|Friday, January 17, 1873||The Woodstock Sentinel (Woodstock)||Page 2|
Another letter from Mr Bursee.
Mr. Editor.—I have been waiting with patience for the [illegible] of your East Oxford correspondent to run out; and, judging from his latter letter that it was quite exhausted, we arranged those admirable productions before us that we might have the opportunity of forming an opinion of their intrinsic worth. The first thing that struck our attention was Rip Van Winkle, a dead dog and a rusty gun, and we came irresistibly to the conclusion that the R. R. Company would admire his zeal if they were unable to appreciate his productions, and would be induced to confer on him some remunerative office, if it were nothing more than a shoeblack. But the Lieut.-Governor in his address to the Legislature of Ontario suggested the propriety of furnishing an institution for the education of idiots. We would advise Ratepayer to avail himself of the earliest opportunity of applying for admission into the institution.
It seems that every means is resorted to in order to lead the Electors of East Oxford into the belief that a majority are in favor of granting a bonus. It is stated in the Review that the Railroad Meeting at Vandeburg, there was only one or two of a majority that voted nay. But the President of that meeting, at the Nomination held at the Town Hall, admitted that there was seven or eight and even this was below the real number. It seems a pity that men should resort to such small means to support a bad cause. Why not deal fairly and let the facts come fairly before the electors. Truth has nothing to fear in coming to the surface. Let us learn wisdom from the example of the Peel Electors, in their rejection of the $50,000 bonus. I stated in a former letter, that it was one thing to construct a road, and another to support it. You will find an example in the affairs of the Grand Trunk. But it will be said that this state of things is the result of bad management. But what guarantee have we that the Woodstock road will be managed better. We are told that the government has regarded the Municipalities by enactment, which provides for an arbitration in case of difference. The Government has a right to choose one arbitrator, the Railway Company another, and the Municipality a third. Now for the life of me I cannot see that such acts to the municipality would be worth the paper on which they are written, as the Railroad company and the government in this case might be a unit. As the company depends on the government, it is quite possible that if the gentlemen that govern the affairs of the road, should it be constructed, if they did no wrong might have a very expensive way of doing right. All we belive will admit that a sufficient amount of railroad communication is a great boon to the country, while a surplus would be detrimental to its prosperity. We are told about some of the in exhaustible pineries of the North, but at the rate the timber limits are being sold, they will soon be like the snows of last season, and even while they last they can be taken to a better market by Lake Huron, an the Michigan Central Railroad. We are also told of our salt fields. There if they go to the East there is already to Toronto or Hamilton, a sufficient communication and if to the States, it is the same. But there is left the supply of Coal from Philadelphia, by which Port Dover would require one shipment and two [illegible—percipient] to reach Woodstock, which would rendered useless, nearly one half of the year. But Woodstock has a grievance and so have the farmers who sell their produce at the Market, for want of a ready shipment. But this will be obviated when the Canada Southern and Loop Line of the great Western commence operations. They will relieve the Great Western of so much of its through traffic, that it will be able to attend to the traffic of Woodstock with dispatch but it would be a favour to the Farmers, to get two or three cents on every bushel of grain, if they were not required for every cent to pay a dime in return, which they would most certainly have to do. It is like adding one foot to one end of your blanket, and cutting two from the other. The belief that the cross road would bring competition and reduce fare on freight, is often found to be fallacious. As a rule, the companies after a brief opposition, find it more profitable to coalesce for the object of raising their revenue. The fever of railroads, if the people are not wise will drive the country to bankruptcy and ruin, by impairing its credit and increasing our taxes. It has been a general time of prosperity in the country, and there are a number of sources of revenue that at present stand between us and direct taxation, which will soon be gone and a crisis will come, and the people must meet the crash. There is a great deal said about the development of the country, by parties whose object seems to be place and profit or office and emolument. Every railroad must be a benefit to somebody. It seems to be taken for granted, when rich and influential men become large shareholders in Railroad Companies, that is must be a paying investment, or they must be possessed of a noble public spirit, the former may be the case, and yet it may prove a heavy burden to the country. Stockholders sometime become contractors by means of which they share very largely in money matters, as in the case of the Grand Trunk where $180,000 was saved by cancelling one contract.
Railways: Pt.D. & L.H.Ry.