THE PROPOSED HAWICK AND CARLISLE RAILWAYS. Extraordinary Scene at Kelso.
(From the 'Caledonian Mercury of Saturday)
Yesterday afternoon a public meeting of the inhabitants of Kelso and
neighbourhood was held in Kelso, for the purpose of considering the proposed
schemes for providing railway accommodation between Hawick and Carlisle, and
passing resolutions thereanent. The meeting appeared to cause considerable
excitement in the town, as it was known that the opposing parties would be
present on the occasion, and a "Scene" was expected. Large numbers of
visitors arrived in town during the day, and a special train left Edinburgh
in the forenoon, taking up the supporters of the North British Railway
scheme at various stations on the line. The meeting assembled in the Town
Hall, which was soon filled by the supporters of both schemes; the Kelso
people being, at the outset, completely "swamped" by individuals from other
districts. On the appearance of Mr. Scott CHISHOLME, Chairman of the
Provisional Committee of the Carlisle, Langholm, and Hawick scheme, he was
saluted by cheers mingled with a few hisses. Mr. HODGSON, Chairman of the
North British Railway Company, was received in a similar manner. Among
others there were present:-
Mr. James Stormonth DARLING, W.S., Chief Magistrate of Kelso
Mr. Scott CHISHOLME, of Stirches
Bailie George TURNBULL, Hawick
Ex-Bailie TURNBULL, Hawick
Mr. Walter WILSON, of Orchard, Hawick
Mr. James WILSON, Hawick
Mr. William NIXON, Lynnwood, Hawick
Mr. George OLIVER, Hawick
Mr. CARMICHAEL, writer, Hawick
Mr. GRIEVE, Branxholm Park, Hawick
Mr. Thomas LAIDLOW, Hawick
Mr. Walter LAING, Hawick
Mr. Hugh DOBIE, writer, Langholm
Mr. SALKELD, Deputy Chairman of the Caledonian Railway
Mr. CONNELL, distiller, Langholm
Dr. M'KENZIE, Kelso
Dr. MURRAY, Kersknowe
Mr. ALEXANDER, solicitor, Selkirk
Mr. HODGSON, Chairman of the North British Railway Company
Mr. JOWETT, Director of the North British Railway Company
Mr. RONALD, do. do.
Mr. LEISHMAN, do. do
Mr. CRAVEN, do. do.
Mr. NAIRNE, Secretary, do.
Mr. ROWBOTHAM, Manager, do.
Mr. WOOD, W.S., law agent, do.
Mr. HURST, locomotive superintendent, do.
Mr. DEANS, Jedburgh
Mr. BRUCE, Muirdean
Mr. DUDGEON, Spylaw
Mr. Wm. DOVE, Wark
Mr. J. B. BOYD, Cherry Trees
Mr. John ROBERTSON, Edenmouth
Mr. Thomas THOMSON, Millfield
Mr. James TAIT, of Langrigg
Mr. BOWER, writer, Melrose
Mr. Mark TURNBULL, cornfactor, Melrose
Mr. D. L. ROY, Newthorn
Mr. William ROY, jun., Newthorn
Geo. BUCKHAM, Kersmains
Mr. Robert CURRY, solicitor, Kelso
Mr. RUTHERFORD, of Paradise
Major SCOTT, of Gala
Captain CLARK, of Langhugh, R.N.
Mr. James STALLNER, Baron-Bailie of Galashiels
Mr. Alexander RUTHERFORD, writer
On the motion of Mr. CURRY, solicitor, Mr. Stormonth DARLING, Senior
Magistrate of the town took the chair.
The CHAIRMAN said he was extremely happy to see so large and so respectable
an assemblage met. It was upon a question of very great importance to the
western part of the county more especially, but even down this length and in
the adjoining county of Berwick, railway communication to the west opened up
directly would be of very great consequence to all the interests,
agricultural commercial, and manufacturing. That was admitted by every one
(Applause). The only question they had hitherto to consider, and the
question they had this day to consider was, by which route that railway
should be made, whether it should be through Liddesdale or by Langholm. The
present meeting had been called for the purpose of hearing explanations from
the two parties. Mr. CHISHOLME on the one side, and Mr. HODGSON on the
other. He hoped they would hear those gentlemen, and the views and
statements they had to lay before them, with that attention and
which the subject deserved, and that their proceedings to-day would be
marked with an order and propriety that any decisions they might come to
would show by the manner in which they had heard the speakers, and in which
their meeting had been conducted, that the decisions ought to have their
proper influence. (Cheers.)
Mr. HODGSON said it had been represented to him that a large body of
gentlemen, who were anxious to hear the proceedings had remained outside, on
the understanding that this room would not be sufficient. In order that
these parties might hear the proceedings, he begged to move the adjournment
of this meeting to the Corn Exchange, in order that they might be in an
apartment sufficiently large to contain, at least, a due representation of
the inhabitants of the town and the neighbourhood upon this great and
important question. (Applause.)
The CHAIRMAN said, he confessed he did not see the room half-filled. (Hear,
hear, cheers, and hisses).
It appeared to him that, if the gentlemen standing at the door would only
make a lititle way in, and leave free access on the stair head, there would
be plenty of room. He just told them that, if they wanted to hear the
speakers, let them stay there; if they wanted to see the speakers speaking,
and not heard, let them go to the Corn Exchange. (Hear, hear, and cheers).
He had only further to say that, from his knowledge of meetings of this kind
in the town and district of Kelso, he was quite sure that this hall was
perfectly sufficient to contain all that had turned out at any of their
A scene of considerable confusion here ensued. One gentleman stated that
the policeman had told parties outside that the meeting was adjourned to
the Corn Exchange; to which the Chairman replied that he didn't care what
the policeman said. Several parties endeavoured to get a hearing, but were
saluted with such cries as "Turn him out," "What about the train from
Edinburgh," and so on.
Order having at length been restored,
Mr. Scott CHISHOLME proceeded to address the meeting.
Mr. Scott CHISHOLME proceeded to address the meeting. He said -- It is a
public disappointment that the long-vexed question of railway communications
between the county of Roxburgh, the west of Scotland, Carlisle, and the
south-west of England, is still undecided, and it is matter for regret that
the settlement of this question should again involve another expensive
Parliamentary contest in the ensuing session. But it is satisfactory to the
party with whom I act that before they again assume the initiative, they
endeavoured by every means in their power to effect a compromise with our
opponents on fair and reasonable terms -(hear, hear)-and, therefore, that
the onus of this contest does not rest with us. Soon after the loss of our
bill in the Committee of the House of Lords, at a meeting in London to
attempt an arrangement, I proposed to the North British Railway Company,
with the consent of the local party and their Caledonian allies, that, as
the line from Hawick to Carlisle by Langholm had hitherto been held by all
parties as the one best adapted for the local interest, that line should
still be adopted, that the Caledonian Company, the North British Company,
and the local parties should find mutually equal portions of the capital
required for the construction of that line, that all parties should have an
equal representation at the Board of Directors, that the line should be
worked for the advantage of all concerned, and that, if we could not agree
on the mode in which the line was to be worked, our disputes should be
settled by a reference to an arbiter, to be appointed by the Board of
Directors. (Cheers.) This proposal was declined. Unwilling again to
engage in another contest, we next proposed that the North British should
construct the line from Hawick to Langholm, and have it in property, and
that the Caledonian should construct the southern end of the line, from
their own system up to Langholm, making Lanholm, in that way, the point of
an interchange of traffic between these two companies. (Hear, hear.) This
was also rejected, and I think that you will agree with me that, after we
had offered a third share in the interest of our scheme, and failing the
acceptance of that, that we offered to give to the North British more than
half of the whole, there was little room remaining for us upon which to
proceed for further compromise. (Hear, hear, and applause.) We might have
abandoned our scheme altogether, but that would not have suited the wants of
the country. It would have been making over the whole of the local
districts to the mercy of the North British Railway Company, and rivetting
upon the Border districts a monopoly of the whole traffic between sea and
sea. (Cheers.) As nothing but the Liddesdale line would satisfy the
Chairman of the North British -(hear, hear, from Mr. HODGSON)-it was
impossible for us, from very obvious reasons, to adopt it as the basis of
compromise, for however advantageous that project would be............
The speaker was here interrupted by a number of persons entering the hall,
and people talking, who, in their turn, were threatened to be turned out by
others, who wished the proceedings to go on.
Mr. CRAIG, junior magistrate, said there were a hundred persons at the door
who could not get in.
The CHAIRMAN - Let them come up. There is room for fifty at least.
A wish being still expressed by some to adjourn, a suggestion was made that
the people belonging to other districts should leave the meeting, and allow
the Kelso people to decide for themselves.
The CHAIRMAN - If you will just remain quiet for a few minutes we will see
whether those wanting admittance can get in. I heard a proposal made just
now, and I can easily understand what that proposal means. There is in this
hall more than sufficient room for those who belong to the town and district
of Kelso - (cheers) - and the proposal is, that those who come from a
distance should adjourn, if they choose, and leave the inhabitants to
themselves. (Cheers, hisses, waving of hats, and great confusion.)
A VOICE - Mr. HODGSON might inform us how many free trains have still to
come in. (Cheers and laughter, and a VOICE - "How many free tickets?").
Dr. MURRAY, who was standing in the back part of the hall, said there was
almost no room behind, and that a great many people were waiting outside
expecting an adjournment.
The CHAIRMAN - Allow me to tell this meeting that the resolution, so far as
I am concerned, is this, that there shall be no adjournment. (Great uproar,
which continued for some time.) If you are not prepared to hear Mr. HODGSON
and Mr. CHISHOLME give the explanations which they are prepared now to give,
and which, I say, notwithstanding all that has been stated, there is plenty
of room for those here to hear in perfect quietness - (cheers and hisses) -
and if there is to be an adjournment of this meeting, the effect, so far as
I am concerned, will be that the meeting shall be dissolved. (Cheers, and
all sorts of cries.)
Dr. M"KENZIE gave it as his opinion that an adjournment was desired by the
The CHAIRMAN said Mr. CHISHOLME would go on; but, from the noise that
prevailed, such a thing was impossible.
Mr. CURRY - I think it is perfectly obvious that if all the parties who have
no business here -- (The end of the sentence was lost in the general
Mr. HODGSON said the question of adjournment was a measure which, he
thought, the Chairman was bound, not to decide himself, but to put to the
meeting. (Cheers, groans, yells, and cries of "Fair play.") He spoke
entirely to a point of order. ("NO, no.") He proceeded to say that he was
anxious that Mr. CHISHOLME should not be interrupted, and that he (Mr.
HODGSON) should not be interrupted in his reply; but it was quite obvious
that, however many this room might contain at present, there was a large
number outside who could not get in, and who had a right to vote upon the
question that should be put from the chair. He claimed, as a right, that
the question be put. (Cries of "adjourn", and hisses).
Mr. Hugh DOBIE - I put it to Mr. HODGSON to ask his friends with the free
passes to leave the room. (Hear, hear, and cheers).
Mr. HODGSON - I have a proposition to make. I propose to Mr. CHISHOLME
(looking around) - Is he gone ? Well, then, I propose to this meeting now
to adjourn - (Hisses) - to the Corn Exchange. (Cries of "No", and uproar).
I deny the special train. (Sensation.).
Mr. SALKELD - I am ready to prove it. (Hear,hear).
A PERSON - How many got their supper in Hawick last night ?
Mr. HODGSON repeated his proposal of adjournment and said that if the other
party chose, he would agree to poll those of the meeting who resided within
ten miles of Kelso. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. SALKELD - I accept the challenge; and let the Chief Magistrate of Kelso
name the day for the poll.
Nothing, however, resulted from this challenge, and the uproar continued.
The chief scene of attraction was the platform, where influential supporters
of both schemes were indulging in mutual recrimination. By-and-bye, when a
number had left the meeting, Dr. M'KENZIE was voted to the chair, but was
not allowed to address the meeting. A general cry then got up for "The Corn
Exchange", to which place the supporters of the North British scheme hied
themselves, the Langholm party refusing to go, after what had taken place in
the Town Hall, as to "swamping" the inhabitants.
A considerable number of individuals congregated in the Corn Exchange, at
the end of which a map, showing the route of the proposed lines, and
prepared for Mr. HODGSON, was hung.
On the motion of Dr. M"KENZIE, Dr. MURRAY took the chair.
The CHAIRMAN called upon Mr. CHISHOLME to move his resolutions.
Mr. CHISHOLME not being present, it was agreed, on the motion of Mr. Walter
WILSON, and seconded by Mr. HODGSON, that a deputation should be sent to
him. Mr. SALKELD, and others, to ask whether they were coming to the
The deputation retired, and in a few minutes returned, when.......
Mr. TAIT reported that the deputation had met Mr. DARLING at the door, who,
on being made aware of the purport of their mission, answered for Mr.
CHISHOLME that he would not come to the meeting, as he believed it to be
"packed" from Hawick.
Mr. Alex. HOGG, from Hawick, rose and said that sixty men had come from
Hawick to support the Langholm line, and a *** that came from Hawick, who
were in favour of the Liddesdale line, did not amount to one-fourth of that
number. He certainly felt it was ungracious in some of those who came from
Hawick to attend this meeting and support the Langholm line, to have taunted
Mr. HODGSON on the matter, seeing that, but for the kindness with which the
officials of the North British Company treated them, many of them would have
had to have waited at Newtown three hours before they could have reached
Kelso; but, instead of that, they were accommodated in the express train
from Edinburgh gratis (Hear, hear).
The CHAIRMAN having read the advertisement calling the inhabitants together,
referred to the previous meeting, and said he thought it would have been
better certainly if the Chairman had had the common courtesy to put the
question to the meeting. Mr. CHISHOLME not having come forward, he called
on Mr. HODGSON to give them his views on the matter. (Cheers.)
Mr. HODGSON said he had attended many public meetings in his life, but he
never yet heard a chairman declare that he would not adjourn a meeting
without putting the question to the meeting who ought to have decided.
(Hear, hear.) It was perfectly obvious from the first that there was a
general expectation that the meeting in the town hall would be adjourned to
this apartment, and therefore, although in the first instance, that room was
not full, it was unfair to say on that account that it would contain
anything like the number representing the town and neighbourhood of Kelso,
anxious to hear this very important question discussed.
So far as his impression of the constitution of that meeting went, he must
say that he looked with some degree of trepidation at the familiar faces he
saw which did not belong to Kelso or its neighbourhood, but parts far
distant - from Langholm and Hawick. Apart from these, his decided opinion
was that they had a majority in that room. (Hear) He was far from
attributing any partiality to his worthy friend who sat in the chair (Mr.
DARLING). He was quite incapable of partiality; but he (Mr. H.) thought he
did show want of judgment in the manner in which he conducted himself in the
chair. He would now advert to the manner in which this meeting had been
In the first instance, the meeting was called the same as last year, as a
'quasi' private meeting. Last year it was a meeting of those who supported
the Langholm line. This year it was so doubtful whether it was to be a
private meeting, that as soon as he heard of it on Tuesday night he thought
it necessary to write to Kelso to ascertain whether he might have the
liberty of attending it. He received an answer indefinite, but such as led
him to hope that if he appeared there to-day, he should not be considered as
obtruding himself upon the meeting, but that he should be at liberty to
address some observations in answer to the addresses of the promoters of the
At all events they were there to-day; and he did not know at what distance
a gentleman might be supposed to be in the neighbourhood of Kelso; but he
did not believe that any person would come there who was not greatly
interested in this subject.
He rejoiced that he was at last allowed this opportunity of contrasting the
features of the two schemes of railway, because he did believe that up till
this moment there was not a right understanding of the advantages which each
line presented, or the disadvantages which would be perpetuated upon the
neighbourhood in case the Langholm line were adopted by Parliament.
He came to the consideration of this subject certainly with no prejudice in
favour of the Liddesdale line. If he had a bias, it was entirely in favour
of the line by Langholm, which was the line that had been proposed more than
once by the North British Company, over which he presided. It was the only
line that, at a certain time, had been proposed.
They had then the support of the noble Duke - the DUKE OF BUCCLEUCH - of
whom here, as elsewhere, he could speak with the greatest respect. But,
after investigating the merits of the two schemes, he came to the conclusion
that no man who took the trouble of investigating their merits could
hesitate one moment as regarded the interest of the public, or, speaking at
Kelso, the interest of Kelso and neighbourhood.
There was a great inducement to take the Langholm line, and the North
British Company had a manifest preference, as having brought forward this
question twice before in the shape of a Bill. At that time the Caledonian
opposed them, because they showed the line was not wanted - because the
country was not sufficient to provide traffic for the line - and because the
Caledonian Railway Company being then in its infancy, it was not fair to
bring a competing line with it; and he said that, with the assistance of
the Duke of BUCCLEUCH, who at that time favoured the North British company,
it would have been a very easy battle to have fought, in order to get the
ground. Now, in the first place, they had to decide which was the best
route for a line from Hawick to Carlisle; and in the second place, they had
to decide under whose control this line should be, and by whom it should be
constructed. In the first place, what was the line which ought to be
adopted between Hawick and Carlisle ? That line, manifestly, which would
embrace the greatest number of advantages to the district with which it was
connected. He then pointed out on the map the routes of the proposed lines,
and explained that, last year, the Liddesdale line did not proceed direct to
Carlisle, but after the opposition they encountered from the Caledonian, and
the complaints that company made of their using four miles of their line,
they thought it was best to take their line direct to Carlisle, which was
manifestly a better line for the public.
MR. HODGSON continues.............
Last year they had no branch to Langholm. This year they had a branch to
Langholm and Canobie. Fifty times they were told, last year, that if they
had had a branch to Langholm, there could have been no question which was
the better line. This year they had supplied that desideratum. The
promoters of the Langholm line stated in the prospectus that the
construction of a railway to connect the great manufacturing counties of
Roxburgh, Selkirk, and Berwick, with the South-West of Scotland and the
North of England, and Ireland, would be of the geatest possible advantage.
He admitted that the Langholm line proposed to effect that by a branch to
Gretna.. The Liddesdale line did precisely the same. The Langholm line
proposed to connect these great counties with the North of England by means
of a junction with the Caledonian Company seven miles north of Carlisle.
They proposed to effect exactly the same object by a line direct to
Carlisle. In that respect, therefore, the Langholm line had no superiority
over them; but the contrary was the case. He then mentioned that the
Liddesdale line had also a branch to Gretna, and so had the same connection
with Ireland as the Langholm line had. The Liddesdale line also joined the
Port Carlisle and Silloth Railway, and had, therefore, a direct connection
with the rising port of Silloth for traffic going to Ireland and Liverpool
by sea at a cheap rate. On all these grounds he thought no one could deny
that the Liddesdale line presented as great, and in some respects greater
advantages than the Langholm line.
The Langholm promoters further said in their prospectus that there were
other advantages which their line presented. One was that it gave a direct
communication with the Canobie coal field. It was perfectly true that the
Langholm line by its branch to Canobie opened up the Canobie coal field
which was situated about 30 miles from Hawick, and it was equally true that
the Liddesdale line had exactly the same mode of approaching the Canobie
coal field, but by the vale of the Liddesdale instead of by the vale of the
Teviot. In that respect Langholm promoters, however, said that the Canobie
limestone would be of great advantage to those agricultural counties; and
he admitted that it would; but the Canobie limestone was 30 miles from
Hawick, while the Liddesdale line reached the great limestone field within
10 miles of Hawick, which would be of much greater advantage therefore than
the other. (Applause)
There was also plenty of limestone at Limekiln Edge, and the reason why it
had not been developed was that they had not the means of carrying it by
railway. The Liddesdale line therefore opened up two coal fields instead of
one, while Langholm itself and its neighbourhood were as well accomodated by
it as by the other line.
The district from Langholm to Hawick was a mere blank. Two miles north of
Langholm, in the valley of the Esk, was a mere gorge. There was no
improveable area of ground there. They might as well talk of improving the
top of Mosspaul. It was also said that the Duke of BUCCLEUCH had freestone
quarries at Langholm. These quarries would be opened up by the Liddesdale
line in precisely the same way as the Langholm line; and there was this
advantage that Sir James GRAHAM's freestone quarries, which were equally
important, would likewise be developed, which they would not be by the
Langholm line. From the want of information on this subject, and the short
time that the Liddesdale line had been before the public, it was necessary
to explain what were the advantages of one route as compared with the other;
and he must explain to them that if the Langholm line were constructed
to-morrow they would wish to open up the valley of the Liddle and the vale
of the Tyne. Those two valleys were totally inaccessible to the valleys of
the Teviot and the Ewes at any point north of Canobie and south of Hawick.
He did not mean to say that it was an impossibility to run a line from
Liddesdale to Teviotdale; but, in an engineering point of view, it was
impossible, because the cost would be so great that no person would
undertake to do so.
>From what he had said, they would see that the Liddesdale scheme was much
the preferable one for the public. What advantages did it give them that
the Langholm scheme could not give them? In the first place, it would open
up to the North and the South-west a very extensive and valuable coal-field
called the Plashetts district - a coal district more extensive, of better
quality, more easily wrought, and several miles nearer Hawick, taking that
as a centre point of both, than the Canobie coal-field. They opened up the
Canobie coal-field also, which was 30 miles from Hawick; while the
Plashetts was about 25 miles from Hawick. When he spoke of the Duke of
BUCCLEUCH, he spoke of him with respect, and he would never do anything
else; but the Plashetts coal-field had this advantage, besides those he had
mentioned, that it was the property of several individuals whereas the
Canobie coal-field was the property of one. It was the property of
individuals who had at present no interest in the Scotch or Irish markets.
They were men who would be anxious to develop that coal-field, and bring it
into competition with the coal-fields of Northumberland, the Lothian's
Canobie, and other quarters.
The Duke of BUCCLEUCH had an interest in the Mid-Lothian coal-fields, and no
person could compete with his own coals.
He next stated that the Liddesdale line would also open up Sir James
GRAHAM's coal and forest of timber, which was of excellent quality; and
said he was prepared to re-assert what he had stated as to the population of
Liddesdale - that taking Longtown and Hawick as common points, the
Liddesdale line traversed a more populous country than the Langholm line.
(Hear, hear). He likewise re-asserted his former statement that there was a
much larger amount of improveable ground in the valleys traversed by the
Liddesdale line than by the Langholm line. It was a complete gorge for a
good way between Hawick and Langholm, and the improveable valleys were to
the west of Langholm. These were served by their branch with lime and coal,
just in the same way as by the other; but in addition to that, the
Liddesdale traversed much wider valleys on the banks of the Liddle and the
He would agree to send two men belonging to the district as a deputation to
the valleys, and would abide by their verdict. (Applause.) He then alluded
to the proposed extension of the Border Counties Railway, by which they
would have a second route to Newcastle, and save nearly 40 miles, than by
the present route from Hawick to Newcastle. This was not, of course, forty
miles nearer Kelso; but, at all events, it was an alternative route. This
extension would open up Bellingham and its works, and the district of
Hexham, and would save thirty miles to those who took cattle to
Stagshawbank for exportation.
MR. HODGSON continues.............
He must not omit to mention that the Langholm line was, with the exception
of the part to the junction with the Caledonian, a single line, while the
Liddesdale, with the exception of the interval between the junction of the
Border Counties and the Canobie junction, was a double line. He maintained
that it was impossible for a single line to accommodate the through traffic,
and besides, history told them that the Caledonian Company did not want
through-traffic, whereas the North British did want it. A single line would
be an ample excuse for placing impediments in the way of through traffic.
He then intimated that the North British company were prepared to reduce the
rate of coal and lime to that proposed by the Langholm Company - 1-1/1d per
ton per mile on any quantity. (Applause.)
He denied that the cost of the Liddesdale line would be double that of the
Langholm line. Who said it would cost double ? Mr. Blyth. Who was Mr.
Blyth ? He was engineer of the line of the Caledonian Company, whom Mr.
CHISHOLME said they were going to rob. Mr. HARRISON said so. Who was Mr.
HARRISON?The engineer of the North Eastern whom also Mr. CHISHOLME said they
were going to rob; and he was, no doubt, an engineer of eminence. Mr.
HARRISON believed that the tunnel, of which they had 1160 yards, ws entirely
through graywackerey; but, in opposition to those two engineers, who had a
manifest interest in opposing this line, they had the impartial,
disinterested evidence of most eminent engineers, Mr. HAWKSHAW, Mr. BIDDER,
and Mr. MILLER - Mr. BLYTH's master, by the bye - who declared that their
estimates were sufficient last year. They had also the evidence of Mr.
KALE, the contractor - Mr. HARRISON's "honest man" - and he was an honest
man, who said he would take the contract at the estimate; and he (Mr. H.)
believed he would have had a large profit if he had got it.Mr. HAWKSHAW was
their consulting engineer, along with others, and had taken the
responsibility of the estimates upon himself.So far as these estimates were
concerned, notwithstanding the additions to their line, they would not be
increased one-pound, but would be still £495,000. (Cheers) He next
referred to what he called the impudence of Mr. CHISHOLME in stating at
Hawick that the Border counties had no business to go to Hawick, and that
Hawick did not want the Plashetts coal. After what he had heard at Hawick
he would like to hear Mr. CHISHOLME say that at a public meeting there.
When Mr. CHISHOLME suggested that the Border counties be extended to
Jedburgh he was speaking without any knowledge of his subject whereas he
(Mr. H.) was fortified by the authority of Mr. CHARLTON and Mr. TONE. That
district had been surveyed, levelled, and sectionised over and over again by
these gentlemen, who reported, not only that the works would be a great deal
heavier than the works of last year, but that there would be two tunnels
entirely through the graywackerey which would cost double the expense of the
other proposal. Therefore, when Mr. CHISHOLME made this proposition, he
attempted to throw dust in the eyes of the Border Counties and the
public,for it was a totally impracticable scheme.
Reverting to the subject of coal, he remarked that it was the coal
proprietors who would be the monopolists, and not the railway that carried
the coal, and the railway would tend to breakup that monopoly.
He alluded again to the subject of through trains, maintaining that besides
it not being the interest of the Caledonian Company to have such trains, it
was impossible that that Company could guarantee through trains to the south
of England, and that the other companies would agree to that.
He concluded his address amidst loud applause.
Bailie PATERSON said Mr. HODGSON had forgot to say that, by the Langholm
line, there would be a block at Hawick. He remarked that the Coldstream
people could not get to Edinburgh till one o'clock, and if they wanted back
the same day they must leave again at four o'clock. If the Caledonian
Company got the Langholm line the Kelso people would be placed in the same
position going to Carlisle as the Coldstream people were placed in going to
Mr. HODGSON observed that no people more than the inhabitants of Kelso were
capable of understanding the disadvantage of a break in a line. Passengers
were grumbling every day. He confirmed what Mr. PATERSON said in regard to
what would be the state of matters if the Langholm line were made.
Bailie PATESON likewise remarked that, if the Langholm line were made, they
would have to pay the terminal for coals coming on the North British
Railway; whereas, if the Liddesdale line were constructed, they would have
the Plashetts and Canobie coal, without having to pay the terminal.
Mr. George CRAIG, Junior Magistrate, proposed a resolution pledging the
meeting to support the Liddesdale scheme in opposition to that projected by
the Hawick, Langholm and Carlisle Railway.
Dr. M'KENZIE seconded the motion, in doing which he observed that, while
quite willing to use every effort to obtain this line, he would not say that
he was prepared to go the length of a most respectable merchant who sent
those unheard of quantities of corn to Langholm (A laugh). It was purely as
belonging to Kelso that he supported this line.
Mr. Robert MICHIE, Hawick, said that at the meeting of the committee the
previous night, it was not thought that many should go to Kelso; and he did
not intend to come to this meeting till twenty minutes before the train
left, when he heard that the Langholm party were away in great force.
A show of hands was then taken in favour of the motion, first, by those
belonging to Kelso and neighbourhood, when about forty hands were held up,
and then by those from Hawick and the other districts, when nearly the same
number of hands were held up.
A vote of thanks to the Chairman concluded the proceedings.
THE KELSO COUP D'ETAT continued...................
They then proposed that the North British Company should construct the line
from Hawick to Langholm, and the Caledonian Company the remainder, each a
half. This also was rejected. "But," said Mr. CHISHOLM, "to have abandoned
the line would have been to make over the whole locality to the mercy of a
single company, and to rivet upon the Border districts a single monopoly of
the traffic from sea to sea; an argument which, forcible at all times, was
never more aptly illustrated than by the conduct of the North British
Company and their dictator in this very affair at Kelso. If railway
companies are to be allowed to prostitute the facility of conveyance placed
at their disposal for the purpose of swamping a local meeting by means of
numbers suddenly imported from a distance, then indeed we have erected with
our own hand a power behind the people greater than the people, - and such a
power is one that must be withstood at all hazards.
If the North British Company have lent themselves to the infamous device -
and the fact certainly appears unquestionable - we tell them frankly that
the odium of that transaction will attach to whatever proposition they
venture to bring before the public.
The conduct of Mr. HODGSON will always be cited as damnatory evidence of his
unfitness, and the unfitness of his colleagues, to be entrusted with such an
instrument of oppression as a monopoly of carrying power. Such was the
uproar produced at Kelso by people who had been brought from a distance by
this very railway that the chairman, unable to preserve order, had no
resource but to declare the meeting dissolved, leaving the strangers to
betake themselves withersoever they chose. But the circumstances under
which the 'native'succumbed to the 'foreign' element were indicated by the
chairman himself with unmistakeable clearness. We quote from an Edinburgh
"For himself he was resolved not to adjourn. (Immense disorder.) I will
adhere to that resolution, he repeated. (Applause, and more confusion.)
There are many faces here not belonging to Kelso. (Oh nonsense ! ") This
meeting was called specially for the inhabitants of Kelso. I say further,
that if Mr. HODGSON and the directors of the North British Railway, who have
command of the only railway leading into the town, choose to issue free
tickets - (cries of "Bravo, that's the point," and a voice "HODGSON, you
are in for it," and great confusion.)
If, I say, they choose to send out emissaries, as I can prove they did last
night - (hear, hear, and repeated hurrahs) - through the towns of Melrose -
"Oh ! and a voice, "the trick is coming out.") - and Galashiels - (great
uproar) - and all other places, then I say, and I repeat it, to Mr. HODGSON
that I am not called to take the vote of a meeting that is not composed of
those who were called to the meeting. (Hear, hear, and cheers." )
This is significant enough. But Mr. HODGSON may take our word for it; he
has only damaged his cause. His cause cannot but share in the odium due to
its advocate. It is no longer, indeed, the merits of the case that come
before us for judgement, but the means taken to promote it. Of all the
hateful and unprincipled exertions of unreasoning power which the condition
of the law leaves possible, we are not sure that there is anything more
repugnant to popular feeling than a railway 'coup d'etss'.