|Wednesday, February 8, 1888||The Globe (Toronto)||Page 8, col. 4|
The fate of the Northern.
The amalgamation with the Grand Trunk to be opposed by the city.
A special meeting of the Executive Committee was held yesterday afternoon to consider the proposed amalgamation of the Northern Railway with the Grand Trunk and the extent to which the city would be affected thereby. The committee room was crowded with the different parties interested. Mayor Clarke, and Northern Director Baxter sat at the head of the table with Ald. McMillan, while around the board were:—Ald. Gillespie, Fleming, Carlyle, Galbraith, Johnston, Dodds, Morrison, Roaf, Denison and Harvie. Among those occupying side seats were:&mdasj;Hon. J. B. Robinson, Messrs. Barlow Cumberland, J. S. McMurray, Northern Manager Barker, Thos. H. Lee, H. L. Hime, George Townsend, George Cook, Thos. Caswell, Dr. Pyne, James Cotton, Ald. Boustead, Shaw, and Macdougall.
Chairman McMillan opened the proceedings by stating why the meeting had been called. The opinion of the city solicitor was read to the effect that it would require a week or two in which to ascertain how far the city would be affected by the proposed transfer.
Mr. Christopher Robinson, Q.C., could not give his opinion within a week. It would require a three-fourths vote of the shareholders or the amalgamation could not be carried, and after the matter had been decided at one meeting it could not be brought up again for six months.
Mr. S. Barker, manager of the Northern railway, reviewed the financial position of his road, and said that he was not there to advocate any special course, but to answer any questions that might be asked about the policy or history of the Northern. He did not want to enter upon a discussion of the claim the city had upon the Northern station, because no satisfactory conclusion could be arrived at in the end. The Court of Chancery had given a decision to the effect that the property belonged to the company absolutely.
Ald. Galbraith—But that is not the highest court in the land.
Mr. Barker—The decision was that the title was absolute by statute.
Ald. Dodds complained of the early date of the meeting in London to decide upon the transfer.
Mr. McMurray—The question is, Can the amalgamation be carried on the 23rd of this month without the consent of the City of Toronto?
Mr. Marker replied that he thought it could.
Hon. R. B. Robinson spoke warmly in the interests of the private shareholders, and told his audience that he had been at the birth and now evidently at the grave of the Northern railway. He assailed Ald. Baxter's arguments, favoring the transfer, in an energetic manner, and claimed that the Northern had a bright future before it. He asked that an effort should be made to have the meeting in London postponed, so that all the facts could be printed and circulated among those affected, and suggested that a man like Walter Shanty should be requested to go over the road in the interests of the shareholders.
Mr. Barlow Cumberland said that as he differed on some points from Mr. Robinson it might be well for him to express his views. It was not possible for the Northern to remain a local independent road any longer, and he quoted the history of the Midland, Credit Valley, Grey & Bruce, etc., in proof of the contention that the smaller lines must in course of thing be absorbed. In the event of amalgamation the stock of the Northern was to be treated the same as the stock of the Grand Trunk. There was no likelihood of the shareholders over getting a dividend out of the present Northern road, and he had come to the conclusion that it was better to transfer his interests from the company, from which he knew he would never obtain any return, to a company from which there was a possibility of obtaining some return.
Ald. Dodds accused Ald. Baxter of special pleading on behalf of the Northern road, to which Ald. Baxter replied that he was afraid of the Northwest trade going to Hamilton if the city did not consent to the proposed amalgamation.
Ald. Morrison expressed a hope that in this transaction the Grand Trunk would not be allowed to get the upper hand of the Canadian Pacific.
Ald. Carlyle followed in this line and urged that care should be taken not to allow the Grand Trunk to obtain the key to the West End, so as to exclude other traffic from the water front.
Ald. Gillespie maintained that an adjournment of the London meeting should be secured, and the following resolution by Ald. Dodds was carried unanimously:—
Resolved—That the representative of the city stock in the Northern railroad to be sent to the forthcoming meeting in London on Feb. 23 be instructed to oppose the proposed scheme of amalgamation between the Grand Trunk and Northern railways if he cannot secure a postponement of said meeting until such time as the Council is placed in possession of the necessary facts, so as to decide upon the merits of the case.
The name of Hon. J. B. Robinson was proposed by Ald. Denison and Dodds for the trip to England, and Mr. Robinson's name will be recommended to a special meeting of the City Council to-night.
Railways: G.T.Ry., N. & N.W.Ry.