« ForrigeFortsett »
ciently protect the public interests; that the reduction would be made. There can be tendency of charges is towards a minimum, scarcely a doubt, from the results of such the same as in other undertakings. This trials elsewhere, that the ultimate gain here statement is not borne out by the facts. There would be considerable. But men who wish are but few points touched by rival railways, to dispose of railway stocks and bonds, are and except at these points, railways are not likely to consider what may be advanpractically monopolies. If the different rail tageous to a company after they have ceased way trains running upon each road were run to have any personal interest in its welfare. by different corporations, then there might It is not in the management of railways be general competition, but not otherwise. alone that the interests of railway comExperience proves that combination is not an panies are against the interests of the pubimprobable thing between managers of rival lic. They endanger, if they do not destroy, railways. The number of these corporations the independence of Parliament. Corruption must ever be so limited, that combination taints the majority of railway enterprises will always be practicable. The charges on from their inception to their completion. railways, both for freight and passengers, Charters are sought, not infrequently, for wherever they are private property, are ill-purposes of speculation. Sometimes they regulated and variable. It is to the interest are used to blackmail existing railway lines. of the public to have the greatest amount However much a railway may be needed, a done at the least possible cost. The reverse charter is seldom obtained without difficulty of this is to the interest of the railway and stock is bestowed for Parliamentary supcompanies. If a company, by diminishing port. The names of well-known railway men charges, could increase their business, it are sought to give credit to the projected enwould not be voluntarily done unless the terprise, a number of shares are tendered ratio of increase of business was greatly in ex- them for their “eminent services" and they cess of the ratio of the diminution of charges. are seldom declined. At every step taken, Every one who has taken the trouble to look some one is paid for his support, or some into railway statistics, knows well that it has other for his opposition. When a railway been a common occurrence to increase the scheme is fairly launched, it finds a large earnings by a reduction of the rates. This number of friends-engineers and profesincrease was not brought about by drawing sional contractors, the owners of rolling mills away traffic from rival lines, but by the stim- and the builders of cars and locomotives. ulus given to commerce, that rendered travel The getters of land grants, and the traders in and traffic profitable, which were not so be railway stocks, all come to its aid, and, it fore the reduction was made. It is said that may be, experience its bounty. These conthe receipts per train, at a penny fare, from stitute the grand army of a private railway Shrewsbury to Upton Magna, in England, enterprise. Besides these, there is a numerwere £11 155. 8d., and at a fare of 3}d., the ous band of camp-followers, who expect, in receipts fell to £4 45. 11d. per train. The a variety of ways, “to reap where they have receipts per train from Shrewsburyto Walcot, not sown,” but about whose special services at a penny fare, were £14 175. 7d., and at nothing need be said. It is this numerous 6d. fare they fell to £4 55. 5d. We do not host of allies and followers which can kill refer to these statictics to show that the rail or keep alive" a railway project and, because ways of Canada would, in all cases, largely they have this power, must be paid, that add gain by a considerable reduction in their to the cost of every rival railway undertaking. charges. If it were believed that this would It is not our purpose in this article to disbe the immediate effect of reduced rates, the cuss the general question of railway reform. We have simply indicated our conviction himself on behalf of his cestui que trust, is that the question of ownership is yet an open equally applicable to him. It is not enough question and that there are considerations, that a public man shall act honestly; it is both commercial and political, unfavourable important that the public should think so; to the system of private ownership. There and in order that this may be the case, care can hardly be a doubt that if the Canadian must be taken that his public duties and his Parliament and the Provincial Legislatures private interests are not made needlessly to were to take the whole subject of railway conflict with each other. In the case of economy and railway management in hand, the Canadian Pacific Railway enterprise, it and secure a full report, not only of the traf- would seem that this and other important fic, but of everything relating to the railways principles of parliamentary government scarof the country, they would confer a substan- cely received sufficient consideration at the tial benefit upon the public. But this is not hands of the first Parliament of Canada. It all. The people of Canada will be forced to is the most gigantic railway ever undertaken, consider, if they wish to avoid being led and its relations to the Government and Paron to disaster, the relation in which her pub- liament ought have been well considered. lic men stand to gigantic railway enterprises. From the eastern extremity, upon the Up Who has not become familiar with the his- I per Ottawa, to Victoria, in British Columbia, tory of Fisk’s Erie Railway speculations; of the distance is not less than 2,700 miles. A Tweed and Sweeny's peculations and City road of this length requires a large populaHall contracts : of Judge Barnard's prosti- ' tion to furnish it with the ordinary amount tution of a Court of Justice to railway rings. of local traffic. At present there is a popuWe cannot say these things are impossible lation of less than 30,000 in the country it here. It is true the like have not hap- will traverse. In its construction 6,600,000 pened. But it must not be forgotten that cross-ties, and at least 270,000 tons of iron the opportunity has been wanting. These will be required. It will take 540 locomothings were so, not because men were want- tives, of 65,000 horse-power, and 8,000 cars ing in intellectual capacity, but because properly to equip it. It will consume yeargreat temptations were presented and they ly 270,000 cords of wood and, to keep the were too strong to be resisted. Human na- road in repair, 40,000 tons of new or reture is, in all civilized communities, much rolled rails, and 800,000 cross-ties will be the same. What has happened in New York needed. This is no exaggerated statement is likely to happen in Montreal and Toron- The Union and Central Pacific Railway, exto under similar circumstances. The country tending from Omaha to San Francisco, a ought to have—it is possible-a triple guar- distance of 1,904 miles, has 334 locomo antee for the upright conduct of those to tives and 6,649 cars. The New York Cenwhom they entrust the management of the tral, measuring the second track, is a line affairs of the state the high character of of 1,522 miles in length, and is equipped public men, a healthy public opinion, and with 400 locomotives and 9,603 cars, not an efficient law. The law ought not to al counting dummy engines, city passenger low a representative of the people to be put cars, or gravel cars for the service of the in a position that he may be suspected of road. The operating expenses of the Union acting in a particular way, not from consider- and Central Pacific Railway in 1871 were ations of public utility, but for his own pri- about ten millions of dollars and the gross vate advantage. A member of parliament is earnings upon through traffic, $6,650,000. a trustee of the country, and the policy of When we consider the length of the Canathe law which forbids a trustee' dealing with dian Pacific and the unsettled country
through which it will run, $13,000,000 a year doubtful whether a railway can be worked will not be thought an extravagant estimate there in the winter season.
In a country for operating expenses ; and yet it is nearly without inhabitants, in which the ground twice the amount of the gross earnings of freezes to the depth of ten or fifteen feet, the American road upon its through traffic. where there is that depth of earth to freeze ; The roughly-estimated cost of the Canadian in which the thermometer sinks to 40 deroad is $100,000,000—less than one-half of grees below zero, it is not easy to underthe actual cost of the only Trans-continental stand how passengers are to be made comrailway yet completed, which is at least 700 fortable, how water tanks are to be kept miles shorter. We are aware it is said that the open, or how employés are to be saved from gradients upon the Canadian line are much perishing on account of necessary exposure easier, and the mountain passes much lower, to the cold. No one, can look at a map of and that the cost of construction must be the country without being impressed with proportionably less. But these estimates the idea that the cost of construction afford but very imperfect data for estimat- must be enormously enhanced from the ing the cost of building a railway. From position of the road. The Union and Trucker to Ogden City, a distance of 628 Central Pacific Railway began and ended miles, the American road passes over a in a settled country. The road connecttable-land about 5,000 feet above the sea ed thirty millions of people upon one level, and from Wassatch summit to Chey- side of the mountains, with one million enne, a distance of 462 miles, it is nearly upon the other side. It connects the one and a half miles above the sea level. greatest commercial emporium of the PaFrom the Missouri River to Cheyenne, a cific with the cities of the East. It had distance of 517 miles, there is a uniform a labour market at hand. The Canada Pagrade of about ten feet to the mile, Chey- cific will pass through a country from which enne being about 5095 feet above Omaha. supplies cannot be had and which, from its From Cheyenne to the summit of the moun- isolation, is difficult of access. There are at tains the distance is 32 miles and the grade present several Pacific Railways under coneighty feet to the mile. The elevation,” struction in the United States. One from says Mr. Poor, “ of this vast plain, from New Orleans to El Paso in Texas; one from which the Rocky Mountains rise, is so great Little Rock to El Paso and thence to Colothat these mountains, when reached, present rado and San Diego. One through New no obstacles so formidable as those offered Mexico, Arizona and Southern California by the Alleghany ranges to several lines of to Santa Barbara, upon the Pacific Coast, railroad which cross them.”
and the Northern Pacific from Lake SupeBritish Columbia has been described as a rior to Puget Sound. The road from New sea of mountains. The whole .province con- Orleans to Houston, in Texas, is to be comsists of a succession of mountain ranges, pleted within two years. Colonel Thomas rising, it may be, to no extraordinary height, A. Scott, late president of the Union Pacific but being not the less formidable obstacles, Railway, has now under his management the on that account, to the construction of a building of the Southern Pacific Road. Alcheap railway. The country between the ready 500 miles have been put under conUpper Ottawa and Lake Winnipeg is well-struction, and it is proposed to complete the nigh an unknown land. This much we do entire line within three years. This road will know that the snow falls deep and lies long lie south of the snow limit and will, during in the basin of Hudson's Bay ; that the cold the winter season, at least, possess a decided of winter is intense, and it is extremely advantage over its more northern rivals.
What we have said is sufficient to show this day, to be obliged to assert gravely that that the demand for labour in railway con- Parliamentary government exists only so long struction is likely to be very high for some as the government of the country is carried on years to come ; that, for physical reasons, it in consonance with the wellunderstood wishes will be more difficult to procure it for the Ca of the people. The people of this Province nadian Pacific than for its rivals; and that, long contended for representation based other things being equal, the cost will be upon population. This principle is without proportionately greater. With four trans- meaning, unless it serves to secure to the continental railways in operation, competing political opinions of a majority of the people for through traffic, it can scarcely be hoped 'a preponderating influence in Parliament. that the most favoured line will be able to So long as elections took place for no other secure a greater tonnage of freight than that purpose than to put the affairs of the counnow carried between Omaha and San Fran- try into the hands of a body of men indepencisco, which yields a gross revenue to the dent of the Crown, it mattered little whether company of about $3,000,000 a year-one constituencies were equal or unequal. The seventh less than the gross revenue from the vote was oftener a certificate of capacity or carriage of through passengers. Assuming fitness, than an endorsation of political that the Canadian Pacific road will be equally opinions. But this is no longer the case. fortunate, and that as large a percentage of Since the days of the younger Pitt there has Canadians will pass over it as there are of grown up a great power in the State, known Americans travelling by the Union and Cen- as public opinion. The newspaper and the tral Pacific, the gross earnings of the Cana- magazine have been added to the rostrum. dian road, from through traffic, would be Men read and think and form opinions ; $3,350,000 annually. The population which and Parliament is but one of the educating is to create a local traffic has yet to be forces of to-day. The discretionary power found and taken into those northern regions. of Parliament is every day diminishing, beThe coal, the metallic ores and the lumber- cause the convictions of the people upon ing districts from which freights may be questions of public policy are day by day drawn, have yet to be discovered, and may becoming clearer. When Mr. Gladstone be found at points not accessible from the formed the Government, of which he is now railway. One may ask why was something the head, no one could be at a loss to know not learned of the geology of the country what would be its policy, because the sense before such a gigantic work was undertaken? of the country had been taken upon every We know of no other reason than this, that one of the important questions with which the majority of the late Parliament preferred he subsequently dealt and which he was taking a leap in the dark.
pledged to make the policy of his GovernThere are three political considerations ment, if called upon to form one. It is now, connected with this railway well deserving in England, a maxim practically recognized the attention of the people of this country : by both political parties, that no important -Ist, the circumstances under which the measure shall be carried through Parliament country was irrevocably committed to the and receive the sanction of the Crown, the scheme ; and, the mode in which the Gov- principle of which has not received the poernment propose to aid the enterprise, and pular sanction at an election. Why should 3rd, the relations which are likely to subsist a different practice prevail in this country? between the Parliament and the company, Ought not those who favoured the Pacific until the work is completed.
Railway scheme to have set forth their views It seems like a work of supererogation at formally in the House, and have gone to the
country upon this scheme as a part of their been so aided, and there are several thousand policy? The view taken by the public of so more in process of construction. At least important a matter is many sided. It is 200,000,000 acres of public domain have always broader, and generally safer, than there been applied in this way, and it is now that taken by politicians who assume that extremely doubtful whether the public have the people have not the necessary capacity been served by this policy. It is quite to reach a safe conclusion upon important clear that this will be the policy of the Fedquestions of State policy. This reference to ral Government no longer, as we find both the people finds its justification upon the candidates for the Presidency pronouncing same grounds as trial by jury. In trial by decidedly against it. The Illinois Central jury we have the people arrayed on the side Road was one of the first aided in this way. of the law ; and the law is made fexible by By an Act of Congress, passed in 1850, being applied according to popular appre- 2,595,000 were granted to aid in the conhension. So where the policy of the Gov-struction of the road from Cairo to Chicago ernment has received popular sanction, it and Duluth--70772 miles of road in all. is sustained by the sympathies of the coun- Up to this time 2, 179,390 acres have been try. There is little danger of domestic dis- sold from which the company have realized the turbance, and those upon whom the burdens sum of $25,000,000 ; and the 415,910 acres fall will submit to them all the more pati- unsold, are held to be worth $1 2 50 peracre. ently, having voluntarily assumed them. The company are likely to realize from the
It is proposed in this railway scheme to sale of these lands a sum greater than the give, as a bonus to the company which may cost of the railway. Congress granted to be formed to construct the road, $30,000,000 the Kansas Pacific Railway 6,000,000 acres and 50,000,000 acres of land. Any one in Kansas and Colorado; within three years who will take the trouble to read the provi- 615,625 acres were sold for $1,676,059, and sions of the Railway Act, will see that Par- three millions more were mortgaged for liament has not only surrendered to the Mi- $5,500,000. The lowest price was obtained nistry its right, or, we should rather say, its during the first year, when they averaged public duty of controlling the payment of $2 51 ; in 1869, the year following, the avethe sums to which the company may have rage was $2 62 ; in 1870, $3 13 ; and in become entitled, but it has provided no cer- 1871, $4 31 per acre. And this, too, in a tain basis of determining what this sum is. tract of country known as the great AmeriThe road is not divided into sections of can Desert. The average price realized by greater or less difficulty by the law. No de- the Union Pacific Railway Company for grees of difference are indicated by the lands sold prior to January, 1871, was $4 46 amount of bonus per mile assigned to diffe- per acre. Every year the price of land, in rent parts of the road. It is not stated that the districts ceded to railways, is enhanced the estimates of the engineers shall form the in value, and, after the settlement of a basis of the calculation in determining the sparse population has been secured, the railamount of the bonus to which the company way companies do not make haste to sel may have become entitled; so that the Mi. unless their financial circumstances force nistry have a very wide margin of discretion them to put their lands into the market. in dealing out the bonus to the company. There can be no doubt then, that a bonus Land grants to railways have hitherto been of 50,000,000 of acres is an immense cona favourite way of aiding railway projects in tribution towards the construction of a railthe United States. Upwards of 10,000 way. Assuming that, of this vast area, but miles of railways have been built that have fourth is fit for settlement, these