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and Congress and the canal was forgot- develops during the generations to come, ten by all except those who would be im- estimates based on dollars become conmediately benefited by it. These persons fusing and the mind wearies. The poswould not let it die and now the entire sibilities of Texas—its present wealth citizenship of the Lone Star state is work- and the vast richness of its resources are ing to secure an appropriation of suffi- beyond the reach of the imagination of cient size to start and complete the even those who have watched the state waterway as surveyed. Naturally the develop from infancy, and therefore the coast country citizens and those living Intercoastal canal may not appeal to along the navigable streams of the state those living in distant states. To the are more deeply interested than are those Texas people it is a topic of daily dis
in other sections, but all are lending a cussion. No one realizes more than they hand and a voice in agitating the propo- do the need of federal improvement of sition. During the past year five largely waterways, and the descendants of the attended meetings have been held in Alamo defenders, the victors at San
different cities of the state in which no Jacinto, and those who within a period . other queston came up for discussion. of six years resurrected Galveston, built
The Trans-Mississippi Congress ap- the great sea wall, raised the grade of the proves of the project, as does the Na- city, and made the port second in importional Rivers and Harbors Congress, and tance in export values to New York, will with their influence and the energy of the not cease to work for and talk of citizens of Texas and western Louisiana, the canal until it is an accomplished there is no doubt in the minds of the fact and they see their cotton, their Texans that the government will take an sugar, their tobacco, lumber, fruits and immediate and active interest in seeing other products going to market at freight it through to completion.
rates reduced from present levels; The vast possibilities of this projected until they hear the music of the steamwaterway are almost beyond the scope of boat whistles on their rivers and know the mind. It is impossible even to esti- that the railroads of the state must commate its benefits to the present genera- pete with water transportation or go out tion, and when the commerce through it of business. increases, as the country tributary to it That portion of the canal running
from the mouth of the Brazos river rivers with a deep water port and allow through West bay to Galveston is already the transportation of the products of open to navigation and river boats are millions of acres of fertile land at water making regular voyages as far as old rates, to the sea for export can hardly be Washington, which lies 250 miles up the expressed in figures. Not only is it the river. With the completion of the scheme to transport by steamers, but to work already under way and provided inaugurate a system of light draft barges for, boats will be enabled to navigate the to be towed by powerful but light draft river to the city of Waco, more than 500 steamers, thus several times doubling the miles from its mouth. The present ser amount of freight transported at a very vice is appreciated by the inhabitants of slight increase in cost. the Brazos river valley and vessels carry The Texas and Louisiana coast counlarge cargoes of merchandise to up-river tries are among those sections which are
points and return loaded to capacity with rapidly developing, but which are capable - cotton, cordwood, truck and other farm of producing many times over the
produce. Trinity river connects with the amount of rice, grain, cotton, vegetables proposed canal at Galveston bay. This and fruit that they do at the present river has a depth of twenty to twenty-five time. There are yet millions of acres of feet for many miles from its mouth, and fertile land, not within reach of rail transat the present time the government is portation, which would attract settlers if building locks and dams in the upper river water transportation was available, and to make it navigable to the city of Dallas, those who have already broken land and the chief city of north Texas. There are started their orchards and cultivated several other navigable streams in Texas fields would greatly increase their acreemptying into the Gulf along the route of age, the canal, among them the Guadalupe As an illustration of the rapid developand Colorado, both of which extend into ment of this coast country may be cited the most productive sections of the great the extraordinary increase in the cultivaSouthwest. The benefit of an inter- tion of rice. In the year 1890 there was coastal canal which will connect these raised, in round numbers, about 78,000
pounds of rice. In 1900, 800,000 The lumber industry of Texas and pounds; and in 1903, 400,000,000 pounds Louisiana would be greatly benefited. of rice valued at $7,500,000. In 1903 There are in Texas within easy reach of there were about 250,000 acres under cul- the canal, or the navigable rivers emptytivation and in 1904 about 400,000 acres ing into it, 30,000,000,000 feet of standin rice. Since that time the acreage and ing pine and in Louisiana 45,000,000,000 the production has constantly increased. feet. In Texas and Louisiana it is estiBetween the Rio Grande and Sabine mated that there are 8,000,000,000 feet Lake there are, in round numbers, 4,000,- of standing hardwoods. Fifty-five saw000 acres of rice land and in a few mills in this territory have an approxiyears fifty per cent, or 2,000,000 acres, mate output of 1,500,000,000 feet of of this will be under cultivation, which lumber annually, and of this amount will produce a crop valued at $75,000,- there are exported through the port of 000 annually. In the Louisiana coast Galveston alone over $3,000,000 worth of country there are many more thousands lumber, logs and other wood products of acres yet uncultivated which will be per year. The total value of exports of benefited by the intercostal canal.
all commodities through the port of GalThe construction of this canal, mak- veston for the year 1905-06 amounted to ing it available for light draft inland $166,239,884. These millions of tons of navigation, would not only meet the de- cargo were brought to the port by rail mand for the removal of the large crops and much of it originated in territories referred to, but would furnish transpor- through which some navigable river tation for lumber and coal and afford a flows. Had these rivers been connected cheap outlet for the immense oil products with the intercoastal canal and thereby of this region. The canal when com connected with the port of Galveston, pleted will be in easy reach of the largest the producers of the state of Texas alone oil fields of the world.
would have been saved almost enough in
freight rates the past year to liave com- will lower the rates of transportation pleted the canal. The United States gov- from the great grain belt to the Gulf ernment has spent a little over $10,000,- ports. There is no way of estimating 000 in making Galveston a deep water its immediate benefits, and no mind is port of the first class. The citizens and great enough to calculate the benefits to corporations of Galveston have spent as come to succeeding generations from much more in providing wharves and such a project. port facilities, a total of $20,000,000. The Intercoastal canal is no longer a Yet, figures recently gotten out by Sec- pet scheme of the citizens of Texas and retary Kitchell of the Galveston Chamber Louisiana, but is now a matter of naof Commerce show that the producers tional importance. Congressmen are inof the territory served by the port of terested ; surveys have been made and Galveston ha ve already been saved the the government has approved. immense sun of $40,000,000 on three I t is certain, beyond a peradventure, items alone, which sum will be increased that the great work will be carried out at from year to year.
some time in the near future, for the The presentation of the above figures
pressure of the people's demand will be is only one argument in favor of the canal. While Texans and Louisianans
irresistible and the forces which are now are deeply interested in the development opposed to the enterprise for selfish reaof their own states, they realize that a sons must give way: canal connecting the Rio Grande river on
In a few years the whistle chimes of the Mexican border with the Mississippi steamboats will again be heard on the river, thus forming one great system of rivers of Texas, and the rivers of the light draft waterways, will benefit the entire country, like those of England of nation as a whole. It will open up South- the present day, will be changed to busy ern markets to Northern producers and channels of commerce.