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or are so constituted that it is to their ears a pleasant melody or a gratifying evidence of life and movement in their vicinity, see no good reason why it should be discontinued.
In dealing with this question the Board has been inclined to go to the very verge of safety in affording relief to the sufferers, but has endeavored to stop short of inviting an increase of crossing accidents, which are numerous enough at best.
The Nashua street railway was opened for business in the spring of 1886, and its return covering six months is printed elsewhere. The road is two miles in length. An extension of the Manchester horse railway from Elm street to Hallsville, a distance of a mile, was opened in the fall of 1885. The gain in street railway mileage is thus three miles, the other roads remaining the same. The earnings of the Manchester, Concord, Dover (nine months), and Laconia & Lake Village roads in 1885 were $47,801.24, and the operating expenses $12,208.28, leaving a net income of $5,593.96. In 1886 the earnings were $62,450.13, and the expenses $57,964.68, a net income of $4,485.45. This is a gain of $14,648.89 in gross earnings, and a decrease of $1,108.51 in net income. These roads carried 881,600 passengers in 1885, and 1,105,888 last year.
The Board has since its last report inspected every mile of railroad in this State, including road-beds, tracks, bridges, culverts, and stations. This work involved twenty-five hundred miles of travel, and occupied the time from October 3 to November 16. We were accompanied over their respective lines by General Manager Furber,
Superintendents Merritt, Sanborn, and Howard, and the roadmasters, of the Boston & Maine; Superintendents Todd, Stowell, and Simons, Bridgemaster Hazeltine, the master mechanic, and the roadmasters, of the Boston & Lowell; President Sulloway of the Northern; President Smyth, Superintendent Chamberlin, and the roadmasters, of the Concord; General Manager Stewart, Master Mechanic Perry, and the roadmasters, of the Cheshire; Superintendent Mulligan and the roadmasters of the Connecticut River; Superintendent Adams and several assistants of the Fitchburg; Receiver Anderson and the bridgemaster and roadmaster of the Portland & Ogdensburg; Superintendent Hay, Engineer Lloyd, and the roadmasters, of the Grand Trunk; and Superintendent Perkins and the roadmaster of the Whitefield & Jefferson. These inspections enabled us to note a generally improved condition of nearly all the roads, and to suggest such additional betterments as could reasonably be demanded last year, most of which have been secured. We shall ask for much more upon some of the upper roads whenever it is determined whether those now operating them are legally in possession. A detailed report of the permanent improvements upon each system and its physical condition last fall appears elsewhere under the head “Railroad History and Condition.”
COMPLAINTS AND IIEARINGS.
Much of the work of the Board has been of a mediatorial character. Most complaints come to us informally and often confidentially. For some reason, either because they think it would be useless or impolitic, many people hesitate to apply to superintendents and directors for a redress of grievances in railroad affairs, but they readily avail themselves of an agent that the State has provided which has power to enforce its requests, and not infre
quently their complaints result in a correction of the evil complained of without any investigation or order; for in minor matters, at least, the public and the railroad managements are not so far apart in their conception of what is right as is generally supposed, and the suggestion of the Board that complaint has been made, which for the first time directs superintendents' attention to the existence of the grievance, is promptly followed by its correction. It has been the policy of the Board to adjust all that was possible without formal hearings, and these have seldom been required except in cases where the law expressly provides for them, and a record of the finding is necessary. We have been afforded by the railroad officials every facility for conducting our investigations, and in every instance they have readily complied with our orders. A transcript of the records of the clerk, showing the finding in each case that has been formally determined, accompanies this report.
Because many people buy railroad tickets where one pays a freight bill, the public measures the liberality of any railroad management more by its passenger rates and train service than by its freight tariff and accommodations, but the material prosperity of this State is much more dependent upon the facilities for shipping merchandise, and the charges for doing it, than upon what helps to make journeying cheap and easy. Every cut in fares is not a gain to the community. All our railroad lines except the Grand Trunk have their southern terminals in Massachusetts. All New Hampshire roads lead to Boston, and the growing tendency of the time is to make them channels through which much of the business that formerly engaged our men and money, and which legitimately belongs here, is poured into another commonwealth. To such an extent is this true that the cream of the retail
trade in many important lines goes from New Hampshire to Boston, carrying with it the profits of dealers, and leaving behind unemployed merchants and capital, without profiting purchasers in a pecuniary way.
There were sold in the year 1886 at Manchester 20,068 single-trip tickets to Boston, and at Concord 10,754, a total of 30,822 in these two cities, which do not embrace a sixth of the population of the State. As this does not include mileage and season tickets, which are generally used by business men and all who travel regularly or much, and as neither of these cities is a place from which many summer visitors go to Boston, it is not unreasonable to assume that nearly this number of trips were made by persons who went to that city to trade. These people put more than $100,000 into the railroad treasuries, left probably $20,000 with Boston landlords, and $500,000 or more with Boston merchants, all of which was at the expense of Manchester and Concord. The “half fare,” which intensifies this condition, is not an unmixed benefit. It is popular, and swells the receipts of the roads, but it does not protect home enterprise. But a reduction of a dollar in a freight bill is always the saving of a dollar to the State. It leaves the farmer a dollar more for his potatoes, hay, or beef. It gives the manufacturer a dollar more for his product. It cheapens a dollar the coal and groceries bought with the mechanic's wages It is not a matter of vital importance that the people of New Hampshire should travel as much or more than they do, but the existence and prosperity of most of our industries depend upon freight rates and facilities. We can scarcely hope to retain what we have, much less to secure new ones, without a freight service which will largely discount the distance that divides us from the seacoast and commercial centers. Our water-powers are not the important factors they once were. Nearly one fourth of the motive power used in New Hampshire manufac
tories is steam, and this ratio is steadily increasing, while some of the best water-privileges remain unoccupied. The location of a manufactory is now determined more by the cost of getting supplies to it, and goods from it, than by the water-power offered it; and in every manufacturing village, coal for heating, the cost of which depends largely upon freight, is the necessary auxiliary of the water-wheel. Hon. Edward Atkinson, the most eminent authority in this country upon the subject, says of the value of water-power:
“ The larger and more costly of the water-powers which have been developed in New England and the Middle States during the last forty years, with a view to the sale of water-power and land connected therewith, have proved to possess no market value whatever.
“ The writer, having been connected as an officer with several of these companies, may be considered a good witness. The waterpower of Lowell was the first one of the large powers developed upon New England rivers. The great profits of the company were made, first, in its machine-shop, in building machinery for the factories constructed in Lowell by substantially the same persons who owned the water-power; second, by charging these factories a very much higher rate per mill-power than would now be thought of or has since been attempted. The factories then constructed, with a few built since, have bought out the water-power company, and now own the power in connection with the factories. Nearly every one, if not every one, has been obliged to add a very large auxiliary steam-engine. Such is also the case on almost all the other streams, not so much because there has been a change in the rain-fall, but because the draining of the meadows and the cutting off the wood have rendered all the rivers of New England much more variable than they used to be. The corporation which owns the water-power at Manchester has been a very successful one, but the greater part of its profits has been made in its factories, and its land and waterpowers, taken as a separate investment, have never paid six per cent at simple interest upon their cost.
“ The great water-powers at Holyoke, at Lewiston, at Indian Orchard, on the Chicopee River, on the Mohawk River, on the Kennebec at Augusta, were all sold to pay their debts, with a dead loss of the original capital.
“ The writer happens to have been connected as the financial mana