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MAGNITUDE OF RAILWAY SPECULATIONS. On a moderate estimate, the railways already in existence and to be executea may oe taken to COlt. £ laO,UUU,UUO The gross profit on that capital, at 8 per cent., would be 12,000,000 From which a deduction of 35 per cent. for expenses (the lowest expenditure of any large company) would amount to 4,200,000 Leaving the net profit of ~T7.800.000-orn«» quite 51 per cent. upon the capital. n In other words, to afford the shareholder in all oar com- pleted and projected railways a return of rather less than 5i per cent, upou their outlay the public must annually expend £ 12,000,000 in railway travelling alone. I he word mitHoa" comes glibly from the tongue, but conveys no tangible linage to the mind. An effort is reqlured to realize to the imagination the magnitude of the *u n which must be annually spent on railway travelling to yield our speculators a tnoaerate profit on their capital. Let any one attempt distinctly and articulately to couut aloud from one to a million: he will fiuJ it hard work to enunciate on the average one tbousano numbers iu the hour, and would con. sequently require a hundred days for teu hours a day to count thv lui lioti. the mechanical operation of telling over a million of sovereigns piece by piece would occupy a full I month at the rate ot 3,600 an hour for ten hours a day. The joint earnings of 1,830 agricultural labouiers with their 7s. a week for thirty years each, not a working day left out, [ would be less tiian a million of pouuds sietling. The joint- earnings of 640 mechanics at 20s. a-week, toiling each as unintermittingly during the same period, would not amount to a million of pounds sterling. The pay of 9J British general officers at £ 1 a-day, would not in tuirty years amount to a million of pounds sterling. So much of toil, and danger, and exposure to the elements—so much of patient, persever- ing, and more or less sxilful industry—so much of valour and accomplishment, and high spirit, as represented by woney-may be bought for a million of pounds sterling, And our railway-projectors and speculators calculate upon diawing twelve of these millions annually from the pockets of the public. In other words, tney expect that twelve mdiions of peopte-half the population of the Three Kingdoms, men, women, and <ht(dren—(iM 1 id per mile; will each travel 160 miles by railway every year, and pay them 201. a head. Or they expect that one million of people will travel 1,920 miies each ill the course of the year, and pay them £ 12 a h ad. Or they expect that one hundred and twenty thousaud people will each travel 16,000 miles by railway every year, and pay them JE100 per head. Be it remembered, too, that railway- travelling constitutes but a fraction of the whole annml levelling of the nation. Our railwavs, existent and in pro- jection, embrace not one-half of the surface aud population of Great Britain i and even in the railway districts there is active competition from steaoi-boats, omnibuses cabs vans spring-carts, &c.&c. The steam-boats of the Thame's and' the Clyde carry more passengers than the Greeuwicn, Black- wall, and Glasgow and Greenock Railways. In the groat towns, not ouly the wealthier classes as a badge of station and tor amenity, but tradesmen for professional purposes, keep vehtctea, which wheu travelling ou business or for plea- sure they from sheer economy generally employ in preference to other modes ot conveyauce. In the rural districts, land- owners and farmers do the same. Again, the price of a rail- way-ticket is only part of the outlay of tne railway-travellei on conveyances. In most cases it implies the additional expense of short-stage, cab, or 'bus, to convey him to and from the railway, or from one railway to another. Our sanguine projectors and speculators pay little heed to these considerations though the brokers who are agents in the transfer ot shares often ask each other in wonderment where all the travellers are to come from. Put the question to any daobler in railway stock, aud he replies with an Uh with the increase of locomotive facilities travelling wil increase indefinitely." It may be so: hitherto the theory has held good yet there must be some natural limit to the activiu of the principle. Men do not navel for travelling's sake, but on business or for pleasure-to earn money, or to spend it and what possible facility will set men in motion where the.e motives are wanting 1 The enormous amount of aqope) invested in railways would seem to imply that some classes 0 Englishmen are expected to live on railways, as some classes I of Chinese live on their canals. To render these under- takings remunerative, a numerous portion of society wout. need,—like the tabled birds of paradise, to keep always on the wing—to spend their lives darting from towu to town witl> thc velocity of swallows in a summer evening. The boldness and extent of these aggregate uudertaki.igs conveys a mag- nificent idea of the resources and enterprise of Britain j ou their very magnitude lies like a load oo ihe imagination, while the incessant restlessness and s»ift movements they prcsup. pose in such a numerous class of the community make the head giddy only to think of.—Spectator.






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