BC Historical Books

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BC Historical Books

The Canadian Pacific Railway 1880

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Canadian pacific railway.
The following papers, -with slight modifications, and the
exception of article No. XI, have lately appeared in the
Morning Chronicle of Quebec. The soundness of the
views advocated by General Hewson, in that part of his
case from the Pacific to Norway House, is fully borne out
by -the report on the Peace Elver District, from the Chief
Engineer, Mr. Sandford Fleming, just laid before Parliament ; and we have but little doubt that when the remaining portion of the route from Norway House to Quebec has
been explored, it will be found to be equally feasible and
advantageous, and will lead to the final adoption of this
route as the truly Imperial and National location. For
further and more ample details with reference to this the
great question of the day, we would refer our readers to
the pamphlet, accompanied with a map, lately issued by
G-eneral Hewson, and which should be in every persons
hands. n
General M. B. Hewson, formerly Chief Engineer of
the Memphis and Charleston and several other leading
American railway lines, has written a pamphlet on the
subject of the Canadian Pacific Railway, which has been
reviewed in the October number of Rose-Belford's Monthly.
The perusal of these papers will prove interesting and
instructive. The General condemns in energetic terms
the present location of our projected national highway;
and contends, that the four millions spent in preliminary
surveys have been, for all practical purposes, thrown
away, our engineers having failed to discover the best,
' or even a reasonably practicable route for the railway.
His objections to the present location may be summed, up
as follows:—That the Eastern terminus of the road—which,
in all common sense, should have been fixed at tide water—
is placed in the woods at Lake Nipissing. That from Lake
Nipissing to the head of Lake Superior the railway will
run through a miserable rocky country, unfit for settlement,
and necessitating works of a most costly character, besides
being exposed for 150 miles, along the shores of Lake
Superior, to seizure by U. S. armed vessels. That from
Thunder Bay to Selkirk, on the Eed Eiver, the line will
pass through a country of much the same character, and so
near the frontier as to be within two days march of a hostile
army.    That, from Ked Eiver to the Eocky Mountains, the m>
line, although tending to the North-West, has nevertheless
been located too far South, so much so, that for 500 miles
it will run through the American Desert, a sandy barren
which crosses the boundary line from the United States,
and stretches' for some distance into Canadian territory.
That the point selected for the passage through the Eocky
Mountains is much higher than could have been found by
going further North, Yellow-head Pass being at an elevation
of 3,800 feet, as against 1,800 at the Peace Eiver Pass. That
the route selected in British Columbia runs through the
wildest and most difficult part of that Province, a | Sea of
mountains," as it has been most appropriately termed ; and
finally reaches the Pacific Ocean at Burrard Inlet, under the
guns of the American Fort of San Juan. That so long as the
section from Thunder Bay to Lake Nipissing is not built—
and which most likely will not be for many years to come,
owing to the enormously costly character of the works—our
national highway will be under our control during only the
season of navigation. For six months of the year its traffic
will feed the railway system of the United States, and during
the other six months our neighbors will compete with us
for its traffic'on at least equal terms. That the cost of the
line as projected is excessive, the sections now under construction from the head of Lake Superior to Eed Eiver
ranging from $27,000 to $83,000 per mile ; and it may be
further stated, the tenders now under consideration for
the sections—127 miles in length—from Yale to Kam-
loops, in British Columbia, reach up to #15,000,000, exclusive of rails and rolling stock. On this basis the 500 miles
through British Columbia will probably cost fifty millions.
That the line, running almost throughout its entire course
in close proximity to the boundary line, can never realize
the requirements of a national highway. General Hewson,
as the remedy for this most alarming condition of affairs,
proposes a route which, although at first sight it may
appear somewhat novel and astonishing, is nevertheless based on evidence of the strongest and most trustworthy
character, and which may be briefly sketched, as follows: —
Starting from Quebec, and following the Quebec and Lake
St. John Eailway Company's road, now under construction,
to La Tuque, the line continues on up to the headwaters of
the St. Maurice, thence across the watershed of the Hudson
Bay region, down the Harricanaw Eiver, crossing the Abbiti-
bee and Moose Eivers, and through these rivers connecting
with the navigation of Jamss' and Hudson's Bays; thence
crossing the Albany Eiver, and running due "West to Norway House, at the North end of Lake Winnipeg. From this
point the line runs direct to Cumberland House, touching
the North Bend of the Saskatchewan Eiver, tapping its
navigable waters. Thence crossing the Beaver and Avtha-
baska Eivers running North of, and close to Lesser Slave
Lake, crossing the Smoky Eiver, and up the Peace Eiver
Yalley and Pass, and from thence down the Skeena Eiver,
the line reaches Portland Inlet, or Port Essington on the
Pacific. Wi£h Quebec the summer and Halifax and St.
John the winter termini on the Atlantic; with a bridge or a
railway steam ferry at Quebec; and with a branch line of
some 350 miles from James Bay up the Abbittibee and down
the Montreal Eivers to Mattawa, to connect the line with
Montreal and Toronto, General Hewfeon claims that this route
will be, in all probability, infinitely cheaper to build than the
present location; besides being 240 miles shorter from sea
to sea, a saving in distance which he estimates to be equivalent to a million dollars per annum in the working
expenses of but six daily trains. If found to be practicable,
it will be seen at a glance, that this line possesses all the
elements of a truly national and imperial highway. It is
the shortest line possible between the Atlantic and the
Pacific; it passes through the back country of the Dominion
from ocean to ocean; it is removed from the possibility of
•capture by an enemy, and furnishes a line of military
transport available during all seasons of the year, being fcHi
thus free from those objections from a military point of
view which may now prevent Imperial co-operation ; it
opens up and runs entirely through the great belt of arable
lands from Norway House to the Eocky Mountains, and
more especially through the magnificent Peace Eiver Territory, described in such glowing terms by Captain Butler. It
likewise utilizes all the large rivers throughout its course,
flowing either to the South into the great lakes or to the
North into the Arctic Ocean, or Hudson's Bay ; bringing
Manitoba, through the latter outlet, closer to Liverpool for
four months of the year than New York is. It will, by
carrying the traffic of the far West to Quebec in summer,
and through Quebec to Halifax and St. John in winter,
develop trade and intercourse between the Provinces,
mould the people of this Dominion into a homogeneous
nation, and realize their most cherished aspirations, the
perpetuation of British power and institutions in this
northern portion of the continent. The first argument
which will naturally be advanced against the feasibility of
this route will be the climate of the 'country between
Quebec and Norway House. In anticipating this objection,
General Hewson does not depend upon his personal
knowledge of the country, but rests his case upon evidence,
which he quotes from Canadian geologists, scientists and
explorers, and from officials of the Hudson. Bay Company,
and with the result of completely upsetting all our preconceived notions of the territory in question.
fhole subject is presented in a new and striking
light, and is deserving of the immediate and serious consideration of the Government and people of the Dominion ;
and any further expenditures upon the present location—
excepting, however, the section between the head of Lake
Superior and the Eed Eiver, which is now well advanced
towards completion, and which will serve an immediate
and  distinct   requirement—should   be   suspended   until General Hewson's route has been thoroughly tested under
the American system of cross-section surveys, followed by
several trial lines, which he states can be done at a cost of
not over $150,000. We shall reserve for another issue a
brief description of the country to be traversed by General
Hewson's line, together with a review of the evidence
upon which the General rests his case.
-:0: ARTICLE   I
iL n
In our last article upon this subject we drew attention to
"the advantages claimed by General Hewson for the new
route recommended by him for the Pacific Eailway.
The principal of these advantages, as contrasted with
the line at present located, are, that it is the shortest
line by 240 miles from ocean to ocean; that being, throughout its length, remote from the frontier, it will open
up the back country of this Dominion, and be removed
from the possibility of capture, thus rendering Imperial
assistance far more probable; that it will feed, and be fed,
by the great navigable waters of the centre of the Continent—the Skeena, Peace, Athabasca, Mackenzie, Saskatchewan, Nelson and Moose Eivers; Lesser Slave, Athabasca
and Winnipeg Lakes, and Hudson's Bay, that great inland
sea teaming with valuable fish; that it will give to Quebec^
New Brunswick and Nova Scotia a share of the trade which
the other line would divide between Ontario and the
United States; and finally that it will pass through the
greatest belt of fertile land on the Continent. We wish, today, to notice more particularly the climate and soil of the
immense territory through which the Hewson line will
pass. Mr. Sandford Fleming, in his reports upon the
Pacific Eailway, divides the country on his line into three
sections—the Western, or mountainous region, the Central,
or prairie region, and the Eastern, or woodland region. It
may not be amiss to apply these divisions to the Hewson
route, and to compare the corresponding sections in both
cases.   The Eastern, or woodland section, of the Hewson 9
line may be said to extend from Quebec to Norway House
at the north end of Lake Winnipeg, a distance of about
1,200 to 1,300 miles. The climate of this region has always
been popularly conceived to be very rigorous, especially in
the neighbourhood of Hudson's Bay; and the soil very
unsuitable for cultivation. In shewing that this supposition
is exaggerated General Hewson does not advance any
theories of his own, but gives the experience of Professor
Bell, the officers of the Hudson's Bay Company and others,
Of the country between Quebec and the sources of the St.
Maurice there is not a great deal of information given. It
is for the most part rough and hilly, abounding in timber,
but without a great deal of land fit for settlement. Where
good land is available, he gives us as an instance of its productiveness, the wonderful agricultural progress and wheat
raising capacity of the Lake St. John district, in the same
latitude, in which there are millions of acres of fertile lands,
as may be seen from reports in the Quebec Crown Lands
Department, and the excellent crops raised by the lumbering firms on the Upper St. Maurice. Eeferring to the
height of land between the St. Maurice and Hudson's Bay,
Mr. Eichardson, of the Geological Survey, says: " Mr.
Burgess, of the Hudson's Bay Company's post here, furnished me on the 7th August, with fair sized new potatoes."
Mr. McOuat, of the same survey, reports " that he found
Pine trees which.measured eight or nine feet in circumference." Mr. Gladman, in his evidence before a Parliamentary Committee in 1857, speaking of New Brunswick House,
a post south of James' Bay. says : | the soil very good;
raised excellent potatoes and every description of vegetable;
oats ripens very well; had barley also, and wheat has
since been tried with success. Cattle kept there, housed
during winter." OrMoose Factory, on James' Bay, Glad-
man says: " climate and soil good: raised potatoes and
other vegetables in great abundance; barley ripened well." • r
Eobson says : "Fall wheat stood the winter frosts, and grew
very well in the following summer." Professor Bell, says :
"upwards of 80 head of cattle are kept at Moose Fort, besides
horses, sheep and pigs." Eobson, in his history, says of the
country south of Hudson Bay:—"The soil is fertile, and the
climate temperate for the produce of all kinds of grain, and
for raising cattle; and the coasts abound with black and
white whales, seals, sea-horses, and various kinds of fish."
An official map, published by the Chief Engineer of the
Canadian Pacific Eailway, states that the great tract of
country south of Hudson's Bay, is "a flat country; soil,
loam and clay, good quality."
The thermometrical observations of temperature also
seem to prove that tliere has been a good deal of misconception as to the climate of this region, which would seem
to be certainly better than that of the country north of
Lake Superior. They shew that the average summer
temperature of the following places is:—
Quebec 61.40
Ottawa 64.—
Moose Factory (James' Bay) 62.20
Fort William (Lake Superior) ».59.94
Norway House (Lake Winnipeg) 59.87
Cumberland House (Saskatchewan District) '....62.62
Winnipeg (Manitoba) ; 60.30
So much for the soil and climate of the "woodland
region " of General Hewson's line, from Quebec to Norway
House. As compared with the corresponding section on
Fleming's line, consisting of the. extremely rough and
barren country, from Lake Nipissing to Thunder Bay, and
the almost equally uninhabitable district from Thunder
Bay to Selkirk, on the Eed Eiver, the choice in point of
density and quality of timber and nature of soil and climate, 11
Would seem to be in favor of the former; and this may ber
to some extent, accounted for by the difference in elevation,
which Hewson says will not exceed an average of 400 to
500 feet on the northern line, as against probably 1,000 feet
on the southern. As regards cost of construction the
General says: " While the 1,000 miles east of Manitoba
(on the Fleming line) involve heavy works, ranging from
127,000 to 183,000 per mile, and unfavorable lines, the
corresponding 1,000 from Norway House eastward, involves
in all likelihood, good lines and light works;" and he then
states, that if the twenty millions now being' invested in the
railway between Lake Superior and Manitoba, had been
applied to his line, it would not only have connected Quebec with Hudson's Bay, but would have carried the railway'
700 miles further westward, completely through the
"woodland region," to "the threshold of the western
granary, at Norway House," at the north, end of Lake
The Central or Prairie Eegion of the Hewson line extends from NorWay House to the Eocky Mountains, and
is described as "a vast region containing a high proportion
of extraordinary richness, and at its western end affording
the most fertile land in the world available for settlement,"
more ready in its natural "state for immediate cultivation
than any other on earth—the future granary of Europe."
At Norway House, according to Colonel Crofton, corn,
rhubarb, peas, cabbages and other vegetables are grown.
At Cumberland House, Dr. King stated, in his evidence
before a Parliamentary Committee in 1859, he "saw farms
growing luxuriant wheat, corn and barley." At this point
the Hewson line would tap the lower Saskatchewan,
bringing into play 1,000 miles of navigation, and the
immense territory drained by that river. Indeed it may
be said, that all the good prairie land on the Fleming line
will thus become tributary to the newly projected route. 12
F  ■-¥$
I !     •
At Lac la Biche, lat 54.45, Captain Butler says :—"The
Indians and half-breeds raise an abundance of wheat and
other cereals', together with enormous crops of potatoes and
garden vegetables." At Little Slave Lake, further West,
Professor Macoun says he "found barley in stack on the
12th August." At Fort Athabaska, lat. 56.40, Macoun
says he "obtained specimens of wheat and barley which
astonished everyone who saw them, many of the ears
containing 100 grains, and the weight of both wheat and
barley being nearly ten pounds per bushel over the
ordinary weight." Further West, in the Peace Eiver
district, the proposed railway will traverse from East to
West an immense country, which Sir George Simpson
terms "the very Eden of our North." At one post on this
river, which is navigable for large steamboats for several
hundred miles, in lat. 58.24, Macoun says "barley sown on
the 8th of May was cut on the 6th of August, the finest I
ever saw—many ears as long as my hand." At another
post the wheat weighed 68 lbs. per bushel, and oats 58 lbs.
Captain Butler speaks of this country as—"A terraced land
of rich rolling prairies—a park-like land of Wood and glade
and meadow, where the jumping deer glanced through the
dry grass and trees." Sir Alexander Mackenzie says:—
"The country is so crowded with animals (a testimony of
its richness) as to have the appearance in some places of a
stall yard." Dr. King says:—"The trees are very vast and •
splendid in their growth. They are like the magnificent
trees around Kensington Park, and would bear comparison
with anything of the kind." And yet this magnificent
country will be entirely left out by the Government location
of the railway, which will run far to the South. The
climate of this territory is very favorable. Mackenzie says
that on the Upper Peace Eiver the snow had all
disappeared on the 5 th April, and that anemones were in
flower on the 20th of the same month in 1793. Captain
Butler says .-—"With bud and sun and shower came the 13
first mosquito on the 20th April, 1873." The mildness of
the climate is no doubt due to the influence of the "Japan
Sea," the great gulf stream of the Pacific, which tempers
it to such an extent, that wheat may be grown at Fort
Simpson in lat. 61.5, and barley as far North as Fort
Norman, lat. 64.31, or 1,000 miles further North than
Quebec. The immensity of this fertile country may be
judged from the fact that it embraces ten degrees of
latitude and thirteen of longtitude, and that the Mackenzie
Eiver, discharging in the Arctic Ocean, furnishes 2,000
miles of navigation.
Such is the Central, or Prairie region, of General Hewson's
line. We have already described the corresponding section
of the Fleming line, which runs for 500 miles of its length
through the "American Desert;" we may further add that
Captain Butler says "there are ten acres of fertile land lying
North of the Saskatchewan, for every one acre lying South
of it—" and "the present line is eminently unsuited for
settlement, and may be said to lie fully 80 miles too far
The Western, or Mountainous region, through which
the Hewson line passes, begins where the Peace Eiver
flows eastward through the Eocky Mountains, affording a
pass only 1,800 feet above the sea, as against 3,800 feet at
Yellow Head pass, the point now selected,—and crosses
British Columbia through the gold fields to the Pacific coast
opposite to the Queen Charlotte Islands, which are very,
large and are said to enjoy a mild climate, to possess
valuable coal and minerals and a much better soil than
Vancouver, being described as "rich.beyond description."
General Hewson says but little about the soil of the
mainland. Possibly there may not be a very great choice
in this respect between it and the present location; but
the country has the advantage of a lower elevation, shorter 14
distance, and cheaper works of construction than on the
other line.   The evidence of Captain Butler on this most
important point is very conclusive.   In his  "Wild North
Land"—page 356—he says :—"The Peace Eiver affords a
passage to the Western Ocean, vastly superior to any of
the known passes lying South of it.   It is level throughout
its entire course.    It has a wide, deep,  navigable river
running; through it.    Its highest elevation in the main
range  of the Eocky Mountains, is about 1,800 feet.    The
average depth of its winter fall of snow is but three feet.
From the  Western end of the pass to the coast range of
mountains, a distance of some three hundred miles across
British Columbia, there does not exist one siugle formidable
impediment to a railroad."   Contrast this with the country
through which the Fleming line passes, from Yellow Head
Pass by the Thompson and Fraser Eivers to Burrard Inlet
—bristling with tremendous mountains, and necessitating
works of construction involving an outlay of over $80,000
per mile, exclusive of rails and rolling stock, as established
from the tenders  awarded for the sections from Yale to
Kamloops—125 miles in length—and upon which basis the
500  miles in British  Columbia would swallow up some
fifty millions of dollars.   We have given as lengthy a
description of the climate and soil of the too great rival
routes of the Pacific Eailway as  our limited space will
permit,    yfe shall endeavor,  in a future issue, to  show
What should^  and we hope  will be,  the  action  of the
Government and people of the Dominion in face of the
momentous issues which have been raised by General
Hewson, and whi.ch, most assuredly, cannot be allowed to
pass unchallenged.
Having briefly reviewed, in our issues of the 28th ul
and 5th instant, the defective location of our National
Eailway, and the superior merits of the route advocated by
General Hewson, it may not be amiss to-day to compare
the mode of construction adopted with that advised by the
The actual position of this great Work" may be stated as
follows :—Nothing has been attempted between Lake
Nipissing and Thunder Bay beyond running several
experimental lines. The construction of this section of
600 miles has, been indefinitely postponed in consequence
of the excessively costly character of the works, necessitated
by the exceedingly difficult nature of the country north of
Lake Superior. I From estimates ranging from $30,000 to
over $80,000 per mile, an average cost of $60,000 per mile
for this section may be safely deduced. The road between
Thunder Bay and Selkirk—410 miles—is in course of
construction, at an average cost of $44,000 per mile, as
appears from the report of the Chief Engineer for 1879;
and, when fully completed and equipped, Will exceed
$50,000 per mile. Nothing, as yet, has been done between
Selkirk and the Eocky Mountains—a distance of 1,000
miles—but, somewhat singular to say, the Government
have under contract a hundred miles or so of railway
running west from Winnipeg, which appears to be of a
purely local character, and independent of the trunk line.
From the more favorable nature of the Prairie Eegion, an
average cost of construction, through this country, of say pf
$20,000 per mile, completed and equipped, would be a safe
basis of calculation. In British Columbia contracts have
just been awarded for over $10,000,000, for T25 miles of
road, exclusive of rails, rolling stock and extras, from Yale
to Kamloops—fortunately, however, these contracts have
not as yet been definitely closed. On this basis the 500
miles through this Province would probably average over
$100,000-per mile.
It would thus appear that under the present system
over $130,000,000 of capital will be absorbed in the building
of 2,700 miles of our great trunk line—an average of say
$48,000 per mile.
Is Canada, with her population of 4,000,000 scattered
over the breadth of the continent, equal to the strain
involved in such an immense*outlay ? Has the very serious
nature of the burden, which will result from this outlay,
been duly considered ?
The construction, ,and subsequent working of 1,500
miles of railway through a country offering no field for
settlement, such as the region north of Lake Superior, and
in British Columbia, have been described, affords matter
for deep and anxious reflection. May not this policy turn
out most difficult of execution, and, if carried out, an everlasting and ruinous drain on the resources of the country ?
The information available on this question from the
working of the Intercolonial Eailway, under more favorable
circumstances, and which nevertheless, according to the
Parhamentary^returns, shows a loss of nearly $500,000 on
last year's operations, is certainly not of a reassuring
An average cost of $48,000 per mile would appear to bo
beyond both the present requirements of this railway, and 17
the finances of the country, applicable at best only in old,
rich and thickly settled communities; and furthermore
likely to imperil the future usefulness of the road. In
designing this great work the bitter experience gained in
the Grand Trunk, Intercolonial, and other trunk lines,
where the fatal consequences resulting from defective
locations and excessive costs of construction, are still, and
will continue for all time to come, to be felt, should not
have been discarded.
And that the present location of the railway—upon
which its future depends—has been determined upon an
incomplete knowledge of the country—a . fact which will
produce widespread anxiety throughout all classes of the
community—would' appear to be admitted from the following extracts from the report of the Chief Engineer for
1879 :—
"It will be seen that much yet remains to be discovered
respecting large areas, and it is this information which I
suggest should be obtained in the coming season by careful
explorations of the sections where our knowledge is &e-
"During last session of Parliament I was called upon to
express my views with regard to the question of a terminus
on the Pacific coast, and the location of the western end of
the line. I submitted the opinion that it would be desirable
to gain full and complete information regarding a northern
route by Peace or Pine Eiver, and the vast territory through
which a northern route has been proposed, with respect to
which little is now known. The Government, however,
deemed it essential that construction should commence
without further delay in British Columbia, and I was
directed to state the route, which, under the circumstances,
I would advise should be placed under contract. Accordingly I recommended that if no postponement for further
examination could be admitted, and. if the immediate
commencement of the railway was imperative, that the
. choice should fall on the route by the Rivers Thompson
and Fraser to Burrard Inlet. It cannot be said that the
selection of Burrard Inlet as a terminus has given general
3 *&*
satisfaction in British Columbia. On the contrary, a claim
has been advanced in the Province that another route and
terminus-are preferable. It is therefore to be considered if
additional explorations should be made, and more complete
information obtained with regard to the northern country."
A persistency in the present policy under the circumstances would therefore seem to forebode, in the near
future, either the suspension of the works from the impossibility of realizing sufficiently from the sale of the public
lands, or the imposition of intolerable burdens to meet the
heavy outlays; under which the finances of the country
would become disorganized, and its onward march be
Construction through the Prairie region, on an economical
scale, with the view of meeting the requirements of colonization, and with the proceeds of land sales, would probably
have been the true policy to have adopted, consistent with
the resources of the country.
As against the present policy—defective on Imperial and
National-grounds—General Hewson recommends a location
from Quebec through Norway House and the Peace Eiver
Pass to Portland Inlet, on the Pacific, and the verification
of this route under the American system of cross section
surveys, which will bring out all the information required
at a later period for construction and colonization purposes;
and if this route proves to be practicable—and all the facts
so far brought to light lead up to this conclusion—the
construction of a purely colonization railway, adapted to
preseut requirements and to the financial means of the
Dominion. On these two points the General expresses
himself as follows:—
" It is proposed here that 'explorations,' whether topographical or botanical, on special routes for the Canadian
Pacific shall be stopped.   Instrnmeatation, whether on 19
trial, or on location, involves, when made in advance of the
general knowledge of the country, a still more costly waste..
'Section' line surveys—at intervals of a mile apart—are
hardly necessary for guiding the determination of the proper
route of the Pacific Eailway; for 'Township' line surveys—
at intervals of six miles apart—will probably be found
sufficient. The 'Township' lines having supplied the facts,
agricultural and physical, somewhat generally, it might be
found necessary, subsequently, to fill the intervals at some
places with 'section' lines so as to obtain these facts in
specification. But, be the details in which the'work may
be carried out whatever experience shall demand, every
dollar spent on it would be spent on a result of permanence,
on a very necessity which must be met sooner or later, as a
basis agricultural settlement."
" The Canadian Pacific Eailway should not cost, at first, a
dollar more than necessary to make it passable by trains.
Interest kept down thus, the opening should take place as
soon as possible, so as to begin the process of developing
business. Eunning through a country perfectly new, it
will not require at the outset the class of works proper to
great traffic. The bridge piers are, in truth, the only constructions that demand permanence. Its road bed high,
well drained and weil cross tied, it can dispense, as long as
necessary, with ballast, fences, cattle guards, road crossings
Except at such places as the intersection of rivers, station
buildings Will not be necessary. A colonization road,
whose object, at first, is that of simply opening up the
country for settlement, it may resort freely to undulating
grades, sharp curves, wooden bridges, and almost unbroken
stretches of single track embankment. Eock work, deep
cuts, high embankments, etc., being all avoided by, where
unavoidable otherwise, substitutions of one sort, or another,
the road and rolling stock ought not to cost for the purpose
of opening for traffic, between Quebec and Peace Eiver
' )
Pass, more than $15,000 or $16,0D0 per mile. And subsequent addition of ballast, substitution of trestling by filling,
replacement of undulating gradients by heavy work, &c,
be made in employment of idle rolling stock—made by
degrees at the charge of revenue, and in the continued
production of revenue, by a system of labour associated
with the encouragement of settlement."
The people of Canada have undertaken the construction
of their National Eailway with the view, not of benefitting
particular localities and classes of the community, but of,
by fostering inter-Provincial trade relations, gradually
moulding the several Provinces of the Dominion into a
homogenous nation. On no other grounds could this
gigantic undertaking have been justified. The utmost care
should therefore be taken not to imperil the great ends in
view in the execution of this work. A defective location
which would ignore the interests, and deprive the Eastern
Provinces of the carrying trade; the diversion of the traffic of
the road at Pembina and Thunder Bay into American
channels; the break in the continuity of the line between
the head of Lake Superior and Lake Nipissing, prolongued
indefinitely; and, finally, the imposition of intolerable
burdens, consequent upon unwarrantable outlays, would
most probably result in the violent rending asunder of the
frail bond which now unites the several Provinces of this
That our national Highway has been conceived in a
somewhat narrow and selfish spirit; that its location has
been, to a serious extent, controlled by local influences,
groups of population around Georgian Bay, in Manitoba,
and at Yancouver, having to be conciliated, regardless of
future consequences; and that a mode of construction has
been commenced unwarranted by the requirements of the
case, appear to have been fairly demonstrated. 21
Fortunately, however, the country is not too far committed to revise the present policy if need there be.
General Hewson claims to have indicated the policy
which should be at once adopted, and carried out with
vigour, to realize the great ends in view. The issues which
he has raised, more especially as they appear to involve such
an astonishing difference in point of expenditure, should
be met, otherwise they may prove to be an insurmountable
barrier to any negotiations in the London money  market.
Under the circumstances, the duty of the Government,
unless indeed they are in the possession of a breadth of
facts which justify another course, would appear to be:
1st. To stop any further outlays on the present location,
with the exception, however, of the works between Thunder Bay and Selkirk, now well advanced towards completion ; 2nd. Not to close the British Columbia contracts, nor
any others, before the meeting of Parliament (an administrative act which could not be defended, and would expose
the Cabinet to accusations of a damaging character.) And
3rd. To revise the present system of construction.
Should the Government find themselves being impelled
on a course against which their better judgment demurs,
let them take Parliament into their confidence; their hands
will be strengthened, and a policy will be matured and be
imposed, such as is required in the furtherence of the best
interests of the whole country.
The course of events so far goes to prove, as the General
says, that the time has in all probability arrived when the
execution of this great work should be removed from the
political arena and be entrusted to an Imperial and Canadian Commission. In the adoption of this course alone
oan local influences be silenced, the reputation of our
public men be guarded against the dangers surrounding 9.9.
the expenditures of millions, the independence of Parliament and of the electoral body be preserved, and finally
the great ends to be worked out by this railway be fully
It has been'objected by some, that, as a considerable
portion of the present location is under contract, it is now
too late to discuss the question of changing the line. An
esteemed correspondent, in our issue of yesterday, while
admitting the excellence of General Hewson's scheme, takes
this view. But, if the General's figures, from which the
following1 may be deduced, should prove to bear any
semblance to correctness, not only is this not the case;
but, even after adding the cost of works now under construction to the total probable cost of his scheme, the
balance against the carrying out of the Government policy
is something alarming. To illustrate what we mean, and
what the General pretends, we give the following figures,
which may prove to be only the roughest approximation of
the reality, but which, nevertheless, are sufficiently startling to demand a thorough investigation into the subject:—
Ottawa to Lake Nipissing (subsidy).. \   8nn ( $ 1,500,000
Lake Nipissing to Fort William \          \ 36,000,000
Fort William to Eed Eiver  410 20,000,000
Eed Eiver to Eocky Mountains 1043 20,000,000
Eocky Mountains to Burrard Inlet  493 50,000,000
Pacific to Ottawa 2746   $ 127,500,000
Quebec to Norway House... ) nlnn   , A«„AA„ I
N'way House to Peace Eiver. [ 2l60 at $l6>000 $40,000,000
Peace Eiver to the Pacific...
say        20,000,000
Pacific to Quebec 2760
$60,000,000 23
Branch, James'Bay to Mattawa  350    $ 7,000,000
Ottawa to Mattawa, (under construction).. 1,500,000
Fort William to Eed Eiver (under con- 20,000,000
hi favor of Hewson's scheme after adding	
the cost of work under contract  $39,000,000
Tie Caaaffian Pad Railway ai tie Eastern Mm
The conclusions we have come to, after a careful consideration of the issues raised by General Hewson, in his
pamphlet, and lectures before the Literary and Historical
Society and Board of Trade of this city, with reference to
our National Eailway, may be summed up as follows:—
That a cardinal error has been committed in the location
of the road, and in the style of construction adopted—that
the Cabinets of the day are guided by no fixed principles
in its construction—that the time has arrived to recast our
whole policy in reference thereto—and finally, that with
the Eastern Provinces more immediately rests the duty of
formulating and of improving this policy.
In years gone bye the great ends to be worked out by
this trunk line Were heralded forth in glowing terms in
Parliament, in the Press, and before the people ; the creation
of an Imperial military road across the Continent, entirely
through British territory; the opening up of our immense
back country between the Atlantic and the Pacific; the
gradual moulding of the various Provinces of the Dominion
into a strong and united people.
It was with many misgivings, after much hesitation, and
only upon repeated assurances, that the Works would be
Carried On without the imposition of additional taxation
that the people finally gave their assent to the project.
What are the results before us to-day ? Some $5,000,000 recklessly squandered in surveys which,
the Chief Engineer admits, still leave us with a knowledge
of the country very imperfect for construction purposes,
and utterly worthless for the purposes of realizing upon
our lands; and a location defective in every particular.
Can anything be more useless from an Imperial point of
view than a line of communication open to capture along
the shores of Lake Superior, and from one to two days'
march from the frontier for hundreds of miles westward from
Fort William ? Can anything be more suicidal from a National
point of view than the location of a great trunk line on the
extreme Southern border instead of through the centre of our
back country, which would bring all parts into play with
the least future outlay for side lines, and which furthermore
completely ignores the interests of the Eastern Provinces ?
Can anything be more profoundly discouraging from a
commercial point of view than the building, and future
working, of some 2,200 miles of railway—out of a total
mileage of 2,700 miles—through such an inhospitable,
formidable, and uninhabitable country as the region between Lake Nipissing and Eed Eiver, the American Desert,
Which extends some hundreds of miles into the Canadian
Prairie Eegion, and from Yellow Head Pass to Burrard
Inlet in British Columbia have been described—rocky and
barren, bristling with tremendous mountains and fearful
precipices, and offering no fields for settlement.
That an outlay of some $130,000,000—which by final
completion will most likely have reached up to $150,000,000
—is beyond the strength of the country; and that an-
average cost of construction of fully $50,000 per mile of
road is unwarranted by the requirements of a railway,
which in the first instance should be built as a colonization
road, to be improved as settlement sets in and as its traffic
developes, must be evident to every average intelligent
person.   This comes out with more force when it is stated
4 n
that there are not at this moment one hundred thousand
souls located in this immense territory stretching from
Lake Nipissing to the Pacific. How is this enormous sum
of $130,000,000 to be raised? So far-some $12,000,000
have been spent in surveys and on construction from
Thunder Bay to Selkirk, and from Winnipeg to Pembina,
which have been raised by loan. Is the balance to be so
raised, say at an average of $10,000,000 a year ? Is this
possible without bringing on a financial disaster ? How
much, over and above the amount which will be required
td meet the annual interest on capital, will there be needed,
to keep the road in operation through such an extent of
unsettled country, and which for the four-fifths of its extent
is unfit for settlement ? The Parliamentary returns show
a loss of $500,000 as the result of last year's operations on
the Intercolonial Eailway under infinitely more favorable
conditions. Say that our 4,000,000 will have expanded to
'6,000,000 of souls ten years hence, will .any one seriously
contend, that this increase of population would warrant
the building and working of a railway under such circumstances ? Or are we destined to see a suspension of the
works a few years hence, and then find ourselves on, the
one hand with an outlay of some $40,000,000 or $50,000,000
of capital, and on the other with two or three disconnected
sections of our famous Pacific Eailway—of no practical use
from a national point of view—one between Thunder Bay
and Eed Eiver—a second in" the Prairie Eegion—a third in
a central portion of British Columbia.
The absence of a well-matured policy, and of fixed principles, in the building of the road, may be seen from the
following facts: Originally the line West of Eed Eiver
had been located from Winnipeg by the South of Lake.
Manitoba. During the Mackenzie Administration this
location had been changed to Selkirk up the Swan District
and North of Lake Manitoba.   For the third time the 27
location has been altered and brought back to the original
YEAE. The reader is referred to Vol. 9—1877-78—Eeports
and Proceedings Royal. Colonial Institute. Again the
Minister of Railways, it appears, has been expressing
himself of late as favorable either to the building, or
subsidizing, by the Dominion of a line of railway from
Lake Nipissing to Sault Saint Marie. Is not this an open
avowal of the practical abandonment of the connecting link
between Thunder Bay and Lake Nipissing, and in reality
moving the Eastern terminus up to the head of Lake
Superior ? What then becomes of our great national
railway from the Atlantic to the Pacific entirely through
Canadian territory ? It is clear to-day, that if the railway
is ever built Westward from Lake Nipissing it will be
carried up North and practically take the Hewson route,
but with this essential difference—as the General says—
that it will reach tide water over the two sides of the
triangle instead of direct over its base.
And the administrative capacity presiding over the
construction of the road may be judged from the following,
among facts too numerous. to detail: The Parliamentary
reports reveal the astonishing facts, that there were no
surveys, no location, no exact information in the hands of
the Cabinet of the day when the country was committed
to the building of the road between Thunder Bay and
Selkirk; that the contractors were upon the ground before
the location was made and claimed damages accordingly. ■ffl
28 '   •
And this in a matter involving an outlay of $20,000,000.
Airain on the face of the printed forms of tender for  the
Yale-Kamloops sections, in British Columbia—just awarded,
there appears a most ominous foot note which purports that
portions of the quantities of work set forth are only rough
approximations, and others simply conjectures.    And this
in a.matter involving an outlay of $14,000,000.    Was ever
such a field opened up to contractors and engineers to fleece
the country! Was ever such recklessness exhibited!    And
that contracts of such a nature and magnitude should have
been, entered into within two months of the sitting of
Parliament is simply incredible. Surely if the Cabinet have
really committed themselves to such a wild policy, whioh
we do not believe to be the case notwithstanding what is
said in the press, Parliament, as the supreme guardian of
the public interests, will withold its sanction.    Surely
party ties will not carry our public men so far as to betray
the great trust reposed in them.
The time has arrived indeed to revise our policy in
connection with our National Eailway if it is to be rescued
from the baneful effects of local and political influences.
Interested parties inside and outside of Parliament, and
they are legion, will attempt to deceive the country by
raising the objection, that it is now too late to retrace our
steps, and to adopt a new location. Nothing can be more
contrary to truth. The works of construction on the present
location, as lias already been explained, consist of simply
the section from Thunder Bay to Selkirk, and of a second,
section of 100 miles westward from" Winnipeg, upon which-
latter but little work has as yet been done. General
Hewson has shown that the $20,000,000 involved in the
Thunder Bay, Selkirk section constitute no good reason for
sinking a further sum of $100,000,000 in the carrying of
this defective location to final completion; and more
particularly as the Thunder Bay, Selkirk section wall serve 29
a separate and immediate interest, the opening up of
Manitoba, and the surrounding country. It is therefore
evident that the way is open for the adoption of a more
favorable route if one can be found for our Canadian Pacific
Eailway. General Hewson has indicated to us this better
location from Dean Inlet by the Peace Eiver Pass, Norway
House, Moose Eiver, and over the head waters of the Saint
Maurice to Quebec: and he cites his authorities, which go
to prove, that the country from Lake Mistassini to Norwav
House, in point of soil, produce, and climate, is fully equal
to the country on this side of the Laurentian Eange: and
that the great fertile belt stretches from Norway House to
the Peace Eiver Pass in the Eocky Mountains. The
authorities cited are all official and for the most part the
same as those upon which Sandford Fleming rests his
knowledge of the country. The position of the two routes
would be roughly as follows :—
Good Poor Light Heavy
Miles.    Soil. Soil. Work. Work.
Burrard Inlet 3,015      500. 2,150 1,000    1,650
Dean Inlet 2,700    2,150 470 2,300      320
Through this country may be built an Imperial Military
road across the continent, entirely through Canadian
territory, far retired from the frontier, and available at all
seasons of the year. Through this country may be built
a great national trunk line which will open up to settlement
the interior of our immense back country and preserve within ourselves our future colossal carrying trade, making of
Montreal and Quebec our summer, and of St. Andrews, St.
John and Halifax our winter termini on the .Atlantic.
Through this country—offering great topographical facilities for the building of a railway, and likewise an unbounded
field for settlement from Quebec to the Eocky Mountains-
may be built a railway with a reasonable outlay of capital,
and with fair prospects for its future working. ■m !
The people of Canada find themselves face to face with
issues of the most vital importance. The policy pursued
up to this date by successive governments is condemned
in its very essence, and nevertheless in this policy is
involved the future welfare'of the Dominion. Shall these
issues be answered, or shall they be silently passed over ?
Shall the Hewson route be tested or shall it be rejected
without examination ? And shall the Hewson route be
adopted if it be found to be what it has been described, or
shall local influences and sectional jealousies fatally control
this national work to the end regardless of all feelings of
justice, and future consequences ? It is for the people of
Canada to decide. But there is one thing, lohich fortunately
or unfortunately, as the case may be, does not lie within the
province of either the Cabinet, Parliament or the people of
Canada to decide, and that is whether the money shall be forthcomings to build the road. The funds must be obtained in the
English money market either as the direct product of land
sales, or as borrowed capital. It is as well to realize at once,
that the money will not be forthcoming if the issues raised by
General Hewson have not been fairly met and satisfactorily
It is not to be expected, that Manitoba, the North-West
Territories and British Columbia will move in the matter.
Ontario even is not so immediately interested. But with
Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward
Island rests the urgent duty of insisting upon the adoption
of a policy in connection with this national highway which
wTill secure the working out of the great ends in view.
Should the present location be persisted in, and should the
works, be carried to completion, the Eastern Provinces
will, on the one hand, be called upon to shoulder intolerable
burdens, whilst on the other hand they will not receive
the carrying trade of the road, which for the most part will
find its way to Ameriean ports. 31
That the political World, and its immediate surroundings-,
may be quite satisfied with the present policy, which
furnishes a convenient cloak to screen from the public eye
the enormous expenditures which are being made at various
points to purchase political existence, may be likely enough-.
But with the country it is very different indeed; a cardinal
error in.a matter involving millions will entail consequences
of a most disastrous character, which will continue to be
felt by the people long after its perpetrators will have
disappeared from the scene;
Let then the representatives of the Eastern Provinces
proceed to Ottawa with the firm determination to insist
upon—1st. The suspension of the works upon the present
location with the exception of the Thunder Bay, Selkirk
section. 2nd. The closing of no further contracts for the
present, or if any have been entered into their annulment.
3rd. The adoption of a class of works of construction in
keeping with the requirements of the road and the finances
of the country; and 4th. The immediate verification of the
Hewson route, which can be completed within twelve
months, and at an outlay of under $100,000. Either the
route Will be pronounced to be impracticable, and in this
case the public mind will be set at rest on this all essential
point; or it Will be found to be feasible, and in this case
it will force itself upon the honesty and sense of justice of
the country. Most assuredly never would an investment
of $100,000 have been more Wisely made. But the task of
making this verification of the Hewson route must be
confided to an Imperial engineer—one entirely beyond the
control of the Government. The experience of the past,
even in the instance of this very railway, has shown us
how the Government engineers have been influenced by
political pressure ; nothing less will satisfy the people of
the'country. 82
V-  "'I
And in the event of the adoption of the HewSOn location^
and the removal of this national work from the political
arena to the safe guard of a joint Imperial and Canadian
Commission, then indeed may Imperial co-operation be
earnestly solicited, and with confidence—a matter of vital-
importance when it is considered, that $130,000,000 are at
stake. The Imperial interests in the Pacific Ocean make
of British Columbia a strategical position of the first-class,
and of this railway a matter of necessity as a line of
communication thereto. $20,000,000 were invested to
procure the control of the Suez Canal: a similar sum—nay
$40,000,000—in this case would be, to say the least, an
equally good investment. And this co-operation cannot,
and will not, be refused unless indeed England voluntarily
abdicating her high estate, openly declines her fair share
of the responsibilities involved in the consolidation of her
vast empire, and avows her'Utter indifference as to whether,
or not, her surplus population shall go forth to build up
foreign and hostile nations.
The first condition to the future successful working of a
railway is a location through a country capable of yielding
traffic. From the following brief description it will be seen
at a glance how fatally defective is the location of our
national railway in this particular :
The country through which the railway will pass has
been broadly designated into three great regions—the
Woodland, the Prairie and the Mountainous. The first is
comprised between Lake Nipissing and Eed Eiver, the
second between Eed Eiver and the Eocky Mountains, the
third between the Eocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean;
From Lake Nipissing to Thunder Bay, a distance of over
600 miles to the immediate north of Lake Superior, the
country is of a most forbidding character and unfit for
settlement. For years the Government Engineers have
been endeavoring to find a reasonably feasible route through
it, but so far without success. From Thunder Bay to the
Eed River, a distance of over 400 miles, the country is but
very little better, in great part covered with rocks and
water. We have thus a location of over 1,000 miles'through
an uninhabitable country in the Woodland region.
Between Red River and the Rocky Mountains, we find
the American Desert extending into Canada on a breadth
of some 500 miles, and the location is through this desert,
which is absolutely wanting in timber and water. It is
stated that Colonel Denis, the Surveyor-General, has
reported on these facts. Captain Butler says settlement
in this territory will bo attended with disastrous consequences ; and Marcus Smith, confirming this, furthermore
5 .-9*6
adds, that the mass of the fertile lands lie far to the north
in the Peace River District. We thus have a location of
500 miles through an uninhabitable country in the Prairie
From Yellow Head Pass to the Pacific stretches the
enormous barren mass of the Rocky Mountains, rent
asunder here and there by fearful chasms, and terminating,
abruptly in the sea. The location, having surmounted this
formidable barrier at an elevation of 4,000 feet, winds its
gloomy way to the sea through and along the sides'of these
mountains which overhang the waters roaring beneath in the
canons of the Thompson and Fraser Rivers. The desolate
character of this territory may be taken in at a glance when
it is stated, that according to Marcus Smith, there are not
10,000 acres of arable lands along the entire route. We thus
have a location of 500 miles through an uninhabitable
country- in the Mountainous region.
From the present location we therefore deduce the
following facts:—1st, that our national railway will be
carried for over 2,000 through a country which cannot by
any. possibility yield traffic for its sustenance after construction ; and 2nd, that the Eastern Terminus is in truth
fixed at the head of Lake Superior, at Thunder Bay, which
virtually will hand over the traffic of the road exclusively
to the American railways in winter, and to American ships
equally with our own in summer. The connecting link
between Thunder Bay and Lake Nipissing is a thing in the
far distant future, as may be inferred from the immediate
construction of a line from Lake Nipissing to Sault Saint
Marie, which has been fore-shadowed by Sir Charles Tupper
in his late speeches.
Truly may the country in general, and the Eastern Provinces in particular, find matter for deep and anxious
reflection in this location, and more particularly when it is
considered, that upon it is based an outlay of $130,000,000
of capital, ARTICLE    VI
The second condition to the future successful working
of a railway is an outlay of capital in keeping with the
requirements of the road. From the following it will be
seen at a glance, how fatally defective has been the policy
in this particular since the inception of this great national
The total cost of construction we work out as under.
The section from Thunder Bay—at the head of Lake
Superior to Selkirk on the Red River, Sandford Fleming
admits, at page 22 of his report for 1879—will cost $44,000
per mile "as far as it can now be ascertained." The
original estimates having been exceeded in execution by
52 per cent—a fact brought out by Senator Macpherson—
we are fully warranted in setting down the final average
of this section at $50,000 at least. The tenders lately
received for the four sections, 125 miles in length, from
Yale to Kamloops in British Columbia, exceed $80*,000 per
mile, exclusive of rails, rolling stock, engineering. &c, &c,
—simply for the road bed. A foot note at the bottom of
the printed form, purports, that part of the quantities set
forth are only rough approximations, part simply conjectures. On the face of the tender the Government openly
admit their complete ignorance of the nature -and extent of
the works for which they call for tenders—and also, that
the country is to be handed over to contractors and
engineers, who will, at a later day, settle amicably among
themselves what shall be the true cost of this precious \ >-k-;
piece of business, if indeed it ever be undertaken. Should
the original estimates in this case be overstepped in course
of execution, in the same ratio as in the case of the Thunder
Bay-Selkirk section, the final average per mile for these
125 miles would reach over $150,000 per mile.- We may,
therefore, with perfect safety, fix an average of $100,000
per mile for the section from Yellow Head Pass to Burrard
Inlet. Estimates have been figured up, ranging from
$30,000 to $90,000 per mile for the section from Thunder
Bay to Lake Nipissing. As this country is far more difficult
than the country from the head of Lake Superior to the
Red River, and as the Government have .recoiled from
this task, a final average of $70,000 per mile for this section
will certainly be found to be within the truth should it
ever be built. Construction from Red River to the Rocky
Mountains through the Prairie Region, we will establish
at the moderate figure of say $20,000 per mile, which
again we may observe will turn out to be under the
mark in practice.
We sum up:
Lake Nipissing to Thunder Bay 630 miles, at
$70,000 per mile $    44,100,000
Thunder Bay to Selkirk, 410 miles, at $50,-
000 permile       20,500,000
Selkirk to Yellow Head Pass, 1,043 miles, at
$20,000 per mile       20,860,000
Yellow Head Pass to Burrard Inlet, 493 miles,
at $100,000 per mile       49,300,000
Total . $ 134,760,000
That these $134,760,000 will swell up to $150,000,000
by final completion is very likely indeed, judging from
past experience.
Now, when it is considered:—1st. That this railway is
to  be built through well nigh two thousand miles of an 37
almost uninhabitable country, as explained in our article
entitled "The Location." 2nd. That at this moment there
are not 100,000 souls living in the immense territory
stretching from Lake Nipissing to the Pacific, and that this
vast region cannot be settled up to any appreciable extent
within the next twenty years—and 3rd. That under these
circumstances the railway should, of necessity, be constructed as a colonization road, to be improved as its traffic
developes, and not as a great trunk line through an old,
densely populated, and wealthy country like England, it
will be evident to every impartial mind, that capital is
being recklessly and uselessly squandered on construction,
and that the finances of the country are being imperiled.
The secret to success in business is the application of the
least amount of capital to produce. a given result. How
many great projects have been hopelessly over-weighted
by lavish and uncalled for outlays of capital; and in no
field has this been exemplified to the same extent as in
railway enterprise, a point alluded to in the Chief Engineer's
report for 1879.
The people of the Dominion in general, and of the
Eastern Provinces in particular, will do well, ere it be too
late, to examine closely into the policy governing this great
work, a policy under which their best interests are being
so completely ignored, and upon which is based an outlay
of over $130,000,000.
-:o:- fii'
Having briefly reviewed the location and cost of construction of our national railway, we will now add a few
words with reference to its future working. If the building
of some 2,700 miles of road—from the Pacific to Lake Nipissing—at an average cost of $50,000 per mile, through well
nigh 2,000 miles of an almost uninhabitable country—1,000
in the woodland, 500 in the prairie, and 500 in the mountainous regions—be subject matter for reflection to serious
minds, equally so must be the future, working of this long
and costly road. And more especially when it is considered
that this colossal enterprise is to be undertaken by a people
of 4,000,000, distant from 1,000 to 2,000 miles from the seat
of these vast expenditures. How are these 2,700 miles to
be operated through such an immense extent of lands
which will never be colonized, and which will never
develop traffic to any appreciable extent ? How many
years will it take to throw in—in the parts fit for settlement—a population which would warrant the construction
of such a line ? Will a quarter of a century see such a flow
of emigration ? At present there are not one hundred
thousand souls living in this territory. The working
expenses—including maintenance—of the fourteen railway
lines of the Dominion for 1876 was $3,705 per mile. The
working expenses of the Canadian Pacific Railway, therefore, for the limited number of but two trains each way
per day, may be stated at least at $2,200 per mile—or
$5,940,000 per annum. The reasonableness of the above
estimate will be seen from the following facts.    The cost 39
of running trains is generally estimated in round numbers
at $1 per train mile—and maintenance at $1,000 per mile,
this last a very low figure.
The   annual   outlay in connection with  our national
railway may therefore be roughly summed up as follows:—
Interest at 5 per cent on $130,000,000  $ 6,500,000
Running expenses two trains each way—2,700
miles x 4 trains x 300 working days  3,240,000
Maintenance 2,700 miles at $1,000 per mile  2,700,000
verily a formidable addition to the volume of our present
annual expenditure.
Well may the people of Canada in general—and of the
Eastern Provinces in particular—ask themselves whether
$130,000,000 shall be spent in building our national railway under the present, policy which so fatally ignores, in
location and outlay of capital, the essential conditions to
its future successful working. Well may they ask themselves what they are to receive in return for such a venture
to assist them in supporting the heavy burdens already
looming up in the near future. Certainly, it will not be the
traffic of the road which, at Pembina, and at Duluth, by
means of a direct line with Winnipeg, as well as with
Thunder Bay, will, for the most part, by the force of
attraction of the American ports, find its way into American
A truly national line passing far in the interior, and
throughout its length in a country fit for settlement, pre"
serving within the country, beyond the reach of our
grasping and all-powerful neighbours, the benefits of its
future colossal traffic, and discharging the same at Montreal
and Quebec in summer, and at Halifax, Saint John and
Saint Andrews in winter ; a line which,- by fostering and
! ?:\
developing trade relations between the Atlantic, the Central
and the Pacific Provinces, would have bound these firmly
together by a community of interests, would indeed have
been a return commensurate with this venture.
The country will willingly assent to construction upon a
proper location through the prairie region, which can be
done at a moderate cost and with immediate returns. But
the country cannot, and will not, consent to the wanton
wasting of $100,000,000 on construction at fabulous prices*
ranging from $70,000 to $100,000 per mile, through the
barren rocky country north of Lake Superior and through
the desolate mountains and gloomy cannons of the Thompson and Fraser rivers, in British Columbia. Bitterly must
the country regret to-day the $20,000,000, which are being
sunk between Red River and Thunder Bay, a section of
410 miles, passing through a country unfit for settlement—
which can only be worked six months in the year—and
which from the almost certainty of a direct line being built
before long between Winnipeg and Duluth, over a level and
easy country—bids fair to be of no earthly use to the
An obstinate persistence in such mad expenditures will
inevitably lead to an irredeemable currency to replenish an
exhausted Treasury, under which the public and private
fortune will wither. A few years ago our neighbours
across the line gave us this spectacle—gold reached over
300 per cent, premium—and the consequent derangement
in values resulting from the depreciation of the Government
paper—which followed in the ratio of the expansion of its
volume—convulsed society to its very foundations, spreading ruin and dismay through all classes. In their case,
however, our cousins could plead the dire necessities of a
civil war, waged to uphold the national unity. But were
such a calamity to overtake and overwhelm us, we would 41
have no great cause to cheer up our drooping spirits and to
brace our failing energies. It would have been the work
of our public men, and their surroundings, done with cool
deliberation, the former struggling to grasp empty titles
and to reach or retain the sweets of office, the latter to
amass colossal fortunes out of the very life-blood of their
fellow-countrymen. And let us not flatter ourselves that
our resuscitation from such a disaster would be as rapid as
with our neighbours—we have neither the same breadth
of population, soil, climate or resources.
The Yale Kamloops  Contracts
We take the following extract from the Speech from the
Throne, read on Thursday last, at the opening of Parliament :—
"After an exploratory survey of the line from Port
Simpson to the Pine River pass, and through the Peace
Eiver country, it has been decided to adopt the location of
the line to Burrard Inlet, and contracts have been awarded
for one hundred and twenty-seven miles of railway between
Emery's Bar on the Fraser Eiver and Savona's ferry. This
work will be vigorously proceeded with so soon as the
spring opens; its construction' will complete the most
difficult portion of the Canadian Pacific Eailway, and
secure the connection by steam of the fertile district of
Kamloops with the capital of British Columbia."
So then, the Government have announced their determination to call upon Parliament to commit the country to
unknown expenditures in the construction of 500 miles of
railway from Yellow Head Pass to Burrard Inlet through
British Columbia. Disguise the fact as- they may, the
buildiug of the Yale Kamloops section entails the obligation
of completion westward to the sea—eastward through the
Eocky Mountains. They have determined that fifty
millions—so far as we can see to-day—shall be wrung from
Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime Provinces in this attempt,
whilst these Provinces—crippled in means—are unable
to develop the resources lying idle at their own doors from
the want of cheap means of transport.   They have deter- 43 rftii'
mined that 4,000,000 of people shall submit—although it
may be at the peril of the public fortune—to the threat of
British Columbia to secede from the Union. They have
decided that Canada shall carry out with her feeble
resources a work which should be executed with Imperial
And upon what information   have   the   Government
determined to call upon Parliament to sanction the policy
involved in these sections, which show an average cost of
over $100,000  per mile ?    Upon the face  of the tender
appears a note which says: that part of the quantities are
rough   approximations,   part   simply   conjectures.      The
Government and their Engineer avow openly their ignorance of the nature, extent, and cost of the work to which
they are asking Parliament to commit the country.    The
tender   is open to  challenge;   either  it   is a bulk sum
contract,  or  an  item  contract;   if a bulk sum no honest  and wealthy contractors can be found to risk, their
fortunes on  such ' incomplete  data;  if an item  contract
then the country is to be  handed over,  bound hand and
foot, to the tender cares of contractors and Engineers before
whom opens up a boundless field to fleece the unfortunate
tax-payers of the  Dominion.    No man  knows—nor  can
pretend to know—to-day what will be the cost of the road
through British Columbia.    Let not Mr.   Fleming give us
any more of his assurances, and estimates; in the words of
Sir John wedeclare " his usefulness is gone."    The value of
his opinions and figures have been exposed of late, and by
none in more energetic terms than by the Montreal Gazette ;
and useless they are indeed, having been shown to have been
exceeded in practice by from 50 to 100  per cent.    The
truth appears to be that Mr. Fleming considers money of
no account, although it is cheap railroad building that has
so wonderfully developed the Western States. 44
It is impossible to believe that party ties and interested
motives will so far control Parliament as to secure a blind
acceptance of such legislation. It is impossible that our
public men—and the press—can have already been enslaved by the corrupting influence of the enormous
expenditures impending over the country. Surely the
madness of attempting railroad building, at a cost which
will perhaps reach Up to $150,000 per mile, through a
country presenting such tremendous topographical and
engineering difficulties—such very limited areas fit for
settlement—and with but a nominal population—some
10,000 white people—must strike every tax-payer with
We notice that the Government, in justification of the
position taken in the Burrard Inlet location, have armed
themselves with a report on the Peace River District; but
this is too thin to go down with the public—the work was
undertaken with a foregone conclusion. And if Mr.
Fleming after having, in 1874, condemned Burrard Inlet,
has gone back upon himself; if after having condemned
the location westward from Eed Eiver, south of Lake
Manitoba, and after having secured the location north of
Lake Manitoba through the Swan District, has again gone
back upon himself through political pressure, is it not
trifling with the country, in a matter of the utmost gravity,
to hold up before Parliament the opinions of subordinate
engineers—almost unknown professionals ? The country
will accept nothing short of an opinion from an Imperial
engineer, or of a professional gentleman entirely beyond
their control.
It would appear that the reports and maps of the Assistant-
Engineer, Mr. Marcus Smith, called for during the last
session, were carefully suppressed by Mr. Fleming. 45
Mr. Smith, since the first, has been the field engineer
and it is admitted that no man possesses the same breadth
of information as himself. We ask that these maps and
reports be produced forthwith. We ask that Mr. Smith
be called, before the House to give his view to the country
on this all-important question involving millions and millions. We are entitled to this information and must have
it; it cannot have been kept back for any good motive.
It is true Parliament has the power to so far forget its
duty, as supreme guardian of the public interest, as to commit the people of Canada to this suicidal policy ; the press
so far have been very reticent, and the people to-day have
no voice in the matter. But we feel confident that Parliament, weighing maturely the consequences of this policy,
represented in millions to be sunk to no practical purposes,
will not commit the country to this construction until
Imperial co-operation has been secured, as affirmed in the
Canada Pacific Eailway Eesolutions adopted during last
session. We call upon Parliament to stand firm by this
policy: Either Imperial co-operation in the building of
this Imperial and Canadian highway, or no construction in
British Columbia,—the task is beyond our strength.
Imperial and Canadian Railway Responsibilities,
Having—in a review of the policy, which has been fol-
lowed by successive governments, up to this day, in the
building of our national railwav—condemned the location
as radically defective, and the cost of construction as
ruinously extravagant ; having pointed out, that if this
course be persisted in, it may eventually lead to the disruption of the Union ; and having urged the necessity of reconsidering our policy with reference to this great work—
it may not perhaps be out of place, now, to sketch briefly
the new departure we conceive to be called for under the
present circumstances.
That we have reached a crisis is evident; if Parliament
sanctions the Yale Kamloops contracts the country will be
irrevocably committed / to construction through British
Columbia—to an outlay of over fifty millions ; the importance therefore of weighing most carefully, the consequences
of this step cannot be over-estimated.
Canada stands committed—it is true—to the building of
this railway by the Act admitting British Columbia into
the Confederation, and also by the Carnarvon terms; but
subject to the general understanding—reiterated on several
occasions in the House of Commons—that the railway shall
be built without entailing the necessity of increasing the
rate of taxation on the country.
Twenty-five millions are already involved, represented
by over four millions for surveys, the balance for construction from Thunder Bay to Selkirk, Selkirk to Pembina, and
one hundred miles westward from Selkirk. 47
The creation of an Imperial military road across the
Continent through British territory—the settlement of our
immense public domain—the moulding of the several
Provinces of the Dominion into a strong and united people
—were the considerations which induced the undertaking
of this gigantic scheme.
A glance at the location will show that the ends in view
cannot, and will not, be attained. A road open to capture
along the shores of Lake Superior—for hundreds of miles
along the frontier westward from Thunder Bay—and com
manded at its outlet on the Pacific by the Fort of San Juan,
will never receive Imperial assistance. A location through
well nigh two thousand miles of an almost uninhabitable
country will never develop, in a satisfactory manner, the
mass of the arable lands of our public domain. The break
in the line between Thunder Bay and Lake Nipissing—
which, virtually, will hand over the traffic of the road to
ur neighbours—ignores the Eastern Provinces, and deprives them of any interest in the settlement of our North-
West Territory. And that an average cost of over $50,000
per mile, or a total outlay of over $130,000,000, is beyond
the financial strength of the country—is of a nature to impair the usefulness of the road—and is uncalled for under
the circumstances—will be readily admitted by practical
What the people of Canada are willing to undertake is
the construction of a colonization railway through a country
fit for settlement, and on a location which will retain the
traffic within the country.
Such a location has been suggested of late, from Quebec
through the basin of James Bay to Norway House, and
from thence to the Pacific through the Peace or Pine Eiver
Pass, 300 miles shorter than the present line, and estimated
to cost many millions less. m
This location, it is contended, will give a line suitable
for military purposes, will pass through a country fit for
settlement from Quebec to the Eocky Mountains, and wil1
retain the traffic within the country, discharging it at
Montreal and Quebec in summer, and at Halifax, St. John,
and St. Andrew's in winter—thus uniting every Imperial
and National requirement, and the elements to assure its
future successful working.
Two parties are primarily interested in the building, and
early completion, of the Canadian Pacific Eailway—
Canada and England.
The interests of Canada lie on this side of the Eocky
Mountains, in the settlement of the fertile lands in the
Prairie Eegion, computed as high as three hundred millions
of acres. The Eastern Provinces are interested in the colonization of these lands as the bankers, manufacturers, and
carriers of the millions who will find happy homes in this '
favored country ; therefore will they support railway construction, on a proper location and on- a sound financial
basis, through the Prairie Eegion.- But Canada has no
such immediate interests in construction through British
Columbia. It is evident to-day, that this Province will
never develop any very great breadth of population and
produce in consequence of the very limited areas of land
suitable for cultivation. That there may be valuable minerals we will not deny. But, whether or not, whatever,
may be the yield of produce—from the forest, field and sea—
this produce never can, nor never will, surmount the formidable barrier of the Eocky Mountains to travel over
three thousand miles Eastward to find, through our Atlantic ports, an outlet to Europe—it will make its way direct
by the Pacific, or more likely to San Francisco, the great
American Pacific port. Why, therefore,- should the people
of Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime Provinces be called 49
upon to shoulder a burden of over fifty millions in a construction from which they can never derive any commensurate benefits—and more especially when they are unable
to develop the resources'lying idle at their own doors from
the want of cheap means of transport!
The interests of England are twofold. The first, to facilitate to her surplus home population the access to a fertile
country under, her own sceptre. This easing of a redundant mass of people, living more or less in enforced idleness, is a matter of necessity to prevent civil commotions.
England cannot profitably absorb her present population ;
neither can she produce her requirements of food, nor live
without foreign markets. Had a far-seeing policy guided
this annual outflow during the last fifty years to her various colonies, how different might have been the position
to-day. It is this outflow—in the main—which has built
up the United States, but with what results-—the creation
of a great nation, which now not only shuts out her wares,
but likewise invades her own markets. England can send
us with advantage over fifty thousand hardy emigrants
annually; in ten years these—apart from continental immigration—will represent over a million. Statisticians will
figure out the double gain to England in producers of her
food supply, and purchasers of her manufactured goods.
A boundless field is opened out to her in our North-West.
The second—an interest more extended in its range and
scope. England's Empire extends over the globe—her
possessions are scattered through every sea. To her, therefore, military and naval stations, and coaling depots, at
cardinal points, are of imperative necessity in order to keep
open her lines of communication between all parts of the
Empire. Without these England cannot hold her colonial
possessions—and shorn of her colonial possessions England
descends to the position of a third-rate power—nay her
very existence becomes imperilled.    Now if Gibraltar and
7 50
Malta in the Mediterranean, and Halifax and Bermuda in
the Atlantic, are Imperial stations of vast importance,
equally so must be Vancouver in the Pacific, from whence
to o-uard her vast interests in this distant part of the world,
and to watch over the United States and Eussia, which
latter power has advanced—within the last twenty years—
eight hundred, miles down the Asiatic coast, being now
distant eight days by steam from Hong Kong and 15 from
Vancouver. England has not a single navat station and
dockyard in the Pacific; and her fleets operating in this vast
sea are dependent on their base of operations situated
thousands of miles away in the Channel Isles. But the
United States have an arsenal at Mare's Island on the Pacific coast, and Eussia likewise at Vladivostock—the former
7,000. miles and the latter 8,000 miles nearer Sydney than
Plymouth. A military and naval station and coaling depot
at Vancouver, therefore, becomes of pressing importance.
Complications either with the States or Eussia, in the present state of affairs, would take England at a sad disadvantage, and might, very possibly, cost her her possessions
in the Pacific And this railway from Halifax to Vancouver—entirely through British territory—as a means of
access to this station likewise becomes of pressing importance, nay an imperative necessity.
Therefore, it is the bounden duty of England to co-operate, and on equal terms, with us in the immediate building of this Imperial and National highway. If $20,000,000
were given without a dissentient voice to control the Suez
Canal, well may $50,000,000 be invested in this railway to
secure the double interests at stake. England should not
attempt to shirk her duties towards the Empire, and to
impose upon us a task beyond our strength.
Parliament in the meantime should at least withhold its
sanction to the Yale Kamloops contracts as prematurely 51
committing the country to construction through British
Columbia. The people of this Province are at variance on
the question of the location, some openly proclaiming the
necessity of further study. The Government have no
accurate detailed information as to the nature, extent and
cost of the line from the Eocky Mountains to the Pacific
coast. The only figures before the country—in the Yale
Kamloops sections—show an average cost of over $100,000
per mile; and these figures are " rough approximations
and simply conjectures" according to the Chief Engineer—
in fact are worthless. What if, after the country has been
committed, these estimates should be exceeded in execution
by from 50 to 100 per cent, as in the case of the Thunder
Bay Selkirk estimates!
Parliament should press upon the Home authorities
the claims of this country to British co-operation in the
construction of this Imperial' and National highway; and
proclaim the true intentions of the people of this country—
Imperial co-operation with joint control—or no immediate
construction through British Columbia. What chances
can we have of obtaining Imperial assistance after the
country has entered upon construction in British Columbia ?
If we realize to-day the rashness of having undertaken the
building of this railway before having arranged with
the Home authorities the basis of joint action in a matter of
such colossal proportions—how fully should we appreciate
on this occasion the imperative necessity of not again committing the country hastily in a matter involving an outlay
of over fifty millions. The Premier has informed the House
that negotiations on this subject are pending between the
Imperial and Canadian authorities. Let then the Yale
Kamloops contracts remain in abeyance until the issue of
these negotiations.
Parliament should order further study of the several routes
through British Columbia, and likewise the survey of the
Hewson location—which latter work can be completed 52
within twelve months and at a cost of one hundred thousand dollars—pending the issue of the negotiations with
the Home authorities. Surely it is incumbent upon those
who represent the people to act with exceeding caution,
and to reassure the public mind in questions of such
And in the event of the final adoption of the Hewson
route—as the result of the proposed test—we would suggest
the following mode of construction, which will, in all
probability, secure the building of our National Eailway
with the least cost to the country; construction from
Quebec over the height of land, and westward through the
basin of James' Bay by a_ private Company under a
Dominion charter and subsidy ; construction from Lake
Nipissing up the Montreal and down the Abbittibi Eivers
to, and westward through the basins of James and Hudson's
Bays, likewise by a private Company under a Dominion
charter and subsidy; construction through the Prairie
Eegion to the Eocky Mountains—by the Marcus Smith
location—also by a private Company under a Dominion
charter and subsidy. There is no need of this work through
the Prairie Eegion being a Government • work; this can
only lead to extravagant expenditure; the experience of the
last few years is before us to confirm this statement.
Under this policy, in time—these three sections being completed and connected—the country would find itself in the
possession of its National Railway from the Atlantic to the
EoNcky Mountains, and on the most favorable conditions
possible : and Ontario and Quebec, the Provinces furnishing the funds, would at least receive some immediate
return, for these immense expenditures, in the opening up
of their own back country. Let construction through
British Columbia be left with the Imperial authorities,
unless indeed England agrees to the building of the entire
line on joint and equal account—or be postponed until
such time as Canada may be equal to the task.
A crisis, of a most momentous character, has been
brought oU in connection with our National Eailway by
the premature and unjustifiable action of the Government
in closing the Yale Kamloops contracts within a few weeks
of the opening of Parliament. We say premature and unjustifiable—first, because these contracts have been entered into on very imperfect data, the Government and their
Engineer, on the face of the tenders, admitting their
ignorance of the nature, extent, and cost of these works—
secondly, because the Chief Engineer had just previously
sent in a report condemning the Burrard Inlet Eoute—
and thirdly, because the conditions upon which Parliament
had been led to grant its authorization to the signing of
contracts for construction in British Columbia during the
recess, have not been fulfilled. The time has therefore
arrived when Parliament must take its stand, and define
the policy which shall govern the construction of this
national railway ; any further drifting along with no fixed
purpose will lead to unfortunate consequences in the near
Shall this stand be taken in the interests of this country,
or shall it be in obedience to dictation from outside ?
What is the position. On the one hand the Dominion is
engaged in the building of a railway 2,700 miles long
through a country, practically speaking, uninhabited—on
a location fatally defective—and at a cost in keeping neither m
with the finances of the country, nor with the requirements
of the road. The public debt stands to-day in round
figures at $150,000,000, and will be doubled ere the com-,
pletion of the road. The tariff has been raised 40 per cent.,
and, nevertheless, the result of last year's operations shows
a deficit of over $2,000,000. The negotiations with the
Home authorities for aid have failed so far, as likewise the
syndicate which was to have ta^en up the lands reserved
for the railway. The works of construction must therefore
be carried on with loans. And anxiety and' discontent are
rapidly spreading through the country in consequence of
the enormous expenditures impending in the West. On
the other hand, British Columbia—under the menace of
secession from the Union—demands the letter of the contract, the immediate .commencement of an impossible task
—construction through this Province at an outlay of over
fifty millions.
The prosecution of the works on this railway, under existing circumstances, will necessitate within the next four
years, say $10,000,000 to complete the Thunder Bay section, $10,000,000 in the Prairie Eegion, and over $15,000,-
000 in the Yale Kamloops sections, or, with expenditures
in other parts of the Dominion, a total outlay of over
$50,000,000. Our debt would then stand at $200,000,000,
a heavy load for a people of little over 4,000,000.
It would be imprudent to venture the assertion that,
under any and the most favorable circumstances, the revenue will expand sufficiently to meet this increase in our
indebtedness; and it is clear that We cannot rely upon
meeting this outlay to any extent by sales of our public
lands. Will not any further increase in the rate of taxation
defeat the (object in view and rather decrease the revenue ?
If the cost of living, already very high, be augmented, will
it not result not only in -shutting out immigration,  but 55
likewise in driving our own people out of the country ?
Comparisons between- the rates of taxation in Canada and
in the United States, France and similar countries, are not
sound. We have not the same resources; our climate and
products are very limited, in range and extent. Moreover,
we cannot expend all our means on this work ; our various
services, railways, canals, light-houses, steamers, &c, are
expanding from year to year, as also the outlays on the
same. And furthermore we cannot pretend to go on forever DRAINING THE EASTERN PROVINCES TO
MOUNTAINS. These Provinces have likewise fair claims
upon the Federal Treasury tvhich it would not be prudent to
persistently deny.
Parliament has just received an authorative warning
not to commit the country hastily and prematurely to
construction in British Columbia, and from no less a person
than the Chief Engineer himself. Mr. Sanford Fleming,
in a supplementary report, based on the result of the
engineering operations of last summer in the Peace River
district, and which was laid on the table of the House of
Commons last week, expresses himself as follows. "■ From
what has been brought to light I would consider it unwise at
this stage to adopt and begin construction on either the Burrard
or Dean Inlet routes. While I toould deem it prudent to defer
a final decision with regard to the adoption of any route until
we receive more definite information regarding some portions
of the country now under examination, I have no hesitation in
saying that, considered apart from the question of climate, the
route to Port Simpson presents itself with so many advantages
that to my mind it opens up an excellent prospect of securing
the most eligible route from the Prairie Region to the Pacific
Coast." Mr. Fleming further states " that Port Simpson
is a safe and capacious harbour, perfectly easy of access to Pr<
Oceam steamers and sailing ships, night and day, and at all
conditions of the tide," and he suggests that steps be taken
to reserve the land in the neighbourhood. The mature
and deliberate opinion and prudent recommendations of
the Chief Engineer will surely meet with the hearty
approval of Parliament when the gravity of the interests—
the western terminus of this trans-continental railway, and
an outlay of over fifty millions—are considered! And
whilst further study of the Peace River will be carried on,
as recommended by Mr. Fleming, we would, in the most
energic terms possible, ask that the country from Norway
House to Quebec should be surveyed. Parliament would
then be in a position, with a full knowledge of the case, to
decide finally the location of our National Railway—either
by the present line or by the Hewson route—which latter
route has just received its confirmation from the Pacific to
Norway House—and which, if feasible, from Norway
House to Quebec, will give us our truly Imperial and'
National location
The importance furthermore of not committing the country hastily, and of waiting the issue of the negotiations still
going on between the Home and Federal authorities,
cannot be over-estimated. ' England cannot, and will not
continue much longer to refuse her co-operation in the
building of this Imperial military road from the Atlantic
to Vancouver, her future stronghold on the Pacific. We
have already touched upon the Imperial interests in British
Columbia, which are immediate and of primary importance, whereas ours are remote and secondary. Naturally
England would prefer to receive the benefits pf the road at
no cost to herself; very likely will she be prepared to distribute Imperial titles and rewards with a liberal hand to
reach this result. But it is the duty of Parliament to
guard our interests with firmness, and to refuse to play
this game. 57
Under existing circumstances we would therefore call
upon our sister Province, instead of upbraiding us because
we will not undertake an impossible task, and even this
prematurely; instead of menacing us with a withdrawal
from the Union, which could be of no earthly practical
advantage to herself; instead of insulting us With threats of
Imperial coercion, rather to rise equal to the occasion and
to join with us in urging upon the Home authorities the
imperative necessity of coming to the rescue—and in the
meanwhile, pending the issue of the negotiations with the
Home authorities, and our ability to undertake this formidable task of construction through British Columbia, to
accept a fair annual grant for the building of roads, bridges,
and other local improvements, far more in keeping with
her present population and true requirements, than a long
and costly railway, which, were it built, it would be impossible to operate for many years to come.
It is only by mutual forbearance that we can hope to
hold together; and it is in this early stage of our national
existence, when our mutual interests are only beginning to
dawn upon us, that this Spirit of forbearance is imperatively needed. If justice, moderation and fair play to all parts
' and all classes do not prevail in the councils of the nation,
the days of the Dominion are already numbered. ARTICLE   XI
The late debate in the House of Commons on the railway
question, if not consoling, has certainly been highly instructive, and is commencing to bear fruit. The recklessness of the administration which has presided over this
great work since its inception has been clearly exposed—
estimates have been exceeded in practice by over 100 per
cent. Mr. Dawson has stated to the House, that a section
of 100 miles between Thunder Bay and Red River,
originally estimated at $23,000 per mile, will cost $10,000,-
000—and in the Yale Kamloops contracts the Chief
Engineer, on the face of the form of tender, avows his
ignorance of the final cost of this work.
Is it surprising- then, that the people of Canada are
becoming thoroughly alarmed in the face of the facts
brought to light, which point to an ultimate outlay of some
$150,000,000 on this railway—and this with a revenue
evidently unequal to the strain involved therein ?
It may be safely affirmed, that the country has been led
into undertaking this gigantic work under the assurance
that it would be accomplished without increasing the rate
of taxation; and that both political parties—Conservative
and Liberal—are equally responsible for the serious position
in which the country finds itself to-day.
The crisis brought on by thelettings in British Columbia,
demands firm action.  Any further acquiescence in fallacious
* This Article is not included in the series published by the " Chronicle." 59
assertions and delusive assurances, one step more, and the
country will be irrevocably committed to construction
through this Province, and to a location which has just
been condemned. Unless the Yale Kamloops contracts
are annulled, under the pressure of a refusal of an appropriation by Parliament, the works will be commenced this
spring, and the die will have been cast.
We have taken our stand. We are opposed to the
present policy—■because the present location is fatally defective ; we appeal to Marcus Smith, to Surveyor-General
Dennis, and to other competent authorities, to bear us out in
this assertion : because the cost of construction-is extravagant beyond reason, and any possible requirement; we
have given the official .figures so far available, and they
point to a final average cost of over $50,000 per mile:
because the commencement of construction at this stage in
British Columbia would be premature; our attempts to
realize upon our public lands have failed so far, as likewise,
our negotiations with the Imperial Authorities; and Mr.
Fleming, the Chief Engineer, whilst now recommending
Port Simpson as the Western Terminus of the road on the
Pacific Coast, with further surveys to improve this location,
deprecates the immediate commencement of operations v
the Government are not competent authority to override
the decision of their professional adviser in a matter of such
momentous importance.
In the general interests we ask the annulment of the Yale
Kamloops contracts, and also these further surveys in the
Peace Eiver District; and whilst this is being done, likewise
the survey of the country from Norway House to Quebec.
And in the general interests we would also ask Parliament, whilst it is yet time, not to commit the country to
the present location, before this survey from Norway House
to Quebec has been made, because should this last prove 60
successful, we would then have in the Hewson route our
truly Imperial and National location, with all its future
incalculable advantages.
Thatiwe have been discounting the future with prodigality ; that we have, since some years, been accumulating
immense liabilities with alarming rapidity; and that we
have about reached the limit, beyond which it would be
perilous to venture, may be seen from an examination of the
following table of the Census Eeturns, and the annual
returns of revenue, expenditure and of the Public Debt.
$ 2,582,504
$ 2,604,500
$ 18,664,772
Ont. and Quebec.
This attempt to force the ordinary course of nature,
regardless of consequences, is dangerous in the extreme,
and, if it be persisted in, it will shake and derange our social
fabric in its very foundations. Do we not already see an
exodus of alarming proportions from the older Provinces ?
Can this exodus arise from the excessive cost of living, the
result, in this early stage of our existence, of an undue load
of taxation—Federal, Local and Municipal ? The Government, surely, in their enormous outlays in the West, cannot
be simply aiming at transplanting our people from the
older Provinces to the Prairie Eegion! On the contrary, a
care for the future, must lead us to retain, and to develop,
by all means possible, the population and the resources of
our older Provinces, whilst we are endeavoring to fill up
our North-West territory with European emigration.
The signs of this forcing—this hot house process—are
already visible in the desire of the Government to tamper
Ik 61
with our monetary institutions and with the currency of the
country. There are not 100 miles of our National Eailway
in operation; there are but some $15,000,000, out of an
ultimate outlay of some $150,000,000, expended on the road,
and already the necessities are such as to compel a forced
loan on the people. The Finance Minister has announced
that authorization will be asked to increase the issues of
Dominion Notes by $8,000,000, raising the total issue to
$20,000,000, against which will be held a gold reserve of
15 per cent., and 10 per cent, of other securities. " Ce riest
que le premier pas qui coute." The thin end of the wedge,
which is destined to destroy our national monetary system
before long, was inserted some few years ago in the inaugurations of the Dominion Notes. And mark how rapidly the
issues have since increased, and likewise how rapidly the
gold reserve has decreased in proportion. And to-day the
Finance Minister openly proposes to almost double the
volumn of these Notes, and absolutely with no increase
whatsoever in the gold reserve ;*and he candidly avows that
the object is to avoid the necessity of borrowing in the
money market.
In the light of the Budget Speech may be clearly discerned
two facts, the gravity of which it is all important the
country should fully realize and appreciate. The first—
the revenue has reached the limit of its elasticity. Figures
have been skillfully manipulated, but notwithstanding
every effort, the ominous fact stands forth, that the revenue
of the country is altogether unequal to meet the strain
which is being rapidly developed by our excessive expenditures ; evidently no further appreciable expansion is
anticipated. Notwithstanding an increase of 40 per cent.
in the tariff last Session, the revenue for 1878-9 shows a
deficit of over $2,000,000 ; the present acknowledged deficit
for 1879-80 of $500,000, will certainly be very seriously
exceeded in practice ; and the apparent surplus of $500,000
if §8"*
hoped for in 1880-81, will undoubtedly prove as delusive
in reality as preceding hopeful statements to the country.
Any further increase in the rate of taxation would be simply intolerable, and would only result in a decrease in the
revenue—we have about reached the maximum load the
country can carry. The second—that the immense outlays,
which may be set down at somewhere near $200,000,000
within the coming ten years, and which will have raised
the volumn of our Public Debt to $350,000,000 in round
figures, must, and will, be provided for by an irredeemable
currency. Is there a man to-day in Canada who does not
see that we are entering upon an era of inflation with its
inevitable reaction within a few years. The issues of
Dominion Notes will expand with the outlays on the Pacific
Railway and other public works, and probably at the
rate of $15,000,000 per annum ; and within a few years
the guarantee of a redemption in gold—based on a strong
gold reserve, which is the only means whereby these
Notes can be maintained at par—will have disappeared,
or have become simply illusory; otherwise this substitution of the Government paper would be of no practical
use to meet the emergency—the necessities of the Treasury.
The currency of the civilized world is based upon gold ;
with gold is settled the balance of trade between nations.
Evidently, therefore, Canada cannot pretend to substitute
-to this basis an irredeemable currency, unless indeed, she
is prepared to shut herself off from all intercourse with the
outer world.
With the disappearance of the gold-basis, the country
will have entered upon a career of extravagance in every
department and walk of life, encouraged and facilitated by
the apparently easy process of printing off money; and will
have embarked upon a course already travelled over by
many nations, and history tells us with what disastrous
consequences.    The theories which are now being pressed Humpm
upon the acceptance of the country, have already been propounded and refuted—and this in practice. We need not
go further back than some ten years or so, to the United
States, to see the consequences which follow in the wake of
an irredeemable currency—gold reached over 300 per cent,
premium; the public morality was completely destroyed;
and ruin was spread broad-cast over the length and breadth
of the land, as the result of the unparalleled derangement
in all values. If the American people have given us the
example of a resuscitation of which history furnishes no
similar instance, this, does not warrant our embarking on a
similar career ; we are not placed in similar conditions.
We leave it with Parliament to say what must, what will
be the -consequences in the near future, if the country
enters upon this career. Is it not clear, that ere long an
uncontrollable desire for a change in our political system
will seize upon our people as an escape from an intolerable
situation ? And what true change can there be but in
annexation ?
Our sole chance of remaining an integral portion of the
Empire, and of preserving our manhood and freedom, lies
in the prudent development of our resources, in the upright
administration of our public affairs, in the encouragement
of frugal habits among our people, in the cultivation of a
spirit of justice among all sections and classes, and in the
keeping down of the rate of taxation. Any other course
will end disastrously.
We again suggest the building of this railway by private
enterprise, instead of its construction as a Government
work, with all its inevitable extravagance. We are as yet
but at the threshold of this colossal work, and already have we
purchased experience at an excessive cost. With a moderate
measure of assistance private Companies could probably be
found willing to undertake the construction of this road
through the Provinces of Quebec and Ontario, on the Hewson
location, which would open up the back country of these
V&r fen
Provinces. There could be no difficulty in securing construction through the Prairie Eegion by private enterprise
in view of the excellence of the land in this favored part of
the Continent. We would leave with the Imperial
Authorities, for the reasons given in previous Articles, the
task of carrying the road from the Eocky Mountains to the
Pacific Coast. Under this method of construction, our
National Eailway would be secured at the minimum of
cost to the country; and our people and public men be
preserved from the misdeeds, corruption and scandal,
lurking under the present system of manipulating the
millions which will be spent in the carrying out of this
colossal work.
We avow our desire to see this Imperial and National
road built. We are prepared for construction through the
Prairie Eegion on a proper location and sound financial
basis. Furthermore, whilst opposing the immediate commencement of construction in British Columbia as premature, we will go a step further and declare our willingness to accept this task, after having received a final answer
from the Imperial Authorities in the pending negotiations ;
coupling, however, with this declaration, the condition,
that operations shall only be commenced when the
finances of the country will permit without the necessity*"
of increasing the rate of taxation, and at the same time'
meeting the just claims of the older Provinces on the
Federal Treasury.
If we oppose the present policy, it is because this policy
will defeat each and every one of the objects which the
people of Canada had in view in undertaking the construction of this trans-continental railway.
With Parliament rests the responsibility of meeting the
issue which has been raised; may Parliament be equal to
the occasion. The consequences Which will follow from
the solution which must be given are truly alarming to


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