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[p. 48] whether this is a mode that will command general confidence and approbation, and that, therefore, no facts are now before the public, which furnish the conclusion that the grant of a railroad is a public exigency even for such a purpose. The remonstrants would also add, that so far as they know and believe, there never can be a sufficient inducement to extend a railroad from Lowell, westwardly and north-westwardly, to the Connecticut, so as to make it the great avenue to and from the interior, but that its termination must be at Lowell1 and, consequently, that it is to be a substitute for the modes of transportation now in use between that place and Boston, and cannot deserve patronage from the supposition that it is to be more extensively useful. . . .

The remonstrants, therefore, respectfully submit: First, that there be no such exigency as will warrant the granting of the prayer for a railroad to and from Lowell. Secondly, that, if that prayer be granted, provision should be made as a condition for granting it, that the remonstrants shall be indemnified for the losses which will be thereby occasioned to them under pretext of the public weal.

This may seem the wilful blindness of self-interest; but the utterances of the press and the legislative debates of the period are similar in tone. In relation to another railroad, the Boston Transcript of Sept. 1, 1830, remarks:

‘It is not astonishing that so much reluctance exists against plunging into doubtful speculations. . . . The public itself is divided as to the practicability of the Rail Road. If they expect the assistance of capitalists, they must stand ready to guarantee the per centum per annum; without this, all hopes of Rail Roads are visionary and chimerical.’

In a report of legislative proceedings published in the Boston Courier of Jan. 25, 1830, Mr. Coggswell, of Ipswich, remarked:

‘Railways, Mr. Speaker, may do well enough in old ’

1 italics our own

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