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It is now nearly twelve years since I first called the attention of the House of Commons to the defects of our system of legislation with regard to Railways. In common with most men, I was impressed with the immense importance of an invention which promised, in no long time, to supersede our accustomed means of communication; but I also saw that the community was exposed to serious evils from the legislature conceding to private Companies the powers required for making and working Railways, unaccompanied by such conditions and restrictions as were necessary to secure the public interests. This attempt to rouse the legislature to a proper sense of its duty-so that, while it was yet time we might guard against abuses pregnant with the most disastrous consequences—was not attended with the success on which I had some right to calculate. But, though baffled for the time, I was not discouraged. When I found that nothing effectual was done by those on whom this duty properly devolved, I appealed to the public, through the press, and renewed my exertions

, in the House of Commons; and, in 1846, I succeeded in obtaining a Committee, through the labours of which a


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