Newspaper Page Text
STATE AID TO COUNTIES.
flow Shall the Comity Railroad Debts
SPAIrrANBURG, July 24.
IElitor News and Courier:
In the News and Courier ot Ju
lY 22 the question is asked, "Shall
t he State help to pay the railroad
debts of the couinties?" In com
menting editorially upon this
query, but two objections ars sug
gested: First, that it is unconsti
tutional; and second, that as the
counties who incurred the indebt.
(Idness are principally benefitted,
t hey sihould bear the entire burden.
To be ufflicted with a, burden
some debt is almost as bad as at
pestilential plague or any visita.
tion which inflicts loss of proper
ty. Now if there be any prohibi
I ion in the Constitution which de
nies to the General Assembly the
right to appropriate money to the
relief of the people for any cause
whatever I fail to find it. The on
ly inhibition is that there be no
increase of the public debt with
mut popular vote, &c. There is here
no question of taxation, but the
sole issue is, when the railroads
built by these counties pay their
taxes .to the county treasurers is it
competent for the General Assem
bly to say to the counties. You
may retain the proportion of the
taxes due to the State for the pur
pose of helping you pay the debts
incurred in creating the property.'
To illustrate, suppose Charleston
should be destroyed by a great
eonflagration. The peop)le are
powerless to do anything without
public assistance. The City Coun
cil of Charleston undertakes to
help them with its own credit and
burdens the city with a large debt.
Would there be anything wrong
or unconstitutional if the General
Assembly should say to the City
Council,'The State taxes on the in
provements made by you may go
to relieve, in part, your indebted
ness." Charleston has a debt
somewhat of this character, and if
you r city had no security for it,
b)ut had made the improvements
(lirect, where would there be any
violation of the law if the State
should choose to help her pay this
debt and could do so without any
increase of its own debt?
Now as to the case in point, what
are the facts?
The up-Qountry was without ad
equate railroad facilities; it had
nodlirect connection with the WVest.
Corn and other provisions were at
an enormous high price. The
whole system of agriculture had
changed; cotton had become the
great staple, all other crops were
neglected. The State was in no
condition then to assist. From
stress of circumstances it was com
pened to abandon its railroad pol
icy, adopted before the war, of ex
tendling direct credit to such pub
lic enterprises. In this dilemma
certain counties undertake on their
own credit to build certain rail
roads. The Air-Line Road was
commenced without capital. It
never would have been commenc.
edI without the aid of the counties
and cities through which it ran.
The subscription of thesae, soT
have been told, built the road to
Gainesville, Ga., about fifty miles.
Outside capitalists then took hold
of it and completed it. So this
road was built by these counties.
The result is, so far as this State
is concerned, that Spl.artanburg,
Greenville and Pickens have built
in this State over 100 miles of
road running through five counties
and worth at least $1,500.000. and
ill so doilig have pllaced an enor
Imous debt upon their people, for
which they have no security what
ever. The Asheille Railroad,
which certainly will be finished at
no d'istant time, is a creation en
tirely ot two counties in this State
and two in North Carolina-a road
which ultimately will be of the
greatest benefit to the whole State
and to no section more than the
City of Charleston. The Green
wood Road is being built entirely
by the Counties of Spartanburg
and Laurens, they being the only
stockholders of consequence. I
have not information sufficient to
speak authoritatively of other
roads, but I am told that the nar
row guage roads were also built
the same way. Then if the coun
ties have created this propert is
it not fair and just that they
should be entitled to all the reve
nues in the shape of taxes derived
from it until they are relieved of
their great burdens? The public
know what the railroad policy of
the State and also of the City of
Charleston was before the war.
Now, if the State and the City or
Charleston were able financially to
continue this policy is it not a
good one? But they have not been
able to continue it. The plan pro
posed is the best substitute for it
I know of, and it would be a good
idea not to restrict the operations
of the Act, but to make it apply
to all future cases and encourage
all sections of the State by the
general policy of giving the coun
ties the full benefit of their own
property. Simply from the fact
that it takes nothing from the rev
enues of the States only in the
pr'ospectivye, and encourages tile
counties to do( that which tile State
is not able to (do. The State has
no readly money to build roads, its
means will not justify issuing
bonds to (10 so, and~ if it is to hlave
any system of internal improve
ments whlat better one can it find
than tile one proposed1? It r~quires
no credit from the State, no immeQ
diate cash and no loss of revenue
except that which the State at
some future time may expect from
tihe very objects which it shlould
be so solicitous to lpromote. To
show the great equity of the coun
ties in thlis matter. The State niev
er expected the Air Line Road to
pay any taxes for thirty-six years,
when that road was chartered
it had the same rights, privileges
and~ immunities of the Greenville
& Columbia Roadl, which was ex
empt for thirty-six years. This
then was the policy of the State.
It expected nothing from the road.
The fortuitous ciectimstance of' a
sale, under foreclosure, of the road
changed all this. Tile State saw
its advantage of a techlnicality.
The United States Supreme CJourt
held that exemntion from tame
was no part of a franchise passing
under the sale. The counties by
this sante proceediig lost every
dollar of their mohey, and the
State reaps a windfall out of this
great misfortune. Now, where is
the injustice in the counties ask
ing the State to give them what it
never expected to get, and which
arose from direct loss toQthem?
The antithesis cannot be made too
strong. Ifthe Menphis & Charles
ton and the Blue Ridge Roads
were in Charlest-n there is not a
man in the State who would ob
ject that the relief should extend
to that big-hearted but unfortu
nate people, whose greatest mis
fortune has been their unselfish,
Now one word as to the second
objection and I am (lone. Tle
counties building these roads are,
of course, greatly benefited more
than any other section, but the
present prosperity of the town and
county of Spartanbu rg has al rea(ly
been of great benefit to the State.
Does not the State derive much
revenue from this prosperity?
M uch more. I think, than it does
from the tax on the Air Line Road.
York and Oconee did not aid the
road. Are they not benefitted by
it? When it becomes a question
of benefit it will be found that the
little leaven leaveneth the whole.
The time has now come for
South Carolina to be something
,above a police court. The object
of government is higher and nobler
than simply to collect and pay out
taxes, than to support an insane
asylun and pay penitentiary
guards. One Might suppose that
the State had but two classes, lu
uatics and criminals. Already a
new beginning has been made.
Elucation and manufacturing are
being properly encouraged, and
what is needed is a judicious rail
road policy, not born of timidity
but of caution, (learly learned by
experience, gentle and timely en
couragement to local and individ
ual effort, a symp-athetic 1ft ofn
the back, a premium to thrift and
energy, which (toes not necessairi
ly mean a raid upon the treasury,
but simplly go and sow, and the
reaping shall be without tithes.
JOHN B. (hL~EELAN).
Corner Main and Broad Streets,
GREENVILLE, S. C.
G ENUINE Wmn. Rowers Cutlery.
Set of Kntives and 'orks $8.50.
General asso'rmer~ t of goodI Jewel ry
carefu lly selected. 'Best family
a specialty, andl at close figures.
R~epairing watches and .iewel ry
promntaly donE . Pfa 9'L.
No Patent No Pay.
Obtain)ed for Mecha nical Devic?s, Comn
All preliminfary ehxaminatiOnsg as to
patentability of invetions, Free. Our
"'GuIde for Obtaining Patenits,"~ is sent
free every where. A ddress,
LOUIS 1DAGG ER & CO.
Solieitors of P'atents,
May 30 tf Washington, D. C
AV [NG been recently overhauled,
are now in first Iate order. Per
sons coming from a distance will get
their grinding done at night. They will
find a house to stay in and stalls for
their horses. Give us a trial.
All persons wishing their GINS filed
by the O'NIEIL SAW FILING
MACHINE, can have it done at
Easley, by Mr. MaLrion Dal, or if you
will notify me at Briggs Postoffice, S.
C., I will send a mani to your Gin and
do the work. It is better than all oth
er Mnchines. Try it and be convinced.
july 25 tf R. E. BOWEN.
HUDGENS & HUOGENS.
Easley, S. (2.
EASLEY, S. C.
COME ON E, COM E ALL
AND) furnish your lionses in elegant
A.style for the Suimmer with a nice
Lin ofBedsteads,Mates, .
re'an s, Tlesl~C, Stands, C hai rs, Rockers,
&c ,&c.A general atssortmemi,
oif Landsbcapet chromios in 22x80 inch
f'rmes, chord, &c.. all ready for ha~ng
ing on the walls. Also, on hand, a line
of cabinet, promenade, panel and card
size p~hotograph frames, all in artistic
style. Always on hand a full line of
Caskts anid collins, ailsizes anid stylJes.
Buirial Robes for'each sex, all qualities
and prices. Ready at all hours to wait
upon01 enstomners. Coffins trimmewd in
any style, andl when so desired, will be
trimmedw~ al)(I shipped to any point onm
Rail road free of ex tra charge.
Tihmnikinug you .for past. favors. anet
solicitinig your further patronage, I am
fb A. M. RUJNION.