|Friday, December 13, 1872||The Woodstock Sentinel (Woodstock)||Page 2, col. 2|
An East Oxford ratepayer's views on the railway.
Opposition is the Life of Trade.
The farmers of this vicinity often ask why it is that the buyers at Woodstock do not give as much for grain as those of Paris and other neighboring towns, by from seven to ten cents per bushel? Let us look for a moment at the position of the Woodstock buyers to see if we can learn the reason for ourselves. Grain and everything esle they purchase from the farmers to ship to other markets are carried by the Great Western, the only road available from Woodstock or its vicinity, and as this road has absolute control of the carrying trade of this place, the Company charge their own prices, which our business men are compelled to pay; and worse still, are not then able to get their produce carried for perhaps weeks after they wish it, because the whole attention of the road is given to the trade from those points where an opposition exists, to the neglect of those places along its line that have no connection with any other road and depend solely on it for transportation. The immediate effect of this is that our buyers are afraid to deal in perishable articles, such as butter, eggs, poultry, pork, potatoes, apples, &c., for fear that the want of transportation may cause them serious loss. They only deal in those things known as "perishable articles" with great care, and a large margin to cover expenses and secure them from loss, and the farmer has often to be content with a price from fifteen to fifty per cent. less than would have been paid had the buyer been certain that he could ship immediately, before the prices fell or the article depreciated in value, and get his money back with a profit to buy again. In all kinds of grain, also, is this evil felt, buyers being often, I might say generally, compelled to wait for days and even weeks before they can get cars to convey their stores away and as foreign markets may fall while their grain is waiting shipment, they must buy with a larger margin to secure them than they would require if they could ship immediately and receive their money to buy again. Then, as they are afraid to buy largely for fear the want of means of transportation will make them losers if they get too large a stock in store, there is not an active competition, as each buyer can get all he dares to buy at once without much competition, and here again the farmer loses. Now, to be brief, what is the remedy for all this? Manifestly, it is a line competing with the Great Western for our carrying trade and giving us increased facilities, for transportation, and placing us, if possible, in nearer, more direct and cheaper connection with the great metropolitan centres to which our trade is directed. To do this there are two schemes proposed, both of which I believe will be before long carried through. One of these, the Lake Huron and Port Dover, possesses every advantage which should recommend it to the consideration of every municipality through which it passes, and, to the farmers of East Oxford, to which township I belong, I would say, support this rad with a will that shows you are in earnest. You are asked to give a bonus of ten thousand dollars, and [illegible] will [illegibe] to say that every farmer who buys a share of that bonus will, each year, from the extra price realized for the produce which he sells, get at least the amount of his share of the bonus back again. The reason of this is [illegible]. The proposed road will [illegible] with the Canada Southern Railway at or near Otterville, and we will [illegible] that route as near, if not actually nearer, Buffalo and other points to which our produce is shipped, as to the Great Western. A [illegible] and [illegible] between the two routes which will then have will reduce the freight charges from [illegible] to fifteen or twenty per cent., and buyers, no longer fearing to deal largely because they cannot ship rapidly, will be stimulated into active competition in the purchase of our produce, and for everything we sell we will get only the benefit of the higher prices caused by the competition, but also the benefit of the reduction of freightage caused by the opposition between the Great Western and the proposed road to the south. A great many of us drew our wheat to Paris this fall, because we could get seven cents a bushel more than in Woodstock. Now, why could Paris buyers give seven cents more than Woodstock buyers? Simply because, having two rival lines of railway competing with each other for the carrying trade, they were enabled to ship several cents cheaper per bushel than our buyers in Woodstock; and more than that, they could buy any quantity one day and ship if the next and get their money immediately to invest again; but our buyers are compelled to wait the pleasure of the Great Western for cars to send their wheat away. Woodstock with the Port Dover Road will be as near to market as Paris, and can give just as much for grain or anything else. Now let mew draw your attention for a moment to a very important feature of this scheme, and that is this: The country is rapidly developing and consequently its demand for shipping facilities is rapidly increasing, and those facilities must be furnished, or the evils of which we now complain will grow yearly worse. Let me call your attention to another fact. Apples were an abundant crop this year in this apple-growing county, but they were nearly fifty per cent. lower than they would have been could buyers have shipped them as fast as they bought instead of being compelled to leave them in the store houses fr weeks waiting for cars. Every view we take of the case goes to show that we are very greatly in need of increased railway facilities, and that the want of them is already a serious loss to both town and country: I have already shown that the Lake Huron and Port Dover road, with its connections, is exactly what we want, and now let us work for it with a will by voting unanimously for the bonus and also by taking stock in it and thereby inspiring the confidence of others in it; for giving it confidence means increasing its ability to make advantageous terms for its iron rolling stock and everything to make it complete, so that the more we do to give it strength the better it will be eventually for ourselves. These arguments are only a few of many that well present themselves to the mind of any one who will give this subject even a passing attention.
An East Oxford Ratepayer.
Railways: Pt.D. & L.H.Ry.