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Canadian Pacific Railway and its assailants Mohawk 1882

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LONDON :   JANUARY   28th,   1882.
/X  V
LONDON :   JANUARY   28th,   1882.
The subjoined letter is published and circulated by the person to
whom ifc is addressed, one who has a kindly recolleotion of many
happy days spent in Canada, and who would not willingly see
the credit of that eountry made a plaything for English bears and
bulls, and beasts of prey, to worry at their will.
What is advice to him, couched in general and almost conversational terms, may be of assistance to others. It will be
reassuring to those already interested, and it may clear away the
hesitation of the doubtful. The documents submitted for
" Mohawk's " opinion have been given a wide circulation, and
what harm they have been able to do, it is only a duty to try to
counteract. His letter is unaltered and unabridged, except
where private matters of no interest to the general reader are
touched upon. The name "Ishmael," too, is substituted for that
of the individual, to whom it is not thought necessary to give a
gratuitous advertisement. a&>
An extract from Vanity Fair, a journal whose financial
article is always carefully written and to be depended on, is
added by way of appendix, with two other newspaper clippinga.
My Dear Major,—You pay me the compliment of saying
that I am well-informed upon Canadian matters, and have had
so much experience of public men and things in the Dominion,
that I can give you an unbiassed opinion on the real value of the
Canadian Pacific bonds, in which an old friend of yours at
Montreal, where you were so long quartered, is anxious for you
to invest. You send me his printed circular, and also, on the
other side, four or five copies of " Financial Notes," signed
"Ishmael," and containing bitter attacks not only upon
the Canadian Pacific Syndicate, but on the Bank of Montreal, the
Marquis of Lome, and upon everything, in short, that is of Canada
Canadian. I observe that you at once hit the nail on the
head so far as this person is concerned. The pamphlet by
" Diogenes," also enclosed, is from a pen held in a more velvety
0 .	
glove; but coarse or fine, I suspect both writers draw their ink
at the same fountain of inspiration. I think I know " Diogenes,"
who, at some risk of disclosing his identity, has been foolishly
tempted to swagger in French, borrowing the motto of his
pamphlet from the younger Dumas. I am sure I know
" Ishmael," for I have seen him a prisoner in the police-court
at Toronto. I am still confined to the house with severe bronchitis, and as you ask me to gO into the matter fully, for the
benefit of yourself and other friends at the Club, who have
hitherto found Canadian investment s a very profitable speculation, I can give you a day, and endeavour, without any sacrifico
of time, to tell you something of the Pacific Railway and ils
assailants here. You may make what use you like of my letter,
but I would rather you withheld my name. The signature,
therefore, to this shall be a nickname which you knew right well
in days of yore when Mason and Slidell were taken from the
good ship " Trent." The incidents of our camping expedition will
never fade from my memory. Would that we were all young
again, but Anno Domini is an incurable disease.    *     *     *     *
In the earliest annals of railway history that I have ever
read, the story is told how one Nelson, known as " the blackguard
pitman of Callerton," undertaking to bully George Stephenson,
received so severe a thrashing at the hands of the father of
English railroads, that he ever afterwards left him severely alone.
The tatterdemalion of seventy years ago was, perhaps, the lineal
ancestor of the man now signing himself "Ishmael," and
issuing a libellous sheet every week fcr purposes sufficiently
plain to the initiated. His object in attacking Mr. George
Stephen and his associates in the great undertaking known
as the Canadian Pacific Railway, which will some day be an
independent line from New Brunswick to Vancouver Island, is
only too evident. He cannot be actuated by mere charity and
benevolence, for I am not aware that he has means wherewith to
pay the piper in that rather expensive role. Such a course is at
variance, too, with his whole career, which I will sketch for you
by-and-bye. lie might be actuated by a general notion of
revenge for various slights put on him in Canada; but even then
his darts could scarcely be so pointed or thrown so direct.
There is more animus than thi* in productions aimed at a schemo
in advance of its appearance in the London market. Only a
rival corporation could have the interest to forestall Mr.
Stephen, the president of the road, who is daily expected
in London. In time of peace they prepare for war. This
is no " uninspired dullard," though ho may belong to " the
tag and rag and bobtail of mankind." He has thrust his stick of
sulphur into many a nest he thought to smoke out, but fortunately
the unprincipled persons who can be bought to wreck a concern
seldom stay bought, and in the end are most expensive ir stru-
ments. There are instances where they have been bought off,
and  some  expect  to   find  their  livelihood   that way.    Now, (5)
you know how much expsrience I have had of the
unscrupulous means adopted by railways to overthrow a
rival. It is not many years ago that Sir Hugh Allan came
to England for the purpose of flmting a company formed
to construct this very road. He was met with a flood
of vituperative brochures and hostile articles in the London
Press, and the doughty knight of the steamships had to succumb.
Everybody knew that the Grand Trunk Company had prepared
this reception for him. They are now probably playing the same
game over again, and one of their henchmen is this " Ishmaol,"
whoso skill in dirty work they have reason to know. The analogy
between the present attack and that of the bully pitman
is, in some degree, curiously correct; but it cannot be carried
out to its most desirable conclusion. Mr. George Stephen cannot
settle this bully with a licking; and moro is the pity, for he
deserves no other or gentler attention. The worst feature I see
in his manoeuvres is the plausible giving of his name and
address, which the unwary will take as evidence of his good faith
and trustworthiness; whereas an anonymous attack would
carry.more weight in the circles where "Ishmael " is known
and appreciated. He writes perfectly confident that nobody will
think it worth while to sue him for libel, and he signs his name
with the same indifference that characterises the superscription
of John Smith to an advertisement of the odourless removal of
nuisances. There are professional scavengers who work with
their coats on, and make a living less respectably than those who
shovel in shirfc-sleeve3. This "Ishmael" is the same man who is
g 'W cutting such a ludicrous figure in the matter of Mr. Bourke
and the Turkish Bondholders ; but this is only one and the latest
of his many appearances as a professional obstructionist.
I am not surprised that you do not remember Mr. Stephen.
When you were in Canada he was'climbing the ladder. He is a
self-made man, and not one of the pattern which was profanely
said to relieve the Almighty of a great responsibility. Born, I
think, at Ecclefecchan in Scotland, the home of Carlyle, ho
inhaled, with his native air, not a little of that famous man's
characteristic intolerance of shams, and strong, untiring thoroughness. " Ishmael " twits him with " obscurity," it is true;
but his obscurity in Canada consists in the fact that in a country
stretching from ocean to ocean, every business man knew his
name before ho dreamed of being associated with the Canadian
Pacific. When he accepted the Presidency of the Bank of
Montreal, it was universally recognised as a good appointment.
Possessed of extraordinary shrewdness and energy, ho had, by
dint of untiring activity, while yet in middle life, risen to be one
of the merchant princes of the Colonies. Where could a fitter
man have been found to head the great enterprise with which his
name will now for ever be associated? If the selection of a
man had been left to the associated Boards of Trade of all the
towns in Canada, no name occurs to me that could for a moment
^ (6 )
have taken precedence of his. A strong man shouldering his way
through an unsympathetic world must make enemies more or less.
But, despite this, I never heard or read any personal abuse of Mr.
Stephen, and both political parties in Canada have treated him
with unusual fairness and consideration. All this in his favour.
His associates are just such men as their leader would be likely
to select. Messrs. Mclntyre and Angus also hail from Scotland,
and have made their way to the top of the tree in Canada; the
one in trade, the other in banking and finance. They are clever,
hard-headed men; and the Americans who go to compose the so-
called Syndicate are all necessary and carefully-chosen motors in
the administrative machinery of this gigantic concern. Perhaps
obscurity consists in the absence of a Lord-knows-who for chairman, and a few titled nonentities for directors, after the manner
of too many English companies. I think you will agree with me
that brains and commercial standing are better qualifications for
a Board of Management than a flat-catching handle to one's name
and the unctuous reverence of snobs. I should add that Mr.
Stephen is no stranger in London society, his daughter having
married a son of Sir Stafford Northcote, leader of Her
Majesty's Opposition. He is a remarkable man, and one who
deserves success, and is likely to command it. He is a modest man,
too, and one who does not court notoriety. But he has put his
name to the official memorandum of the Company, which
accompanies the prospectus of the Land Bonds, and must not
be surprised at the question " Who is he ?" being asked.
So much for the personnel of the Syndicate. The value of the
securities which they have offered in New York and Montreal is of
greater consequence, you may think; but you will agree with me
that in all such schemes there is what insurance brokers c ill " a
moral risk," and on this point it is always well to be satisfied.
They have had great experience in similar work, and are no
novices at it. In 1879 these same men became the owners of the
St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Manitoba Bailway, which they bought
chiefly from the Dutch proprietors. They carried out in this a
scheme of almost unparalleled magnitude for private individuals,
negotiating bonds to the amount of no less than eight millions
in New York, and the undertaking has in every way proved
an unequivocal success. If the Canadian Pacific ran through
American instead of British soil, I do not think there would be
cause for the Syndicate ever to press their securities on this
market. And this is one reason why they should receive substantial support in England when they do come here.
I am a profound believer in the future of Canada's great
North-West. Whether for the pasture of herds or the production of wheat, there seem to me to be " millions in it." When I
know that men of capital and practical experience like Cochrane
and Wiser have established ranches there for the breeding of
cattle, and haveinvested thousands here in. England in the purchase
of animals destined to found great families there of Shorthorns
Ij ( 7 )
and Herefords, I cannot doubt the suitability of the climate and
soil for their purpose. Every breeder in England knows Mr.
Cochrane and his tribe of Duchesses. He is a native and Senator of the Dominion, has grown grey with years, and is only
to-day tapping a cask that has been ripening all these years-
in a cellar at his very door. Mr. Wiser is no longer a
young man, and is opposed in politics to Mr. Cochrane.
These two gentlemen have put vast sums of money into their
ventures, and can be animated by nothing but the idea that
they will pay. What Dr. Johnson called " the potentiality of
getting rich beyond the dreams of avarice " must alone have
influenced them, and actions speak louder than words.
Englishmen betray surprise that this agricultural paradise
should have lain undiscovered or unrecognised so many
years on the threshold of the old Provinces, and this begets
some doubt of the stories told of its fertility and resources ; but,
if Mr. Cochrane had known ten years ago what he knows now,
and had been equally certain of the construction of a railway to
the Rocky Mountains, it may be argued that he would then have
done as he has done now. What he did net know, Hving all his
life in Canada, was not likely to be known or acted upon here.
The ingenuity of the assailants, whose writings you have
forwarded to me, is amusing. " Diogenes "—writing, by-the-bye,
with a very weak quill—I see, devotes himself to prove that
the railway must be a failure. "Ishmael" denies the fertility
of the 25 millions of acres which the Company have got from the
Canadian Government as subsidy, and would, if he could, declare
that the 25 millions of dollars given them as additional bonus is
counterfeit coin. Then " Diogenes " publishes in an appendix an
article from the Times of 27th October last, suggesting that some
day the products of the Saskatchewan and Red River countries
may find their way to England by rail running north from
Winnipeg to Hudson's Bay, and showing a small saving effected
in mileage, as aeainst the route vid New York or Montreal.
Verily this is going far to find a spoke to put in Mr. Stephen's
wheel. In this precious appendix is also reproduced an article
which I was sorry to see in the Standard. This reprints an
endorsation by the New York World of Professor Hind's strictures
on the North-West. Now, I happen to know all about this gentleman. Guiteau would call him a crank. At the time of the
Fishery award in favour of Great Britain he did aU he could to
rouse the Americans to repudiation of it on the ground
of its unfairness to them. But the snubs then administered to him seem only to have whetted his appetite
for a fresh fouling of the nest which is his own, for he
is an English Professor now residing in the Maritime Provinces.
It must be nearly five and twenty years ago since I first saw
him- It was on the occasion of his return from this very North-
West country, and he was delivering a lecture at Toronto—he
was then on the staff of a college there—in which he praised the (8)
resources and capabilities of the country to the skies. In fact,
he bored his audience with the extravagance of his utterances.
At that time he was also engaged in the manufacture of cheap
gas under some American patent, and in the smell and smoke
resulting from that failure to enlighten the people he vanished
from Upper Canada. Of course, the New Yorlc World would be
the vehicle for libels on Canada in general, and on the rival to
the American Northern Pacific Road in particular. Thus has our
friend of the Standard been hoaxed. All part of the same little
game. Have I dissected these insects sufficiently, or must I go
on to tell you that the Canadian Pacific Company has possessed
itself of existing roads in the Province of Ontario, and in connection with them proposes to complete a road between Toronto
and Montreal, which will destroy the monopoly hitherto possessed by the Grand Trunk for the carriage of goods and
passengers from Ontario to ocean ports ? Mine illce lachrymce ;
that is where the shoe pinches.
You ask me about the railway, but I think that is because
the circular from your friend in Montreal hardly puts one
matter clearly enough. The bonds now placed on the market
there, and subscribed for by your old friend the Bank of
Montreal, are not railway bonds or debentures secured by
mortgage on the road, but are bonds issued in accordance with
the provisions of the Act of Incorporation, and are amply
secured, in my opinion, by the Land Grant. The whole of this
grant is pledged for their redemption in fifty years, and for
payment of interest at 5 per cent, in the meantime. Every
precaution has been taken to secure investors, and I see
no loophole or weak spot. It is proposed to borrow twenty-
five millions of dollars on twenty-five millions of acres, and
these acres are all, in the words of the Act, to be " suitable for
settlement." And so, depend on it, they are ; for how could the
Syndicate be such fools as to take bad land where there is
plenty of the best at their service ? The Government lands
in the same locality are being disposed of at 2 dollars
an acre, subject to actual settlement. Now, what has made
the difference between to-day's value of these lands and their
value when " Ishmael" and Professor Hind, over twenty years
ago, visited the Red River territory ? Nothing, of course, but
the evidence of wiser eye-witnesses, the prospect of settlement,
and the fact of the railway being built. If this has been enough
to make them worth even 4s. an acre, what will they be
worth as farming land when the country fills up ? I remember
a similar land grant of alternate sections made more than
thirty years ago to the Blinois Central Road, whose stock
is now at 134. Land there in 1858 was thought well
sold at 15s. an acre. To-day that identical land is worth
£10. Wheat is a powerful magnet, and I have no doubt
thousands of farmers will find their way up West this year
from the older provinces, as well as from Great Britain and (9 )
Ireland. My information from Canada is that the " boom "
in Manitoba lands which originated last spring is as strong as
ever, and everybody is acquiring an interest—some in a township,
some in sections, and others in smaller lots. By the bye, you
should know that the railway lands of the American Northern
Pacific lying in what they call " the great grain belt of tho
Pacific slope " are advertised at a uniform rate of iOs. an acre,
or more than double the sum for which the lands of the Canadian
Pacific are to be pledged.
Sir Stafford Northcote's son, speaking at Exeter the other
day, said well that the North-West was a treasure-chest, of which
the key had been mislaid till Mr. Stephen's Company found
it. There he just hits it, I think. As to the character of
the country, would you rather believe two men who went there
when the journey from Montreal to Fort Garry and back was a
distressing pilgrimage, occupying months, or people who have
done the journey there and back last month with only one
change of railway carriage within ten days ? You remember
when the Hudson's Bay Company were traders in furs and
feathers, and their stock was all down among the dead men.
When they surrendered certain proprietary rights which they
claimed over the North-West country, they took from the
Government £300,000 in money, and a proportion of all the land
surveyed—I think a twentieth. They are now in effect rather
a land than a trading company, and their £17 shares are quoted
at £27. Their lands are alongside the lands pledged for the
redemption of the Canada Pacific bonds.
Canada's bold adoption of a protective tariff has so far
resulted well. The Conservatives there argued that the circumstances, geographical and commercial, of the Dominion,
made it impossible for Canada, on the borders of the United
States, to any longer provide a slaughter market for surplus
American manufactures. The prices of agricultural produce could only be sustained by the consumption of tho
manufacturing classes. To prevent the extinction of the latter,
as also to raise a revenue commensurate with the requirements of the State, Protection was adopted. The result, sooner
than expected, has been an overflowing Treasury; for the people
being well off, they can afford to import goods regardless of a
30 per cent. duty. Canada was never more prosperous, country
farmers and town operatives being alike well off, and able to buy.
In fact, Free Trade is all very well if you can get the countries
with which you principally deal to come into it with you. In
the abstract it is a very fine thing; but even here in England
concessions, which, like the handle of a jug, are all on one side,
are beginning to be regarded by thoughtful persons as benevolences more appropriate to a past Quixotic era. In Canada—a
comparatively poor and sparsely-populated country, lying alongside fifty millions of the 'cutest people on earth, since the abrogation of the Reciprocity Treaty, and the imposition of a high duty I
in the United States, which has brought into life thousands of
home manufactures—there was nothing for it but retaliation.
Canada was swamped with American surplus stock, and now all
she has to do is to see that she does not similarly suffer from
over-production within her own boundaries.
Speaking of the States, there is one matter on which I would
particularly warn you. You may have seen by a recent paragraph
in the London papers that the Americans claim nearly 100,000
people as having emigrated in the past year from Canada to
them. Now, I believe this to be gross and wilful misrepresentation. I do not know how many Americans came into Canada,
but certainly a very great number. The Postal authorities of
Canada and the States, when a reciprocal letter rate of postage
was struck between the two countries, must have calculated that
every letter written from one place to the other would be represented by one passing the other way. Ithinkitis aboutthe same
with passengers; but Canada appears to have forgotten to add to
its immigration statistics the numbers of Americans coming
into Ontario at the Suspension Bridge, say, and passing out at
Windsor en route for Chicago. Nor has she counted the birds
of passage coming in at both .ends of the Canada Southern and
Grand Trunk Railways. The Americans have done this; and,
considering that two-thirds of all the people who have gone into
Manitoba and the North-West have left Ontario either at Windsor
or Sarnia to pass through Uncle Sam's territory, and to reach
Winnipeg via the Pembina Railway, it is not surprising that their
touting statisticians at these points have been able and willing to
note an immense number of people passing from Canada into the
States ! I am in a position to know that this is the true explanation of one other trumped-up charge against the prospects of the
Dominion. And, as Mr. Toole says, " It does make me so wild !"
As for the country being bankrupt, there were, it happens, fewer
failures last year in Canada, and for a less average amount, than
in any preceding year of this decade : the whole number, little
and big, being but 635, with an average liability of less than
To sum up, you cannot but know, after reading the foregoing, that I advise you, without at present going into details
about the railway, to apply for the 5 per cent. Land Bonds. If
you wish it, I will, at some future time, tell you what I think of
the prospects of the railway. At present I will only say that no
Anglo-Canadian road now being worked in Canada mustbe taken
as affording the slightest indication of the probable outcome of this
The Grand Trunk has been botched by English, not by
Canadian, mismanagement. The Great Western's opportunities have been lost in England, not in Canada. The Grand
Trunk, as originally proposed by the Canadian Government, was
a good road, and, built at reasonable expense, would have paid.
It was between Toronto and Montreal. The Grand Trunk, under (11)
an English Board of Directors, took to itself, cast of Montreal,
a poor and unremunerative line. To the west of Toronto it was
continued in a near parallel line to the Englihh-owned road—the
Great Western. Thence, a lengthening chain of errors ; but these
were the first-sown seeds of the unprofitable cut-throat opposition which is in full blast to this day. Surely the Grand Trunk
should be content with having posed all these years past as " the
terrible example " in the face of every Canadian who has had a
project to float in the English market. Its own pile of dirty
linen is huge. Sir Henry Tyler should be engaged in washing it
at home, and not in challenging comment. But in his visits to
America he has learned a trait of the country. It is said that an
Englishman corrects his mistakes before he makes them, a Yankee
afterwards. Sir Henry is naturalising himself. He lives in a glass
house, of which half the panes have been already broken. The
other half are bo exposed that a policy of conciliation would
become him, or, at least, one of armed neutrality. He cannot
afford to drag his coat-tail about asking somebody to tread on it.
In contradistinction to the absurd, impossible, and ruinous system
by which English raHways worked in Canada are controlled in
London, the Canadian Pacific will be managed in Canada by
Canadians, and before a signal-box is put up at a station it will
not be necessary to spend its cost in cable messages to and fro.
It is sometimes hard and expensive for a manager in Canada
to drill a hole by cable-wire into his President's head in England.
The cost of the road per mile will be about a third of the capital
now chargeable to each mile of the Grand Trunk Railway, and
this involves a prodigious difference in the net earnings required
to pay a dividend. Nothing, therefore, can be predicated of Mr.
Stephen's line on conclusions drawn from the history of existing
roads in Canada; least of all from the Grand Trunk narrative.
Sir Henry, when he arose from the perusal of Mr. Alexander
McEwan's recent reply to him, must have said to himself, " I am
sorry I spoke." There is no good substitute for wisdom, but
silence is the best that has yet been discovered. Every time he
encourages an assault on Canada he sounds his own death-knell.
He was once a Royal Engineer, and must have heard that men
in that line of business are sometimes hoist with their own petard.
When "Ishmael" stoops to mix up Lord Lome's name with
the Syndicate, and to accuse the correspondent of the Times of
having been bought by Mr. Stephen to say that the Great Lone
Land was flowing with milk and honey, he steps into a congenial
gutter, and may be left there. Lord Lome has said nothing
which his predecessor, Lord Dufferin, did not say in even more
glowing: terms. Lord Dufferin is now with " the sick man," but
nobody knows belter than he that a doctor could now look his
old friend Canada square in the face, and see no money in his
patient ! When the detractor derides everything Canadian
as unprofitable or dishonest, he is, you have good reason to
know, lying to   too large an    order.     The   Oil  Company he ( 12)
speaks of was, no doubt, a swindle, and there may have been
other wild-cat schemes started here by designing adventurers.
But, on the other hand, numberless of thffbest investments made
for income by men in the army, and others with a few thousands at
their command, are in Canada. All the loan companies there have
borrowed money at cheap rates here or in Scotland on their own
debentures, and I know of none in default. The Bank of Montreal pays 10 per cent, to scores of English shareholders, other
banks out there also having English addresses on their stock
lists. The English insurance companies must be doing business in
Canada for profit, and not for amusement. A very large sum has
been invested by private hands in mortgages there at high rates
of interest, which do not, as a rule, bear a bad name. The
chief Canadian cities have borrowed money here for municipal
purposes. Let us see how these securities stand in the Share List:
—Toronto, 116 ; Montreal, 104; Quebec, 111: and so on. Canada's
public debt is none too large for her infinite resources, and has
all been incurred for public works and the development of the
country.     I  presume  the   English people know this,   or   her
4 per cent, stock would not now be quoted here at 106, and her
5 per cents, at 114, which is about the price to which I expect
to see the Railway Land Bonds go when the issue of the authorised amount has been exhausted.
If Canada is at present a borrower, her accumulated
wealth shows a marvellously-progressive rate of increase.
The paid-up capital in her chartered banks reaches a
total of nearly thirteen millions of pounds sterling, and,
as with America, the day will soon come when she will take
the lion's share in her own commercial ventures. I know a
Scotch company, by-the-bye, that has already made cent, per
cent, on moneys wisely invested on speculation in Manitoba
lands; and what I know as a fact is, that Mr. Sandford
Fleming, the well-known Government engineer, who ran
the line of the Canadian Pacific, was among tho first
to invest the spare savings of a life-time in these Land
Bonds about which you inquire. You must remember what a
wonderfully well-managed corporation the Canada Life Company
of Hamilton is. There is, perhaps, in the world no company
commanding more respect and confidence, or which is more
practically successful. This company has taken half a million of
dollars of the Canadian Pacific Land Bonds. Even that extra
canny financier, Senator Macmaster, has changed tho Government securities held by the Confederation Life Company
for these Land Bonds. Besides this, I am told of many
private   individuals,    but    good    judges,    including    Robeit
H n,   of   Quebec,   who   have   subscribed for   amounts  of
£10,000. Sir Alexander Gait, Canadian representative in London, has just returned to London from a tour of inspection in
the North-West, and I am told he is so well satisfied that he has
established two of his sons there already.   Now, it must be ( 13 )
remembered Sir Alexander was not in favour of the Canadian
Pacific once on a time. The bonds could scarcely want better
backing than these instances ; and in view of this practical corroboration of my opinions, I need not, perhaps, have dwelt so
much on other matters brought under review.
I will only add that parties purchasing tracts from the Syndicate are paying for them with the Land Bonds, as the papers
you send me explain. The Trustees cancel those so paid in,
which, of course, makes the remainder so much the better. I
hear of one operation of this kind to the value of £60,000 sterling
by one single association of gentlemen who went away together
last autumn, and returned greatly impressed with the future of
the North-West. The testimony, in fact, all tends one way,
and Thomas Didymus could scarcely find a flaw in it.
A Yankee philosopher has said that there is no way to
safety but in constant distrust, and your anxiety about your
Canadian investments is natural enough. I have not said
the tenth of what it was in my mind to tell you. " Ishmael's "
history from the time that he went to Canada as clerk
to an English delegation, with episodes of his career at Toronto
and in the West, would only be of service to you as showing the
little importance to be attached to his denunciations of Mr.
Stephen's road. On this head you probably require nothing
more. But I shall have pleasure at some future time in answering any other inquiries which you may address to me. Meantime I return you your documents, and remain yours very faithfully,
London, January 20, 1882. ( 14)
(From Vanity Fair, January 28th.)
We have before us the prospectus and official memorandum of this
Company; and though there has been, as yet, no actual placing of the
securities of the Company upon the London market, they are obtainable,
as the prospectus informs us, at the agency of the Bank of Montreal here,
where provision is also made for payment of interest. It is well known
that the Bank of Montreal has itself in Canada subscribed for a large
amount of the Company's five per cent, land bonds, and now offers them
for sale at par. As an evidence of value, where the case is best known,
it is announced that the Canadian Government takes these bonds by way
of deposit from English Insurance Companies doing business in Canada
and obliged by law to deposit in the Colonial exchequer certain security
for the benefit of Canadian clients. The lands on which investors are
asked to lend their money are the much-heard-of acres of the so-called
Fertile Belt, lying between the new prairie Province of Manitoba and the
Rocky Mountains. The documents before us speak highly of the agricultural capacity of the country, but not too highly, judging from the
reports brought back by many independent witnesses from the scene of
action, who have been over there during the past year.
Care must be taken to distinguish these bonds from ordinary railway
bonds secured by mortgage on a railroad. The road may be a success or
a failure. These particular bonds are not dependent for their ultimate
value on the financial success of the road. The concession in all comprises
twenty-five millions of acres, and on it land bonds to the amount of
twenty-five millions of dollars—or one dollar per acre, its value as wild
lands—are to be issued. There is abundant evidence however that tho
road must be built, and will be built, west from Winnipeg, the capital of
Manitoba, through a level and easily-traversed country, to go a distance
of 800 miles—that is, to the limit of what, for present purposes, may be
said to be the famous north-west wheat-growing district. This is the
territory visited by the deputation of Scotch and English farmers in 1880,
and since that time thoroughly explored and surveyed, and made the
medium of immense transactions by Companies and individuals with a
view to settlement at a much higher rate than one dollar per acre.
Whether eventually its products come to Europe by way of Hudson's
Bay—a project first broached in this journal several years ago—or by the
highways on land and ocean now in use, good judges believe that a new
granary is being opened for English consumers, of which it is almost
impossible to exaggerate the magnitude and importance. That the lands
offered as security by the Canadian Pacific Company are good value may
be inferred from one of the terms of their bargain with the Government
—namely, that the whole twenty-five millions of acres constituting their
land grant were to be fit for settlement. It is impossible to conceive
therefore that they have chosen or accepted barren and indifferent lands, (15 )
for great as it sounds in English ears, twenty-five millions of acres by
no means represents the majority of fertile acres within the district in
In considering these land bonds as an investment it should be carefully
noted that at present we are not dealing with the railway as such, but
merely with a Land Company. The prospects of the railway, we believe,
are excellent, but once that part of the road is built and worked which
passes through the territory in question, the alleged difficulties of construction in British Columbia, to the west of the Fertile Belt, and north
of Lake Superior, to the east of it, need not be noticed either for refutation or corroboration in connection with the land bonds. For what it is
worth, the investors in these bonds will have of course the Company's
covenant, and will so far be interested in its success; but what they may
implicitly depend upon is the actual and intrinsic value of the lands conveyed to trustees for their benefit. It is curious that in advance of any
attempt on the part of the Company to float its land bonds on the
London market, determined and organised opposition has been shown to
them, with a view, no doubt, to keep them away, but professedly in the
interest of the public. This is indeed extraordinary philanthropy on the
part of a self-elected Salvation Army, and would generally be taken as
evidence of a self-interested motive on the part of the opponent j perhaps
an American rival running on a little lower parallel of latitude, or perhaps an Anglo-Canadian line, with American connections, jealous of a
road which will be a competitor for the carriage of cereals from and
through the Province of Ontario to the sea-board, and of European
imports and immigrants the reverse way. It is not worth while discussing
the how and tbe why of this little plot; but we say emphatically that,
other things being equal, there is no reason why the British public should
not support a road which will be a trans-Continental highway on British
soil from the Atlantic to the Pacific. London, at any rate, should not
be made the arena for American intrigue against what is in one sense a
great Imperial project. The building of this road was a condition of the
Confederation, which included the Pacific Crown Colony of British Columbia, and"was known to be so by the English Parliament which in 1867
passed the Act of Union. Subsequently Lord Carnarvon decided that
Canada was obliged to go on at once with the construction of the road,
and both parties in Canada are pledged to its completion. The Government of Canada has presented the Company with twenty-five millions of
dollars in cash, the same number of acres, and more than the same
number of additional millions of dollars in the shape of 500 miles of road
completed by the Government through the most difficult and least profitable parts to be traversed. The Company therefore has a considerable
bonus to start with, besides a proprietary whose own capital is understood
to be large. A fact in favour of the Company is that the Bank of
Montreal should have taken a large quantity of the land bonds. There
are few stabler financial institutions than this, and only two or three
banks in the world with a larger paid-up capital and reserve. Its shares
are at a premium of 100 per cent., and very many of them are held in this
(From the  Glole, London, January 28th.)
Our American cowsins have been inclined to regard with cynical complacency the position of dependence ©n foreign supplies of the necessaries
of life in which that country is placed. Our necessity, they consider, is
their opportunity, and undoubtedly the enormous quantity of food-stuffs
which this country has imported from the United States during late
years has been the means of enriching that favoured land to the extent ( 16)
of millions sterling. But a competitor, whom the people of the States
will not be able to ignore much longer (states Iron), is being now rapidly
developed in the shape of the vast north-western districts of Canada.
Ex-Governor Seymour, of New Tork, has issued a note of warning to his
countrymen, bidding them beware of the action of this new factor
upon the problem of the international commercial policy of the three
nations. The inhabitants of the United States will soon be no longer
able to call their country, as they are so fond of doing, " the granary
of the world;" for according to this authority, there is a tract of
land in the north-west of British America, which is capable of producing
as much wheat as all the countries bordering on the Baltic, the Black Sea,
and the Mediterranean combined. When the Canadian Pacific Railway
is completed, this territory will be brought within a distance of Liverpool
600 miles less than any point in Dakota, whilst the greater economy used
in the construction of the line will enable lower freight rates to. be
accepted. Ex-Governor Seymour is not at all likely to exaggerate matters
to the prejudice of his own country, and it will be matter for congratulation if England is ever able to benefit a colony of her own by drawing irom
it the supplies of wheat for which she has had, hitherto, to look to the
United States almost exclusively.
(Prom recent correspondence of the Globe (Toronto), a paper
bitterly opposed to the Canadian Pacific Railway Company.)
" Farmers who took up land in Dakota (the territory adjoining Manitoba)
in 1879, at one dollar and a-half, could sell out to-day at twenty or
thirty dollars an acre, so great is the demand for farming property in that
Proceeding then to call the Syndicate a large monopoly, and
to point out the magnitude of their subsidy and other facts,
which all go to prove the goodness of its land bonds, the correspondent naively says:—
" Any sane man would suppose that when the Government voted away
as a bonus the sum of 25 millions of dollars in gold, 25 millions of acres
of land (well worth to-day one hundred millions of dollars), handing over
about 850 miles constructed and in full working order, allow material
for construction to be imported free of duty, and exempted the road-bed,
rolling stock, &c, from taxation for ever, and giving them the line in
perpetuity, that enough had been done by way of bonus, without locking
the door of this Continent against the possibility of cor»petition to carry
the farmers' products to the sea-board."
Verily, the Toronto Globe furnishes their enemy with the best
possible certificate for its purposes! *


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