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sition the 5 per centum which the several banks are by their charter bound to supply on similar terms as to the four millions of dollars. I am prepared to supply the money, to the additional extent.

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"On the same terms as to the instalments, which if desirable, could be modified, I offer par for those amounts, and consider immaterial by which of the banks, or by what arrangement the payment of the interest, the transfer of the stock and issuing of the certificates is executed, provided it is done in the city of Philadelphia.

"I am ready within 15 days, if these proposals should be accepted to commence their performance.

"I am, &c. (Signed) THOS. BIDDLE."

WEATHER.

On Sunday last, (31st ult.) the Delaware was closed by ice,so that there has been skaiting upon it ever since. "On Monday and Tuesday the remarkable phenomena of passable sleighing without snow. The rain that. had fallen, congealed immediately, and some few sleighs were seen and heard. The boys, however, had the best of the bargain; they occupied the side walk, mounted on their skates, and appeared to be in the possession of perfect enjoyment. The trees were covered with a thick coat of ice, which presented a beautiful appearance as the branches waved slightly in the sun light. The attention of those citizens who passed along Chestnut street, in the evening, was especially directed to the double rows of trees in front of the State House; in the soft light of the moon, they appeared like the work of magic-the larger branches reflecting a silvery light, and the extremities, that moved slightly, flashing the hues of the rainbow; while beneath and around them, hundreds of lads were sporting with rapid movement, and wheeling with astonishing celerity, like a band of U. S. Gaz.

fairies."

Cincinnati,
Lexington,
Huntsville,
Tuscaloosa,
Mobile,

New Orleans,

The distances are taken from the post-office book.In general, the roads were in a bad state, and in some cases very heavy.

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121

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Gibraltar,

358

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Hayti,

138

Street Commissioner's do.

365

Clerks of Councils, do.

200

Danish West Indies,
British American Colonies,

442

129

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THE

REGISTER OF PENNSYLVANIA.

DEVOTED TO THE PRESERVATION OF EVERY KIND OF USEFUL INFORMATION RESPECTING THE STATE.

VOL. V.-NO. 7.

EDITED BY SAMUEL HAZARD.

PHILADELPHIA, FEBRUARY 13, 1830. NO. 111.

ALLEGHENY PORTAGE.

Report of Moncure Robinson, principal Engineer upon the
Allegheny portage.

To the Board of Canal Commissioners of the State of
Pennsylvania.

GENTLEMEN,

By the resolutions of the Board of the 8th of Decr. last, appointing me the engineer of the Allegheny portage, my attention was directed to three points, "1st, the construction of a rail-way overcoming the summit by means of stationary engines, or self-acting planes, with intermediate levels, or moderately ascending planes. 2d, the construction of a Macadamized turnpike of the best kind, between the same points. 3d, the suggestion of any other plan which might occur to me as calculated to afford the best accommodation to trade."

It was further resolved,

"That Mr. Robinson be directed as soon as he shall have made the necessary examinations, to furnish the beard with his views and opinions in detail."

Agreeably to this resolution, I have now the honor to submit to the board the following report:

Two considerations of less moment in the location of a canal, become objects of indispensable attention in that of a rail-road, and in determining its profile, viz: the amount and the direction of the trade to be anticipated on it; a knowledge of each fact, as far as it can be ascertained, is essential to a decision between rival routes, where it becomes often a question how far a more eligible trace may be justified at an enhanced cost. The proportion of trade, or its relative distribution in each direction, has its influence where no such question is to be settled, because on this ratio depends the graduation which may be advisable for each portion of the roadway, and which of course, is to be approached as nearly as it can be attained, without incurring an expense more than commensurate with the object.

quite as strongly the greatest practical diminution of the amount of absolute power required; or, in other words, that the mountain should be crossed at the least elevation, and by a line of the least length which may be attainable. If, as is believed, the rail-way will in a few years have nearly as large an amount of trade as it can accommodate, al! elevation beyond what is necessarily encountered, any unnecessary increase of distance and obstacles arising from unnecessary curvatures, will form a perpetual tax on this trade, which ought as far as possible, to be avoided.

Preliminary to the trace of any route, a full examination was made of the summit, as far north and south as there was the least probability that a line would cross. It resulted in ascertaining the fact, that the Sugar run summit, to which attention had been first drawn by Mr. Blair, and across which one of the lines of Mr. Roberts had been traced, was the most reduced point within the range of the contemplated connexion at which the mountain could be crossed. It next became an object of inquiry how far a diminished elevation might be attained by tunneling.

Bends of level were traced on each side of the mountain, (where the information sought for was not afforded by previous surveys,) so as to show by the proximi ty of these lines when plotted, the points which presented themselves under the most favourable aspect, and examinations were afterwards made on the ground at these points. It was ascertained that south of the northern turnpike, a more reduced elevation than that of the Sugar run summit, could not be effected without incurring the expense of a tunnel of unreasonable length, and more than proportional expense; that north of the Blair's gap turnpike, two points presented themselves affording more than ordinary facilities; that at one of them, a short distance north of Samuel Lemon's tavern, a summit level one hundred feet lower than the Sugar run summit might be effected by a tunnel of a mile, that In a report of the 4th of December last, on a proposat a second point one and a half miles further north, the ed rail-way connexion between the Susquehanna and Schuylkill, I took occasion to consider this subject in some detail. The conclusion was deduced that between the Susquehanna and the dividing ground, that is to say, in the direction of greatest transportation, the ascending Setting aside the point of elevation, it was further apgraduation per mile should be reduced to its minimum, parent on a mere view of the country, that the greatest the remaining ascent being overcome by inclined planes facilities for the location of a valuable line of rail-way, and stationary power at points of convenient location. would not be presented south of the turnpike, and it The reasoning which led to this conclusion, applies with appeared from the surveys of the preceding season greater force to the Allegheny portage. There can be that any practicable line in this quarter could not be mano doubt that the trade must be immense on a line of terially, if at all,shorter than one passing along the westrail-way, intended to connect the east and west, and two ern slope of the Allegheny mountain, crossing at the divisions of canal, each of which passes through a dis-point first named, and descending by the Blair's gap valtrict peculiarly fertile in most valuable but ponderousley. Under these circumstances it was evident, that furminerals, and almost as little that whatever may be the ther examinations might, without hazard, be confined to present ratio of that trade, that from the west to the east must after a time preponderate.

summit level might be reduced 200 feet by a tunnel of a mile and one sixth: the greatest height of the comb of earth, in the former case being 177 feet, in the latter 240 feet.

such lines as would cross the summit, either at the Sugar run gap, or at one or other of the points above named, as far as favorable to a reduction of the summit

No views which would be new in confirmation of the opinions here expressed, can be offered to the consid-level. eration of the board. Under this impression, they are submitted without comment.

The line first traced was that erossing immediately north of Samuel Lemmon's tavern, this appearing on a The same views, however, which recommend a cheap-reconnoissance of the ground, to combine more comer power than that of horses on a railway which is to traverse the Allegheny, and the largest facilities which can be afforded on the graduated portions of it, urge VOL. V.

13

pletely than any other the recommendations of reduced elevation, diminished distance and relative facility. A topographical plan and profile of this line revised at each point, which admitted of any material improvement, is

ern division of the rail-road from S DMI to the head of the proposed basin, is twenty-seven miles and ninetythree poles, and the whole distance between the two basins thirty-eight miles and fifty-one poles.

herewith presented. It will be unnecessary to trouble converted into a large and commodious basin by raising the board with a detail of the extended and minute ex- Livergood's dam and embanking on the opposite flat; aminations which have led to the conclusion that it pre-deducting this distance, the whole length of the westsents in an eminent degree the most eligible route for a rail-road, or the plan contemplated by lifts and levels. It may be proper however to remark, that the line which crossed at the more reduced summit was with much reluctance abandoned, and only after it was discovered that it would prove much more expensive; on the west-rail-road and of connection with the canals east and west ern side of the summit much more circuitous, and that insuperable difficulties would attend the location of lifts along the Sugar run valley.

The line adopted may for convenient consideration be classed in two divisions, commencing at a BM on a beech, on a branch of Clearfield north 45° 30′ west, of Lemmon's 2,004 feet above our summit level, and going east, it curves on a radius of 500 feet to the western entrance of the tunnel at station 5. After piercing the mountain it is located on the steep slopes S. of the N. branch of the Blair's gap run, falling at five points, by inclined planes and in the intervening distances, at a graduation varying between 3-100 ths and 32-1000 ths of a foot per ten feet. The foot of the last inclined plane is located about six miles from the eastern entrance of the tunnel, and about one third of a mile below the Blair,s gap inn. From this point the hills fall away on each side of the Blair's gap valley, and become too much indented with ravines to admit of retaining such a gradation as would have been preferred. It has been found practicable, however, so to distribute the fall of the valley as to give an average descent per mile from the foot of plane No. 5, east to Hollidaysburg.

The points adopted as points of termination for the of the mountain, are recommended after much consideration. It will be proper to explain to the board at some length, the reasons which have led to the conclusion that they are on the whole the most advisable.

It will be observed, on examination, that the profile of the western part of the proposed rail road from the foot of the inclined plane No. 4, to its point of termination is well adapted to the use of locomotive engines. A motive power may in consequence be adopted on this part of the rail road, peculiarly eligible, where expedi tion becomes an object, and better adapted than any other to the case of a profile within the limits of locomotive graduation, and which for other power would not be advantageous. On the other hand there is little doubt that an ample supply of water for locks of even the small lift of five feet cannot be commanded from the Conemaugh, above the confluence of the south branch. This circumstance would have appeared decisive against an extension of the canal above Johnstown, had it been clear that an increased quantity could not have been obtained elsewhere. It was deemed proper, however, to omit no view of the subject, which could with propriety be taken under the instructions given, and which A short distance below this village the rail road will might be desired by the board. Examinations were acconnect with the eastern division of Pennsylvania canal, cordingly commenced with the view of ascertaining and the last 1538 feet of the line located, terminating at what further supply could be commanded at the conflusection 308, would be parallel with the proposed basin.ence of the Munster and Ebensburg branches. Excluding this distance, and computing from S BMI, to the head of the basin, the length of the eastern di-pensive, for five and a half miles, may be taken from vision of the rail road will be ten miles and two hundred and seventy-eight poles.

It is ascertained that a feeder which would not be ex

the Bedford and Cedar swamp branches of the south branch, immediately above their junction, and brought without any material difficulty to a depressed point in the dividing ground between the Conemaugh and South branch. From this point (a little south of William Brookbank's, on the Johnstown road,) it would be necessary to conduct the water by a vault of five feet dibe discharged into one of the sources of Ephraim's run, and thence find its way along the bed of that stream to the Conemaugh, two miles above the point in question. A small portion of the waters of the Clearfield might also be commanded without much difficulty, and at several points on the Conemaugh reservoirs of large capacity, could if requisite be constructed.

The first 588 poles of the western division of the rail-road passes over ground of a very gentle declivity, sloping in the first instance towards Storm's run, a tributary of Clearfield, and afterwards towards the Laurel swamp branch of the Conemaugh. At the end of this distance, the inclined planes west of the summit com-ameter, a distance of 1000 yards, after which it would mence, the line falling successively at Adam's run, Bear rock run and Ben's creek. A fourth inclined plane is located about three fourths' of a mile below Litzinger's saw-mill, and lowers the line into the valley of Conemaugh.

The graduation between these planes varies between 11-1000 and 22-1000 of a foot for each distance of ten feet, and may be made somewhat more gentle on a definitive location.

Under these circumstances, it may be deemed perfectly practicable to extend the navigation west of the dividing ground, by locks of any convenient size, seventeen miles above Johnstown, and it is not to be denied that some very material advantages would flow from such a reduction in the length of the portage. It is believed, however, that these will be overbalanced.

Station 214 at the foot of inclined plane No. 4, is 8 miles and one hundred and ninety-one poles from S B M I. From this point to the big bend of the Conemaugh, a distance of nine miles and two hundred and sixty-nine poles, the line is located (with the exception of a short distance from the foot of plane No. 4,) on the First By the increased expense of a canal in this disnorth side of the Conemaugh, and is graduated on a slope tance, locks constructed on any permanent plan would generally rising to, but in no case exceeding thirteen cost as much, or nearly as much as the rail way. To this feet and two tenths per mile. At this point, plane No. is to be added the cost of a canal embracing much diffi5 west, is located by which the line is lowered ninety-cult ground and of a feeder involving a subterraneous one and a half feet. Between the foot of this plane and passage of the length above stated. Johnstown, nine miles and twenty poles, the Conemaugh is crossed five times so as to obtain for the railroad the best and most direct line. The trace in this distance nevertheless deviates more from a straight line Thirdly-By the increased annual expenses on the than on any portion of the route; on this part of the lo- canal when completed. This item for repairs and recation the graduation is for the greater part of the dis-newals alone might perhaps be equal on the canal and tance as steep as 26 feet and 40-100 ths per mile, but at no point exceeds this descent.

The line of the rail road terminates at No. 671, near Johnstown, the last 1500 feet being at a convenient distance from an arm of the Conemaugh, which will be

Secondly-By the delay attendant on passing through as many locks as would be necessary to overcome the fall (400 feet) in this distance.

rail road, but a large number of officers would be requi red on the former work, who might be dispensed with on the latter. Their salaries at the lowest rates at which competent officers could be procured, would form a per centage on the tolls which might be anticipated, worthy

1830.]

REPORT ON ALLEGHENY PORTAGE.

of much consideration, in an estimate of the relative value of either improvement.

Fourthly-By the interruptions to a continued communication between the east and west, which might be anticipated on this part of the line.

These would arise from two causes: 1st, From the peculiar liability of a canal presenting so large an amount of lockage in a short distance, to derangement; and 2dly, the obstruction of navigation by ice at a later period in the spring and at an earlier period in the fall of the year, than on other parts of the route. This last effect would result not only from the greater elevation of this part of the line, but the peculiarly confined character of the Conemaugh valley in this distance.

The subject, however, is submitted with due deference to the better judgment of the board. Should it be their opinion that the advantages of pushing canal navigation west of the Allegheny to the highest practicable point, preponderate over the disadvantages here exposed, it may be expedient to adopt the location of the rail road only as far as plane No. 4 west; and to cause a particular estimate of the expense of a feeder from the South branch, and a canal the remaining distance to Johnstown to be made before coming to a definite decision.

99

Under these circumstances, powerful steam engines (should steam be the power adopted), will be required at planes No. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, west of the summit; but if the trade be a regulated trade, the gravity of descending trains will be nearly or quite sufficient east of it. Such a result may be attained in two ways. Either the privilege of transportation may be leased for a term of years, to individuals or a company, who should transport at fixed rates, or it may be effected by agents of the commonwealth at specified rates for toll and transportation.

I am aware of the preference which will always be given in Pennsylvania to public highways, on which the fullest competition may have play, and that very plausible objections may be made to either of the plans sug gested. It is believed, however, that one or other disposition of the portage, at any rate for some years to come, is recommended by considerations of paramount weight. 1st, By the diminished amount of power required for any given amount of business, should the proposed rail road be a public highway, five steam engines averaging seventy horse power each, at an annual expense in fuel, wear and tear, and attendance of $15,000, or other stationary power equivalent to them, will be required in addition to those stated to be necessary The eastern termination of the rail road appears to be west of the summit; and at least one-third more horse a matter of much less doubt. A basin immediately a power will be necessary on those portions of the rail bove Frankstown, would be more easily supplied with road on which it is employed. To understand this rewater from the Juniata below the junction of the Bea-mark, it will be necessary to advert to the circumstance ver dam and south west branches, but would possess no that a horse can for a short time sustain a stress of which other recommendation. The situation is represented he would not be capable for a series of hours. Should as peculiarly unhealthy, and the only building ground transportation on the contemplated rail way be effected would be either a very low flat or steep hill side. by lessees or agents of the commonwealth, horses ope Should the point at which canal navigation will termi-rating in relays would be used on the short levels of the nate east of the mountain, be as it is believed it will be road, whilst locomotive engines would be employed on in time, a large and flourishing depot, some better ac- the longer. On these short levels a horse would be cacommodation would seem to be required for the trade pable of a very great effort in ascending, because this and the inhabitants, whose pursuits may lead them to effort would be of short duration, and he should be resettle near it. The same supply of water which can be lieved in returning. It would be otherwise, however, if it commanded at Frankstown, may be commanded by the was a question of travelling the whole length of the rail feeder lines laid down in the place herewith submitted, road, ascending and descending in a trip an elevation of at a point peculiarly picturesque, said to be uncommon- 2270 feet. His load it will be obvious in this case,could ly healthy, and presenting every advantage for the head not very greatly exceed what would be his fair load of canal navigation; and one to which it may be extend from his starting point to the summit level. ed with a very slight increase of lockage.

In the description of the line of the rail road, a mere outline of the trace adopted has been given. The con sideration of the points at which stationary power must be adopted, and those at which inclined planes may be admissible, has been reserved; because a previous discussion of some points, and an exposition of certain principles on which this will depend will be necessary.

Secondly-By the opportunity which it affords of dispensing with crossing places and turns out, between the inclined planes. These on a line of rail road in a mountainous country, add materially to its expense, in consequence of the increased width of roadway they require, occasionally at difficult points and on steep slopes, but could not be dispensed with, without so regulating the traffic as that trains travelling in either direction would progress with equal speed.

Wherever on a line of rail way a trade can be regulated, self-acting planes are available. If the line of rail- Thirdly-By the superior economy, as well as expeway descend, and the trade preponderate in the direc- dition of locomotive power. This, of course, must be tion of the descent, stationary power at inclined planes given up between plane No. 5 west, and Johnstown, becomes altogether unnecessary. If a summit is to be should the rail road be a public highway; as locomotive crossed, stationary power must be made use of to an ex- engines and horses could not be advantageously made tent sufficient to overcome the preponderance of the use of on the same parts of the road. A further inconheavier trade, and the friction of the machinery employ-venience would result from this circumstance, which ed in raising it; but this heavier trade after ascending, may be made use of to lift up a lighter returning trade. Where of course, a trade on a line of railway is nearly equal, power to a certain extent becomes indispensable at each plane, in either direction from the summit. Its amount may, however, in all cases be materially diminished by such a regulation of the trade as will bring trains of waggons to the foot and head of planes at the same time.

may require some explanation.

The trade on the contemplated improvement must necessarily be irregular. During three or four months of the year at least, the canals may be expected to be to be bound up by ice, and at midsummer there will probably be but little trade to or from any point beyond Pittsburg, in consequence of the difficulties attending the navigation of the Ohio at that season. It can scarcely be expected that any competition on the proposed There can be but little doubt that the trade on the rail road, if a public highway, would insure adequate contemplated line of rail way, must be in a short time a means of transportation for what might accumulate at much heavier one from west to east, than in the oppo- each extremity of the road during those periods of the site direction. The bituminous coal of the Allegheny, year when all the avenues of trade would be open. which even now is taken ocasionally over a very bad This end, however, will be attained, if transportaroad to the villages on the Juniata, will probably of it-tion is effected by the commonwealth, or by inself be equal in weight to the whole amount of iron and merchandize returning.

dividuals to whom the privilege shall have been leased. In the latter case conditions may be affix

ed and requisitions made, which will be easily complied with, both because a given amount of power will be productive of a larger result under this than under any other arrangement; and because a surplus number of locomotive engines may be retained on those parts of the road on which they can be used, without incurring any further expense when they may be unemployed, than the amount of interest on their cost.

It remains to be added, that should transportation on the proposed rail road be effected by agents, or responsible lessees of the commonwealth, the objections which have been made to the Pennsylvania line of communication, as presenting in its portage danger of delay and uncertainty, will be in a great measure avoided; and it may not be digressing too far or hazarding too much, to express the confident belief that under such a system, transportation may be effected, not only more expeditiously, but as cheaply and with more certainty by the portage, than it could have been by a water communication across the mountain, had this last been attainable. The annexed paper marked A, presents a description, and an estimate in detail of each division of the rail road, divided into natural sections. It will be proper in this place to discuss the style of execution of the proposed improvement.

of these blocks to be drilled at two points to the depth of eight inches, and its surface to be levelled with that of the roadway. On them, blocks of white oak or lo cust notched for the reception of rails to be attached with locust trunnels. The ends and points of support of the wooden rails to be secured in these blocks by a key so as to admit of removal, raising or shifting to the one side or other of the groove, in the simplest manner. The advantages of this construction are believed to be material, not only the rail is elevated and less exposed to the operation of causes which produce decay, but the inconvenience arising from a slight settling of the foundation may be at once remedied by a removal of the key and raising the rail, or if the parallelism of the rail way should be disturbed by shifting the rail laterally.

The least weight to which it has so far been found expedient to reduce locomotive engines, including the fu el and water with which they should be furnished at each point of supply, is six and a half tons, or about 24 tons more than the weight of the cars and their loads which are contemplated on the rail road. To meet this increased stress, the following construction is proposed on those parts of the rail road, on which machinery will be employed; or between plane No. 4, west, and Johns

Two feet cubes of stone to be imbedded as before on broken stone, 7 feet apart from centre to centre in the direction of the rail road, and on these cubes sills of white oak or locust extending across the track to be bolted. The wooden rails to be keyed into the sills as in the former instance into the blocks. The only dif ference in the principle of the two constructions, it will be observed consists in extending the sills across the rail road track. This construction which would not be advisable on other parts of the rail road on account of its interference with the horse-path, is recommended on that portion on which locomotive engines will operate on account of its superior solidity.

The width of the roadway formation will be twenty-town. one feet. This will admit of two tracks of five feet width each, an intervening space of three feet, a foot path and drain on sloping ground; or of two tracks and two foot paths on embankments. In the few cases of deep cuttings which occur, an extra width proportioned to the length and depth of the cut will be required. Embankments, when but small vents are requisite to paзs streams or spring torrents, are generally preferred to bridges, and in the formation of inclined planes where the profile of the surface is much depressed below that of the plane, the requisite graduation is attained by embankments or walling, and in no case by trusses. Undoubtedly a considerable saving in first cost would accrue from the substitution of wooden bridges, and frames of timber for the heavy walls and embank-inch by two inches are proposed for those parts of the ments which are contemplated. When it is recollected, however, that the great weight of a train of rail road wagons would expose such structures to a stress under which they would occasionally yield, and that the destruction of one of them from this cause, or by a mis chievous incendiary, might produce an interruption to trade during weeks or months, the propriety of dispensing with them, except under particular circumstances, will be at once perceived.

In the superstructure of the rail road more economy may be exercised than in grading or roadway formation. The cheapness of timber, and the facility with which they may be renewed, will recommend in the first instance at any rate, wooden rails plated with iron bars in preference to rails of malleable or cast iron. superstructure of this description is recommended by the further consideration that a less expensive description of iron may be made use of for plating wooden rails, than would be required for rails entirely of metal.

A

Of course on those parts of the rail-road on which steam power is contemplated, some extra strength will be requisite. The wooden rails must be stouter, and their points of support more frequent than on other portions of the work. It will also be proper to give to the plate rails a somewhat different section and some increase of weight. On the other hand some diminution of expense will be occasioned by dispensing with a horse path on this portion of the road way.

The following construction is recommended for the superstructure of the railroad (except at inclined planes) between Hollidaysburg and the foot of inclined plane No. 4, west, or on that part of the rail road on which horse power is contemplated.

Blocks of stone 2 feet 6 inches long, 2 feet deep, and 15 inches wide, to be embedded every 84 feet apart on a layer of broken stone of the depth of 6 inches. Each

Rails 6 inches by 10 inches, and plate rails half an rail road on which horse power will be employed. For the remainder of the road and the superstructure of inclined planes, rails 8 by 12 inches, and plate rails having a cross section equal to 1 4-10ths inches will be required.

The whole cost of the contemplated improvement, it will be observed, is estimated at $936,004 87 cents.The prices allowed are deemed liberal, and believed to be sufficient to execute each description of work involved in the rail road in the most substantial manner. would of course be unwise in the extreme to execute otherwise a line of communication on which not only the value of two great divisions of canal, but of many other improvements in the state must essentially depend.

It

Next in order to "the construction of a rail way between the waters of Juniata and Conemaugh, overcoming the summit by means of stationary engines, and self-acting planes," attention was directed to the construction of a Macadamized turnpike of the best kind tween the same points.

It re

No examinations have been made especially in reference to this object during the past season, nor do any in addition to the surveys made by authority of the state in the summer of 1828, appear to be required. sults from these, that a tolerably direct route within the limit of one degree of graduation cannot be had between the points of contemplated connexion, and that whilst a rail road of the most advantageous description between Johnstown and Hollydaysburg will not much exceed thirty-eight miles, a Macadamized turnpike of the graduation above stated, between Johnstown and the head of the basin contemplated at Frankstown, (only two miles lower down) cannot fall much, if at all, short of fifty.

It may sometimes be a question whether an inferior improvement of diminished length should not be pre

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