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Goudie's perpetual sleigh road supersedes the railway, and is capable of carrying passengers at a rate… Goudie, D. R. 1874

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Perpetual Sleigh Road
FROM  MONTREAL   TO   FORT   GARRY   IN   15   TO   16   HOURS  
U. S., ENGLAND, FRANCE, &'c, &c.
PBIOB   $1.00.
1874. him, in decrying those discoveries, in applying to those whoHrrr
even the very greatest, the epithet of ' schemers,' and then, when he finds that
beyond all dispute some new matter is good and has come into general practice,
taking to it grnmblingly, but still taking to it, because, if he did not, he could not
compete with his co-manufacturers. The aim and object of such a man, indeed, is
to insure that he should never make a mistake by embarking his capital or his
time in that which has not been proved by men of large hearts and large intelligence. It is such a practical man as this who delays all improvement. For years
he delayed the development in England of the utilization of the waste gases of
blast furnaces, and he has done it so successfully that, as I have already had occasion to remark, this utilization is by no means universal in this kingdom. It was
such men as these who kept back surface condensation .for twenty years. It is such
a man as this who, when semaphores were invented, would have said,' Don't suggest such a mode to me of transmitting messages; I am a practical man, sir, and I
believe that the way to transmit a message "is to write it on paper, deliver it to a
messenger, and put him on horseback.' In the next generation his successor
would be a believer in semaphores; and when the electrical telegraphist came to
him and said, ' Do you know that I can transmit movement by invisible electrical
power through a wire however long, and it seems to me that if one were to make a
code out of this movement, I could speak to you at Portsmouth, at one end of the
wire, while I was in London at the other.' What would have been the answer of
this practical man? ' Sir, I don't believe in transmitting messages by an invisible
agency; I am a practical man, and I believe in semaphores, which I can see working.' In like manner, when the Semens regenerative gas furnace was introduced,
what said the practical man? ' Turn your coals into gas, and burn the gas, and
then talk of regeneration ! I don't know what you mean by regeneration, except in
a spiritual sense. I am a practical man, and if I want heat out of coals I put coals
on to a fire and burn them ," and for fifteen years the practical man has been the
bar to this most enormous improvement in metallurgical operations. The practical man is beginning slowly to yield with respect to these furnaces, because he
finds,-as I have already said, that men of greater intelligence have now in sufficiently large numbers adopted the invention to make it a formidable competitor with
the persons who stolidly refuse to be improved. The same practical man for years
stood in the way of the development of Bessemer steel; now he has been compelled
to become a convert. I will not weary you by citing more instances, but one knows,
and one's experience teaches one, that this is the conduct of the so-called practical
man; and his conduct arises not only from the cause which I have given (his ignorance of the principles of his profession), but from another one, which I have had
occasion to allude to when speaking upon a different subject, and that is, 3"ou
offend his pride when you come to him and say, ' Adopt such a plan, it is an improvement on the process you carry on.' His instinct revolts at the notion that
you, a stranger, and very likely his junior, and very probably, if the improvement
be an original and radical one, a person not even connected with the trade to
which that improvement relates, should dare to assert that you can inform Mm of
something connected with his business that he did not know. In too many cases
(continued Mr. Bramwell) the owner of a manufacturing business, whose capital
kept it going, and whose commercial aptitude rendered it prosperous, left very
much of its actual working to some foreman or manager, who was often one of the
so-called, as distinguished from the real,' practical men.' He pointed out how
such persons scoffed at and obstructed inventors, and derided them as ' schemers;"
and pointed to Mr. Bessemer as a man who was long described as a ' schemer'
because there were difficulties of detail in carrying out his great invention, which
for a time he could not overcome. In conclusion, Mr. Bramwell advocated the
formation of a society to give prizes for the most economical forms of engine construction and maintenance, and said that such a society would be a valuable outcome of the meeting of the section." 
Perpetual Sleigh Road
U.S., ENGLAND, FRANCE, &c, &c.
1874.  PREFACE.
" Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears :
let the people be assembled; let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may
be justified : or let them hear and say it is the truth."
This pamphlet is composed of two parts, -written at different times,
but each intimately connected with the Other—1st, the letter addressed
to our Honorable Premier; '2nd, the Appendix;—and I ask your very
careful consideration of both, as the one will help to a more thorough
understanding of the other, and each will be found to contain both facts and
figures which it is very important you should he acquainted with. Indeed,
I have no hesitation' in saying that the letter addressed to the Premier
and the Appendix—altogether apart from the novel scheme of
transit which they described-will be found to contain an amount of
technical and other information concerning the railway system to be
found nowhere else; information which it cost me weary months of
labor to cull from a hundred different sources, many of them not
easily accessible to the general reader. It will, therefore, amply repay
the most careful perusal.
It may also be well to remark that as it is now nearly three years
since the letter was written, and chronic ill-health has prevented me
thoroughly revising or l'e-writing it; and as it was intended to influence
the Pacific Railway policy of the late Government, there may be found
slight discrepancies in figures and dates, or trivial erroi's in speaking of
political actions or events, but nothing which can in any way affect the
conclusions sought to be established. The letter, however, although
prepared for the consideration of the late Government, was never sent
to it, as previous to its publication I had received such
information from Ottawa as convinced me that their policy
on that most important subject (the Pacific Railway) had
actually passed beyond their own control, they having made
arrangements with Sir Hugh Allan such as precluded the possibility of
a change, no matter how advantageous the change might offer to be;
and further, that if I published my scheme, or tried to create a public
feeling in favor of it, the likelihood was, that I would be accused of
being in league with the enemies of my country, and one of those who, IV
bribed with American gold (sic), were doing everything in their power
to prevent the success of the Canada Pacific Railway. Hence, having
first submitted my plan to the person most interested in the Pacific
Railway I concluded that it would be better for me to keep quiet until
Sir Hugh had made the failure which, from the knowlege of railways I
then possessed, T felt certain he would make, and the Government of
the day had decided what plan was to be tried next.
Both events are now things of the past. Sir Hugh has made his
failure and the Government has explained its policy and developed its
plan for the construction of the Canada Pacific Railway : apian which, but
for the one saving clause in regard to time, would be far more disastrous
to the Dominion than the much reprobated plan of their predecessors.*
I repeat that the Government, having now made known their plan
and reiterated their determination to build the Canada Pacific Railway
I hasten to lay my scheme of " Sleigh or Roller Roads" before you, and
in doing so 1 bespeak for it your very serious and earnest consideration,
so that you may be able to judge whether or not it is the means by which,
you may be enabfed to escape the fearful burthen of debt that the
building of a railway to the Pacific must inevitably entail upon you
and your children; also, whether or not my Sleigh Road would make
our oreat North-west a really valuable, because an easily accessible,
Doubtless you may find my pamphlet but dry reading, and, in a
literary sense, very faulty, for I am the merest tyro in literary composition. But in that case I beg of you to allow the vast importance of the
subject, and your own personal interest in it, to cover up the defects of
stvle.     I would also suggest that,  should  you  sometimes feel like
* I of course attach no weight •whatever to the olauses of the Bill which enact
that all contracts, agreements, etc., etc., must be submitted to Parliament before
taking effect. Indeed, I look upon it, to coin a phrase, as mere constitutional dust
thrown in the eyes of the public to blind them to the real issue and responsibility;
for so long as our Government is carried on by party, just so long must the
responsibility rest on the shoulders of the few men acting as leaders. Consequently,
whether the Canada Pacific shall be built or left unbuilt—whether the wealth and
resources of our young Dominion shall be developed and husbanded with care, or
recklessly squandered in useless enterprises—are matters that, for the time being,
rest entirely in the hands of the Hon. Alexander Mackenzie and the half-dozen
men who lead the great party of Reform; and the sooner the general public come
to realize that fact the better it will be for all ooncerned, for thepubhc will then
know exactly where to put the blame or to bestow praise, according as actions are
well done or the contrary. It will also make the weight of responsibility hang all
the heavier on the shoulders of our rulers, and cause them to act with wise circumspection. exclaiming, "Why this repetition, this amplification, and superfluous
explanation 1" that you will reflect just for a moment that the talent—
or genius, rather—necessary to write concisely, clearly, and at the same
time interestingly, on a novel and technical subject, is one of the rarest
gifts which nature bestows upon her children, and consequently that
I am to be commiserated, rather than blamed, because she has refused to
place me among the favored few. At the same time I would have you
believe that all, or nearly all, the repetition is intentional and for a purpose. Compression, condensation, etc., are very valuable qualities, particularly to newspaper editors, who can and do publish a new and corrected edition of the same subject every day for weeks and months
together; but for one who has but a single chance of influencing the
public mind—especially if his subject be new and scientific in character—
it is hardly so applicable. I have, therefore, aimed to present ceitain/bcfe
and ideas, in a number of places and in quite a variety of aspects, in the
hope that should they fail to impress you on one page, you may comprehend
and appreciate them in another; and until we are all gifted with the
clear, receptive, and fertile intellects so common among critics—intellects which require but a hint, a mere suggestion, to put them in full
possession of any subject, however novel and intricate—I am afraid
that some such course of circumlocution will always be necessary in
explaining a new subject to a comparatively thoughtless and unwilling
I may also mention that I have been very severely censured by my
friends, because—they say—I have mixed up politics with the description
and advocacy of my | Perpetual Sleigh Road," asserting what, from a little
past experience, I am afraid will be too true, | that I am sure to make
enemies of both parties, and that, as a consequence, my invention will be
viewed through jaundiced spectacles, and almost to a certainty condemned, simply because its author refuses to be a party man." My
answer is—1st. That I felt it my duty as a man to warn my fellow-
citizens of the exceedingly dangerous position in which they have been
placed by past policy; 2nd. That my invention is altogether independent
of political favor, and has all the world before it; 3rd. That the same
instincts that make me an inventor made me a politician, and one who
generally speaks what he believes, caring very little indeed whether it
squares with that evanescent thing called Public Opinion or not.  THE   QUESTION   OE   THE   HOUE
P §xmut fWfitmtj SPpttm fa £«»*«
Honourable Sir,—
Seeing you have declared it to be your settled policy to begin at
once and finish as soon as possible—consistent with the best interests of
the Dominion—a line of railway through Canadian territory to the Pacific -
Ocean, I take the liberty of reminding you that there are a great many very
important questions to be asked and answered, not only to the thorough
satisfaction of your common sense, but also of your conscience, before
you can feel justified in throwing upon the shoulders of our young community such a tremendous burden as is implied in the construction of
a work like the proposed " Pacific Railway."
And, in my opinion, the responsibility is enormously increased by
the fact that no one at all acquainted with the construction and operation of railways can believe, that even if the said road was built and in
operation, that it could be maintained and operated without large annual
subsidies from the revenues of the Dominion—say from five to six millions of dollars per annum. It is also impossible to believe that such a
road could carry farm produce, minerals, or other heavy freight, at such
charges as would enable producets of the North-West or Pacific Provinces to send their goods to Eastern markets—their only possible
Permit me, then, to state a few of the questions which seem to leap
into existence the very moment we try to fix our attention on this most momentous subject; questions which, in my opinion, have not as yet
received the attention which their importance to the welfare of the
country demands.
In the first place, do you feel perfectly satisfied that a railway of
a thoroughly useful and practical kind can be built through Canadian
territory to the Pacific 1 2nd. Could it be built for such a sum of
money as four millions of hard working but comparatively poor people
can spare from the more pressing claims of every day existence ? 3rd.
Supposing the road built, would there be any probability of its earning
sufficient during the next ten or fifteen years to pay interest on the
tremendous outlay necessary to build it, or even of its being able to pay
the necessary maintenance and operating expenses ? 4th. Most important of all, is it possible for a railroad, however built and operated, to
supply the wants or develop the resources of such an immense stretch
of country as that lying between Ontario and the Pacific1? Would not
the charges for freight and passage be such as to exclude the farmer of
Manitoba and the miner of British Columbia, not to mention places
much nearer hand, from all the benefits of our markets *?
By what magic would it be possible to make the charges other than
such as will—nay must—prevent us receiving the produce ot their
fields, forests, mines and rivers, and them from taking our manufactured
goods in return 1
In short, unless the speed is very much higher, and the charges
immeasurably lower than the lowest charges now made for railway carriage in any part of the world, would there be any chance of its being
used as an emigrant road ?
Would there be any probability of our filling up the North West
with people, whose strong arms and willing hearts would develop the
vast resources of that distant portion of our young Dominion, or
wonld there be the least hope, by means of such a road, of our maintaining between the Provinces that social, political, and commercial
intercourse, that oneness of thought, feeling, and interest, which is absolutely necessary in every well-governed country. If then it is true, and
I hold it to be incontrovertable—1st, that it is physically
impossible to build a railroad between Ontario and Fort Garry, on
the only route where it could be of service to the Dominion, viz., along
the north shores of Lake Superior. 2nd. That even if the railroad was
built, the charge for passage between the points named would be nearly
if not quite as high as that charged for crossing the Atlantic ocean.    3rd. That it is impossible to carry ordinary farm produce, minerals, and other
heavy freight by railway for more than 600 miles at less than from one-
half to two-thirds of their market value ? Would it not be wise to weigh
well the following queries :
1st. Is the I Railway System " the absolutely best system, of transit
which it is possible for the genius of man to devise 1 Is the railroad so
perfect in all its parts, so thoroughly adapted to all the requirements of
man and nature ; so perfectly applicable to the condition and circumstance of every country, small or great, densely peopled or sparsely
settled, that it cannot be improved upon ? Do you really and truly
believe that the present railroad system is the complete and perfected
outcome of those great, godlike faculties which man possesses for the
subjugation of Nature; in short, that it is the finality of man's invention
in the way of locomotion 1 2nd. If you do not believe the railroad to
be perfect as a means of transport—and no man in his senses, no engineer in the world does so—is it not your plain and obvious duty,
befoi'e incurring the fearful amount of debt necessary to build one to
the Pacific, before spending, directly or indirectly, an amount of money
which actually baffles all ordinary comprehension to realize, and which
would build a good, substantial and commodious dwelling-house for
every fourth family in the Dominion, to make certain that there is
absolutely no chance of the railway system being superseded by an
entirely different system of transit, as much superior to the railway as
the railway was to the stage-coach of fifty years ago. 3rd. If there is
any chance, even the smallest, of such an invention being made, is it not
your duty to look for it, and to encourage by every means in your
power those who are trying to make the discovery; to give a fair, full
and impartial consideration to any system of transit which has for its
end to supersede the present plan by one more efficient, cheaper to
build, to operate and maintain ? Nay, more ; is it not obviously to the
great advantage of the country that you put to an exhaustive trial any
system of transit which, with fair show, of feasibility and probability,
is maintained to be capable of carrying more passengers and freight with
infinitely more comfort, safety and speed than any railroad in existence ; while it can be built, maintained and operated (summer and
winter equally) for less than one-fourth the amount necessary for a
railway, rather than to run the risk of building the present railroad,
and then find, before it is half finished, that for all practical purposes it
has become useless, being superseded by a new system, infinitely supe-
J rior in every respect to the old ? However, before discussing the possibility or probability of superseding the railway by a new and superior system of transit, it will in my opinion be for the best interests of
all concerned to take a pretty close view—1st, of the difficulties of
building and operating a railroad between Ontario and tho Pacific
Ocean; 2nd, at the cost of such a road, and the chances of its ever
earning sufficient to pay interest on the outlay, or even of its paying
operating and maintenance expenses; 3rd, the probable effect of a
railroad in peopling the North-West and the Pacific Provinces; and
what chance the people who did settle in the said provinces would have
of becoming a contented and prosperous population, such as would add
to the strength and material well-being of the Dominion.
i Having done so, we will then take a general view of the " Railway
System " as a % mechanical contrivance," and having ascertained its capabilities and defects—inherent, local and accidental—we will be in a
position to juige whether or not it is possible to improve upon it as a
" System of Transport;" also to say if we have done so in the plan
about to be proposed as a substitute for and great improvement upon
it. In the first place, then, can a railroad of a thoroughly useful and
practical description be built through Canadian territory to the
" Pacific Ocean ¥' It is hardly necessary for me to point out that this
is a query which can be answered intelligently and authoritatively only
by engineers, who have fixed upon • and made a complete survey of the
route; and as that has not yet been accomplished, there must necessarily be a good deal of guess-work in any estimate or opinion we may
form. There is one point, however, on which all are agreed, viz., that
no railroad can be carried by the North Shore of Lake Superior ; consequently we must go back—no one knows how far—and build our
road for many hundred miles through an inhospitable and barren wilderness, that never can be settled : a circumstance of itself sufficient to
condemn to eternal poverty any road, even if otherwise capable of
yielding a profit. British Columbia is described as a sea of mountains.
" The whole Province consists of a series of mountain ranges, rising, it
may be, to no great height, but none the less formidable obstacles on
that account to the construction of a cheap railway. The country
between the Upper Ottawa and Lake Winnipeg is well nigh an unknown land; but this much we do know, that the snow falls deep and
lies long in the basin of the Hudsons Bay. In the winter season, in a
country without inhabitants, in which the ground freezes to a depth of 10 to 14 feet where there is ground to freeze, in which the thermometer
sinks to 40° below zero, it is not easy to understand how passengers
will be made comfortable, how water-tanks are to be kept open, or how
employees are to be saved from perishing on account of the necessary
exposure to the cold." As an evidence of this danger, it may be stated
that at " Herman station, on the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, men
were frozen to death going from the depot to the water-tanks on the
13th January, 1873." Indeed no one can look at the map and not be
impressed with the idea that the cost of construction of the Canada
Pacific must be enormously enhanced from the position of the road.
Sir Hugh Allan, than whom no man ought to have a better idea of the
difficulties of making such a road, seeing he was president of the company that professed itself willing to undertake the job, expresses himself as follows:—Ci The road would meet with great difficulties west of
the Rocky Mountains owing to *the canons and mountain ranges; and
it was a question'whether any really practicable route had been found by
which the road could be carried to tlie Pacific Ocean. They had no idea
of the difficulties presented by those mountains, which, rising to the height
of 9,000 or 10,000 feet, have directly at thei/r bases enormous gulfs,
through which ran swift and deep rivers. Therefore it was a matter of
very great difficulty to fond a proper route. Still, it must be found, and
they must not give it up if they could not find it at once, but must
look for it until they did find it. He had not the slightest do\xbt but
that they would find it. The country north and east of Lake Superior
also presented considerable difficulties, and they would have to make the
road west qfitforst and leave that section to the last."
I think, after that quotation, it is needless for me to say any more
in regard to the practicability of building the " Canada Pacific Railroad," further than to intimate that the explorations since made
and the experience gained only goes the more fully to confirm the
opinion that, although it may not be physically impossible to build the
said road—and what engineering project is physically impossible ?—it is
financially impracticable for a country of less than four millions of
people—that in truth it would be an act of sheer insanity in Canada to
undertake such a job at the present time.
The second query, as to cost, may best be answered by Mr. Fleming. Indeed it is altogether impossible for ordinary minds to grasp the
magnitude, the immensity of the undertaking in any other way than
that in which he puts it in his official report.
J Mr. Fleming, Chief Engineer to the "Dominion Government,"
remarks as follows :—
" That a just conception may be formed of the real magnitude of
the project under discussion, and the means necessary to its attainment,
attention may for a moment be drawn to a few leading details. The
construction of 2,000 miles of railway, measured by the average standard of similar works existing in this country, implies the performance
of labourers' work sufficient to give employment to 10,000 men for five
or six years,—it involves the delivery of 5,000,000 cross-ties or sleepers,
and over 200,000 tons of iron rails for the. " permanent way,"—it comprises the erection of 60,000 poles hung with 1,000 tons of wire for the
telegraph,—it necessitates the creation of motive power equivalent to
over 50,000 horses, which power would be concentrated in four hundred
locomotives,—it involves the production of from 5,000 to 6,000 cars of
all kinds, which, coupled with the locomotives, would make a single
train over 30 miles in length ; and, lastly, it implies a" gross expenditure
in construction and equipment of not less than $100,000,000.
" It will likewise serve as a salutary check on hasty conclusions,
to weigh beforehand the cost of operating a truly gigantic establishment
of the kind, after its perfect completion. A few figures derived from
actual results will show that the first construction of a railway through
the interior of British North America is even a less formidable undertaking than that of keeping it afterwards open, in the present condition
of the country. For operating the line successfully, the fuel alone
required in each year, and estimated as wood, would considerably
exceed 200,000 cords; for keeping the road in repair, a regiment of
2,000 trackmen would constantly be employed in small gangs throughout its entire length; for the same purpose there would be on an
average annually required 600,000 new cross-ties, as well as 30,000
tons of new or re-rolled iron rails. The annual repairs of rolling stock
would not cost less than one million dollars. Over 5,000 employees of
all kinds would be constantly under pay, and as these men would
usually represent each a family, there would not be far short of 20,000 souls
subsisting by the operation of the road. The aggregate amount of
wages in each year after the road was in operation would swell out to
nearly $2,000,000, while the gross expenditure for operating and maintaining works would annually exceed $8,000,000.
"Again, if to this last sum be added the interest of first cost, it
becomes evident that until the gross earnings of the railway in each year come  up to the enormous  sum of $14,000,000, it could not pay
interest on the capital invested."
It may be well to note in regard to this estimate, gigantic as it is,
that it covers only 2,000 miles of railway, while it is well known that
the •'Canada Pacific Railway" could not be less than 2,500—and more
probably 2,700—you must, therefore, of necessity add, say 40 millions,
making in all, according to Mr. Fleming, 140 millions, as the probable
cost of the whole line. Another thing to be noted is, that the estimate
is calculated on the most moderate scale in every particular, and for a
road which is expected to do but a very moderate business. For example, we have one locomotive for every five miles of road, and two and
a half to three cars of all kinds per mile, now in the United States the
average locomotive power is one engine for every three miles, in England it is 0"93 parts of an engine per mile, and of cars in the United
States it is over six per mile, and in England considerably over 28 cars
of all kinds per mile, or twelve times the number calculated for the Canada
Pacific. Again the cost is calculated at $50,000 per mile, while the company that proposed to build the road founded their calculations
on a probable cost of $80,000, and tried to make their arrangements in
the London money market at that figure, showing that they were well
acquainted wit1! the facts—which no professional engineer ever doubted,
viz,, that such a road could not be made for a less figure, if it could be
completed for that sum- But as it is now nearly two years since both
estimates were made, great changes have taken place in the " iron market," in fact, since that time all kinds of railroad iron has nearly or
quite doubled in price, consequently we must add at least 16 millions
for the advance in iron, making Mr. Fleming's calculation 156 millions,
and the late Pacific Railway company's at least $216,000,000, an
amount of money which is altogether incomprehensible to any ordinary
intelligence, indeed the great danger and difficulty in dealing with such
sums is, that they produce very little, if any, impression upon the mind
unless it is bewilderment. Yet it is absolutely essential that we should
realize as clearly as possible the immensity of the obligation we are requested to undertake; I will, therefore, put it in this way : It is considerably more than double the paid-up capital, deposits, coin, securities, and
circulation of all the banks in the Dominion of Canada for the year 1867.
And if that is not enough to make you " stop and think," I will add that,
which no man who is acquainted with or has studied the subject will
deny, viz, that it will cost at the very lowest calculation six millions a
J 8
year over all possible income to keep such a road in operation, which
sum capitalized would make at least 80 millions more or in round numbers say $300,000,000, and if any sane man in this Dominion will tell
me that he believes that the three-and-a-half or four millions of
people inhabiting this country can afford to spend that amount in
building a railroad through a wilderness two or three thousand
miles in advance of settlements, a road which would require to
be rebuilt three or four times over, before it could possibly be re
quired by the population which it is supposed will ultimately
inhabit the country lying between Ontario and the Pacific Ocean, all I
have to say to him is, that he and I differ in opinion, and that I consider
it would be a veritable waste of time to argue the matter with him.
Indeed it has always been a puzzle to me how any government composed
of sane, intelligent men, practical politicians, statesmen, who ought to
have been and surely were perfectly acquainted with the material re
sources and capabilities of the country which they governed, could think
of pledging the faith and honor of the nation to undertake such a work,
or even entertain the notion of laying the people under such tremendous
liabilities, for such an object, until at least every intelligent man in the
Dominion had had an opportunity of studying the subject in all its
bearings, and coming to a deliberate conclusion as to whether it was
really worth his while to allow himself to be taxed the amount necessary
to carry out the project; or rather, if he could afford to do so without
inflicting an injustice upon himself, his family, and the interests of the
entire Dominion 1 And the action of the late Government I can explain
only by remembering that rulers are but men, swayed by and governed
according to the prevailing ideas of their time, and not over anxious to
sit down and count the cost and consequences, especially if the consequences are a good way off—so long as their present action is likely to
add coherence and strength to the force that keeps them in power.
So much then as to the probable cost of the " Canada Pacific Railway." The next questions which force themselves upon our attention
are, would the road, if built, earn enough to pay interest on the original
outlay; or even to pay operating and maintenance expenses 1 Would it
fill up the country with people, and render communication with the
Pacific cheap, comfortable and expeditious, and thereby create a " through
trade with India, China, Japan, dec, dec; these are the questions
which must be answered, and, according to the verdict of reason and experience, should be the fate of the " Canada Pacific Railway." 1
As I have already asserted more than once, that the Canada Pacific
Railway could by no possibility earn even its operating expenses, it
would be a waste of time to go on, proving that it could not earn interest on the capital necessary to build it. Indeed, I have the greatest
difficulty in proving that it will earn anything at all—in all my calculations I have supposed it to earn between five and six millions per annum—we have no basis to go upon, no data on which to found our
figures ; this being the first time in the history of railway construction, so far as I am aware, that it has been seriously proposed to build
a railroad nearly three thousand miles long from nowhere to connect with
nothing, or what is pretty much the same thing, through one wilderness
to connect with another.
I am aware that it is the fashion to point to the Union and Central Pacific Railway as a case in point, and an example of what can be
achieved by pushing roads out into the unpeopled regions of the Continent. For my part I can see no similarity between the position and
prospects of the Union and Central Pacific Railway and the Canada
Pacific Railway.
Suppose, for example, that the Union and Central Pacific had
turned out a complete failure, it would have entailed a liability of little
more than two dollars per head of the population of the United States.
Suppose the same to happen in the case of the Canada Pacific, and the
loss would be at least fifty dollars per head,, or two hundred and fifty
dollars for every family in the Dominion. Is there any similarity in the
risks run by the two peoples 1
Again, the Union and Central Pacific Railway Company had something really reasonable on which to found a probability—if not a certainty—of success. They knew that the western end of their line
would terminate in California—a name to conjure with—one of the
richest and most productive countries in the world, having a population
of over a million of the most enterprising and go-aheadative people on
the Continent; they were aware also that they would get the entire
trade, export and import, of that unique settlement | Utah," with its
hard working and productive hive ; they knew, further, that there were
numerous growing settlements along both slopes of the Rocky Mountains, while the Mountains themselves were alive with hardy miners,
whose iron sinews yearly wrung from mother earth, millions of that
glittering dust for which all men sigh, the many scheme and the few
labor;   that   marvellous metal whose sheen casts   a glamour,  alike
J 10
over the rude untutored sons of the Prairie, and the most refined intelligence of the city, arousing in both those desires, which stamps frailty
on the brow of man. Oh rare product of nature's alchemy, which can
subdue even the Pet creation of the Almighty—heaven-born genius—
and bring it into fellowship with the sordid and grovelling miser, who
bows in lowly adoration at the shrine of the golden calf ! for thee the
poet waves his wreaths of fancy's gayest flowers, and the painter makes
the coarse dull canvass eloquent with beauty ; for thee the sculptor shapes
and fashions the lifeless marble into forms lovely as the outward seeming
of an angel, while the orator chants thy matchless charms in words as
sweet and sonorous as the sound of a silver bell. But a truce dear
fancy, sweet as are thy tones, and oft as I have communed with thee on
other theme3 and at other times, the majority of men would say you
had no place here, so good-bye for the present, while I return to hard
dry facts.
The Union and Central Pacific Railway Companies coidd also point
to the immense tijade which their country did with all parts of China,
India, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, &c, &c, a trade amounting to
hundreds of millions, and ask if it was not reasonable to suppose it
would find its way over their road, rather than go round by Europe and
back by the Atlantic ? Again, they had a native population in the East of
over thirty-eight millions—a population of the most restless and enterprising description—thousands and hundreds of thousands of whom were
perpetually on the move from East to West, and from North to South,
and only waiting the opportunity of a Railroad to scatter themselves
over the Golden States and Territories—California, Utah, Arizona,
Colorado, Wyoming, Nevada, New Mexico, &c, &c. They could also
calculate upon getting a good share of the immense volume of foreign
immigration (500,000) which annually lands upon their shores.
Moreover, their road would connect the great cities of the Atlantic seaboard with the towns and cities of the Pacific ; the people at both ends
being famed for their love of novelty, sightseeing, and consequently of
travel; it was therefore only reasonable to calculate that thousands and
tens of thousands would make the journey yearly between California
and the East, and vice versa, simply for change of scene,—in a word, in
my opinion, the Union and Central Pacific Railway Company had the
most reasonable prospects of success before starting, which any company
could possibly ask.
The position of the Canada Pacific Railway is just the reverse of all 11
this ; in the first place, the road will be nearly—if not quite—a third
longer, and will for a good part of the way pass through a more difficult
and unpromising country. 2nd, our population is only one-tenth of the
United States ; our Railway will begin in a country of less than four
millions, and end in a comparatively unknown Province of less than
20,000, running its whole length—except for the few scattered settlers of
of Manitoba—through an unpeopled and in great part inhospitable wilderness. 3rd, we have no direct trade with theEast, while our indirect export
and import Asiatic trade does hot amount to three millions of dollars. 4th,
our native population could by no possibility send out more than 20,000
people per annum—they ought to send none—to develop the resources
of the North-West and Pacific Provinces, for it is absurd to suppose that
the thousands who annually find their way to the great cities and manufacturing towns of the United States, will ever take to farming ; you
will find by looking into the matter that, generally speaking, a certain
number in every million will seek trade in place of agriculture, even
when the advantages and profits are all in favour of the latter occupation!
5th. Our foreign immigration has only averaged about 23,000 per
annumfor the last 10 years, for whom we have been lately paying about $15
per head—a number more than balanced by the emigration to the United
States. In fact we have been, and are now, expending large sums of money,
and making great exertions to increase the population of the older Provinces, and yet the cry is still " they do not come." I have seen it
asserted time and again on the very best authority, and I firmly believe
it to be a fact, that Ontario and Quebec alone could absorb from 80,000
to 100,000 emigrants annually for many years to come, without in any
way overstocking the labour market. It must, therefore, be quite
apparent to you that if, within the next ten or fifteen years, we isucceed
in settling some 200,000 or 300,000 people in the North-West and
Pacific Provinces, we will have accomplished it at the expense and to
the permanent injury of Ontario and Quebec. In attempting to people
the " Great North-West" with our present resources—by means of an
enormously expensive railway—we are simply imitating the example of
the man who left his private means in three per cent, consols, and borrowed money at ten per cent, to carry on business, only that in our
case the interest will be the veritable | shent per shent."
Let us take for granted that the | Canada Pacific Railway, if built,
would be equally successful (in proportion) with the Union and Central
Pacific Road; in that case what would be the probable earnings 1 12
The gross earnings of the Union and Central Pacific Road amounts
to about $17,000,000 per annum—65 per cent, being for local and 35
for through freight. Now, you will please note that the Union
Pacific Railway has thoroughly established its connections, and carries
the entire trans continental traffic existing at the present time ; yet its
whole income from that source does not much exceed $7,000,000 ; and
not one-half of the freight producing that amount was ever rocked on
the placid bosom of the wide Pacific; and as it would be absurd to suppose that the Californians will send their native produce to Vancouver's
Island (800 miles by sea) to take the Canada Pacific Railway in preference to their own Union and Central Pacific Railway, it must be
evident that we can share only in the trans-Pacific trade ot that railway
—about three millions of dollars per annum. Now, how much of that
sum could we count upon getting for the Canada Pacific Railway 1
Could we reasonably reckon on getting one third 1 Hardly ; for in the
first place nine-tenths of all the Eastern products carried by that route
are intended for American consumption, and will be left here and there
along the entire line. Moreover, if any railways are built, there will
be at least three American ones in operation by the time ours is complete. For the sake of argument, however, we will suppose that we get
one full half of the entire traffic ; that would give us in round numbers
$1,500,000 per annum. We will also suppose that our merchants will
import direct, and bring all the Asiatic produce consumed in the
Dominion by the same route. In that case—calculated on the American standard—we would receive $30,000. Add the present British
Columbia and Manitoba traffic, or rather quadruple the present traffic
of the said Provinces, and we might get in all, say (at an extravagant
estimate) $2,000,000. As to the other local traffic, Mr. Mill (in " The
Canadian Monthly") calculates it in this way :—" The population that
is to create a local traffic has yet to be found and carried into those
northern regions ; the coal, the metalic ores, and the lumbering districts
from which freights are to be drawn have to be discovered, and may be
found at points not accessible from the railway," <fee, <fcc. Grant, however, that we will get another million from sources at present unknown
—calculating on the American standard it would require a population of 750,000 people in the North-West and British Columbia to
give that amount in traffic to the railway—we will have in all three
millions of dollars as the utmost supposable income of the " Canada
Pacific Railway," for at least ten years  after its completion.    Very 13
likely your answer to my calculations will be, that we do not intend to
depend upon the present " trans-continental trade," or the amount of
Asiatic produce we consume. You will probably tell me that the
" Canada Pacific Railway" is designed to carry the immense volume of
trade now passing between England, Europe and Asia, and vice versa—
an amount of traffic beside which the freight of the " Union, and Central
Pacific Railway" is a mere bagatelle. Now, notwithstanding the general
acceptance of that idea, notwithstanding the fact that both political
parties, and all our principal newspapers, have been for years past earnestly educating the public to look upon the Canada Pacific Railway as
a settled matter, only waiting the favourable moment to be carried out,
and that immediately thereafter we would become the great carriers of the
world ; I ask you in all seriousness if it is reasonable to hope or believe
that we will get the " Asiatic trade" for our railway 1 I say it is not a
reasonable expectation. The idea can have originated only in the mind
of one totally ignorant of the real capacity of the " railway system,"
and, like the great majority of similar errors, it has passed into general
currency from being adopted and nursed by men whose literary and
political ability is very far in advance of their mechanical and mathematical skill.
You are, no doubt, aware that the Union and Central Pacific
Railway had the same hope, and held out the same expectations to their
shareholders ; were their hopes realized 1 or have their expectations
been fulfilled 1 If not, why 1 Is it because the Union and Central
Pacific Railway is an American road, passing over American soil,
that English traffic is refused to that route 1 Certainly not. Commerce, like death, levels all distinctions, and respects not national
vanity; all prej udices give way to the superior attractions of dollars
and cents. The Union and Central Pacific Railway failed to get
the immense traffic passing between England and the East simply
because it could not carry it as cheaply as by the old method of steam
and sailing ships; and also because all kinds of goods are injured more
or less; many would be nearly destroyed by 2,000 miles of railway
Let us look for a moment at a few of the great staple commodities,
those which form seven-tenths of all the traffic between England and
the Asiatic continent: "Hardware," "Cloths," "Cotton," "Wool,"
§ Silk," "Jute," "Indigo," and, above all, " Tea." Now, how many of
the articles mentioned, or any others you can recollect, could pay freight 14
across the Pacific; unloading and loading on the cars in British
Columbia, then railway freight across the Continent; unloading and
loading again on board ship, and then freight across the. Atlantic to
England? iVbi one I Just look at the figures, (putting outtof sight the
probable injury to goods in transit.) Across the Pacific (7,000 miles) at
$20 per ton (a how figure), $20 ; unloading, <kc, $1; railway journey
(at the lowest rate charged by any railway in the world), $40 ; unloading, <fec, in Montreal, $1; by steamer to England, $10 ; in all $72 per
ton. Now, take any sum you like from the sea freight, if in your
opinion I have made it too high, and deduct the remainder from the
price of one ton of goods, and then put it to your own common sense, if
it is not absurd to expect to carry the traffic of India, China, Japan,
&c., by means of a railway nearly 3,000 miles long 1 But as it is a
common expression that " one can prove anything by figures," I will
give you one quotation from the New York Tribune's report of the
Tea Market for 1872 :—
" It has been found that Tea can be brought to New York, and even
to St. Louis, at less cost by way of the Suez Canal than by way of San
Francisco and the Pacific Railway. This has caused a falling off compared with 1871 of about 3,000,000 pounds in the quantity imported
by the latter route."
And surely it is self-evident that if the Union Pacific Railway
cannot carry Eastern produce intended for consumption in America, nor transport such a high priced commodity as tea, that we
could never pay the additional charges across the Atlantic; and carry
such bulky goods as wool, cotton, jute, &c, <fec., especially as our road
will be nearly a third longer. Now, if all this is true, and there can
be no possible doubt of it, where in the name of wonder is our through
freight—of which we hear so much—going to come from, or of what is it
going to be composed1! As to the passenger traffic between England
and the countries named, nineteen-twentieths of it consists of
soldiers coming from or going to India, <tc, and I will not insult your
common sense by suggesting that the British Government would send
them by our railway, when she could forward them for a fraction of the
cost in her own troop-ships through the Suez Canal.
In making the above statements, I am perfectly acquainted with
all the superior advantages claimed for the Canadian route over its
American rival. I know well that it is customary to believe that the
Canadian route will be by far the more direct; that it will be hundreds 15
of miles shorter than the Union Pacific; that the grades, curves, &c.,.
will be far more favorable. I am also aware that there" are boundless
resources of wood, coal, lime, silver, gold, and other precious commodities in the Pacific Province; while all along the route can be found an
abundance of the finest lands on the face of the globe—land sufficient tc-
give subsistence to a hundred millions of people, and leave a surplus
that could supply food for every hungry stomach in Europe for ages to
come. And, notwithstanding all that, I am, after the most careful
consideration, forced to declare that the Canada Pacific Railway (if
built) would not earn one-half its operating and maintenance
expenses; indeed, I lay it down as a fact, fearless of contradiction by those whose knowledge of the subject gives them a right to
dispute,, that it is physically impossible, with any cone eivable through
traffic, to make a railroad 3,000 miles long pay its own expenses.
The questions which next claim our attention are—What effect
would the Pacific Railway have in peopling the Great North-West and
Pacific Provinces 1 and what chance would the people who did settle in
those Provinces have of becoming a contented and prosperous community, such as would add to the strength and material well-being of the
Dominion ?
In the first place, I would remark that the railway system is, after
all, only a " mechanical contrivance," built upon certain well understood
scientific principles, and depending for its successful operation—particularly in North America,—on many circumstances over which we have
only partial control; such, for instance, as our frosts and snows in
winter, and our freshets in spring. Consequently it may be called a
rude and imperfect machine, consisting of two parts—the Locomotive
and the Rails; and it is surely hardly worth while to waste time in
proving that which must be self-evident to any one who gives the
matter a moment's serious consideration, viz., that being but a rude and
imperfect machine, it must be capable of yielding only a
certain and definite amount of service for a given outlay of money, the
amount of work performed, in proportion to the outlay, differing of
course according to the time, place and country in which the road is
located. .
Yet, self-evident as this fact must be to any thinking mind, it is,,
nevertheless, continually lost sight of, or set at naught by railway promoters and the public—the common idea seeming to be that the iron
horse has annihilated space as the telegraph'has time; and consequently
M 16
that a hundred miles more or less can make but very little difference to
a railway company, except in building the road. And, strange as it
may seem, this absurd and rediculous error is by no means confined to
the ignorant and thoughtless, as you may easily prove by a perusal ofi
the speeches delivered by any railway promoter you may happen to
think of. Take as a recent example the one delivered by Sir Hugh
Allan at the banquet given to him in Montreal at the time he was
going to England on his Canada Pacific mission.
In that speech Sir Hugh recounts the wonderful resources of the
Pacific Provinces and the North-West; their iron and coal, their gold
and silver, their boundless forests, inexhaustible fisheries, &c.; and
without a smile upon his face, or, I firmly believe, a doubt in his heart,
he talks of enriching the city of Montreal and the other Provinces of
the Dominion by importing the said products of the forest, mine and
sea by means of his proposed Pacific Railway, which was to be only
2,700 miles long, and run its whole length through an unpeopled wilderness. In a word, the railway is looked upon as being practically
unlimited in its capacity—that is, that it can be made to carry farm
produce, minerals and general merchandise, no matter the distance
between the consumer and producer; and that if it does not do so, it
must be because of the dishonesty and bad management of officers and
servants, or the inordinate greed of the Directors and Shareholders.
Now, in opposition or contradistinction to that general and absurd
idea, I hold that the " Railway system " is not only a rude and imperfect
machine, but also that it is a machine of very limited and definite capacity.
For example, in building asteamship it is merely a matter of cost and
requirement whether you will make it 100, 1,000, or even 10,000 horsepower.
Not so with the locomotive engine. Practically speaking, you are at
the outside limit, of your power, when you get to the 35 or 40 ton locomotive of the present day. There aie good and sufficient reasons for this
limitation of power in the locomotive, which I will endeavour to explain,
as the explanation will enable you to comprehend the reason why railroads, under certain conditions, must prove failures—absolute and complete failures. The first and principal reason is that the hauling power
of the locomotive depends upon and is limited by the friction—or adhesion, as it is sometimes called—between the driving-wheels and the
rails, hence the power of the engine to haul a load will depend (other 17
things being equal,) upon the weight carried on the driving-wheels and
the condition of the rails. Thus a 35-ton engine will have, say 17 tons
resting on the drivers; and as the coefficient of friction between the
•driving-wheels and the rails may be taken, under the most favorable circumstances, at one-fourth, or say 600 pounds per ton of the whole weight
we get a little over 10,000 pounds as the effective hauling power of an
engine of that weight; in short, the outside tractive power of the
heaviest locomotives does not exceed 12,000 or 13,000 pounds. Now
to increase this tractive power, we must enormously increase the
weight on the driving wheels of the locomotive; but the important
question comes in here—What would be the effect of the increased
weight on the permanent way % The answer of experience is, that any
considerable increase in the weight of the engines would destroy the
permanent way so quickly that the track repairers and rail-layers would
hardly have left one part of the line finished before they would be
wanted back'again to relay it. Indeed it is the universal opinion among
railway engineers that any increase in the weight of our engines as at
present constructed, would be altogether too destructive to the track to
be seriously thought of. To load each pair of wheels even as heavily as
now is considered very bad practice among the most intelligent locomotive builders.
"The blows dealt by passing wheels upon the rail joints, and the
bending or breaking strain brought atany instant upon the joint in the rail
where the wheel presses, depends upon the weight which the wheel
carries, as well as upon the speed at which it moves; consequently, to
diminish the track repairs (that which is by far the most greedy of all
maintenance accounts), the weight borne per wheel by the present locomotive must be lessened at least one-half, so that it may agree more nearly
with the load borne per wheel by the cars;" and how this is to be done
without at the same time diminishing the power of the locomotive is the
" great problem " among railway engineers.
Now serious—nay, radical—as is this defect in the railway system (I
mean the limited power of the locomotive), it seems to be very little
thought of—if it is taken into account at all—yet your own common
sense will show you, that it is of the very first importance that it should
be always before the eye of a railway promoter ; it would save him from
many hasty conclusions (as to what a railroad could or could not do)
conclusions which have led, and will continue to lead, to most disastrous
I repeat, then, that the railway and locomotive are, after all, but a
mechanical contrivance of very limited and definite capacity—that is the
engine is limited, practically speaking, to a weight of 35 tons or thereabouts, and is capable of hauling (on such a road as the Canada Pacific
is likely to be) a gross load of 200 or 230 tons, or 80 to 100 tons net
freight, at say 20 to 25 miles an hour.
The next thing to be ascertained is, at what cost could the engine haul 18
the said 80 tons of freight between Manitoba and Montreal, or vice versa
—taking the distance at 1,200 miles ?
This is really an all-important point to settle, for it must be apparent
that the producer can afford to pay only a certain proportion of his
produce to have the surplus carried to market, and unless a railroad'can
carry it for that proportion, that is, at such a tariff as will leave the
farmer, &c, &c, a fair remuneration for his toil, a surplus sufficient to
furnish himself and his family with all the necessaries, and a few of the
comforts of life. Such a railway can be of no service to him, and he can
have no inducement to follow in its track, no matter how rich and fertile
the land may be.
And, that being admitted, proves conclusively (unless we accept the
idea that the locomotive engine is really unlimited in power) that there
must be a point beyond which it is absolutely impossible to operate a
" freight railway " at a profit, either to the forwarder or the owners of
the road ; and if we can but find out definitely where the point of limitation is, it will henceforth become an easy matter—a mere matter of
calculation in short—to say whether such and such a railroad should be
built or not; it will also become a comparatively simple matter, to esti
mate the probable effect ef any particular road in peopling the section of
country through which it runs.
The question then is, at what cost could the Canada Pacific Railway (if
built) carry a ton of freight between Manitoba and Montreal, and vice
versa 2 Now, simple—as at first sight, this question may seem to the
majority of men, it is, nevertheless, one of the most difficult and important problems which you can present to the statist or engineer—a problem,
the attempted solution of which, in other cases, by ignorant (though
honest) bunglers, and interested and selfish speculators, has cost the
trusting and Gredulous public hundreds—nay, thousands—of millions,
and brought ruin and misery to tho\isands of previously happy and
prosperous homes; indeed, the railway tariff, especially in regard to
produce, is by far the most important and widely discussed subject of the
present day, at least on the American continent.
I have studied the subject for years ; 1 have read scores of letters,
speeches, and orations on the subject; perused numerous pamphlets, and
listened to innumerable debates, &c, &c, and after all, the only conclusion I could arrive at was, that what No. 1 affirmed, No 2 contradicted,
and what No. 3 declared to be indisputably true, No. 4 held to be sheer
nonsense, &c.
I have perused elaborate statements—written by men of great general intelligence—showing in the most conclusive manner—as they
believed—that such and such a railway could carry freight at, say, 3 to
4 mills per ton per mile; and then found, after considerable trouble,
and ofttimes expense, that the same railroad was carrying every ton of
freight the country yielded, charging an average of 2^ to 3 cents per ton
per mile, and after all, could barely pay two per cent, on the capital 19
invested. We have also heard the most tremendous outcry made about
the enormous profits made by certain western railroads (United States),
and the immense dividends paid on stock said to be. watered to more
than half its full value—and a few months after we have seen the same
stocks (with the water most effectually squeezed out of them), go a begging
at one-half, and in some cases, one-third their former value ; and I have
noted particularly that the very men who talked the loudest about the
enormous profits made, and the low rates at which freight could be
carried, if railroads were only honestly conducted, were very careful to
avoid becoming possessed of such valuable property, even when offered
dirt cheap. It may have been that their pure and spotless consciences
recoiled from the thought of injuring the poor farmers of the West, &c,
or being made parties to a " legalised robbery "—by receiving large
dividends, gained by extortionate freights, though I am reluctantly compelled to declare that their general character would never have led one
to credit them with such generous and patriotic motives.
In short, my deliberate conviction is, that it is next to impossible to*
predict with any degree of certainty, what will be the earnings, and, consequently, charges of a railway running through a new country—that is
if the railway is managed on commercial principles—it is at all events
certain, that not one road in a dozen, either in Europe, America, Asia or
Africa, ever fulfilled the honest expectations of those who projected and
built them.
To begin with, very few indeed, have a correct idea of the railway
system, what it is, and consequently what it can and cannot do.
The natural result is that it is credited with infinitely more than its real
ability; half the working charges are overlooked, or greatly under estimated, while the traffic is over estimated ; peculiarities of time, place,
and circumstances, are unheeded or forgotten, &c, <fec. You will find an
example of the way in which railway projectors generally estimate traffic
and expense, &c, &c, in appendex No. 1. But though it is thus difficult to
estimate the probable income of such a road as the Canada Pacific, it is
by no means so difficult to give a pretty correct guess at the outlay.
For example, the 60,000 miles of railroad in the United States costs on
an average, $5,300 per mile per annum to operate and maintain it • and
you will please note that with the exception, perhaps, of Belgium, the United
States railways are the most cheaply operated of any railroads in the world.
Now, if you multiply the length of our road by 5,300, you have got
an answer; but as there can be no doubt that the average of the United
States is too low for a railraadlike the Canada Pacific, passing as it does,
through a wilderness, and having an average of three to five feet of snow
on the level throughout its whole length during the winters, it would be
only prudent to allow 20 per cent, for overcoming any such obstacles—
the cost per mile in that case would be over $6,300 per mile, from this
sum you may deduct 30 per cent for the difference in the values between
the United States and Canada, making the cost per mile per annum, 20
about $4,400, or suppose we take the even $4,000 per mile per annum
(certainly an under estimate) ; in that case we would require a yearly
revenue of not less than $10,800,000, and as we have shown that the
utmost supposable income of the Canada Pacific Railway will' not
amount to three millions, it is quite plain that the road (if built),
could never be managed as a commercial speculation, for in that case the
tariff would require to be 20c. per ton per mile for every ton of goods
passing over it, which is equivalent to saying the road would be closed.
We are, therefore, shut up to the conviction that the Government must
not only build the road, but that they will also require to operate and
maintain it, at a tremendous sacrifice to the general public of the Dominion ; consequently, in making our calculation as to the probable expense
of moving a ton of freight between Montreal and Manitoba, and vice
versa, we take for granted that the Dominion Government will supply
funds sufficient to enable the managers of the road to regulate their tariffs,
on the same principle and according to the rules governing such roads as
the New York Central, Gi*and Trunk, Great Western, Erie, &c, &c.
Estimating, 1st, by the local tariffs of the Grand Trunk, Great
Western, &c, viz : 4^c. per ton per mile ; the cost per ton would be
$54.00 2nd. Tried by the tariff of the narrow-guage railroads—which
cost to build only some $9,000 per mile, plus the bonuses—the amount
would be $36 or 3c. per ton per mile, or suppose we estimate the probable
charges by the English tariffs, for example : that of the London and
North Western, a road which carried 15.000,000 tons of freight last year,
and despatches daily (every twenty-four hours,) no fewer than 626 merchandise trains over all parts of the line; the earnings for goods traffic
on that road averaged 6s. 3d. sterling per train mile, or an average all
round of l^d. or 3c. per ton per mile. Judging then by the standard of
this great English road, we are brought back to the $36 charged by the
Canada narrow-guage roads, as the lowest sum at which a ton of freight
could be carried between Montreal and Manitoba, and vice versa, for it
must be distinctly understood that we are taking the lowest English
charges, the average charges in England being about 4^-c. per ton per
mile; in France the charges is 3\ to 4c.; in the United States, 3 and
6-10ths, &c.
Now, I would like to ask, just by way of parenthesis, if you know
of any kind of produce which the farmers of the Northwest could raise,
that would bear such charges for transport to market ? or, if you are
acquainted with any kind of manufactured goods, required by the people
of the Northwest, which we could send them at the same rates 1 I hold
that there are no products natural to, or likely to be, produced in the
Northwest; nor, as a rule, are there any manufactured goods required
in the said Province, which could bear such charges for transport.
I fancy that no man with an intelligent knowledge of the subject
will be inclined to doubt the assertion, that the successful cultivator of
our great " prairies "  must for many years to come confine himself to 21
raising cereals, wheat, oats, corn, &c, &c, or become a patriarch of
flocks and herds ; in this latter case he would have but a very limited
market for his products, the principal of which—his wool—would come
into direct competition with the produce of more favoured Southern
lands, such as California, Cape of Good Hope, Australia, &c, (countries
producing already more wool than is really required), against which it
is perfectly safe to say he could not hold his own, indeed it is quite
certain that he could not, for it has been tried more than once on a
most extensive scale, only to end in failure. We may, therefore, take
it as a settled matter that the farmer of the Northwest will confine himself to grain crops ; and in that case his export market will be Montreal; there, his wheat, as an average, may command say $1.20 to $1.30
per bushel; corn—the great staple of the west—would be worth 60c to
65c per bushel; oats, 34c to 39c, &c. Now take the distance between
Manitoba and Montreal at 1,200 miles—the shortest known route—and
the rates of freight three cents per ton per mile, or $36 a ton—divide
the ton by the bushel and keep to yourself the secret of the profits
made or likely to be made by farming in the Northwest. If, then, as
the above calculation clearly proves, it is impossible to carry farm produce, minerals, and other heavy freight, for a distance of twelve or thirteen hundred miles except at a loss, it must be self-evident that the railway is no longer of use or benefit, and consequently ought not to be built.
Indeed, I hold that at a space of 800 miles—or under the most favourable circumstances—at 1,000 miles, you will find the utmost limit to
which it is possible to carry a paying railroad, and that immediately beyond that, there is a line on which the intelligent locomotive engineer
and railway projector may read the following warning, written by the
well-known gent's, " Calm Calculation," " Much Abused Common
Sense," and " Dear bought Experience." " All beyond this line is loss,
debt, and difficulty," not only to the Railway Company but also to
every man and woman who through ignorant or selfish misrepresentation
may be induced to settle in this section of country ; and such will continue to be the case until in the course of time by the growth of population and development of resources the place may become self-sustaining,
but in no case can such a settlement be of use or benefit, material, political, or otherwise to the country which has planted it.
It has just been suggested to me, i that although my calculations
may be all right, still, as they are based upon a local or 3c tariff they
are not applicable to the case under discussion ;" " that the calculation
ought to be made on a through tariff," &c, and as this, doubtless, is a
very general opinion, and the subject itself one of the most important
which it is possible for Canadians to discuss at the present moment; you
will pardon my seeming prolixity if I try to find out what force there is
in it. In the first place a good deal will depend on the manner in which
you view the road. I have gone on the supposition that the " Canada
Pacific Railway " will be managed and its tariffs regulated on the same 22
principles as the other great railway corporations of the continent ; that
it is to be operated on ordinary commercial principles, and to be made
pay as much as it possibly can, say for the first ten years after completion—between three and four millions annually, or 35 per cent of its
operating expenses—but if I am in error, and the road is to be looked
upon rather as a benevolent enterprise, got up at the expense of the entire
Dominion for the sole use and benefit of the Northwest and Pacific Provinces of course, I have nothing to say further than, Why charge anything at all 1 Why not make it absolutely free 1 It would be much
better in every sense to do so than to mix up business with charity ;
but as I cannot suppose any set of men capable of perpetrating such a.
piece of absurdity as I have supposed, we will believe that all intend to
look upon the " Canada Pacific" as a " commercial speculation," <fec.
Having then got upon firm ground we can argue the matter
of " through rates," and in the first place I would say that
whoever says that through rates should be applied in the case
of the Canada Pacific assumes—although he may not know it.
1st. That the Canada Pacific will be a paying concern, and that its
managers will be able to regulate their tariffs so as to suit the wants of
particular districts 1 2nd. That 3c. per ton per mile is an exorbitant
charge for railway carriage for the distance named. 3rd. That through
or way rates are mere arbitrary regulations depending on the will of the
managers; now as every one of the assumptions are erroneous, the conclusions drawn from them must be so also. I hold, in the first place,
that through freights are an entirely exceptional arrangement, growing
out of exceptional circumstances, and existing only between the city of
Chicago and the seaboard ; and they are only practicable between the
points named, because the city of Chicago is the grand centre or focus,
into which is poured the grain grown on the 44,000,000 acres of land
cultivated in the West, over one thousand million bushels—an amount
which keeps her elevators continually full, so that a locomotive can back
in and take 6n its full load at a Chicago elevator and make the run to
New York, Boston or Montreal, without change or break. A few
moments reflection will show you how it is that certain railways can
afford to take traffic at through rates, and how a large load at
very low rates, may be more profitable than a small load at high
rates, par example : We, the public, insist, or the company thinks
it is its interest, to run a certain number of trains per day at a
given speed per hour, from end to end of their lines, so that the
public may take a ride when and as far as their business or pleasure
may require, consequently, the company must keep a certain number of
engines, passenger and other cars, and the men to operate them ; moreover, they must keep the track in good repair, &c, to do which requires
a very large outlay of money, and you will please mark particularly,
that by far the largest portion of this outlay, may be described as outlay
of a fixed or permanent character, and is independent of the amount of 23
business done; thus, the engine has five passenger coaches behind it,
each coach is intended for t^e accommodation of fifty passengers, and the
train once started, must go right on to its destination, whether it is full
or empty, the expense will be precisely the same, whether it carries fifty
or 250 passengers. Consequently, it is plain, that it would pay the company much better to "carry the 250 or full compliments of passengers for
3c. per mile, than the 50 at 10c. per mile ; all that is needed, therefore,
to insure "through rates" is to guarantee the railway a large traffic ;
and what holds good in the case of passenger traffic, is still more powerful when applied to freight, because passengers load and unload themselves, whereas freight requires to be handled at an expense of not less
than 50c. per ton on an average. If, as before explained, the road is to be
managed on commercial principles, we must divide the fixed charges by
the number of engines and cars on the road, and each engine and car
must earn its proportion of the whole sum. There are only two
ways in which they can do so—1st, by being operated up to their full
limit of useful work at low rates 1.69c. per ton per mile, as in the case of
the six great competing routes of the western states, or 2nd, by just taking
what freight is offered at high rates, as in the case of ninety-nine out of
every hundred of the railways in existence. So much then for the argument
that I should have estimated the probable cost of moving freight between
Manitoba and Montreal, at through rates. As to the second argument that 3c. per ton per mile would be too much, I would answer first
that the lowest charge in Great Britain is about 4c. per ton per mile ;*
in France, 3J to 4 ; in the United States—which I repeat manages her
* There are about 16,000 miles of railways in Great Britain, which cost on an
average £36,000 sterling per mile, or for the whole about £570,000,000 sterling, of
this amount 240,000,000 is share capital, 180,000,000 preference and guaranteed,
150,000,000 loans and debentures. The different roads carried in all during the
year 423,000,000 passengers, besides season ticket holders ; of freight they carried
106,000,000 tons of coal and other minerals, 73,000,000 tons of general merchandise ; the locomotives travelled 190,000,000 miles, and earned 5s. 4d. sterling per
mile for every mile run, or in all £23,300,000 for passengers, and £29,000,000 for
freight; about 50 per cent, of earnings going for operating expenses and the other
for profits, giving on an average about 4J per cent per annum. Over £50,000,000
sterling of the railway capital of Great Britain.has never paid one cent of profit.
N. B.—Any one who is fond of figures might exercise his skill very profitably in
trying to find out the the true cause why railways in this country have been such
complete failures. He might begin, for example, by showing the number of miles
of railway per million of the population in this country and in Great Britain ;
2nd, the tons of freight and number of passengers carried per mile in each country, and the amount of money earned respectively; 3rd, the amount of railway
business done per individual in the two nations; 4th, the difference in the cost
per train mile in Canada and in England, and the reason for the difference ; 5th, the
average extra locomotive power required in Canade per 1,000 tons in comparison
with England or Scotland, <fec, the cost of the same, also the expense of removing
snow, &c, the loss caused by reduced speed, loss of time &c, during the five winter
months, #c, &c. He will find, 1st, that we have as near as may be double the
number of miles per 1,000 of our population; 2nd, that for every mile of road in
England they carry 30,000 passengers per annum, in Canada the number is be- 24
roads cheaper than any other country—it is (including through freights
on nearly one thousand million bushels of grain), 3 6-1 Oth, and if any one
believes that we could manage a railway between British Columbia and
Ontario for a less figure, " I envy him his faith," as Mr. Cartwright remarked of another subject. 1. In the next place I would point to
the Grand Trunk, originally built as a first-class road, running
through a remarkably easy railway country, and doing as large business
as it can accomodate. In short, running through a well peopled and
prosperous country, and counting the through traffic, doing a business
equal to the export, import and local traffic of the whole 4,000,000
of the Dominion, viz : carrying over 2,000,000 ef passengers and 1,800,-
000 tons of goods per annum, yet the road—though charging considerably more than 3c per ton per mile for local traffic—has never paid one
cent on the cost of construction. Nay, more, it has not been able even
to maintain its permanent way, or even supply adequate rolling-stock
from its earnings.* 2. The Northern Railway has paid interest on
barely one-half the cost of construction. Indeed, the only Railway in
Canada that has paid decent dividends is the Great Western, and
its dividends have been very fluctuating and uncertain, as may be seen by
the last report, which puts them at 2£ per cent, per annum for the last year.
3. The Directors of narrow guage Roads, at their last meeting, declared
that all their calculations and expectations had been falsified ; and that
they were not only not able to pay interest on the share capital, but
that they had no hope of doing so; while one of their prominent men—
Mr. Worts—afterwards declared in the St. Lawrence Hall, that the
$15,000 he had invested in one of the roads was not worth 15c, yet the
tween 1,400 and 1,500. In Great Britain the freight carried is about 15,000 tons
per mile, in the Dominion about 1,000 tons per mile, &c. Taking all these points
into consideration, he will, I am convinced, be very chary in expressing surprise
that Mr. Brydges, for instance, found it impossible to make the Grand Trunk a
paying road. I think the astonishment will be—as it has long been with me—that
the said gentlemen could keep the road in operation at all under the circumstances-
* I am well aware that it is customary to account for the none paying condition of the Grand Trunk, by referring to the waste and extravagance of those who
built it; but that idea is manifestly absurd, for so long as a road cannot pay
operating expenses, it can make very little difference whether the original road-bed
cost $10 or §100,000—except in so far as it increases the first loss. Others, again
—for instance the Olobe—maintains that the road is a failure because it attends too
much to through traffic, and neglects to cultivate the local or way freight. That
argument will have force when the writer sits down and shows first how much
extra local freight the Grand Trunk would get by acting according to his instructions. 2. By showing how much money each engine and car earns per twentyfour
hours in carrying local.freights, and comparing it with the amounts earned in carrying at through rates. The real cause of failure in the Grand Trunk is that the
local traffic is too small in proportion to the length of the line, just as the Grey and.
Bruce Bailway is a commercial failure because its manager calculated the freight
rates in proportion to the cost of the road, in place of in proportion to the length of
the road, and cost of operating. For a road the length of the Grey and Bruce, the
fare ought to have been 4 to 4J cents per ton per mile. 25
narrow guage roads were got up with special economy, and cost their
shareholders less than $9,000 per mile; they run through one of the
best settled and most productive parts of the Province, and charge 3e
per ton per mile. 4. It is well known to all who take an interest in
such matters, that neither the Grand Trunk nor Great Western could
be kept in operation if they depended entirely on Canadian traffic.
Lastly. No Railway can now be built in Canada, or even the United
States, as a mercantile speculation, they must be very largely endowed
by Government or local bonuses, &c, which, to me, is irrefragable proof
that the Railway system cannot be operated in the Dominion, (and in
very few parts of the continent,) so as to pay current expenses, and if
you want still further proof of my position, you, sir, can find it in
abundance in the records of your own office.
For the sake of argument, however, let us suppose that by the exercise of extraordinary forethought and financial wisdom, that by a combination of the highest order of commercial and engineering skill, it will
be possible to build the Canada Pacific Railway so economically that it
will be practicable to carry the produce of the few thousand farmers,
&e, scattered along its route at the lowest through freights now charged
by the great competing roads running through the Western States, viz.,.
1% to 2c per ton per mile—and it is universally admitted by the most
skillful Railway, managers, that it is quite impossible to carry freight at
a less charge. Now, even in that case, what chance would the settlers
of Manitoba and the Saskatchewan have of becoming prosperous or
wealthy men 1 Why, it is only necessary to place the figures beside the
rates paid by the older Provinces, say from 8 to 10 per cent., to see how
utterly hopeless must be the case of the man who depends upon a railway 1,200 to 1,400 miles long to carry his produce to market. Indeed,
both reason and experience join in proclaiming with a voice which
cannot be misunderstood, that either the Railway must carry all manner
of produce at one-third the present (lowest) rates ; the farmer must find
a local market for all his surplus, or, failing that, the lands of the Red
River and Saskatchewan Valley, &c, must and should remain an untilled
wilderness for generations to come ; a land wherein the wolf may bring
forth her young, and the buffalo roam in comfort undisturbed, save by the
whoop of the red man, or the crack of the hunter's rifle—the Canada
Pacific Railway to the contra notwithstanding.
Hitherto, however, we have been dealing in supposition, calculations, &.G., we have been endeavouring to show, from the nature of
the case, what must be the condition of farmers growing crops 1,200 or
1,500 miles from the place where they are to be consumed. Let us now
come to facts, to figures, to the everyday experience of the producers
who have to send their products long distances by railway; and what do-
we find to be their state and circumstances ? Just what from a fair,
honest and intelligent calculation of the capacity of the Railway system we
would have expected, viz., a state of comparitive poverty, cursed with a f
^plethora of food, and denied almost everything else in the shape of comforts and luxuries, such as are absolutely necessary in our present
state of society, for the maintenance of decency and respectability.
We see the States of Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Wisconsin, Iowa, and
Minnesota, &c, in a condition of most excited agitation in regard to
railway tariffs on cereals between the west and the seaboard, the entire
"west is in a state of ferment ; representatives are harassed with deputations of farmers, the Legislatures are flooded with bills and petitions,
the newspapers teem with articles ; and the public halls are kept vocal
"with speeches on the subject of " Railway Extortion," " Legalized
Robbery." Conventions of farmers are held in every town and city of
the west, they combine in lodges called granges ; which associations are
now numbered by the hundred thousand, and their members by the
million all in defense of their rights and interests against, and in denunciation of the (fancied) encroachments of what is called the railway
despotism. Freight rates are so high, and crops are so abundant that
in many parts of the Northwest they are actually burning their produce
for fuel as they cannot ship it at any price. To sum up in a few words,
it is declared on the authority of the head of the " National Granges"
that ihree-fowrths of the farms in Illinois and other parts of the West
and Northwest, are mortgaged ; and the farmers otherwise over head
and ears in debt; a state of affairs which is truly alarming and gives
good cause for the " Grangers" agitation of the railway question ; it
also calls for the immediate and serious attention of every man calling
himself a statesman ; a remedy must be found and that soon or the
vaunted prosperty of the great West will become a thing of the past and
the free, intelligent and hardy tillers of the soil sink (in fact tbey are
now sinking) down into mere helots, " white slaves," toiling night and
day for coarse food and scanty shelter ; thus becoming hewers of wood
and drawers of water to the other and more prosperous members of the
community, in place of being as they have been hitherto the most prosperous and independent members of society. The American farmer
living not more than one hundred miles from Chicago has to pay three-
fourths of his grain crop to have the remaining one-fourth carried to
market; so that it often pays them better to barn it for fuel than to exchange it for wood or send it to eastern markets. Yet he pays but \\a
■per ton per mile and the distance to New York is less than 900 miles,
or 300 miles less than from Manitoba to Toronto or Montreal.
"That this is a very unpleasant commentary on our means of
transportation" says the Scientific American, "cannot be denied; the
cost of food here in the east is notoriously high, yet such are the rates
of freight that it is a better paying operation to burn the food for fuel
than send it to eastern markets for sale ; nothing can more forcibly proclaim the necessity of some cheaper and more expeditious method of
transit than canal or railway carriage."
The Chicago Tribune says :—" What is needed is a cheaper freight 27
•east of Chicago—than in the opinion of our best railway managers it
will ever be possible for any number of railways to the seaboard to give,"
and this cheaper means of  transit must be found or the prosperity of
the West and Northwest will gradually cease, till war in Europe or some
other unusual circumstance creates a great demand at unusually high
• prices ; indeed, if the present over production goes on for the next five
or ten years the farms and the farm produce of the West will be almost
worthless ; notwithstanding that we have over 10,000 miles of railway
in the West for which we have paid three hundred millions of dollars
and the gross profits on which does not give 4 per cent to the shareholders."    The same paper in a recent article again refers to the cost of
transportation from the West to Eastern markets, it says : " Corn is
offered delivered at the railway stations 100 and 150 miles from Chicago
at 15c per bushel; oats, 8c to 9c ; wheat, at proportionately  low rates
as compared with what it brings in the Liverpool market, and from this
is still to be deducted the cost of moving the grain from the farmers crib
to the railway stations, assuming, says the Tribune, the distance from
~the farm to the railway station to be on an average fifteen miles, it will
cost the farmer the value of time and labour of one man and a two horse
team an entire day to deliver a thirty bushel load of corn at the station;
at 15c per bushel the entire proceeds of the corn, the use of his team
and labourer for the day will be $4.50, not equal to the price he has to
pay for one set of shoes for his horses, it will not pay the tax on two
pairs of blankets, nor on ten dollars worth of any woollen goods he requires for his family."
That is how farming pays in the amazingly fertile lands of the
Western States where the soil is said to be so rich as to require little
else but the sowing and the reaping and that too within a hundred miles
ef the city of Chicago—one of the greatest grain markets in the world
—how then will it pay in lands so distant from the Atlantic sea ports as
our Northwest 1
What products could the farmers of Manitoba/—not to mention
Rritish Columbia—raise that would bear railway charges from fourteen
to eighteen hundred miles 1    Echo answers, What 1
If it is a fact (and alas it is an ower true tale), that the farmers of
the West and Northwestern States of the Union—although possessed of
the most fertile lands on the continent—find it a hard and constant
struggle to keep their heads above water (although living in a rude and
most inexpensive way, denying themselves nearly all the luxuries and
many even of the comforts and conveniences of life); owing to the enormous proportion of their produce exacted by the railroads for carrying
"the remainder to market 1 What means are you going to adopt to
make the condition of the settler more tolerable in the Canadian Northwest ? or rather by what magic are you going to make his position equal
to that of his American cousin—miserable as that is—seeing that he will
be hundreds of miles further from the Atlantic seaboard than his
neighbour ?
J .28
If his position is to be anything better than a constant and hopeless
struggle with poverty and debt, you must either find for him a home
market—which is impossible—or you must build and maintain at tremendous sacrifice to the general public—a' railroad for his accommodation ; and you must not only make and maintain the road, but you must
also carry his produce at less than one-third of the lowest charges now
made for similar services, or it will be impossible for him to compete in
an already overstocked market owing to his greater distance from that
market. Now, in either case you will be simply paying him. a bounty
for going into a particular branch of industry, which is already sadly
overdone ; and on what grounds, social, moral, political, or commercial,
you will be able to justify your conduct to the people I am altogether at
a loss to imagine. If cereals were a commodity of limited production,
and attended with peculiar danger and difficulties in their growth, there
might be some shadow of justification, but as it is, the idea is simply
ridiculous and to put it in force as is proposed, would be to commit an
act of grave injustice against every other branch of business in the country,
and every other class of the people. In fact all manner of farm produce has
fallen so low throughout the entire west and Northwest that the Agri-
cultural journals are gravely recommending the farmers to form a
" Union " like the mechanics, and by joint action reduce the production
of all kinds of grain crops, by nearly one half the present amount, arguing with good show of reason that they will get. just as much for the
short crop as for the large, while they will save the labour.
Indeed, they show very conclusively that the farmers away back
from the Atlantic seaboard are the worst paid and hardest worked men
in the entire community. The Country Gentleman for December, 1872,
makes the following remarks on the subject:—"Another mistake is a
constant change of location. What a man makes by the cheapness and
fertility of the western lands, he more than loses in the want of the
eastern markets. In this connection I believe that the homestead and
cheap railroad lands are a curse to the country, because they encourage
men with no capital to leave a section where their labour is> needed and
well remunerated, and settle upon these lands, and being driven hard by
their necessities, they toil night and day, exhausting the virgin soil,
vastly increasing the crops of the country, but decreasing prices, being
worse paid than they were in working for wages in the East, and injuring
the whole farming fraternity, while they benefit only the middlemen,
railroads, eight hour mechanics, &c. The latter class may oppose such
advice ; but if it is true that the labourer is worthy of his hire, the
farmers are greatly underpaid, while the other class receive more than
their due."
The truth of these remarks are fully sustained by the following
quotation :-—" A newspaper of Iowa city gives rather a discouraging account of what the farmers are doing, or rather not doing in those
" diggins."    Here is the price current: A pair of winter boots costs two 29
loads of potatoes ; a night's lodgings, one load of oats ; the wife wears
five acres of wheat; the children each ten acres of corn ; the price of an
overcoat is a good four year old steer; a Sunday suit, twenty fat hogs ;
the farm, too, wears a mortgage that is worse than hardpan to the soil ;
and the annual tax rots the roof faster than the rain."
Or, as one more example of the utter inability of a railway or railways
to assist the farmers of the far West, take the following from the Scientific American:—
" I wish to correct an error in your article " Burning corn as fuel."
You say the wood land is sadly depleted, and convey the impression that
that is one reason why we are burning our corn. Now, you are mistaken,
the sole reason we burn it is that we have millions of bushels that we
can neither sell, nor feed to stock. We have wood, we have coal, we
have land as fertile as any east or west, and we can raise any amount of
grain. What we need is a 'market; it takes about five bushels to pay
for sending one bushel to where it can be used. The railroads promised
to help us if we would help them ; but they have been an injury so far,
and they will be so in future, unless controlled in some other way.
Tremont County, Iowa, March, 1873. H. D. G.
Or take the following, as another example of the extreme dearth and
excessive cost of the commodity, the production of which we—a " Free
Trade " people—are about to encourage by an expenditure of some two
or three hundred millions of dollars :—
" A car load of corn was shipped a few weeks since to Philadelphia
from the interior of Iowa, via the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad and
its connections, and consigned to Messrs. Stauffer & Seyfert, commission
merchants. The freight charges, commissions, and other expenses
amounted to $233.70, and the receipts $223.70, leaving a deficit of $10
to the shipper, in addition to the value of the corn at the point of shipment !"
Yerily, logic is inexorable ; for example, it is in the highest degree
wrong—nay, absurl—to encourage manufactures by means of protection
—in Ontario and Quebec—although it is well known that excellency in
manufactures and commerce is the only road by which nations have
hitherto risen in the scale of being, or become famous in art, literature,
science, or philosophy. Why is it wrong to protect manufactures \
Because a certain bundle of assertions, dignified with the name of science,
says that " nations, like individuals, should buy in the cheapest market ;"
yet it is meritorious in us to spend an amount of money which, I repeat,
is absolutely beyond our grasp to comprehend, for the sole purpose of
increasing the production—or manufacture, if you will—of cereals, an
article which is already produced in over-abundance, and can be bought
and sold at the present time for considerably less money than we could
possibly manufacture it for in our North-west or Pacific Provinces.
But, then, it is not done as protection to agriculture. Oh ! no, it is done
for the purpose of developing our resources in the North-west, &c.    I 30
trust, sir, you see the difference in the cases; for my own part, I am
sorry to confess I am a little hazy about the exact distinction.
Seriously speaking, sir, I am aware that you and the gentlemen who
now act with you, were opposed to our undertaking the enormous obligations with which we are at present loaded; or, at least, you were
opposed to the terms, time, dec, of the obligation, and, consequently, I
acquit you so far. What I am inclined to quarrel with you for is the
—to me—monstrous and unreasonable assumption, or doctrine which
you preach, viz., that your Government is bound to carry out the engagements made by your predecessors in regard to the North-west, &e., even
though the credit and resources of this country should be permanently
injured, if not ruined, in the effort. Now, sir, I, as a citizen of this
country, one whose interests are bound up in its welfare, beg to protest
in the most enqmatic manner against any such doctrine; it is but the
old axiom of absolutism—" The King can do no wrong "—in different
words, then it was absolute obedience to a man, now to an idea. In both
cases it is equally eroneous. You will forgive my freedom of speech, if
I charge you that your sole duty as Premier of this great Dominion, is
to rule the country according to your own ideas of right and justice, and
for the welfare of the entire people, irrespective of political effect.
I come now to the main object of this communication, viz., to show
the possibility of superseding the railway by an entirely new style of
transit, " which will be as great an improvement on the railway as the
railway was on the stage coach, and the canal of fifty years ago—a sys--
tem of transit which will do for the American continent and people;"
that which the railway system did for the smaller nations of Europe,
viz, satisfy the great immediate want—cheap, safe and expeditious transportation.
This may, at first sight, seem a somewhat startling affirmation, and
very likely your first feeling will be that of incredulity; the incredulity
will lessen, however, as you reflect that we are living in an age of continual
progress—of rapid advancement to the higher and the better in every
department of life. It is, therefore, hardly reasonable to suppose that
the mechanical and inventive genius of the world—the genius which has
made all other progress possible and easy—is going to come to a dead
halt on this particular subject. We are perfectly safe in saying that
every invention " has its day ;" every advance—however mighty and
far-reaching it may be'in its influence on the world—is but one rung
higher on that ladder whose top is hidden in the clouds of the future,
far beyond the reach of this and many ages yet to come. You may
depend upon it that when the inventors of our young Dominion come to
thoroughly realize the magnitude—the immensity of our resources, our
coal and iron, our gold and silver, our marble and other building stones,
our magnificent forests and inexhaustible fisheries scattered over
thousands of miles, and the utter impossibility of making those riches
practically available by means of the railway—they will make the most 31
strenuous exertions to develop and bring together our various elements-
of wealth and power, so that each may enjoy the riches of all, and that
all may share in the blessings of each.
It is utterly incredible that an educated, intelligent and enterprising people, possessing a land of almost illimitable extent and the
most varied resources, with hundreds, nay thousands, of miles separating
their principal cities and provinces, are going to remain much longer contented with the snail pace of our present railways—creeping along at
a rate of twenty miles an hour (a large portion of the year not so quick),
when even in the " old land "—the dear old mother of mighty nations-
—whose extent and dimensions are but as a hand's breadth in comparison
with ours, they fly at a pace of fifty, sixty, or even seventy miles an hour.
The day for miracles is not yet passed ; faith can still remove mountains, either spiritual or material in spite of the cowardly counsels of
" doubting Thomases." *
| The eye is never satisfied with seeing, nor the ear with hearing,"
the mind is forever longing after something new, something different
and better than the present ; and of all the desires of the heart at the present time—at least on this continent—I am not far wrong in placing
among the most ardent, the wish for swifter, cheaper, and safer means of
From the earliest times of which we have any record man seems to
have cherished with peculiar pleasure, the hope that he would yet triumph
over the laws of nature, and be able to transport himself over the earth,
as swiftly as the eagle speeds through the air ; it is a hope we find embodied in a thousand forms, as instance the "wishing cap" of the geni—
also the broomstick on which the witches of our great grandmothers
were, supposed to ride through space swift as the lightning's flash ; it is a
hope which has formed the theme of the poets song and the seers prediction, and although it has been partially fulfilled in the velocity of the
rail car and the locomotive we still call for greater expedition, and we
shall not be disappointed ; for our all-wise and beneficent Creator has
so ordered it, that the genius of the few is ever able to satisfy the reason-
able requirements of the many. It is only necessary to feel the , want,
to have the mind awakened and fully convinced of the necessity of receiving the new truth, and the revelation will surely come ; for the
* " Faith is and ever has been the mainspring of man's power, in all his
efforts, whether dealing with the natural laws of the universe, or the glorious truths
of inspiration as revealed in the Book which tells of man's immortality—his splendid hereafter in the mansions of his father ; without faith man is helpless as the
new born babe and hopeless as the nameless orphan, thrown upon the tender mercies of a cold and heartless world. Let who will cavel and sneer (in this sneering
age) I assert it as a fact, capable of a boundless proof, that faith—intelligent and
sincere—in one form or other is the foundation on which has been reared, nearly
all that is great and worthy in the past history of the world, and that just in proportion to the active, intelligent faith in the man or nation will be their success in
rising nearer and nearer to the glorious perfections of their father, God.
=	 32
aggregate of human power is  almost as limitless as the desires  and
necessities of man.
Now, sir, taking all things into consideration, I have no hesitation
in expressing the opinion that your Government will not be justified in
buUding our great national highway to the Pacific on the present railway
system until it has been proved conclusively and irrefragible that it is
the-absohitely best system of transit which it is possible for the genius of
man to devise; and that can only be done by giving a fair, full and impartial consideration to the system I am about to propose, and also by
putting it to a thorough and practical test. The question being now
raised, it is quite evident that you cannot escape the grave responsibility
•of deciding either that the railway system is perfect, and the finality of
man's invention in the matter of transport—which would be an absurd assumption—or you must try the new plan, or prove it a. failure by showing
that it is opposed to the well known laws of mechanical philosophy.
Let us look at this very important question then a little more
•closely than is the general habit of people when dealing with anything
new and untried, and see if we can decide definitely whether or not we
are justified in looking upon the railway as the ne plus ultra of man's
mechanical genius in the matter of land transit.
In the first place, what is there about the railway system which
could warrant any ordinarily intelligent man in thinking that it could
not be superseded ? It is but the creation of a man, a man to who—with
all due difference to the opinion of Mr. Smiles—was no superior
mechanical genius; consequently, like every other work of the human
intelligence, it partakes of its inventors imperfections, and is therefore
liable to be superseded by something better.
I do not say this for the purpose or by way of disparaging Mr.
Stephenson's work—far be it from me to try and diminish by one iota
the credit justly due to the memory of the founder of our railway system—we are only too ready to forget our best benefactors, and need no
inducement to stimulate our ingratitude. Mr. Stephenson gave to the
world—or rather he forced it to accept one of the grandest mechanical
■combinations ever devised by man—a mechanical contrivance which
has saved it countless millions of money, and advanced it further on the
path of progress than otherwise it would ever have reached. It is therefore impossible for us to bestow too much honor on his memory, so also
is it beyond the power of the most malignant critic to diminish his
My sole object in any remarks that I may make on the defects of
the railway system is to get you to realize the possibility of a change.
My aim is to brush away the cobwebs which " use and want," natural
prejudices, and the halo that a most wonderful and long continued success has warped about your reason. In a word, I want to get you to
think, consequently to doubt and debate, if I only succeed in getting you
to use your own brains, my point is gained; .for you will soon see for
L 33
yourself that there are many great and glaring defects in the railway
system as a means of transit,—particularly for a country like North
America, where the distances are counted by thousands of miles, and
the climate is of the most variable and extreme description—and the inference is plain that wherever there are defects there must be room for improvement. The London Engineer, and other able authorities, declare in
the most emphatic manner, that the present railway machinery is monstrously disproportioned to the useful effects produced, nine times out of
ten in which it is set in motion, a statement which admits of easy proof.
For example, an ordinary passenger train on the London and Northwestern Railroad (English) will be composed of engine and tender,
weighing forty-two tons, five passenger coaches, each sixteen tons—
eighty—or, in all, one hundred and twenty-two tons, number of passengers (average)- fifty-five, now, take the passengers to weigh fourteen to
the ton, and you have in all four tons ; or, in other words, to accomodate fifty-five passengers, weighing four tons, you have a train of one
hundred and twenty-two tons, or thirty tons of dead weight to every one
ton paying weight. If any one can call that less than monstrously dis-
. proportioned, I would like to see him. Yet that is the proportion every
day in the year, on one of the best managed and most important railways
in England—a road which carried over«12,000,000 passengers during the
last six months, and dispatches daily no fewer than 320 trains. Even
on the less substantial roads, and with the.longer cars of this country,
the proportion of dead weight is as much as 2,000 or 3,000 pounds per
individual, or fourteen to one, the proportion of nonpaying to paying
load in the case of mineral and general freight is but little better, being
in England as much as 7 to 1, and in this country about 5 to 1 ; and
this one defect of the railway system ought of itself to be sufficient to
show to any thoughtful and observant mind that such a system is anything but perfect in its operation, and must ultimately be superseded by
the growing intelligence of man. Let me now state a few of the other
defects inherent in, and inseperable from the railway system as a means
of transport—especially on this continent of magnificent distances—so
that you may be in a position to understand the radical difference
between, and the respective merits of, the railroad and the system of
transit which I propose as a substitute for it. The first, and in my
opinion the greatest, defect of the railway system is the limited power of
the locomotive, and the practical impossibility of increasing that power
beyond the present standard. This is a defect of the greatest magnitude, and, like all other evils, either moral or physical, it gives rise to a
host of others.
In the first place, it necessitates the rails to be laid perfectly, or as
near a dead level as possible, as a rise of even one foot in one hundred
deprives the engine of full half its power (Mr. Stephenson calculates the
loss at two-thirds), and the engine continues to lose power with every
inch of rise in the road-bed, until it is brought to a stand-still, at a com-
3 34
paratively gentle incline; as a matter of trial, it has been found that an
engine that would take a load of 420 tons at sixteen miles an hour on
a dead level, would not take more than 136 tons up an incline of one
foot in a hundred; to take a load up an incline of only thirty feet to the
mile, you require to use three times the steam, and consequently fuel,
which would be necessary on a level.
I repeat that the necessity for a level road-bed, is an evil of the
greatest magnitude, as it consumes nearly three fourths of all the money,
and about the same amount of the time now spent in making railroads
in all parts of the world. In the second place, the locomotive must be
made of great weight, because its power to pull a train depends upon the
adhesion (or friction) of the driving wheels to the rails ; and as a matter
of course, the friction between the drivers and the rails must depend
upon and be in proportion to the weight on the wheels, so that other
things being equal, an engine of 150 horsepower, weighing 35 tons, will
do more work than one of 300 horse power, if it weighs only 30 tons.
For years past, the locomotive engine has appeared to me somewhat
like a giant without legs, or with the legs of only an ordinary mortal.
You may have the great powerful body, capable of putting forth almost
any amount of strength, but from want of power in the limbs to give
effect to the action of the body, he is reduced to the level of an ordinary
jack. There are all the inconveniences of the giant; he requires the
room, the food, and attendance of one, yet he cannot do the work, the
fault being in the limbs, consequently you cannot blame him ; you might
just as sensibly ask, or expect an elephant to pull down a house while he
is swimming in the water, as expect a locomotive engine to develop, beyond a certain and very limited amount of power, while it is set to work
by means-of smooth driving wheels acting on smooth iron or steel rails,
it is, of course, capable of displaying great power (according to its weight),
while acting in the usual way, just as the elephant could pull more while
swimming in the water than a donkey could while hauling on land; but
neither the elephant nor the engine would be getting fair play, neither
of them having a proper resisting medium on which to act, consequently
they could not get a proper foothold.
I am well aware that our present locomotives lose comparatively
little power, as their boilers, cylinders, &c, are made so as to work up
only to their weight or traction. What I wish to bring out is that the
locomotive—froin the fact of its being confined to the weight carried on
the drivers for traction—is kept down within very narrow limits ; as
there can be no doubt whatever, that but for that circumstance, we
could have an engine of one thousand horse-power which would not
weigh more than our present one hundred and fifty horse-power locomotives. Moreover we could graduate the. power of our engines according to the load to be carried, and not as now have to send a machine
capable of hauling 200 or 300 tons to take a load of 40 or 50 tons.
Archimedes said, " that he could move the world if he had a lever
\i 35
long enough and a fulcrum on which to rest." You perceive that there
are two prerequisites to his performance. 1st. The lever. 2nd. The
fulcrum on which it is to act, but suppose for a moment that after
he had got his lever he had found upon trial that his fulcrum was capable
of resisting only a mere fraction of the power* necessary to move the
world;. or which he could put forth by means of his lever—in that case
he would be in a position precisely analagous to that of the modern
" locomotive engineer."
His lever is his engine, and he knows that there is practically no
limit to the strength it could be made to exercise; but alas, his fulcrum
is but a very poor affair, it soon begins to yield and so he is compelled
to make his lever to accommodate itself to the weakness of the fulcrum
or road-bed. As it is exceedingly important that you should thoroughly
understand what I mean—in regard to the engine being limited in
power—I will, at the risk of being thought tedious give you another
illustration. Suppose, for instance, that you wanted to take a load of
wheat over the ice in winter by means of a sleigh, would you not take
care, before starting, to see that your horse's shoes had been calked, and
why 1 Because, without them, he would have no proper foothold on the
ice; he would slip and slide and lose more than half his power. And
what would you think of a man who, in place of having his horse
properly roughened, should reason thus : " The horse must wear iron
shoes, as a natural result he must slip on the ice; if he slips, it is evident
he must lose half his power; consequently we must use two horses while
traveling on the ice for every one necessary on land ?" Why, you would
very probably say the man was a fool; and that he was, by his stupidity,
adding materially to the price of the produce, or substracting from his
own profits, according to the demand for his wheat.
In the railway system, however, we go a step further than merely
neglecting to calk the horses' shoes, for while putting the load on runners
we actually put the horse, or locomotive, on runners also, thus
totally ignoring the plain, obvious fact, that for the very reason that a
smooth iron or steel rail forms the best possible road on which to move
heavy loads, it must, of necessity, be the worst possible road on which to
develop the power of the engine, seeing that the load to be moved and
the power to do the hauling, require conditions the very reverse of each
other in the road—the one the absence of friction and the other the
presence of that condition or force-
It does seem passing strange that, during all these years, railway
engineers have never got the length of providing one road for the engine
and another for the traffic; and the omission, I believe, can only be
accounted for in this way, viz : Before the introduction of railways—
but while they were being agitated—it was contended by the many that
it was impossible for an engine to haul itself along a perfectly smooth
rail, much less pull a load after it. (Hence we find among the early
attempts at railway locomotion rack rails and cogged driving wheels, 36
&c.) So that when it was proved by Trevethick, and after him by
Stephenson, that an engine with smooth wheels could not only haul itself
along a smooth iron railway, but could also pull a load after it, it seems
to have been taken for granted that the problem of locomotion was
solved and the railway system perfected. It then became the practice
among engineers, acting upon the advice of their master (Stephenson), to
keep down the grades as low as possible, and increase the weight of the
engine, rather than to try and find a more effective mode of working
them. And the immense success of the first railways, the wonder and
admiration they created, the benefits they conferred upon the country,
and their great and manifest superiority over all previous modes of
transit, all combined together to crystalize, as it were, everything connected with there construction and operation into facts, hard as adamant and irresistable as prejudice. So that it would have seemed something like sacrilege. Certainly it would have been accounted tremendous
presumption in any one to have attempted to alter or -supersede the
existing railway practice as taught by its founder, Mr. Stephenson.
Hence the evils arising from this want of power in the engine, and the
great injury wrought to the permanent way, &c, by its excessive weight
and ugly motion, though long known and deeply deplored by the thinking
few, have, at last, come to be looked upon as incurable and a necessary
portion of the Railway system; and so we have settled down calmly and
contentedly into the new groove cut for us by the master hand (Stephenson), happy in the thought that we have got perfection, at least as compared with our fathers. And now that Great Britain has spent nearly
six hundred millions sterling—the United States considerably more—
(other nations in proportion)—on their railways, that is sheer nonsense
to talk of a change, except, perhaps, in the matter of gauge, though even
that was fought against with the most persistent determination by "many
of our most eminent authorities, thus practically proving that which we
are ever willing to deny—viz.,' our belief in the oft quoted aphorism,
" Whatever is, is Right;" and I would just like to remark (incidentally,
of course,) in regard to the said quotation, that, so far as the practical
opinions and beliefs of 999 out of every 1,000 of the world's inhabitants
are concerned, a more profoundly correct saying was never promulgated
either by poet or philosopher—notwithstanding all that may be said to
the contrary.
But to return to our subject, viz., " the want of power in the engine
while acting on the rails." There were many causes at work—such as
the cheapness of labour, fuel, iron, &c, &e,—also the short distances
between towns and cities—which caused this evil to be but lightly felt
on the majority of British railways (tLey are beginning to feel the want
now, though, as proved by their having to drive coupled engines with all
their "fast heavy trains.") But we having copied—with almost slavish
fidelity—her railway system and practice—though with conditions and
necessities as different as can toell be imagined—find, what are compara- 37
tively insignificant evils to her, immense obstacles to us; this is shown
by the fact, that although the English merchant may have to pay —on
account of the defects under discussion—from 4c to 4^c per ton per mile
for his goods in place of 2c, which otherwise would be sufficient—yet,
from the fact that he seldom requires to freight more than forty or fifty
miles, he finds the additional 2c but a very trifling impost after all, so
small, in fact, as to be hardly worth noticing. But when you take the
case of the Canadian merchant freighting from Montreal to Toronto at
4^c per ton per mile, in place of 2^c, you can easily see how differently
the evil works in the different countries ; to the English merchant it
makes a difference of only 80c or 90c on each ton of goods ; to the Canadian merchant it is seven or eight dollars ; in the majority of cases, the
difference in freight charges would make a large profit on the goods carried ;* consequently, in a country of such immense distances as Canada,
or the United States, it becomes a matter of vital importance to avoid
even the smallest defects, as the defects get exaggerated according to the
length of the line, until at last they become insurmountable obstacles.
Another defect of the railway system is caused by the fact that in practice
it is financially if not mechanically impossible to make, or if made to
maintain, a perfectly level road-bed. The grades on our new railways are
such as would make Mr. Stephenson, was,he alive to see them, hold up
his hands in astonishment.
The vei'y best of railways are never really in plain, seldom in lino
often loose at the joints, and so long as they are made after the present
fashion, they must continue to be defective. So long as railroads are
made by fastening rails to ties or sleepers, placed directly on the surface
of the ground, they must remain subject to many causes of destruction,
let the road-bed be ever so well laid and deeply ballasted. The first heavy
rain-storm that comes will wash away some of the sand or ballast from
under the ends or middle of the ties, and they become depressed in parts ;
or a severe frost comes after a heavy rain and expands the ground, and
the sleepers are thrown up out of their proper line, the result being that
the road is rendered uneven throughout its whole course. Now, whenever an engine and cars pass over such a road, the wheels rise and fall
* To the farmer living in the North-western States, &c,,the difference is a matter
of vital importance, and represents the difference between prosperity and poverty.
" Five cents per bushel on corn, <fec, more or less, (according to the Chicago Tribune)
between the farm and the sea-board, will make the difference between a good round
profit, or the complete loss of the years of labor ; or, in other words, it will take
about thirty millions of dollars from the cash value of their products for the year,
and five hundred millions from the cash value of their farms."
" It seems strange, no doubt, to those who do not know that a charge of one-
twentieth of a mill per 100 lbs., in the charge for transportation per mile, may take
hundreds of millions from the value of farms. It can neither be comprehended nor
intelligently directed without a full understanding of the conditions under which
agriculture exists in the North-western States, and of the power which the railway
has exerted, and still wields for the development or destruction of that great industry."    (From Eailroads and the Farms, in the Atlantic Monthly for Nov., 1873.) 38
with the very inequality of the road-bed, and the cars acquire that abominable thumping, bumping, and rocking from side to side and from end
to end, motion which we have all experienced on the best of roads. And
this lateral and vertical motion of the cars is not only exceedingly uncomfortable but decidedly injurious both to passengers and freight, while it
ruins the road-bed and rolling stock; indeed it renders the keeping of a
good, firm, and level permanent way an almost impossible task, as may
easily be seen by the folrowing : " A locomotive engine running over a bad
or uneven road-bed, at a speed of 25 miles an hour, will strike every
inequality with a blow equal to that of a twelve ton Jiammer, or sixty per
cent, more than the normal weight on the engine. The driving wheels
have been known to leap a distance oi fifteen inches over a depression, and
come down on the following projection with an almost inconceivable
force." And not only- the driving wheels, but every wheel of every car
in the train, acts on such a road just like so many trip hammers set to
work to break up the track in the shortest possible time. (See foot-note)
One consequence of this is, that the engineer in building a railroad,
has got to calculate the strength of his road, not only to sustain the
weight or pressure of the loads it is to carry, which if the roadbed was
perfectly firm and strong—and the cars had only proper, that is sliding
motion—is all he would require to provide for; but he must make
ample allowance for the terrible destruction wrought by the vibration of
the cars and engine, and the higher the speed the greater the intensity
of the blow struck by the wheels ; hence the reason why on poor roads
with limited traffic the trains must go at a slow pace, a circumstance
which tells against us in Canada very severely indeed, condemning us to
creep along at a rate of 18 to 20 miles an hour, when, from the great
■distances between our principal towns and cities, and the great length of
the Dominion, we ought to fly with the speed of the wind—when it is
blowing a hurricane,—and our inability to do so is to my mind, another
fact proving that the railway system is not alike applicable to Canada
* A Much-needed Improvement.—To the Editor of the Globe.—Sir,—The present is decidedly an age of progress. We have now only to feel a want or recognise
an' inconvenience till some one sets himself at work to provide a remedy. Won't
some genius, then, contrive to build a freight car that will carry its load of ten tons
lightly, elastically, and not like so much lead to go thumping and pounding over the
rails, crushing them to pieces, breaking the trucks, straining every bolt and timber,
and too often seriously damaging the freight. Certainly something of this kind is
It is the freight trains that wear out our railroads. Every loaded car is a ten-
ton trip hammer to break the rails, strain the spikes, shiver the wheels, and in many
cases injure if not destroy the freight. Frail and brittle materials can hardly be
packed so as to prevent them being broken; others are compressed, such as sugars,
much to their injury; tea becomes pulverized, so that it is found almost impracticable to bring it over the Pacific road from San Francisco. With cattle and swine
we are tola} that at every rough place, over which the car thumps, the poor animals
groan and flinch and become foot-sore, and full of pains and fever, disease and
death. Merchaht.
% 39
and England, nor capable of yielding equal advantages to countries so
diverse in circumstances, climate and finance. *
I can fancy you now saying to yourself, " If the fault lies in the
permanent way or roadbed, can we not so increase its strength and solidity, as to put ourselves on a footing of equality with England and
other European countries, and so travel at a correspondingly high speed V
The answer is no, our climate is against us, our heavy and continuous
snows and frosts in winter, our thaws and freshets in spring, &c, places
us at a disadvantage which no money expenditure we can ever afford
will counterbalance.
In England, before the railway had been ten years in existence, it
was seen, to use the words of the " English mechanic," that if we could
only make a really permanent roadbed, one which by any ordinary
amount of expenditure, would keep in place and in line with the rail
joints, firm and solid, we would thereby double the life of the rails and
rolling stock. Consequently we find that for the last 30 years the most
intelligent and thoughtful railway engineers have concentrated their
entire abilities on the task of forming a really good and durable permanent way. They have tried all kinds of experiments, using every
description of support—stone, iron, wood, &c, and have sunk untold
millions in ballast, &c, and,yet after all, the verdict pronounced by the
I London engineer," is that " the present permanent way is about the
most unpermanent thing upon earth, it is never in plain, seldom in line,
generally loose at the joints, always causing a fearful expenditure of
power without any good results."
During all those years it has of course, been taken for granted that
the railroad having become an established fact, carried out in practice in
almost every country of the world, at a tremendous expenditure of time
and money, that therefore it was bound to stand to all time.—Nine hundred and ninty-nine out of every thousand of the world's inhabitants felt
just as certain that the system of carrying goods in panniers on horseback, the stage-coach, but above all the canal, was sure to last forever,
without change or modification.-—Indeed, so strong was, and is the
feeling of the perfection and permanency of everything connected with
the railway, that the proposition merely to contract the distance usually
left between the rails, was battled against by the great majority of railway men with a determination and eloquence of argument that was
simply, ludicrous. It was declared unhesitatingly and emphatically by
the most eminent railway authorities in Canada and elsewhere, that the
idea was impracticable in either a mechanical or economical sense, so that
* It is supposed to have been this excessive motion of the cars which caused the
fearful accident near Wigan, England, last week, an accident by which twelve lives
were lost and many injured. Indeed, there can be little doubt but many of the
unexplained mishaps, by which hundreds of lives are sacrificed every year, are the
product of the same cause. If by any means the wheels are prevented from falling
back on the rails in their right position, (and the smallest thing will do it), the
whole train rushes to destruction total and complete. /*
we owe the Toronto, Grey and Bruce, and the Nipissing narrow guage
railways solely to the boundless energy, pluck and foresight of Mr.
Laidlaw, (a man whose value to a young country like Canada is absolutely priceless), and the fow congenial spirits whom he was able to
inoculate with his own enthusiasm, and they have, as usual, shown the
utter worthlessness of the opinions pronounced by "practical mem," by
making the narrow guage a success. Now, under such circumstances, it
is hardly to be wondered at that the idea of superseding the railway
itself by a something better, a something more in accordance with the
progressive spirit of the age, and the necessities of different countries,
should never once have entered the minds/ of our practical railway
engineers; indeed it would have been very wonderful if it had done so,
as it is very seldom that men make original improvements or inventions
in their own particular business or profession.
Notwithstanding that I have already expended more time in my
necessarily discursive description of a few of the more prominent defects
inherent in and inseparable from the railway as a means of transit than
I at first intended, I will, for the purpose of impressing them the more
firmly upon your mind, recapitulate them in a few lines, adding one or two
more which tell against the railway, particularly in Canada and the North
and the North-western States of America. - 1st then, there is the financial, if not physical impossibility of making, or if made, maintaining a good
solid permanent way except at an extravagantly high figure, such as only
countries having large traffic to carry for short distances, such for example as England, can afford to pay. 2nd defect, having to make the
road-bed as near a dead level as possible, so as to compensate for want of
tractive power in the engine, a defect which absorbs nearly three-
quarters of the money spent on railways. 3rd. The tremendous blunder
of making the engine depend for tractive power on the same plain as that
upon which the load is hauled, seeing that the load and the engine require conditions the very reverse of each other in the roadbed, the load
the least possible friction, the engine a large amount, of that condition or
force. That such a palpable and obvious blunder has been allowed to
exist all these years without seeming even to have excited any particular
comment, appears to me to argue either extreme poverty of invention,
or inconceivable thoughtlessness and want of originality in our railway
engineers. 4th defect, is the excessive weight of the engine and cars
in proportion to the lo«ds carried. 5th. The great amount of lateral
and vertical motion always present in a running train, ruinous not only
to a roadbed and rolling stock, but exceedingly disagreeable and injurious to the passengers and freight, <fec. 6th. The danger to life and limb
from the cars leaving the track—trains being thrown from the rails by
the simplest accident, such as the breaking of an axle, a small piece
coming off the flange of the driving wheel, a broken rail, the spreading of
the rails, an obstruction on the track, &c, &c. ; in short, the hundred and one accidents which have and must continue to occur, while 41
there is no power to hold the engine and cars to the roadbed, but the
coneing of the wheels and the small flange now in use* 7th. The
long time and large capital it takes to complete even a short line of railway. 8th. The liability of the traffic on our railways being stopped
or greatly impeded for at least three months out of the twelve
by snow.
As a matter of fact, the greatest Objection of all to the railway as a
means of transport in Canada and the United States, arises from the
inability of the locomotive to contend with the fearful snow drifts that
occur in all parts of the country during the winter months; the loss,
* " There is an old fancy that soldiering is the most dangerous business in which
man can engage, but take it all in all, war is not so deadly as railway travelling.
The entire number of soldiers killed in the two years' war in the Crimea was 2,555.
Our railways, as a regular thing, do nearly as much killing per annum. Not a
very complimentary thing this to the genius of the age. The railway machinery,
so to speak, is worked at such a high pitch as to have got beyond any ordinary
means of control ; in its vastness and complication it has outstripped human intelligence. Already the public are so much alarmed that many, to our own knowledge, will not risk themselves on board a train. What a bitter satire on the
vaunted improvements of modern times."—Chamber's Journal for April, 1874.
And that the public have good cause for their alarm is proved by the lists of
accidents which appear every day, though as a matter of fact, the public have been
systematically deceived by the railway companies on this head, and it is only now
that the truth is coming out, for example the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company,
returned for 1873—39 killed, 73 injured ; the real numbers were found to have
been 54 killed, and no fewer than 1,367 injured, or for the whole country 1,110
killed, and 27,000 injured; in the half-year ending April, there were 500 killed and
14,000 injured on the railways in Great Britain, while only 3,640 were injured, and
162 killed in all the factories and other workshops of the Kingdom. In the United
States so numerous and aggravated have the accidents become of late, that it has
been proposed in the New York State Legislature to make the companies responsible
for the value of every life lost on the railways of that State. During the month of
December there were no fewer than 103 accidents of all kinds on the railroads of the
United States, killing 37 and seriously injuring 114 ; in November the killed were
37, injured 114 ; October, 29 killed, 102 injured, and so on throughout the year, or
for the ten months 489 accidents, killing and maiming upwards of 1,000 persons,
not to mention the immense amount of property destroyed. In Canada, if the proportion is not quite so large, any one who remembers the Shannonville disaster on the Grand Trunk, and the Komoka tragedy on the Great Western, will be
satisfied that they are at least enough to induce all caution. Now the query arises
what can be the cause of this fearful increase in the accidents, particularly in
Great Britain ? Just this, the business of all the principal roads has been doubled
within fourteen years, the consequence is that they require to dispatch a train
every ten or fifteen minutes, freight and passenger, just as they come. Now only
fancy, an interval of ten minutes between two heavy express trains, running 38 or
40 miles an hour,—is it any wonder there are accidents; is it not a miracle rather,
that there are so few. But you say why not build more roads, and so be able to
regulate the business. The why is very plain, railroads don't pay, not even when
actually doing twice as much business as they were designed to carry—the fools
and speculators that build the present roads (in Canada as well as Great Britain),
being cleaned out ; the men who have the money take warning by their fate, and
refuse to burn their fingers for other people's benefit, and so the killing and destruction will continue until we get more sensible roads, or the Governments are willing
to pay the piper. 42
inconvenience, and expense to the proprietors of the roads, as well as the
public, from this cause, is a something altogether incredible to any one
who has not looked into the subject for himself.
For example, since the 13th of December, 1872, to the middle of
March, 1873, the railways of the Lower Province (including the Intercolonial—a road specially built at a cost of millions to avoid the inconvenience of the snow, as far as it is possible to do so) have not been able
to count on regularity of movement for two days together, the track having
been snowed up as long as eight and ten days at a time, as late as the first of
March, so that the Lower Province Members of Parliament were delayed
for days on their way to Ottawa. Moreover, what traffic was moved
was carried at greatly increased cost to the Companies and the Government. As for the Grand Trunk (the Eailway of Canada), the London
(English) Standard says : " The traffic returns for the week ending the
28th December, show a decrease of £12,960 ($64,800)." The cablegram
adds, " that in consequence of the severe frost and heavy snow, the
freight traffic is nearly suspended ; in Montreal, since the 21st ult., the
thermometer has stood 19 above zero, and often 20 degrees below that
Again, " the traffic receipts on the Grand Trunk Eailway, for the
week ending 18th January, amounted to £30,130, and for the corresponding week of last year £35,795, showing a decrease of £5,695. The
aggregate receipts, since the 1st of January to date, amounted to £76,-
493, against £102,520 for the corresponding period last year, showing a
decrease of £26,027 "—or, say $130,000. Now, when you add to the
above $195,000, the amount paid for cleaning the track, extra engines
required to move what traffic was carried, &c, &c, (recollect that
it only covers a space of one month, while the loss must have gone on for
nearly three,) you can form some idea of the immense difficulty created
by the snow. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that the snows and
frosts reduce the effective power of a railroad in Canada fully 30 per
cent.* Mr. Brydges, Manager of the Grand Trunk, stated some time
ago in a speech he delivered in Montreal, that it was quite impossible in
the months of January and February for railroads in Canada to be
operated with anythinng like regularity or speed ; and that it would
continue so until our climate changed. At the beginning of January,
orders are always given to conductors to run with the greatest caution
during the winter, and to make no attempt in extremely cold weather to
run on  time.f    Such is  railway  locomotion in Canada, and I ask any
* N. B.—We are comparing winter with winter, to show the effect of an
unusual amount of snow. If we were to compare the winter with the summer
months, the contrast would, of course, be infinitely greater. For instance, it is
reported that the Grand Trunk took no less than $250,000 in one week this spring.
tFrom the wording of the above extract, many persons might believe that
Mr. Brydges wished us to understand that the irregularity of speed, etc., etc., was
the result of extra caution; but such is not really the case. It would be physically
impossible for any man to keep time on the Grand Trunk Eailway during the 43
sane man if I am not correct in saying " that the railway is not adapted
to a country like this, nor capable of yielding the service required of it;
and that if we intend to maintain proper and continuous communication
with our fellow-subjects of Manitoba and the Pacific coast, we must devise and put in operation a system of transit very different from the railroad." In fact, the man who would dispatch a train, or risk himself on
board of one on a journey from British Columbia to Ontario in the
depth of winter (unless there were regular settlements every thirty or
forty miles along the route, from which assistance could be had in
case of need), must either be a madman or a fool.
Since writing the above, I have seen the report of an interview between Mr. Potter, President of the Grand Trunk, and the correspondent
of the Toronto Globe, in which Mr. Potter says : I The fact of the matter
is, our working expenses are enormous, the long winters and the severity
of the climate is so great, that it would have been money in our pockets if
we had closed the line during the winter months of this last season of 1872-3,
the cold has been so intense, the weather so unfavorable, and the damage
done to our rolling stock during the last six weeks so great, that it will
cost us thirty thousand pounds for repairs." Further on he declares
that, the local or Canadian traffic of the Grand Trunk would not, and
never did, pay working expenses, " and that even the Great Western (the
only paying road in Canada) could not possibly pay working expenses
from local traffic" which is, to me, conclusive, irrefragable proof'that the
railway system of transit cannot be worked with a profit in Canada at the
present time.
Having thus explained a few of the defects inherent in and inseparable from the railway as a system of locomotion, especially in Canada or
the United States, I will now give a sketch of the system which I believe
is destined to supersede it, merely prefacing my description by the statement that no invention of this (or, in fact, any other) kind is perfect at
its inception or first trial; there are a hundred matters of detail, modification, and organization, which can^ only be perfected after trials and
The first necessity in an invention like this is to make certain that
your original idea—the foundation on which you intend to build—is
scientifically correct, that it is in perfect harmony with the well-established
laws of meclianics. The second is, simple and abiding faith in its utility,
and your own power to make the idea blossom out into a reality, an every
winter, unless he used double the locomotive power he was in the habit of employing
in the summer; and the reason is very obvious: the engine depends for traction
on the friction produced between the drivers and the rails. Now, a slight fall of
snow, a thin film of ice, or even a heavy dew on the rails, will diininish the friction
or traction from 60 to 80 per cent.; hence you will perceive there is just one out of
three things to be done in winter: either the locomotive must start with one-third
the ordinary summer load, or starting with a full load, say from Toronto, leave a
portion of it as it goes along, acording to the state of the rails; or do, as is now
done, viz., keep the ordinary load and lower the speed as the friction decreases. 44
day fact, and I can assure you that there are very few mechanical impossibilities when taken in that way. Take as an example of what I mean,
the invention of the " Bessemer process for making steel,"—one of the
most important inventions of modern times. Mr. Bessemer says, " Many
experiments were made in different iron works, according to my plan as
explained in my patent, but they all turned out failures, so that the great
expectations at the beginning gave place to incredulity; every one avowed
the thing would not work; I myself found practical difficulties. Instead,
however, of answering the many objections of the newspapers, I tried
' experiments, and found out the cause of failure, and succeeded perfectly
in making steel by my method, and now brought my invention in its
new and perfected form before the public; but unbelief had only increased.
' Ah, that is the.thing,' they said, ' which made such a noise three years
ago, and turned out a failure.' They considered my discovery as a meteor
which had flown through the metallurgical sky, and left only sparks behind. Nobody wanted to hear any more about my invention, and I had
endless difficulty to convince a single iron maker of the advantages of
my plan."
Just the usual history of all important inventions. First, it is an
idea, a suggestion of the fancy ; then comes faith in the truth and utility
of the suggestions, and lastly, reason and experience gets to work, and
through many failures (it may be) works out the idea into a. fact, the
fancy into a reality, the world—even the most intelligent portion of it—
persistently refusing to believe (although, as in this case of Bessemer's,
with all the necessary data before them, on which to form a correct
judgment), until compelled to yield by the stern logic of accomplished
fact; consequently, you must expect to find many apparent difficulties to
the carrying out of my proposed " system of transit," and to have many
objections suggested to you by others—although, for my part, I have
never yet found an engineer or mechanic who could or would state an
intelligible objection to my plan ; in fact, it has been quite the contrary,
and so unanimous has been the commendation of the idea, that I have
been sometimes tempted to think they were hardly sincere.
However, in dealing with objections when they do come, I beg of
you to recollect that the first and main point to be decided is, is the idea,
the principle of itself feasible, is it in accordance with the laws of mechanics
—not so much whether it is carried out in the most complete and perfect
form, and to enable you to judge of its feasibilityy and whether it is in
accord with the well-established principles of mechanical philosophy, we
will first look at the idea upon which the railway is founded and built
up. Mr. P. Stephenson (son of the originator of the railway system)
says: " The general principle of railways maybe regarded as the adaptation
of mechanical contrivance for the diminution of friction in the ordinary
appliances of locomotion, and consequent reduction in time and space,
proportioned to the degree of perfection attained in the means employed."
Hence you will perceive that the whole question of superiority in 45
different methods of transit, or rather (in different kinds of roads) resolves
itself into the diminution of friction. For example, a horse or an engine
will draw 3| tirnes as much on a macadamized road as on gravel or
dirt, 4£ times as much on a hard pavement, and 18 times as much on an
iron rail—the advantage of the rail over all other methods of transit
hitherto proposed is therefore very apparent. In the case of railways,
however, and any method of transit proposed as a substitute for them,
the power of the engines used, and the cost of building and maintaining
the road-bed, also the weight of the engine and cars in proportion to
the load carried, must be taken into account.
The roadway which I propose as a vast improvement on the railway
will best be described by the drawings to be found in the front of the
book. Figure 1 is an elevation of the road and cars (showing it as an
elevated road), a a are posts or uprights of wood or iron, 18 inches,
more or less, in diameter, sunk in the ground beyond the reach of frost,
&o., and leaving 2 feet, more or less, above -the level of the ground".
b b are longitudinal timbers laid upon and bolted to the uprights a a.
c c c are steel wheels or rollers (coned or cylinderical),* moveing freely in
journals resting upon and fixed to the longitudinal timbers b b.f The steel
rollers c c c are fitted into boxes (not shown in the drawing) which keeps
the greater portion of them continually covered with solid or other
lubricant. The bearings on which the rollers c c c revolve may have a
cushion of rubber or other elastic material between them and the longi-
* It will be obvious to any one who gives the subject a moment's consideration, that the wheels or rollers c c may be made of a great variety of forms—spheres,
spheroids, cones, cylinders, &c, <fcc, and except for the bearings, of different
materials. By preference, however, I would make them double cones and hollow,
so as to contain their own lubricant, the material to be hard steel or chilled iron for
the bearings aiid face, and hard wood for the body. The great advantage to be
gained by the double cone is that it forms a V shaped groove, in which the tube
runner of the sleigh can slide along with the least possible friction; it would
also form a perfect guide from which the runners could not escape. We thus avoid
the necessity for, and the very considerable loss of, power which would be occasioned by the use of outside guide-wheels plying on the longitudinal beams (although,
as a matter of precaution, I would have such wheels on every ^leigh and engine).
The advantage gained by making composite rollers—wood and iron—is, of course—
to Canada particularly—of great importance as a saving of expense (no roller needs
more than two or three pounds of steel).
t In building a "Sleigh road" for very heavy traffic, such for instance as the
carriage of canal boats, barges, &c. &c, in place of fixing the rollers so as to turn
on their axes in the longitudinal timbers b b, I form them in pointed groups and
leave them free to roll round a solid centre, or in grooves, made for the purpose in
the said timbers 6 6, thereby reducing friction to a minimum; in ordinary cases,
however, the gain would not be worth the extra cost.
J 46
tudinal timbers b b, to which they are bolted, so as to absorb any
vibration that may be caused by the cars or engine, also for the purpose
of rendering the road noiseless, d d is the centre road on which the
driving-wheels of the locomotive run; it is about 18 inches, more or less,
below the level of the rollers c c c, so as to allow the bottoms of the
sleighs to hang down between the timbers b b, thereby preventing the
possibility of the sleighs leaving the track by accident.
Fig. 2 shows a plan of the road laid upon the surface of the
ground in the same manner as an ordinary railroad, a a are the cross-
ties or sleepers; b b are the longitudinal timbers laid parallel to each
other and bolted firmly to the ties, c c are the steel or other rollers
The rollers c c rest upon and revolve between double timbers as shown
in the drawing ; they are also supplied with lubricant from a box not
shown, and rest when, necessary upon springs or cushons. Fg. 5 is a
section of the runner on which the car is placed ; a a are India rubber or metal springs placed between the bottom of the car and the runner, to absorb whatever vibration (if any) may be created by the train
while in motion; b b are' the binding bolts ; c is an oil can and broom
which sweeps the track clear of any obstruction and oils the rollers
c c c if necessary, N. B.—The broom &e, is only wanted when the
track is left uncovered which need never be done, as one of the great
advantages of this system of locomotion is, that the track with its
rollers c c may be kept completely covered over and protected from
snow, dust, water, &c, and even from sight almost as thoroughly as
though they were locked up in a box, and that in the simplest manner
—though simple, as it appears I had been studying the subject for
months before the idea occurred to me—for example, you first lay your
track (with the rollers all fixed) under the surface of the. ground,
and then cover each side-piece with its rollers, with a separate arch (or
other structure) which projects over and above the rollers in such a way
as to leave a clear space of two or three inches between the covering and
the rollers ; all that is then necessary is to curve the standards which
connects the runner with the car, to the shape or form left between the
cover and the rollers, vide the drawing figure 8. The runners of both
engine and sleighs are hollow, to enable us to keep up a circulation of
cold water (or other fluid) and thereby prevent heating on long journeys.
Figure 6 is a section of the driving wheel of the engine; it is about 18
inches more or less broad, and 6 feet more or less in diameter, covered
with India rubber or other elastic material of a suitable thickness.
The 'roadbed consists essentially of a series of steel or other rollers
placed upon proper supports, such as upright pillars, longitudinal
timbers, or fastened to steel rope by means of wooden or other blocks,
&c, &c, the rollers are placed in parallel rows, with 4 feet more
or less, between each roller, and 5 feet more or less, between the
rows; each roller revolves freely on its axes in a box or other receptacle which keeps it covered with lubricant, thereby enabling the runner 1
of the sleigh to pass over it with the least possible friction; or the
rollers are made hollow as before explained, and consequently contain their
own lubricant, which would require to be renewed once or twice a year,
the centre space between the row is levelled to make a smooth even surface on which the driving wheels of the locomotive may work. In case
of an elevated road or one intended for great speed a plank road (d d in
the drawing) is built in the centre upon cross ties bolted to the uprights
a a as before explained—or better still, it may be made to rest upon independent supports, thereby preventing all jar or shock to the road
carrying the traffic.
Now for the motive power which will pull us along ; it will consist
of a locomotive engine, so modified in its arrangement as to have the
driving wheels in the centre of the track, and under the body of the
machine; it will also be supplied with runners the same as the sleighs,
the runners resting upon the rollers c c c for the purpose of balancing it.
The runners of the engine are made changeable, so as to throw more or
less of the engine's weight on the drivers, according to the burden they
have to pull. As I have shown, the driving wheels are of the elastic
type, such as are now used for traction engines on the common roads.*
* Although I have so far referred to only one method of working this kind of
roadway, viz., by a locomotive engine supplied with elastic drivers operating on the
earth, or on an artificial track composed of asphaltnm, concrete, wood, &c, &c, it
must not be supposed that I am confined solely to that style of supplying power ;
on the contrary, I can conceive of no less than ten different ways in which I could'
apply the steam engine to work such a roadway—or a railway. Hence the reason
I have expressed so much astonishment at the want of thought or ingenuity in our
railway engineers, who still operate our railroads as their originator did—no matter
the country, place, or circumstances—amid the arctic snows of Canada, or the
tropic heats of India, along the level prairie, or up the steep mountain side, the
same locomotive must toil. If it is a level, all the better, we can take a good loadr
or go at a good speed; if an incline, then we must just do the contrary ;'but to talk
of fitting the engine to the ground it has to travel over, why, that is rank railway
heresay : the thing has never been done, and hence it cannot be done, <fec. And you
need not be in too big a hurry to condemn or laugh at such logic, for I could take
a bet that you, my dear reader, have either thought or spoken in pretty much the
same style before now.
I can, however, only give the bare outline of threee or four styles of operating
the road which might be adopted : 1. The centre track might be made in the form of a
groove, say 6 inches deep and 12 inches wide, and the driving wheel being covered
with rubber or other elastic material, would be kept in the groove by the engine's
weight, or made to work tight; in that case we could have almost any power of
engine, independent of its weight. 2. The track could be formed by a solid beam
of wood, say 8 by 12 inches, and the driving wheels supplied with a flexible double
flange, which would grip the beam in pretty much the same way as we catch with
our fingers. 3. We could form the centre track with cross-ties, so that it would look
something like a ladder, and the soft elastic face of the driving wheels would be
forced in between the rung's, and so give a tremendous hold. This style would also
be independent of the weight of the engine—a matter of the greatest significance—
and so on ; at the same time, neither of these methods are necessary, as the friction
produced between the elastic drivers and the roadway—either wood or earth—would
be as much as we could possibly use up, while it has the great advantage of being
simple and inexpensive. 48
The break power may consist of a certain number of flat iron shoes,
faced with thick India rubber, or other elastic material, the said shoes to
be pressed to the earth or the centre plank road, by means of screws,
lever's, &c.; or it may consist of iron sheers faced with rubber, to catch
the longitudinal timbers b b ; that, however, is a matter of detail, which
will have to be settled by trial.
The object of this system of locomotion, as you have, no doubt,
already perceived, is to substitute a sliding or sleigh motion for the circular or wheel motion now in use. So that a ride in a car, on this plan,
will more resemble a sail on a perfectly smooth sea, or a sleigh ride over
well packed snow, than the jolting, thumping, swaying motion of our
present railway cars.
To get a thoroughly correct idea of this system in operation, you
must imagine yourself on board the " Bella," an ice-boat which last year
flew over the frozen bosom of the Hudson River, with a fair wind, at
the rate of nine miles in seven minutes, thus beating the express train,
against which she was running, by nearly two to one. Indeed, the ice-boat
has the credit of suggesting this system of transit, which I propose to introduce, as it was while watching with intense admiration, some ten years ago,
the swift and graceful motions of the ice-boats, as they went sweeping over
the glassy surface of Lake Ontario, that the idea first sprung up in my
mind, that if it were only possible to form a " permanont way " as smooth,
level and firm as the frozen lake, we would have perfection, or as near it as
man could ask in a roadway. The system 1 have now explained is the
outcome of my cogitations on the subject, and it is almost needless for
me to say that it is simply a mechanical substitute for the frozen river
and the ice-boat, though unlike most other imitations, it will be found
very much superior to the original, inasmuch as the artificial roadway has
a motion as well as the sleigh or boat, while the ice is stationary, and only
the boat moves; furthermore, the runners of the ice-boat cut deep into
the surface which supports it, and thereby creates a great deal of unnecessary friction, while the runners of the sleigh scarce touch the surface
of the wheels or rollers c c (which form the road), skimming over their
greasy faces with such celerity as to leave, " like the baseless fabric of a
■vision, not a ' trace' behind."
And if it is a fact (and no one can deny it) that an ice-boat under
sail has carried four men at the rate of 85 miles an hour, while the
runners were cutting so deep into the ice as to almost blind them, with
the showers of broken ice, what speed may be expected from a sleigh
running over revolving steel rollers, kept continually covered with oil,
so that the runner of the car can barely kiss their circumference, the
sleigh being, of course, propelled by a powerful steam engine, with, in
many instances, the sail in addition ? So far, I have only referred to
the steam engine as the moving force on the new road; at the same
time, I wish it to be distinctly understood that for long journeys (say
across continent), and where cheap freight is (as it must always be) a 49
matter of vital importance to producers and the public, that wind power-
should be used, wherever practicable ; with the railway it is simply impossible, but with the " sleigh road " it will be found entirely practicable,
profitable, and easy; so small is the force necessary to move, say, 200
tons, on the sleigh road, that for at least one hundred days every year
there will be found sufficient wind on the route to the Pacific, to drive a
200 ton load at 40 miles an hour. A good sailor can always make the
ice-boat go nearly double—some maintain at three times the speed of the
wind. (N. B.) I wish no man to take my word for it, he can easily
calculate the friction for himself, and then ascertain the general force of
the wind in that country, and form his own conclusions on the subject ;.
for myself, I can only say that I have expressed no hasty surmise, but
what I believe to be a truth.
The simplicity and great advantages of such a system of locomotion
as I have described, must be apparent, I should think, to any one who
takes the trouble to comprehend-the principle on which it is based. In
the first place, there must be great saving in building the road as compared with a railway, a saving of not less than seventy per cent. This
saving is made principally because of the absence (comparatively speaking) of grading, grubbing, and ballasting, also ditching, draining, &c, <fcc,
the posts or uprights which support the rollers c c being made longer
or shorter, according to the inequality of the road. 2nd, there will
be a saying of at least seventy per cent, in the amount of iron used, which,
according to the present price of iron, cannot be less than $7,000 per
mile. 3rd, owing to the absence of lateral and vertical motion, and using
cars Only about one-third the present weight, no expensive bridging will
be necessary ; common trellis work, or rather in chains, formed by joining
the blocks of timber necessary to suppott the rollers c c by strong steel
rope, we will have a structure amply sufficient in all cases—even for the
widest streams—more particularly as the driving wheels of the engine will
be lifted from the road in passing bridges or other hollows, so that the
train will slide over sweetly and smoothly by its previously
acquired momentum,* thus avoiding all possibility of vibration
or concussion. "And it will doubtless be admitted as a general
principle, both as regards heavy loads and high speeds, that
it is the concussive action of train transit, that sets up, maintains and
maonifies, disentegration, dislocation, and wear and tear, that this action
is at a maximum wherever the rigidity of the permanent way is the
Greatest and  that  it  is  minimised by  elasticity."—English Mechanic.
4th. There will be perfect safety to life and limb—as the cars cannot
leave the track by accident—a circumstance of the very first importance
as it is from this cause that nearly all the terrible railway accidents
occur ; as instance the fearful destruction on the Great Northern (Eng-
* The engine is fitted with  an automatic apparatus which, the instant the
driving wheel is eased from the road, shuts off steam and applies a powerful break,
thus checking its speed until it again touches ground, when the break is removed
and the steam let on.
i 50
land), and at Shannonville, on the Grand Trunk, etc., etc. 5th. The
pleasant sliding motion of cars, will allow of the passengors sleeping,
reading or writing undisturbed by the dreadful thumping and swinging
motion now experienced on the railways, while the absence of the terrible
noise now endured will permit conversation to be carried on with comfort
and convenience. 6th. The great speed that may be attained with perfect safety—as much as eighty to ninety miles an hour—is undoubtedly
one of its very greatest advantages, particularly to a country like Canada,
which now stretches from ocean to ocean. 7th. The greatly diminished
weight of cars and engines, owing to the absence of platforms, wheels,
&c, &c, will cause a very considerable saving in the cost of rolling or
rather sliding stock as compared with railways—nearly one half; but in
altering—which must necessarily be done—the present railways to the
new system we could utilize all or nearly all the present carriages by
simply lifting them off their platforms and putting them on runners—
they would, of course, be much heavier than those specially constructed
for the new road—but might for a time be made available rather than
incur the expense of entirely new coaches. 8th. The fact of the road
being elevated three or more feet above ground will give it great advantages, in overcoming all manner of obstructions, such as snow, water,
&c, an advantage which can be thoroughly appreciated by any one who
has had occasion to travel during the winter months in Canada, the
"West, or North Western States of America. Another very great
advantage of this mode of construction is, that in passing through
towns and villages. &c, or over highways, public crossings, <fec.,
the posts or uprights, (a a) can be carried up so high and placed so far
apart from each other, that the train could go thundering along over the
heads of everything with perfect safety. Or the uprights (a a) could be
brought so near the level of the road, the longitudinal timbers or bracing
(6 b) being dispensed with; the wheels (c c c) being placed directly on
the tops of the posts (a a) that' all manner of traffic could pass in and
out between them with perfect freedom, thereby saving the cost
of bridges, gates, or crossings, <fec.. In fact for this among many other
reasons, the " Sleigh Road" must supersede all others for city and street
The form of roadway, however, which I would specially recommend for street traffic, would be sunk flush with the crown of the street,
leaving only twj) small grooves visible on the surface, the longitudinal
beams carrying the rollers (c c) taking the form of a leanto or inverted V,
with the apex cut off, so as to leave a space for the runners of the
sleigh to pass through. With such a form of roadway there could be no
possible obstruction to ordinary street traffic, as all vehicles have, or
ought to have, tyres much wider than the space necessaiy for the sleigh
runner, consequently they could neither catch upon nor sink into the
* The only question which will arise is, as to the said grooves getting filled up.
For my part I consider such a thing as very unlikely.   1st. The longitudinal beams 1
Now it must be apparent to you that such a road would cost but a
mere fraction of the amount usually spent on railways—even of the
slimest description.    The cost per mile of " Goudies Sleigh Road" would
be for a general traffic road, that is one capable of accommodating a
traffic as heavy as that carried by any railway on the continent—at present prices about $6,000—that is provided you had to buy all your timber
at regular market values, but as the majority of new roads in Canada
run through magnificent forests your lumber would cost only the expense
of cutting it. Consequently you can reduce the above estimate by over
$1,000 per mile.
The cost per mile for the permanent way in round numbers may be
stated thus:—
2,700 posts, 15 inches in diameter by 6 feet, at 30c each   ...    $810
1,S50 cross ties, 12 inches by 6 and 6 feet long at 20c       270
21,120 feet of lumber (beams) 12 by 6   1,600
4,280 do do do       342
For lumber $3,022
3,520 steel rollers (weighing with their supports) 4 lbs at 10c
per lb  1,408
Bolts, spikes and other sundries  200
Building the road    500
Unforseen sundries   100
Wire rope for strengthening the timbers (b b) and forming
bridges *  400
Wire for telegraph (small copper wire)  150
Total   $5,780
to which the rollers (c c) are attached are at least 15 inches deep, and there will
be a space below that for drainage, so that in all there will be a space at least 20
inches in depth, and 8 inches hi width, below the rollers, into which dust, stones,
water <fec, can fall (as a matter of course nothing could remain on the rollers,
or if it did it would be cleaned off by the first sleigh that passed), and I will leave
it to your own common sense to say how long it would take to fill up such a chasm
with dust, or how often it would require to be cleaned out. Again, each sleigh
will have a small flexible broom in front of the runner to clear out any obstruction
that may have found its way into the grooves, or the sleighs may be furnished with
small wheels—having flexible paddles—which work in front of the runners, casting
out everything that may have found its way in ; in short there are a hundred devices which could be adopted to keep the space clean. But what about the snows
of winter say you ? My only fear is that the average depth of snow is not sufficient
to pack the space between the beams (6 6), and keep the rollers thoroughly
covered; if it is, I will be pleased, for it will save the wear of the rollers, also the
lubricant, while offering very little more resistance to the sleigh than the rollers
would. Indeed, my first idea of the sleigh-road was a series of troughs or boxes,
laid in parallel rows the same as the rails, and kept filled with solid ice; the boxes
were protected from the snow the same manner as proposed for the sleigh-road,
and the ice was kept smooth by flooding when necessary, and such a road would
be of incalculable value in winter.
* By resting our longitudinal timbers [b b) on first-class steel rope—which I
eontend should be done—we could dispense with three-fourths of the upright posts;
it would also add immensely to the strength of the road and enable us to cross the
fearful chasms to be met with on all parts of the proposed Pacific Bailroad
route, and to bridge which in the usual way, would add enormously to the cost of
building a railway. 52
Or in all very little more than half the amount now spent for rails
alone : yet I hold that I have allowed considerably more than the real
value of the articles named, and more than would be required ; the only
item that may seem small to many is the amount for telegraph, but it
must be remembered that a great advantage of my system of road building is, that the telegraph wires can be laid inside the longitudinal beams,
(completely out of harms way), not only saving considerable expense in
building but also avoiding the continual break-downs which occur from
the wind, snow, etc., etc., and enabling us to use small copper wire
(which would not cost $50 per mile), and yet more than doubles the efficiency of the service.
Now just contrast for one moment the above with the estimate
which has been accepted as the most favourable offered for the construction of the road bed or permanent way of the " Kingston and Pembroke
Railway "—a barely second-class road at that—viz., $22,000 per mile;
or, with the amount spent or to be spent on the Intercolonial Railway,
viz., $48,000 per mile. A sum beside which my estimate looks utterly insignificant, yet I hold that it will be found sufficient in all ordinary
cases, but, for the sake of argument, suppose we double it, and allow an
extra $1,000 per mile for bridges, &c, the amount will still be little
over $10,000 per mile as the cost under the most unfavorable circumstances.
Let us now contrast the working capabilities of the two systems,
and their cost for maintainance and operation.
For example, the Grand Trunk, which cost over $80,000 per mile,
is taxed to its utmost capacity in carrying 1,800,000 passengers and
1,400,000 tons of freight per annum, or say 6,000 passengers and 5,500
tons of freight per day of 24 hours, the locomotive being capable of
taking a load of 180 to 220 tons gross, or 80 tons net, on
grades of one in a hundred, or take the estimated amount of
work which, the narrow-guage railroads (costing some $16,000
per mile) are capable of performing, viz., 400 tons of freight
and 800 passengers per day of 12 hours, the 17 ton engine taking
a gross load of 135 tons (or net 85 tons) up grades of one in a hundred
at 20 miles an hour. Now, we will suppose for the sake of argument,
that the amount of friction on the "sleigh road " will be quite equal to
that on the railway, (although we know that it is according to the laws
of friction less than one-half), and that consequently it will take as much
power to haul a ton on the one road as on the other. That being the
case, the relative working capacity of the two systems must be decided
by the tractive power of the engine, the amount of dead weight carried,
and the speed which could be kept up as a rule, without injury to the
permanent way. The locomotive depends for its tractive power on the
adhesion of the driving wheels to the rails, and the adhesion is in proportion to the weight carried on the drivers—which must of course, be
in proportion to the size of the cylinders, &c, &e.—thus a 35 ton engine
will have say 17 tons on the drivers, and 600 lbs. per ton of that amount 53
may be taken as the measure of the adhesion to the rails, thus giving an
effective tractive or hauling power of a little over 10,000 lbs. The
locomotive to be used on the " sleigh road" as already explained, is furnished with elastic tyres (that is the driving wheels are covered with
very thick India rubber or other elastic material), and travel on the earth,
on a wood, asphaltum, or artificial stone roadway made for it. Consequently, you can see at a glance, that as the tractive power of a locomotive depends upon the friction between the dri-sing wheels and the
road on which it travels; the " sleigh engine" must have much the
greater power, as there must be infinitely more friction between a rubber
tyre acting on the earth, plank, or other mentioned roads, than between
a smooth steel tyre turning on a smooth steel rail. It fortunately happens, however, that we are not left to conjecture as to the difference, as
Messrs. J. & T. Dale, of Kirkcaldy, Scotland, who are extensively engaged in the manufacture of road locomotives with elastic tyres (such as
those proposed), have, after a series of exhausting trials, determined the
exact amount of traction given by each engine from 4 horse-power up
to 25 do., and we find that a 13 ton locomotive furnished with elastic
tyres, gives a tractive force of 16,700 lbs., when acting on the ground—
and we know, as a matter of fact, that it would give about the same
acting on wood, &c.—but as in the "sleigh system of transit," the locomotive is balanced on runners, having the driving wheels directly under
the centre of the engine, its whole weight can be thrown on the driver
when necessary, (in the ordinary locomotive little more than half the
weight can be put on the drivers), thereby greatly increasing its tractive
power, so that if a 13 ton engine balanced on wheels in the ordinary
manner gives 16,700 lbs. traction, the same weight of engine would, on
the new system, give in round numbers say 20,000 lbs. ; hence you see
an engine weighing only 13 tons, actingo n the new system gives nearly
double the traction of a 35 ton locomotive acting on the railway.
I wish you to mark this fact very particularly, as it is really the
foundation on which a considerable portion of the " new system's "
superiority rests. For example, I have shown that one great defect of
the railway is the limited power of the engine, and the practical impossibility of increasing that power beyond the present limit. As for every
additional horse power, we would require to add one-third of a ton to
the weight of the engine—a weight of engine which, carried much further, would destroy the strongest road ever built, in two or three years.
Let us now contrast the two engines and their powers on their respective roads. 1st. The railway locomotive of the first class weighs»
with tender, 42 tons, and is capable of hauling a gross load of say—at
the outside—2?0 tons, at 25 miles an hour, on a road with a ruling
gradient of one in a hundred—a more favourable grade than is likely to
rule the Canada Pacific Railway.
The sleigh locomotive of the first class will weigh, with tender, say
23 to 25 tons (having 22-inch cylinders, and working steam at high 54
pressure, so as to use up the higher traction of the drivers), and be
capable of hauling a gross load of 1,000 tons, at 35 to 40 miles an hour,
on a level sleigh road.
And you are aware that the great advantage of the sleigh road is,
that it can be laid level just as easily and, in the majority of cases, more
cheaply than with a grade ; or the same engine will take a gross load of
800 tons up a grade of one in forty at the same speed, viz., 35 to 40
miles an hour.
Indeed, this style of engine has great advantages over the railway
locomotive in ascending grades and working sharp curves, as may
easily be seen from the fact, that the force of traction on a railroad must
be increased three-fold to ascend an incline of one in a hundred, while on
a common macadam road, it will not require to be increased one-third ;
that is, the railway locomotive will lose two-thirds of its power in
ascending an incline, which the sleigh engine will mount with a loss of
less than 30 per cent. This will be more easily apprehended by recollecting that the friction of iron on iron (or the wheels on the rails), is
stated by M. Morion at *14 ; iron on wood, -62 ; soft rubber on wood
may be stated at "99. The limiting angle of resistance of iron on iron
is 7'58 ; of iron on wood 31-48; of soft rubber on wood, *90 ; while the
rigid wheel base of the sleigh locomotive is not one-half that of the railway engine, consequently it can round curves of one-half the radius.*
The evil effects arising from the fearful amount of dead weight carried on all railways may be very clearly seen by again returning to the
case of the Grand Trunk.
We have shown that the Grand Trunk was taxed to its utmost
capacity (in the year 1872) to move 1,800,000 passengers and 1,400,000
tons of freight. Now, let us see what was the real—the gross—weight
sent over that line to accommodate that amount of traffic. In the case of
the passengers it must have been about two and a half million tons, and
for the freight, not less than eight millions. In other words, to accommodate the 6,000 passengers, (weighing about 400 tons,) carried daily,
there passed over the line a gross weight of not less than 9,000 tons of
cars ; while 30,000 tons of carriages were required to move 5,500 tons
of freight.
Or suppose we state it in this way :
To form a train capable of accommodating, say 150 passengers, on
railroads, you will require (in Canada or United States) 3 carriages, each
weighing 20 tons, a baggage car, 14 tons, locomotive and tender, 42
tons, in all 116 ; or at the rate of 13 tons dead weight to one ton paying
weight, provided that the cars'are full; but as the rule is that they are
seldom more than two-thirds full, the proportion is nearer 25 tons dead
*We are able to double the power of the engines while decreasing there weight
by adding a portion of the weight we save in wheels, &c, to the boiler and
machinery, and working steam at a much higher pressure than is usual on a railway—and, perhaps, by using compound engines. 55
weight to one ton paying weight, and that, too, without making any allow
ancef or sleeping and Pullman palace cars, &c; or if you wish to dispatch 50
ons of merchandise, you will require a train of atleast 250 tons. Now, let
us contrast the weights of trains of a similar description on the sleigh road.
The passenger train on the " sleigh road " would consist of three
cars, each weighing five tons ; one baggage car, three tons ; engine and
tender, twelve tons; in all thirty tons, or a little over three tons dead
weight to one paying—we are allowing extra weight for all the cars, while
the twelve ton engine is powerful enough to take eight cars in place of
three at sixty to seventy miles an hour, or four cars at any speed which
may be desired up to the working speed of the machinery.
Freight trains on the " sleigh road " will be made up of seventy-five
parts paying weight to twenty-five parts dead weight; in other words,
the freight car will weigh about five tons,  and transport fifteen tons of
goods, so that a seventy-five horse power locomotive will be able to carry
two hundred tons of freight on the " sleigh road" at forty miles an hour,
for every sixty tons which the one hundred and fifty horse power locomotive now carries on the railroad at twenty miles an hour; consequently,
if the friction on the " roller road " was double (while it is less than" one-
half)—nay, even if it w&s four times the amount of that between the rails
and wheels of the railroad and the locomotive, the advantage would still
be with the " sleigh roads "—immensely in favor of it in every particular
—further, this immense reduction of dead weight in proportion to paying
weight, would render the " sleigh road" by far the cheapest, even if it
cost three times the price of the railway to build it, in place of costing, as
it does, less than one-half of the cheapest railways in operation.    Now,
sir, I need hardly tell you that I am fully conscious how startling my
assertions must seem to the majority of my readers.    I am also well
aware that very few men are, by nature, close reasoners on new subjects ;
we are all more or less unwilling to bestow either time or attention on
any subject or idea which seems to run counter to the whole teaching of
our age.    It is so much easier to say " Pshaw ! nonsense ; do you mean
to tell me that if what you say is true, that we would not have found it
out long ago 1    You may tell that to the Horse Marines," &c, &c.    It
is so much easier, I say, to act thus, than to sit down and give a fair,
full, and minute consideration to the subject in debate, that ninety-nine
out of every hundred, even of the men from whom we would expect better,
generally do it.   I will, therefore, even at the risk of being thought tedious,
prove my assertions.     1st, even if it takes four times the power to pull a
given load on the " sleigh road" that would be required on a railway, the
advantage would still be in favor of the " sleigh road," and I prove it
thus : for every ton of goods carried on the railway, you on an average
carry seven tons of carriage; according to the London Times, &e, for
every passenger carried you require two tons of wood, iron, &c, in the
form of carriages; and according to the Massachusetts Railway Commis-
mission, the proportion of dead weight in the United States is as high as 56
thirty to one. On the " sleigh road," for every ton of goods carried you
have 500 lbs. dead weight, and for every passenger you would have less
than one-fifth of a ton ; consequently, as twenty-eight is to one in the case
of freight, and as eight is to one in the case of passengers, would be the
advantage of the sleigh road over the railway.
But you may answer me, "that may be all true, provided you can carry
passengers and goods with the weights mentioned, but so far, you have
merely taken it for granted." Well, my answer is, " what
man has done, man may do again," and we find that our great
grandfathers built stage coaches weighing barely 16 cwt. (or minus the
wheels, barely 9 cwt.), in which they bowled along the most abominable
country roads at the rate of 8 and even 10 miles an hour, with two tons
of passengers and nearly as much baggage. 2nd. An ordinary well-made
"country wagon" weighs 800 lbs. (minus the wheels 500) and yet jogs
along over roads on which the wheels rise and fall often as much as 3
and 4 inches—with loads of 3,000 and 4,000 lbs. 3rd. Take a second-
class passenger car on the narrow-guage railway, capable of seating 30
persons, and you will find the weight 4 tons 17 cwt., take away the
wheels and axles, also the platform to which they are attached, (weighing about 2b tons) and you will find the remainder 2 tons and 12 cwt,
&c. Now add to all this the fact that each of the vehicles named are
subjected to the most destructive of all motions, "perpetual concussion"
—indeed their progress is just a series of jumps—and must be made of
great comparative strength to resist the continual vibration to which
theyaresubjected. On the contrary, progress by "sleigh motion" is asimple
sliding along the surface without shock or jar of any kind whatever,
taking all which into consideration, I think you will admit that I have
allowed ample weight for my cars, &c. Indeed I have not the least doubt
but that I could greatly reduce the weights, with perfect- safety to goods
and passengers. I further assert "that the sleigh roads could afford to
carry passengers and freight at less than one-third the amounts charged
by rail even if they cost double the amount to build them;"—this is
brought about by a number of advantages. 1st. Because the immense
reduction in dead weight. 2nd. By the superior power of the engines
and consequent reduction in engineers, firemen, roadmen, &c., needed to
operate the road, in proportion to the traffic carried ; for example, a
" sleigh locomotive " weighing say 23 tons—300 horse power nominal—
could take a heavier load than any two ordinary railway locomotives,
while the whole additional expenses would be the coals burned. 3rd.
The road is practically unlimited in capacity, the engine—from the enormous traction or friction produced between its elastic drivers and the
road prepared for them—may be made of any desired strength so as to
pull any conceivable load. Again, the railway is absolutely useless in a
hilly country (the best laid railway operated by the most powerful locomotives would not have an advantage of 20 per cent over the common
horse road on a grade of one in ten, if it was possible to operate it at 57
■all on such a grade, but it is not possible, as the limiting angle of resistance is 7.58.) The sleigh locomotive that is provided with elastic
■drivers on the contrary could, and as a matter of fact one of 6 horsepower has ascended an incline of one in twelve, with a six ton load with
the most perfect ease. But let us return for a short time to a further
•consideration of this most important defect of the railway system,
•and try to find out what are the consequences of having to carry
the enormous amount of dead weight which I have already shown is carried-on all railways either for passenger or freight traffic; in the first
place you wear down your road bed and rolling stock—in the case of
passenger traffic—ten times as quickly as you would, if you did not require to carry it ; with mineral and other freight seven times, or at the
very lowest calculation six times as quickly ; in other words you require
to renew—in the case of roads doing a heavy traffic every three years—
in the case of roads doing a moderate traffic every five years, while outside
life of a rail—even on the most insignificant of roads is not over ten or
twelve years. Consequently every mile of roadway has got to be rebuilt
on an average every five or six years, in place of once in 25 or 30 years.
In the second place, you use from seven to eight times as much fuel, oil,
and other sundries, and maintain a staff of four to five men for every
one who would otherwise be required ; and lastly you can do less than
one-fourth the business which might otherwise be accomplished. In
short as seven parts out of ten of the labour expended on the maintenance
and operation of railways is labour absolutely wasted, you require to
charge $10 for service which otherwise might be rendered for $4; and
that one fact ought, of itself, to convince any thoughtful mind, that the
railway system is certainly a very imperfect and expensive mode of transportation and cannot be destined to live forever.
The other element which as I before remarked plays a very important part in the economy of railroads is speed ; need I say that a railroad that maintains a speed of forty miles an hour, for passengers, and
thirty for freight can do double the work of one which maintains—like
the Grand Trunk—only half that speed. Consequently, if we can maintain that speed on the " sleigh road" without causing extra expense for
permanent way, etc., we have by that single advantage, double the
effective power of any railroad in existence, for the expense for maintenance and repair of the permanent way, rolling stock, etc., of a railroad,
is in an ever increasing ratio in proportion to the speed; thus if you can
maintain your permanent way, etc., for say $1,000 per mile, while going
at twenty miles an hour, it will cost you at least $2,000 if you keep up
a speed of thirty miles an hour, and so on in something like that proportion ; hence it is that with poor roads we must have low speeds ; as I
have before explained it is the immense vibration or lateral and vertical
motion of the cars and engine that renders the maintenance of good speed
impossible, for the higher the speed the stronger the blow struck with
the wheels, and the quicker the road goes to ruin.    Now with the "sleigh
J 58
road" we get rid of the vibration of the cars, and as there are no points
or wheels with which to strike the road, the difference in velocity of the
" sleighs" have no prejudicial effect on the road-bed or permanent way.
On the contra, the higher the velocity of the cars or sleighs the less the
effect on the. road, as may be demonstrated in skating ; for example,
you have no doubt noticed that a man could—if going at a very high
rate of speed—skate over a piece of ice which would not bear the weight
of a child if- standing still, (the reason is easily explained in a philosophical manner, but too long for insertion here) * enough for us to know
that the higher the speed the less the damage to the road-bed and rolling
stock, etc., a fact of the very highest significance and one which would of
itself justify the substitution of the sleigh or sliding motion for the circular or wheel motion, if it had no other recommendation whatever. Of
course! am perfectly aware that a theoretically perfect railway, that is, ono
absolutely straight in plain and level in section, etc., would not beliable to
some of the objections I have urged, but it unfortunately happens that
perfect railways do not exist in practice, and consequently we cannot
take them into consideration.
And here allow me, most respectfully, to remind you that I have
made no use of the " Inventors' License " to exaggerate the defects of the
railway, or enhance the merits of the system 1 propose as a substitute for
it, as I am fully convinced that no good end is to be gained by so doing.
I have aimed to state only facts, and facts which could be easily verified"
by any one at all acquainted with railway matters ; I therefore beg your
very serious consideration of the subject, for on it, to a very great extent, depends the prosperity and development of our young and prosperous
* J. H. P. says: It is generally believed that a railroad bridge is less liable to
give way when the passing train moves slowly than when under full speed. Is this
correct ? Boys sliding or skating over thin ice rightly judge their safety to depend
in a great measure upon the celerity of their movement. Grant that a bridge has
one weak place, one place weaker than any other of the same bridge ; and that a
train has one car or combination of cars heavier than any other car or combination
of cars of the same train; and further, that there is one point (center of gravity) in
that heavy car or combination of cars where the strain or gravity is greater than at
any other point. Now, as it is the last straw that breaks the camel's back, so by
parity of reasoning it is that point of greatest strain or gravity that causes the
bridge to give way at the weakest place. Again, grant that a bridge never falls to
pieces all at once, but that in the order of time one part—pin, brace or beam—
breaks first, then another part, then another, till the final smash, each break occupying, succeeding, and being succeeded by an appreciable moment of time; and
further, the more rapidly the train moves, the more- evenly the greatest strain will
be distributed over the bridge and the less time it will have to act upon the weak
point; and it follows, other considerations being out of the question : That the
more rapidly the train passes over the bridge, the less liable will be the bridge to
fall. Is this correct? A. This theory would be correct, if a train passed over the
track as a boy glides over the ice on skates. But the train, on account of inequalities
in the track and uneven speed, is constantly striking blows as it moves along; and
the faster it moves, the more rapid and violent are the blows.—From the Editorial
Correspondence in the Scientific American. 59
country. In fact, unless we can adopt and carry out some such system
for contracting the immense distances separating the different parts of our
widely extended Dominion, it will be found to have been anything but
wise policy on our part to have made the sacrifices we have made (and
will have to continue making) to extend the limits of our country from
the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.
What does it profit us of Ontario to know that at the eastern
extremity of our Dominion, there are boundless resources of coal, iron,
wood, stone, lime, &c, &c, while from the difficulty and expense of getting at them, we are compelled to pay eight dollars a cord for wood, and
import our coal from a foreign country 1 Practically speaking, the said
resources might as well be in Timbuctoo, or under the jurisdiction of the
Emperor of China.
What use is there in telling the habitant of Quebec that in British
Columbia, he can find gold fields rivaling the richest mines of California
or Australia—(one mine at the extremity of the Cariboo Road having
yielded 328, 215, and 256 ounces of gold in three weeks, respectively;
another at the William Creek, yielding in two weeks 448 ounces, and the
Ballarat 167 ounces in a fortnight)—whenheknows thatit would take him
years of hard labor and close economy to earn enough to pay his fares to our
western " el dorado," and that even if he was there, he would find that the
absence of proper means of transport had so enhanced the price of all the
necessaries of life, that his glittering gains would slide through his
fingers as swiftly—to use a Yankee expression—as "greased lightning !"
It is the old story, "be ye warmed and filled, notwithstanding ye give
not the things needful for the body." To the great bulk of the people,
our wonderful resources are about as real and beneficial as the great diamond fields of Arizona, and yield about as solid satisfaction as I used to
extract out of the information which my dear mother used to impart to
me so often in the days of my childhood, viz., that there were lots of gold
waiting for me in the bank, and that I would get it just as soon as I had
discovered the key that would open the vaults. So with our great undeveloped riches, they are like the gold in the bank. There cannot be a
doubt but that they are there, but " helas, helas," we have not got the
key to open the doors, and so, practically speaking, they might as well
not be there, so far as nineteen-twentieths of the inhabitants of the
Dominion are concerned.
In fact it looks very like a "huge joke" the idea of our having
paid the money we have and undertaking the enormous obligations
which we are in honor bound to carry out in some shape merely to
acquire the political headship of Manitoba and British Columbia.
When we consider the thousands of miles of unpeopled and in many
parts inhospitable wilderness which separates us and them, rendering
anything like a trite union of feeling or interests absolutely impossible.
As for commercial and industrial intercourse that cannot possibly exist>
under such circumstances.    But you may tell me that all that will be 60
changed as a matter of course, and that a real and practical union will
be effected as soon as our great Pacific Railway is built, that in it the
people will have found the key wherewith to unlock the hidden riches of
our young but lusty land. Now that is just the point I cannot see;
indeed I maintain as a plain matter of fact, that even if that railway
was built and in operation to-morroto we would be a long way indeed
from anything like a practical union, either in the social, political or
commercial sense of that term.
However strange it mayseem, it is nevertheless true, that we would
be in a worse position, relatively speaking, so far as the means of intercommunication and our facilities for transit are concerned (and it is only
constant, harmonious, social, political, and commercial intercourse that
can fuse the different races and tongues of our Dominion into a people)
than our fathers in Great Britain were before the shriek of the first
locomotive had aroused the sleeping echoes of field and forest. Ponder
well that fact, they with but very short distances to travel, not tens for
our hundreds, could yet jog along at the rattling pace of ten miles an
hour in the stage coach, with all its excitements, its adventures, its
exhilerating novelty of scenery, we mured in a box, every bone racked,
choked with dust, bewildered with noise, unable to hold social commun-
nion with our neighbor, read, write, or sleep with any comfort, and with
hundreds, nay thousands of miles to travel, can only crawl along at
twenty miles an hour and many times not even that. The difference in
speed certainly seems hardly worth the immense outlay we are asked to
make for it; the time surely is full ripe for a change. Again, why is it
that whenever it is proposed to gather up the disjecta membra, which
forms that mighty whole—the " British Empire "—and weld them into
a compact and solid body, with but one brain to think, to plan, to originate, one heart to feel, one voice to speak the right and denounce the
wrong, and with one strong right arm powerful enough to uphold the
interests of humanity in every region of the world, or strike to the dust
who'ere might dare dispute our sway ? How is it, I say, that when
men who can see further and feel stronger than their fellows—men who
can feel a wave of power thrill through every fibre of their being by the
ideas conjured up with the words Patriotism and Some, make such a proposal, that they are met with derision by the great men who hold
the reins of power in England—none " smiling louder" than some
Canadian statesmen "falsely so-called."
Principally because of the immense distance which separates the
parts from each other, and all from centre. They declare and try to
prove that the law of "national cohesion" does not act at such tremendous distances, and consequently that it is absurd to fly in the face of
nature by trying to make it do so.
If they are right, what becomes of the Canadian Dominion % Why
it must of necessity fall to pieces, for there cannot be a doubt of the
fact that a man could leave any seaport of Britain by steamship, in 61
which he would have a comfortable bed, well furnished table, plenty of
room for exercise and amusement, etc., and be in any port of Ontario or
Quebec in nearly as short a time—in winter much sooner—than the
man who leaving Nova Scotia by railway car (in which he would have a
wretched makeshift of a bed, no meals, " no nothink," in short but
misery, noise, confusion and weariness indescribable,) would reach
"Victoria, British Columbia, and not only would the passenger leaving
Great Britain do the voyage in nearly as short a time and with infinitelv
more comfort, but he would do it for less money, if by cabin for about
two-thirds, or by steerage a little more than one-third—judging by the
tariff of the " Union & Central Pacific Railway."
Now such being the case, and you know well that it is so, proves
conclusively that even if the Canada Pacific was built and joined to the
Intercolonial, one portion of the Dominion would be practically further
separated from the other than Great Britain is from the American continent, and vice versa.
What then, is to be done, if we wish to maintain the integrity of our-
young Dominion 1 If we are determined to rule a Dominion stretching
from the Atlantic to the Pacific 1 a Dominion which may in the year
1973 number 40 millions of people, all speaking our tongue, governed
by our laws, and formed on the model which we are creating, at this
moment. We must, first of all, build a highway across the continent,
by which, we will be able to carry freight at one-fourth the sum now
charged by rail and with at least three times the speed now maintained.
We must be able to travel from one point of the Dominion to the other,
at a speed of at least 60 to 70 miles an hour. (If it was not for fear of
frightening you, I would here record my prophecy that the ordinary express speed on our great highway, will be at least 80 to 100 miles an
hour, and at charges of less than half a cent per mile.) I will do more
than make the prophecy, for I hereby offer to make the road if you are
prepared to grant my terms.
For the sum of $30,000,000 and thirty million acres of land, I will
build a I Perpetual Sleigh Ro^d " from any point in the Province of
Ontario to any point on the Pacific coast, which road will be capable of
acc6mmodating more freight and passengers than is now carried by any
railroad in Canada, or than could be carried by any railroad which
would be built on the same route to the Pacific. I will build it on any
route chosen by the Government of Canada ; commence at any time agreed
upon, and guarantee to have the road finished, thoroughly equipped and-
in operation in one-half the time which it would take to build and put
in operation a railway, (a board of competent engineers mutually chosen
to be the judges of the time). I will further guarantee to maintain
in good condition the said road, and operate it regularly summer and'
winter ; maintaining a minimum speed of thirty miles an hour for
freight and forty to fifty miles an hour for passengers, at 50 per cent
less than the lowest possible railway (ordinary broad gauge as proposed 62
for the Canada Pacific) charges. I will bind myself to dispatch at least
three trains, capable of carrying 2,000 passengers and 3,000 tons of
goods each way per twenty-four hours, at a minimum speed of forty
miles an hour, or as many more trains as may be required to give the
fullest accommodation to all freight or passengers offering.
Or I will agree to hand over the said road fully equiped and stocked
into the hands of the Government, on receiving an additional twenty-five
millions of dollars and a small royalty to be afterwards agreed upon.
The terms of payment to be at the rate of $15,000 per mile for each ten
miles of road as it is completed, until the $30,000,000 shall have been
paid. Fifteen million acres of the land grant to be paid in the same
way; the other fifteen millions being allowed to remain in the hands of
the Government for five years after the completion of the road, as security for its operation according to agreement.
The Government shall be allowed absolute freedom in dealing with
its alternate blocks of land until there is a population of at least one
hundred thousand people settled on the lands of the road or in its immediate neighborhood—after that, Government lands will be sold at an
upset price of not less than $2 per acre.
The " Perpetual Sleigh Road " being an entirely new invention, the
Government shall vote $150,000 to build a test road, the money shall
be expended under their supervision and control in building not less than
twenty miles as a single or ten miles as a double road, the Government
to provide right of way and choose the route, position, etc., also to find
the engine and cars, but the whole expenditure not to exceed ;f!150,-
000, in the event of success (of which no sensible man can entertain any
doubt) the $150,000 shall be accounted as part of the thirty millions.
Or I will undertake to build the Test Road myself, provided the
Government guarantees me the contract on the terms mentioned, should
I prove the road capable of doing all I bave claimed for it, which is,
that the road can be built for one-third the amount usually required for
railways. 2nd. That it is possible to operate the road for less than one-
third, and maintain it in good working order for less than one-third
the usual railway maintenance accounts. 3rd. That it is easy to keep up
three times the average speed of railways in Canada with the most perfect safety and comfort. 4th. That the charges for freight and passage
need not be more than one-third the present tariff. 5th. That such a
road will not only be infinitely safer, quicker and cheaper for passengers, etc., but it will also (owing to the absence of lateral and vertical
motion, etc.) be noiseless and consequently infinitely more comfortable.
6th. It may be laid in one-third the time (or even Jess than that) necessary to lay a tip top railroad and in almost any kind of country. 7th.
There need be no stopage in winter owing to the snow, etc.
8th. The sleigh-road, although laid on the broadest gauge (thus
allowing ample room in the cars), may be made with sharper curves
than is possible even on the narrow gauge railroads, owing to the fact 63
that the rigid wheel base is not so long, having only one pair of driving
wheels under the centre of the engine ; and the sleigh-runners being
provided with self righting joints (I mean by self-righting joints, joints
that will spiing back to their original position on removing the force
which has made them take a curve).
9th. Owing^to the difference in tractive force of the different engines (the erigine on the sleigh-road having three times the tractive
power of the locomotive), 'we could ascend inclines at full speed, and
with ordinary loads, which the locomotive could not possibly mount
under any circumstances, &c. Indeed, so numerous are the advantages of
this system of transit, that it would seem useless and tedious in me to
name them. No one who studies the subject even for an hour, can fail
to find them for himself, or avoid perceiving their force. Is it necessary for me to point out the great results that must follow the adoption
of such a system of transit as I have described 1
It will, at a stroke, as it were, of the magician's wand, contract
the immense distances which separates one portion of the Dominion from
the other, bringing the Pacific Provinces as near to the seat of Government as the city of London or Quebec is now, thereby compressing the
whole into a compact and governable compass, and doing more to consolidate and secure the stability of the Government and institutions of our
country than any other agency possibly could. It will work a complete
and perfect revolution in the communications of the country; such a
great and beneficial change in the means of transit that you will be
filled with astonishment. It will develop the resources and increase the productions of the Dominion to an almost incalculable extent,
rendering every field and valley, mine or forest of Manitoba and the
North-west as valuable and accessible as though that lay but 100 miles
from the city- of Toronto or Montreal, thus enabling the imigrant to
farm his land at a profit to himself and the country, and bringing in to
the markets of the Dominion and the world the productions of an
almost illimitable extent of country, ' which, for productive power, is
unrivalled on the continent, arid capable of supplying Great Britain, as
well as Canada, with all the necessaries of life for ages to come. It
will reduce the price of food, fuel, <fce, fully 30 per cent, to the consumer, while it increases, through the diminution of freights, the profits
of the producer!*
Let us but complete our sleigh-road, and send in people (which we
will then be able to do at small cost), and every article of food will be
reduced in price, and housekeeping rendered easy ;.once we have completed the system, substituting the new style for the Intercolonial,
Grand Trunk, &c, and building a new road across Newfoundland, which
* It is said by the Chicago Tribune that a reduction of 6c. per cental on the
freight of corn, &c, would add 25 per cent, to the value of every farm in the west
and north-wes,t of America. How great must be the difference when, by the
adoption of the sleigh-road, the reduction will be 16c. or 18c. per centat. 64
must be done. We will have the coal, the iron, the stone, etc., of
Nova Scotia; the fish, etc., of New Brunswick; the timber of the
Ottawa, the corn of Manitoba, and the gold of British Columbia laidr
down in Ontario and Quebec at little more than it takes to produce
them; while they will have our farm produce and our manufactured,
goods in return at the same rate.*
- So swift, cheap, safe and comfortable will this mode of communication be found, that I am persuaded that I speak only the words of
" truth and soberness" when I declare that thousands of our fellow
citizens, who now spend their summer holidays in foreign countries, will
be able to take a trip to the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean (still within the-
bounds of their own country) for less money (and with infinitely more
comfort) than they now spend to go to Portland, Boston, &c, &c;.
while our food supply will be greatly increased, diversified and cheap-
. ened. Just look, for instance, on the thousands of mackerel, herring,,
salmon, white, codfish, &c, which cover these stalls; they are still
scintillating with all the glorious colours of the rainbow, so quickly
have they been transported from their native waters in Nova Scotia,
New Brunswick, &c. Formerly our fresh sea fish came from the-
United States packed in ice. Or view the pigs, sheep, poultry, &c,
huddled together in this corner ; every one of them has been fed in our
" Far North-West;" while these mighty oxen, munching so peacefully,
twenty-four hours ago, they were browsing in the now far off Valley of the
Saskatchewan. There again are stalls filled to repletion with fruits
and vegetables from the sunny slopes of the Pacific and the West India
Islands. The latter came by steamer to Halifax; thence by " Sleigh
Road" through our own country, and not as now, through the United
States. But not to Canada alone will those now distant countries send
their boundless productions, the fruits of their fertile prairies; the
millions of Britain will yet rejoice in their prosperity, and eat the
fatlings of their flocks and herds.
Ten years from to-day, if we only do our duty, not a town or city
of the old land but will be able to present to the people markets filled
to overflowing with Canadian produce of every kind, so that the name
of our Dominion will be as a household word. Canadian beef, mutton,
poultry, cheese, and butter will be the common food of the people, or
the fault will be ours, for by building at once our great highway to the
Pacific upon the sleigh system, carrying the other end down to the sea-
* One of the greatest drawbacks to the permanent prosperity of the Provinces
of Quebec and Ontario is the absence of coal; and how serious it is may easily
be seen by recollecting that the city of Toronto alone pays over §250,000 per
annum to the United States for that article. Moreover, every year will intensify
the evil; population will increase; wood will become—indeed it is now—scarce
and dear, until I am persuaded (unless a remedy is found such as will enable us
to use our own distant supplies), the drain of treasure will become an intolerable
burden on our finances. 65
port nearest to Great Britain, we will not only be able to fill up the
Great North-West^ with people, but we will also be able to carry their
produce at such freights and with such speed as will enable them to command a paying market for everything they can raise, either live stock or
cereals Moreover, if we are the first to build, we will command
the whole of the almost illimitable trade of the Western and Northwestern States, such as Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri,
&c.; and in that case the business of the road would be enormous
enabling us to charge the lowest possible freights.
I am well aware that these statements and assertions will be received
very differently by different people. By one elass they will be received
with exclamations of surprise; 1 How strange no one ever thought of it
before," etc., etc., and it does really seem strange no one ever thought
of it, especially in Canada, where we are so accustomed to the sleigh or
sliding motion. But the wonder soon dies when we begin to think how
few and simple are the ideas or inventions on which rests the glorious
fabric of our modern civilization ; when we begin to realize the fact that
our whole progress in the arts of civilized life are based or built upon at
the outside some dozen of original ideas : 1st, the smelting of metals ■
2nd, the making of glass and its kindred, pottery; 3rd, the art of spinning and weaving ; 4th, the clock or time measure ; 5th, mariner's compass ; 6th, the use of separate types in printing and the
printing press ; 7th, the steam engine; 8th, the steamboat; 9th, the locomotive and rails; 10th, the electric
telegraph ; 11th, photography and its kindred arts, etc., etc. Takeaway
the first six, and what would become of our civilization; nay, deprive
us of even the first three, and our progress as civilized beings would
have received its death blow, never to recover until the lost inventions
were found, yet each of those discoveries or inventions were thought to
be verg simple matters—ideas which might have been hit upon by any
one and of no particular account—that was when they were believed in
at all.
Another and by far the largest class will meet my assertions with
ridicule and contempt, asserting, with the utmost assurance, that if there
was really anything in it, that it would have been thought of long ago
by some great man, etc., etc. In that case I console myself by the
reemembrance that the proposal of Mr. Stephenson was received in the
same way, that even in the British House of Commons he was called a
maniac because he gave it as his opinion that cars might be moved over
a railway at a speed of ten miles an hour by means of his locomotive
while one of the most eminent engineers of the day was heard to exclaim
that if a locomotive was made to draw without cogs he would undertake
to eat the engine and the rails into the bargain, a vow which it is almost
needless to say he never fulfilled.
Mr. Stephenson's plan was pronounced by the entire scientific and
engineering world of his day, to be the most absurd scheme which it ever 66
entered into the head of a madman to conceive, and that he himself was
an ignorant boor and a pretentious charlatan who ought to be put down,
&c, &c. The late Earl of Derby also declared in the House of Lords
" that he would eat the boiler of the first steamship that ever crossed
the Atlantic," (but he didn't do it.) Even the great Sir H. Davy,
when asked his opinion about the feasibility of lighting houses with gas
(a subject on which it was natural to suppose he could give a correct
judgement), after mature consideraiion, declared " that you might as
well expect to bring down the moon and stick it in a candlestick." And
so it has been with every invention or improvement ever proposed;
they are always met with the deadly opposition, not only of the ignorant
and the thoughtless but of the generally intelligent and the professionals',
who seem to think that we have got to the end of all knowledge ; they
look upon it as an insult to their superior attainments, for any one to
suppose that there can be anything with which they are unacquainted,
or any improvement which they are incapable of originating. * They
very gravely inform you that the age of great inventions is now passed,
and that we need look for no more improvements such as will revolutionize the business of the world, forgetting all the while that the very
same argument has been in use ever since man commenced to make discoveries, and has been hurled with all the vehemence of prejudice and
ignorance against every invention, the fruits of which we now enjoy
with as much sang froid and sense of right, as though we had assisted in
every possible way to bring them into existence instead of having persecuted their authors to the very verge of madness.
And now, sir, have I said enough to convince you of the wisdom and
propriety of putting " Goudie's Sleigh Road " to the test of experience •
if not, what is there that I have left unsaid, that you would like me to
explain, please to let me know, and I will try to put it right, for with a
full appreciation of the great responsibility resting upon me, and the
important issues depending upon your action, and my success or failure
I am determined to leave no stone unturned to convince you, to get you
to bring your common sense, your reason, to bear on the subject, anl let
them decide the value of my system of locomotion ; the chances are so
many that you will allow " use and wont," " fear of responsibility "
I prejudice,"   | the policy of laisser faire," or more  likely  still   (and
* " "When I was building my first steamboat in New York," remarked Fulton
" the project was viewed by the public either with indifference or contempt, as a
visionary scheme. My friends, indeed, were civil, but they were shy; they listened
with patience to my explanations, but with a settled cast of increduhty on their
countenances. As I had occasion to pass daily to and from the building-yard
while my boat was in progress, I have often loitered, unknown, near the idle groups
of strangers gathering in little circles, and heard various inquiries as to the object
of the. new vehicle. The language was uniformly that of scorn, or sneer or ridicule. The loud laugh often rose at my expense, the dry jest, the wise calculations
of losses and expenditures., the dull, but endless repetition of Fulton's folly. Never
did a single encouraging remark, a bright hope, a warm wish, cross my path.
Silence itself was but politeness veiling its doubts or hiding its reproaches." 67
yet more unfortunate), the advice of " the eminent practical man," to
be the judge; that I am compelled to continue my argument, to  mar-
shall every item of evidence, to bring up every probability of succes, I
must get you to flood the subject with the light of your own experienced
intelligence, so that you may be able to sift and weigh the value of any
professional opinion you may think of appealing to for a judgment on
the scheme,  so that you may not be swayed and influenced by a name
only, as you must otherwise be.    I have tried first to get you to see the
necessity and admit the probability of superseding the railway by showing you how defective it is in its practical operation, and that it is
absolutely limited—so far as really useful work is concerned—to a distance of some 800 miles, just one-third the length of our Dominion—and
as  a natural  consequence it can never form a true bond of union between our scattered Provinces.    I have also shown you in a way which
I consider perfectly plain and easy to be understood, that neither our
manufacturers, merchants, or mechanics could profit to any appreciable
extent by such distant possessions as Manitoba and British Columbia if
confined to a railway for transit, as the freights added to the price of
manufactured goods would so enhance their value, that the people would
buy only such as  were absolutely indispensible, or such as they could
not possibly produce at home.   Again, it should never be forgotten that
the producer can only pay for the goods he buys by the produce of his
fields, his purchasing power therefore, must be regulated by the price he
gets for his labor,  and  as I have shown that in by far the largest portion of the country to be traversed by the Canada  Pacific Railway he
will receive less than one-third the amount he would receive in Ontario
or Quebec, it follows as a matter of course, that 300,000 farmers scattered over the Northwest, will be barely equal to 90,000 settled in the
older Provinces near the seaboard, in the amount of business they could
give to merchants, manufacturers and mechanics, and also in the amount
of taxes they will be able to pay—(it must not be imagined that the
extra ferti'ity of the soil will do much to restore the balance, for, as a
matter of fact, the average of Ontario is better than any one of Western
States).    Moreover, it must be distinctly undei'Stood that the causes at
work now for limiting the business done with the older Provinces, will
continue to increase with the age of the settlements, and just in proportion to the increase  in population,   will the business done diminish,
that is relatively, for with a small population it is impossible to manufacture anything but  the commonest and rudest class of goods ; but as
the people increase in numbers, towns and cities will spring up to supply the wants of the inhabitants.    The local manufacturer living in and
consuming the produce of the country,  and protected by the enormous
freights, loss of time, &c, &c, in bringing goods from the older Provinces, will be able to drive us out of the market just as it ought to be
getting valuable to us ; indeed,  the only commerce between us will consist of that small class of goods usually imported from foreign countries, 68
such as tea, coffee, sugar, spices, &c, &c. H any one is inclined to
doubt my statements, let him go to the trouble of analizing the internal
commerce of the United States, make due allowance for the different circumstances of the case, and then draw his own conclusions. Now such being the case, allow me to ask you what recompense the merchant, the
manufacturer, the mechanic and laborer is to receive for the sacrifices
you now require them to make? Do you imagine that it will be a sufficient return to a man who has to labor ten hours a day for six days in
the week, to provide food, clothing and shelter for his family, to tell him
that for the $200 he is now asked to pay to the Canada Pacific Railway that he will have the sentimental pleasure of declaring, like St.
Paul of old, " I am a citizen of no mean State V Can you believe for one
moment, that such an idea will be looked upon by any man possessed of
a grain of common sense as satisfaction for his money ? What satisfaction can a man who finds it difficult enough to provide himself with a
new suit of clothes when he badly requires them find, in knowing that
by allowing himself to become responsible for some $200 or $250, he
has assisted in scattering over our grand Northwest some thousands or
hnndreds of thousands of farmers and other settlers; who, owing to their
distance from foreign markets, find it a hard and constant struggle to
provide themselves with the commonest necessaries of life ; and who,
consequently, can be of no benefit to him either directly or indirectly.
In truth and verity they will owe you and him but small thanks, for
they would have been richer and happier men if they had paid no attention to your bright promises, but remained in the older Provinces in
place of going to the West, and thus trying to glut an already overstocked market with grain, &c, &c. You may depend upon it that
the sober after-thought of the intelligent people of this country will demand more tangable recompense for their money; they want to see
the country increase in population and wealth ; they want to see manufactures flourish, food cheapened, and fuel laid down in every portion of
the country at such figures as the labourer can afford to pay, and be able
to provide an ample store against the cold of winter; they also want to
see house accommodation improved, enlarged and cheapened, so that the
humblest labourer in the land, who does his honest best in any department of the general workshop of the country, will receive his fair share of
' the good things produced, and in spite of all the political economists in
the world, and in defiance of all the systems of free Governments r>ver
devised, (the only object of which seems to be to allow the weak, the
foolish and the criminal to do whatsover seemeth good in their own sight
so long as the present and direct fruit of their actions do not obtrude
themselves too openly in the eyes of that—in great part—incomprehensible mass of police regulations called law), the people will ultimately
show that it is the duty of the Government of a country to see to those
things, Mr. Bob Lowe to the contrary, notwithstanding: they want to
see the different portions of their widely-scattered country welded into-
one and made a compact whole, and its people harmonized in their vari- 69
ous relationships to each other, so that we may become one people indeed and in truth. They want to see the country attain the first place
in the race of civilization and progress, so that their sons will be able to
shout with the sterling ring of exulting triumph in their voice, " I am
a Canadian," for such objects as these they are willing to make all
necessary sacrifices, and feel pleasure in. making them. But will the
building of the Pacific Railway be likely to help forward their ambition?
I think not, nay I am certain it will not, it will (should it unfortunately
ever be built), be an incubus on the financial and commercial heart of
the country; a clog to future exertion for many years to come. But you
may tell me that my arguments would prevent all extension of our
Dominion whatever, and would prohibit the building of railways
more than 600 to 800 miles" from any seaport, &c. I am perfectly
willing to admit the truth of the assertion, for I cannot for the life of
me see the wisdom of a man who, having but a limited income, pays
J6150 per annum for a large house, one half of which he cannot occupy,
when"he could get another in every way as comfortable, convenient and
healthy, and quite as large as he required or would require for many years
to come, for £50 ; no more can I see the wisdom of us extending our
Dominion to the Pacific if we are to be confined to the old methods of
transit ; indeed, I unhesitatingly affirm that if we have to build an ordinary railway, and are confined to its use in our communications with
the Pacific Province, that our confederation with British Columbia was
an act of supreme folly, and that we ought (even at risk of losing the
Province), to insist upon a modification of the terms. I also affirm as a
fact, that farmers more than 500 or 600 miles from a good permanent
market, cannot farm at a profit either to themselves or their country, no
matter how rich and productive the land may be, as no stuff they can
raise will bear railway carriage for that distance and leave a fair return
to the labourer.
What more is wanted to show you the folly of building a railway
to the Pacific, that I have not adduced 1 or what more is wanted to show
you the wisdom and propriety of making trial of the system I have proposed ? What proof is wanted 1 What doubts or difficulties have suggested themselves or been suggested by others, that could for one
moment justify you in refusing to try my plan, before committing our
country to the gigantic expenditure of time and money implied in commencing the Pacific Railway 1 I beseech you by the responsibilities of
your high office ; by what you owe to the people who have placed you in
power and trust ; by what you owe to yourself in the present and
your good name in the future, that you give this matter your most serious consideration. Take a lesson from the blunders committed by the
Government of the " motherland," while dealing with just such subjects.
They, by their senseless opposition to the railway system when first proposed, saddled the country by means of "parliamentary committees,
&c." with a bui-den of many millions, causing every one who sends goods
or travels by rail, to pay heavier charges even to this day, than otherwise 70
would have been necessary. Then, again, recollect how they bungled,
what mischief they caused by their opposition to all new inventions in
arms, in ship building, in barrack improvements, &c, &o. The " Iron
Duke " himself was decidedly opposed to the " Enfield Rifle," as a substitute for " Old Brown Bess," alleging that the soldiers would waste
their cartridges, &c. Had he succeeded in his opposition, it is universally admitted by those capable of giving judgment on the subject, that
there would not have been an English soldier left to tell the story of our
terrible disaster in the Crimea ; the Enfield rifle saved our small army
and enabled it to snatch victory from a far more numerous foe. The
same opposition was given to the " Rifled Cannon," of Sir William
Ai'mstrong, &c.;. or think of the ten long weary years poor Snider was
kept banging between hope and dispair before the War office would adopt
his rifle, only taking it up after they had killed him by their miserable
senile vaciliation, and the Austrian war had proved what a breach-loader
could do in the hands of the Prussians; so to with Capt. Moncrief s gun
carriage ; he offered it to the War office in 1858, and was refused even
an opportunity of proving its capabilities ; in fact it was condemned as
absurd, yet ten yeai's afterwards they take it up, reward the inventor
handsomely, and declare it to be one of the most important inventions
of the day—in the interim, however, they have spent £5,000,000 sterling
on fortifications, which they admitted would have been to a great extent, unnecessary, had they only adopted the invention wh en first offered
to them. Or t© come nearer home, some twelve or fourteen years ago I
read an article in the London Lancet, by Sir Ronald Martin, descriptive
of the horrors our brave soldiers in India are compelled to suffer from
the heat, and the terrible havoc which it caused in their ranks—they
dying at the rate of 10 per cent per^annum in some stations. I was so
impressed with the horror of the thing that I could not get it out of
my mind. I felt (and I was right in feeling) convinced that the British
Government, particularly those in charge of the War and India offices,
were guilty morally, and really guilty of murder, unless they
exhausted every resource of science and invention to put a stop to
the dreadful destruction of human life—to the fearful misery continuously endured not only by brave and hardy soldiers, but also by delicate
ladies and little children. Yo\i may therefore imagine my astonishment on finding that they had never even so much as made an effort to
assuage this most potent of all the agencies at work for the destruction
of the British soldiers in India.* I immediately set to work and devised
a scheme by which barracks, hospitals, &c, might be rendered cool, com-
* I have no doubt the gentlemen composing the " Army Sanitary Commission,"
will take exception to this statement, declaring that the subject had engaged their
attention for years before my communication reached them, and I do not doubt
that such may have been the case, but what I assert is, that so far as any practical
results were concerned, it might just as well never have had their attention. The
Punkah, Tatie, and Thermantidote were in popular use more than a hundred years
ago, and the same were the only contrivances in use up to the time of my last communication—if not to this present moment.
— 71
fortable and healthy, that is comparatively speaking, and with all the
enthusiasm of a young inventor, I at once brought my scheme under the
notice of the War office and the Government,—but as a matter of course
with the usual result,—" It would receive due attention, &c ," and so
the matter rested until the year 1864, when I first visited Canada. I
then found that a large number of the officers with the regiments at that
time stationed in Canada, had served in India, and I thought I would
like to hear what they would say about my scheme for cooling barracks,
&c, &c.; consequently, I prepared a small pamphlet discriptive of my
plan, and brought it before them, the result being that it received the
unqualified commendation of such men as Dr. Muir, C. B., Inspector-
General of Hospitals ; Col. C. E. Ford, Commanding the Royal Engineers in Canada ; Major-General the Hon. J. Lindsay, Major-General
Stisted, Lord Alex. Russell, Col. Dunlop, C. B., Col. Synge, Cdl. Packen-
ham, and a host of others at that time serving in Canada.
I then renewed my application to the war office ; backed as I was
by such an array of eminent names, I thought there could be no possible
chance of failure; but it was all no use, indeed my recommendations
were the reverse of beneficial—had not the "sanitary commission already
given their opinion ? How then, dare any officer dispute their wisdom ;
and so the matter stood as before. In the meantime, however, the idea
having got ventilated, it is being worked out in different places, (though
in a very imperfect way), noteably in the case of the United States House
of Representatives, etc., also in France and England, until the year
1872, when Dr. Gray, Surgeon to the New York State Lunatic Asylum,
hit upon the scheme in precisely the same form as I had ten or twelve
years before brought under jthe notice of the British Government, and
he had it carried out in his asylum—one of the largest in the country—
with the most perfect success, so that he has received, and thoroughly
merits, says the Scientific American, " the honor of having the best ventilated asylum in the world. Even the hottest day of Summer he can, by
simply turning a stopcock, reduce the temperature of that huge building
to almost any degree of temperature he thinks proper.
And now, in consequence of that and a hundred other successes of
my plan for cooling and ventilation, " the wise, original and learned
sanitary commission " comes forward and reports that the scheme which
twelve or fourteen years ago they declared to be impracticable, should be
practically tested in India, adding, however, as an evidence of their very
superior knowledge of the subject, " that so far as the fan is concerned
that plan is not original.*
* The following notice, cut from the medical column of " Public Opinion," April,
1874, gives a very fair idea of the scheme for cooling and ventilating barracks, hospitals, etc., in India, which, as long ago as 1860,1 spent both time and money in
trying to force the government to adopt, but in vain. Now the scheme is being
universally carried out all over the continent of Europe, where it is hardly required,
while India still swelters and pants, tied fast in the bonds of red tape, it being
nobody's duty to apply new ideas. You will also mark that the plan is put forth
as new, and of " German parentage." 72
But you may very reasonably ask me what all this has to do with
the subject; I answer much every way, it is one of the thousand instances which go to show that the British Government has made itself a
" laughing stock " and a byword among the nations, by its persistent
refusal to " move on " until literally compelled to do so ; it shows also
that they have universally opposed all new inventions or ideas; and that
they have been as universally wrong in their opinions concerning their
worth and practicability; it also shows the reason why they have been
thus continually in error, viz., because they hand over every new invention submitted to them to committees, or " Commissioners of Experts;"
"practical men, whose business it is to judge of such things ;" "learned
men who know all about it you know," that is the secret.
They are afraid of responsibility; they don't like to run the risk of
being laughed at (in the event of failure) as the dupes of " hair brained
enthusiasts," and so they hand over their duties to professionalpractical
men—who of all men in the world are the worst possible judges of anything new out of the ordinary course of every day experience. It
is strange that it should be so, but so it is nevertheless, as is shown in
the life of every invention of which we have any record; every one of
them were opposed tooth and nail by your "experts," "practical men,"
and carried out in direct defiance of their opinions, by men who were
willing to trust the good sense and ability of the inventor, very reasonably concluding that the creator ought to be the best judge of the utility
of the thing he had created.
And as the "practical" the professional man's opinion is the rock
on which you may very likely strick, and so run the risk of retarding the
carrying out of a great improvement, I have taken this trouble to warn
you of the danger of seeking it. I have taken the trouble to show you
how treacherous and untrustworthy is the refuge, how it has deceived and
misled 99 out of every 100 who have sought its guidance, blasting their
high hopes and natural expectations with cowardly doubts and false
Yet it is so natural, and at first sight seems so in accordance with
common sense and reason to expect that a man who has spent his life in
cognate branches of business, or who has studied the science on which a
" Hospital ventilation;" efficiency in ventilation, and uniformity in warming and
cooling, with economy of outlay, and in maintenance, are the great disiderata in all
hospitals, &c; the best plan of realizing these, as claimed to have been proved
in some of the most important hospitals in Europe, is the " German plan,"
in which fresh air is propelled along an air channel, by the operation of a suitable
fan, into an air chamber containing a warming aparatus, where it is warmed and
moistened, and then it is distributed over the buildings; an anemometer and a
dynemometer placed before the fan indicate at any moment the exact amount of
air supplied to the buildings; the amount in hospitals is 2,200 cubic feet (min.) per
hour per bed, but is capable of being doubled. This quantity of air is furnished
without perceptible draught, and at a temperature of 60°Fah.; in the summer the
air is cooled, and in winter warmed; the vitiated air escapes by flues having a free
access to the eztrenal air." 73
particular operation is based should be able to give a correct opinion
about anything which pretends to be an improvement upon it, that the
temptation to consult them is very great indeed; to the majority of
men it is altogether irresistible. Mark me sir, I don't say this with
any idea of trying to dissuade you from consulting others ; I know it
would be absurd to do so; your position ; the circumstances of the case
<fcc., &c, require you to have professional advice; in place of fearing
criticism I court it, no matter how adverse, and nothing will please me
better than to meet all the practical and professional men in Canada in
your presence, let us argue the matter, and you be judge as to who is
right. There is nothing like conflict of minds for bringing out the truth
in all its various many-sided aspects, and I have no objection to the
- fight; the danger in your case is, that you will allow a name to count
for argument, and sneers and ridicule for proof in absence of the person
most interested, and your genuine practical man is generally strong in
that line, much stronger than in reason and wit, but however it may be,
I am willing to stand the trial; nothing will please me better than to
have the chance of convincing all, or being myself confounded.
Only think of the hundreds of railroads that are being projected or
•carried out in every portion of the country ; not a town or village hardly
but is voting its bonuses of thousands to one line or other. The whole
country is aroused ; a spirit of enterprise and goalieaditiveness is now
abroad over the land, so that the sleepiest of villages as well as the most
progressive of cities are at one on the point, each vieing with the other
as to which will be the first to send the iron horse snorting along through
field and forest, carrying in his train all the blessings of an advanced
•civilization, and chained though he be handicaped and weighed down by the
absurd iron bar on which he is made to travel—and of which he can get no
proper foot hold—he does his best and brings improvement in his wake.
I repeat, contemplate for one moment the amount of money that
will be saved to the country by the adoption of the new system of transit
-^-and the wonders that money could be made to work is improving and
developing the physical and intellectual resources of the Dominion.
Within the next ten years it is safe to say that there will be
spent within the Dominion on railways not less than $150,000,000 to
$180,000,000—if not stopped by this system. Now suppose we save
only half of that sum, we would save two-thirds—or say $80,000,000—
then we would have the yearly saving of interest on that amount, not
less than $4,000,000 ; then there will be the saving of working expenses, not less than $6,000,000 per annum, that is a capital sum of
$80,000,000, and annual saving of $10,000,000, to which you have to
add the amounts saved in freights, not less than $6,000,000 more, and
all among a population of some four millions. It does seem almost too
good to be true, yet the truth of my statements are easily verified by any
one who will take the trouble to make the calculations.
Nor does the savings stop even here. We must take the canals
into our account first. 74
You are just about to expend some $10,000,000 to enlarge the Wel-
land, &c, and when the St. Lawrence, and others which must follow in
its wake are taken into the calculation, the whole amount to be spent
on canals will not fall short of $20,000,000 ; there is also some $7,000,-
000 or $8,000,000 I think, of the Intercolonial JRailway money still
unexpended, which together will make say $27,000,000.
Now, I assert without the least shade of hesitation, that by the
adoption of my system of " Sleigh or Roller Roads," the canals will be
rendered useless, and all the money expended upon them absolutely
thrown away ; this is proved by the fact that the great canals now in
existence can barely hold their own in competition with the slow speed
and high tariffs of the present railway system. For 14 years beginning
with 1853, the tons of freight delivered by the Erie and Lake Cham-
plain canals have varied but very little indeed ; at no time during that
period was there any regular increase or decrease. In the year 1837
there was more freight delivered by the Erie than in 1866 ; meanwhile
the crops of the West have increased to an almost illimitable extent,
(all of which increase has been transported by railway), and the proportion going by rail is increasing in an even larger ratio every year, proving conclusively that shippers prefer to give higher rates so as to get
speed, and so avoid the hundred and one accidents by heating, water, &e,
also the chance of a change in the markets, (which often occur much to
the annoyance of the merchant), between despatching the grain in the
West and its arrival in the East. If any further proof is wanted, it is
found in the faet that on all the Western railways there is a " credit
mobilier " on a small scale, in the shape of & fast freight line, whose stock
is held by the officers of the road, and who make large • profits by despatching produce at extra speed for higher rates than the average. But
the most conclusive proof that the days of canal transportation is now
passed and gone—for all but the very heaviest and roughest class of
goods such as coal, timber, stone, &c.—is found in the fact that it is proposed to dry up the bed of the Erie canal, and lay a freight railway in
place of the water, the proposal having received the approval of almost
every engineer—and forwarder—in the country. Indeed there cannot
be a doubt that so obvious are the advantages of such a road over the canal,
that the proposal would have been immediately carried out but for the well
founded dread, that once the iron was substituted for the water, and all
private opposition removed, the other railway corporations would get
possession of it, and so be able to dictate their own terms to the unfortunate farmers and forwarders of the West; but the very fact of the
plan having been proposed and so unanimously endorsed by all classes,
shows conclusively that canals, with few exceptions, must soon be numbered with the things that were ; and if such is their position when
competing with the railway, what would it be if they had to face a system infinitely quicker and cheaper.
You may, therefore, add to the capital account $20,000,000 saved
on canals, and $1,000,000 yearly in interest, making in all a capital sum
- ^
of $100,000,000, and a yearly saving of not less than $18,000,000 to
$20,000,000. Looking at these figures, I ask you if I am unreasonable
in asking you for $150,000 for a test road ? Take the matter in the
worst light you like, and suppose for a moment that the system turns
out a complete and absolute failure, what would be the extent of our
national loss ; it need not exceed, at the outside limit, $10,000 or $20,-
000—it would not be $5,000, for you could build the road in such a
position that nine-tenths of all the outlay would be for material, which
could be all sold again at a little loss. If it is a success (nay ! if it does
one-half what I claim for it), the road is worth twenty times what it cost,
and by its general adoption our country gains the amounts I have before
specified. Are the chances so small that they are not worth the risk ?
Surely not. Why, you have expended three times the amount on many
a paltry colonization road, over which no one has ever travelled. Look
at the amounts you spent on preliminary surveys for the Intercolonial
Railway. Nay, contemplate for one moment the amount spent on that
road itself—a road which I believe (and in the expression of my
belief I only echo the sentiments of those well able to judge,) to be
almost useless to the Dominion, more especially in winter—just the time
when such a i*oad is wanted. Indeed, there is no possible doubt that
ten millions of the money spent on that railway has been absolutely
wasted. While you, yourselves, admit that it will be a heavy annual
loss to operate it. Need I remind you of the amounts now being spent
on the survey of the very road under discussion ; or of the million and
a quarter sunk in the Dawson road in the North-west 1 In all such
undertakings there must be an element of uncertainty, and, consequently
my experimental road in no wise differs from the many others which you
are daily called upon to execute ; or, if it does differ, it is in the immense
incalulable benefits it is likely to confer upon the entire Dominion. It
is needless, however, to waste more time in enforcing the claims of the
| New System of Transit," it must now- fight its own battles in the
world. I have launched the idea upon the great ocean of human
thought, confident that it will take root and bear fruit for the world's
benefit. I have aimed to dispel the absurd illusion that the Railway is
perfect, and the finality of man's invention in the way of locomotion. I
have tried to break the spell which the wonderful success of Stephenson
cast over the minds of our engineers, scaring them back from all
attempts to supersede his work and I feel certainjthat the enchantment is
broken, the spell is dissolved, and you may, therefore, rest assured that,
even if I have not grasped the prize myself, the man is now living and
of full age who will show to the world, that the Railway is, after all,
but the forerunner of a more | perfect system of transportation ;" a system as mnch superior to the railway—particularly as operated in Canada
and the United States—as it was to the stage coach or the canal.
And now allow me, in conclusion to this long and in many respects
imperfect communication, to say with all due defference that I do not come
before you and your Government as a suppliant asking for favors ; but 76
rather as one who would confer benefits on his fellow citizens. I offer
to rescue them from the chance of financial ruin, or at least from very
serious embarrasement and a fearful load of debt, debt contracted for
the least useful of purposes, viz., in building a road on which few could
afford to travel.
As a Canadian, I very naturally offer to Canadians the first chance
■of adopting the new system of transit, and in doing so I place within
their hands the means of controling the vast and ever-increasing traffic
of the Great West and North Western States of Ameiica. I present
to them the power by which, if they are wise, they may create a great
i;rans-continental trade, and constitute themselves the middle men between East and West, between Asia and Europe. Nature supplied us
with the route, but she left it to us to find the mechanical contrivances
necessary to make the route available. I have supplied the want, and
now offer it for your very serious consideration, and I assure you that
there are no other means at present known by which the Great Canadian North West can be made a really useful because easily accessible
land, than such as I have explained ; and further, that no man who
has thoroughly studied the railway systems of the world, and who has
a clear and comprehensive knowledge of the requirements and possibilities of the great lone land, and the fortunes of those whom we expect
to people it, will ever talk of a railway as the means whereby that
country is to be made the refuge of the poor and struggling of all nations ; a land wherein all who are willing to put their shoulders to
the wheel may hew out for themselves happy and prosperous homes;
homes into which the grim monsters, hunger, ignorance and Crime
need never come.
Again assuring you, Hon. Sir, that my first, last and only wish is,
that you may judge wisely and act promptly on this most important
I remain, yours very obediently,
Yoekville, Ont., May 10th, 1874.
When in the body of my letter I promised to give a specimen of the way int.
which the probable profits and advantages of any particular railway, are calculated
by their advocates or promoters, I had no idea of being able to hit upon such an
admirable sample, and one in every way so applicable to the case in point, as the
one copied into this appendix. It appeared originally as an editorial in the Manitoba Gazette, and was immediately reprinted in the Toronto Globe, from which
paper I have taken it. I print the article in full, because, in the first plaee it is a
description of the present Government's plan for opening up communications with
our great North-west, and is evidently inspired from headquarters; 2nd, because it
is a good average sample of the way in which our newspapers treat such subjects,
the accuracy of its information and the soundness of its conclusions being fully up
to the mark of dozens of railway editorials I could quote from the Toronto press;
3rd, because it shews the way in which the few men who control the public press of
the Dominion manufacture the article popularly denominated " Public Opinion,"
deluding themselves as well as the big, gaping, thoughtless, public with the idea
that such works are desirable and certain to lead to the most beneficial results ;.
4th, I give the article in full, so that every one may judge for himself of the fairness and honesty of the remarks I make upon it:
(From the Manitoba Gazette.)
" As the season advances, the attention of the public4s again naturally turned,
to the subject of routes bywhich we can move ourselves and our goods the
cheapest to and from this Province. To this end steps have already been taken
to place another line of steamers upon the Bed Eiver, in order that—competition being the life of trade—the present exorbitant passenger and freight tariffs
may be reduced to something fair and reasonable. Still, this can at best be only
a temporary expedient and makeshift, the hopes of the people naturally turning to
the day when merchandise of all descriptions can be brought speedily and expeditiously through our own territory, and to this end all eyes are anxiously looking
for the efficient utilization of the Thunder Bay Boad. The Government scheme,
as at present propounded to us, is assuredly the quickest and cheapest, notwithstanding the great exception that has been raised to it in certain quarters, where,,
perhaps, it might have been least expected. "We propose, however, to prove our
assertions by a few facts and figures ; but, while doing so, do not let it be imagined that we are in favor of the available water communication being the ultimatum for all time to come, but we give the Government credit for being honest
when it states that the water stretches will be used only to meet present pressing
necessities, and that the construction of the railway will be proceeded with as fast
as circumstances will allow. By going into the scheme a little in detail, we will be
the better able to arrive at an estimate of how and where the Government expects
to effect a saving at the outset; aud though many maintain that eanalling, etc., is •
only money thrown away and extra expense, if it is the intention to build the
railway also, still, it cannot fail to be observable to any thinking man, not blinded
with prejudice, that the money spent in this manner will not be capital sunk or -
lost, but pay a good dividend on the expenditure. However, it is not our intention
just now to show in what manner it is so. Everybody knows that water has the
advantage over rail in cheapness, and that where speed is not an object, a large
amount of freight will always be sent in that manner. It is the intention at present to have two railroads on the Thunder Bay route, one of about 40 miles between ]
Lake Superior and Lake Shebandowan, and one of 90 miles between the North-
West Angle and Winnipeg. The former will be over very rough ground with
difficult grades, and its least average cost may be set at that of the general cost of
railways in Canada, say $40,000, making its entire probable cost 81,600,000. In
regard to the line between the Lake of the Woods and Fort Garry, it will pass over
level ground in the highest degree favorable for the construction of a railroad—an
alluvial plain country, where the bridging and grading required will be unusually
little. Some low embankments in shallow swamps, with hard bottoms, will, however, be required, and its total cost per mile may be safely set down at #30,000,
equal to $2,700,000 for the entire distance of 90 miles. The two railways at either
end of navigation would thus involve an outlay of $4,300,000. Then we have 311
miles of water stretches that require to be improved by locks and dams; the total
fall in the whole distance, as ascertained by surveys, is about 450 feet, of which
430 feet has to be provided for lockage, the balance being accounted for in the
current of Bainy Biver and other parts. The following are some statistics showing
the approximate cost per foot lift of some of the cheaper canals in the United
States, including dams and all expenses connectedwith the original construction.
New Hampshire and Merrimac     $1,173
Delaware and Hudson     1,827
Morris Canal (New Jersey)        1,930
Cincinnati and Dayton      2,485
Philadelphia and Beading     4,098
" Therefore, if $2,500 per foot lift is allowed as the cost for the) work under contemplation, it should be an ample allowance, covering the excavation necessary for
the lock-beds, crib-work approaches, dams, etc., and would make the entire oost of
the lockage at $1,290,000. Allowing for other excavations not included in the
above, about $210,000, we have a total of $1,500,000. This,;with the railway connections already spoken of, gives the total cost from Lake Superior to Fort Garry at
$5,800,000. Thus we see that the construction of a railway the same distance of
441 miles (it would be probably be much longer) at say $35,000 per mile, would
cost $15,435,000, so that the saving at the lowest estimate may be set down at
" Now, we observe by a statement clipped some little time ago from the Moor-
head Star that the number of pounds received at that point during 1873 for Manitoba was over 14,823,565 lbs., also by a freight bill before us, we see that the rate
is $2.90 per cwt. from Duluth. Now suppose all that freight came by Thunder
Bay, as undoubtedly it would, if the facilities provided were equal to it, and that
the tariff were only half what it is>from Duluth, that is $1.45 per 100 lbs., we
should get a return of $214,941.70, which would be very nearly 5 per cent, on the
money expended. Now, that is the amount of freight that can be depended upon,
and is surely very good encouragement for the prosecution of the work, for if it is
known that there is traffic to that amount already, it may be relied upon that it
will not decrease, but will double and treble in a very short space of time to keep
up with the rapidly growing requirements of the country.
" Supposing a scheme of railroad and canal, as above indicated, to be carried
out, the transport of heavy freight, according to McAlpine's scale, which is generally adopted, would be nearly as follows from Toronto to Fort Garry:
94 miles railroad, Toronto to Collingwood, at 12$ mills a ton per mile   .. $1 18
534 miles of lakes, from Collingwood to Fort William, at 2 mills a ton per
mile      1 07
40 miles by rail from Fort William to navigable waters of interior section
at 17 mills a ton per mile     0 68
311 miles lake and river navigation, from terminus of Lake Superior railway to North-west Angle Lake of the Woods, at 4 ™il1n a ton per
mile t     1 25
90 miles rail, North-west Angle to Fort Garry, at 15 mills a ton per mile.   1 86
1069 Total cost  $5 35
"s: 79
" The distance from Toronto to Fort Garry, by way of Detroit, Chicago, and St.
Paul is 1,572 miles, and supposing the railway communication to be complete, the
cost per ton, reckoned at 12| mills per mile, would be $19.65. Nothing could show
more clearly the vast superiority of the Canadian- line in point of natural advantages.
" It will be very easy for the mercantile man to see from these figures what he
is yearly losing by being compeUed to freight through the United States, and the
scheme that will relieve him the quickest from this incubus is the one that demands
his support. If he has to wait till the whole railroad is finished, it will be some
years yet before cheap freights can be looked for ; but if, on the other hand, the
Government scheme to be carried out, almost immediate relief will be felt, and the
railroad in its entirety will not be-hindered a day."
Now, the first point in this article to which I would like to draw your attention
is the paragraph, " Still it cannot fail to be observable to any thinking man, not
blinded by prejudice, that the money spent in this manner will not be capital sunk
or lost, but will pay a good dividend on the expenditure; however," remarks our
worthy and prudent scribe, " it is not our intention just now to show in what manner it is so." Tou will please mark the delicacy and tact with which our editor
treats his opponent—provided anyone will have the temerity to put himself in such
an awful position—and the felicity with which he hits off his prominent characteristics—he must be either " not observant" or " blinded with prejudice." Now
I would suggest, however egotistical it may seem in me to oppose my opinion
against two such papers as the Manitoba Gazette and the Toronto Globe, that one
might very reasonably doubt the possibility of such a route paying any dividend,
and yet be an observant and thoroughly unprejudiced man; he might for example
possess a more intelligent knowledge of technical subjects, particularly of railways,
their construction and operation ; he might also have had a greater natural aptitude for and given a great deal more time to the study of the causes which led to the
peopling of the great West and North-West of the American continent, and so be
able to form a more correct opinion as to the numbers who, under existing circumstances, would seek a home in the Bed Biver Territory than even the editor of the
Manitoba Gazette.
For my own part, I claim to be quite as observant and capable of judging the
chances which the Thunder Bay route has of paying a dividend as the editor of
the Manitoba Gazette, and I unhesitatingly assert that such a scheme of communication as he has.described would not pay a dividend on the outlay ; nay more, its
entire earnings—even at his estimate—would not pay 25 per cent, of its current,
operating expenses ; and if it was in his power to prove the contrary, it was his
bounden duty to do so—indeed, it was the point—and to attempt to pass it over as
he does, is simply to play Hamlet with the Boyal Dane left out.
We will pass over his calculations as to the cost of the route, only remarking
that his figures are based on the cost of roads built at a time when both labor and
materials were worth little more than 50 per cent, of their present price; moreover,
the position of the said railroads and canals, and their distance from necessary supplies would add at least thirty per cent, to their cost as compared with those
named in his article, consequently, if you say $50,000 per mile for the ''railroads
in place of $40,000—and $5,000 in place of $2,500 per foot lift for the canals, you
will be a great deal nearer the true figures.
The next point claiming our attention is the paragraph in which he says " the
amount of freight despatched from Moorhead to Manitoba per annum, amounts to
14,823,000 lbs., or sayfor short 7,000 tons—and pays $2 90 per 100 lbs. from Duluth.
Now he says, " suppose aU that freight came by Thunder Bay, which it would, and
that the tariff was only one-half, or $1.45 per cwt., we should get a return of
$214,941.70, or nearly five per cent, on the money expended." Which is certainly,
as he remarks, " very good encouragement for the prosecution of the works." You
will excuse me though, if I trouble you to observe that we get that neat little sum
of $214,941.70, which " pays nearly five per cent, on the outlay," by charging only 80
$1.45 per 100 lbs., or say $29.00 per ton between Thunder Bay and Fort Garry, and
getting the 130 miles of railway and 400 miles of canal, lake and river navigation
operated and maintained by magic, for it must be observable to any thinking man
not blinded by prejudice, that our admirable prospectus writer does not allow one
single cent for working the road ; indeed, such trivial things as working expenses
are altogether beneath his notice, and after all he requires the whole amount (even
at $29.00 per ton) to pay that five per cent.
In the very next paragraph our author says: " Supposing a scheme of railroad
and canal as above indicated, to be carried out, the transport of heavy freight,
according to McAlpine's scale, which is generally adopted, would be as follows from
Toronto to Fort Garry:—
94 miles railroad from Toronto to Collingwood, at 12$ mills per ton per
mile  $1.18
534 miles by lake from Collingwood to Fort William, at 2 mills per ton per
mile    1.07
48 miles by rail from Fort William to the navigable waters of interior section at 17 mills per ton per mile        68
311 miles lake and river navigation from terminus of Lake Superior railway
to north-west angle of the Lake of the Woods, at 4 mills per ton per
mile     1.25
90 miles rails, north-west angle Lake of the Woods to Fort Garry,  at 15
mills per ton per mile     1.35
In other words, our author says in the first place, the Government scheme of
railway and canal communication with the North-west will when completed cost
about $5,600,000. The present traffic, certain to take the said route, amounts to
about 7,000 tons per annum, and will at a tariff of $1.45 per 100 lbs., or $29.00 per
ton between Thunder Bay and Fort Garry, yield a sum of $214,000, or nearly five
per cent, on the outlay (always provided the road is operated and maintained by the
Nymphs of the North-west. Hence, gentlemen, you see it is just as plain as the nose
on your face, that the Government scheme is not only an admirable scheme, but it
is also & paying scheme; consequently what objection can any "observant man"
urge against it ? In the second'place he says, " so soon as the said route of railway,
canal, &c, communication is completed, the tariff for heavy freight between Thunder
Bay and Manitoba will be reduced—according to the universally adopted scale of
the great McAlpine—to $3.10 or thereabout; consequently it is clear as mud
that the Government scheme is an admirable scheme, and one from which everybody—particulary the Toronto merchant—is going to derive the greatest possible
benefit, and if you are a genuine patriot you are bound to view it just so !
Now, in the name of outraged common sense, I ask what are we to think of the
man who could sit down and deliberately write such arrant, senseless, and contradictory humbug ? Or what shall we say of the influential paper which gives it the
benefit of its circulation ? Or what weight shall we attach to opinions on that or
similar subjects when emanating from such quarters ? 1st, he proves that the railway and canal will be profitable—paying nearly five per cent.—by charging $29.00
per ton between Thunder Bay and Fort Garry—and getting the road operated
gratis—and in the very next breath he shows that the principal reason for constructing the road is that freights will be reduced as low as $3.10 between the same
points, immediately the route is complete. Now, if it required a tariff of $29 per
ton—without making any allowance for operating and maintenance expenses,—to
pay " nearly five per cent, on the original outlay," how will the case stand when
you reduce the tariff to three dollars per ton, and-pay at least $500,000 per annum
working charges ? Or where are you going to get the money which is to " pay a
good dividend on the expenditure?" It certainly is a great pity that we should be
under the necessity of finding fault with our public teachers; but what are we to
do, when we find such articles apparently so careful, elaborate, and satisfactory,
II 81
really so absurd, contradictory, and false—sown broadcast over the Dominion by
our most important newspapers ? especially when we consider the vast importance
of the subject, and the urgent necessity that exists for informing the people fully
of the enormous burdens which their governors are heaping upon them almost daily.
But let us return for a few moments to the calculation by which it is shown
that ordinary freight could be carried by the new route between Toronto and Manitoba for $5.35 per ton; our author says that his calculations are based on the
" McAlpine scale, which is universally adopted." Now, who " McAlpine " may be I
don't know, nor am I at all anxious to find out, but one thing I do know, viz., that
no such scale is generally adopted, either in Canada, the United States, England,
or the continent of Europe, as the following extract taken from an editorial on
"Transportation" which appeared in Harper's Monthly for April, 1873, will show
—at least as regards the United States :—" Statistics derived from traffic reports
show that the average cost per ton per mile by rail is three cents, by canal one
cent, by river three mills, by Lake 2$ mills, by sea 1J mills." Moreover, it must
be borne in mind that these figures are derived from roads and companies doing
an immense business, and only covers the bare cost of transportation ; but you perceive all freight sent from Toronto to Fort Garry by the Thunder Bay route, would
require to be handled no less than eight times over and above the first loading, and
the last unloading—which as a matter of course would make a very serious item in
the cost of transportation by that route—yet our author does not allow one cent
for any such purpose. It costs not less than $2 per car load, to load grain at the
steam elevators in Chicago, and will cost that amount every time the grain is handled
either in loading or unloading. Now, if it costs forty cents per ton to load and unload grain by steam power, how much will it cost to load and unload a ton of
ordinary miscellaneous freight such as he refers to ? Will sixty cents be too much
—it could not be done for $1.00—if not, you must add that amount for every time
the freight is moved—which on the Thunder Bay route between Ontario and Fort
Garry will be five times, making for that item alone—calculated at the low figure
of sixty cents per ton loading and unloading—$3.00, or sixty per cent, of the whole
sum he calculates for moving the freight from Toronto to Fort Garry.
Bailways, canals, <fec, do, and as a matter of fact must regulate their tariffs by
the amount of business done in proportion to the length and difficulty of their
routes, as any one may ascertain for himself after a little inquiry—for example, by
stepping down to the Northern Eailway Station, he can find out easy enough that
the lowest charge for general freight (such as referred to in the article quoted) will
be three cents per ton per mile between Toronto and Collingwood—in place of 14
cents ; he may also learn that the charge by boat between Collingwood and Fort
William averages nearer twenty dollars per ton than one dollar and seven cents as
given by our author ; and it may be well to state just here, that it costs neither
more nor less to navigate a steamer between the said points to-day, than it will
when the Government scheme of canal and railway communication is complete;
consequently, there are but two ways in which the present tariff can be reduced—
1st, by an immense increase of business, beside which the present trade of Manitoba
(7,000 tons) would be the merest bagatelle; or 2nd, that the Government of the
Dominion make good the difference between the tariff and the real cost of transportation.
Again, he will find that the cost per ton on the forty miles of railway between
Fort William and the interior section, instead of being put at seventeen mills,
ought—according to all rules governing railway transportation—be put at six cents
per ton per mile, and so on with every section of the route.
For example, in the United States "inspection of the returns of 88 railroads
at the east, 28 at the west, 11 at the south, whose statements for 1872 are complete, shows that those roads which carried freight'an average distance of 10 miles
charged an average of nine and one-tenth cents per ton per mile, and yet yielded
only $1,112 net earnings per mile, or less than 2 per oent on the average cost, those
moving freight an average of 20 miles charged six and eight-tenths cents per mile,
and yielded only $970 per mile net earnings, all these are eastern roads running
) 82
through old and thickly settled districts.   Eoads moving freight 40 and over 40
miles may be arranged thus:
27 Eastern roads moving an average distance of 75 miles charge   3.18, and earn $3,125
28 Western do. do. 116 do. 2.68 2,162
11 Southern do. do. 79 do. 6.67 1,886
61 Eastern                do.                do.                      27         do.            5.95 1,815
It is consequently evident thatrailroads do, andmust continue to charge in proportion to their length, and the amount of business done; it is also plain that a
high tariff does not always mean a profit to the shareholders, for not one of the
roads I have named can be said to pay, while the majority of them barely pay
operating expenses.
It must not however, be supposed from the remarks that I have made on this
scheme, that I am opposed to it, because I favor an all rail route; on the contrary,
I considered that under existing circumstances, the Government plan of rail,
canal, &c, is unquestionably the most serviceable and prudent, indeed I consider
it the best in exact proportion to the amount of money saved in first cost and subsequent operation, as compared with an all rail route.
If I believed as our newspaper editors and politicians say they believe, viz-:
that the progress of Manitoba and the Northwest is likely to .be as rapid and successful as that of Indiana, Minnesotta, Iowa, &c.' then I would undoubtedly be opposed to the mixed route for the very obvious reason that the cost of transhipment,
loss of time, and probable injury to the freight in handling, would far more than
counterbalance any gain in first cost or current operating expenses; but viewing as
I do the construction of either route—before there is the clearest proof or at least
the strongest presumptive evidence—that it will be required and ordinarily producing within a reasonable time, as outrageous and senseless extravance, I must perforce favor the road that will be least costly. What I object to, is the nonsensical
humbug, miscalculation and misrepresentation which runs all through the article.
I am opposed to the attempt evidently made to cajole the people of the older provinces into the belief that they will derive benefit either directly or indirectly from
the contemplated expenditure; or that such a route of communication could be
made to pay more than the merest fraction of its current operating charges, until
the population of Manitoba numbers over a million—a time which no thoughtful
intelligent man who has watched the progress of Manitoba during the last four
years will be inclined to place nearer than 30 or 40 years.
My contention is, that the taxpayers of the country should be told honestly
and frankly, precisely how the case stands in regard to this and all other public
works. How much they will have to pay now, how much per annum and for how
long. It should also be clearly demonstrated—without any rhetorical flourishes
about general progress, natural development, <fee —what benefits they are likely to
reap from this, and the other expenditures necessary for the so-called opening up
of the Northwest ? How much it wiU add to their income ? By how much it will
reduce the expenditure ? What diminution it will make in their taxes ? What increase in their comforts ? And if it is impossible to show that the said and like expenditures will either increase the general income or diminish the general expenditure ; that they will lend strength and stability to the Government, or add to the
oomforts and enjoyments of the laborer? On what grounds can the expenditure
be justified ?
I maintain and insist upon it with all the emphasis of conviction that if the
rulers of a country decide to tax, or mortgage the property and labor of its inhabitants to the extent hi 150 or 200 millions of dollars (or any other sum) for any purpose whatever that they are bound to show that the said .inhabitants are certain to
receive a present or future benefit fully commensurate with the sacrifice demanded,
and it is not enough that the Government be able to hold out a hope or show a
chance or probability of gain; there must be a clear intelligent conviction, such a
conviction or knowledge as would justify or prompt a merchant to take the risk for
his personal profit ; and I further assert that when the responsible governors of a
free people, act on a different principle (as they very  often do) they violate the 83
plainest dictates of common sense, the first principles of political science, and render the word statesmanship, synonimus with ignorance, presumption and spoliation.
I repeat, no public work can be honestly and reasonably demanded at the
hands of a Government, unless those demanding and proposing it are prepared to
prove (not guess, hope, or believe) or demonstrate in such way as would satisfy the
reason of a private speculator, if he was in a position to go into it, that the said
undertaking will yield at least five per cent, on the outlay over all operating and
maintenance expenses, &o. Of course, as I have before remarked, it is not absolutely necessary that the work should pay five per cent, in cash directly to the
national exchequer—though as a rule it should do so—but it is imperative that it
should return that amount either to the nation as a whole, or to a certain section of
it; nor is it essential that the undertaking pay the full interest from the day it is
finished—for Governments as a rule can wait—but in that case the unpaid interest
must be added to the first cost, and future dividends cover both. Indeed, so clearly
evident is it, that this is the proper test by which to try all public undertakings,
that it must seem like a work of supererogation to insist upon it. Nevertheless, it
is a fact, that there are not half-a-dozen public works in Canada to which the principle could be applied; nor are there two on the boards now, which tested by it,
would stand any chance of being carried out. For example, I ask any man of
average intelligence if—tried by this common-sense standard, this first principle of
political science—it is possible to make out a case in favour of the enormous
expenditures we are making in the North-west ? in favour of our building the
Canada Pacific Eailway, the Pembina branch of ditto, the Trans-continental
Telegraph, or constructing that mechanical and financial monstrosity, the
" Baie Verte Canal," which the Hon. Mr. Scott told the Senate must be built,
because forsooth a majority of the House of Commons had set their hearts upon
having it ? I insist that under existing circumstances, such expenditures are more
stupid and criminal than throwing the money into the lake, because they will
entail an annual waste of treasure to cover over the original blunder.
I am, of course, fully aware that in making the above statements, I am running
counter to a very powerful current of public opinion, and to the very absurd and
ridiculous ideas which generally prevail in regard to the railway system, viz.: that
it is a sort of omnipotent genii which creates wealth no matter where it
may be placed; ideas which found many influential mouth-pieces in Ottawa during
the last session of Parliament. For example, it was asserted, and re-asserted,
again and again, in the Senate particularly, and. by men whom one would naturally
have supposed to know better, that although a railway can neither provide interest
on its first cost, nor pay even current operating expenses, it may still be very
profitable to the country as a whole, and ought to be kept in operation at the general expense. Now, that is simply Protection in its most injurious and aggravated
form, and bears absurdity on its very face. It means that we, the general public,
are to be taxed a large sum of money because certain people chose to remain in a
particular part of the country or to carry on an unremunerative business, for it is
perfectly evident that if their section of country is a good one, and their occupation
remunerative, they can afford, and should be compelled to pay for their own transportation; and if the country is bad, and their business not paying, then it is for
their own interest, and most unquestionably for the good of the country, that they
should be forced to leave it.
Let us try, however, and demonstrate more fully the absurdity of the above proposition, viz., "that a non-paying railway can be profitable to the State," by the
case of Manitoba (though the demonstration will be equally applicable to the Liter-
colonial and other non-paying roads of the lower provinces.)
Suppose we have finished the railroad to Manitoba at an average cost of $50,-
000 per mile; that will give, as the cost of the whole line (1,200 miles), sixty millions of dollars; the interest on that sum at six per cent, will amount to $3,600,000
per annum; taking the operating and maintenance expenses at $5,000 per mile,
the annual outlay will be six millions, which added to interest makes in all an 84
annual outlay of $9,600,000. Now, let us suppose that during the period the road
is building, the population of the Northwest will increase at the rate of thirty thousand per annum (though we have no reason to calculate on one-third of that number), and that the road takes ten years to complete; in that case we will have
300,000 inhabitants; we will also suppose that there will be as large a breadth of
land cultivated in proportion to population as there is in the west and north-western
States of the United States, viz., three acres per individual; and also that the yield
will be the same, namely, fourteen bushels per acre (of wheat) ; in that case the
cultivated land would amount to 900,000 acres, and the yield 12,600,000 bushels
of wheat (the only crop that could be raised with any hope of profit.) Now, let us
suppose that two-thirds of that amount, or say eight million bushels are exported,
the whole quantity would be worth in Montreal or Toronto at $1.20 per bushel,
$9,600,000. And now comes the very natural query, how much has it cost to produce and bring to Toronto this nine million dollars worth of wheat ? What was
the profit of the farmer and of the railway company (or the Dominion) ?
To begin with, the Dominion must have made the tariff of this road about
one-half the lowest sum now ,'charged by any railroad in the world, or the grain
could not have been exported from Manitoba at all, we will therefore, suppose the
rate to have been three-fourths of a cent per ton per mile or say 30c. per bushel
from Manitoba to Toronto; that being the case, it is evident that if the wheat
cost the 90c. per bushel paid to the farmer, the 30c per bushel paid to
the railway, it also costs the real expenses of transportation, viz.: the expenses of the railway $9,600,000, less the $2,400,000 paid for carriage, or in all $16,-
800,000, that is, the grain which is worth in all $9,600,000 in Toronto, cost to produce it in the Northwest, and bring it here $16,800,000.*
It must therefore be perfectly plain to any one capable of realizing or resolving
the simplest arithmetical or mechanical problem, "that the total of the whole" is
just this: that (as the Dominion taxes raised in the North-west will never—or at
least not for thirty or forty years—cover Dominion expenditure in Do) we of the
older provinces will be paying eight million dollars per annum to enable 300,000
people in the North-west to add to our exports eight million bushels of wheat,
worth some nine million dollars; while the farmers for whom we will be making
such senseless and unheard of sacrifices will be compelled to sell their produce
twenty to twenty-five per cent, less—and consequently be that much worse of—>-than
their brethren of Ontario.
But perhaps you say that is not & fair way of putting the case; that I allow
nothing for other freight and passengers, &c, which is quite true ; but it
must be remembered that I gave nearly double the export of grain which could
reasonably be expected from 300,000 people. However let us try it in another way,
and the only other way in which it can be tested, viz., by taking the average amount
of money which a given population (like circumstanced) is in the habit of paying-
* When I observed the other day that our government had actually offered British Columbia to commence at once, and continue spending 1J million of dollars per annum in
that Province until the 500 miles of railway promised was comlpeted, I had to rub my eyes
for some time to see that I was not really asleep, and had dreamed it; as soon however as
I got my senses about me, I made the following calculations. The population of British
Columbia is about 40,000—Indians and Chinamen included. The proposed expenditure de-
vided by 10,000 (the number of men or families supposed to be in that Province) will give
$150. Ergo we spend at the rate o( $150 per annum for every family in that Province to
provide them with railway communication; or suppose the whole 500 miles complete at
$40,000 per mile (a low estimate) it will have cost $20,000,000. Now $20,000,000 divided by
iO.OOO gives $ 2,000 for every family in the said Province; therefore, every family in British.
Columbia wiU have cost us of the older Provinces $2,000, but that is not all nor even the
half of it for once the road is built, it must be operated and maintained at the rate of not
less than $4,000 per mile per annum, or for the 500 miles the neat little sum of $2,000,000,
which added to the interest of first cost $1,200,000, makes in all $3,200,000 per annum, or at
the rate of $3,320 per annum per family to supply railway facilities for 40,000 people, who
under the most favorable circumstances cannot supply traffic to a greater extent than
$7 per head, or in all $280,000 per annum. Would it not be far mire sensible to pay every
family in the place a $1,000 down and get them to agree to burn the ridiculous, nay
infamous treaty, which seems to have been drawn up for the special purpose of ruining
this Dominion.
1% 85
for railway hire of "every description; taking the case of Minnesotta, Iowa, &c.,'
where the charges are more than double the amount it would be possible to charge
-on the " Canada Pacific." We find the average to be between $7 and $8 per head;
now suppose we say for Manitoba and the Northwest $6 per head, how much better are we than by the first calculation? We are actually f 800,000 worse, which
proves conclusively that I have been liberal to the railway. In short try the calculation in any way you like, you can get but one result, viz., that we of the older
Provinces will be paying $25 per head per annum for every man, woman and child
in Manitoba <fec. (even granting them to increase at the rate of 30,000 yearly) or at
the rate of $10 per acre per annum for every acre of cultivated land in the Province
to induce farmers to leave Ontario and Quebec where they are doing (or at least
might do) well and are a source of wealth and power to the Dominion, to go to a
country where their produce will bring from 20 to 25 per cent less than it would
do herel Yet we are a common-sense people, a people who hate protection or
bounties of any kind, and would far sooner see our country remain a little Province
than have it made a mighty flourishing State by a nominal protection of 20 per
cent on manufactures; yea, verily we are wise, and our governors have always
been men of genius and ability, distinguished for their great grasp of commonplace, their powerful passions and vivid fancy, but slightly deficient in that cool,
calculating common-sense so necessary in the ordinary affairs of life.*
In conclusion, I would beg to say that it is absurd to assert as many have
asserted, that because I hold these opinions that therefore, I am opposed to immigration, progress, development, &c, <fec, for the very contrary is the truth. I am
and have ever been entirely in favor of progress and national development, and
am exceedingly anxious to see our population increased; indeed no one can be
more desirous of having the vast rescources of this Dominion developed than I am,
and very few, I make bold to say have a clearer notion of their extent and value.
I have no fear of a bold, original, and enterprising policy on the part of the
government; Canada is rich, immensely rich, rich in everything but men, consequently every effort is justifiable, every expense reasonable, up to $30 or $40 per
immigrant, which will add to our population men and women of the right stamp.
Canada could, I am fully persuaded—afford to spend $100,000,000 within the next
ten years, and never feel the pressure, provided it was spent in real development
in promoting real progress, which means that 20 persons must be added to the
population for every $3,000 spent in public enterprises—all I want is to make sure
that our progress is real, permanent and beneficial to all, which is more than can
be said for much of the past, in fact our efforts in the Northwest particularly, has
always appeared to me like the economy of a lady friend of mine, who spent $3
in the trimming and making up of a jacket or cape, for which she had no earthly use
rather than see a small piece of black cloth, not worth a dollar go to the rag bag.
So we, having become the unfortunate possessors of a great country a thousand
miles distant from our own, are compelled to ruin ourselves in trying to colonize it,
although milhons and millions of acres within one hundred miles of our principal
*"Oh," saysMr. Sharpsight, "what aboutthe transcontinental traffic of the road?" That
is just the query I would like answered myself, so suppose you sit down and try to find out
what it will amount to, and then let me know your opinion; mine is that there will be none
to speak of because the charges would be too high, there are not 20 million dollars worth
of goods passing between the east and Europe or America that could afford to take the
railway across the continent. Again, should any non-protection political {philosophers
feel like laying the flattering unction to their souls, that time and future increase of wealth
and numbers m the Northwest will put us on the right side of the account-book, just let
him. Make the following calculation: first place our annual loss, interest, compound
interest, operating and maintenance expenses, &c, on one side, run them up for a period
of say 20 years; then let bim do the same with the trade and increase of population
(taking any rate of increase that his own common sense and facts will justify) and let him
strike a balance, and I will risk a nice little bet that we are worse off at the end of the 20
years than at the beginning. Indeed it is a physical and mechanical certainty that if ever
the Canadian Northwest really becomes a prosperous and populous portion of the Dominion, it will only be after the railway has been superceded by a system of transit infinitely less costly in construction and operation, and greatly superior in safety, speed, and
power. Hi
•cities, and within 50 miles of our principal lines of railway, are as yet untouched
by the plow, and our cultivated lands for lack of labor and capital, yield barely
half crops, the average being in Ontario fourteen bushels (of wheat) to the acre,
while in England and Scotland—with very inferior soil and climate—they get from
twenty-six up to forty bushels to the acre.
We have an almost virgin country, a Dominion of unlimited resources,
capable of supporting in affluence 100,000,000 of people; we are perfectly untram-
meled, absolutely free in every respect, socially, politically and religiously. No
one of the thousand curses which hang around the necks of European peoples
afflict us. We have neither army nor navy to support; no landed and governing
aristocracy to provide for such as in Great Britain, Ac, consume the produce of 60
to 70 out of every hundred acres of cultivated land. We have comparatively few
of that smaller aristocracy who live on the accumulated savings of years or on the
interest of government debts, debts incurred not as with us for works of improvement but for purposes of distraction. We have few paupers or criminals, and if
they are ever allowed to increase, or rather if they arejnot steadily diminished, our
rulers ought to be horsewhipped once a month for the term of their natural lives.
Nor are we afflicted with that immense army of partially employed and miserably
paid men, &c, who are engaged in the thousand and one trifling and yet absolutely
necessary occupations which are carried on in all old or densely peopled countries,
a class neither pauper nor criminal, though only a shade above the degraded; in
short we have nothing but blessings; indeed I hold that if ever a special opportunity was vouchsafed to any people, to enable them to work out the very highest
form of social existence, that chance is now offered to us. If ever there was a people who could claim to be the chosen and favored children of the Almighty Father,
surely we may claim that title; for what more "God and nature" could reasonably be
asked to do for Canada, than has been done, I am at a loss to imagine ; our chances,
our opportunities have been almost infinite, and if we had only been blessed with a
government equal to the occasion, we might have stood before the world to-day a
nation of 10,000,000, superior in intelligence, morality, physical comfort and general
culture to anything the world has ever seen.
Our greatest want has been, and our fervent prayer should still be for
statesmen. Men capable of rising above party spirit, party tricks and exigencies', and taking their stand upon the firm foundation of honor, honesty
and truth. Men able to realize the strength of our position, the greatness of our
opportunities, and prepared to bring the people up squarely, face to face with their
great destiny. We must have men of individuality of thought and originality of
conception. Men who can originate as easily as they can adapt, and who can con-
i trol and educate the public mind and will; in a word we must have as controler
of the governmental machine, the power that springs from internal conviction, the
promptings of native genius, rather than the talent born of much reading, long experience, native cuteness or low cunning, for statesmen like poets are born not
made. 87
Scientists, Practical Mechanics, Engineers,
Inventors and   Others.
The above reward will he paid to the person who will, within the next four-
months, prove in accordance with the conditions laid down, that
Goudies Perpetual Sleigh Road
.Is impracticable, and could not be carried out with any hope of superseding the
Bailway system, either in speed, power, or economyjof maintainance and operation.
In the letter addressed to our Premier, which forms the body of this
pamphlet, I describe a new system of transit, which I call Goudie's Perpetual-
Sleigh Boao, and for which I claim,
1st. That it is in every way superior to and is destined to supersede the railway as a means of transit, both for passengers and freight.
2nd. I claim that it can be made for less than one-third the average amount
which has been expended on railways, and for less (to keep well within the mark)
than one-third the amount which would be required to build the Canada Pacific ■
3rd. That it could be maintained and operated for about one-third the amount.
usually required for the maintainance and operation of the railway.
4th. That it could accommodate double the business, and keep up double the
speed usually maintained on Canadian railways, or that would be kept up on the
Canada Pacific Bailway if built; that is, for every ton of goods which the ordinary
150 horse power locomotive engine now draws on the railway at twenty miles an
hour, the 150 horse power locomotive could, on the Sleigh Boad, take two tons a-
40 miles an hour.
5th. The Sleigh Boad could be built and operated in almost any kind of country—in a country where the railway would be absolutely useless—and in one-third
to one-fourth of the time necessary for the construction of a first-class railway—
such a railway as the Canada Pacific would be.
6th. That the Sleigh Boad would be almost absolutely safe (it being impossible
for the cars to leave the track by accident), and free from noise, while the motion
will more resemble the sailing of a ship on a perfect calm ocean, than the thumping and bumping and swaying nfotion of the railway cars ; it will therefore be infinitely more comfortable and healthy, enabling passengers to read, write and converse or sleep with perfect ease and safety.
7th. Such is the superiority of the motion, and the power of the engine—particularly when working with elastic drivers in double grooves—that if the Sleigh
Boad cost $150,000 per mile, while the railway could be built for $50,000, the
Sleigh Boad would be by far the cheapest in the end, owing to the smaller cost for
operation and maintainance. 88
8th. Such are the advantages arising from the ability to use engines of unlimited power, and the great reduction made in the dead weight, that transportation by " sleigh road" would costless than half that by rail, even granting the
friction (loss of power) between the runners and the rollers to be double that between the wheels and the rails.
9th. By sleigh road we could haul loads of 500 and 600 tons, or 8 to 10 times
the amount carried by rail; while the road could be made to carry canal boats,
barges, &c, &o., with six times the present speed and at one-half the present cost.
10th. That the expense of changing any ordinary railway to the " sleigh system's
need not cost more than $5,000 or $6,000 per mile—added to the price of the old
material—a sum which would be saved in two years in the operating and maintenance accounts, while the efficiency of the road would be doubled, and the future
expenses reduced fully 50 per cent.
11th. And very important, I claim that the Sleigh Boad could be operated by
wind power for at least one-fourth of the year quite as efficiently as the railway is
now operated by the locomotive, thereby effecting an immense saving; indeed I
hold that the road could be so managed that nearly all the heavy traffic, such aa
cereals, live stock, <fec, between the great West, and the sea board; the coals, iron,
lime, stone, plaster, timber, and heavy manufactures, &c, between Nova Scotia,
New Brunswick, &c, and Ontario and Quebec, could be carried by that means,
thereby reducing the cost in many cases fully 50 per cent to the consumer.
Now, gentlemen, it must be very evident to you that it is exceedingly important not only to myself, but also, to the country, that my system of Sleigh Boads
should be adopted at once, and so save the immense sums being constantly thrown
away on railways, or it should be proved to be impracticable and not capable of
superseding the railway as a means of transit. I therefore offer a reward of $100
to the person, male or female, professional or non-professional, inventor or
mechanic, <fcc, who will demonstrate in the clearest and most convincing manner
by means of model, drawings, or in any other satisfactory way, that the claims I
have advanced above in favor of my system are not justifiable and cannot be sustained according to the well known laws of mechanics ; that in short the system of
Sleigh Boad is impracticable and could not be carried out with any hope of superseding the railway either in speed, power or economy of operation.
The offer will remain open for four months from this date, and the conditions
necessary to observe in competing for the prize will be—1st. That the competitor
must read my pamphlet through thoroughly and understandingly at least three
separate times, with an interval of two or three days between each reading. 2nd.
He must satisfy himself that he thoroughly comprehends the full scope of my
scheme. 3rd. He must know enough of mechanical philosophy, and be sufficiently
acquainted with the theory and practical details of the railway system—the cost of
construction, operation and maintainance, <fec,—to enable him to judge intelligently of the correctness or otherwise of my theory, facts, assertions, Ac, <fco. 4th.
He will then write out clearly and as concisely as he can, his reasons for believing
me to be in error concerning the Sleigh Boad, its utility, Ac, and send the paper to
me as soon as possible. If I consider his objections of sufficient importance, I will
answer them within a week or ten days from their receipt ; and should he not hear
from me within ten or twelve days, or should my answer not succeed in removing
his objections, he is then at liberty to notify me through the columns of the
Toronto Globe, Mail, or the Montreal Herald or Gazette, (sending me a private
note at the same time, saying in which paper his note has appeared), that he is
prepared to compete for the prize; he will also send me at the same time the name
of one or more gentlemen whom he is willing to accept as judges between us* the
competition will take place before a committee of gentlemen whose professional
reputation as engineers, and personal character as gentlemen, will be a sufficient
guarantee for the impartiality and intelligence of their opinions; the committee to
consist of not more than six nor fewer than three, and the competitors to have the
appointment of two-thirds the number and myself of one-third. The competition
to be by letter, drawings, models, &c, &c, or in any other way the competitor 89
may think fit, I reserving the right to reply to the demonstration or arguments of
any of the competitors. The prize to be paid immediately the judges have pronounced their opinion that it has been earned according to the conditions stated.
N. B.^—Should any one who would'like to compete consider the above conditions or any of them unfair or giving an undue advantage to the inventor of the
Sleigh Boad, I will be happy to relax them as far as I reasonably can, with the
main object of the challenge which is to arouse public attention and get the subject
thoroughly ventilated.
The only conditions I cannot relax are—1st. That aU objections be first sent
to me personally—the reason for that being the impossibility of noting every fact
in a pamphlet, or providing against every possible objection ; 2nd. That all offers
to compete for the prize must be made through the public press, the object of this
is that the public may know to a certainty if any or how many are prepared to
prove me a mistaken enthusiast, and'my Sleigh Boad an impracticable dream, and
if none are prepared to prove it such, that the public may have a certain guarantee
of its practicability.
I am aware that there is a very general idea abroad that although the great
inventions of the past were opposed, and their authors ridiculed and persecuted,
that the world has learned too much since, and seen too many former impossibilities turned into every day facts to repeat the stupid mistake; that, in a word,
the general intelligence is so great and the spirit of toleration so wide spread that
the inventor has no longer anything to fear in bringing forth his projects but may
rest sure that the public is willing to try aU things, and hold fast that which is
good, &c.
Now to try the truth of that idea it is only necessary to ask, what was the public, the professional and practical opinion concerning the making of iron ships ; the
reaping machine, steam ploughs, the sewing machine, rifled cannon, breach-loading rifles, or infinitely more important, Bessemer's process' for making steel,
Siemen's regenerative gas furnace, or what about the Atlantic telegraph or the
Suez canal ? In each and all the opinion or verdict was just what it would have
been fifty years ago, viz : " It can't be done." In every age and country man is
the same being and with the same strong and persistent belief that whatever is is best,
the good old way is so good that there can be no better ; so every truth, every improvement that is an advance beyond the narrow sphere of every day experience is
doubted, denied and struggled against with aU the heat and vehemence of prejudiced ignorance, not because it is false but because it is new—because it is different from the old routine. It is only necessary to bring forward a plan different
from any to which the world has been accustomed; a scheme without the recommendation of use and wont, a something which seems to reverse as it were the former order of things, and the shout is instantly raised it can't be done, " you're a
fool, sir," said'Humphry Davy, the great chemist, when a friend whom he met in
the street told him that before long he would see the city lighted with gas,—" you're
a fool, sir, it can't be done."
Or take my own scheme for " cooling and ventilating barracks, hospitals, <fcc,"
in India, twelve or fourteen years ago, it was pronounced utterly impracticablehj the
medical and other experts forming the " Army Sanitary Commission." Eight years
ago I was asked by the secretary of the same commission—as a complete crusher—
how I could apply such a system to an Indian barrack where all the windows and
doors were " kept wide open," ; and you will please mark that it never seemed to
strike them that it would be possible to shut the doors and windows, such a thing
would be absurd, the windows and doors always had remained open, consequently
they must remain so; neither did it occur to them to ask why ate they kept open ?
and will not this scheme remove the cause ? No, that would have been a new idea,
a thing they were not capable of, and now the scheme which they were so ready
to denounce twelve years ago as utterly impracticable, is carried out in the United
States, in almost every European hospital, in the great Albert Hall, the Alexandria
Palace, London, and only last week I saw from the English papers that after
every other system has been tried   and failed, my  plan has   been carried out 90
B-   M
even in the English House of Commons itself, but it has not yet found its way to
India for which it was designed, nor do I get the merits of its invention.
I state these facts, gentlemen, simply to remove an idea which might otherwise gain lodgement in your minds, viz: that my offer is prompted either by over
confidence, pride or bravado, and to show you that it is really the only course by
which the plan can be brought prominently and at once before the public, and a
practical issue raised. Necessarily, I throw down the gauntlet for it is one of the
misfortunes of the inventor that he must always, at least in the first instance, blow
his own trumpet; he may do it privately by button-holeing the rich and influential,
or he may do it by means of printers ink, but one way or other he must of a
necessity assert himself, as one who knows or can do something which the world
needs to learn or get possession of, and which only he can impart. I therefore
trust that all will believe that I am actuated only by the motives I have named,
and that you will come forward and, as a charity to the inventor—who has spent
long and anxious years, and a considerable sum of money in bringing his ideas,
into their present shape—if not as a service to the public,* win the $100 I have
offered; I ask no favors, and I have lived long enough in the world to care very
little for the " ha, ha, pshaw," style of criticism ; I am myself at all times willing
to hit hard at what I consider wrong or absurd, and I consequently respect the
man who does the same, only strike fair, gentlemen, and not too many at a time,
and you will have no cause to fear the flinching of
Yours very respectfully,
Address—Box 48, Yorkville, Out.
July 13th, 1874.
Inventor of Patent Sleigh Boad.
* Ox, if a still stronger motive is required to induce you to give the subject your very
careful consideration, you may find in the fact that the amount of money which the
Government deliberately propose to waste in the construction and maintenance of the
worse than useless " Canada Pacific Eailway," is amply sufficient to provide for the following objects:—(1) To provide for a protective duty, or pay a bounty of 20 to 25 per cent,
on all kinds of manufacturing and commercial industries which cannot flourish without
help. (2) To subsidize a first-class line of steamships to all the principal ports where
Canada could do business. (3) To lend money to farmers, large manufacturers, and for
the general development of the natural resources of the country at three and-a-half to
four per cent, interest per annum. (4) To provide an absolutely free and liberal education for every child in the Dominion. (5) To grant a dowry of $200 to every child now in
the Dominion (under five years) on reaching their majority. (6) To provide $200 worth of
household furnishings for every couple married after 1878, who have lived ten years in the
country previous to their marriage. (7) It will allow a life pension of £50 per annum to
every man in the Dominion (now under forty years) on attaining his sixty-fifth year. (8)
Forty dollars to every woman (now under thirty-five years) who may be left a widow after
1878, and a decent maintenance and education for every child left an orphan, or otherwise unprovided for. (9) It would enable the Government to lend every man whose
income is under $800 per annum, money enough at four per cent, to provide himself a
comfortable home, and so reduce rents all over at least forty per cent. In a word, it is
enough, if sensibly used, to place the Dominion in such an advantageous position that
in less than ten years her population, wealth, and power would be more than doubled,
enabling us to take our true position in the great British Empire, paying cent percent,
with the people of the old land of that national debt which was contracted by our fathers
as much as by theirs, and for our benefit as much as theirs ; also our Army, Navy, and
other charges general to the Empire, thus becoming a living, active member of that great
people, who, in conjunction wim our cousins (our brothers rather) across the line, are
destined within the next fifty years to become masttrs of the world, at whose potent word
the armies of Europe will dissolve like the baseless fabric of a vision, and all the horrible
panoply of war sink into everlasting oblivion before the benign presence of smiling
peace.   Vide " Canada as she is and she might be." y*w
" So rampant and utterly unreasoning has party spirit become in this " Canadaof ours"
that no subject, however important, can be discussed with any chance of being judged on
its own merits, and no man, however much he may deplore and abhor the same senseless
and injurious partisanship, can escape the imputation of being actuated by party or selfish
motives; it is, therefore, hardly to be wondered at that Canada has—on the Pacific-
Bail way—become divided into two great camps—Tories and Liberals.
The Tories, almost to a man, declare that the Canada Pacific Bailway shold be commenced at once and carried to completion as quickly as men and materials can do it;
■not because it is wise and politic to do so, or because it will be beneficial to the Dominion
—for not one in fifty of the professional scribes who write so glibly about it has ever considered the subject sufficiently to have an intelligent idea of what he is writing or talking
about—but simply because Sir John A. Macdonald promised to do it, and because they
believe the other party don't intend to implement the promise—so very thoughtlessly
made—consequently they see a chance to manufacture a little of that dirty, oftimes
worthless and dishonorable stuff, called Political Capital.
The Liberals, on the other hand, declare their perfect willingness to build the road
as soon as the engineers are in a position to do so ; not because they believe it to be a
wise and statesmanlike thing to do, but because the late government has bound the
Dominion by a treaty which they feel bound to respect (the real reason being, however,
that the leaders of the liberal paity have for many years back been crying out for just
such a road, and carefully educating the public to expect and demand it—indeed there can
be no doubt that the present government and their party are responsible more than any
other for the creation and spread of that miserable delusion, that nonsensical sentiment
which called for and rendered possible our our confederation with British Columbia and
the acquisition of the North-West, with all their attendant losses, dangers and expenditures—and now they are either not wise enough or strong enough to go back on themselves and frankly admit that their former advocacy of the above measures was a grave
and most disastrous blunder, as it most unquestionably was."
" I wish it to be distinctly understood that all the arguments I have urged, or may
urge against the folly of building a railway to the Pacific; our attempting to keep up
communications with British Columbia and our enormously expensive attempts to colonize
the North-West—resolve themselves into arguments against the railway system as a means
of transit, and are of a purely physical, mechanical, and financial description. /MSS
For example : it must be admitted as a fact that no railway which we could or would
build between Ontario and the Pacific could even, if working up to its full capacity—
which presuppose a population of three millions—carry passengers between. Toronto and
Victoria in less than seven or eight days, nor for less than fifty or sixty dollars per head;
nor could it transport freight between Montreal and Manitoba or vice versa for less than
eighteen or twenty dollars per ton; it is therefore perfectly apparent that unless there is
traffic sufficient in amount to give the road full employment at the rates named, that it
must result in serious loss to the Dominion."
[over.] -   -
Again, it inust be held ma, fact that we could not build such a road under llOJOOQajj
I mile, or say, for the whole, $120,000,000, nor could we operate and maintain it aties#f
i than $4,000 pei mile per 'annum; or say interest on first cost, $7,000,000,. (a low ,
I estimate ;) operating and maintaining, $10,000,000—in all, #17,000,000 per annum—that I
f is a sirm equal to the entire income of 60,000 laborers, or one-fourteenth of the entire j
I inhabitants of the Dominion; in other words,- to build, maintain, and operate the Canada f
I Pacific Bailway will—-according to "the calculation incomes made by our present Finance
i Minister—take at least five per cent, per annum of the entire income of the Dominion.
Now these are fixed mechanical and financial facts; facts which no amount of talk,
'supposition, or fancy pictures of future greatness can affect in any way, and they give rise
j to a series of very important questions: 1st, What extent of laud would require to be
'■ cultivated :along the line of road to give the necessary traffic, and what number of people
I would be necessary to do the cultivation, and how long would it take to find and place |
I them there, calculating by past and present experience; 2nd, would it be profitable, or
I even possible to cultivate land at all, except for mere local consumption, along the line of ;
i the Canada Pacific ? 3rd, if it be possible to cultivate land along the line of the Canada
, Pacific Bailway, how much would the railway add to the value of the land per acre?'-"-..
To answer each of these questions as fully and' circumstantially as they should be
; answered, would take up altogether too much space, I will therefore only give the gist of
I the answer, and let each person fill up as their own common sense and information, may
; supply the materials : 1st, then judged by the standard of the West and North-western :
■ States of the Union, there should be for each mile of railway not less than 15,000 acres I
! in farms, or say, for the whole road, not less than 30,000,000 to 35,000,000 acres, which '
; presupposes between 3,000,000 and 4,000,000 of inhabitants; 2nd, supposing it possible |
to farm for export purposes—which would be an absurb supposition—the cultivated land
I would be increased in value, according to the standard of Minnesota, $1.-2.5 per acrej or,
' according to Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, or Kentucky, $2.15 per acre—(ft is very important '
to keep in mind that the value of a railway to the farmer, etc., diminishes rapidly in j
'•■ proportion to its length from the Atlantic seaboard); 3rd, as to whether it would be pos- '
: sibie to cultivate for export purposes on the line of the Canada Pacjfia Bailway, it is only j
! necessary to remark that the farmers of Iowa, Wisconsin, etc., as a rule, pay three bushels '
of grain ^o carry one bushel to market, while the railway carrying it, as a rule, makes no j
profit; 4th, as to the time it would take'to'find and trahsport to"the North-West three or ;
four millions- of people, it is only necessary to recollect that it has taken nearly thirty I
I years to add 800,000 to the population of the magnificent Province of Ontario, and that j
it was easier to find ten emigrants ten years ago than it is to find one to-day, and costs j
! money in pretty much the same proportion, it' may therefore be safely assumed, even by J
| the most sanguine, that it would take between 80 and 100 years to find and settle -oh the !
! line of the Canada Pacific Bailway three 6r:four millions of people.
But you tell me it is not so much the commercial as the political aspect of the road
II should look at. My answer is, that I don't know any political necessity strong enough *
j to justify the spending of one-twentieth of the entire income of the Dominion on a non- ■
[productive road. What, after all, does it matter to us what the few thousand people in i
J the Pacifie Province of the Dominion think, or what guarantee have we that, plaeed^as j
j they are and must remain, the building of the road would alter their opinions perm an- I
i ently.    If the governments of this and the Mother Country consider the Pacific Province
| of sufficient value to justify the building of the Canada Pacific, their duty is very plain j
i and easily carried out.   I would simply inform the inhabitants of British Columbia, etc.,
i that the Province is  a part of the  Canadian Dominion and of the British Empire, I
| and  . consequently    belongs    not    to    them,    but    to    the    whole    British    people, !
| and   they   must   govern   themselves   accordingly;   if   the   country   don't suit   them '.
! they can try another, but to imagine for a moment that they would be allowed to- try
I any tricks such as secession, annexation, etc., is simply absurb; and I would most unques- j
i tionably put beyond the power of doing mischief the first person who would dare whisper j
| dissent from my opinion ; at the same time I would encourage and systematize emigration into British Columbia, taking care to send only good and true men; and I would
j assist them with no niggard hand when assistance was really needed, or likely to do good,
j until there was  a respectable population in the   Province of  the  Pacific,  and then
will be time enough to talk of building a railway. 


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