Debate on the Meigs Elevated Railway Bill.
"The first matter the House considered yesterday after the transaction of routine business was the report of the Committee on street railways on the Meig's petition for an elevated railroad. The first speaker was Mr. Sprague of Boston, who said that the bill before them was a bill to build an elevated railroad in the streets of Boston. He then proceeded to discuss the bill and showed wherein it was defective; that it did not provide for the damage done by the road while it pretended to do so; that it had been said, let the bill in and then perfect it. We have had the friends and enemies of the bill perfecting it for a week, and this bill is the result. Mr. Muzzy of Cambridge said the entire opposition to the bill, with one exception, came from the Boston members, and he for one, speaking for the people of Cambridge, thought the bill ought to be admitted; that it was only a permissive bill, and the gentlemen from Boston, by their remarks, showed that they were afraid to trust the aldermen that the people had elected. It had been said that the introduction of an elevated road would debauch the politics of Boston. Would not a little healthy competition with the monopoly of horse railroads cause a little purity in Boston politics? He then referred to the change that had taken place in his own convictions, and said that the bill was a just one. Mr. Shephard of Boston was the next speaker, and said it was time that the opposition came from Boston, and very properly, for it was Boston that would suffer if there was any suffering. He then opposed the bill, as being in the nature of vicious legislation, and and as giving too much of a monopoly to one man. Mr. O'Neil of Boston said that much had been said in regard to the different bills that had been presented to the House, but he thought that that showed the good intentions of the friends of the bill, and at the their desire to please all parties, and no matter what kind of bill he offered it would be opposed just as this one is opposed. Mr. Reed of Taunton said he was in favor of Mr. Meigs and also in favor of the people who thought they would be injured by the elevated railroad. He then proceeded to tear the bill to pieces, and to show that too much power to one man would be given by its provisions, and that it was not drawn in accordance with the general railroad laws. Mr. Leonard of Somerset followed, and favored the bill, while Mr. Brown of Boston opposed it. A vote was then taken, and Mr. O'Neil's bill, allowing the building of an experimental road, was substituted for the committee's adverse report by a vote of 133 to 62."
Source: Boston Globe, March 8, 1882