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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 14

The Landed Interest and the Railways

The Landed Interest and the Railways.

Mr. Samuel Laing, M.P., has ably demonstrated that the landed interest have received 50 millions of pounds over market value from the people through Railway Companies' purchases. Their landed estates have been thereby increased £150,000,000 in value, not to speak of the relief afforded by the large share of local Taxation borne by these Railways, which Mr. Laing estimates at one half.

In 1814 1843 1868 1878 1884
Land paid 69 49 33 27 23 per cent.
Houses 28 42 48 50 53 per cent.
Railways (nil) 3 8 13 14 per cent.
Other property 3 6 11 10 10 per cent.

As an instance of the way in which the last generation of Peers dealt with Railways we may recall the fact that in 1818 the House of Lords threw out the first Stockton Railway Bill for fear of disturbing the Duke of Cleveland's fox-covers. These very rails have since made his successor a Crœsus. The mode of opposition adopted by some Peers of the present generation is different, as instanced in two cases, typical of hundreds that we might mention. In 1878 Lord Beaumont claimed £20,000 for 1½ acre of ground at Fulham, wanted for the Metropolitan District Railway. A Jury awarded him £7,250. In 1884 Lord Derby demanded £200 an acre for common agricultural land in the vicinity of Bury, for which a Railway Company offered him as much as £100 an acre. The Jury gave £107 as the fair value to be paid.