The Grand River Times, August, 1851
Michigan Central Railroad Monster.
It will be well for the people of the Northern portion of the settlements of the lower peninsula of this State, to look well into the notions and doings of that little monster monopoly, called the Michigan Central Railroad, in connection with about a dozen Detroit gentlemen, owning property opposite Detroit, in Queen Victoria’s Dominions. A plan has been devised by these two combinations for the pretended purpose of building up Detroit—to have the great Western Railway, through Canada West, diverging at London from the originally intended line and plan, to Port Sarnia, where it would connect with the Northern route from Port Huron, through the richest and most fertile portion of Michigan, to Grand Haven, which latter named route, has been once surveyed at the expense of the State, and as we have been credibly informed, the charter of which, at present time in the hands of a company that are abundantly able if they will, to build the same in three years, or less. The Central Railroad men, Mr. FORBES, Mr. BROOKS, and others, cannot be content with the very liberal charter that has been given them, and that too, by the votes of the counties on the line of the Northern Road through Michigan, while said Central Railroad charter turns out to be so very liberal that they are not even required to fence their road, but on the contrary, their charter which is part of the statute law of the State, in connection with the common law, as laid down by the Supreme Court, gives them permission to kill all the cattle in the State, if they should stray onto, or across their track. Again, this very liberal charter gives them permission to carry the citizens of other States at a less rate per mile over their road, than the citizens of Michigan ; for instance, the man of business at Paw Paw, wishing to go to Detroit, is required to pay as much as the man from Illinois, Wisconsin, or any other Western State, whose travel naturally centers on that route, from New Buffalo to Detroit—the distance from New Buffalo to Paw Paw is sixty-two miles by Railroad, at three cents per mile, amounting to one dollar and eighty-six cents in favor of citizens of foreign States, over the regularly gulled Michiganders, who have voluntarily, but unwittingly placed themselves in a position to have their feathers picked from them by this company. The privileges here mentioned are but a tithe of what are given and taken by the great and never to be satisfied by the chartered robbers of Michigan.
Now, what will be the effect of their new project, if carried out by the builders, and for the purpose of continuing the Michigan Central Railroad, and connecting with the great Western Railroad, through Canada West ; by building or aiding with Michigan funds to build, the road from Windsor opposite Detroit to London, instead of building a road direct from Detroit, on the American side of St. Clair Lake and River, to Port Huron? We answer, that if the road be built on the Canadian side, as proposed, Detroit will be checked in her growth ; the many improvements that are now going on in that flourishing city of 25000 inhabitants, would be in a measure be stopped for the want of funds that now circulate there—it would have the effect of turning many of the gentlemanly Warehouse men, and business men from their present lucrative and independent business, carried on by them, into servants and menials of these Railroad companies, to obtain a living for themselves and families. Detroit would in a measure be Marshallized, many of those splendid structures and edifices now being built, would soon be lacking and begging for tenants and like many other places, a general neglect and decay would assume and take the place that is now filled with thrift and enterprise. Detroiters! when you see the projected connection formed by the Michigan Central with the Canada road at Windsor, you will then look calmly on and see the thousands that now throng the wide avenues of your beautiful city, daily passing directly from the ears, on board of the ferry boats to the cars, without even buying as much as one cigar from you—the thousands of dollars that are now left daily in Detroit, would be scattered along the line and at the extremities of the several Railroad routes.
We are of the opinion, that if Mr. FORBES and Mr. BROOKS would favor the building of a road direct from Detroit to Port Huron, on the Michigan side, instead of going into dark and benighted Canada, with their enterprise and funds, they would not only benefit their own condition, but that of the State ; to whom we say, they should not be a little indebted in the way of good will. The road from Port Huron to Detroit would give to the Central Michigan Railroad, all the travel that would naturally be inclining South, from the Great Northern thoroughfare, which in conception and survey, is a child of the same age, and born of the same good or evil spirit that brought forth the Michigan Central. Although our Northern has not matured as quick as the Central child—we have faith to believe that when our Northern does mature, and when it reaches the full vigor of manhood, that it will be far more healthy than the Central. Let the Northern road be built if possible within two years and the carrying of lumber alone from point to point, will require half the number of cars and motive power there is now on the Central road. The Northern road will run through the best wheat section of the State—travelers going through the State will form a more favorable opinion of the State at large, than they have going through on the comparatively sterile track of the Central road—and when this track shall be completed, a traveler from Boston or New York to Wisconsin, Minesota and the Northern part of Iowa, can reach his point of destination at least one day earlier than by any other route. If the Michigan Central Company had looked truly to their own interests two years since, and made a branch road from Battle Creek to this point (Grand Haven,) and then with one or two fast steamers, like the Arctic, or Ocean, they would have secured to themselves all the travel from Wisconsin, Northern Iowa and Minesota, for some time to come.
The Northern Railroad through the State is bound to be built, and its Eastern terminus must be Port Huron. Let every man and press in favor of this Northerner, speak out upon this subject ; if the Central men are bound to desert the State, after fleeing it the best they know how, let them look in a different direction for Legislative aid and favor. It cannot be denied that Northern votes have carried every measure asked for by that Company.
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