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House of Representatives.

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 18, 1834. The resolution appended to the report made by the committee on the Judiciary System, in the case of Joseph Blundin, being under consideration, Mr Harrison moved to amend it by striking out all after the word "Resolved," and inserting as follows:

"That the Committee be instructed to bring in a bill in accordance with the views expressed by the petitioner."

Mr. Harrison, said he introduced this amendment in accordance with the wishes of a large number of his constituents; men of the highest respectability who believed, and honestly believed what is set forth in their petition to the legislature, that at the time Joseph Blundin committed the act for which he has been sentenced to death, he was not in a sound state of mind. The unfortunate individual was born and brought up in his vicinity, he has a family consisting of a wife and several children, and a general feeling pervades that community, that he should become the object of leg islative mercy. In addition to these wishes in behalf of Joseph Blundin, a general feeling was manifested in favour of the abolishment of capital punishment in all cases, and he was glad to perceive that the subject was likely to engage the attention of the House, and would probably be acted upon during the present session. then, it is intended to pass a law during the present session, abolishing capital punishment, he could not see how any ill effects could arise from extending the benefits of such a law to the unfortunate person in whose behalf the petition reported was presented. That report did not deny absolutely the constitutionality of legislative action upon the subject, and he hoped that if it was not unconstitutional to pass a law of this kind, something might be done in compliance with the wishes of the petitioners.


After Mr. Harrison had concluded, Mr. W. B. Reed,


Mr. Reed, (of the city) said that it had occurred to him when the memorials on which this Report is found ed, were presented by the gentleman from Bucks, that, let the decision of the committee be what it might, there would ultimately be presented a question of painful interest, for the decision of the House. He never supposed that any action of the committee would finally determine it. If the report were adverse to the prayer of the memorialist, the gentlemen whose constituents were so deeply interested in this subject, would not certainly acquiesce in it. It had resulted precisely as he anticipated, and every member who had reflected on it, must have realized the new responsibility, which the decision of such a question created. It was painful because it was new. Its effect was to give the members of this House a semi-judicial character which no one would willingly assume.-All this was the natural consequence of such applications. They may, and in this instance, did originate in the kindest and best of impulses, but it was mistaken kindness to nurse the hope of the adjudged criminal by expedients of mercy-it was mistaken kindness that had sent their memorials here, and it would be the worst of policy for the house to entertain them. If the mer cy seat is ever to be transferred hither, the Legislature will be incessantly, as it now is, wandering from its appropriate course of action and wildly assuming the powers and prerogatives of other departments of the government. Knowing as he did that this case of Blundin's did not stand alone but would be, if the ap plication succeeds, the forerunner of others equally plausible, he was glad it had been brought early to the attention of the House, and hoped that the Legislature, adhering steadfastly to its own prescribed, duties, would by its immediate action on this case, put all such ap. plications at rest, now and forever. VOL. XV.


He not only concurred fully and entirely in the views taken by the committee, but he went further, and while he asserted the palpable inexpediency of interfering here, he denied emphatically the constitutional power of the Legislature to grant the relief prayed for. It has no more right under the constitution to loosen the rope from this wretched man's throat, than it has to appoint the Judge who tried him. The prerogative of mercy is no part of our prerogative. It is lodged elsewhere, and it is lodged beyond our reach.

It will be said that this is not a prayer for special pardon and commutation, but for a general act, au. thorizing the Governor in all cases of capital conviction, to commute if he thinks proper. But it will not be pretended that this general enactment is not to apply to Blundin's case. The petitions are petitions for commutation, founded on the special circumstances of his case, and it is both in fact and in profession a petition for the special benefit of this individual, and nothing more. Now, were there no other objection, this would be a fatal one, and it was contrary to a common sense of right and wrong, to pass a retroactive law in a matter of criminal justice, by which an adjudged criminal who finds every legitimate avenue of escape shut against him; who has had his jury and his Judge, an honest tribunal and a merciful Executive to appeal to-who has pleaded his cause while it was matter of doubt, and since it has become matter of conviction, when he finds every appeal vain, comes to the power that made the law which he has confessedly violated, and asks that it may be repealed because he has broken it. No one Mr R. said, would impute to him a wish to limit the proper power of remission, or to obstruct the access of this poor creature to the proper fountain of mercy. He would in all cases leave mercy to have full sway in the mind of him to whom the constitution has confided it. He had no doubt of its honest exercise, but where is the security that laws give us, if, when the moment of enforcing their sanction comes, they are to be repealed or altered, or modified, (for it is all the same.) It may be a bloody law that brings this prisoner to his doom, but it will be a far bloodier law that alters or annuls it now. It may be a bloody and a barbarous law, but it is the law. It is the law this prisoner is adjudged to have violated-it is the law which has hurried to a grave of infamy many a guilty man before him. It is the law which till repealed we believe to be our security-and, as the law, we ask that it may be sacred and inviolate.

Mr. Reed said he objected to a concession of this The constitution has placed kind for another reason. the pardoning power solely in the hands of the Execu tive. There is not the least reason to suppose that the Executive deems this a proper case for our special interference. If the facts set forth in the petitions are true, Blundin is at least technically innocent, and though it was easy to believe that his total release might be a matter of regret, yet it would be an insult to the Execu tive to suppose that under such circumstances he would hesitate as to what was his duty. If the governor thinks this man innocent he will pardon him—if he doubts, he will reprieve him. But so far as this House knows, he neither disbelieves nor doubts; yet we, from whom the pardoning power is taken away, are called on to volunteer an int rference and say to the Executive, though you and not we, have the pow. er to pardon and remit-though the responsibility of pardoning the guilty or punishing the innocent is on you and not us, yet we will interfere and you shall neither execute nor dispense with the law- we the legislature will make, interpret and execute the laws at once.

Mr. Reed proceeded to argue in detail against the constitutional capacity of the Legislature to interpose. He confidently submitted to the candid consideration

of this House, whether after trial and judgment, there is any other dispensing power known to the Constitution but the Governor's.-A law is made defining an offence and prescribing a penalty, there is an interpretation and a judgment, nothing remains but its execution according to the law; and whether that execution shall be enforced or not, is left expressly and exclusively to the Governor. Shall the Legislature come forward, and say, though the people authorized us to make penal laws, but gave us no authority to withhold their application to special cases as casual exceptions--Though that is given to another-though Judges have interpreted and applied them-though the Executive is ready to enforce them, it shall at once be changed, and, though the prisoner has been convicted of murder in the first degree of which the punishment is death, we will try him anew so far as the sentence is concerned, and pardon him so far as his life is involved. This is a kind of judicial and executive legislation unknown to the constitution. Nor could it be enforced; for were such a law passed as is here prayed for, and Blundin were to be imprisoned for life, such a new penalty of legislative infliction could not be enforced for a single hour, and the guilty would escape by the aid of judicial process.


It is essential to keep the action of distinct constitutional powers apart. It is right to legislate for all rather than for one; to legislate, as the injunction of the constitution requires, not for the past but for the It was wholly unnecessary to refer to the merits of the case as stated in the petition, or to any peculiar claims on sympathy and commiseration. this man had been unjustly condemned and should be unjustly punished, the blood of the innocent would not be on the legislature. He hoped that the amendment would not prevail, butthat the resolution reported would be adopted and the committee discharged.


tablished upon the broad basis laid down by the con-
stitution itself. But whilst he belleved in the power of
the legislature to interfere, not only in a general man-
ner, but also in reference to this special case his opin-
ion were equally clear and decided that it would be
both improper and impolitic for the legislature to inter-
fere, in this instance, with what had been done under
the sanction of the existing laws. Upon this point his
sentiments coincided entirely with those expressed in
so able a manner by the gentleman from the city,
(Mr. Reed,) and no remarks which he could make,
could add force to the reasons already advanced by
that gentleman against the desired interference. One
thing more, however, struck him in relation to this
matter, which he would state before he sat down,
which was, that inasmuch as the people of Bucks coun-
ty have asked for the commutation of the punishment of
this individual, and would rather run the hazard of
having him let loose upon society, than see him exe-
cuted, the circumstance strongly enforces the necessity
of a general law upon the subject. In his opinion,
crime was increased by the severity of the punishment,
and he rejoiced that the attention of the legislature was
now likely to be engrossed by the question of the en-
tire abolition of capital punishment, because it was one
And although he could not vote for the amendment of
which called loudly for their consideration and action:
the gentleman from Bucks, (Mr. Harrison,) he did not
dispute the right of the legislature to commute the pun-
ishment, and he hoped that a general law would be
passed to do away capital punishment. He wished it
to be expressly understood, from a long experience
and careful observation of the penal laws, of this com-
blood should be blotted from the statute book, and
monwealth, he was strongly desirous that this law of
that a perpetual or limited imprisonment should be


The following resolution was then offered by Mr. Ayres, as an amendment:

"Resolved, That the committee on the judiciary be instructed to bring in a bill empowering the Governor or courts of justice to commute the sentence of death."

Mr. Lacock, agreed with the gentleman from Phildelphia, (Mr Reed,) fully as to the inexpediency of interfering with the due administration of justice, but he did not agree with him in opinion that the legisla ture had not power to pass an act to save the condemned criminal from his doom. The constitution certainly Mr. Ayres sustained his resolution at considerable gave them that power, and if they were disposed to length, and contended that as the government is diexercise it, there were no obstacles interposed to pre- vided into three branches, the Executive, Legislative vent that exerc se of it. There was no penal law upon and Judicial, and that each department had its proper the statute book which they had not a right to annul limits, the action of the legislature in this case, would or repeal; and if they were to pass a law abolishing be an infringement upon the province of the judiciary. capital punishment entirely, including any persons who The House in his opinion, had no legal right to intermight have been reprieved by the Governor but not fere to save the prisoner in whose behalf its interference pardoned, that law would be a binding one, and, such has been asked, especially if the sentence designed to individuals so reprieved, could not afterwards be ex- be warded off was passed in conformity with justice. ecuted. The passage of a law providing for the aboli- To the executive belongs the power of a pardon or a tion of capital punishment, would deprive the Gover- reprieve, and if the facts of the case were not of such nor, entirely, of the power to execute, pardon or re- a nature as to justify the verdict of the jury, and the prieve the criminal sentenced under laws which had a sentence which followed that verdict, the Executive prior existence, and whilst it would take from the ex- could interpose, and save the criminal from the action ecutive this power, it would also destroy the sentence of the law. At any rate, he did not doubt, that if the of the court: and if either a general or special law case was one which called for and would justify the were passed by the legislature which would go to interference of the Governor, that officer would susabolish capital punishment, it would then become ne- pend the operation of the sentence until the legislature cessary to make provision for such as had been found had decided whether capital punishment ought to be guilty of offences under a former law. He believed abolished or not. He did not think that the carrying that the legislature possessed such powers, and that into effect of the law which required the blood of the they were strictly in accordance with the views of the criminal, was productive of any good effects; on the legislature of 1794, by whom the penal code of Penn- contrary, the place of execution too frequently became sylvania was revised and modified, and who, by an act the theatre for the enactment of every species of vice passed at that session, gave those sentenced to death and crime. To punish by imprisonment, and to make under former laws, a right to choose between the pun- that punishment the certain doom of he offender, ishments inflicted by the old or the new laws. That whilst it would be a more mild, would, he thought, be the legislature possesses the power of commuting the at the same time a more effectual preventative of the punishment of death into any milder punishment they commission of crime; and according to his view, much may regard as advisable, he did not doubt, and in his good would arise to the community, from the passage view, the power thus vested in the legislature, was of a law which would do away capital punishment altochored equally by the executive who had the right to re-gether, and place in the hands of the executive, or the or pardon offenders; and that authority was es- courts of justice, the power of commuting that punish

ment for life, or for a limited term of years. Mr. Ayres made some further remarks, and was followed by Mr. Walker, who said he did not understand that the question now was whether capital punishment should or should not be abolished, it was only on the adoption or rejection of the amendment offered by the gentleman from Dauphin, (Mr. Ayres.) When that question shall arise, a diversity of opinion will doubtless exist, and it would require stronger arguments than any he had that day heard to be urged in favor of such a bill, to gain for it the votes of a very considerable number of mem-istence, where convictions have taken place of murder bers. According to his view, the question now was whether the Governor can or ought to be vested with power to commute capital punishment, and from the decision made by the House upon the amendment offered by the gentleman from Bucks, (Mr. Harrison,) it would appear that we cannot constitutionally pass a law commuting capital punishment, and if such a law cannot constitutionally be passed by the House, how can it delegate to the Governor a power which it cannot possess itself. The vote just taken has shown that the House does not think the passage of such a law as coming within the limits of its powers, and of course, it is equally incapable of delegating the same powers to either the executive or courts of justice. He was followed by

Mr. T. S. Smith, who rose to make a few remarks on the subject before the House. The vote just taken has disposed of the question in the case of Joseph Blundin. He fully concurred in the decision of the House. No legislation intended to meet special cases should be encouraged All the evils stated in the report of the committee, and many more would result from opening the doors of the legislature to applications of that kind. No individual would relinquish the hope of life till the last effort was made to save it, and the criminal would in every case be transferred from the bar, after a conviction by his peers and the judg ment of the law, to the halls of the legislature, to seek a new trial and a milder sentence. But the vote just taken, had established a precedent, which he hoped, would be followed forever hereafter. He had a strong repugnance to the passage of special acts of grace and mercy. They tend to draw from a just judgment the convicted felon, and to substitute a partial hearing, a hasty and imperfect trial, a defective examination, with all the amiable weaknesses of human nature; and the danger of corrupt influence, in the place of their deliberate procedure; the inflexible but merciful strictness of a court, and careful investigation of a jury. But the subject introduced by the motion to amend, made by the gentleman from Dauphin, is the project of a general law not applicable to the case of Joseph Blundin, nor to any one now under sentence of death. His case and the other which has been mentioned, may serve to illustrate the present argument, and are cases in point to establish the justice and humanity of enacting a law, by which the Govornor might be authorized, when a proper case is proved by subsequent disclosures, to inflict a punishment short of death, but commensurate

with the crime.

that moderate but certain penalties are more effectual in restraining crime and repairing the injury done to society, than severe and excessive punishments. Experience has taught us, that it is the duty of the Government to reform rather than to exterminate offenders, and that the punishment of death ought not to be inflicted, where it is not necessary for the public safety. We have advanced far, but we have not fully carried out in practice these salutary principles. There is something yet to be done. There are cases now in exof the first degree, and the subsequent discovery of testimony has made it manifest, that the culprit has been convicted of too high a crime. Every man can readily conceive that such cases may often occur. If the mind is suffered to dwell upon the condition of such a man, and the justice of the distinction in the law be at the same time acknowledged, it must be sensible of the cruelty of taking away a life which the law designed to spare. The contemplation of the death of one man, for the same crime for which another is punished by imprisonment, is revolting to a sense of justice. But to him who is sentenced there is no relief but through the executive, and there is no choice given to the executive, but to put to death or pardon. The criminal must either be punished beyond the design of the laws, or be let loose upon society, a blood stained culprit. Some gentlemen have thought that stained and crimsoned as he is, it would be better to pardon him, than to put it in the power of any tribunal or any individual to commute the punishment. But they lose sight of the justice due to the community. They would suffer the criminal to escape, rather than that the Governor should sometimes err in discharging the mur derer from a just penalty. That is the whole extent of the danger. The merciful maxim, that it is better that ninety and nine guilty persons should escape, than that the innocent should suffer, forbids the adoption of so severe an alternative. The plan proposed suffers neither the guilty to escape, nor those unjustly condemned to suffer. It does justice to the individual, and pro tects the community, by confiuing for life, him, whose hands are stained with human sacrifice.

He said that some gentlemen had thought that the legislature had no power to pass such a law, because it would interfere with that provision of the constitution, which gives to the governor the power of reprieve and pardon. Those who adopt the principles of construc tion applied to the constitution of the United States. In that constitution no power is bestowed that is not granted by express provision. In the state constitutions, every power is possessed by the legislature, except those that are expressly prohibited. This distinction removes the difficulty. It will not be doubted, that the power to establish such a law, resides somewhere. If it does not reside in the legislature, he said, he wished gentlemen would state where it did reside. It was certainly not in the Governor; it must then be in the Legislature, or reserved to the people. But there is nothing in the bill of rights which withholds it from the Legislature, and if the principles of construction he had stated were correct it might exercise the power.

He remarked, that whatever difficulties may arise in granted by the constitution, it cannot arise under the present project of a law. There is no design to abridge that prerogative. If the law should pass he could still reprieve he could still pardon. He would not be shorn of a single feather of his prero gitive. His constitutional power would neither be abridged nor enlarged; the sphere of his discretion would be modified. It would afford him the opportunity, when a proper case should be disclosed, to do less than pardon, to punish the guilty according to the atro

He said that in this commonwealth, before the act of the 22d April, 1794, all murder was punished with death. By that act, two degrees of murder were es-reference to interfering with the pardoning power tablished, the first and most atrocious only to be punished capitally, and the second, where mitigating circumstances were disclosed, to be punished by impri sonment at hard labor, or in solitary cells, for a term in the discretion of the courts not to exceed eighteen years, nor to be less than five years. He, who under the previous law, would have been sentenced to death by the benignant provisions of this act, may be imprisoned for the comparatively short period of five years. In this change we see no more than the progress of that spirit of mercy, which began to prevail in this Com-city of his crime. monwealth, at its earliest settlement. From that day to He thought there would be no danger in depositing the present, we have been carrying out the principle such a power in the executive hands; at least that there

is no better depository of such power. The courts of justice, the juries, grand or petit, the Legislature, or either branch of it, would be much more exceptionable. The numbers in such bodies would divide and lesson the responsibility which is less likely to be abused when its whole weight res's upon one ipdividual. In the Governor is lodged the power of pardon, a much greater power than that now proposed to be given, and if he is the proper depository of such a power there seems to be no good reason for refusing to intrust him with a less. That something should be done towards satisfying the growing disposition in the public mind to abolish the punishment of death, he thought was very obvious. The progress of better feeling and better philosophy teaches us that we should reform and not exterminate the criminal; the calls of justice and the voice of mercy require it, the constitution does not prohibit it, and the voice of the community seems to demand it.

Mr. S. F. Reed, then addressed the house. It is not, said he, my intention to reply to the many arguments which this question has elicited. I agree with the gentleman from Erie (Mr. Walker,) that if there is any power placed in the hands of the executive of this commonwealth, affecting the question before us, that power is contained in the eleventh section of the 2nd article of the constitution. [Mr. Reed here read that section] The right which the governor has to suspend for a time by a reprieve, or totally to annul, by a pardon, the sen tence of the court, in cases of this kind, was given to him by the people-and we therefore have no legal right to interfere, in the slightest manner with such power. We are here the mere representatives of the people, in General Assembly, and to assume any other character-such as delegates to alter or suspend the constitution-is entirely unauthorized by any principles which are conferred on us by our constituents-and an action of the legislature upon the amendment empowering the Governor to commute the punishment of Blundin from death unto imprisonment, for a number of years or for life, is an express infringement, not only of the section of the constitution I have just read, but upon the duties of the executive. I conceive, Mr. Speaker that the people were competent in wisdom, when they thus placed, in a particular branch of the government, this power of pardon or reprieve-and I assume nothing for those around me when I say, that they have wisely disposed of the amendment just rejected; thus declaring, that as they had but the doubtful power to interfere constitutionally with the commuting of Blundin's punishment, they would expel the matter from this house-that, as certain duties have been delegated to them as representatives, they will not grasp at, and exercise others, that the people have properly reserved for the especial exercise of those whom they may choose, for amending or altering the constitution. I repeat, sir, that the constitution adopt ed by the people, having placed in the hands of the executive certain powers, those powers cannot be remodeled or extended by this assembly-nor by any other except where the people delegate a right to change that constitution. The last act in this and all similar cases, being placed by the people in the Governor, no legislation can possibly take place, that does not either annul the constitution, when it places the pardoning power in the Governor-or delegates to him power, which we do not possess by virtue of our representative capacities, either expressed or implied.

The gentleman from the city, (Mr. Smith) in order to procure the action of this house in favor of the amendment, has spoken of and adduced cases where, after trial, conviction, sentence and execution, it has appeared satisfactorily, that the criminal so convicted, was innocent but such cases, I think, can have no bearing on the one before us. We, nor no others, interested as judges jurors, executive, or those who are here improperly asked to interfere in this matter, have any thing to dread, in the result of this unfortunate occur If Blundin is executed, there is nothing to


which we can refer in the circumstances of his case, that can possibly take place, to even suggest a doubt as to his guilt, in the transaction for which he has been accused and convicted. Who of us, remembering the circumstances at all, but remembers that the murder was committed in the presence of the companions of the deceased and prisoner. A violent blow, a med with a scythe-the parties in the open highway-the deceased in flight from a wagon containing these companions-and yet it has been argued, not only by the gentleman from the city, but from Dauphin, that it is proper to bring cases in analogy, where it has been proven, after the execution of a criminal, that he was innocent. I hope, sir, that this argument may be taken to its full extent-for I think, that in view of this question, it amounts to nothing.

I appreciate the motives of the gentlemen from Bucks. They have a duty to perform to their constituents, which, in their ability and desire to discharge faithfully, I would wish, (if in all things consistent,), they could be supported and sustained by this house.— But, I am satisfied, that the relief sought for, is only to be found in the executive and his clemency-confident, as I am, that we should not (if we could legally,) p'ace the power to commute the punishment of Blundin in the hands of the Governor. This case would certainly raise other applications-and would place the members of the city and county of Philadelphia, in a peculiar situation. I believe, sir, that we can point to a case there, that calls forth greater sympathies from the humane and merciful, than Blundin's; and one that, if t could sanction an illegal and improper course of this house, I would, to the extent of my feeble exertion, endeavor to bring within the reach and control of a body decidedly in favor of extending mercy and relief to the culprit, though guilty.

Ths case of Felix Murray has more claims upon society for an interference, than any that could be suggested here-and yet it is a matter of doubt to my mind, from what I believe to be the correct view of this question, whether, in that case, the wished for legislation in Blundin's, should be extended to Murray's. I would be understood to hesitate, on the ground I have assumed in the commencement, and through the whole course of my remarks-for I am disposed, yes, anxiously hope, that to that individual at least, the mer cy of the Executive should be particularly and specially shown.

All cases of capital punishment claim, and to a great degree receive, the sympathies of a great portion of the citizens of this State-not, however, on account of the sentences being unjust-but that criminals so wan tonly and recklessly violate the laws and institutions of our country and our God. I hope, therefore, that we may not, by entertaining towards this unfortunate man, such feelings of compassion, break down the barriers which are interposed by the constitution, and thus be more culpable for our neglect of duty, than for a disregard of the feelings of compassion.

SALE OF COAL LANDS.-We understand that the Spohn Tract in this vicinity, was sold last week for $10,000, the contract embracing all the coal on the said tract below the water level, with a reservation of all the coal on the same above the water level. The coal vein on the said tract is about 900 yards in extent, and the same may be mined within the limits of the tract about 500 feet in depth. The public abroad are not generally aware of the value of coal lands in this vicinity, the speculating mania which formerly prevailed having had a tendency to prevent subsequently the spread of correct information. The actual value is difficult of computation, but we have no doubt that coal lands are now rated far below their intrinsic worth. We have no desire to be instrumental in reviving an inordinate spirit of speculation, but we think that there never will be a safer period of investment than the present. — Miners' Journal.

From the Philadelphia Gazette.

Friday Evening, Dec. 26th, 1834.

Mr. Price presented a petition from the Harmony Fire Company asking permission to erect a house for their engine, on the lot of ground on Fifth near Chest nut street, from which they were removed by Stephen Girard, in 1827. Mr. Fraley, in Common Council, presented a petition of a similar import. Referred to committee on Fire companies.

Mr. Wetherill from the watering committee, made the annexed report, which was laid on the table. To the Select and Common Councils of the City of Philadelphia.

Gentlemen-The Watering Committee in compliance with a resolution of Councils, instructing them to state what will be the probable consequences to the Water Works at Fair Mount, in case a canal, to be supplied with water from Fair Mount pond, should be made on the west side of Schuylkill, beg leave to report, that the agreement which has been entered into between the Schuylkill Navigation Company and the City, renders it very essential that no other company should have a control over any of the water which shall be taken out of said Fair Mount pond; for in case the city should deem it necessary to pump as much water for the supply of the City and Districts as will be within their agreement, the evaporation and leakage from the contemplated canal would no doubt reduce the water so low, as to give the Schuylkill Navigation Company the right to shut the gates of the works at Fair Mount, as per agreement, which is as follows:

"And it is also further agreed by the parties to these presents, that should it at any time happen that the waters should be drawn off below the top or surface of the dam, it shall be lawful for the said president, managers, and company, to fasten up the gates or openings used by the said Mayor, Aldermen, and Citizens of Philadelphia, to draw off the water and keep the same fastened, until the water shall be raised as high as the top or surface of the dam."

summer, there cannot be a doubt but that the six wheels and pumps now ready for wosk, will drain Fair Mount pond below the top line of the dam; and it must be obvious that as the water is lowered in the dam, the power is reduced: by observation, the gates which now open 8 inches, to give a supply of water to the wheels, were during the drought frequently opened 12 inches consequently, at a time when water is most wanted in the city and districts, (to which a supply for Kensington must be added) the water power at Fair Mount will be least adequate to supply it.

Under such circumstances, the committee are of opinion that nothing should be risked; particularly when it is known, that for several weeks during the last summer the dam was dry nearly 800 feet across; at a time when the consumption of water for the prevention of Cholera and other epidemics in the city and districts, had nearly exceeded our means.

If no more water should ever be wanted hereafter, than was supplied to the city and districts in July last, something might be risked to give a supply to the proposed canal-but when it is obvious that the consumption of water in the city and districts will become greater in ratio with the increase of improvements and population, nothing should be left to hazard. And under any calculation your committee can make, they are of opinion, that before the expiration of the next ten years, an arrangement will have to be made for an auxiliary water works, to be erected at Flat Rock.

In 1822, the necessary quantity of water as before mentioned, required daily to supply the city, was 1,600,000 gallons.

In 1833 it required 3,500,000 to supply the city and districts, which in ten years hence no doubt will be increased to 7,000,000 gallons daily, and in the summer it will probably amount to 10,000,000, when either quantity will be more than can be raised at Fair Mount in times of drought.

In 1822-the number of water takers in the city amounted only to 4,758,-in 1834-the number in the city and districts has increased to 13,584,-in 1822there were but 280 fire plugs in the city,-in 1834they have increased in the city and districts to 800,in 1822, about 35 miles of small calibre wooden, with Should the conditions of this section of the contract a few iron pipes, supplied the city with water,-in with the Schuylkill Navigation Company be put in force, 1834 upwards of 78 miles of iron pipe of large calibre there will be a difficulty to ascertain by whom the wa-have been laid in the city and districts. ter is consumed, and the city alone would suffer all the injuries that would result.

The committee flatter themselves that the increased consumption of water, and the extent of its distribution It is the opinion of the committee that should the since 1822, will sufficiently show that the present contemplated canal be constructed, that there is not a works cannot be relied upon much longer; unless the sufficient quantity of water in dry seasons for the ope- dam at Fair Mount shall be raised, or some other means ration of the works at Fair Mount, the Schuylkill Na-devised, whereby the power of those works may be vigation Company and the canal in question-this opi- increased to meet the demands upon it. nion has been formed from a careful investigation of the subjects, as will be seen by the following statement of facts.

In the year 1822, when the water power works first started, only 1,600,000 gallons of water were required daily; while in the present year the consumption has increased to 3,500,000 gallons; during the months of July and August last, for many days 5,000,000 gallons were consumed, and on the 9th and 11th of July, when the reservoir was guaged, it had increased during the day time to 7,000,000. This excess of the use of water over former years, induced our superintendent to keep an account of the time the wheels worked, and which was found to exceed 17 hours in 24; as the tide impeded the working of the wheels 5 hours, it only left two hours excess of time each day, for packing the pumps and keeping the machinery in working order; and had any accident occurred to either wheel during that period, the works at Fair Mount would have been incompetent to supply the city and districts with


If a similar drought should occur during the next

As the resolution of Council does not require an opinion from the Watering Committee on the merits or demerits of the proposed canal, the committee will satisfy themselves by merely mentioning that if the canal and docks reaching from it to the river (which are designed to be 12 feet above low water) are permitted to be extended along the whole river front, the leakage between the wharf timbers and heads of the docks will be more than is ample to supply all the locks at Fair Mount, when the trade shall be so much increased as to keep them in constant action.

Under every view of this important question, the committee are decidedly of opinion that the proposed canal, if carried into effect, will increase the scarcity of water at Fair Mount, and under existing agreements between the Schuylkill Navigation Company and the City, be the means of stopping the works altogether. By order of the Watering Committee.


SAM. A. RUSH, Register.

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