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That is before the streets are taken out?
Mr. DERBY. Mr. SHATTUCK. No, sir; after the streets are taken out. This is not a matter here of speculation; it is what we know about it. There are lands here now which have been filled in, and we know what it costs, and what the estimates are. So it is not a matter of speculation merely, nor a matter of opinion, but a matter of fact. But there is an abundance of land in the market now. And there is better land than the commonwealth will have, and situated more favorably, and nearer the market than that is, nearer to State street, which can be bought for about a dollar a foot to-day. Then take the interest into account. This wall must be built at once; the filling in must take place as soon as practicable; and you will have an interest account running for forty years before that land can be sold. And there is no man who knows anything about flat property in the commonwealth of Massachusetts who would undertake this to-day, if you would give him the property, nor probably if you would throw in a million dollars besides.
Mr. DERBY. You have omitted clearing out the channel.
Mr. SHATTUCK. I am not going far into these figures. I leave out these, and give the commonwealth the benefit of twenty-five per cent undoubtedly. I leave that to my brother Derby, when he comes to cipher it out. But I say, taking the roughest and crudest estimate, there is not money enough there to pay for it. And before the commonwealth's land, before this land is all occupied, there will be, in my judgment, more money lost there than made. There are acres of land there, held now by individuals, purchased from the commonwealth which, cannot be sold for the cost and six per cent interest; there are acres of such land. And considering how the interest account is running up, and considering how it will run up during the next ten years, or the next twenty years, I venture to predict, and I am willing to have it put upon record, that before the whole territory of the commonwealth is occupied
the territory already filled
If the commonwealth had sold it, as the city of Boston has, it never would have got the money back that it cost, and interest. The city of Boston always adopted the theory, that they would not sell land to parties unless they proposed to build. They said that they did not fill up the land for parties to speculate in, but they filled it up for use. And when a party came and was ready to give a bond that they would build in six months, or a year, they were willing to sell him land. And the result was that the city lands sold without profit. But the commonwealth took a different policy, and allowed everybody to come in; and some people who bought and sold out pretty quickly have made money, and other people who bought indiscriminately have lost money. And from this time forth, there will be a great deal more money lost than heretofore by land-owners who cannot sell. This making money was exceptional, and it was owing to the favorable circumstances under which these particular flats were filled up. The commonwealth is the only party which has ever undertaken any large enterprise of this kind that has ever made any money out of it in the long run. Take even the Boston Wharf Company; it has just sold a large amount of land to the Hartford and Erie Railroad Company, and I am told upon the very best authority that the amount which they receive for it hardly covers the cost of that property and interest. It was ciphered out by Mr. Adams two years ago that the original cost to the Boston Wharf Company and the interest was over two hundred and forty, and it has been increasing ever since, and the property is only selling for about three hundred now. I have the pamphlet wherein the figures are stated. Take the Boston Mill Corporation, filling up on the north side of Beacon street. Their stock cost them par forty or fifty years ago, and they have been carrying on land operations and collecting tolls, and their stock is only worth fifty to-day. And probably the actual cost of that
there will have been more money
property- I have made no computation, and therefore cannot state with any accuracy is ten times what it is selling for in the market. And when I consider the interest account, and the location of this land, and the vast amount of land in the market, it is perfectly clear to my mind, and that I know to be the judgment of everybody who has had anything to do with filling in lands, that this enterprise will cost the commonwealth a large amount of money which will never be returned. When I have stated how much has been occupied, the committee will observe that I have not stated how much the commonwealth has sold. This computation is made up by Mr. Fuller, and I give his exact figures. Now, there are probably twenty or twenty-five houses for sale or to let on the Back Bay, showing that there is not at present any very great demand for houses there. Undoubtedly there will be. And I am assuming that we are to have prosperity for the next twenty years as we have had in the last twenty.
I now come to the question of the harbor. And I shall treat this very briefly.
The question is: what will be the effect of filling up a large part of the tidal basin of Charles River upon the harbor of Boston, or of filling up any material part?
We are fortunate, in entering upon this investigation, that we have the benefit of examinations which have been made, not only by scientific men who have approached the subject with a scientific view purely, the United States commission, but we also have a commission for Massachusetts; and we also have the report of the very able and intelligent committee of practical men who examined the subject for the legislature of 1867. I suppose it is fair to say, they approached the subject with a desire to see how much the commonwealth could realize out of the flats of Boston harbor, without prejudicing the interests of the harbor. I take it that these men approached the subject from that point of view. Let me see, therefore, what conclusion these men have come to.
Let me first consider what Boston harbor is, and how it has been maintained at its present depth.
The main channel of Boston harbor has undoubtedly been swept out in the course of ages by the water flowing in and out of the tidal basins of Mystic River and Charles River. These have kept the main channel in front of Long wharf at its present depth. And I need not argue, because it is too clear for argument that anything substantial in the amount of in-flow or out-flow of these tidal basins, without a diminution of the width of the harbor, would reduce the depth of the harbor. When, in 1820, the tidal basin of the Charles River was reduced materially by the construction of the mill-dam, it would undoubtedly have reduced the depth of the harbor if it had not been followed and accompanied by a corresponding reduction in the width of the harbor between Charlestown and Boston, and between East Boston and Boston, by the extension of wharves and the construction of bridges. But there was a corresponding reduction in the width of the harbor, and therefore there was no reduction in the depth of the upper harbor. On the contrary, instead of the width of the channel being reduced between Charlestown and Boston, the effect was at once to deepen that channel. But it did reduce the depth to some extent, of the outer harbor. That has been the effect as we find it to-day.
Now, I suppose nobody contends that the width of the harbor between Boston and East Boston and between Boston and Charlestown ought to be reduced. I suppose it has been reduced as much as is practicable. But it is proposed to reduce the width of the harbor opposite South Boston by filling out and occupying these flats.
The immediate effect, therefore, of the reduction of these tidal basins will be a reduction of the amount of water that will flow into it and out of it, and immediately, or very soon, a reduction of the depth of the harbor, unless it shall be dredged.
I am not stating any principle about which there is any question. It is a principle that has been admitted by every commis
sion that has ever sat on this question, and I believe is admitted to-day. There was, I believe, at one time a plan requiring that every foot of filling in the harbor should be compensated by a corresponding expansion of the upper tidal basins. That was found to be impracticable, simply because the outlet of the tidal basins was so far reduced that it could not allow safely the in-flow and out-flow of any more water. Therefore all parties, as I understand now, have abandoned the plan of an increase of the upper tidal basins for the purpose of scouring the harbor. At any rate, nobody, so far as I know, denies, who has ever given the harbor a careful examination, that it would be dangerous to reduce these tidal basins, unless the depth of the harbor be preserved by artificial means.
Besides these broad tidal basins act as catch-basins for the alluvial silt which comes down into the Charles River and the Mystic River; so that the water, by spreading out, and moving very slowly deposits this silt. That accounts for the forty feet of mud. So that the water, when it flows through the narrow channels of the harbor, is so pure, that in flowing in and out it operates in two ways; it reduces the amount of water which will flow in and out, and it will take away the catch basin and the deposit of silt which has hitherto prevented any very great deposit of that in the harbor.
I take it that it is admitted that the United States Commissioners have always taken this ground; and I propose, therefore, to read simply some extracts from the report of the committee of 1867.
They argue here, on page fifty-six, in favor of the occupation. of the South Boston flats, because they do not occupy a tidal basin, do not occupy any basin, and because it narrowed the channel, and therefore would improve the channel, and tend to deepen it. I read a little on page fifty-six.
"Men who are inclined to think for themselves have suggested that admitting that the filling of a cubic foot of tide water in the basin of Charles or Mystic Rivers entitles the harbor to the