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The Economic History of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad 1827-1853;


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289] Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, 1827-1853. 15
In the meantime the task of drawing up a charter of incor-
poration for the proposed enterprise had been given to John
Van Lear M’Mahon, a young lawyer of twenty-seven, who
was at this time a delegate from the city of Baltimore to the
Maryland legislature. The charter which he drew up was
in all probability the first of its kind in America.1 In con-
sequence it is of enough interest to the student of transpor-
tation to merit a brief analysis.
The act to incorporate the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
Company was passed February 28, 1827. This act, which
constituted the charter of the company, contained twenty-
three sections. The earlier sections dealt mainly with the
stock and the stockholders. They provided that the capital
stock of the company should be three million dollars, in
shares of one hundred dollars each, of which ten thousand
shares should be reserved for subscription by the state of
Maryland 3 and five thousand for subscription by the city of
Baltimore8 for the space of twelve months after the passage
of the act. The remaining fifteen thousand shares were to
be subscribed by individuals or corporations. As soon as
ten thousand shares were subscribed the company was
declared to be established with all the powers, rights and
privileges conferred by the act. If more than fifteen thou-
sand shares were subscribed, the subscription was to be
reduced to that number by striking off from the largest
number of shares or reducing all subscriptions to one share.
If there were more than fifteen thousand different subscrip-
tions, lots were to be drawn to determine which were to be
excluded. One dollar was to be paid on every share at the
time of subscribing, and the residue was to be paid in instal-
ments; provided, however, that not more than one-third of
1 Acts of Maryland Assembly, 1826, chapter 123.
2 $500,000 subscribed under Act 1827, ch. 104; additional subscrip-
tion of $3,000,000 by Act 1835, ch. 395.
3 $500,000 subscribed under Resolutions of 1827, No. 41; additional
subscription of $3,000,000 under Act of Assembly, 1835, ch. 127, and
Resolutions of 1836, No. 40.

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