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Full text of "A review of the report of the water commissioners of 1845; : with an examination of some of its statements and estimates"

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WILKINS^S REVIEW 



REPORT OP WATER COMMISSIONERS 



OF 1845 



REVIEW 



EEPOET OF THE WATER COMMISSIONEES 



OF 1845; 



WITH AN EXAMINATION OF SOME OF ITS STATEMENTS 
AND ESTIMATES. 



BY JOHN H. WILKINS. 



BOSTON: 

PRINTED BY FREEMAN AND BOLLES. 
1846. 



REVIEW. 



On two former occasions, circumstances seemed to call upon me 
to enter, somewhat minutely, into an examination of the question of a 
proper source of supply of pure water for the city of Boston. The 
question has since undergone examination by a board of professional 
engineers ; and a source, different from the one for which I expressed 
preference, has received its official recommendation. I suppose there 
can be no doubt that this recommendation will settle the question, and 
that the waters of Long Pond will be brought into the city, as early 
as a work of that magnitude can be well executed. 

It is not with any view of operating upon public sentiment, that I 
now enter upon an examination of the Report of these commissioners. 
The question of source is a question of expediency ; and, like all 
questions of that character, must be settled by majorities, and without 
undue delay. The subject having undergone full discussion, I am 
not about to complain that a source is to be selected which I do not 
prefer. As I, however, have appeared, in this matter, as an amateur 
only, I hope I may pursue the subject, in that character, without 
offence. And as the great facts and principles of the case remain 
unaltered, I can hardly reconcile it to my sense of propriety to allow 
loth to remain in the distorted and perverted form and position in 
which they seem to be presented in this Report. 

This Report is very elaborate. The commissioners appear to have 
worked diligently, and to have wrought into their Report the multi- 
plied results of their labors. How much value, 1 deem, ought to be 
attached to these labors, either in the field or in the study, will appear 
as we proceed. 

One can hardly go through this Report in a cursory way, without 
feeling oppressed with accumulation of details, facts, assumptions, and 
reasonings, which overlay all the important branches of the inquiry. 
Unless he reads merely to assent, and to confirm himself in precon- 
ceived views, he can hardly fail to entertain a suspicion that there is 



a vein of fallacy pervading it, though he may not be able to detect it. 
It requires several readings, and a singling out of important points to 
be established, and a consideration of the details as they bear upon 
these points, before a just appreciation can be formed of the " sayings 
and doings" of these commissioners. 

For instance, one is almost amazed at the amount of labor and 
attention, given by the commissioners to ascertain the proportion of 
the whole fall of rain that is made available for the supply of the 
ponds. It is almost appalling to reflect how much study must have 
been given to the matter, and how many sums must have been 
wrought, to say nothing of the out-door labor in making observations. 
Now, if it should appear that this labor and this study have been of 
absolutely no use whatever in establishing any important point of 
inquiry, and that, in fact, these commissioners themselves have been 
obliged to abandon their own deductions from their own observations, 
I suppose others will think, with me, that this labor and this study is 
lost, so far as the particular objects in view are concerned ; and that 
good taste, as well as economy of time, both on the part of the com- 
missioners and their readers, would not only allow, but require, the 
whole to be omitted. And what an inroad upon the magnitude of 
this volume would have been made, had such an omission taken 
place ! 

Let us examine a little more particularly the value of the investi- 
gations of these commissioner's into the proportion of the whole fall of 
rain that passes into Spot Pond. 

On p. 4, the comissioners, after stating various results, deduced by 
various observers in Europe, say : " It may be observed that experi- 
ments have been made in this country that show, under circumstances 
essentially similar to the cases (i. e. Long and Spot Ponds) under 
consideration, that from ^ to ^ of the annual fall of rain may be col- 
lected in the reservoir," or pond. 

Here we have stated the general rule, the a. priori expectation. 
Now, if, in the very first application of this general rule, it is found 
to fail, and the a priori expectation is destined to be disappointed, it 
would seem to be in better taste to have omitted all reference to it. 
Now the result must, inevitably, be to create distrust of the soundness 
of the rule, or of the correctness of the observations by which it is 
impugned, unless the causes of the differences be pointed out. 

A certain state of facts existed, in relation to Spot Pond, at the time 
of observation by these commissioners, which must be noticed. 
Messrs. Treadwell and Hale had measured it in 1837 and 1838. 
They had stated the quantity of water which flowed from that pond 
during about 20 successive months. The quantity of rain which fell 



in Boston, and also at Waltham, during those 20 months, was known ; 
and there was no known cause why nearly the same quantity of rain 
should not have fallen at Spot Pond as at Boston or Waltham. Hence, 
after having obtained the area of drainage into the pond, the necessity 
was upon these commissioners of pointing out errors in the measure- 
ment of the former commissioners, or of admitting such a proportion 
of the rain to be caught or drained into the pond as would supply the 
measured quantity. Now they could hardly venture' upon a correc- 
tion of errors ; for they took substantially the same apparatus, and 
other means, for their own admeasurements, and there had in the 
mean time been no alteration in the condition of the pond. They 
were, therefore, forced to admit that, if the rain at Boston, from April 
1st, 1837, to April 1st, 1838, be taken as the quantity falling at Spot 
Pond in the same time, the proportion passing into the pond, was 
over ^jj of the whole ; and if the Waltham guage be taken, then little 
over f of the whole passed into the pond. In either case, the pro- 
portion far exceeded the a' priori expectation derived from other 
cases in this country, where, it is stated, the " circumstances were 
essentially similar" to this. 

Such being the facts in relation to Spot Pond, and these commis- 
sioners themselves acknowledging that, " had a rain-guage been 
accurately kept in the district, it should be regarded as conclusive" 
(p. 8) ; what could have induced these commissioners to go on with 
partial and temporary observations, the results to be deduced from 
which they could not but have felt bound to make conform to previous 
observations and well established facts ? 

But these commissioners did see fit to go on and make observations 
for themselves. It is needless, and it would be tedious, to follow 
them through all the labyrinth of detail, which constitutes their 
description of this operation. I go, at once, to the results, as 
stated on p. 14. It here appears that, during 85 days, (near 3 
months,) the average proportion of the whole fall of rain on the 
district, during that period, which passed into the pond, was less than 
•^ ; less than ^, for 3 months, when they knew that, for 12 months, 
it must be near f , or near 4 times as great. 

A singular, and perhaps somewhat startling inference seems to be 
deducible from this result. Let us suppose that, from the 1st of April, 
1837, to the 1st of April, 1838, the same amount of rain fell at Spot 
Pond that did at Boston ; — and it is difficult to see why it may not 
have been less as well as greater. Let us also suppose that the 3 
months, August, September and October last, shall constitute a portion 
of 12 successive months, in which no more rain will fall than there 
did between April, 1837, and April, 1838 ; a very supposable case, and 



one which may be entirely true for all that the commissioners could 
know at the time they made their report, and may be true, probably, 
for anything they may know now. 

It appears that, from April 1st, 1837, to April 1st, 1838, 30.2 inches 
(p. 6) of rain fell in Boston ; and by our statement, the same is sup- 
posed to have fallen at Spot Pond, at the same time, and also in one 
year, embracing the 3 months just named. Of this, 30.2 inches, 71 
per cent., or 21.442 inches, was found by actual measurement to 
have gone into the pond ; and if the same amount fall this year, the 
conditions of the pond remaining unchanged, it may reasonably be 
presumed that the same proportion will pass into the pond. 

Now the commissioners inform us (p. 14) that, during August, 
September and October last, 10.17 inches of rain fell. Of this, there 
passed into the pond only 16.6 per cent., = 1.688 inches. Deduct 
this from 21.442, the whole amount to be caught in the year, and we 
have 19.754 inches, to be caught in the remaining 9 months. But 
10.17 inches, out of the whole 30.2 inches of the year, have fallen ; 
and only 20.03 remain to come. Take from 20.03 inches, the 
amount to fall, 19.754 inches, the quantity to be caught, and we have 
.276 of one inch to be lost. So that, while 10.17 inches are falling, 
81 inches are lost ; and while 20.03 inches are falling, only about -^ of 
an incli must be allowed to be lost. Had observations begun sooner, 
or continued longer, so as to have embraced a single smart shower 
more, and with the same results, and it would have resulted that, in 
the remaining 9 more, it would be necessary to catch more water 
than would fall. 

Now, in all sincerity, I would ask, What are such labors worth ? 
Who would risk a groat in any investment, a fair return for which 
should be dependent on the accuracy of any conclusion to be drawn 
from them ? 

But I have not done with this case. In spite of their own observa- 
tions, the commissioners assume that -^-^ of the rain falling on the area 
of drainage is saved to the pond. (p. 16.) I have already stated that, 
if the Boston rain-guage for 1837 be taken, this ratio is over y^f, 
but if the Waltham guage, it is over |, the decimals being .71 and 
.628. (pp. 6, 7.) By taking the Waltham guage (substantially,) in- 
stead of the Boston, (the reason for which I shall presently examine,) 
the commissioners have assumed some risk, and have not erred on 
the safe side, if there be error. For the Boston gnage (though not 
differing from the Waltham much on an average) shows greater 
extremes : 9 years in 27 (or -^ of the years) exhibiting a fall of less 
than 36 inches, and in one year of less than 30 inches ; while the 
Waltham guage, only 3 years in 20 (or about -f of the years,) ex- 



hibited a fall of less than 36 inches, and4n no one year less than 34 
inches. Now, if there should be reason to suppose that the Boston 
guage ought to be taken, instead of the Waliham, the commissioners 
would be obliged to raise the proportion of rain caught from -f^j to -/g- ; 
because, in the very driest year (1837,) by the Boston guage, that 
proportion was actually saved, while a considerably less proportion 
was saved, if the Waltham guage be taken. It is not, therefore, on the 
principles assumed by these commissioners, a matter of indifference 
which guage be assumed ; for there is a difference, in dry seasons, of 
14 or 15 per cent, between them, — a difference sufficient, under some 
circumstances, to produce great distress. It becomes, therefore, a 
matter of some importance to examine the reasons, given by the com- 
missioners, for relying upon Waltham guage instead of the Boston. 

The first, and most ostensible, reason appears to have been the 
greater proximily of the Waltham guage, over the Boston guage, to 
Spot Pond. They say (p. 16) : " The guage kept by Dr. Hale, at 
Boston, is about 8 miles from the centre of the district (of Spot Pond,) 
and that kept by Dr. Hobbs, at Waltham, is between 5 and 6 miles ;" 
and on the following page, they refer to the Waltham guage as 
" being nearest in location, and perhaps most applicable." 

Now, no one, at all conversant with the general direction of Spot 
Pond and of Waltham factories from Boston, need to be informed 
that here must be a mistake. Spot Pond lies nearly north, and 
Waltham factories nearly west, from Boston. I recurred to Boy- 
den's large map of the State, as the most recent, and probably- 
most accurate, authority ; and, on measuring accurately the distance 
from the centre of Boston, and from the location of the factories in 
Waltham, to Spot Pond where it borders on the Andover turnpike, 
(which is the nearest point to both Boston and Waltham,) I found the 
distance exactly f of an inch greater from the Waltham factories to 
Spot Pond, than from Boston to Spot Pond. And as the scale of this 
map is 2^ miles to an inch, this result shows that the Waltham guage, 
instead of being nearer than the Boston one, is 1|- miles more distant, 
or quite 25 per cent. ; and instead of being between 5 and 6 miles, 
is distant between 9 and 10. 

I then consulted Hale's map of Boston and vicinity, which was 
drawn from actual survey ; and the result was the same as with that 
of Boyden. 

I recollected that these commissioners had themselves given a map 
of the localities treated of in this Report ; and, as consistency is a 
jewel, I expected this map would be made conformably to the letter- 
press, or that the letter-press was made conformable to the map. 
But I was mistaken. The map appears to be correct. The distance 



8 

upon it, from the location of Waltham factories to Spot Pond, is 
just -^Tj of an inch greater than from the centre of Boston. We are 
not informed upon what scale this map is drawn ; but as this -^^s of ^'^ 
inch is just f- of the whole distance from Boston to Spot Pond, it must 
represent a little less than 2 miles, — probably exactly 1|-, as deduced 
from the other maps. 

We see then, that, whatever preference is to be given to either 
guage on the ground of proximity, should be given to the Boston 
guage, clearly and decidedly, and not to the Waltham, as is done by 
these commissioners. 

The second reason for the preference of the Waltham guage by 
these commissioners, appears to be less ostensible, though no one can 
doubt that it was much more weighty than the first. They say (p. 17) : 
" As only 3 years out of 20 fell below 36 inches, it may be re- 
garded as reasonably safe to assume 36 inches as the annual fall, 
and viore especially, as this will not, on the ratio of -j-%, materially 
exceed the lowest guage of the commissioners of 1837 and 1838." 
No doubt, this is the true philosophy. No one will dispute the satis- 
factory nature of this reason. Having settled it in their minds, though 
without any evidence, that " a ratio (p. 16) of not more than f^ of 
the total fall of rain may be relied on," they felt really obliged to 
assume such a fall of rain as would give as much water, on this ratio, 
as Hale and Treadwell found there. The difficulties attending any 
other course were too hazardous to be encountered. And the neces- 
sary fall of rain, upon this principle, was found to be nearer to the 
minimum of the Waltham guage than of the Boston ; and hence the 
preference given to the former. 

The same, or similar inconclusive and unreliable character attaches 
to all the doings and calculations of the commissioners to ascertain 
the ratio of rain preserved in Long Pond. They had more license 
in regard to Long, than Spot, Pond ; for the commissioners of previous 
years had not examined it so long, or so accurately, as they had Spot 
Pond ; and the circumstances of this pond had also changed since 
any previous examination, — the surface having been raised several 
feet, in the last winter, for the first time. There was not, therefore, 
the same necessity upon the commissioners of 1845, to respect the 
results of previous examinations, in this case, that there was in that 
of Spot Pond. Hence we find some deviation in the results of these 
commissioners from those of former years. For instance, they esti- 
mate a larger quantity of water reserved in the pond, than the com- 
missioners of either 1837 or 1844. But a character of doubt and 
uncertainty pervades the whole of their statements and calculations ; 
and few sane men, I apprehend, could be found, who would risk a 



53 72 


53 91 


67 14 


63 02 


7 39 


7 03 


13 42 


14 11 


6 03 


7 08 



9 

dollar, the prospect of seeing which again should be dependent upon 
the correctness, or the certain nature, of the deductions made by these 
commissioners. 

Before I proceed to graver matters, it may not be amiss to notice 
here some out and out mistakes, which, from whatever cause they 
arise, cannot but be regarded as greatly marring a document of this 
kind, which should be characterized by ahsolute correctness. 

On p. 11, in the lines from 15 to 11 from bottom, the sums .065 
-|- .076 -{- .062 are made ■= .213, which is not true. 

On p. 12, first paragraph, the sums .2121 -|- .4416 are made 
= .6937, which is not true. 

On p. 68, is the following table, viz. : 

Ppot Pond. Long Pond. Charles Riv. 

Average temperature of air, 62° 81 61° 11 60° 94 

" " dew point, 54 42 

" " water, 67 35 

DiflF. between air and dew point, 8 39 

" " water and dew point, 12 93 

" *' water and air, 4 54 

If the reader will take the trouble to examine this table, he will 
find that, on the supposition of the first three lines being correct, the 
figures 14° 11, in last column, should be 9° 11 ; and the figures next 
below 7° 08, should be 2° 08. 

Just below the table, is the following sentence : " From these facts, 
it appears that the surface of the water, at these several sources, 
maintains generally, in hot summer v^^eather, a higher temperature 
than the superincumbent air ; amounting, on an average of the three 
sources, to about 5° 88, — Charles River having the greatest excess." 
By making the corrections suggested above, this average is but 4° 22, 
instead of 5° 88 ; and Charles River has the leasts instead of the 
greatest^ excess, as here asserted. Other like errors have been 
noticed. 

These mistakes have occurred on casual reading, without effort to 
detect them. Perhaps others may have been detected by other read- 
ers, in the same manner. All these errors lay, as it were, on the 
surface — in plain daylight. But the reader will bear in mind that 
far the larger part of the calculations are indicated by signs, and only 
the results are given. Whether these results be correct, will, I ap- 
prehend, never be known. But from mistakes, whiich the eye delects 
in the simple, plain processes, may be inferred those which, probably, 
exist in the complex and abstruse. Ex pede Herculem : ex minimis 
' majora. 

2 



10 

There is a certain ostentation in the description of the modes of 
making observations and of deducing results, pervading thts pamphlet, 
that strikes me as anything rather than the dictate of good taste. 
Four out of five of the readers will not comprehend the bearing and 
scope of them ; and many of those who do, will not attach much 
importance to them. There appears to me, also, to be a display of 
science and knowledge, which might be pardoned in a tyro, but is 
intolerable in a document of this importance, especially as it is often 
of a suspicious character, and sometimes downright error. 

Speaking of the greater demand (25 per cent.) that will exist for 
water in the summer, over the average of the year, and the necessity 
of providing for its attainment, they say (p. 26) : " We have been 
more explicit in stating this point, because it does not appear to have 
engaged much attention from those who have heretofore examined 
the subject." Now, what is the evidence that the commissioners of 
1844 did not take this into consideration ? They did not see fit to 
distract public attention by adverting to it ; but as they provided the 
same conduit which these commissioners have adopted, it is difficult 
to see why they did not, in fact, provide for it just as much as these 
new commissioners have. I apprehend they will hardly admit that it 
did not engage an adequate degree of attention. 

But, however this may be, it certainly did not escape my notice. 
In Further Remarks, (pp. 58 and 59,) I noticed this greater demand 
in summer, than an average. I did this, it is true, to draw an infer- 
ence, different from any drawn by these commissioners ; but it never 
occurred to me that it was a new idea, which might not have been 
fully considered by the commissioners of 1844 in projecting their 
plan ; and I wrote these Further Remarks with no disposition to over- 
look any important omission on their part. 

But it is a little amusing to notice how entirely these commissioners 
forgot this point, in an important particular, as they went on. In all 
their estimates of delivery, from each source, up to an average 
demand of 7^ million gallons per day, this extra demand is provided 
for. But, in various places, they state that the pond will yield 10 
million gallons per day, that the work they propose will deliver 10 
millions per day, and they express the opinion that the time will soon 
come when there will be an average demand for 10 millions per day ; 
and they urge that, for these reasons, the works they have proposed, 
and not those of less capacity, should be adopted. In all they say, on 
this point, they appear to be utterly oblivious of the fact that, when there 
is an average demand of 10 millions per day, there will be temporary 
demand for 12^ millions per day; — a demand which there is no 
pretence set forth, in this Keport, that the proposed works have a 



11 

capacity to supply. In point of fact, when there is an average demand 
of 7^ million gallons per day, there will be, in the summer months, a 
demand of nearly, or quite, 10 millions per day, — the full capacity 
of the proposed conduit to deliver. So that, on the principles adopted 
by these commissioners, it would appear to be idle to rely upon their 
proposed works for a greater average supply than 7^, or, at most, 8 
million gallons per day. 

The alternative, contained in the following quotation, I apprehend, 
is new. Speaking of bringing iron pipes, across Charles River, from 
Charlestown to Boston, they say (p. 20) : " The pipe must go over 
and above the masts of vessels, or below their bottoms." Though 
there have been several plans and estimates published, for crossing 
the river at this place, and although no one can question the truth of 
the position here taken ; yet I much doubt if the alternative ever 
entered the head of any preceding engineer. It is, however, but strict 
justice to these engineers to quote the next sentence, — "To go 
under, is the only plan now to' be considered." It would seem, there- 
fore, that they did not spend any time in making estimates for carry- 
ing the pipes over the masts of vessels ; but it would also seem, from 
the use of the word now, they looked to doing so at a future time ! 

In passing, I beg the reader to understand that the matters I have 
been animadverting upon, I do not deem, in themselves, of the slight- 
est importance ; for they, really, have no bearing upon any important 
point in the inquiry in hand. My only object is to exhibit the quality 
of mind which has been employed upon the matter ; and to show how 
far its operations depart from that simplicity and philosophical exact- 
ness which ought to adorn such a report, and which, I feel bound to 
say, has hitherto characterized the official reports made upon this 
subject. 

But to proceed in our work. On p. 39, these commissioners have 
a " Table showing the fuel consumed, the duty performed, &c.," at 
the new Philadelphia water-works. Now, in deducing the duty per- 
formed, they assume that the engine, in raising the water 115 feet, 
the height of the reservoir, operates under the resistance of a column 
only of 115 feet. ^ This would be correct if the lift were perpen- 
dicular. But as the reservoir is nearly, or quite, 1^ miles distant, 
allowance should be made for increased friction. The commissioners 
of 1837 allowed this friction, in the course of 3|- miles, to equal a 
column of water of 33 feet ; and, in the same ratio, the friction in 
H miles should be equal to about 12 feet. So that the Philadelphia 
engine should be considered as operating under the resistance of a 
column of 127 feet, instead of 115, — or an addition of more than 10 
percent. — which will increase the duty in the same degree. It is 



12 

true that the commissioners mention this circumstance, 4 pages farther 
on ; but it is done in an entirely different connection, and no cursory 
reader would ever think of making the allowance.* 
On pp. 108 and 109, is this paragraph : 

" From the Report of the Royal Commissioners of Great Britain, for in- 
quiring into the state of large towns and populous districts, it appears that, 
with the exception of the city of London and its precincts, few of the towns 
in that country are supplied with water, in such a manner as to furnish it 
to all the inhabitants within their dwellings, under high pressure, and 
without the intervention of human labor to bring it within their reach. 
Only in six instances could the arrangements be considered good; in 
thirteen they appear indifferent ; and in thirty-one, so deficient as to be pro- 
nounced bad. The commissioners say, ' The important advantages afforded 
by a constant supply of pure water, kept on night and day, and superseding 
the necessity for the use and expense of water butts and tanks, are stated 
in the evidence of several eminent engineers, connected with the water- 
works in various places.' " 

The Report here referred to was made June 27th, 1844, and is the 
same referred to so often by Mr. Hale and myself. 

Now, from this language, what is the reader to conclude to be the 
situation of London and its precincts .? — by which is understood the 
same as by the metropolis of London. Can there be any other 
meaning than this, that all the inhabhants of that metropolis (and a 
iew other towns) are furnished within their divellings, under high 
pressure, and without the intervention of human lahor to bring it within 
their reach 1 Please read the paragraph again, and see if there can 
be any other meaning. 

What, then, are the facts, as to London, in these particulars .? All 
the inhabitants, here, have the water within their dwellings that will 
pay for it, and stand pipes and public hydrants supply the poor. In 
this respect, London forms no exception to the other towns or cities 
where adequate works are constructed. In respect to high pressure, 
the inhabitants of London do not have it at all. The water is let on, 
for their use, certain hours or days in each week, and it has to be 
caught and stored in water butts, tanks, tubs and buckets, or any 
other vessels that they may chance to have, for use, until the time 
comes for it to be let on again. If, by the terms without the inter- 
vention of human labor to bring it within their reach, it means the 
same as having it brought within their dwellings, this condition is 



* It is, probably, owing to this allowance for friction, that Mr. Hale, in his Enquiry, 
&c., p. 40, reckons the height of the reservoir at 127 feet, instead of 115 ; that being the 
measure of resistance to be overcome. 



13 

already sufficiently noticed. But if it means, as I suppose it does, 
from its connection with high pressure, that the Londoners have it 
delivered in the apartments where it is wanted, and without the inter- 
vention of human labor to carry or raise it from the cellar, where it is 
usually received, then it is a mistake, as the water is not delivered in 
London in this manner, as it undoubtedly is in the other " few towns," 
with which London is here classed. Hence it is an entire mistake to 
put London into the same category (as these commissioners appear to 
have done) with those few towns which, beyond question, enjoy "the 
important advantages afforded by a constant supply of pure water, 
kept on night and day, and superseding the necessity for the use and 
expense of w-ater-butts and tanks." What London is really an ex- 
ception to, and which probably led the commissioners into this mistake, 
will appear presently. 

Our commissioners here say : " Only in six instances could the 
arrangements be considered good ; in thirteen they appear indifferent ; 
and in thirty-one^ so deficient as to be pronounced ia(Z." The particle 
only here applies to the first clause of the sentence ; and the meaning 
which is naturally conveyed, and which there is no indication in this 
report that the commissioners did not intend should be conveyed, is, 
that there are, among "the large towns and populous districts" of 
Great Britain, only six where the arrangements fur a supply of water 
can be considered good. Now nothing is farther from the truth than 
such an assertion. A dozen such places can be named by any one 
conversant with the subject, where the arrangements are perfect and 
the supply abundant ; and I cannot but regard the negligence of the 
commissioners to explain the matter, (if, indeed, they understood it 
themselves, which nowhere appears,) as quite unpardonable. 

The facts are these. The royal commission of inquiry was a 
sanatory measure, instituted for the purpose of obtaining information 
that should be the basis for legislation, with a view to ameliorate the 
condition of the laboring and poorer class of inhabitants in densely 
populated towns and districts. It was, therefore, the object of the 
commissioners to push their inquiries in those populous towns and 
districts where theseclasses ap peared to suffer most. They there- 
fore consulted the bills of mortality, and agreed to take as places for 
their inquiry fifty towns or cities where the ratio of mortality should 
generally be found most to exceed the average, or 2 per cent. But 
into this category of inquiry neither London, nor many other towns 
and cities which are well supplied with water, came; because their 
mortality did not exceed the average, or did not exceed it so much 
as others. 

Now, it is the result of the inquiries of the royal commissioners in 



14 

these fifty places, selected on this principle, that our commissioners 
have here given, say, — 

Well supplied, 6 
Indifferent, 13 

Bad, 31 

Making in all 50 

But the metropolis of the empire, although its condition did not, on 
the principles adopted, make it a place for inquiry, was yet too im- 
portant to be overlooked ; and this on many accounts ; so that, in 
point of fact, the commissioners were probably even much more par- 
ticular in their inquiries here than anywhere else ; because their 
inquiries could be better answered here than anywhere else. But, in 
stating the result in the places selected on the principle named, 
London was excluded, or made an exception ; and this circumstance 
seems somehow to have led our commissioners to place London in 
position of an exception, on points where she is no exception at all. 

That 6, out of 50 such places, should be well supplied with water, 
is more perhaps than ought to have been expected, instead of less. 
Now, it should be in mind that these 50 places were selected on a 
principle that would lead the commissioners to suppose they were 
poorly supplied with water, or, in other words, they were selected 
because their supply was deemed insufficient for the purposes of 
health ; and in all but 6 cases it was found so. Instead, therefore, of 
the idea that these commissioners could find only 6 " large towns 
and populous districts" well supplied with water, the true idea should 
be, that they found only 6, out of a limited number ; and this number 
consisted entirely of such places as were attended by circumstances 
justifying an expectation that they were poorly supplied. The won- 
der really is, that they found any. 

In 1825, Mr. Treadwell, relying upon the authority of Professor 
Leslie, who states that the rivalry of the several (London) water 
companies almost deluged the streets, puts the consumption of water 
in London at near 30 gallons per inhabitant. In 1834, Col. Baldwin, 
relying upon the Report of a royal commission of 1828, as quoted 
and referred to by a Mr. Williams, in his work on Suh-ways in Lon- 
don, (p. 14, Baldwin's Report,) estimates the consumption, per head, 
at about the same. In 1845, our commissioners, relying upon a work 
published in 1829, entitled '■'■ A Treatise on the Police and Crimes of 
London^'' which appears to have been based on the Report of the 
same royal commission of 1828, estimate the consumption the same 
as Messrs. Treadwell and Baldwin. Mr. Baldwin's table (p. 14,) ob- 
tained from Williams's book, is the same, in its important columns, 



15 

(with the exception of a single figure, which must be a misprint,) as 
that furnished by our late commissioners (p. 108,) and which they 
seem to have obtained from their intermediate authority. 

Here, then, we have two authorities brought in to justify the esti- 
mate of our commissioners. As lo the first. Professor Leslie, he ac- 
companies his statement with a remark, which implies that the supply 
was too great, and that much was wasted, owing to the rivalry of 
the companies. As to the second, how accurately the intermediate 
authors, relied upon, have exhibited the results reported by the com- 
missioners, we have not the means of knowing. Could we inspect 
the Report itself, we might find statements materially qualifying those 
which are exhibited to us. Perhaps the rivaliy, referred to by Pro- 
fessor Leslie, still continued at that time ; and it may have been as 
obvious to the commissioners, as it appears to have been to Professor 
Leslie, that there was too much water supplied, and great waste 
ensued. 

But, however this may have been, it is high time that the public 
should be disabused in regard to this extravagant estimate of the 
London consumption. Instead of resorting to second-hand authority, 
sixteen years old, our commissioners ought to have opened their eyes 
to facts before them, and which they could not doubt, and which 
could not but force the conviction, if they would but attend to their 
import, that the general idea of the consumption in London was vastly 
over-estimated. Why it is that these commissioners, and others, con- 
tinue to repeat, and attempt to prove, a degree of consumption in 
London which no sensible man on that side the water now believes, 
is unaccountable to me. 

Although I have been over this ground before, I seem to be called 
upon to go over it again. 

In the Report of the royal commissioners of 1844, a copy of which 
our recent commissioners appear to have had, there is abundant evi- 
dence that the general, large estimate of London consumption was 
disbelieved by several engineers, and there is no evidence that it was 
believed by anybody. How the commissioners themselves viewed 
the matter, will appear by-and-by. Without referring to other en- 
gineers, whose names would not perhaps carry much weight with us, 
I will advert to the testimony of Mr. Thorn. This gentleman, though 
a cotton manufacturer by trade, has, probably, constructed more 
water-works for the supply of cities and towns, and is better ac- 
quainted with the state of demand. that will attend any given circum- 
stances, than any man in Great Britain. (Perhaps an exception might 
properly be pleaded in behalf of Mr. Wicksteed.) It must be borne in 
mind, too, that his system is, never to rely upon pumping, or mechan- 



16 

ical means, to obtain a supply. As, therefore, he never had the fear 
of this expense before his eyes, he would naturally be inclined to 
entertain and propagate ideas of large consumption. He is quoted 
by our commissioners (p. 109) as stating that, " I am clearly of 
opinion that no town ought to be considered as fully supplied with 
water, unless the pipes are kept constantly full, and arrangements 
made by which a powerful force of water can be taken from them, at 
a moment's notice, to extinguish fire in any part of the town, high or 
low." This was his theory ; and I know of no reason to doubt that, 
in every instance where he constructed water-works, he fully attained 
these objects. Now, it is very clear that this theory, and this practice, 
favor the greatest amount of consumption. In his answer to question 
136, he says : " When I speak of the supply, 1 always mean 2 cubic 
feet, or about 13 (15 wine) gallons, per diem, for every individual 
of the population." " Quest. 137. Are you aware that this is very 
much below the consumption of London ? [This question shows the 
impression of the commissioners at this stage of the inquiry.] Ans. 
I am aware that it is so stated ; but, as a family supply merely, I 
rather think it will be found to exceed that of London. Quest. 138. 
Have you made inquiries upon that point ? Ans. Yes. Quest. 139. 
Do you know what the returns of consumption have been from the 
water-works in London ? Ans. I do not, at this moment, recollect 
them ; but I have seen them, and heard them explained." (This was 
a privilege, probably, not enjoyed by the authors of Suh-ways of Lon- 
don, and A Treatise on the Police and Crimes of the Metropolis.) 
" Judging from my knowledge of the facts in other towns, I should 
say that the quantities set down are rarely delivered," Mr. Thorn, 
then, enumerates many places, fully supplied with water, where the 
consumption is, for all purposes, much less than his estimate of 
a domestic supply. The probability is, that this testimony of Mr. 
Thorn had great effect upon the commissioners, as will hereafter 
appear. 

Let us now pass from these opinions of Mr. Thorn, which were 
also entertained and corroborated by several other witnesses, to some 
facts furnished to these commissioners. 

Among the engineers who gave testimony before the royal commis- 
sioners was William C. Mylne, Esq. " Quest. 5711. Are you (to 
Mr. Mylne) a civil engineer ? Ans. Yes. Quest. 5712, Your father 
built Blackfriars Bridge, and was engineer to the New River Water- 
work ; did you succeed him in the latter capacity .'' Ans. Yes." In 
answer to the next question, Mr. M. states that he has " been exten- 
sively engaged, as an engineer, in drainage and other works, and 
been consulted, with respect to the supplies of water, in different 



17 

parts of this country (England) and abroad." I make these quota- 
tions to show the standing of Mr. M., his experience, and opportunity 
for being familiar with matters of this kind. In answer to a question 
in No. 5760, Mr. Mylne says, " The population within the district 
(New River) is nearly 900,000 individuals." In answer to question 
5716, viz., " What is the quantity of water at present distributed by 
the New River Company ? " he answers, " 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 7^- wine 
gallons. If, then, we reduce these cubic feet to wine gallons, and 
apportion the number among 900,000 inhabitants, each will be found 
to receive, almost exactly, 14 wine gallons per day. 

Now, I will not mock our commissioners, by asking where better 
authority on this point (as far as it goes) can be found ; but I will seri- 
ously ask, Where else can any be got so good ? where, and how, can 
any be produced so definite, and so entirely worthy of all confidence ? 
And, in all earnestness, I wish those who entertain a lingering belief 
in the old notion of the London consumption coming up to 30 gallons 
per day per head, will feel called upon to explain away, or get over, 
this evidence. 

It is true that Mr. Mylne's testimony does not cover the whole 
ground, — in fact, a little less than half of it. The next inquiry, 
then, is. Are there reasons for supposing that the other companies, 
on an average, distribute materially more water, per head, than the 
New River does } According to the table furnished by Col. Bald- 
win (p. 14,) and repeated by our commissioners (p. 108,) the New 
River Company furnished J-f of all the water furnished by all the 
companies in 1828. The present population of the New River dis- 
trict (900,000) is very nearly J-| of the whole population of the 
metropolis. This being so, I think I may fairly require of my op- 
ponents, in this matter, to give some facts, or substantial reasons, 
tending to show that the New River Company do not deliver now 
2-f of all that is delivered, as it is represented to have done in 
1828, I certainly am ignorant of a single reason why the eastern-, 
the southern and the western portions of the metropolis should, in the 
aggregate, have demand for more water than the central and north- 
ern, which constitute the New River district. 

It is true that the evidence of Mr. Quick shows a greater consump- 
tion, per head, in the Southwark district, than in the New River, it 
being there a little less than 19 wine gallons per head. In expla- 
nation, however, he says, " A large proportion of our district is 
entirely manufacturing." He says that " 1000 tenants (or 6 per cent, 
of the whole,) whom we call consumers, having manufactories, — tan- 
3 



18 

ners, fell-mongers, hair-washers, glue-makers, curriers, dyers, brewers, 
distillers, steam-engines, railway stations, hospitals, &c., — all use great 
quantities of water, and most of them have tanks below the level of 
the street." Such being the character of this particular district, the 
wonder is that the consumption does not average more than 19 wine 
gallons per head, especially as the proportion of those who take 
water, to those who do not, is decidedly greater than in the New 
River district. But, if this district requires more for manufacturing 
purposes than the New River district does, other districts will require 
less. I see no I'eason to doubt that the New River district is a fair 
sample of average demand for all purposes. 

Now, what was the effect of all this and other testimony upon the 
opinions of the commissioners ? There is reason to suppose that they 
commenced their investigations under the general impression that the 
London consumption was near 30 wine gallons per head. After 
going through with their inquiries, they finally report that, " in esti- 
mating the quantity for a domestic supply, we think that, in all cases 
where an ample supply can be procured, it ought not to be calculated 
at a less rate than 12 (14-^ wine) gallons, per diem, for each individual 
of the population." This is 1 imperial gallon less than Mr. Thorn's 
estimate of a supply. It must be borne in mind that this estimate is 
for circumstances entirely novel. They recommend that local au- 
thorities be required to furnish a supply of water, and every house be 
required to take it. If this recommendation be adopted, the result 
will be that everybody will take and use the water. Now, an esti- 
mate, allowing 12 gallons per head, under circumstances which insure 
that everybody will take and use it, is not more than equivalent to an 
allowance of 10 gallons per head of the whole population, under such 
circumstances as Mr. Thorn had in view, viz., a voluntary taking of 
the water ; in which case, from 20 to 50 per cent, would, to a moral 
certainty, abstain from taking it ; so that, low as Mr. Thorn's estimate 
of a domestic supply was, still it would seem that the commissioners, 
after hearing and weighing all the evidence, deemed it unnecessarily 
large by near 25 per cent. 

The commissioners add, " The quantity required for public pur- 
poses will vary, according to the situations and other peculiarities of 
towns." Now there is no place that I am aware of, where the public 
and manufacturing demand for water is so great as at Preston, where 
it is about ^ of the whole. But only half the population of Preston 
take the water. If the whole should take it for domestic purposes, as 
would be the case on the plan recommended by the commissioners, 
this would double the consumption for domestic use, without probably 
increasing materially that for public and manufacturing use. The 



19 

result, then, in Preston, and such places as have the greatest demand 
for water for public and manufacturing purposes, under the circum- 
stances contemplated by the commissioners, would be that 25 per 
cent, should be added to the domestic supply to meet that demand. 
As an average, I see no reason to doubt that this would be very 
liberal ; but to meet extreme cases, and to put the argument in a form 
that shall be perfectly safe, let us suppo.se that 50 per cent, be added. 
The substance of the commissioners' views would then be a recom- 
mendation that, where an ample supply can be had, 14| wine 
gallons per head shall be provided for domestic use ; to which 
shall be added, for public and manufacturing purposes, a further 
quantity, varying according to the " situations and other peculiarities 
of towns," but not exceeding in any case 50 per cent., or such 
quantity as will make the whole demand per head 21f gallons. 

Now, can any one believe that these royal commissioners, em- 
bracing many of high standing as scientific men, would devote the 
best part of two years to the investigation of facts and evidence relat- 
ing to this and kindred subjects, and close their labors with such a 
recommendation as this, if they had before them a particle of evi- 
dence, or even ground for the least suspicion, that the consumption 
of the metropolis was in excess of this amount, at this very time ? It 
is the height of absurdity to suppose any such thing. 

If, then, any one feels disposed to cherish a belief in the " obsolete 
idea" that the inhabitants of London consume 30 gallons per head, 
or even 20 gallons per head, on an average, it seems to me perfectly 
reasonable that he should be called upon to sustain his views, and 
fortify his confidence, with some evidence of a modern date, and of a 
reliable character, tending to show such a consumption. I believe 
none such exists. 

I may as well say here what I have to say about the consumption 
of that one other place, which is the last resort of these commissioners, 
as it was of their predecessors. I feel no disposition to question the 
accuracy of the amount delivered by the Fairmount works ; for, I ap- 
prehend, no one familiar with the condition of that city, and the 
actual state of their streets, will feel any difficulty to account for its 
disposal. In the fii'st place, the climate of Philadelphia is much 
hotter than that of Boston ; and for all the purposes of luxury and 
general cleanliness, such as bathing and street-watering, a much larger 
quantity of water would naturally be required there than here. But, 
in the second place, the habits, regulations and conditions of the two 
cities are so different, as fully to account for an immensely larger 
consumption in Philadelphia than will ever occur here. I understand 
■that Philadelphia, as a whole, may be regarded as loithout drains and 



20 

sewers, and without any system of scavengers. Animal ofFal and vege- 
table refuse is, to a great extent, consumed by swine in the streets ; 
where are also deposited the ordinary collections of dry dirt. The 
principal, if not the only, means relied upon to carry off this dirt, and 
the remains of the animal and vegetable refuse which the swine leave 
unconsumed, is the water-works. A public hydrant is opened, where 
and when there is any occasion of this kind, and is kept running, till 
the object be attained, and the nuisance carried off to the ocean ; for, 
there being no drains, there are no gullies to receive this filth, where 
it might be carried off, underground, by the ordinary operation of 
drainage. Whatever may be the distance, and whatever the amount, 
this dirt and refuse must swim, to one river or the other, in a current 
made by the rains of heaven dr by the Fairmount water-works. Now, 
let any housekeeper reflect a moment, — consider the additional 
quantity of water which he or she would require to accomplish the 
removal of nuisances, if no swill or dry dirt barrels were kept, — and, 
I believe, no difficulty will be found in accounting for all the con- 
sumption of water said to be consumed in Philadelphia. 

It is, no doubt, putting the case too strong, to say that Philadelphia 
has no drains, and that all the city refuse is removed in this way ; 
but, I suppose, it is not too much to say that the city is destitute of a 
system of drainage at all general, and is destitute of any general, 
regular and reliable means of removing refuse, except by water. 

Now, what fair comparison can be instituted, in the consumption of 
water, between a city where there is scarcely a street having a sewer 
and drains, and one where there is scarcely a street without a sewer 
and drains ? and where there is no public provision made for the 
regular removal of offal and dirt, with one where this is accomplished 
in the most systematic and regular manner ? 

In speaking of Philadelphia, I speak of the water district. 
On reading the Report of our late commissioners, one can hardly 
help wondering that not a word is said about consumption of water in 
New York. As one of them has had so much to do with the Croton 
works, and must be so familiar with all the details of supply and 
consumption in that city, one can hardly help feeling surprise that 
he has refrained from imparting a portion of his knowledge. Perhaps, 
it was because he wished to deal only in extreme cases ; and New 
York (wasty as she is known to be) has not yet reached the maximum 
of Philadelphia. But I have a few remarks to offer on this point. 

I have before me the Quarterly Report of James A. Coffin, presi- 
dent of the Croton Water Board, for the quarter ending Oct. 31, 1845. 
It says, " The water was shut off (in October) 13 days, and the 
quantity used and wasted, during that period, was 10 millions of gal- 



21 

Ions per day. This I am able to state with tolerable accuracy, for 
the reason that, when it was shut off at the dam, both reservoirs in the 
city were full, the upper containing 150 millions, and the lower 20 
millions, making together 170 millions of gallons ; and when the water 
again reached the receiving reservoir, there was remaining, in both, 
40 millions of gallons ; which shows that 130 millions of gallons were 
drawn from them in 13 days, equal to 25 gallons a day for each 
(person) of a population of 400,000 souls. As the number of water- 
takers who pay for a supply does not exceed 12,000, which, at 10 
persons for a family, amounts to 120,000 consumers, and as the 
necessary supply for each man, woman and child does not exceed 15 
gallons a day, adding to this an allowance for manufactories, steam- 
engines, &LC., ^ million of gallons per day, it will show that 29,900,000 
gallons were all that was actually required in the 13 days, instead of 
130 millions of gallons." So that here was an out-and-out waste, 
embracing that used for cleaning streets, &c., of 100,100,000 gallons 
in 13 days, equal to 7,700,000 gallons per day. Mr. Coffin adds, 
" During this time, no fire of any consequence occurred, that would 
require the use of the water." 

There are several matters, in this statement, worthy of the most 
deliberate consideration. It comes from a person officially acquainted 
with the facts he states, with no motive to misrepresent thenti, or 
to deduce false inferences from. Opinions and estimates, formed 
under the circumstances in which he is placed, are worthy of all con- 
fidence. 

1st. The first matter worthy of consideration is the enormous waste. 
Out of 10 millions per day, 7,700,000 are wasted, and only 2,300,000 
used. Now, how is water toasted in New York, differently from what 
it is used in Philadelphia ^ In no manner whatever that I know of. 
In Philadelphia, almost everybody takes the water, and by that right 
(I suppose) uses it to cleanse the streets. In New York, few take 
the water, but everybody, without any right but an universal license, 
wastes it to cleanse the streets. In one case it is use, and in the other 
waste, the application in both cases being the same. But Boston 
would never endure to have such floods poured through our streets 
as nearly deluge those of Philadelphia and New York. The slop 
and dirt, occasioned by the perpetual currents in the streets of those 
cities, are nuisances, which, as they would be entirely uncalled for by 
any public or private convenience, most certainly would not be en- 
dured in our streets. We see that this waste, in New York, amounts 
to about 19 gallons per head per day ; and I apprehend this does not 
differ much from what is applied in Philadelphia to the same purpose. 
From this statement, every one can form a judgment how materially 



22 

the consumption of water in Boston will differ from that in Phila- 
delphia and New York. 

2d. Mr. Coffin's judgment is worthy of consideration as to a do- 
mestic supply. He says that it " does not exceed " 15 gallons per 
head per day ; and this for those who take it. If this were averaged 
upon a population where only § took the water, (as is generally the 
case in water districts,) it would be but 10 gallons per day. Mr. 
Coffin meant the quantity named as our outside limit, — no doubt, 
having the truth far within it. 

3d. Mr. Coffin's estimate of water consumed for manufacturing 
purposes is worthy of consideration. I apprehend that no one can 
doubt that, on the introduction of water into such a place as New 
York, such manufactories as could profitably use it would, in gen- 
eral, be the first to take it ; and that the amount of water consumed 
by manufactories, would bear a greater proportion to that used for 
domestic purposes, in the early years of the operation of the works, 
than in subsequent years. If this be granted, as, I think, it must be, 
then the water consumed by manufactories in New York, bears a 
greater proportion to that consumed for domestic purposes noio, than 
it will be likely to in future years. Mr. Coffin estimates 'this con- 
sumption for manufacturing purposes at 500,000 gallons per day, and 
the domestic consumption at 1,800,000 gallons per day ; that is, 27.8 
per cent., added to the domestic supply, gives the gross consumption 
for the two objects. 

Now, if we assume that § of the inhabitants of Boston will take the 
water, (which there is no reason in the world to suppose will be ex- 
ceeded in 100 years, under any system of water -rents,) then, on Mr. 
Coffin's basis, 10 gallons per head, for domestic use, -j- 27.8 per cent., 
or 2f gallons, per head, for manufacturing, or, in all, 12f gallons, will 
be all that will be required, except for cleansing the streets. Now, 
if the citizens of Boston are going to consume 19 gallons per head, 
daily, to deluge our streets, or more than is used in any city of 
Europe, for all purposes put together, so be it, and they will carry 
their consumption up to 30 gallons per head per day, and more. But, 
unless they shall be endowed with a power of endurance beyond any- 
thing they have ever manifested, they certainly never will endure the 
inconvenience which must attend such an enormous waste, and which 
does attend it in New York and Philadelphia. In the New River dis- 
trict, in London, where there is a bountiful supply, and every oppor- 
tunhy afforded for a liberal use for public purposes, and where, in fact, 
the streets are kept clean, according to the testimony of Mr. Mylne, 
{Quest. 5716,) less than 6 per cent, of the whole consumption is used 
for " the larger consumers and street-watering." If the whole of this 



23 

were used for street-watering, it would amount to less than 1 wine 
gallon per head, per day, of the whole population. Now, I apprehend 
that the habits of the city of Boston, its climate, and its system of 
cleanliness, approach much more nearly to those of London than to 
New York or Philadelphia. Still we may double, treble, and even 
quadruple, the quantity used for this purpose in London, and still our 
consumption, on the data given by Mr. Coffin, will scarcely exceed 
one half the amount which our commissioners think we shall want. 

If it should strike any one. that the London consumption for water- 
ing streets is very small, he must reflect that the district is exceed- 
ingly compact ; and that, there, as here, there will be an average of 
five to six months in every year in which no water, or nearly none, 
will be used for this purpose. 

The reader cannot be more sensible than I am of the very desul- 
tory manner in which I am taking up these various topics. In fact I 
felt myself unable to bring these various topics into any appropriate 
Connection with any leading point of discussion between Charles 
River and Long Pond. 

But in what I may have further to say on this Report, I shall en- 
deavor to discuss the views and statements made therein in connec- 
tion with one of the three following points, viz. : The quality of the 
waters in Charles River and Long Pond ; the quantity of the waters 
in those sources ; and the modes and expenses of procuring a supply 
from each. 

Before, however, dismissing the Spot Pond plan, I wish to express 
my views of the very unfair manner in which I conceive these com- 
missioners have treated Mystic Pond. It is not at all to be disguised 
that the advocates of Spot Pond have always and uniformly looked 
to a future augmentation of supply by resort to Mystic Pond. It is 
only in connection with Spot Pond, that these commissioners Avere at 
all concerned with Mystic Pond ; for nobody thinks of taking that 
except as an auxiliary supply. 

Of Spot Pond, of Long Pond, and of Charles River, the commis- 
sioners took at least two samples ; of Mystic Pond they took but one. 
Of the others, the samples taken appear to" have been taken for the 
purpose of ascertaining the true quality of the water ; that of Mystic 
Pond was taken to ascertain afalse quality of the water ; that is, " to 
ascertain how far the tide affected the quality of the water of the 
pond." And what did they find ? Just what they probably expect- 
ed to find, and what, if they had tasted, they might have known that 
they had found, viz., that " it was, in fact, dilute sea water." 
And this was the only sample. 

Now no commissioner, or citizen, who ever looked to Mystic Pond 



24 

for a supply, was so simple as to think of that source except on con- 
dition of the ocean being excluded. The idea is too ridiculous to 
suppose that this pond was to be resorted to while salt water had ac- 
cess to it. Why, then, did not these commissioners take one or 
more fair samples of Mystic pond water for analysis, and let folks 
'know what that pond now contains, and what it will exclusively con- 
tain, if ever resorted to as a source, instead of confining their inquiries 
to a jug full of " dilute sea-water .? " 

I propose, then, 1st, to consider what these commissioners say in 
regard to the quality of the waters of Charles River and Long Pond. 

At the outset, the commissioners (p. 95,) set forth that " Mr. Sil- 
liman had no knowledge whatever of the particular sources of the 
several samples of water which he analyzed." This statement is 
made probably^ as it has been publicly referred to certainly, for the 
purpose of securing confidence in the I'esults of Mr. Silliman's analy- 
sis. But these results are not entitled to any peculiar confidence on 
this ground. Precisely the same precautions were taken when Dr. 
Jackson analyzed for Colonel Baldwin in 1834, and for Mr. Eddy 
subsequently ; and when Mr. Hayes analyzed for the commissioners 
of 1837. No freedom from prejudice from this cause, therefore, can 
be claimed for Mr. Silliman, that may not with the same propriety 
be claimed for Messrs. Jackson and Hayes. 

Is there any other reason why more confidence should be placed 
in these results of Mr. Silliman than in those of Dr. Jackson and Mr. 
Hayes? I suppose I hazard nothing in saying that the reverse is 
decidedly true. Without derogating an iota from the just merits of 
Mr. Silliman, I apprehend neither he nor his true friends would feel 
in the least degree hurt by his being placed in a rank far below 
either of those accomplished practical chemists. Mr. Silliman is 
quite a young man, starting in a scientific career under the most 
favorable auspices, to which I have no doubt he will do credit. But 
Messrs. Jackson and Hayes are much more advanced in life, of much 
more practical experience, and have been in the front rank of their 
profession for fifteen years at least. 

What, then, is the most that ought to be claimed for these results .* 
Certainly the most is that they should go into the mass with other 
results from which an average may be obtained. 

I say this is the most that can be claimed. There are, however, 
some circumstances which would reasonably lead one to grant some- 
thing less than this ; especially in comparison with the results ob- 
tained by Mr. Hayes. The commissioners say, (p. 101), " that the 
analyses (of Mr. Silliman) were made on a scale of ample magnitude 
to insure correct results." And Mr. Silliman gives us an idea of this 



25 

scale (p. xiv. Appendix), where he says, " a carefully measured 
standard gallon of each sample was taken." He also says these 
samples were received 12th September, and his Report is dated 
29th October; so that his experiments and his Report occupied 47 
days. Now is the quantity here slated, and the time here given to 
the examination, on a scale sufficient to " insure correct results ? " 
I am not a correct judge ; but they certainly fall far short of the scale 
adopted by Mr. Hayes. He informs me that " the experiments per- 
formed here, [meaning those performed by him for the commissoners 
of 1837,] had reference to a general scientific knowledge of the 
waters, as well as an accurate determination of particular characters, 
and I had all the compounds contained in them, in quantities abun- 
dantly large. 22 thousand pounds (11 net tons) of peaty water were 
evaporated for the general constituents, and eleven months in time 
were given to the examinations." How insignificant do the scale of 
Mr. Silliman, and the time employed by him, appear in comparison 
with this ! 

In this connection I beg leave to state a circumstance not generally 
known. 

If any one will refer to the introductory remarks of Mr. Hayes, 
in his Report to the commissioners of 1837, and printed at p. 90 of 
their Report, he will notice that this Report of Mr. Hayes was siven 
before he had completed his observations ; and he stated that, " I 
defer to a future time a more detailed account of their chemical 
qualities." When Mr. Hayes had finished his observations, he made 
out a full detailed report as here promised, and sent it to the com- 
missioners. It was quite long, elaborate, and full. As he expected 
it would be printed, he made no copy of it. It, however, never was 
printed, and no public notice whatever was taken of it. What ap- 
pears remarkable is, that it cannot now be found. 1 have made in- 
quiries for it in vain ; and Mr. Eliot, who was then mayor, and under 
whose auspices these investigations were performed, and the docu- 
ments printed, recently assured me of his ignorance that a more 
" elaborate analysis had ever been made by Mr. Hayes than that 
which is annexed to the report of 1837 ; I certainly never saw it." 

Now, what would have been the decision of this question had this 
document, prepared with immense labor, and probably at considera- 
ble expense to the city, for the sole purpose of enabling the commis- 
sioners and the public to make a wise and judicious selection of a 
source of supply, been printed, as it was designed to be, no one can 
now tell. But we may tolerably well guess what source the results 
in that document indicated as the best, from the fact that Mr. Hayes 
is known to entertain a preference for Charles River. 
4 



[.. Pona. 


Ch. River. 


6. 


4. 


3.03 


3.32 


1.85 


3.40 



26 

But to return to the subject. The most that can fairly be claimed 
for Mr. Silliman's results, is, that they are worthy to go in with those 
of Mr. Hayes and Dr. Jackson, for the purpose of obtaining an 
average. By referring to p. 9 of Report of 1837, and p. 104, of 
commissioners of 1845, the following result is obtained, viz. : 

Earthy Matter found by Dr. Jackson, 1834 

• " " " Mr. Hayes, 1837 

Mr. Silliman, 1845 

10.88 10.72 

Average, 3.63 3.57 

Hence it appears that the average of the analyses is in favor of 
Charles River; which would be increased if the analysis of Dr. Jack- 
son of Long Pond water last winter should be included, or an 
average of the 2 samples of each analyzed by Mr. Silliman. Such, 
too, is the result, although every person acquainted with the state of 
Long Pond and Charles River, at the time these last samples were 
taken, cannot but be aware that it was peculiarly favorable for the 
pond, and not so for the river. 

It is a little curious that, though the commissioners consider the 
Long Pond water as more free from iron than Charles River, the 
only sample out of four taken from Lond Pond and Charles River, 
which, on separating its component parts, afforded traces of iron, was 
taken from Long Pond, (p. xxii. Appendix.) And I do not see any- 
thing more suspicious in either of the Charles River specimens than is 
afforded by the statement that No. 5 (the best sample of Long Pond) 
" became decidedly yerrwo-mows as it evaporated." If this language 
be not irony ^ it gives pretty strong indications of iron. 

I will advert to but one other circumstance affecting the character 
of these waters, as developed by this analysis. I refer to their action 
upon lead. The commissioners give the preference on this ground 
to the water of Long Pond ; but, as I think, contrary to the evidence 
of facts and fair deductions. Mr. Silliman says, (p. xi. and xii. Ap- 
pendix,) " Since it has been supposed that the presence of a consid- 
erable quantity of this (carbonic acid) gas in a water was one princi- 
pal source of the corrosion of leaden pipes used for the conveyance 
of water, it seemed to me a question of some practical interest to de- 
termine, as nearly as could be, the actual amount of this gas in the 
several specimens in hand." 

Here seems to be an acquiescence on the part of Mr. Silliman in 
a general doctrine on this subject, and the acknowledgment of the 



27 

practical interest that attended the experiments. An a priori expec- 
tation is raised that the samples of water which should develop the 
greatest quantity of this gas, would be likely most to corrode 
lead, and be objectionable to a like extent. Now, after very nice 
and careful experiments, Mr. Silliman finds more than twice as much 
of this gas in the Long Pond water than in the water of Charles 
River, 

Now, if there be any ground for the supposition that the presence 
of this gas does corrode lead, which seems to be fully admitted by 
Mr. Silliman, why is it not fair to deduce a preference for that which 
has but little over one which has twice as much ? 

It is worth while to trace Mr. Silliman, and see how this doctrine 
is brought into doubt. After trying a strip of lead in each specimen 
of the waters, and stating the results, he says, (p. xxiii. Appendix,) 
" We see also that the water which contains the most carbonic acid, 
(No. 2,) and the most but one of solid matter, had no effect what- 
ever on the lead. 

" These facts certainly appear anomalous, and lead to the conclu- 
sion that we are yet without the means of establishing any general 
rule by which we may judge whether any given water will act upon 
lead." « 

These facts appeared to Mr. Silliman anomalous, and go to bring 
into doubt the rule in regard to the action of this acid or gas upon 
lead. He does not seem to have suspected the inadequacy or inac- 
curacy of his experiments. And if we take from his eyes the ban- 
dage under which he worked, and show him that this very No. 2 
does notoriously and beyond dispute act upon lead, his faith in the 
rule may, perhaps, be restored. 

This No. 2 was Croton water, and contained much more of the 
objectionable gas than even Long Pond. And by reference to p. 146, 
Tower''s Illustrations of the Croton Water-Works, we find it stated 
that " Dr. Chilton recently inspected the Croton water drawn from the 
lead pipe by which it is introduced into No. 421, Peai'l street, in this 
city, (New York,) and found the water, evidently affected by the 
lead. He also obtained similar results in several other instances." 
In consequence of this action of the Croton water upon lead, it is 
stated that the city authorities, in supplying the public buildings, do 
not use lead pipes, but pipes lined with tin or composition. And the 
same is strongly recommended to the citizens. 

Now, as Mr. Silliman no doubt knew these facts in regard to 
Croton water, had he worked with his eyes open, he would have saved 
himself the mortification of deducing conclusions from his experi- 
ments at variance with them. As the Croton water is highly charged 



28 

with this deleterious gas, and does act upon the lead of the pipes in 
New York, a fair conclusion is, that the water of Long Pond, which 
is also highly charged with the same — much higher than that of 
Charles River — will also act upon the lead of the pipes in Boston. 
And as the city authorities there have repudiated the use of lead 
pipes on this account, so it will probably be here. 

As I have no pretension to chemical knowledge, I will here dismiss 
this analysis. I have, however, abundant reason for believing that 
in many respects its deductions are fallacious, and its reasonings 
erroneous ; on the whole, that it is not worthy of confidence. 

The commissioners have said considerable of animalcules, and 
have published the views of others. It would seem as if they found 
them in about like number in all these specimens, but most in 
Charles River. But much of what is said by them and others I am 
not able to appreciate, because it in only a few instances is staled 
whether the animalcules were visible to the naked eye or only visible 
by aid of glasses. This is an important distinction ; and it is only in 
regard to those visible to the naked eye that I have ever attached 
any importance. And say what commissioners may, and harden 
their own and the public sense as they can, to an indifference to 
the juresence of these creatures, they never can, and they never will, 
induce among the people a free and copious use of any water as a 
drink, which shall ordinarily, and as matter of course, exhibit these 
creatures to the naked eye. Wherever and whenever such is the 
case, the people will become swift converts to one of two doctrines, 
viz., that the system requires but little inward moisture, or that " a 
little brandy is better than too much cold water." The paupers of 
St. Giles and Shoreditch repudiate such drink ; and they prove that, 
though driven to extremities, human nature is not extinct in them. 

Now, I apprehend that, in spite of everything that has been or can 
be said on this subject, it is a settled fact, that running water is much 
less liable to exhibit this nuisance to the naked eye than still wSiiev — 
common river water, than pond water. 1 apprehend an appeal to 
experience will settle this. I apprehend that if any one will do as I 
have done during the past year, he will find nearly the same facts. 
I have examined near 20 samples of Charles River water, taken at 
different times, from Watertown, Waltham, and Newton Lower 
Falls, and have not found a single sample containing animalcules 
visible to the naked eye. I have inspected nearly or quite as many 
specimens of Long Pond water during the same time, and do not 
remember more than two samples in which these creatures were not 
visible to the naked eye. In this way I have settled the point in my 
own mind ; and in this way I think most persons might do the same. 



29 

With these remarks I close what I have to say upon the quality of 
the two waters. 

A few words now upon the quantity in those two sources. 

The commissioners of 1845 have estimated the flow from Long 
Pond considerably higher than did their predecessors of 1844. The 
latter supposed that the pond could not be relied upon to deliver at 
Corey's Hill much more than 7 millions gallons per day ; while the 
former think 10 millions may be depended upon. 

I do not know as it is worth while to advert farther to the very 
uncertain and unsatisfactory nature of the evidence and reasoning by 
which this additional quantity is relied upon. But one effect of this 
estimate is very obvious. While the mass of our citizens are pleased 
at the prospect of obtaining such an exhaustless supply, the proprie- 
tors of mills and wharves on streams below are estimating their dam- 
ages. And if we have reason to congratulate ourselves that our 
contemplated source will be more copious than we before anticipated, 
we may feel pretty well assured that the amount claimed of us for 
damages will be advanced in an equal proportion at least. And 
these extra claims will be advanced, sustained by this very Report, 
and be paid, long before we shall know whether there is any good 
foundation for them ; and the result may be, after all, that we shall 
pay for 10 millions per day, and get but 7 millions. 

Though these commissioners think they have found much more 
water in Long Pond than their predecessors, they appear to have 
found less in Charles River. They did not find one half so much at 
the race above Newton Upper Falls, as has been hitherto supposed 
to flow by Waltham Factories in the driest times. On one single 
day they found less water in Charles River at the place of guaging 
than the estimated average daily yield of Long Pond. Still, as by 
their account they would not claim any preeminence for Long Pond 
in point oi^ quantity, I deem it important to allude to their estimates, 
only to notice tivo remarkable circumstances. 
1st. On p. 47, the commissioners say, — 

"We annex the following table of the average flow of water in Charles 
River at the place above slated, by the mean of several sets of observations 
taken each day. They generally commenced on each morning, before the 
starting of the mills below, and when by the accumulation of the previous 
night, the back water came so high as to retard, in some measure, the 
velocity of flow through the sluice, and to increase its ordinary depth. 
From this time the experiments were made at intervals through the day, 
terminating about the time when the mills were again stopped." 

Now, to give some idea how much the back water actually retard- 



30 

ed the velocity of the water through the sluice, I annex the following 
minutes of these commissioners, for three days : 

Date. Time of Observation. Time of floating 20 rods, 

h. m. ni. St c. 

Sept. 22, 5 35 A. M. 25 10 

9 5" 901 

12 10 " 8 14 

3 15 " 7 02 

5 55 " 6 

•• 23, 6 " 13 17 

9 " G 26 

12 10 " 5 28 

3 " 5 35 

5 " 5 30 
" 24, 5 55 " 11 3 

9 5" 6 46 

12 15 " 5 24 

3 05 " 5 13 

6 10 " 4 52 

I insert this table just as it has been furnished me. But a slight 
deviation is noticeable in time, in one or two instances, from the state- 
ments in the table of the commissioners ; but they are of no moment 
in regard to the point I have in view. It will be seen that the back 
water was such that at the first measurement before or near the time 
of the mills getting into operation, the velocity was less than 1 rod 
per minute, and at the 2d measurement it was more than 2 rods per 
minute, and the velocity kept increasing all day. Just about the 
same ratio is noticeable between the velocities, at the 1st and 2d 
measurements, on the succeeding days. From these data it appears 
to be inferable, if it be not demonstrated, that, owing to the height of 
the dam below this sluice, the water at and above it was rendered in 
the night time nearly or quite stagnant. 

Now, in ordinary cases, this would not be important in guaging the 
whole contents of a stream ; because what was kept back at one 
time would come forward at another. But it is not so at this point of 
Charles River ; for if the water be kept back at this point it never 
comes forward, but finds its way through Mother-Brook to Neponset 
River. From the data above given, it is certainly rendered probable 
that some (perhaps a large quantity of) water which should have 
gone down Charles River, was diverted to Neponset. 

And I have it also from several persons interested in the water 
power at the Lower Falls, that during the dry period of the last year, 
the dam at the Upper Falls was raised to an unlawful height by 
means of flush boards ; and that, in point of fact, water belonging to 



31 

them was by this means lost to them to a greater or less extent. If 
this were so, as is avered, it is a circumstance that could hardly 
have been kept from the knowledge of the commissioners ; and if it 
was known to them, can there be any good reason why the fact 
should not be named ? 

2d. But if the commissioners lay themselves open to the charge of 
having concealed an important fact connected with the guage, what 
shall be said for them in omitting entirely all notice of the accessions 
to the stream below. All estimates of all commissioners have been 
made on the basis of taking the water from Watertown. Between 
the race, where the water was guaged, and the dam at Watertown 
the following brooks enter the river, viz. : Garfield's Brook, Rice 
and Parker's Brook, Stony Brook, Waltham Brook, and just below 
the Watertown dam, but so near as to be available, the Baptist Pond 
Brook. Now all these brooks are supposed to add at least |, and 
probably ^, to the volume of the river. What, then, can be an 
apology for the commissioners in omitting all mention of these ad- 
ditional supplies ? I certainly see none. I will here dismiss the 
subject of quantity. 

I come now to the consideration of the structures, and the estimates 
for bringing in these waters. This is by far the most important 
part ; and I feel as if an apology were due to the reader for deferring 
it so long. But the Report is so full of statements inviting animad- 
version, that I can assure the reader I have refrained with some diffi- 
culty from introducing several topics which I should certainly have 
touched upon, but for a regard to his patience. 

As to the structure from Long Pond to Corey's Hill, the commis- 
sioners have adopted identically the same conduit, and nearly the 
same pipes, as were adopted by the commissioners of 1844. I have 
little more to say on this topic, but to state that these commissioners 
have provided for giving this structure additional support in certain 
places ; which (as far as it goes) is a great Improvement. It is not, 
however, yet satisfactory ; and I believe, if the plan be adopted, it will 
be found necessary and expedient to give it still greater strength, or 
live under a constant apprehension of failure. Especially do I be- 
lieve this will be required in passing through the mud of the first 
few miles. 

But in the reservoir on Corey's Hill, and in its connection and 
arrangement with the reservoir on Beacon Hill, there is considerable 
departure from the plan of 1844; and it merits notice. 

On pp. 82 and 83 the commissioners say, " It is proposed to make 
the waste weir of this reservoir (at Corey's Hill) at a level with the top 
of the conduit, or say 121^ feet above tide level. . . This water 



32 

will, at times, fall a little below the level of the waste, but with so 
large a reservoir as is contemplated, this will be for very short pe- 
riods. And the variation in height will generally be but a few 
inches," ... " The water at the Corey's Hill reservoir may be 
taken at a constant elevation of 121 feet above the marsh level, and 
usually at 12 H feet." ... " The city reservoir has been assumed 
at 112 feet above tide. This leaves a fall from Coreyh Hill reser- 
voir of 91 feet., as the greatest, and 9 /ee/, as the least.'" . . . 
" The waste weir of the Beacon Hill reservoir should be placed on 
a level with that of Corey's Hill, or 12 H feet above tide." . . . 
" In order to supply the high district about the State House, this 
depression (i. e., the depression of the water in the Beacon Hill re- 
servoir, or, practically, its bottom) must have a limit." And imme- 
diately below, " a fall of 8 feet is taken for this limit." 

In making this quotation I have omitted nothing which limits or 
qualifies the language quoted. 

I understand it here to be stated that the top of the Corey's Hill 
reservoir, and the top of the Beacon Hill reservoir, are to be on the 
same level, viz., 121^ feet above tide level. And I understand that 
the water in the Beacon Hill reservoir is not to be drawn down 
more than 8 feet, and of course it may be practically considered as 
only 8 feet deep. This being, as it seems to me, clearly the mean- 
ing, as it is nearly in the very words, of the Report, I would ask 
what is the meaning of the sentence I have put in italics ? It cannot 
be true, nor near the truth. In a proper sense there is no fall be- 
tween the reservoirs. The only fall is the difference in which the 
reservoirs are drawn down. In this sense, instead of the greatest 
fall being 9^^ feet, it can of cou'se never exceed 8 ; and instead of 
the least fall being 9 feet, it is just nothing at all. I do not see how, 
under the most favorable circumstances, an average of more than 4 
feet during the 24 hours could be claimed ; and how a statement so 
gratuitous could have escaped the commissioners I am at a loss to 
understand. 

The commissioners propose to bring the water from Corey's Hill 
to Beacon Hill by two pipes of 34 inches diameter. They seem to 
have proposed them as having a capacity 20 per cent, larger than 
necessary if a uniform and constant flow could be maintained ; and 
it is reasonable to suppose that they considered them capable of fur- 
nishing, even under the disadvantage of an inconstant and unequal 
flow, 25 per cent, more than 7^ millions per day, in dry weather. 
But by the formula of Prony, these two pipes will, with an average 
fall of 4 feet, and supposing the flow constant and equal, deliver 
less than 9|- millions gallons in 24 hours. This is less than sufficient 



33 

to supply 25 per cent, over 7^ millions, demanded in dry weather ; 
to say nothing of the necessary allowance for incrustation in the 
pipes, and for the 20 per cent, extra capacity required by the unequal 
flow. 

Again, on p. 81, the commissioners state that they propose the 
reservoir on Corey's Hill shall cover 8 acres, " with a depth of 25 
feet." . . . "The reservoir will contain 53,000,000 gallons." It 
must be allowed that this extent and depth is worthy of the city to 
be supplied. A week's supply, at 7^ millions a day, is treasured up, 
to serve in case of accidents. But, alas, these waters are in good 
degree the waters of Tantalus. They can never get to Boston by 
the apparatus provided. For, as the bottom of the Beacon Hill re- 
servoir, into which the pipes leading from Corey's Hill are to empty, 
is to be but 8 feet below the surface of the Beacon Hill reservoir, 
-which is to be on a level with the Corey's Hill reservoir, it follows that 
the Corey's Hill reservoir cannot be drawn down more than 8 feet, — 
a little less than ^ of its depth, 25 feet. So that, instead of a week's 
supply, there can be but about 3 days' supply available ; while 
a stagnant stratum of 17 feet is to lie there unmoved from year's end 
to year's end. 

Now, if there be any good reason to construct a reservoir 25 feet 
deep, (a depth without example, I apprehend, unless it be New 
York,) and to be drawn down only 8 feet, it has not occurred to me. 

I come now to consider the structure for conveying water from 
Charles River to the reservoir on Corey's Hill ; and the estimates of 
investment and current expense of pumping. 

The general plan is to convey the water from the dam at Water- 
town in a conduit like the one proposed in the Long Pond scheme, 
to the foot of a hill in Brighton ; then to force it into a reservoir 140 
feet high ; thence to convey it 8000 feet to Corey's Hill reservoir, by 
two 24 inch pipes, and discharge at a height of 121 feet. 

I do not see any objection to the mode of conveying the water to 
the engine-house, nor to the location of that house and the reservoir. 
But the most cursory reader can hardly fail to notice the great fall 
that is contemplated between this reservoir and that of Corey's Hill, 
viz., 19 feet. And the question forces itself upon one, why should a 
perpetual expense be incurred to throw up all this water to a height 
of 140, in order that it may fall 19, feet, in passing about 1^ miles, 
while, in passing from Corey's Hill to Boston, a distance of near 4 
miles, a fall of but 4 feet is provided ? 

A suspicion of extravagance and waste is at once excited, and the 
matter needs but slight examination to have it confirmed. 

Although the water is to be raised 140 feet, and to be delivered at 
5 



34 

a height of 121 feet, (see p. 36,) a difference of 19 feet, yet the 
commissioners say, " allowing for considerable loss of head, that will 
occur, mostly, in discharging the water into a small summit reser- 
voir, there may be assumed to be about 15 feet effective head on the 
pipes, to carry the water to Corey's Hill." 

Now, although it may be expedient that the head upon the pipes 
shall vary, according as the reservoirs shall be full or empty, to the 
extent of 8 feet, so that the average fall shall be 4 feet less than 
from the top of the reservoir, yet this should not be considered loss. 
For, in the degree that the head is diminished, the load upon the 
pumps is diminished in same degree. If the water be forced in, as 1 
apprehend it should be, at the bottom of reservoir at one end, and 
be drawn out at bottom at the other end, it appears too plain for ar- 
gument, or illustration even, that the load upon the pumps varies 
with the " effective head ;" and if, as the commissioners in this case 
say, that is to be but 15 feet, it follows that the column upon the 
engine will be but 138, instead of 140, feet. But as the engines are 
supposed to work under an average pressure of 140 feet, (varying 
from 186 to 144 feet,) there is provided a head of 19 feet, which 
should be " effective." It thence appears that the commissioners 
have added to the labor of the engines 4 feet in 140 elevation, or 
near 3 per cent, of the whole work, for which they contemplate no 
advantage whatever ; and this, not to any considerable extent in 
original outlay, but in current expense, to last forever. 

Now, as this current expense is to be a perpetual charge, it should 
have been an important point of study and examination with the 
commissioners to impose upon the engine the least amount of labor, 
consistent with an adequate transmission of the water from the sum- 
mit reservoir to the one on Corey's Hill. In this view, not feet, but 
inches, and even barley-corns, in elevation, acquire importance. 

It becomes important, then, to inquire how the requisite quantity 
of water can be conveyed from the summit reservoir to Corey's Hill, 
so as to impose the least labor upon the engines in raising it. 

I do not know that a more available plan of a reservoir can be 
devised than the one which appears to be contemplated by the com- 
missioners, viz., 8 feet deep. If the bottom of this reservoir be 
placed on a level with the top of that at Corey's Hill, which is to be 
121 feet above the tide, and if it be filled every day and emptied 
every night, the average effective head will be 4 feet, and the 
engines will work under the pressure of a column varying in height 
from 121 to 129 feet, or an average of 125 feet. 

The commissioners appear to me to attach too much importance 
to having two pipes between these reservoirs. If they were to pass 



35 

under navigable or other water, or through locations not easily ac- 
cessible from any cause, there might be reason for adopting the pre- 
caution of double pipes. But in a line everywhere accessible, as this 
is, it seems to be an idle precaution. For on inquiry of the agent of 
the Boston Aqueduct Company, where only one main comes from 
the pond to the city, I learn that a breach in the main is very readily 
repaired. To take out one piece of pipe and insert another is usually 
accomplished in less than 6 hours; and it is not obvious why more 
time should be consumed on the proposed line than this. The cir- 
cumstances must be peculiarly adverse, which can ever occasion the 
stopping of the current during 24 consecutive hours. I cannot but 
regard it as an entirely useless expense lo provide tioo pipes. 

What, then, is the size and co$t of one pipe, that, under a head of 
4 feet, will convey 1^ millions gallons from the summit reservoir to 
Corey's Hill .' I say 7^ millions, because, as the head can be in- 
creased at any time to 8 feet by working the pumps longer, or by using 
the spare power during a portion of the day, I apprehend no one 
will question that it will be good economy to provide the extra quan- 
tity needed in warm weather in this way rather than by enlarged 
pipes. In fact, the extra quantity must be provided in this way. 

On examination, I find that a single pipe of 34 inches diam- 
eter, by a head of 4 feet, will discharge, at the distance of 8000 
feet, almost exactly 7^ millions gallons per day, according to Prony's 
formula. What, then, is the difference in cost of 2 pipes of 24 inches, 
as proposed by the commissioners, and one of 34 inches, proposed as 
a substitute .'' 

16,000 feet, 24 inches, at $ 7,43 (p. 54), is $ 1 18,880 
8,000 feet, 34 inches, at 11,60 (p. 87,) is 92,800 



Difference, 26,080 

We have thus relieved the engines of a pressure equal to a column 
of 15 feet, i. e., the difference between 140 and 125 feet ; and con- 
struction account of 26,080 dollars. 

I will here I'emark, that I am reviewing the labors and plans of 
others. It is therefore proper to trace the effect of any waste that is 
noticed. I feel, however, far from confident, that it will not be the 
true economy to pump the water as high as 140 feet. This will 
enable it to reach Corey's Hill as high as 136 feet. With such a 
head, water could readily be distributed through the city without the 
intervention of another reservoir. 

The next matter for examination is the expenses for pumps and 
appurtenances, and pumping. 



36 

This is the most important matter of inquiry ; and into what I now 
propose to say I wish most respectfully to invite the severest scrutiny. 
If the points I propose to establish are not sustained by facts and 
substantial reasons, let them be rebutted, and their fallacy be pointed 
out. But if they shall be well and truly established, in a manner and 
by facts and reasons which cannot be gainsaid, controverted, or re- 
sisted, I hope the reader will fairly and candidly weigh the results, 
just as he would if the matter were one of individual concernment, 
and the responsibility were entirely on his own shoulders, instead of 
being divided with 115,000 inhabitants. 

No one at all conversant with the subject can, I think, read the 
report of the commissioners on the subject of pumping, without being 
impressed with the small amount of their own knowledge, and the 
sterility of the sources to which they look for more. They do not 
seem to be familiar with a pump or an engine. Their references 
are mainly to obsolete papers, or irrelevant examples of work ; so 
that there would seem to be reason for the remark made in the report 
of the water committee of the legislature : " And we would state 
here, that the commissioners have more confidence in the accuracy 
of their estimate relative to the Long Pond source, than they have of 
the Charles River source." 

Well might the commissioners, and well may we, distrust their 
estimates on this point, though in a way and for reasons entirely dif- 
ferent from those implied and conveyed. 

In the dearth of information and materials by which the commis- 
sioners seem to have been surrounded, the letter of Mr. Wicksteed 
to Mr. Eddy was quite a windfall. It was new, it was from a first 
rate authority, and was directly to the point. The commissioners 
say, (p. 45,) " Mr. Wicksteed's estimate must be regarded as afford- 
ing the most definite and reliable information at command, and will 
therefore be taken as a basis." They therefore did settle down upon 
the basis of Mr. Wicksteed's letter ; that was the document, though 
" not written exactly under professional responsibility " on which 
they relied " as affording the most definite and reliable information." 
The errors and oversights which they pretend to find and correct 
will be noticed afterwards. 

This letter, then, of Mr. Wicksteed, acquires great importance. 
It is made the basis of an inquiry involving millions, and it should be 
looked at critically. I propose to insert the letter ; and as I was 
knowing to the circumstances under which it was obtained, I will 
state them. In the early stages of the opposition to the Water Act 
of 1845, Mr. Eddy asked my opinion of the expediency of obtaining 
Mr. Wicksteed's views of the advantages of pumping, in order to 



37 

give the public full and accurate information on the subject, and 
perhaps to induce a selection of Charles River, if the act were 
accepted. I did not hesitate to approve the suggestion, and urged 
Mr. Eddy to write at once. This he did by the steamer of April 1st, 
(his letter being dated March 29;) and Mr. Wicksteed's answer is 
dated 16th April, or 19 days only after the date of Mr. Eddy's. 

Engineer's Office, Old Ford, near London, April 16th, 1845. 

Sir, — I have received your favor, dated the 29th ult., and, in 
reply, beg leave to say that I have much pleasure in affording you 
the information you require, as I am a great advocate for the exten- 
sion of water-works, and am confident that the best plan to be pur- 
sued is to give large quantities, under great pressure, by the most 
economical means ; as that which produces a good dividend to the 
capitalist and a low rate to the consumer, will most probably gen- 
erally be preferred to an expensive plan, however imposing and 
costly works may be to the eye ; which, however, under such cir- 
cumstances, must not be directed towards your pocket. 

After 6 or 7 years' experience of the economy of the expansive 
pumping engine, I am induced to recommend it most strongly. Since 
its erection at Old Ford, in 1838, another has been erected at South- 
wark, and I have now no less than 5 large engines making for differ- 
ent works, while plans are preparing for 4 more, and for the conver- 
sion of Sold Boulton and Watt and Mandslay engines into expansive 
engines. These are all for water-works, and will prove that preju- 
dice, if not destroyed, is giving way. 

The cost of raising water at the East London Water- Works, in 
1830, before my improvements were introduced, and the cost of 
raising it in 1844, since the improvements have been made, will show 
you the practical results obtained. 

Cost of raising 1000 imperial barrels (361 lbs. weight per barrel) 
to a height of 100 feet, in 1830 and in 1344 : 



Coals 

Stores 

Labor 

Eepairs of machinery and building 

Total 

1830 
1844 

Saving . 1 2 

Is, lljd. : 100 : : 92d. : 40 — showing a saving of 60 per cent 



1830. 




1844. 


s. d. 




s. d. 


1 1.713 




3.917 


1.177 




0.920 


3.202 




2.938 


rQ. 5.272 


lUd. 


1.655 


1 11.369 or Is. 


9.410 or9id. 


s. d. 






1 llh 






9i 







38 

In 1844, the quantity of water raised was 80,072,223 imperial 
barrels. The coals used were equal to 2312 tons, 18 cwt. 2 qr. The 
cost, delivered in the bin, was lis. 3d. per ton. 

In 1830, the quantity of water raised was 51,.519,290 imperial 
barrels. The coals used were 3758 tons, 17 cwt. qr. The cost 
was 16s. 9fd. per ton. 

You propose to bring a supply of water equal to 2^ millions of 
gallons per diem, (at 8 lbs. each gallon,) which is equal to 2 millions 
imperial gallons, in round numbers, or, to be exact, 1,994,614, a 
distance of 7 miles in pipes. 

Supposing this quantity, say 2,000,000 imperial gallons, to be 
delivered in 12 hours, through a main 30 inches in diameter, and 7 
miles long, it will require a column of 20 feet to overcome the fric- 
tion of the water passing through the main ; this added to your 120 
will make 140. But it is well to have plenty of head, and I will 
assume the water at the source to be raised 150 feet. 

TTT . , 1 • 1 445 cub. ft. pr. min. x 150 ft. ici/^, i 

Water to be raised '-^g =126^ horse power. 

Suppose your engine to make 8 strokes per minute, at the maxi- 
mum, then your plunger pole or pump must, at 10 feet length of 
stroke, be 32 inches diameter; the load upon your pump will be 
equal to 52,359 pounds, the diameter of your cylinder will be 75 
inches, and the stroke 10 feet ; the coals required will be equal to 
36 cwt. per diem. 

ESTIMATE OF COST. 

£ s. d. 

Engine and boilers .... 7,500 

Engine house, boiler house and chimney . . 3,700 

Stand pipe 150 feet high, and foundation . . 3,300 

Reservoirs and filter beds .... 7,000 

Sundry works .... 2,000 

Contingencies, including Engineering . . . 4,700 

2S,200 
Suppose a spare engine and its buildings and contingencies 12,300 

40,500 
Seven miles 30 inches main, 5600 tons, at £10 . 56,000 

Costoflayingl2,320yards, at 15s. 6d. . . 9,548 

Contingencies, including engineering . . 6,452 

72,000 
Total cost of bringing water to the town, at an elevation of 

150 ft. at the town .... 40,500 

112,500 



89 



ANNUAL COST. 

Coals, 657 tons, at 12s. 

Two engine men, 42s. each, and two stokers, 30s. each 

Stores, including oil, tallow, hemp, &c. 

Repairs of machinery and buildings 

Foreman, two guineas per week 



You will hardly require an expression of my opinion as to the 
Long Pond project, which, you tell me, is to cost .£1,000,000, after 
what I have given you ; but this is the way I should propose to settle 
the question : 

Interest upon cost of Long Pond scheme, at 5 per cent £50,000 

Interest upon capital for Charles River scheme . . 5,625 

Annual cost ..... 1,298 



£ 


s. d. 


394 


4 


374 


8 


150 





270 





109 


4 


1297 


16 



£6,923 

I think the two amounts, .£50,000 and £6,923, ought to settle the 
question — with me it certainly does — in favor of the Charles River 
scheme. 

I have pleasure in sending you two or three reports and specifica- 
tions, and shall be glad to hear that the information I have given 
you has been of service to you. 

Beyond the desire to advance water-works, I feel some interest in 
Boston, as I had a brother who resided there for some years, about 
22 years ago. 

I am, sir, 

Your obedient servant, 

THOS. WICKSTEED. 
R. H. Eddy, Esq., Civil Engineer. 

The first reflection which occurs upon reading this letter, and 
noticing dates, is, that it was hastily prepared. It implies an almost 
incredible accuracy of knowledge and facility of applying it, to 
escape "'errors and oversights." 

The second reflection is, that, as there was ample time for the 
commissioners to consult Mr. Wicksteed, it was a great departure 
from the comity due from one professional person to another, to seize 
upon, and spread before the world, a series of errors and oversights, 
without giving him an opportunity to explain, or themselves an op- 
portunity of ascertaining whether they were real or only apparent. 



40 



No gentleman, it seems to me, can regard this measure in any- 
other light than as extraordinary. The importance which would 
have attached to an understanding with Mr. Wicksteed in regard to 
apparent discrepancies, can hardly be overestimated ; and how sadly 
the character of the commissioners, as men, and the results of their 
labors, as engineers, have been compromised by their unauthorized 
assumptions, will appear from Mr. Wicksteed's remarks, subjoined. 

By the steamer of December 1, after having hastily perused the 
Report of the water commissioners, I took occasion to write to 
Mr. Wicksteed, stating briefly the supposed errors and oversights 
noticed by the commissioners, in his letter to Mr. Eddy. It appears 
that Mr. Rogers wrote to Mr. Wicksteed by the same packet — 
stating, in substance, that our water question was probably settled 
by the new Report. 

By the steamer of December 16, I sent Mr. Wicksteed a copy of 
the Report itself. On the 2d January, before this copy had come to 
hand, Mr. Wicksteed wrote to me, acknowledging the receipt of my 
letter, and that of Mr. Rogers ; and, as he supposed the question 
settled, he thought it inexpedient to notice the matter further. It 
seems, however, that he changed his mind, when he received the 
Report ; and the following letter has been received by Mr. Rogers. 

This explanation seems to be called for, by Mr. Wicksteed's 
allusions to me. 

Old Ford, February 3, 1846. 

Dear Sir, — I had considered that my letter to Mr. Wilkins, of the 
2d January, would have ended the correspondence, so far as I was 
concerned ; but having since been favored with a copy of the Report 
of the water commissioners, published under the authority of the 
municipal government of your city, in which my statements are 
frequently referred to, I find it necessary to address a few lines to 
you, in self-defence. 

You will allow me to commence by stating that my introduction to 
the question of supplying the city of Boston, arose from an applica- 
tion to give my opinion as to which of two projects, then before the 
Boston public, it would be best for the city authorities to adopt. In 
reply to this application, I gave, as a matter of courtesy and of 
friendly feeling, the letter which Mr. Eddy published ; and I must 
state, that I felt some surprise when I found that such a letter had 
been made use of as professional Report, and that all parties con- 
cerned seemed to consider me as a firmly bound ally to one of the 
belligerent powers in the local war, which the agitatioij of so impor- 
tant a question has naturally produced. 



41 

As before stated, I had considered that, in my letter of January 2, 
I had taken leave of the affair, and upon that impression I shall still 
act, confining any remarks I may now make to those portions of the 
City Report which directly concern data or opinions to which I have 
pledged myself; but even upon this point I should have abstained 
from further interference, had not the document in question borne 
upon the face of it the imprimatur of one of the first cities in the 
United States. 

1. In the statement on p. 34, reference is made to two letters of 
mine, published by the Institution of Civil Engineers ; and facts rest- 
ing, as therein expressly stated, upon the authority of others, are 
quoted from them, but no mention is made of my elaborate Report 
and Tables, published four years afterwards, (by John Weale, 59 
High Holborn, London, 1841,) in which the results of my own 
experiments, or rather of my experience, are stated in detail. This 
appears to me to be a superficial, if not an unfair, mode of inquiry. 

Why should my opinions, founded upon the assumption that facts 
stated by others were true, be preferred to the facts^ afterwards pub^ 
lished, the correctness of which is tested by my subsequent expe- 
rience ? 

2. In p. 55, the Cornish tables of duty performed by the engines 
is quoted, and an average taken of their performance ; this, ap^ain, is 
a most fallacious mode of treating the subject. 

If none but the improved engines were taken, then an average 
• might with propriety be struck ; but it is obviously impossible to 
draw any correct conclusion as to the duty of the improved engines, 
from an average made up from returns in which the old or unim- 
proved engines are included. It would be as reasonable to take a 
new hat and two old ones, and say that the average duration of the 
three afforded an indication of the quality and wear of the new one. 

The engine referred to by me did a duty of 120 millions, for a 
short time, with very superior Welch coals, and I have no doubt that 
engines might be made to do this duty constantly ; but my experience 
shows that, although not physically impossible, it would not be profit- 
able to work the steam so expansively as would be necessary. 

It is then stated, " It is useful to this inquiry that we have a state- 
ment of the performance of this engine ;" but here is an error ; 
there is a statement of the performance of this engine, but it is con- 
tained in my volume before referred to, which is not noticed in the 
Report, while the results given in my letter, which are quoted, are 
not those produced by a Cornish pumping engine, in comparison 
with an engine upon the old plan, but of the results produced at the 
East London Water- Works, after the introduction of my itnprove- 
6 



42 

ments ; and those results include, besides those of the Cornish en- 
gine, those of four other engines on the old principle, some or all of 
which were working, in addition to the Cornish engine, during the 
whole period. 

A calculation is then entered into to show the performance of my 
engine to be (see p. 30, at top) 52,513,792 lbs. only : but this, as 
above stated, is the average duty of three old Boulton & Watt's 
engines and of one Cornish engine, and not of the Cornish alone, as 
is assumed in the Report. 

The average duty done by the Cornish engine at Old Ford, during 
six years' constant work, has been 73,400,000 lbs., lifted one foot 
high by the consumption of 94 lbs. of small Newcastle coals ; and so 
certain and regular is the result, that the work done by the engine is 
taken as the measure of value of the coals. A certain price is 
received by the contractor, if the coals supplied by him are of such 
quality as to produce this duty ; — should the duty be less or more, 
then a proportionate deduction or addition is made from or to the 
price. A contract upon these principles has been entered into 
each year, for the last four or five years. 

When the best Welch coals were used, (which generally are used 
in Cornwall,) the duty done by the engine was equal to 90,700,000 
lbs., lifted one foot high, with 94 lbs. of coals ; but as the price of 
these is in London greater than the others, in proportion to the 
work done, the inferior duty is found to be commercially the most 
profitable. 

I do not know what variation in the quality of coals may exist in 
America, but in England it amounts to a diff*erence of 40 per cent., 
and, in all calculations of duty, this must be considered ; it being ob- 
vious that the same engine may perform 100,000,000 or 60,000,000, 
if two sorts of coal be used, the result depending upon the respective 
qualities. 

If the gentleman, employed by the committee to make their calcu- 
lations, will revise his estimate, I think he will find that my estimate 
of 657 tons per annum is correct, and not his of 915 tons. The cal- 
culation is so simple that two competent persons ought not to differ. 

From the preceding remarks it will appear, I think, that my esti- 
mate of 72,000,000 duty, and of the quantity of coals required, 
remain as they were, and are not erroneous, as has been too hastily 
assumed. 

In p. 43, the commissioners state that I have not calculated the 
friction of the pump, " which, it is presumed, is an oversight" in my 
computation for the power required. In reply, I beg leave to say, 
that I take it the effect produced represents the power, and that fric- 



43 

tion has nothing to do with it ; but in my estimate of diameter of 
cylinder and power of engine, the power required for overcoming 
friction, working air pumps, &c. &c., is included, my estimate being 
founded upon the actual duty to be done by the engine ; otherwise, 
indeed, this would have been an oversight. 

The inexperience of the calculator is here again displayed, by his 
making a comparison between the friction of the pumps at the Phila- 
delphia water-works, and that of a single plunger pump ; the former 
having wheels which, according to the statements given, require 
(40 X 10 feet fall) 400 gallons falling 1 foot to raise (1 x 96 =z) 96 
gallons one foot, and as the wheel, if properly constructed, should be 
able to raise 96 gallons one foot high, by, at the most, 160 gallons 
falling one foot, then, according to his calculation, the friction of the 
pumps — the loss in the water-wheels, beyond what it ought to be — 
and the friction of the water through the mains to the reservoir, is 
equal to 240 gallons falling one foot ; or, in other words, the effect 
is 96, while the power is 400 ; whereas, in the Cornish engine, at 
Old Ford, the loss due to the friction of the pump, and all the other 
parts of the machinery, is 2-10 of one pound per square inch of the 
cylinder. 

With respect to my estimate, I may remark, generally, that I have 
no knowledge of any differences which may exist between the value 
of iron and machinery, or labor thereon, in England and the States ; 
and that, of course, my estimates are founded upon my experience 
of cost here, and must be modified, when applied to countries in 
which prices are higher or lower. I may add, that the pumps are 
included in the amount put down for engines. 

On p. 45, reference is made to the inquiries of the health of 
towns commissioners ; and the evidence given by me is mentioned, 
for the purpose of quoting contradictory evidence given by Mr. 
Hawksley. 

Now, it is not my desire, or my practice, to make remarks upon 
individuals ; and I will only state, that my experience is considera- 
ble, and that the results which I have put forth are those produced 
by actual practice. The question, that my engine uses less coal, but 
employs more capital, is one which I am quite willing to leave to the 
decision of those whose pecuniary interest, in the various under- 
takings with which I am connected, leads them to scrutinize closely 
every item of expenditure ; and, as the result of their accounts coin- 
cides with the expectation of my principles, I have no hesitation in 
adhering to my view of the subject. I may, however, state that, in 
four years after the introduction of the Cornish engine and stand- 
pipe at Old Ford, the saving in the expenditure, for carrying on the 



44 

works was equal to the total cost of the new works. And I may 
also state the fact, that I have had much experience in Cornish 
engines, as applied to water-works ; whereas, 1 believe I may say, 
Mr. Hawksley has had none. 

The question of what is called constant supply, as distinguished 
from the ordinary plan of supply by mains and services, referred to 
in the division of the Report relating to the quantity to be supplied, 
is one into which I have already more than once entered. I am 
now preparing a report on the subject, in reply to an application for 
my professional opinion, from a large water company in England ; 
and I shall be happy to forward to you a copy of it, if I can obtain 
the permission of the directors to do so. 

In conclusion, allow me to thank you for your courteous letters to 
me ; and to say that, although I should like the correction of the 
errors, in the Report that I have alluded to, to be published, I am not 
desirous of entering into any disputes, having my time too fully 
occupied in my own business to volunteer combating for others. 
I am, dear sir, 

Yours, faithfully, 

THOMAS VVICKSTEED. 

H. B. Rogers, Esq., &c. &c. &c. 

It would seem that Mr. Wicksteed considers the reputation of our. 
city as somewhat involved in this Report of the commissioners ; and 
that he should not have noticed its hasty assumptions, " had not the 
document borne upon the face of it the imprimatur of one of the first 
cities in the United States." A like idea has been expressed to me 
by another eminent engineer, who writes, " I do not mean to say 
that Long Pond is not a good source of supply. But this Report 
certainly seems to me to be unworthy of the city of Boston in the 
year 1845." 

I apprehend that no one can read this reply of Mr. Wicksteed 
without feeling entirely satisfied that the estimates given by him for 
the works contemplated in his letter to Mr. Eddy are fully sustained ; 
and, indeed, more than sustained, in one point of practical impor- 
tance which I shall have occasion to notice. To what a lamentable 
extent the hasty assumptions of the commissioners, by which they 
undertook to reconcile discrepancies which did not exist, affected the 
results of their calculations, we shall now proceed to point out. 

It would seem, then, to be a clear case, that the estimates made by 
Mr. Wicksteed, in his letter to Mr. Eddy, are correct and reliable. 
The pumps and engines are adapted to work under a head of 150 
feet, and the engine to perform a duty of 72 millions, instead of 52 



45 

millions, as was hastily assumed by our commissioners. In the 
language of the commissioners, " The bearing of this on estimates of 
fuel expense is too obvious to need further remark." (p. 36 ) 

But this is not all. The coal contemplated by our commissioners 
to be used, and on which they made their estimates, was good 
anthracite ; while the duty assigned to his engine by Mr. Wicksteed 
appears to be based upon using fine (or " small ") Newcastle coal. 
It becomes of some importance, then, to notice the difTerence, and 
qualify the duty, as the anthracite shall be better or worse than the 
small Newcastle. 

On p. 40, the commissioners have given the relative evaporative 
power of several kinds of coal. They say that " its (anthracite) 
relative power, as compared with the best Cumberland coal tested, 
was 940 to 1000. Newcastle coal was found to have a power, as 
compared with the same Cumberland standard, of 809 to 1000." 
Hence it appears that the relative power of anthracite to Newcastle 
is as 940 to 809, and to " small " Newcastle undoubtedly more. 
Hence it would seem that an engine which, with Newcastle coal, 
performs a duty of 72 millions lbs. will, with anthracite, perform a 
duty of 83,646,477 lbs. ; an addition of little more than 14 per cent. 
As I feel no disposition to urge any points unreasonably, — indeed 
I feel disposed to stop short of the extent to which I think I might 
reasonably go — I wish to put it to the reader whether I am relying 
upon the engine in this case for a greater duty than it would per- 
form, if tried ? Am I not stopping considerably short of what might 
be relied upon, inasmuch as the duty taken at 72 millions is, in fact, 
on an experience of six years, near 73J^ millions ; and the coals 
used were " small " Newcastle, while there can be no reasonable 
doubt that, in the experiments testing the power of that coal, a coarser 
and better quality was used. 

Hence I regard it as proved, demonstrated, that in the kind of 
fuel provided in the estimates of the commissioners, a duty might be 
depended upon equal to 83 j^^^ millions lbs. with every 94 lbs, coal ; 
or almost exactly 89 millions with 100 lbs. coal. 

On p. 34 I have showed, as I think, conclusively, that there is no 
occasion to throw the water into a reservoir higher, on an average.^ 
than 125 feet. And if it should be found expedient to have the load 
upon the pumps constant, and not variable v^ith the rise and fall of 
water in the reservoir, it would be an important point to be con- 
sidered whether the reservoir should not be enlarged in surface and 
reduced in depth. But as 1 intend to err on the safe side, I will 
assume that the engines work under the maximum pressure of 129 
feet ; and if there be any advantage (as I think there must be) in 



46 

working under a less during a part of the time, I will not base any 
calculation upon it. 

I shall therefore assume as proved, that by the exact circumstances 
of our case, the engine provided for by Mr. Wicksteed, in his letter to 
Mr. Eddy, to work under a pressure of 150 feet, will, in fact, be 
required to work under a pressure of only 129 feet ; and that, from 
the use of a better quality of fuel, a duty may be obtained of 89 mil- 
lions lbs. with every 100 lbs. of anthracite coal. 

Let us now look at Mr. Wicksteed's estimates of the expense of 
engines and apparatus; i. e., the fixed capital required. 

Mr. Wicksteed's estimate for one engine, to raise 2 millions im- 
perial gallons daily, 150 feet high, is as follows : 

£ s.d. 

1. Engine and boilers . . . . . 7,500 

2. Engine house, boiler house and chimney . . 3,700 

3. Stand pipe 150 feet high, and foundation . . 3,300 

4. Reservoirs and filter beds .... 7,000 

5. Sundry works . . ' . . . . 2,000 

6. Contingencies, including engineering . . 4,700 



£28,200 



As in our case the water is to be forced but a short distance, and 
nearly perpendicularly, the commissioners dispense with a stand pipe 
and foundation, (item No. 3,) and allow the amount of their cost to 
balance the expense of reservoir and pipe from engine to reservoir ; 
and they dispense entirely with item No. 4. 

The commissioners have altered this estimate of Mr. Wicksteed to 
the following form, p. 44 : 



£8.700 



1. Engine and boilers .... £7,509 

2. Increased power required as before stated, 16 per cent. 1,200 

3. Engine house, boiler house, and chimney . . . 3,700 

4. Sundry works, (supposed to include pump) . . 2,000 

5. Stand or slope pipe and summit reservoir . . 3,300 

6. Contingencies and engineering . . . 4,700 



Equal to $108,316, (should be $103,192.) 



£22,400 



It may be worth while to notice that there is a difference between 
the wine gallon of Mr. Wicksteed and that of the commissioners ; 
Mr. Wicksteed's weighing 8 lbs., and that of the commissioners, 
8.35 lbs. Mr. Wicksteed's estimate is for raising 2 millions imperial 
gallons per day, and the commissioners quote him as for 2^ millions 
wine gallons per day. The difference is near 100,000 wine gallons 



47 

per day. As, however, my object is to follow our commissioners, I 
shall not further notice this discrepancy. 

In this estimate of the commissioners, it will be observed that item 
No. 2 is an entire mistake, as explained in Mr. Wicksteed's remarks, 
and must be omitted. No. 4 was supposed by the commissioners to 
embrace pumps ; but Mr. Wicksteed informs us that pumps were 
embraced in item No. 1. What the " sundry works" of Mr. Wick- 
steed did embrace, I do not know ; but it is probable it was intended 
to cover some incidental or preparatory work which the commission- 
ers have otherwise provided for. Although I do not know that this 
is so, yet as it is certain that pumps are not embraced in it, I feel at 
liberty to reduce this item to <£1000. It is still further to be noticed 
that Mr. Wicksteed allows 20 per cent. (<£'1,700) for " contingencies, 
including engineering." Now, as the commissioners have not in the 
other portions of the work made so large an allowance, it clearly 
ought not to have been done here. The most that should be allowed 
here is the 10 per cent, which has been elsewhere allowed for 
contingencies. 

Making these deductions, the table should stand thus : 

1. Engine and boilers ...... £7,500 

2. Engine house, &c. ..... 3,700 

3. Sundry works ....... 1,000 

4. Stand or slope pipe and reservoir . . . 3,300 

5. Contingencies, 10 per cent. ..... 1,550 



Equal to $83,351. 



£17,050 



Now, I again ask if this be not a fair, perfectly fair, estimate, 
upon the basis of Mr. Wicksteed ; and ought not the table of the 
commissioners to be correct accordingly ? It must be conceded to 
be so. 

But this was an estimate for working under a head of 150 feet. 
Our commissioners did not propose to have the head over 140 feet; 
and yet they have not allowed one cent difference. Is this right ? 
Is it fair ? 

Although the other items, embracing appurtenances which must be 
on about the same scale, whatever shall be the power of the engine, 
I apprehend that there can be no good reason why No. 1 (engine 
and boilers) should not be reduced in nearly the same ratio in 
which the intended work is reduced. It may not be exact, but it 
cannot be far from correct. Reducing this item in the ratio in which 
the head is reduced, (say 21 feet,) and the table will be as follows : 



48 

1. Engine and boilers * . . . . . £6,450 

2. Same as before ...... 3,700 

3. Same as before ...... 1,000 

4. Same as before ...... 3,300 

5. Contingencies, 10 per cent. ..... 1,445 



Equal to $76,373. 



£15,895 



Estimate of commissioners .... $108,316 

" corrected, as it clearly should be . . . 76,873 



Overestimate of the commissioners . . . $31,443 

But this is on one engine. The commissioners have provided for 
four. Though this is one more than 1 should think necessary, and 
one more than practically ever would be built for the work, I do not 
propose to reduce the number. 

The 2d engine the commissioners estimate, (p. 55) $65,340 

Mr. Wicksleed estimates it at £12,300; but, corrected for 

less pressure, should be £11,250 = 54,337 

Overestimate of the commissioners $11,003 

On p. 56, the commissioners estimate the cost of engines 3 and 4 

at same as No. 1 and 2, say . . . $173,656 

Add for slope pipe . ... 3,000 

$176,656 

We have shown that the first costs only . . . $76,873 

And the second only ..... 54,337 

To which add for slope pipe ..... 3,000 

The cost of third and fourth engines, &c. . . . $134,210 

Which, taken from estimate of commissioners . . . 176,656 

Overestimate of commissioners .... $42,446 

Let us now sum up the overestimates of the commissioners, viz. : 

1. On pipe from summit reservoir to Corey's Hill . • $26,080 

2. On 1st engine, &c. ..... 31,443 

3. On 2d do. 11,003 

4. On 3d and 4th do. .... • 42,446 

Total $110,972 

" The total cost (say the commissioners, p. 119) of obtaining a 
daily supply of 1^ millions gallons from Charles River, will be 
$146,973 more than to obtain the same quantity from Long Pond." 



49 

If from from this balance against Charles River . . $146,973 

We take the above overestimates . . . . 110,972 

The balance against Charles River is reduced to . . $36,001 

I now propose to say a few words upon the estimates of commis- 
sioners for land and water damages ; and first of those of Long 
Pond. These the commissioners estimate at the gross sum of 
$165,000. No one is more sensible than myself of the difficulty of 
arriving at a fair estimate of the damages under consideration; and 
no one is more sensible than myself of the impolicy of public com- 
missioners putting them at a very high rate. Still, I must enter my 
protest against the continued repetition of estimates which nobody 
places any confidence in. I apprehend there is not a citizen of Bos- 
ton sufficiently verdant to expect to liquidate these legal claims for 
damages for any sum near the one named by the commissioners. I 
entertain no doubt that if those who are legally interested in the mat- 
ter should offer to compromise their claims for the gross sum of 
$300,000, nine out of every ten citizens who have given any atten- 
tion to the subject, would think the public interest of the city unrea- 
sonably jeopardized by a rejection of the proposal. 

Now let us look at Charles River. The commissioners, on the 
authority of somebody, not named, puts the water right at Water- 
town at $50,000; and they urge the importance of purchasing the 
whole right. Though I think it certain that the whole might be 
obtained for considerably less than $50,000 ; I know that the right to 
draw three times as much water as the commissioners found some- 
times running in the river by their guage, could be obtained for less 
than $25,000. At that very time I had in my power a clear well- 
defined right, subject to no control or interference from other owners, 
(who had no right to draw a gill till I had drawn to the extent of my 
right,) to draw near or quite 30 millions gallons per day. This right 
was at the service of the city for $25,000. 

Why, then, it was important to buy the other I'ights, which could 
scarcely be anything more than rights to use surplus water, and pay 
therefor $25,000, it is difficult to conjecture. 

I do not intend, however, to go minutely into these matters. I 
mean merely to convey the idea, in which I believe nearly every 
one will acquiesce, that the estimated damage for water rights in the 
Long Pond plan is too small ; and that in the Charles River plan is 
too large. And between the two I intend to claim^the sum of 
$36,000; a sum which, though not demonstrably allowable,! believe 
few would feel disposed to question the reasonableness of. 

Taking this for granted, I have shown that, on the basis of Mr. 
7 



50 

Wicksteed's estimates, corrected to the exact circumstances of our 
case, and substituting one large pipe for two smaller ones between 
the country reservoirs, and leaving all the other estimates just 
as the commissioners have left them, 7^ millions wine gallons daily 
can be delivered on Corey's Hill as cheaply from Charles River as 
from Long Pond. I do not see how a fair-minded man can resist 
the force of the calculations that lead to this result. 

What, then, are the advantages claimed by me for the Charles 
River plan, ove'r the Long Pond plan ? I will proceed to state them. 

On pp. 121 and 2, the commissioners give, in the following table, 
their views of the increase of the city. To this I do not object, 
though it seems to exhibit rather a rosy tint. I should not, however, 
be satisfied with any scale of works that would not be adequate to 
meet the reasonable demands of as large an increase of population 
as is here contemplated, and within the time specified. 

The present population is . . . . . 115,000 

Estimated increase in the next 5 years, at 25 per cent. . 28,750 

The population at ihe end of 5 years .... 143,750 
Esiiinated increase in the 2d 5 years, at 20 per cent. . 23,750 

I^opulation at the end of 10 years .... 172,500 

Estimated increase in the 3d series of 5 years, at 12 per cent. 20,700 

Population 15 years from this time .... 193,200 

Estimated increase for the 4th series of 5 years, at 10 per cent. 19,320 

Population at the end of 20 years .... 212,520 

To this estimate I propose to add a population of 37,480, — making 
the whole 250,000, — to be attained in 10 additional years, or in 30 
years from the present time. This seems to be necessary in order 
to attain a population that shall, on the quantity allowed by the com- 
missioners to each inhabitant, create a demand for the whole of the 
supply proposed to be furnished. And as the number proposed for 
increase in these additional 10" years is very nearly double the in- 
crease of the preceding 5 years, I presume that no objection will be 
made to its reasonableness. 

The commissioners propose to supply 30 gallons to every indi- 
vidual of population. We begin, then, with a population of 115,000, 
and a demand for (115,000X30) 3,450,000 gallons per day; and 
we go on, at various rates of increase, so that in 30 years we come 
to a population of 250,000, and a demand for (250,000X30) 
7,500,000 gallons per day, the full amount on which the estimates 
are made. 



51 

I propose, then, to enter into a calculation, and see what difference 
it will make to the city at the end of 30 years, when the 7i millions 
will first be called for, whether it select Long Pond or Charles River 
as the source of supply. This is a point entirely overlooked by the 
commissioners. But I apprehend the results will' show that they 
might about as well have overlooked everything else. 

There is, I apprehend, no pretence that economy in construction 
of conduit or pipes from either source, would be greatly advanced 
by leaving additions to be made as the demand should increase. I 
am not sensible that anything could be gained on the Long Pond 
route, except the expense of one pipe of 3000 feet, for a few years. 
But, as on the Charles River plan, a line of pipes of 8000 feet, 
though smaller, might be deferred for equally long time, it can be no 
injustice to the Long Pond plan to suppose every part of both works 
to be constructed at the outset for the full amount, (7J- millions,) 
except the engines and appurtenances ; which should be furnished 
when needed. 

As we commence with a demand greater than 21 millions per day, 
the only item of construction that can be deferred, is the 4th pump 
and appurtenances, which is same as cost of 2d pump, $54,337. 

At the rate of increase proposed by the commissioners, in 9 years 
the number of inhabitants will be 166,750, which, at 30 gallons per 
head, will come up to a consumption of 5 millions per day ; and 
then I would propose the 4ih engine should be erected. 

What, then, would be the saving in 30 years, arising from de- 
ferring the erection of the 4th engine for 9 years ? Clearly the com^ 
pound interest on $54,337 for 9 years, when the principal is to he 
deducted, and compound interest to be calculated on the remainder 
for 21 years. 

$54,337 in 9 years, amounts to .... $84,294 

From which take the principal then put into the engine . 54,337 

Leaves . . . . . • • $29,957 

This sum, in 21 years, amounts to very nearly $89,871. I say 
very nearly, because in this case and the following, I assume 
that a sum doubles in 14 years, at 5 per cent. : which is not exactly 
the case, though very nearly. 

We now go to the current annual expenses. It must be borne in 
mind that what we are now aiming at is to show how differently the 
city will stand 30 years hence, when the demand is assumed to be 
7^ millions gallons per day, if the Charles River plan be adopted, 
from what she will if the Long Pond plan be adopted, In estimating 



52 

the annual saving, therefore, in current expense, we do not get the 
whole ; for, in order to compare one plan with the other, the current 
expenses are represented by a capital which, at 5 per cent., 
would yield a sum sufficient to pay them. Whatever sum there is 
saved in any one year, represents a capital, the use of tchich is de- 
ferred one year ; and the real saving on that year, 30 years hence, 
is the interest on thai capital for one year, compounded at 5 per cent. 
for the complement of SO years. But as the calculation for each year 
would be complex and tedious, I propose to divide the whole term 
into periods of five years. 

To pump Tg- millions gallons per day, the commissioners estimate 
(p. 58) the current expense at 834,386, — representing a capital of 
8687,731. 

We begin with 115,000 inhabitants. 

In 5 years we have 143,750 " 

i 258,750 

Gives 129,375 " 

the average number to be supplied during the first 5 years ; and, at 30 
gallons per head, the quantity to be pumped daily will be 3,881,250 
gallons. Our first inquiry is, what will be the annual current ex- 
penses of pumping this quantity ? 

We have seen that the engine will raise 89 millions lbs. = 
10,658,682J- gallons, 1 foot high, with 100 lbs. coal ; or, what is 
equivalent, 3,881,250 gallons 1 foot high, with 36.414 lbs. coal. 
Hence, to raise this latter quantity 129 feet, will require 36.414 X 129 
:= 4697.4 lbs. per day, or X 365 =: 1,714,551 lbs. per annum. 
This is = 765.425 gross tons, which, at $6 per ton, (the price 
estimated by the commissioners,) will cost 84,593 per annum. 

The other annual expenses are put down by the commissioners, 
p. 57, for raising 5 millions per day. I am entitled to a reduction 
in the three last items, on account of the diminished work and 
value of the engines ; but for this I will take some equivalent in 
the next pei'iod of 5 years. 



Say 1st engineer 


. $821,25 


Two assistants 


1277,50 


Four firemen .... 


. 1825 


Oil, hemp, &c. 


1452 


Repairs, &c., 2 per cent, on $277,972 


. 5559,44 


Insurance, I, valued 1 per cent. 


2084,79 




$13,019,98 


Add for coal .... 


. 4,593 



Total annual expense in the first 5 years $ 17,613 



63 

This represents a capital, at 5 per cent, of . . S 352,260 

Take this from the estimate of the commissioners above 687,731 

Leaves amount uncalled for in 5 years . . . $335,471 

The interest accruing on this sum in 5 years, is $92,684 ; and 
this, in the remaining 25 years, amounts to $317,861. 

In the second period of 5 years the average number of inhabitants 
to be supplied will be — .'^ + ' -^ , _. 158^125. At 30 gallons each, 
4,743,750 gallons will be in demand daily. To raise this amount 
requires 936.255 gross tons coal ; which at $6 = 85,618 per annum. 
The other expenses of this period will be same as in the first 5 
years, except the last or tenth year, when it is supposed the 4th 
engine will be put in, and some provision be made for working it a 
small part of the time. But, as I have allowed the full amount of 
incidental expenses as estimated by the commissioners when I was 
justly entitled to a reduction, I think I have allowed fully enough for 
all the practical extra expense required in the 10th year. I shall, 
therefore, consider the other annual expenses in this 

5 years, same as in the first .... $13,020 

Add for coals ....... 5,618 



Total . . $18,633 

This represents a capital ..... $372,760 
Take this from estimate of commissioners . . . 687,731 



Leaves amount uncalled for in 10 years . . . $314,971 

The interest accruing on this sum in 5 years, is $87,021 ; and 
this in the remaining 20 years, amounts to 8248,010. 

In the tliird period of 5 years the population will average 
173,500+193,200 ^ ig2^850 ; and the daily demand for water 5,485,500 
gallons. To raise this quantity will require 1,0821 gross tons coal, 
at ^Q = 86,493. 

The other expenses must now be estimated on 4 engines; but as I 
am going to claim no offset for any overestimate before of the com- 
missioners, I shall now reduce this estimate of incidental charges to 
the reduced work and value of the machinery. See table of the 
commissioners, p. 58. 

Engineers and firemen, same as commissioners . . $5,475 

Oil, &c., reduced as 150 to 129 . . . . 1,873 
Repairs on building and machinery, leaving out slope pipe and 

reservoirs, &c., say $200,000, at 2 per cent. . . 4,000 

Insurance on $ 175,000, at 1 per cent. . . . 1,750 

$ 13,098 



54 

This I regard as a liberal estimate ; and if any one will go through 
the details, I believe it will be found so. 

The annual expense for the third period of 5 years, will be, for coal $ 6,493 
^nd for other expenses . " . . . 13,098 

$ 19,591 

This represents a capital of ..... $391,820 
Take this from estimate of commissioners . . . 687,731 

Leaves amount uncalled in 15 years . . . $295,911 

The interest accruing on this sum in 5 years, is $81,755 ; and this, 
in the remaining 15 years, will amount to $171,685. 

In the fourth period of 5 years the average population will be 
]on.9nn+oi2.52o ^ 202,860 ; and the daily demand for water 6,0S5,S00 
gallons. To raise this will require 1200 gross tons coal ; which at 
$6 will cost 

$7,200 
Other expenses, as before ..... 13,098 

$ 20.298 

This represents a capital of ..... $405,960 

Take this from estimate of commissioners . . . 687,731 

Leaves uncalled for in 20 years . . . .• $281,771 

The interest accruing on this sum in 5 years is $77,773 ; and this, 
in the remaining 10 years, will be $113,744. 

If we allow half the increase of 10 years, to come upon the Jifth 
term of 5 years, as it no doubt should, the population will average in 
that term 221,890; and the daily demand for water will be 6,656,700 
gallons. To raise this quantity will require 1314 gross tons coal; 
which, at $6, will cost 

$7,884 
Other expenses, as before ..... 13,098 

$ 20,982 

This represents a capital of ..... $419,640 
Take this from estimate of commissioners ^ . . . 687,731 

Leaves uncalled for in 25 years .... $268,091 

The interest accruing on this sum in 5 years, is $74,069 ; and this 
in the remaining 5 years will amount to $94,532. 

In the sixth period of 5 years the average population will be 
240,630 ; and the daily demand for water will be 7,218,900 gallons. 



To raise this quantity will require 1424 gross tons coal ; which, at 
$6, will cost 

$8,544 
Other expenses, as before ..... 13,098 



$21,642 



This represents a capital of .... . $432,840 

Take this from the estimates of commissioners . . 687,731 



Leaves uncalled for in 30 years .... $254,891 

The interest accruing on this sum in 5 years, is $74,422. 

Here we arrive at the period of 30 years, when the population is 
supposed to be 260,000, and the demand for water is 7^ millions 
gallons per day. Here I propose to stop, although it is obvious that 
the advantages of the river scheme over the pond scheme is not 
attained until we arrive at a period when the current expenses of 
pumping shall represent the sum estimated by the commissioners, 
$687,731 ; a period apparently far distant at the end of the 30 yeai's. 

We will now sum up. 

Saving arising from deferred expense of 1 engine 9 years $ 89,871 

" " " current expenses in 1st 5 years 317,861 

2d " 248,010 

" • " 3d " 171.685 

.. .. « » a 4th " 113,744 

" " " '* " 5ih " 94,532 

" " " " " 6th " 74,422 



Total $1,110,125 

Thus it appears that by adopting the Charles River plan, the city 
will save, in 30 years, one million one hundred and ten thou- 
sand ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FIVE DOLLARS; a sum greater 
than the whole estimated cost of the Long Pond works to Corey's 
Hiil, including the reservoir. 

In coming to this result I must repeat that I have endeavored to go 
upon no doubtful data, or to press doubtful points. All the calcula- 
tions have been made by myself, except in the instances where the 
formula of Prony has been applied to the discharge of pipes; in 
these cases the calculations have been made by a friend. Possibly, 
in my work some errors may be found ; for the reader must be 
aware that my labors are not paid for at such a rate as to command 
the degree of attention necessary to secure perfect accuracy. I, 
however, am aware of no mistakes ; and if they have occurred, they 
are as likely to be against me as in my favor. 1 have already 



56 

stated that, in casting the interest on long periods, I have considered 
tlie sum as doubling in 14 years, — which is not precisely accurate, 
but the error cannot be important. 

Now, if these calculations are made on a basis that cannot be 
shaken; if they come as near to demonstration as the nature of the 
subject will admit, as I believe they do, — is it too much to ask of the 
reader to weigh this final result fairly, and without bias. Consider 
how far the saving here proposed would go to furnish the school 
houses, and the enlargement of our eleemosynary and disciplinary 
institutions, which the increase of the city is certain to render neces- 
sary. Then let him determine what the city ought to do, on pre- 
cisely the same grounds as if the matter were one of individual con- 
cern, and the whole results were to rest on his own shoulder. 

But my case is by no means closed with the above result. I have 
allowed 30 gallons to every inhabitant, as soon as he appears on 
the stage. Now, I believe this is too much ly one half. I do not 
mean to express the opinion that the city will not arrive to a con- 
sumption of 15 gallons per head daily, though I am not prepared to 
admit that that is not a reasonably supply ; but I mean to say that, 
ir, opinion, the consumption for the first 15 years will fall so 
mlacn short of an average of 15 gallons per head daily, as to allow 
the consumption after that period to far exceed that average, and 
still the expense for pumping during the whole period of 30 years 
will not exceed that necessary for delivering 15 gallons per head 
daily. 'Jhe greatest saving will be in the first years,, when from the 
interest accruing it will tell most favorably upon the final result. 

The results, then, to which I have arrived, seem to me conclu- 
sively to show, — 

1st. That in no single point is the water of Long Pond proved by 
this Report, taken with other facts, to be superior to that of Charles 
River. 

2d. That the water in Charles River is much the most abundant. 
And, 

3d. That the expense of introducing a supply from Charles River, 
in any quantity as it may be needed, is very much less than from 
Long Pond ; — say $1,110,125. 

I had intended to add to this review some remarks upon the 
importance of securing an universal use, as distinguished from an 
universal abuse, of the water, when it shall be introduced. But, as 
the labor of this review has been much greater than I expected, and 
as it has been already protracted to a length which I fear the reader 
will regard as tedious, I have thought it best here to dismiss the 
subject. 



BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 

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