[Correspondence between HDR and G. W. Duff Assheton Smith, proprietor of part of Snowden.]
Dear Sir,—I have hesitated to write to you till I heard some certainty as to the railway so deplorably projected up Snowden, and I am the more emboldened to approach you because I know of your opposition, on former occasions, to the project. I write now—in the name of the National Trust for the Preservation of Sites of Historical Interest and Natural Beauty, which has been lately incorporated by charter of the Board of Trade—to ask if, at this eleventh hour, you would, in the best interests of the nation, reconsider the matter; and, if it could be shown you that the preponderant sense of the nation were against such innovation, you would then take firm steps to prevent so sacred an inheritance as Snowden being thus robbed of its chief charm for future generations, and being vulgarized for ever. It is not only that the example set on Snowden will be followed on the Scotch and English and Irish mountains at the bidding of the railway engineer and the hotel speculator that I dare appeal to you, but, in view of the ever-increasing number of tourists who take an intelligent interest in natural scenery, I cannot help feeling that to do this thing would be a national harm. It will hurt the nation in its tenderest part—its patriotism. Ask the Swiss people and they will tell you that, since the railways have run up their mountain heights, something of that indefinable love of their own country, which patriots feel, has passed away for ever. It is in very few places in our crowded country that men can be alone with nature, and with their God—and Snowden is one of them. To rob Snowden, so easily accessible as it is both by night and by day, of its grand natural solitude and super-eminent charm will be to inflict a loss upon the whole world.
Assheton Smith replied:
Dear Sir,—In reply to your letter of this morning, I regret to say that I cannot take the same view of the matter as your association appears to do. You are right in saying that I was in former years opposed to the scheme; but times have changed, and if in many ways one does not advance with them, one is left alone. In trying to direct the tourists to Llanberis, and making things easy for them, I am consulting the interest of this estate and the neighbourhood in which I live, and I cannot recognize any outside interference in the matter.
(Times, 6 November 1894, p. 8)
[The railway was officially opened on 6 April 1896]