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ILLINOIS STATE ARCHIVES


The Illinois and Michigan Canal, 1827–1911

A Selection of Documents from the Illinois State Archives


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DOCUMENT 40
PETITION OF CHICAGO WHOLESALE GROCERS TO REDUCE TOLLS ON SUGAR AND MOLASSES
May 1852




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Explanation

During 1852, 4,822,297 pounds of sugar was shipped over the canal. Of this amount 3,950,469 pounds originated at La Salle. 2,126,874 pounds of molasses passed through with 1,846,409 pounds entering the canal at La Salle. By large majorities these products were being shipped north from the far South. The trustees passed the following resolution on May 25, 1852: "Upon the application of H. Norton & Co. and others for a reduction of toll on Sugar & Molassess the Board resolve that it is inexpedient to make such a reduction."

A mill is one tenth of a cent. Sugar and molasses each carried a toll of 8 mills per canal mile traveled on each thousand pounds. A hogshead is a barrel containing 63 U.S. gallons. This measure originated as a legal standard in England in the year 1423. The origin of the word is not known.

Points to Consider

What were H. Norton & Co. and other Chicago wholesale grocers requesting?
What was the logic of their argument?
What are "Mills" and "Hhds"?
Why would southern sugar plantation owners have approved of this petition? Who harvested and processed cane sugar in the American South in 1852?


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