St. Andrews and Quebec Railroad—First Mooted
In a preceding column may be found some pertinent remarks by the Editor of the Montreal Gazette on the proposed Railways to Quebec from Boston, Portland, and Belfast. We have also made some extracts from an ale report on the vallies of the Etchemin and Chaudiere, by Captain Yule of the Royal Engineers; who was appointed by His Excellency Lord Aylmar to make a reconnoissance in August last, in compliant with an address from a Committee of Citizens of Quebec, appointed to promote a Railway Communication between that City and the Atlantic, through the State of Maine. Col. Long of the U. S. Service has also made a report on the Portland and Quebec Route, which we have likewise inserted.
The great object of the Canadians is to overcome the untoward circumstances of their being shut out from marine commerce for one half of the year, and a very feasible means of accomplishing this object presents itself in the construction of Railways from the Saint Lawrence to the Atlantic. The Americans, fully aware of the immense benefits which their country would derive by possessing the transit of British and Colonial trade have entered on the exploration of practicable routes through different departs of Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont, with a vigour and perseverance which shows the value they set on its accomplishment. They will engage to carry the whole line as far as Quebec, if authority be given hem by the Provincial Government. With these facts before our eyes, does it not become an important inquiry, to us, whether an opening may not be made through our own territories, which would equally serve the commercial purposes of Canada, and diffuse the benefits which would flow from it over these provinces?
We find a remarkable coincidence in the opinions of the Belfast people and those of Capt. Yule as to the effect the Railways through Maine would have in extending their advantages to this province; but Capt. Yule in considering the best direction for a permanent line, throw out a hint that it is highly important to keep in view the intended Steam-boat communication from Valentis to Halifax, and that a more easterly course of the line from Quebec, would lead through New Brunswick. An attentive perusal of the copious extracts in our preceding columns will tend to elucidate the preliminary observations we now make on a subject which is of paramount importance to British North America; and to no portion of it more than our own.
Other ages have been celebrated as the days of invention, but the present period may be called the era of execution. Splendid and extensive projects produce surprise and distrust at their first announcement, and are often the subject of ridicule, but our present experience should enable us to correct this error, which is the bane of enterprise and the direct enemy to genius. A quarter of a century ago, he would have been considered a bedlamite who should have suggested the possibility of covering the ocean with ships divested of sails but perfectly adapted to the purposes of navigation; or of propelling vehicles on land at a rate exceeding the velocity of the wind; yet we have seen these miracle performed and progressively extending their wonders. Under these views we do not entertain any serious doubt of seeing a Railway extending directly from this town to Quebec; and w shall conclude the present article with a quotation from a paper written by Henry Fairbairn Esq. and published upwards of three years ago in the Untied Service Journal, entitled “Progress for Maine Railways across the Isthmus of Panama, and in the British Possessions in North America: . . . .