Page:Mexico, California and Arizona - 1900.djvu/112

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94
OLD MEXICO AND HER LOST PROVINCES.

amounts as they become due are issued to the companies, which must wait for collection till there are funds to meet them.

The latest plan, affecting most of the great schemes still chiefly on paper, gives no subsidy with the charter, but gives, instead, certain privileges to atone for its absence. A less strict accountability to Government, with a much higher tariff of charges, is permitted. It has been questioned by some whether under these conditions a charter without the subsidy is not better than with it. It is to be borne in mind, however, so far as the matter of the higher rates is concerned, that between competing points the company which can afford to run at the cheapest rates gets the business. If but a tithe of the railroads now covering the map like a net-work be built, there need be no fear of the lack of a lively competition.

The stocks and bonds of railroads are not bought on the word of a desultory traveller mainly in search of the picturesque—though I will admit, too, that they are often bought upon less. I am not afraid, therefore, to express a certain enthusiasm about the ferro-carriles of Mexico, which are in everybody's mouth. It is the railways which have made the modern world elsewhere what it is, and why should they fail of the usual effect here?

They may be overdone, and there may be panics and shrinkages, such as have occurred elsewhere, though this is not extremely probable, owing to the reasons for wariness which lie very much on the surface. The conditions to be conformed to must not be sought in a parallel situation of things in the United States, but rather in such countries, perhaps, as Russia and India, with a large peasant population to be developed, instead of a new population to be created. We have built railroads in advance of settlement, and depended upon immigration