|Wednesday, September 8, 1852||The Examiner (Toronto)||Page 2, col. 5|
The Railroad Eastward.
At a public meeting, convened in the St. Lawrence Hall, on Wednesday last [August 25], to consider the propriety of petitioning the Government to decide in favour of the interior route, in the construction of a Railway from Toronto to Kingston, resolutions were unanimously passed in favour of the route via Peterborough. His Worship the Mayor introduced to the meeting Sheriff Conger, Judge Hall and various other gentlemen from Peterboro', whose opinions were offered on the Resolution submitted.—
The Mayor approach the subject diffidently from his position as a director of the Peterboro' route, and he gave placed to Sheriff Conger. The question was whether the line surveyed by Mr. [Samuel] Keefer, or that through the back townships, should be preferred. The former would divide the business with the lake, the latter would open up a magnificent country. The population of the first is 80,000; of the later 106,000. On a resolution to the effect that a Main Trunk Line of Railway should be located through the interior of the country, Judge Hall observed that the lake shore road would have to compete with steamboats. Either route would be about 165 miles long, and the cost would be about equal. The only question then was as to the amount of business and population. The back line, he considered, would have people and produce to employ it. He further referred to the advantages likely to accrue to Toronto from Railway connection with the interior of the country. Alderman Thompson too, perhaps, a [illegible] contracted view of the question; still his arguments recommended themselves to the citizens of Toronto. The road from Kingston via Peterborough, he contended, would be highly serviceable to this city, while the lake road road would be of comparatively slight advantage. If the people of Toronto should be called on to pay £50,000 or £100,000, for the Grand Trunk Line, it would be their own fault if they did not urge its construction through the interior.
Seldom has a more unanimous, a more intelligent, or a more disinterested expression of opinion been elicited in this city, or, we venture to say, in any part of the Province, on a great public question. And the importance of such an expression of opinion is made sufficiently obvious, from the stake which the country will hold on the undertaking. Influences of a local and selfish character will, no doubt, be brought to bear on the Government, which should promptly and energetically meet with open and expressive action on the part of the people.—
The question is not one which [illegible] well come under decision by a process of abstract reasoning; although certain arguments, based upon well ascertained facts, ought to be presented to the Government, along with any petition or address which the people may submit. The will of the majority should be paramount to other considerations. We do not mean to say, that the ordinary, constitutional voice of the people, through a parliamentary vote, can in this instance, afford a fair representation of the popular mind; inasmuch as the issue was not foreseen in the general election; but we mean, that every municipality within the district specially interested should take steps to lay the wishes of the taxpayers before the Government; and when this is done, in conjunction with an explicit and rational statement of the grounds on which the petition or address is based, we cannot for a moment doubt, that Government will give effect to the scheme most likely to enhance the interests of the country, by opening up its latent resources, facilitating its means of commercial intercourse, at the same time with due regard to prudence and economy in the expenditure of the public funds. We confess at once, our preference on the following propositions:
1st. The travel of the front route is already, in a great measure, provided for in the Lake conveyances—affording cheaper accommodation both for passengers and freight, than could possibly be afforded by Railway; thereby presenting a competition, damaging to the prospects of the road as a renumerative undertaking.
2nd. The interior route already presents a surface, containing a greater population, and consequently the elements of commercial prosperity in a greater measure, than is presented by the front line; but the prospect of rapid material advancement in the inland district is much superior to the former even apart from the stimulus of Railway intercourse, and consequently possesses an inherent advantage apart from a competing line of travel, which we conceive [illegible—authrient] to gain a decision in its favour. The freight of the interior would always go by rail, if an interior line be chosen, but if a front line be adopted, it will as now, go by the river, and common land conveyances northward.
3rd. The object contemplated by the Government, and the object sought by the taxpayers of Canada, is not simply the construction of public undertakings, which a judicious management will render self-sustaining, but such works as will prove most extensively beneficial to the inhabitants and best adapted to render available the internal capabilities of the country.—
That such an end is most attainable in constructing a Trunk Railway by following a central route, where it will form a sort of continuous [illegible], through one of the finest agricultural counties on this continent, for a prospective population of millions of inhabitants, we hold to be indisputable, and therefore urge on the people to petition rigorously and promptly.