1851 Province of Canada GTR Railway Debenture £100 County of Oxford

£100 Province of Canada £100
       #115 Debenture #115
        County of Oxford
Under the authority of an Act of the Provincial Parliament passed on the 23rd July 1850, 13th Victoria, Chap 129, entitled “An Act to empower Municipal Corporations to subscribe for Stock in the GREAT WESTERN RAILROAD COMPANY,” and in accordance with the provision of By Law No. __ under which a special rate is levied,   
                        The Municipal Council of the County of Oxford
Promise to pay Bearer ONE HUNDRED POUNDS on the first day of January eighteen hundred and Seventy-One and will also pay the Semi-Annual coupons herein attached, as the same shall severally come due, at the Treasurer’s office here.
Dated at Woodstock this first day of December 1851.
(Signed) Barwick Treasurer              (Signed) Scatcherd Warden


Coupons cashable each year on 1st January and 1st July, from 1851 to 1871. Each coupon pays £3, and is signed by the Treasurer and Warden. Coupon #1-#10 detached (July 1851 to January 1856), leaving #11-#40 (July 1856 to January 1871). See information below.

Great image of Queen Victoria at top, and steam engine at bottom.

Printed by Toppan, Carpenter and Casilear &Co, New York & Philadelphia (one of the companies that in 1858 formed the American Bank Note Company).

The railway was officially opened in January 18th 1854.

41 X 38 cm.

Paper crinkled in spots. Multiple rust spots. Looks to have been repaired on back in area of “ONE”. 


They had 40 coupons, suggesting that they were intended to be 20-year debentures, but as they were eventually issued with an 18-year term the first four coupons must have been destroyed without being issued. Since all dates were filled in by hand the actual date of printing cannot be determined, but it is known that they were finally dated and signed entirely by hand including all coupons, on April 1 1853. The reason for the two year delay is puzzling, but it may have been that it was felt that there would not be much market for the debentures until the railway was at least under construction!



In principal and interest, the total financial aid extended to railways by the Canadian government under the Guarantee Act and the Grand Trunk charter amounted to approximately $33 million. Whatever the legal form of the assistance, whether guarantee or loan, it amounted in effect to an outright subsidy, since very little of the money was ever repaid. The funds committed under the Guarantee Act and the Grand Trunk legislation, however by no means exhausted the total of government aid to railways, Considerable sums were also disbursed by the municipalities. In Canada West the Municipal Act of 1849 empowered municipalities to lend money or invest in road or bridge companies, while most of the railway charters included clauses providing for municipal contributions. The Great Western, for example, under an amendment to its charter authorized in 1850, sold shares to the amount of £25,000 each to the counties of Oxford and Middlesex and the towns of Galt and London, while the town of Hamilton subscribed £100,000.

Canadian Economic History by Easterbrook