The "Nine" Triumphant.

March 23, 1871


The Committee of Nine will get control of the Virginia Petersburg Railroad, which is great news for the city of Richmond, because for a fair price the city will be able to open up connections with other regions of the nation.


The bill ordering the stock of the State in'the Richmond and Petersburg road to be'sold to Messrs. Ellyson and others yesterday passed the Senate by 26 to 11, after the'rejection of the amendment urged upon the'body by the Committee of Roads providing for the sate of this stock to the Petersburg gentlemen-in reality to General Mahone'So the bill only awaits the Governor's signature to become a law.'This is one of the happiest of all the'events, which have occurred in our domestic'legislation since the war. It sets free'our connections with the Atlantic coast'line, relieves our commerce and the enterprise of our people from the vast dead'weight of restrictions imposed for the gratification of the avarice of corporations and'from that worst of discouragements, the'apprehension and distrust of the intentions of those controlling the arteries of'commerce. The Atlantic coast line south-wardly is free in its intercourse with'Richmond and Petersburg, and we'shall be able to derive the advantages of'distance so greatly in our favor in participating in the valuable commerce of the'Carolinas and Georgia. The current of'trade will have fairly and steadily set in'here before the Chesapeake and Ohio railroad is completed, and that great line will'immediately become the channel through'which the trade of the Northwest with the'Southern Seaboard will be carried on. The'magnitude of this commerce will be very'great.'Another grand advantage from the passage of this beneficent bill is the indication'of the disposition of the people of Virginia'towards foreign capital and capitalists. "We'Virginians are not narrow-minded and prejudiced towards them. We will welcome'them always, and will ensure them protection of law and protection against the'jealousy and distrust-such as that enlisted'in the fight on this bill, and which unjustly essayed to deprive Messrs. Walters,'Bridgers, and Newcomer of the power to'participate in the control of their large investments in our railroads. They are honorable gentlemen, and apart from their proper'rights acquired by their investments, are'entirety trustworthy and reliable. So that'a blow has been struck, and we trust a'fatal one, to narrow-minded prejudices and'old fogyism. It is the more gratifying because that in the struggle these passions!'were played upon by those who knew their'folly and their injustice. 'No harm is done to anybody. General'Mahone, if he wants to come to Richmond 'from Petersburg, can do so He can build 'his road alongside of the Richmond and'Petersburg road, to be operated just'to suit himself. This is a privilege accorded with an unexampled liberality.'We know of no similar act. General'Mahone may build his road for $300,000,'and save his three-fourths of a million in 'State stock which he offered for the interest of the State in the Richmond and Petersburg road. 'So no inconvenience will lie visited upon 'any one, and the interests of Virginia will 'be immensely promoted. 'We cannot avoid a remark as pertinent to 'the subject and vitally important to Richmond, suggested by General Mahone's argument that lie needed the Richmond and 'Petersburg road for the accommodation of'his Southwestern trade with Richmond in'case the Danville railroad changed its gauge'to 4.8 1/2. Have our citizens reflected upon 'the proposition to take the freights to and 'from this city for or from the Southwest 'via Petersburg? Have they criticized it? 'Do they like the idea of losing the advantage they have in distance between their!'city and the rich fields of Southwestern 'production? Would they fold their arms 'to rest with a knowledge that in going'southwest they must first travel twenty-two 'miles at right angles to the road leading to 'that section? Is there a city of 60,000 inhabitants in the Union that would dream of submitting to a route so preposterous? Could 'it be possible that the largest city in Virginia could be compelled to carry on its I'commerce by so indirect a route ? It is absurd to think so. At a time when the whole nation is alive to the necessity of'straight lines and rapid communication, 'that any one should think of putting the'dead-weight of such a route upon the commerce of Richmond, is hardly credible, it 'would not be believed north of Mason and 'Dixon.This route could not command a 'passenger ; and since we cannot have trade 'without travel, such a line would be wholly 'futile for the purpose of increasing the 'commerce and growth of this city. 'It is no wonder that the people of Richmond felt entirely indifferent to the argument that such a connection with the'A. M. & O. was a matter of importance.'Before the gauge of the Danville road is 'changed-the prophecies about which were 'employed to frighten us all-we shall have'some tolerable recourse fur safety. There'are expedients in plenty, and one for a line'that will bring us the trade of the southwest direct, and also bring us the passengers. Then we can feel and know that we 'have a commerce-a flourishing and steadily-increasing trade with the great South-west.and not before. Happy is the event which is good for'everybody, and fraught with evil for none. 'The passage of this bill is such an event.
About this article

Contributed By

Megan Wiora




“The "Nine" Triumphant.,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed February 1, 2023,