February 16, 1871


A citizen of Richmond wrote this note to show their disagreement that the control of the Fredericksburg, Richmond and Potomac Company by the Pennsylvania Central Railroad company will setback Virginia in any way. The Dispatch disagrees with this claim completely.


SUICIDAL. Nothing can be inure illogical, fallacious, and suicidal, than the idea that the defeat of the bill to give to the Pennsylvania Railroad Company the control of Virginia railroads (for that is its real purpose and effect,) will discourage or deter the investment of foreign capital in the public works of Virginia, for the development of the resources of Virginia. In the first place, as has been frequently shown, and almost as often substantially confessed, under this bill not an additional dollar will be expended in building an additional mile of railroad in Virginia, but merely in substituting the money of one set of shareholders for that of another set of shareholders, in a road built over thirty years ago, of which the new set only desire a control. But, besides this, no capitalist-no, not even these Pennsylvania railroad speculators-would invest a dollar in any Virginia railroad in the face of the learning which this bill, and any bill giving them the right to build a parallel road to the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac railroad, proclaims to them, that they would make any such investment in any new railroad at their peril, with the assurance, that the Legislature, at its next session, perhaps, would give to others a charter, to greatly depreciate or destroy the value of their investment and their financial credit, by either building a parallel road to their's, or more probably forcing them, by buying off such rival charter, to submit to the extortion of mere speculators and adventurers. In farther proof of the truth of this, we may confidently ask, and ask in vain, to be shown one mile of road which has been built or one dollar of foreign capital which has been bona fide paid for that purpose in Virginia, since this course of legislation was commenced. The Chesapeake and Ohio railroad affords no proof to the contrary; for that company had the advantage of a virtual donation of millions from the State, and to its road, across a perfect gridiron of mountain chains, there was no temptation to seek to build a parallel one. No, this bill should be styled "A bill to prevent the investment of foreign capital in the public works of Virginia."
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Megan Wiora




“Suicidal,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed February 1, 2023,