November 23, 1898
James J. Hill, Es.
C/O Great Northern
St. Paul, Minnesota
...Referring now to a point of criticism originally stated in your letter of September 27, viz: "a disposition to buy or build lines which cannot be operated advantageously as a art of the system, and c." Your favor under reply, while dwelling on various details concerning our schedule of new construction or new acquisition by the Northern Pacific, does not, it seems to us, indicate any basis for this criticism, unless perhaps the purchase of the Washington and Columbia River, for which purchase, as indicated further on, we understood we had your approval...
...Three. Seattle and International.
Undoubtedly if this property had been bought earlier, money could have been saved, but if we remember aright, you and we had one or two conversations about it and we both felt that it was undesirable to disclose undue anxiety. Later, the aggressive attitude of the Canadian Pacific, as you remark, led you to advise us to make the purchase at a relatively high price, which we did, entirely concurring in your own opinion.
Four. Washington and Columbia River.
Of course, we should much regret anything in the notice to the Navigation people which could give just cause for complaint, but we think you err in your recollection of the date when you advise Mr. Coster to acquire that road was _before_ [emphasis in original] the date of the so-called protocol. The protocol was made in August, 1897. If we remember correctly, your advice to purchase the road was given about the end of 1897 or early in 1898, shortly before the purchase was made...
...Eleven. Central of Washington.
You will observe that this being one of the lines leased to the old company was a proper acquisition by the new company. As to its possible extension Mr. Coster wrote you fully a while ago and will discuss this matter with you on some future occasion. It does not seem to be one that requires hasty consideration, although as matters stand the Northern Pacific is badly handicapped...
...Thanking you for the trouble you have taken to lay your views before us, and always at your cal, we remain, very truly,