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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 72

How it Works

How it Works.

Why, we have spent six thousand millions to practically place a turnpike, a barrier, at every mile along the great high- page 23 ways of the world; and in this fact alone we have more than sufficient cause to account for all the trouble, misery, and discontent that exist. Consider for a moment what they mean—how they bar the flow of trade, commerce, and social intercourse. Let me try and make this clear. Here is a ton of goods required to be moved 150 miles, and the charge is 2d. per ton per mile. We will say that the cost of production and taking them to the starting point on the railway was £2 per ton, and their price at the market town £2 10s. When these goods have travelled 60 miles all the profit will have vanished, and on their arrival the owner will have to pay 15s. additional for railway charges alone. If the profit at the starting point were 15s. per ton, it would all be gone when 90 miles were passed over; if 20s. per ton 120 miles of transit would consume it all; so that on the three tons, in addition to a loss of the whole profit of 45s., the unfortunate user would have to pay 30s. more, or 75s. in all for railage charges alone. This is how thousands of people have been ruined without knowing exactly what it was that injured them.

It matters nothing what the rate per mile is, it in the system that is wrong. If the rate were only per ton per mile, the result would be the same, for, as I have already pointed out, a man 150 miles from a market could not compete with a man only 10 miles away.