|Friday, January 3, 1873||The Woodstock Sentinel (Woodstock)||Page 2, col. 1|
P. D. & L. H. Railway.
A third letter froman East Oxford ratepayer.
Some proud son of a happy U. E. loyalist has actually discovered that the Port Dover and Lake Huron Railroad will not pay as an investment, and, therefore, should not be supported by bonuses. He must have slept since the days of this father not to have discovered that railroads generally do not pay directly large dividends to stockholders, and if he will enquire a little further he will find that the corduroy road near his farm, on which he does statute labor every year, has never yet declared a dividend and he has never yet received a penny directly for his statute labors; but, by having that road and other roads and by keeping them in good repair by statute labor and other means, the expense of which comes on himself and fellow ratepayers, the value of his farm is increased and so is the amount of money he can make from his business. If he will rouse himself he will find, like Rip Van Winkle, that his dog is dead, and his gun rusty, that railways are not built now-a-days because they are so profitable to stockholders, but because they are indispensable as a means of developing a country, and by increasing and facilitating its business, add to its wealth and to the wealth of its population. Our Government are fully cognizant of this fact and have established a fund especially for the purpose of aiding local railway enterprise, and all of the best, informed business men of the day admit the necessity of bonuses from municipalities benefited by such enterprise, as by this means those who receive the benefits bear their share of the expenses, and by government grants and bonuses, railroads are made to pay fair dividends to stockholders who would otherwise never have built them. This Rip Van Winkle is sure that the Port Dover and Lake Huron Road will not pay because the London and Port Stanley does not; but there is a vast difference between the two. London had two opposition lines before, and the entire route of the Port Stanley Road, though through a rich country, was one that did not require such a road, and then the London and Port Stanley Road passes only through an old country already well supplied, while the Port Dover and Lake Road, besides supplying a need that is very sorely felt here and all along its route, will pass northward into a section of country as yet undeveloped by railway, through the most extensive salt field perhaps in the world and to the inexhaustible pineries that stretch from Lake Huron to Ottawa, both of which will supply it with a business that the London and Port Stanley cannot get, and it should be compared not to this but to the various local roads that terminate in Toronto that have been built by the same means as these which will be employed to build the Port Dover Road, and that do pay and give unbounded satisfaction to the municipalities along their routes that have aided them by bonuses. His next argument, deducted from Mr. Moore's speech a Vandeburg, shows that he could not have paid much attention to that gentleman's remarks, or he would have learned that the one-ninth local freight of the Great Western pays forty per cent. of the earnings of that road and the eight-ninths through freight pays the reaming sixty. At such rates he must confess that the Port Dover Road will be better without through freight than with it. The through freight of the Western scarcely pays running expenses and the Company make up their loss on the through by exorbitant charges on the local from [ .. illegible .. ] and these[ .. illegible .. ] that there are railroads in [ .. illegible .. ] that have been built on the first estimated cost, and I am also happy to inform him that Messrs. Oliver and Bodwell have actually found the Philosopher's Stone and keep it on exhibition at the Company's offices, but I would advise him not to look at it, or, like the man in the fable, he may be smitten with blindness for his unbelief. If Andrew doubts Mr. Oliver's powers as an Alchemist, he certainly had no reason to doubt his power at something else at the meeting at Vandeburg. I quite agree with him that it was unfortunate for him at the meeting referred to that he was not an Irishman as he wished, for then he would have had an Irishman's wit to keep silent where there was nothing to say.
An East Oxford Ratepayer.
East Oxford, Dec. 28, 1872.
Railways: Pt.D. & L.H.Ry.