as much as the value 
of the house ? If B pay a water-rent of $6 per annum, and only half the 
interest is met thereby, it may not be far from the fact that, in raising the 
other half sum to pay the interest, another $ 6 must come from him and 
from the house — say $ 3 from each. So B will, in all, pay $ 9 for what is 
worth but $6, and he will, therefore, be a loser of $3; and A will save 
$6, and pay but $3 tax — coming out with $3 benefit, for which he pays 

Now, the examples here put, are not extreme cases. I do not see any 
fallacy in them, as exemplifying the operation of a general rule upon the 


classes now under consideration ; and if they fairly illustrate such an opera- 
tion, it seems to me that justice and equity require that the rule should not 
be allowed to operate. But, on the contrary, it seems to me that justice 
and equity would be immeasurably better exemplified by the payment of the 
interest by a general tax, than by an attempt to assess water-rents. For, 
although by a general tax a class might pay more in taxes than it would be 
required to pay as water-rent, under a system of water-rents, still there can 
be little or no reason to suppose that any class will be required to pay so 
much as it will be really benefited by the measure. 

There are several other considerations which might be urged, strengthen- 
ing these views ; but I have neither room nor time, at present, to go into 
them. From the best consideration I have been able to give this subject in 
its several bearings, it seems to me to square more nearly with all our habits 
of public right and equity, that the water, when brought in and distributed 
for domestic use, should be paid for by a common tax, than by water-rents ; 
and, of course, I hope such will be the plan adopted, unless there are reasons 
which have not occurred to me, more cogent and weighty than any that 

If the plan shall be that every occupant may have the water gratis, then 
it will follow that all, or nearly all, will take it ; and it will also follow, 
that provision must be made to supply all, and, of course, a source must be 
selected, capable of supplying all, now and prospectively, for a reasonable 
period to come. 


Since the preceding sheets were printed, the Croton Water Board 
have published their annual Report. This I have not yet seen ; but the 
New York press has given a synopsis of it, accompanied with the usual (or 
a little more) laudation of the success of that enterprise. 

I am not about to expatiate upon any want of wisdom in the planning, or 
of economy in the execution, of the Croton Water Works. I do not know 
that an adequate source for a supply could be resorted to nearer ; nor do I 
know that the general plan of bringing in the water was more expensive than 
it need to have been, nor do I know that a dollar has been wasted or need- 
lessly expended in its execution, or that the whole has cost more than ought 
to have been expected. But one thing we do know ; — we do know, that, 
after many years spent in making surveys, and in discussing the subject, a 
vote of the citizens was obtained to undertake the work, on the ground, and with 
all possible assurances, that the cost would not exceed (including distribution) 
5^ millions dollars, and that the water rents would he equal, at once, to 
$310,000. We also knoiv that the work has cost 14 millions of dollars, and 
is not yet finished ; that three years of experience has been had, and that the 
GROSS income of the second year was hut $ 102,000, and of the third but 
$ 118,000; ivhile the net income of the second year was but $32,000, and of 
the third $45,000, and 3 miles of distribution pipe. These are facts — 
these are anticipations, and these are fulfilments — within every man's 


knowledge, and suitable for every man's consideration. I think them full of 
salutary admonition. 

Though such results are before us, published to the world, yet the leading 
presses of New York think them highly satisfactory. One thinks that no 
sensible man in New York would be without the water, as expensive as it 
is ; and the president of the aqueduct is represented {p. 67 of Proceedings 
before a Legislative Commiilee, c]'c.) to have written to L. Norcoss, Esq., 
Feb. 14, 1845, " stating that he believed that the opinion of the citizens 
was that they would not be without it (the water) even if the debt that it 
had cost were trebled." 

Now all this is entitled to little more regard than mere bravado. The 
conclusion which every sensible man, not interested, must come to, is that, 
as a scheme, undertaken on specific and prudent grounds, the Croton 
Works is an utter failure. Every consideration which was put" forth, re- 
garding the expenditure and income, to induce the people to undertake it, 
has signally failed ; and it remains to be seen how the city is to get out of 
her difficulty. I fear she will never get out of it, until she sees and ac- 
knowledges it. It is well for those to whom the debt is due, that the debtors 
keep good heart, and flatter themselves that they are going on swimmingly ; 
but to some bystanders they seem to vaunt much in the spirit of Rudge's 
Raven, that would " never say die." 

It seems, from the statement of the Croton commissioners, that but little 
more than half their income, small as it is, has been derived from rents for 
domestic purposes; — the rest having been received from sales for manu- 
facturing and other similar purposes. Now, how insignificant it appears, to 
collect the pitiful sum of $70,000, from near 400,000 inhabitants, as a com- 
pensation for the use of the water for domestic purposes, and spend I know 
not how much in collecting it ; while, probably, nearly all who contribute in 
this way a full value for the water they use, pay, in addition, precisely the 
same tax (20 cts. on $ 100) as those who either steal the water or go with- 
out it. I could hardly suppose a case better adapted to illustrate and enforce 
the propriety of allowing a free distribution for domestic use. 


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