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To the Congress of the United States:
Your petitioner, John Balthrope, of the State of Virginia, represents:
That he is the inventor of an improved axis and cannon-garriage, which he thinks is of great value. Repeated experiments have been made, under the direction of the Ordnance Bureau in the Department of War; and his invention has withstood the most powerful and severe tests to which it could be subjected. It is decidedly superior in strength, lightness, and economy, to the axle now in use both in Europe and America. Your petitioner respectfully submits to your honorable body the model of his improved invention, with testimonials in its favor, which he asks may be considered. If his invention be valuable, as he verily believes it is, he asks that Congress will adopt it into public use, and give him such reasonable compensation as, in its sense of justice, may be right.
Relative cost of Captain John Balthrope's improved axle-tree for artil
lery, and of the axle-tree now used in the U. States' service.
ORDNANCE OFFICE, .
Washington, Dec. 10, 1830. SIR: The following is the cost of one twelve-pounder axle-tree, made entirely of iron, at the United States' arsenal in this city, viz: i blacksmith, 2 days' work,
• , $3 60 3 helpers, 2 do each,
• 5 40 10 bushels of coal, at 30 cents,
- 3 00 180 lbs. iron in the gross before being worked, at 5 cts. per lb. I turner, 1 day's work,
• 1 80 2 laberers, I do each,
Respectfully, I am, sir, your obedient servant,
GEO. BOMFORD, Bt. Col. Mr JOHN BALTHROPE.
on Ordnance Service. Charges omitted on the U. States' axle.
Cost of wood to make the wooden body,
• • Cost of preparing wood and putting irons, 25 lbs. iron, worked at 14 cents, to make bands and screw bolts
Amount of twelve-pounder axle,
United States to Joseph Cooper, Dr.
gun; area 44 inches by 3 inches; 88 lbs. of iron
- $12 32 For timber and workmanship on do. - • 3 00
I certify that the above is a true copy of the original account made out and paid at this Arsenal, it being for an axle-tree on Mr. Balthrope's plan.
JOHN SYMINGTON. Washington Arsenal, 10th Dec. 1830.
CITIZENS OF LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY,
Praying for an appropriation for improving the navigation of the
DECEMBER 24, 1830.
To the Honorable the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States. Your petitioners, citizens of Louisville Kentucky, convinced of the practicability of rendering the Ohio navigable throughout the summer and fall month:, by boats drawing four feet water, between the mouth of the Ohio and Louisville, and by boats drawing three feet between Louisville and Pittsburgh, pray for an appropriation for the accomplishment of the work.
An experiment made this year by Capt. Shreve, superintendent for removing obstructions to navigation, clearly demonstrates that the proposed work can be speedily accomplished, and for an inconsiderable amount, when compared with the commercial and national advantages it will insure. By the construction of a wing dam at the Grand Chain, five hundred and fifty-seven yards in length, the width of the channel has been diminished to twelve hundred feet, and the depth of the main channel increased from twenty-two inches to four feet; and the work cost less than six hundred dollars.
Between the mouth of Ohio and Louisville there are sixty-one bars or shoals, which may be so improved by the construction of wing dams as to render the channel four feet deep on each at the lowest stage of the river; and it is estimated that the entire expense will not exceed seventy-five thousand dollars, provided the work be executed in connexion with the removal of the other obstructions to navigation. By pursuing this course, most of the heavy timber taken from the bed of the river may be placed in the holes, or on the bars, below low water mark, in the construction of the dams, which will be a cheaper mode of disposing of it than can otherwise be devised. The logs thus used will be retained permanently in the situations in which they will be placed, by the rock thrown upon them to com. plete the dams; and, lying below the surface of the river, and covered with rock and the sediment, which will fill the crevices of the dams and settle upon them, they will be protected from the operation of the atmosphere,
and will endure for centuries. The rocks obstructing the navigation, which it will be found necessary to remove, will contribute largely toward the construction of the dams; and the quantities essential to complete them may be obtained from the bed of the river, the shores, or the high points on the bars, which are exceedingly dangerous to navigation at a medium stage of water in the river.
By pursuing this plan of operations—that is, by making the obstructions removed assist in the construction of the dains—it is estimated that the river, from Louisville to Pittsburgh, may be rendered navigable at the low· est stage of water by boats drawing three feet, and that the cost of the improvement cannot exceed two hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
The aggregate cost of the proposed improvement from the mouth of the Ohio to Pittsburgh will be about three hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars.
Of the importance of the proposed work, it appears to your petitioners, there can be no difference of opinion. Its commercial advantages would be extensively felt by more than half the States in the confederacy, while it would be equally important in the event of a future invasion of the country, as it would add to the facilities for transporting troops and munitions of war from the east to the west, and from the west to the east.
An estimate of the commercial advantages that the country would derive from the proposed undertaking can only be made by those who have witnessed the effects produced on the commerce of the western States by the low water during the last five months. During that period the communication by steam has been effectually cut off between Pittsburgh and Wheeling and Louisville, and sufficient water has not been found on the bars below the Falls to admit of a safe flat-boat navigation. On our immense importations from the eastern cities, the freight from Pittsburgh and Wheeling to Louisville has been one dollar per hundred pounds; the voyage down has been protracted to thirty or forty days, and heavy losses have been sustained by running boats on logs and rocks. Had it been practicable for boats of three feet draught to ply between Louisville and Pittsburgh, freights would not have exceeded thirty cents per hundred pounds; a saving of fourteen dollars per ton would have been effected, which, added to the amount of the losses sustained, would, it is believed, have constituted an aggregate equal to the amount that will be required to effect the improvement. It is therefore the opinion of your petitioners that its accomplishment may be said to be demanded for the protection of the commerce of the western States, as well as to add to our means of defence in time of war.
The Atlantic cities are also deeply interested in the work, because it would add to the rapidity, certainty, and regularity of the communication between them and the western States, diminish the charges on importations, and increase the amount of their commerce.
The completion of the Ohio and Pennsylvania canals and the Baltimore rail road will, it is believed, have the effect of doubling the amount of transportation on the Ohio river between Louisville, Wheeling, and Pittsburgh; and as the canals will be navigated mainly in the summer and fall months, we think the expediency of effecting the improvement we propose cannot be doubted.
Should the Ohio be made navigable for steamboats drawing three feet at the lowest stage of the river, the mail would soon be carried by packets be