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having become vested in the incorporated company, the individual representatives of the original grantees were no longer able to enforce the cumulative remedies; which not having been vested in the corporation, nor capable of being transferred to it by assignment, had in fact become extinct, or at least nugatory and unavailable.
Having received an opinion to this effect, Mr. Gibbons determined immediately to act upon it. He placed his boats on his ferry, and entered the waters of this state in defiance of its laws; and what contributed both to the interest and the singularity of the issue of battle thus joined, was, that his immediate adversary was no other than Colonel Ogden, the former assailant of the state grantees, who, upon his compromise with them, had obtained, as we have seen, their license for navigating by steam his “ ancient and accustomed ferry," in the immediate vicinity of the rival establishment of Mr. Gibbons. An injunction was issued against the boats of the latter, upon the filing of a bill by his competitor, but, as his boats were not seized, he continued to run them to Jersey City. By a final decree of the chancellor, the injunction was rendered perpetual, and this decree was subsequently affirmed upon appeal to the Court of Errors, on the ground that “no collision was presented in that case between the acts of congress and the acts of this state.” From this decision of the highest state tribunal, Mr. Gibbons appealed to the supreme court of the United States, where alone the question could be finally settled.
Pending this appeal, other parties, both in this and other states, encouraged by his example, and anticipating his success, formed associations, and commenced the equipment of steamers to be ready to navigate our waters, as soon as a decision should be pronounced in his favor. Such a decision was at length given, on the ground of the repugnancy of the state grant to the power vested in Congress to regulate commerce, which was held by the supreme court to be paramount and exclusive, and with the exercise of which, by the grant under it of a coasting license to Mr. Gibbons's boats, a case of collision was declared to have arisen."
A “new era" now indeed commenced in the annals of steam navigation. Hitherto, the public had been better accommodated with steam passage boats on our waters, than could have reasonably been expected while that branch of navigation was the subject of a monopoly. Perhaps this may have been, in some measure, owing to consciousness on the part of the pro
prietors, of the precarious tenure by which they held their grant. But the moment competition was admitted, it was attended with its usual benefit to the community at large. The multiplied facilities of intercourse contributed as usual to the increase of intercourse itself, and, instead of two or three steamers plying" three times a week, “between the cities of New York and Albany," and confined to the transportation of passengers, vessels of almost every size and description, propelled by steam in new and various modes, were established for the conveyance of persons, with greater expedition, every day in the week, and, eventually, twice every day, not only upon the same route, but upon intermediate points on the Hudson, and upon the principal ferries for crossing it, as well as upon Long Island Sound, and the great northern and western lakes ; in short, upon all those navigable waters, the use of which had been so long prohibited to any but the state grantees.
The transportation of merchandize by steam, upon those waters, had hitherto been interdicted or denied, for, although the monopolists upon their incorporation voluntarily precluded themselves from carrying goods or produce upon freight, they nevertheless persisted in depriving others of that privilege, in order to conciliate the interests engaged in carrying by the old mode. But the right now became common and unshackled ; and, from the greater expedition, certainty, and economy of steam navigation, and the remedy it afforded for the natural obstructions of the Hudson river, that mode of transportation was soon extensively adopted for the conveyance of merchandize also, and has now in a great measure superseded the old mode of relying upon the precarious operation of winds and tides. The benefits realized from throwing open this navigation, have already exceeded all previous calculation. They were rapidly extended throughout the state, and are now felt in all parts of the union. It not only enabled the remote merchants and farmers on our western waters to avail themselves readily of the principal outlets of commerce, and opened new channels to them, but the cultivators of the soil on the margin of the Hudson found their compensation for this new competition with their industry, not merely in the general increase and activity of trade, but also in their ability of converting their farms into gardens, and transporting their produce to the great market at the mouth of that river, with greater speed and ease, and in better order, than it could be done by land carriage of a few miles.
NO. VII.VOL. IV.
And whilst such incalculable advantages were derived from the overthrow of the monopoly, its former possessors were not necessarily subjected to hardship or injustice. They still possessed their exclusive right under renewed patents from the United States, to such modes of steam navigation as were the original discoveries and improvements of Mr. Fulton. They had realized large sums of money from fourteen years' exclusive enjoyment of privileges, which it now appeared the state had no rightful power to confer. And the freighting business, which for the better security of their exclusive right to carry passengers they bad voluntarily abandoned, was now restored to them in common with others, whilst they were enabled to maintain a competition in both branches, with the peculiar advantages arising from their long exclusive possession and experience in steam navigation. Nor had they, as they pretended, any just ground of complaint or claim against the state for the failure of their grant. It had not been purchased by them for a valuable consideration, with warranty either express or implied, except against the acts of the state itself; but the legislature granted them what they had asked as a favor, and were content to take at their own risk — and that was nothing less than the privilege of making their fortunes at the expense, as it proved, of the just claims of other individuals, and the common rights of all their fellow-citizens. Therefore, to suppose them entitled to remuneration, upon its being judicially declared that they had wrongfully held that privilege, would not be less absurd than to admit that every insolvent debtor discharged from the obligation of his contracts under our state laws, might claim to be reimbursed from its treasury the amount of his former debts, of which payment had been compelled by a decision of the same supreme court of the United States, declaring such insolvent laws also to be violations of the federal compact; or upon the abrogation of a patent granted by the United States on any ground of invalidity, to contend that the federal goverriment was bound to indemnify its patentee.
It would certainly be more reasonable to maintain that those who had been debarred by the existence of the state grant from the use of their patented inventions and coasting licenses, had just claims to compensation from the state, or out of the profits of that monopoly, as soon as it was declared to be void. Its injurious effects, however, to more general and public interests can never be compensated from those or any other sources. Not only were the profits of capital, ingenuity, and labor, in vari
ous forms, prevented from being gained, but time - irrevocable time — was lost in the introduction of the advantages enumerated, and of many others which followed immediately upon the disenthralment of genius, capital, and labor, consequent upon the adjudication which restored our waters to the freedom of steam navigation. It opened to general use the ocean itself, for the first time since the grant of the monopoly ; and who can undertake to say how much sooner we might not have enjoyed that benefit, had that most improvident and impolitic, as well as unjust and unconstitutional, grant never existed ?
It is therefore earnestly to be hoped that a consideration and remembrance of this example may prevent similar interferences on the part of the state governments, with the exercise of other powers, which the wisdom and forecast of the authors of the federal constitution transferred to the paramount and exclusive authority of the general government. There is one power of congress, in particular, and that, too, one of those brought into discussion in the very controversy of which we have just given the history, that has been infringed, as in the flagrant instance of the cotton gin, by the unwarrantable interposition of state legislation, in hostility to the authority of the Union. We mean no other than the power of congress, which has already been the subject of so much remark, “to promote the progress of science and the useful arts.” It will be recollected that although a repugnancy to this power of congress, as well as to that vested in it for the regulation of commerce, was urged in opposition to the state grant; yet the decision of the supreme court was rested solely on the ground assumed with respect to the latter power. The court being of opinion that the grant to Livingston and Fulton was incompatible with the exclusive power vested in congress in regard to commerce, pronounced it void on that ground alone. It was not necessary, therefore, for the court, on that occasion, to enter upon any discussion, or pronounce any opinion, upon the point which had reference to the power of congress to promote science; nor did they settle it by their adjudication. But the importance of the question itself, , and the high interests involved in it, will afford, we trust, a sufficient apology for devoting an article, in some future number, to its examination, with special reference to the existing law of copy-right.
Art. V.- An Elementary Treatise on Sound, being the se
cond volume of a Course of Natural Philosophy, designed for the use of High Schools and Colleges ; compiled by BENJAMIN Peirce, A. M., University Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy in Harvard University. Boston : 1836. James Monroe and Company. pp. 220.
The term natural philosophy has, in the present age of discovery, a varied and extensive, if not an ambiguous meaning. Since Sir Isaac Newton's day, the domain of science has been enriched by accessions so large and unforeseen, that the ability of the mighty geometer, were he now alive, would hardly be sufficient to grasp the whole. A law, by its condition, is immutable ; but principles, derived from few or imperfect observations, await, like the Stygian shapes, the bark of a Linnæus or a Cuvier to bear them into the judgment hall, and, until verified or condemned, form but imperfect bases of demonstration. They bear to facts the relation of the laws of a new colony to those who established it. When the colonists increase, and have supplied their primary wants, multiplied numbers and interests need the harmonizing influence of the law giver ; when facts become numerous, and fresh series of phenomena spring up among those already observed, they require the co-ordination of the system-maker; and mankind gladly pour their experience into his treasury, to be dispensed for the universal good.
It is to be lamented that physics, as distinguished from metaphysics, should not have been employed by our earliest experimenters, to denote the rich field for exploration the natural world unfolds. There can be little doubt that this would have reinforced the significance of the antithetical department of philosophy. Nor can we help alluding, in limine, to the link connecting the two ends of human study. the world and ourselves, nor can we even so separate physical from mental science, that the one shall not at times appear to transcend its limits, and infringe upon the other's realm. That truth, and this necessity, burst from the mystery whereby the spiritual quickens the material, and the two are linked in life and animation. Like the antique allegory of light and darkness, — " but for the latter, we should not need the former, nor know the one without the other" - they are