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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