|Friday, December 20, 1872||The Woodstock Sentinel (Woodstock)||Page 2, col. 3|
An East Oxford ratepayer's views on the railway.
Second letter—a few more reasons why the road should be supported.
The year just closing has been one of the most prosperous in the history of this province, and it well becomes us, while congratulating ourselves on our prosperity, and the growing wealth of our country, to look sharply around us for means not only to continue that prosperity but to increase it. It is an established truth that all necessary schemes of public improvement add both to the wealth of the nation and the individual, and of no kind of public enterprise can this be more truly said than of railroads. If any one doubts this let him look back to the time when Canada had not railroads, and compare that time with the present. But a great many, thought recognizing the good already accomplished by rail roads, think that we have all the roads we want now, and that we required no more. They do not keep in view the fact that our noble country is as yet only beginning to be developed that the railroads already built are even now unable to supply the demand for transportation and that such inability is actually the cause of serious loss both to the country and individual. Every road at present running in this province has increased its earning during the past year from ten to thirty per cent. over any previous year, and among the roads estimated, the Great Western has increased its earnings over twenty per cent., and is at present strained to its utmost capacity to supply the demand made on it for transportation and is unable to do so properly, to the loss, sometimes serious, of those depending on it, and to the detriment of the prosperity of all branches of business. This is only now beginning to be felt, but unless the remedy is promptly applied and railway facilities promptly increased to supply the demand for them, there is not a man from the farmer to the mechanic and merchant who will not be a serious loser by the check which this want will give to the present rapid andhealthy development of the resources of the country. To furnish the required railway facility for this section, the Port Dover and Lake Huron is a scheme which from its peculiar advantages, presses its claims very strongly on us for our consideration and support, and I am glad to see that the various municipalities through which it passes are coming promply to the aid of the scheme by voting the required bonuses and subscribing the required amount of stock. In East Oxford we have not yet been called upon to vote the bonus, but when we are, it is my opinion that our township with its customary and laudable promptitude where its own interests are concerned will give the required ten thousand dollar[s] by a large majority. Yet it cannot be denied that there are here and there are to be found a few benighted relics of the past who are either satisfied with the existing state of things, or willing to reap the advantages of the proposed Southern road without paying their share to secure it. Some of the weak arguments of these weak men, are, that we will have the Credit Valley road to Woodstock, and it will do us more good than the Port Dover road, and we will not be asked to pay a bonus; that the Western will eventually swallow this road up; that it will be useless while navigation is slowed, and that in connecting it with the Canada Southern we are connecting with a broken-down road &c. Regarding the last objection I have only to say that the Canada Southern is one of the strongest and most profitable roads on the continent and among its shareholders and promoters are to be found some of the strongest and largest railway capitalists in America, and the connection of the Port Dover road with it, is of itself not only a good guarantee of its success, but also of its effectual opposition to the Western, and the consequent reduction of the freight tariff as well as giving us the increased means of transportation we so much need. It is impossible for the Great Western under the circumstances either to swallow it or control it, and it does not depend on navigation for its connection with markets to which our trade is directed, as that connection is more direct and just as cheap by the Canada Southern and its connections. Comparing it with the Credit Valley road, which as yet is not chartered to Woodstock and may never be unless the Port Dover road is built, we will find that the latter possess great advantages over the Credit Valley route. Three fourths of everything sold by the farmer are taken to American and not to Toronto or Montréal markets, as some supposes; and should we succeed in establishing reciprocal relations with our Yankee neighbors, which I think we will at no very distant day, then almost all of our surplus produce will go to the American markets and the Port Dover road will be the shortest possible route. The if there is any danger of the Western swallowing the Port Dover when it is connected with so strong an opposing line as the Canada Southern, how much more danger of it swallowing the Credit Valley when that road crosses no other road, is connected with no other and passes through a section of country that has not other road and never will have, and cannot be expected to care what company runs it so long as it is run and they get the benefit of it. I do not wish to be understood as opposing the Credit Valley road; far from it, but to those who would relax their efforts to secure the Port Dover because of the other I would say, don't leave the reality to chase the shadow, and if you think the Credit Valley road will do us so much good, and it undoubtedly will, remember that the most effectual way of securing it is to push the Port Dover road forward with a will, by voting it a bonus and taking stock, for this road once built the inducements to push the Credit Valley road to Woodstock will be far greater. Now a brief glance at our position with these roads completed. As we will then have shipping facilities made cheap by competition, we will have more and better buyers competing for our produces and consequently better prices; then we will [illegible] the population of our town [illegible] doubled by those when the railroad will bring in too fill their workshop and do their business and thus a large [illegible] market for the hundreds of small things a farmer sells and which go so far to swell his income will be created; trade will be stimulated; the wealth of the country will be rapidly increased; and as the individual prosperity is inseparably connected with the national, all will feel the benefit of this. In short, too much street cannot be laid on the importance of this scheme as a means of increasing the wealth of this section of the province.
An East Oxford Ratepayer.
Railways: Pt.D. & L.H.Ry.