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with others equally wealthy and enterprising. They claimed to have made, either jointly or severally, one-third of all the railroads in the United Kingdom; were prepared to lodge £30,000 in the Provincial treasury as security for their good faith, and make either line through a single Province, or all the lines required, in any time that might be stipulated for, and upon any terms that might be fixed by Imperial and Colonial engineers. Another of these contractors, said Mr. Howe, will make the forty miles from Truro to Pictou, or thirty or fifty from the trunk line to Windsor or Cornwallis, in less time, and with less chaffering, than would be required by some of our great politicians and capitalists to build a barn. Mr. Howe also referred to a proposition from an associated body of the workingmen of England, who were prepared to purchase fifty miles of land along the line, and transfer their skill, capital, and families to the Provinces, if fair and honorable terms were given. He could, he said, if authorized, have formed a dozen of such associations, and made arrangements to settle township after township, as the work advanced, through New Brunswick to the St. Lawrence.]
The position that we occupy, then, Mr. Mayor, is one of security and varied resource. We can unite with the other Provinces for the construction of intercolonial railways, or we can“ do what we like with our own.”
We can make for British America one thousand miles of railway at three and a half per cent. if these Provinces are alive to their own interests. We can make the whole line to Portland, independently of the other, if New Brunswick follow our example, and pledge her public funds for the money. Or, we can make our own roads to Pictou on one side, and Bridgetown on the other, without reference to what may be done beyond the frontier. If others choose to waste time with bubble companies and expensive experiments — if this noble offer is rejected, we have enough to do till our neighbors purchase wisdom at six per cent. In the meanwhile we shall begin at the capital, and extend our own lines east and west. We can commence to-morrow if we choose, and can make one hundred miles with more ease and celerity than any private company could make ten.
It has been said by some that the delegation was premature. Yet in what position would we stand now but for the delegation? We are armed at all points. We are prepared to make all the roads projected through the three Provinces, and save them £175,000 a year in interest. We are prepared with contractors to make the whole line to Port-, land at five per cent., and we are prepared to make our own roads, independent of our neighbors. While we have been doing all this, Maine and New Brunswick have been passing facility bills, to try and get two
hundred and seventy-five miles of railway made with about as many thousand pounds. They have not yet made a mile, or stuck a pickaxe; and yet we are told that our delegation was premature !
But it has often been said that we have broken faith with the people of Portland. I should like to know in what manner. The gentlemen of Portland invited us to discuss with them the propriety of making a railroad. The delegates who attended represented local meetings or committees only, and nobody who sent them dreamed that the government or Legislature was to be bound by any thing they said or did. The meeting was preliminary, for the purpose of comparing views and eliciting information. Had we supposed that Maine was to dictate to us how we were to make our portion of the railroad, or that we were to be bound to pay some undiscovered capitalists £60,000 a year, when we could get our work done for £35,000, we certainly should have been no parties to the convention. But in what essential lave we broken faith? We offer to our neighbors the means to make the whole line. We have pledged our public resources to make our part of it. Have they offered us a pound, or raised one-fifth of what they want themselves? Nay, can either or both show us anybody's obligation to lend them or us one-tenth of what we jointly require? They asked us to coöperate with them to obtain a railroad, and we have broken faith by providing for our own requirements, and offering them money to build it to their very doors. The spirited and unanimous demonstration made by all ranks and classes in Quebec, shows that our efforts have not been unappreciated in that quarter, and that the offer of the British government has been hailed with the patriotic feeling it is so well calculated to evoke.
But, sir, all winter long, a gentleman from one of our northern coun. ties has been pressing upon the Legislature a bill, asking to be incorporated, that he might build the Portland railway. Now, I happen to know something of that person, and of the resources of the county he is trying to mislead; and sure I am, that, if you had incorporated him three times over, he would not raise, between this time and next Christmas, as much money as would make a single mile of railroad. But let the county of Cumberland seriously reflect on what this gentleman and his friends are about; for just so sure as the folly of these people tempts New Brunswick to rely upon coöperation which they have not the power to give, so surely will years elapse before Cumberland sees a railroad approach her borders, either on one side or the other. The people of Cumberland, however, shall not be so deceived; I will not wait till Mr. Dickey crosses the seas, but will take an early opportunity to discuss with him the merits of his scheme, and then let the people of Cumberland decide between us.
But, sir, it has been urged that by accepting the proposal of Earl Grey we pledge ourselves to make railroads in New Brunswick, and to bear the burden of the whole scheme. A word of explanation upon this point. In giving my adhesion to this plan, I conceive I did nothing more than pledge Nova Scotia to repay the principal and interest necess sary to construct the railroad across her own territory; I assumed that the other Provinces would do the same. If, however, it shall appear that New Brunswick is unable to bear her own burden, I am quite prepared to consider whether Canada and Nova Scotia shall lend their aid
to what amount, and in what proportions. But this is a new question to be discussed and decided hereafter upon its own merits. New Brunsa wick, in my opinion, will reap the largest amount of benefit from the expenditure. She will get two most important lines at three and a half per cent., the other Provinces but one. She has eleven million acres of crown lands to settle and to rise in value. Her population may be doubled in two or three years almost without an effort, and I am very sanguine that, when the true bearing of this proposal upon her great interests comes to be understood, her people will accept it without any apprehension for the result. These two lines will touch nearly all her more populous counties, and breathe new life into them all; these two lines will open up millions of acres of wilderness lands, and prepare locations for half a million of people, who will settle township after township as the works advance.
But, it has been said that our own revenues will be swamped, and that our own country will be burdened by this speculation. Now, taking the worst view that can be taken of this enterprise, let us suppose that our one hundred and thirty miles are made, and do not, for a few years, yield a pound beyond their working expenses. In that case we should have £35,000 currency to raise. In 1849, our revenue was £15,000 less than in 1850; yet there was enough to pay all our ordinary expenses, and £30,000 or £40,000 to spare for roads, bridges, and schools. This year the Receiver General assures me our revenue will increase from £5,000 to £7,000 over that of 1850. Here, then, are £22,000 over and above the revenue of 1849, before the railroads have been commenced. The difference of £13,000 may be met, for a few years, by an issue of Province paper, if our revenue should not increase from emigration or increased expenditure. But, sir, the population of Nova Scotia is three hundred thousand, and doubles every twenty years. Some of our young men, it is true, go abroad from restlessness and a desire to see the world. A few to better their fortunes, it may be; more to be convinced, by sad experience, that half the labor, energy, and skill fruitlessly expended in foreign states, would have made them richer and happier in their own country. But, sir, the cradles of Nova Scotia add fifteen thousand, year by year, to our population. I never see a bride going to church with orange blossoms in her bonnet, or a young couple strolling to Kissing Bridge of a summer evening, but I involuntarily exclaim, Heaven bless them; there go the materials to make the railroads. So long, then, as love is made in Nova Scotia, and love makes children, we shall have fifty or sixty thousand added to our population every five or six years, who will add at least £20,000 or £30,000 to our annual income. The speculation is, then, perfectly safe for us, even if an emigrant should not touch our shores.
Let me now, however, turn your attention to a subject which has been too long neglected in these North American Provinces — I mean the subject of emigration and colonization. We are too apt to turn to the United States for comparisons unfavorable to our own prosperity and advancement. One of the principal causes of this prosperity we rarely. pause to consider. Yet I believe that, since the recognition of American independence, the British Islands alone have thrown off at least five millions of people, to swell the numbers in the republic. Every convulsion in continental Europe adds its quota of capital, skilled labor, and energy to those States. Germany has sent millions ; France, Switzerland, Italy, lesser but still valuable contributions. Add to the emigrants who have come, the progeny that has sprung from their loins, and one-half the whole population of the United States may be taken to represent its immigration.
Should we, then, with institutions as free as those of our neighbors; with a territory of boundless extent; with natural resources which defy calculation; with a noble country in our rear, capable of sustaining millions of people, permit this stream of population and wealth to flow past us, as the gulf stream flows, without a thought as to its utility, its volume, or its direction?
Of late our attention has only been turned to emigration by the occasional arrival of a floating pest house, and by the sufferings of poor wretches, flung by the accidents of life upon our shores. But the time approaches rapidly when all this will be changed; when steamships of large size will transport the surplus labor of the British Islands to these Provinces, to go in upon these railroad lines, and fill up the fertile lands of the interior. Simultaneously with the commencement of these railroads the stream will set this way, and it will never cease to flow till it enlivens the shores of the Pacific. Make these railroads, and our own enterprising townsman, who has already bridged the Atlantic, will start the ocean omnibus, or, if he does not, he will soon have competitors
upon the line.
It has been of late too much the fashion in Nova Scotia to speak slightingly of emigration. How few pause to reflect how much even of our own prosperity we owe to it; and yet a smail band of English adventurers, under Cornwallis, laid the foundation of Halifax. These, at a critical moment, were reinforced by the loyalist emigration, which flowed into our Western counties, and laid broad and deep the foundation of their prosperity. A few hardy emigrants from the old Colonies, and their descendants, built up the maritime county of Yarmouth. Two men of that stock, first discovered the value of Locke's Island, the commercial centre of East Shelburne. A few hundreds of sturdy Germans peopled the beautiful county of Lunenburg. A handful of emigrants from Yorkshire gave animation to the county of Cumberland. The vale of Colchester has been made to blossom as the rose by the industry of a few adventurers from the North of Ireland. Half a century ago a few poor but pious lowland Scotchmen penetrated into Pictou. They were followed by a few hundreds of Highlanders, many of them “evicted" from the Duchess of Sutherland's estates. Look at Pictou now, with its beautiful river slopes and fertile mountain settlements, its one hundred schools, its numerous churches and decent congregations, its productive mines, and thirty thousand inhabitants, living in comfort and abundance. The picture rises like magic before the eye, and yet every cheerful tint and feature has been supplied by emigration. At the last election it was said that two hundred and seventy Frasers voted in that county; all of them heads of families and proprietors of land. I doubt if as many of the same name can be found in all Scotland who own real estate.
I remember the county of Sydney well, when the descendants of the old loyalists and disbanded soldiers were scattered upon its sea-coast and river intervales, "few and far between.” Look at it now, and see what emigration, chance directed, has done for it even in a few years. Turn to the three counties of Cape Breton, into which emigrants have been thrown, without forethought on the part of the Imperial or Provincial government — without any care or preparation. What would those counties be without the broad acres these men have cleared; without their stock, their shipping, and their industry? And what would our revenue be without their annual consumption ? What lesson should we gather, then, from the history of the United States and from our own? The value of emigration and colonization. But an idea prevails that Nova has no space to spare, no lands to people; that, however important emi