The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Rome Daily Sentinel (Rome, NY), Sept. 21, 1891, page 3

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The St. Clair tunnel Opened.

Ceremonies at Port Huron and Sarnia ­ Eraster Wyman's Speech.

Port Huron, Mich., Sept 19 ­ The ceremonies attendant upon the opening of the Grand Trunk railroad tunnel under the St. Clair River at this point was begun last evening with a banquet tendered by the citizens of Port Huron to Sir Henry Tlyer, president, General Sargent and Chief Engineer Hobson of the Grand Trunk road Governor Winans, Congressman Hartsaff, General Hartsnuff, collector of the port and the municipal officers were among the company and speeches were made congratulating the Grand Trunk Railroad and its members on the accomplishment of the great enterprise. The response was made by Sir Henry Tyler of behalf of the company. He felt it to be a matter of congratulation that the means had been afforded for an extension of the commerce of the two countries.

Port Huron, Mich., Sept. 19 ­ The greatest sub marine tunnel on the North American continent was formally opened to traffic this afternoon with simple but impressive ceremonies. According to the original program it had been intended to make the event a brilliant one by the presence of President Harrison, the governor general of Canada and other notable people, but they all had engagements and the program was changed. The day was a holiday here and at Sarnia.

President Sir Henry Tyler of the Grand Trunk Railroad and a number of guests went through the tunnel on special trains. They were received at Port Huron by the mayor. After several speeches the party returned and took part in a banquet at Sarnia. Hon. Erastus Wyman was the principal speaker.

He said it was a testimony to the greatness of Great Britain that she levied the tribute from every part of the known world. This she was enabled to do by the enormous aggregation of money which in the last century had thus accumulated, and which in turn was again furnished by her capitalists for the development of every country under the sun. In no quarter of the globe has this purpose of development been more effectually performed than in the great constellation of common wealth comprising the western and northern states. For, strange as it may appear, by the expenditure of British money within British territory, quite as great a contribution has been made to the growth of the country outside of that territory as has been afforded even by the expenditure within the country itself.

The growth of the western states is the most marvelous growth the world had ever seen. Yet it may be doubted whether this growth would ever have been possible but the splendid means of communication afforded by the Canadian railroads, which have been altogether built by British capital. It is true that the development of the American railroad system from Chicago, southeast, have reached the greatest perfection and their ability to handle the vast traffic dependent on them may not be doubted. But, long in anticipation of the wants of the great west, coincident with its growth and enormous progress, the Canadian railroads have offered an outlet for a steady stream of wealth, without the realization of which the progress of the west would have been stinted and retarded. In the great tunnel which to-day is opened for the first time for traffic, is found a fitting compliment of the magnificent achievement of the Canadian railroad system.

But while British capital within British territory has done much toward the development of the most important portion of the United States, how strange is it that a relative progress has not been made within Canada itself. It is an interesting problem to solve, to account for the retardation of progress on one side of the border, while on the other side a progress has been made more remarkable than the world has ever witnessed. In vain, is the cause sought for in natural or physical or financial disabilities. It seems to lie in the political condition, which, while extremely favorable to Canada, so far as free government is concerned, nevertheless has materially retarded her progress. For selfish political ends a barrier has been erected athwart the continent which completely isolates one section of the English-speaking race from the other and which even great tunnels and great railway arteries pierce in vain, so far as increase in intimacy of relations between the two countries will ever exist to justify so large an expenditure, so long as the policies of both are actuated by a reciprocity in tariff, rather than a reciprocity in trade.

Let us hope that the great tunnel which we now inaugurate, will illustrate the blessed advantage of unrestricted intercourse to such a degree that before long the perfect reciprocity which exists between the states of the union and the provinces of the Dominion will be created between the two nations.

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Column 6
Date of Original:
Sept. 21, 1891
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Dave Swayze
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Rome Daily Sentinel (Rome, NY), Sept. 21, 1891, page 3