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tains seem to be a natural barrier which separates the countries that are to arise on the Pacific coast of this continent, from those on the Atlantic, and in the great Mississippi valley. This barrier must be overcome, or it is doubtful whether, for any great length of time, States so remote and thus separated, can remain united in the same political system.

But it may be deemed superfluous to enlarge on the importance of this great project. It is impossible to over estimate them. When we consider the creative power of a railroad of limited 'extent, of fifty or one hundred miles, which experience has everywhere demonstrated, what imagination can conceive of the influence of a railroad across this continent, which is to become the thoroughfare of the commerce of the world, and carry the surplus population of Europe, if not of Asia, into the heart of this great continent.

The day this great work is completed, the United States will be the greatest and most powerful nation on earth. And this might almost be said the day it is commenced, with the certainty of its being completed. What is twenty years in the history of a nation?

In view of the great results of this enterprise, so important to the advancing prosperity and greatness of our country, and so favorable to the highest interests of humanity, why is it that the intelligent portion of our people are not more interested in it? Are there doubts as to the vast influence it would exert on our national prosperity? We have seen no evidence of this. Are there doubts as to the practicability of the enterprise ? When the project was first brought to light by Mr. Whitney, such doubts existed. It was regarded, even by intelligent men, only as a splendid but impracticable scheme. But the examination of the subject, and the explorations of the country, which have since taken place, have removed those hasty conclusions, and inspired confidence where doubts only existed. In a geographical or physical view of it, the word impracticability has no application to this enterprise. Has it in any other? Is there a want of means or ability to accomplish the work? Are there doubts that the business would be sufficient to sustain the road if constructed ? As to means, Mr. Whitney proposes to build the road without one dollar charge upon the Treasury ; and it might almost be said without any means from the government, as he proposes to pay ten cents the acre for the land he asks to have set apart for the purpose, which every one must admit, is all and probably more than the land is worth, if the road is not opened. It is only the first two or three hundred miles, that the land could be worth anything without the road. If this road can be built as proposed by Mr. Whitney, by a breadth of thirty miles of land on each side of the road, and ten cents per acre paid for the land, then it may be said that the road costs nothing—that the road builds itself, for the value of the land by which it is to be constructed, must be created by the road. The country then, should Mr. Whitney's project be adopted, will get the road without charge or sacrifice in any way. The road is to be made to build itself

. This is Mr. Whitney's scheme, and the idea is almost as great as the project itself.

But there may be doubts, and this is the obejction with some—whether Mr. Whitney could accomplish the object-whether he could build the road with the land. Well, it cannot be denied that he may fail. Human schemes are all liable to failure. But his perseverance for seven years, devoting his whole time to it, with a heavy pecuniary expenditure, is sufficient evidence that he thinks he can accomplish the object. His faith is strong, and he has investigated the subject more fully than any body else, in all its aspects and

bearings. He has looked at all the difficulties which human sagacity could foresee. He may deceive himself; he may fail. But supposing he does, the United States loses nothing: The bill reported by the select committee of the Senate, at the first session of the last Congress

, guarded the interests of the United States fully. It provided that Mr. Whitney was to build ten miles of the road before he was entitled to any of the land set apart. And when ten miles was built and accepted, he would be entitled to five miles only of the land, and so on for every succeeding ten miles of the road. For the first 800 miles of the route, only one-half of the land set apart was to be transferred to him as the road progressed, the other half being reserved as security to the United States, and as a fund to aid in constructing the road on that portion of the route where the lands are poor, and the whole not deemed of sufficient value to build the road.

If there is, therefore, reasonable ground to believe that Mr. Whitney would succeed, the possibility of his failure should be no objection, as in that case the United States would sustain no loss, and could continue the road in some other way.

In regard to the road being able to sustain itself after it is built, those who have doubts on this point seem to regard it as a road passing 1,500 miles through an unsettled country, where there is to be no local use for the road, and no one to protect it. But this cannot be. If the road is built on Mr. Whitney's plan, the lands bordering upon it must be settled, as the road is to be built by the sale of the lands. This is another great idea connected with Mr. Whitney's project. As the road is to be built by the lands, they must of necessity be sold, and in a good degree settled as the road progresses. The scheme cannot succeed in part and fail in part; if it succeeds in building the road, it must be successful in the sale and settlement of the lands.

Although the vast results of this enterprise do not seem to be fully appreciated by the country or by Congress, yet this consideration does not appear fully to explain the manifest reluctance of Congress to approach this great measure. There has been a shyness, a holding back, that is not to be accounted for by the want of confidence in the practicability of the enterprise, or the importance of it

. The cause of this is to be found rather in an opposite direction. It is the conviction of the vast influence this road would exert on the interests and prosperity of the country—the direction it would give to settlement and population, as well as to commerce, which seems to have restrained Congress from acting upon it.

One section of the Union is jealous of the others, and each seems to be apprehensive that a railroad in one direction or route, may dispense its benefits unequally ; that some sections of the Union may derive less advantages from it than others.

That the portions of the country through which it may pass, and most contiguous to its eastern terminus, may be more benefitted than those more remote, is obvious. This must be the case, let the road be located where it may. But the true question is, what route unites the most advantages in reference to the great national objects and interests expected to be advanced ! This great national enterprise should rise infinitely above all mere local interests. The route which will best promote the settlement of the vast inte rior of our continent, which will best accommodate the trade of the whole country, and the commerce of Europe with the East, is the route that should be selected, provided it is equallly practicable with any other. There is


another consideration of no small importance : the facilities or means any route may afford, towards the construction of the road, is a matter not to be overlooked. A route having no timber upon any portion of it east of the Rocky Mountains, nor within hundreds of miles of its eastern terminus, would cause great difficulty and expense in the construction of the road and its repairs afterward, beyond what would be required on a route, some hundred miles of which was through a timber country.

The quality of the land, its adaptation to settlement, the streams with which it is supplied, and the climate, are instances of the highest moment. If, from the barrenness of the soil or the want of water, the country through which the road should be constructed is not fit for settlement, that would defeat one of its important objects—the settlement of that interior portion of our vast territory which cannot be settled without a railroad through it. And through such a country there could be no local business to support the road, and no population to protect it.

The climate is also important; a region of eternal snow would be a great obstacle, and a hot climate would be liable to damage some of the agricultural products which would pass over the road. But according to the best information in relation to the region of the Rocky Mountains, the prevalence of snow does not depend so much on latitude, as on elevation and other circumstances.

It is not my purpose to examine the different routes which have been proposed. This has been done by Mr. Whitney, very fully and apparently very fairly, in a pamphlet he has recently published. This pamphlet not only contains much information on this question, but upon the whole subject. It should be read by every person in the Union who wishes to make himself acquainted with the merits of this great enterprise of the age. Mr. Whitney has devoted seven years to the investigation of this subject, and has collected a vast amount of information connected with every part of it. To him is not only due the honor of first suggesting the project, but he is entitled to the merit of the chief agency, in calling public attention to it, and of collecting and laying before the country a vast amount of information relating to it. Whether his particular project and his agency shall be adopted or not, should the road ever be constructed, his name cannot be separated from the work, nor can he be deprived of a large share of the honor it would reflect on the country.

Without assuming to be qualified to decide the question, which is the better route, we must be permitted to say, that from the examination we have given to that question, our first convictions have not been changed, that Mr. Whitney's scheme, his route being regarded as a part of it, is the most feasible, and combines more advantages, than any other yet suggested.

The routes from Memphis, from Fort Smith in Arkansas, and from Texas, pursue the valley of the Rio Grande beyond Santa Fé, and the river Gila. This route, if not impracticable, passes through a very mountainous and barren country, and, from the description of Lieut. Emery, would seem to be utterly uninhabitable. Considerable portions of the route must be in the Mexican territory. In the mountain region, the frost and snow interpose quite as formidable obstacles as the northern route; whilst in other parts of the route, both east and west of the mountains, the heat is excessive. This route is destitute of timber, and we know of no single advantage it possesses over the route proposed by Mr. Whitney.

The route proposed by Col. Benton, from St. Louis, by way of the Kan

sas and Platte rivers, to the South Pass, seems the only one yet suggested deserving of consideration, as compared with the Whitney route. But if this route should be admitted to be as good, or better, than the one from Prairie du Chien, does it afford adequate means for its construction ? At the South Pass, the two routes would unite, and the difference is east of that point. The route from St. Louis affords very little timber, either for the road, or for the purposes of settlement. Nor can it furnish much means from the avails of the public lands, which, by the bill introduced by Col. Benton, are to be appropriated for building the road. In the State of Missouri, the lands have chiefly been sold; and for one hundred and fifty miles west, is the Indian country, where the lands cannot be sold, or appropriated to this object. Beyond that point, they are generally barren and unfit for settlement. On this route, the timber for the road would have to be brought down the Mississippi from the upper part of Wisconsin, at a very heavy expense.

Col. Benton's bill proposed to appropriate the whole avails of the sales of the lands on the line of the road, and one-half of the proceeds of the sales of all other public lands. This would not seem to provide means sufficient to build the road. If the lands on the line of the road amount to but little, the amount applicable to the road annually, must be little more than one million of dollars. Until the sixteen millions of land-bounty scrip is out of market, the public land required cannot be expected to exceed from one and a half to two millions. The expenses of the road on this route, with the difficulty of obtaining the timber, including the repairs while the road is progressing, would not probably be less than one hundred millions of dollars. With so slender a fund, it could not well be constructed; and if commenced, the natural result would be, to throw the work entirely upon the treasury

The road is to be constructed by the government, and to be under its control and management. This would not only greatly augment the expense of its construction and management, but give rise to great frauds and corruptions, and create such a dangerous expansion of executive patronage as might so disgust the people, as to induce them to abandon the project, after millions had been expended upon it. It is doubtful whether the people will ever be willing to confide such a vast machine as this road would be, either to Congress or the President. It would, of course, become an engine of party, and give a sudden and dangerous preponderance to executive power and influence, already too strong, and daily becoming more potent.

The great and distinguishing advantage of the route from Lake Michigan is, that it passes over eight hundred miles of the best land for settlement, more than five hundred of which is without timber. The greater portion of this land is still unsold. The land within the first portion of the route will not only furnish timber for the road, but for buildings and fences for those who may settle on the line of the road, which will supply facilities for transporting it

, as the road is extended. This portion of the land will likewise furnish the means of constructing the road, not only through its own limits, but west of it, through the barren country to the South Pass. These lands are being fast taken up, so that it will soon be too late to carry out the plan of Mr. Whitney. When the lands in Wisconsin and Iowa are sold, bordering on the route, his project is at an end. The last Congress ought to have investigated this subject, and have passed the bill, if satisfied of the practicability and advantage of Mr. Whitney's plan of accomplishing this great national work. To what other use can these lands be applied, which will

be productive of such important results—such vast benefits to the whole country, and for all time to come? The setting apart these lands for this road, cannot very materially diminish the revenue from the public lands, as the opening of the road will extend settlements, and bring other lands into market, which could not otherwise have been sold in a century, if ever. Was there ever a nation so favored? We have presented to us an opportunity of throwing the commerce of all Europe with the East, across this continent, and making New York the grand emporium of the trade of the world, and of rendering all nations tributary to us. A trade which would give a new impulse to all our interests; which would diffuse over the whole Union more wealth than all the golden sands of California.

There is a tide in the affairs of nations, as well as of individuals, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Shall we want wisdom to avail ourselves of the advantages of the wealth and prosperity which Providence has spread out before us? Such has not been the American character. These vast advantages are not only presented to us, but Providence has also furnished the means of securing them almost " without money and without price.” We are invited to put forth our hand and take them. Was ever any people so favored before? And this national prosperity offered to us, is not to be enjoyed at the expense of the oppression and degradation of any other people, or any portion of the human race. The wealth of old Spain, drawn from the mines of Mexico and South America, involved the blood of millions, and the enslavement of the unoffending inhabitants of a continent. No wonder that prosperity thus obtained, did not command the blessing of heaven, and that the streams of gold, acquired at such a sacrifice, instead of fertilizing the land enjoying them, only paralyzed its industry, corrupted its morals, and, in the end, impoverished, weakened, and degraded the people. But with the prosperity to our country which this enterprise offers, would be connected immense advantages and blessings to the poor and oppressed of all nations. It would create a new and unlimited demand for labor, and open a vast region for the settlement and abodes of the destitute of our own and other lands.

Cannot the public mind be elevated to a just appreciation of the great results, the vast benefits of this great enterprise ? When objects and advantages so vast to the whole country are within our reach, cannot all paltry local and sectional jealousies and interested motives be sacrificed on the altar of the national weal? Sectional and rival interests are doubtless the only obstacles in the way of the speedy accomplishment of this measure. But with the country, with the people of the whole Union, what consequence is it, whether one State or section, or another, is most favored by this great enterprise ?

The road must, if made, be located somewhere; it must have some point of termination in the Valley of the Mississippi, and on the Pacific. The places thus favored must necessarily enjoy greater advantages from the road than other parts of the Union. But it is of no consequence to the people at large, where those favored sections are. The route offering the greatest advantages to the whole country, and affording the most ample means for the construction of the road, possesses the highest national recommendation, and should be selected. Let the attention of the whole people be directed to this subject; let it be fully investigated in a truly national spirit, free from sectional jealousies and interests, and an enlightened and patriotic public opinion be brought to bear upon it in a way that shall lighten the path of the next Congress, and make their duty to the country so plain, that they cannot mistake it, nor feel justified in neglecting it.

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