October 22nd 1903
C.P.R. Boats Coming to Halifax for Apples:
To Editor REGISTER,
Dear Sir: - After a long and what seemed at times to be a wearisome struggle on the part of the fruit growers by first sending delegations to Montreal to induce the Canadian Pacific Railway Company to send their boats into Halifax to carry fruit across, and lately by sending a delegation to Ottawa to interview the government in order that a subsidy might be paid the C.P.R. Company to remunerate them for the superior class of boats proposed for the service, it must be most satisfactory to the fruit growers as well as to the citizens of Halifax to know that the proposition is at last to become a reality. The following letter just received from the Fourth Vice President of the company speaks for itself.
MONTREAL, Oct. 10, 1903.
C.O. ALLEN, Esq.,
President Kings County Board of trade, Kentville, N.S.
Dear Sir, - Referring to your favor of the 27th ult., relative to the Government allowing us a subsidy of $15,000 for our London Line stopping at Halifax.
I am pleased to say that they have now promised that this subsidy will be given us, and I have wired you to this effect to-day. We will, therefore, arrange that our London steamers from St. John will stop at Halifax under the terms we discussed; that is, a minimum of 6,000 barrels per steamer at a rate of 3s per barrel.
The following steamers will compose the line:
The first sailing from St. John will be on or about December 10th, and fortnightly thereafter.
Fourth Vice President.
During the time negotiations between the fruit growers and the C.P. Ry. company were going on it was very amusing to witness the strong opposition from the Furness Company. No sooner had the delegation started for Ottawa thin type written slips of paper were circulated over the valley by the company's agent, purporting to show that C.P.R. boats were no faster and better than the present ones in the trade.
In compiling these slips they were very careful to pick out such boats as the "Milwaukee" which is only a little better than an ordinary tramp steamer, being one which the C.P.R. officials never mentioned for the service. No one knew better than the agent who circulated the slips that the C.P.R. had among their fleet of steamers various types of boats, and that those nominated for calling at Halifax were between six and seven hundred nominal horse power. Yet within a mouth the Furness company charters a little boat less than one hundred horse power at two shillings per barrel, charging the shippers two shillings and six pence loading her for Glasgow. The longer time that boats like this one would spend in getting across the Atlantic in case heavy weather were encountered would in comparison with the speed of the boats of the C.P.R., probably give the fruit growers time to raise more apples to send over in offer to pay the expenses on those gone before, which, by the way, has been no dream to the farmers in the past. The S. S. "Montcalm" 664 h.p., against the S. S. "Breidablik" 83 h.p., is like comparing a dew drop to the Niagara!
It is at present the boast of the Furness company that they have such a hold on the fruit shippers that the C.P.R. cannot obtain the 6,000 barrels for the steamers calling at Halifax. If such be the case, and we would not attempt to underrate the power of money, the fruit growers have the satisfaction of knowing that the present apple steamers are being driven, so far, farther than usual, (which may continue until the heavy winter weather comes on) and that the pressure brought to bear has effected a settlement of the "Wyandotte" losses, leaving the valley many thousands of dollars that would otherwise have never been paid.
If the fruit growers now allow the C.P.R. Company to be driven out of Halifax by their indifference, letting the export carrying trade remain solely under the control of the old company, it will be a long day before they will get another steamship company interested in this direction.
Twenty five cents per barrel loss, which is a low estimate if the shadow of the C.P.R. were not in sight, would mean $125,000 to the valley this year; this loss during the next ten years would pass the million dollar mark and mean to the up to date fruit grower a loss of half the first cost of his orchard.
That the speculator controlling a possible 50,000 barrels remains indifferent, is no excuse for the farmer who raises the fruit. The poorer the steamship service is between Halifax and England the more they will be compelled to sell.
Under the co-operative system with the high class commission firms in England there is no reason why the farmers of the valley should not ship their apples in their own name standing the resulting profit or loss.
So far this season every farmer who has sold a good variety of fruit at the current prices has let at least one dollar per barrel slip through his hands.
The C.P.R. proposition is a business one; it is now in the hands of the farmer to decide whether he is earning his living in enlightened Nova Scotia or antiquated China.
Kentville, Oct. 14, 1903.