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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/110

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Letters From A Railway Official.

ville & Nashville adjust their working policies to these basic conditions. Nearly a decade ago Samuel Spencer, as president, felt that the Southern Railway needed an infusion of new operating blood and a rotation of types, both excellent things in themselves, but, as experience showed, easily overdone and carried to an irrational degree. With native talent at hand for the developing he imported to the proud old civilization of his birth some rough and ready brethren of the western prairies. These earnest men and their followers knew how better than they knew why. They were long on art, but short on science. Demoralization and wrecks, attributed to inadequate facilities, cost the road much public confidence, cost the stockholders hundreds of thousands of dollars, and finally, in an awful tragedy, cost the able president his useful and honored life. Fate accorded to outraged sociology and her smaller sister, organization, terrible and undeserved retribution. For, barring this one mistaken policy, Samuel Spencer was an earnest patriot and a constructive railway statesman. As a youth he served in the Confederate army. Through life devotion to his flag was a passion. As a man and a gentleman his character