Cortland Evening Standard, Friday, March 16, 1894.
THE ELECTRIC RAILROAD.
A Statement from Mr. Gleason Concerning the McGrawville Franchise, etc.
CORTLAND, N. Y., March 18, 1894.
To the Editor of The Standard:
Sir—Believing that injustice has been done by your reporter, not only to myself, but also to the trustees of the village of McGrawville in your issue of last Saturday, I ask permission to use your columns to correct the same. If the statements made by him are to be relied upon, I am convicted of having deceived, or attempted to deceive the trustees of the village of McGrawville in obtaining a franchise in their village for a street railway; and the trustees are proved to have been totally incompetent to take care of the interests of the village, and should be removed from office without notice. Every one, however, who is at all acquainted with the trustees of the village of McGrawville would be very loath to admit their incapacity; for, I am compelled to say, that gentlemen more alive to their public trusts I have never met, and that I believe they have been misreported.
It is true that I called upon the trustees individually and asked them if they would favor a franchise for a street railway and every one assented. I called a few days afterwards and met them as a body; at this meeting I made the request for the franchise and asked that they grant it.
What I said to the board of trustees not contained and put into the franchise was, that I had drawn the franchise to the Cortland and Homer Electric company, or their assigns, as there might be some unforeseen legal objections to the Electric company building and operating the road under their charter, which could be easily remedied by the organization of a new company to whom the franchise could be assigned.
Now can any one who has read the franchise published in your paper have any difficulty in saying for whom I was obtaining that franchise? For the reporter to assume to say that the trustees thought they were giving the franchise to any other company than the Cortland and Homer Electric company is to convict five intelligent men of stupidity.
I desire to state that I have read to three of the trustees of McGrawville the above communication to you, and they, in the presence of witnesses assented to its accuracy.
It is true that I did not wish the matter published until after we had secured our right of way, for there are always a number of people in this community ready to put blocks in the way of a legitimate enterprise, unless they can in some way put their hands on spoils; and the names of the parties you mention in your paper as being identified with the opposition to the Cortland and Homer Electric company are usually in it for revenue only.
Now, the proposition of the Cortland and Homer Electric company to the board of trustees of the village of Cortland is, that if the board will grant them a permission to build an electric street railway in the village of Cortland, on the road leading to McGrawville, they may limit the time in which said railway shall be constructed to such a reasonable period as prompt action on the part of the Cortland and Homer Electric company will enable them to accomplish the work.
Further, the Cortland and Homer Electric company offer to take said franchise with not only the above provision, but with the further provision written in it that if they should sell it, such sale shall operate to cancel or annul the franchise.
Do not these propositions prove to any thinking man that the Cortland and Homer Electric company are in earnest and mean what they say, and want to build the road? And does it not answer all the idle rumors that it is a scheme of the Cortland and Homer Electric company to sell their plant?
If they can secure this franchise they do not want to sell the electric light plant. The stockholders and owners of the electric light plant are also the owners of the Hitchcock Mfg. Co., one of our home industries, which for the last ten years has been paying on the average into the hands of the people of Cortland, in round numbers, $100,000 annually; making the grand total of $l,000,000 in ten years; and is it not just to them at least that if the village of Cortland has any valuable franchises to give away to any one that they give it to the people who have helped to build up her prosperity.
Further, the Electric company will bind themselves to build as fine a road as is running in Ithaca or Scranton, and if the floating rumors are true would in reality build a much better road. Now, it will not be the policy of the Electric company to inflate the stock of the company and put up a bombshell that will explode some time hereafter to the injury of the citizens of our town and of every one [sic] else who might be interested in it; but to have the road capitalized at what it actually cost to build it and bond it for what money is necessary to complete it, so that from the very first it would be paying if it could be made to pay at all. In other words, it would have no watered stock to give away to those who look for revenue only.
Who are our opponents? And who ever heard of their proposing to build an electric road to McGrawville until after the Cortland & Homer Electric company proposed to get a franchise for the right of way?
At the time I was in McGrawville I did not even know the name of the moving spirit of the electric road to Homer; even your article throws but little more light by saying Mr. P. S. Page, of Scranton, Penn., is the man.
Who is Mr. Page? If you will look in Bradstreet's commercial records you will not find him reported at Scranton, or at Ithaca. But in all your explanation and advice to "property holders" not to give their permissions to the Cortland & Homer Electric company, you do not name a single company, syndicate, or body of men that he represents, or that stands behind him in this enterprise. I understand he wants to get the stock taken in Cortland and a few have agreed to take what he will give them; yet, in truth, let any man say how it is possible for Mr. Page to raise money in Cortland, or outside, that the Cortland & Homer Electric company could not accomplish as well.
Mr. P. S. Page is an outsider: Are we not for "Home Protection" in this matter as well as in other things?
You imply that unless Mr. Page can have the right for a road to McGrawville, he will not take the Homer & Cortland Horse Railway; and that they must secure this or it will not go through. You certainly do not approve of this, that the Homer & Cortland Horse Railway company shall get something for nothing and sell it for a good round sum; for you condemn this in the Cortland & Homer Electric company. And, let me tell you, that what is wicked in the Cortland & Homer Electric company, is just as wicked in the Homer & Cortland Horse Railway company; the old adage applies that "What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander."
But when we agree not to sell this right of way without using it, and that if we shall sell, it shall revert to the original grantors, it must of necessity put an end to all that moral philosophy. It is not for me or our company to question the good faith of Mr. Page in the purchase of the stock of the Homer and Cortland Horse Railway Co., but it dropped out in your telephone interview that Mr. Page had secured options on only 2/3 of the stock. This is the controlling interest and he does not need the other 1/3; the 2/3 can increase its capital stock to $150,000, bond the road for as much more, and after a time allow the bonds to be foreclosed, thus closing out the 1/3 of the old stock-holders, and every other stockholder who has not had the foresight to sell his paid or watered stock.
I am not prepared to say, or believe, that Mr. Page, or the parties he may represent, would do this, but it would certainly have looked fairer if every stockholder had been invited to share in the options. (Mr. Page offers to buy every share of stock of the horse railroad company at par. ED.)
We have been very careful not to approach any of the incoming officers, as we desire them to be elected unpledged to their positions and be able to give us a fair hearing; and if, after that, we cannot succeed in securing this franchise we would be willing to surrender every right we now have to the successful party without a farthing's compensation.
The reason we did not want to be interviewed by your reporter was that we did not desire to, and will not engage in a newspaper controversy and that at the time your reporter called we were advised that you were taking sides and we did not want you to give an unfair or prejudiced interview; and that too at the suggestion of our opponents.
We could give many points in our favor that would go to show that with the machinery we have we could build this road at less expense than any other company; nor can we believe that when you have read our fair statement and proposition, that you or any other fair man will turn his back upon our home industries, clamoring for the privileges our village can give, and give them to others who have not added a penny to the prosperity of our town.
Cortland & Homer Electric Co.,
per H. L. GLEASON, Sec.
We publish the above in order to do justice to all parties in the Electric railroad controversy, notwithstanding the unwarranted insinuations and implications which the communication contains. The fact that we make this publication, and that we sent a reporter to Mr. Gleason and Mr. Hitchcock before any statement was prepared as to the McGrawville episode and before we had investigated it, offering to publish anything they had to say, and that we now publish word for word Mr. Gleason's type-written statement—only omitting a personal assault on a gentleman residing in this village and interested for the Scranton company—will be a sufficient answer to Mr. Gleason's allegation that the reason he did not wish to be interviewed was that he "did not want the STANDARD to give an unfair or prejudiced interview." Had Mr. Gleason written out at the time he was called on anything which he had to say, it would have been published just as willingly as it is to-day, and the insinuation that Mr. Blodgett of The STANDARD, who called on Mr. Gleason for information, would have given an unfair report of it is one which needs no answer.
After receiving Mr. Gleason's communication we called up President Buchanan of McGrawville by telephone and he informed us that Trustees Maricle, Johnson and Topping were the persons to whom Mr. Gleason had read his statement. Mr. Buchanan then called these gentlemen in and we read to them the portion of Mr. Gleason's communication which he said they had assented to and asked in reference to it. They all said that Mr. Gleason had asked them to sign this statement and they had refused to do so; that they had also not authorized its publication and had said that they proposed to do nothing in the matter in any way till they had looked into it further, and that if Mr. Gleason regarded them as assenting to it there was a misunderstanding. One of them stated that when he declined to sign the statement Mr. Gleason said he would then have to put it in different shape and publish it himself.
It will be seen, however, by anyone who will compare Mr. Gleason's statement with that in The STANDARD of last Friday as to what he said to the McGrawville trustees, that his statement does not differ materially, so far as it goes—which is not very far—from The STANDARD'S report, and Mr. Gleason does not deny the truth of the STANDARD'S report of what the trustees and president of McGrawville said further to our reporter. That report was read to all these gentlemen, and they endorsed its accuracy and do so now. There is no doubt, either, from the attitude which these gentlemen now take, that they misunderstood Mr. Gleason if he sought to convey the idea which he claims he intended to.
Whether there was any design on Mr. Gleason's part to deceive, or whether, perceiving that the McGrawville people understood that he represented the company which had the option on the horse railroad, he took pains not to undeceive them, or whether he unintentionally failed to make himself clear and supposed that he was understood as stating the case just as he meant to, are questions which we do not undertake to decide. We simply lay before the public the statements of the parties interested. Abler men than Mr. Gleason or the McGrawville officials have misunderstood each other.
Only one company proposing to operate an electric railroad had been mentioned in the papers and no name had been given this company, and it would have been natural to suppose that Mr. Gleason represented this company, even if he had not, intentionally or unintentionally, conveyed such an idea.
To insinuate that the McGrawville officials are "incompetent and should be removed from office" is no more justifiable than to say that Mr. Gleason was guilty of obtaining property under false pretences [sic] and deserves to be indicted.
The STANDARD has only two desires in this matter—it wants an electric railroad in Cortland, built by the company which promises to give the best service, and it wants to place all the facts connected with the matter clearly and accurately before the public, so that a wise decision may be reached. If the Cortland and Homer Electric Co. will give the village boards of Cortland, Homer and McGrawville sufficient guaranty that it will serve the people best, we are for it—though we are frank to say that with an option on the Cortland and Homer Horse railroad owned by the Scranton company, we do not believe that another right of way over the same route could be obtained by any other electric company.
Neither the villages of Homer and Cortland nor private individuals would give rights of way to two companies to fill up the streets with their tracks. Should the Cortland and Homer Electric company run a line to Homer it would have to be through some other street than Main-st. in Cortland and then up the back road. Any electric company owning the present street railroad line and franchise would have a great advantage over a competitor. If the Cortland and Homer Electric Co. does not intend to run a road save from Cortland to McGrawville, as Mr. Gleason seems to imply, we do not believe that it is the company to which franchises should be given.
An electric railroad company which would operate a line to McGrawville should also operate one to Homer. Two electric railroad companies could not live, and of the two routes to one between Homer and Cortland is far the more important. The Scranton company early announced that it contemplated a road to McGrawville. No sound business man believes that an electric road running only from Cortland to McGrawville could keep out of a receiver's hands for any considerable length of time.
Is it not true, Mr. Gleason, that the Scranton company originally had an option both on the Cortland & Homer Electric company and on the horse railroad company, and decided that it did not want the Electric company and so let that option expire?
And that after this the electric company started in to get rights of way on its own account?
Final Summing Up In the Elmira Reformatory Investigation.
ALBANY, March 16.—The Elmira reformatory investigation cases were summed up before the state board of charities.
C. T. Lewis, president of the State Prison association, was granted a few moments to say a few words. He said that the Elmira reformatory was the outgrowth of the association which he represented. He said that the association had engaged the services of a man who was foremost in this new science, that of turning criminals from criminality and making of them good, true and honest citizens, to take charge of the new institution. This man was Superintendent Brockway. Thousands of men who are now living virtuous, loyal lives can trace their rescue to the genius of this man. He was unanimously instructed by his association to say, in spite of any mistakes which have been made, that the institution has been managed judiciously and for the best interests of humanity—with one purpose in view, that of healing the unhealthy will power.
Mr. White, a New York World reporter, opened the case for the prosecution. He delivered a speech consuming over one hour. During the course of the same he said: "Brockway's evidence is contradicted in the first place by more than a score of his former convict pupils, who claim that they were kicked by him, some of the kicks resulting in rupture; that their eyesight has been permanently injured by the blows from the paddle; that they have been struck across the back and the skin cut, causing blood to flow; that they have been knocked into insensibility and carried to their cells in unconscious conditions."
He went on to describe the punishment inflicted. He next showed the contradictory statements of many of the witnesses examined, and closed with the declaration that all the charges instigated by The World had been proven.
The board then went into executive session to hear the reading of the report of the special investigating committee. The board will consider it today.
The winter term at the academy closes to-day. The Easter vacation which commences to-morrow will continue until Monday, March 26, 1894.
Mr. Nelson and Miss Bertha Wiegand who attend the Homer academy left town this morning to spend their Easter vacation at their home in Truxton.
A St. Patrick's ball will be given in Keator opera house this evening and Daniels' full orchestra will be present to furnish the music. Messrs. Robbins and Sweeney have the arrangements in charge.
Mr. George P. Miller of East Homer received a telegram yesterday announcing the death of his wife, which occurred at the Binghamton insane asylum. Mrs. Miller, whose maiden name was Lucinda Baker, was taken ill with grip about two months ago at her home in East Homer. Complications set in and for some time her life was despaired of. She rallied however and was improving when her mind became seriously unbalanced but as her strength increased her mental condition become worse until, by the advise of the best authority in the county, her husband decided to remove her to the asylum in Binghamton. This was done on Friday, March 2, and until yesterday Mr. Miller had heard nothing unfavorable concerning his wife's condition. The deceased leaves three sons and two daughters, the oldest of whom is twenty-one years old. The funeral will take place on Monday at Mr. Miller's residence in East Homer. The interment will be made in Glenwood cemetery in this place.
Supervisor W. H. Crane, Mr. F. C. Atwater and Mr. E. W. Hyatt attended the banquet of the Sons of St. Patrick given at the Cortland House in that place last evening and report an excellent time.
The body of Mr. Cyren Jagger was, brought here from Springfield, Mass., this morning and interred at Glenwood cemetery. Mr. Jagger was at one time a resident of this county though the greater port of his life was spent in the hotel business in the West. The remains were accompanied by Mr. Lelora Hoag of Springfield and Mrs. Harriet Shepard. The deceased was a brother of Mrs. Harriet Shepard and Mrs. Hiram Hooker both of this village. He leaves three children, a son and two daughters, one of whom is Mrs. Lelora Hoag of Springfield, Mass., with whom he has lived for the past year.
A maple sugar festival will be held in the main room in G. A. R. hall on Saturday evening, March 17, for the benefit of the Woman's Relief corps. Sugar served from 7 to 9 o'clock. Price 12 cts. Constant calls for aid during these hard times rapidly depletes the treasury and as one "order" is strictly a benevolent one we hope that we shall have liberal patronage.