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RAILWAY SHAREHOLDER'S MANUAL;
TO ALL THE
RAILWAYS IN THE WORLD,
COMPLETED, IN PROGRESS, AND PROJECTED;
FORMING AN ENTIRE
INDISPENSABLE TO ALL INTERESTED IN RAILWAY
TO WHICH IS ADDED A CORRECT LIST OF THE OFFICES AND OFFICERS
CAREFULLY REVISED AND CORRECTI
BY HENRY FUCK.
PUBLISHED BY EFFINGHAM WILSON, 11, ROYAL EXCHANGE;
TO THE NINTH EDITION.
THE Iron-way, has now superseded the ancient mail and post roads, of Great Britain. The whole country is covered with a meshwork of iron, and scarcely a town of any note is to be found, that has not a Railway communication with the metropolis. During the last Session, 342 Railway Bills, were presented to the House of Commons, of which, 190 received the Royal Assent, 35 were deferred until next Session, and 117 were withdrawn, or rejected. Of the 190 which received the Royal Assent, 114 only were to raise additional capital, for the construction of new lines, or branches, and 76 for deviations or amalgamations. Of the 35 deferred Bills, 30 are to raise new capital, and 5 for deviations and amalgamations. The total capital, authorised to be raised, by the 114 Acts for construction, which received the Royal Assent, is 34,665,8241., and the length 1,383 miles. The total capital, authorised to be raised, by the deferred Bills is 13,407,2967., and the length 525 miles.
A violent crusade against Railways, still continues to be carried on by the "Times" newspaper, every calamity that befals society, famine, commercial embarrassment, want of employment, and diminution of the circulating medium, is attributed to an extension of the Railway system. It is not Railway Calls, but the "Times" itself that has been the chief cause of the present commercial crisis. During the last autumn, and until the close of the year, it exaggerated the scarcity of food, it predicted that wheat would be 251. a load, it alarmed the legislature and the nation, by asserting, that all Europe was on the verge of famine. shipping could not be procured to bring over the corn, the Navigation laws were suspended, prices rose to an unheard-of extent, food on British account, was bought up all over the world, and gold to the amount of one million per week, was transmitted to pay for it. All the productive classes, that is, the labourers, mechanics, and shopkeepers, could scarcely earn enough to buy food, nine-tenths of the people, had nothing left to expend for clothing or luxuries, and every description of trade became paralized. To stop the drain for bullion, the Bank was compelled to reduce the quantity of notes in circulation, by raising the rate of interest, and refusing to discount so freely. The speculators, deprived of the means of paying for the corn, were forced to sell and stop payment; a corn panic set in, and it was then discovered
This induced boundless speculation,
that prices had ranged too high, that it was a false alarm as regards our not having corn enough, to feed the people until the present harvest was gathered, that the quantity imported was so enormous, that warehouse-room could not be found for it, and the stock so large, that a grain of our own crop need not be touched until next March. If to these causes be added, that our China trade is unprofitable, our East India trade precarious, and owing to the low price of sugar, and high freights, our West India trade hazardous, we can readily account for the present commercial difficulties, and embarrassments.
Instead of Railways being the cause of national distress, they are an element of prosperity, a source of national wealth, a means of existence to tens of thousands of the people. By the population returns, it is shown that we increase, at the rate of 400,000 a year, or upwards of 1,000 a day, and where can this increasing and superabundant population find subsistence, except in Railway operations? The land does not employ one more labourer than it did fifty years ago; and every branch of manufacture, trade, or commerce is already greatly overstocked. In Railway occupation only can this additional quantity of labourers be absorbed, which has opened a fresh field of enterprize, a new source of wealth, not in distant inhospitable regions, but within our own country, where every shilling expended, returns