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suns and disease, nor yet so far north as to be among continued snow and ice, but is through a temperate, and, for a large part, most salubrious climate.
4. It is at a point where the Mississippi is always navigable.
Notwithstanding this preference, however, convince us of a better American route and we yield. More full and perfect surveys may fix us in our prepossessions or altogether destroy them. Let us have the surveys at once. In the spirit of compromise between the North and the South and the West, should rivalries arise, they might perhaps only be silenced by the selection of a terminus at some point opposite the mouth of the Ohio River, supposing that surveys should establish its equal practicability.
For ourselves, we declare for the road—the road as early as possiblethe road over the best route, and with the best terminië—the road most calculated to subserve the purposes of the whole union-and we do not intend that any idle preferences or prejudices, or worse still, any discreditable and unpatriotic rivalries shall attract us to the right or the left in the pursuit of this great and stupendous enterprise, which shall mark an epoch in the history of mankind. Here indeed the object is our country, and man.
Stupendous as appears this proposed enterprise, there is nothing in it at all impracticable
. For a nation so extraordinary as ours, the fiat has only to go forth, and the deed is done!
We say not, nor pretend to say, how this road shall be built; whether, as Mr. Whitney proposes, by a grant of the land on either side to a private company, making of them the greatest, the wealthiest, and perhaps the most dangerous corporation in the world; or, as Mr. Benton would have it, by government appropriations and government officers, thus fearfully increasing executive patronage, and leaping at once headlong into a system of such prodigious expenditures for internal improvements, by the Federal Government, as shall in a few years make it lose the federal character altogether and become, unless some checks can be devised, one of the most powerful and irresistible centralisms on earth-or yet by Slate appropriations and action conjointly with individuals, as Mr. Calhoun perhaps would have it, or as economy and expedition might demand, since government ever pays much and gets little, if indeed the means of States and individuals are adequate to the purpose. We express not an opinion here. Concert of action, counsel, deliberation, are required. Wise heads must be called upon to pronounce. We see difficulties, vast difficulties in either or any view, but our faith in the road, and the road at once, is unshaken.
It is demanded by our wants. Would we be without this great link to bind together our continent, extend our pressing population, fill up our interior valleys and vast wilderness with an enterprising people, secure our defenses by land and water, and bring together our merchants and manufacturers from every part of the continent in common marts ?
We want the road to develop our mineral resources, which appear to be inexhaustible. We know not yet the treasures which are beyond the Rocky Mountains. We have found virgin gold in quantities to bewilder our imaginations and astound our judgments, yet we know scarcely any thing yet of the country. Are there other precious metals?
Is there iron? is there coal? which have enriched Pennsylvania and given rise to her public works, the most extensive in the Union.* We know that the quantity of salt is altogether inexhaustible on the route; and is this article so valueless that it will not bear a transportation two or three times as great only as is borne by the coal of Pennsylvania ?
We want the road, finally, to complete for us that commercial Empire after which we have sighed—which has been indicated for us in every step of our progress, from the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers, and which appears to be ours by a manifest and inevitable destiny. Shall we not then have it?
To be sure there are some fifteen hundred, or, it may even be, two thousand miles of country to be traversed over—a thousand miles of howling wilderness-mountains, hills and valleys and rivers—all of that! Sixty, or perhaps one hundred million of dollars must be expended and lie for a time without income-even so. But what is two thousand miles of railroad to the American people, and what is a hundred millions of dollars ?
Twenty years ago there was not in the United States a single locomotive engine in successful operation. Our first railroad was not conipleted until 1825, and it was not until October, 1829, that the empire of steam was established upon our shores. In that twenty years what events! Every State and section of this vast republic are already penetrated and traversed by the magic power it engenders. The number of miles of railroad already constructed and in operation, is six thousand four hundred and twenty-one, over one thousand miles of which center at a single city, Boston, having cost $49,221,400, and earning clear of all expenses in 1848, $2,678,745. These American roads have varied in cost from 8 to $60,000+ per mile, or assuming an average of $30,000: the total amount expended on railroads among us during the first twen'y years of their existence, is about two hundred millions of dollars.
We begun these railroad enterprises with 13,000,000 of inhabitants, we have now 22,000,000. We begun them with 1,700,000 square miles of territory, we have now 3,000,000 miles; we begun with an annual industrial revenue, which has increased in a much larger proportion than our population ; and we set out upon the career of the twenty years to come with an entire familiarity with the business of railroads in every point, and with such facilities and improvements and reductions in cosif as no human being twenty years since could have foreseen. Shall the future, then, be staggered by this project of a railroad only one-third as long as the past has already built, more than onehalf less expensive and one-fifth part in extent of the railroads which have been projected, according to Dr. Lardner, in the various States of the Union for future construction?
When the first American road was constructed, “ twenty tons on a * Lieut. Maury, in his letter to Mr. King, says that Lieut. Minor, of the Navy, who was Governor of San Diego, informed him of having found bituminous coal in the Solidad valley, about six miles from the port. He found it on the surface, and used it in the forge, though it was impregnated with sulphur.
+ The Boston and Lowell cost $68,196 per mile. Reading railroad, Pennsylvania, much more.
The average price of iron alone in bars, at Liverpool, has fallen from £14 per ton, in 1825, to £5.5 in 1819.
level road at ten miles an hour," was the extent of the requirements of those who were in advance of the age in these matters. And even this degree of confidence in their power was confined to a very few persons in England, while in all Europe besides, and with here and there an exception in this country, they were as little thought of as the magnetic telegraph in 1840! And yet at this date a locomotive, even of American manufacture, which will haul from a thousand to twelve hundred tons on a level road at the same speed; is no uncommon thing. There is yet existant that recklessness, we would say that insolence, of opinion, which would set itself up in judgment here, and determine, as it did twenty years ago, the acme of progress is reached, and your schemes of railroad extension are visionary and impracticable! There is a modesty in true science which almost reaches to the faith of Tertullian: “this is impossible, it is therefore true," for who is it that shall determine the impossible? Those who think ever find it easy to conclude.
What have other nations done in the progress of railroad extension ? England in thirty years, has built and set in operation 3549 miles of railroad, costing $550,706,802. In 1845, there was 4000 additional miles chartered, at a computed cost of very nearly as much more, making, together, a railroad investment of $1,000,000,000! A single one of her roads, the North Western, is 428 miles long, and cost $104,114,633. Has Britain so got the start of us, who have nearly equalled her in population, that she must bear the palm of great deeds forever alone ?
France had, in 1846, 1000 miles of railroad-Belgium 348—Austrian Dominions 1935 miles-Prussia 700 miles—all Germany in construction 7600 miles, in operation 4760 miles. Nine or ten thousand miles of railroad built upon the continent!
Even Russia, despotic Russia, is on her way front St. Petersburg to Warsaw and Cracow-to Moscow-to Odessa, to connect the Volga and the Duna: these are all stupendous works.
The following table, from a late number of the Railroad Journal, will show all the railroads in operation in Europe and America, and their cost.
Miles. Cost per mile to Jan. 4, '49.
$ 192,630,000 30,000
If we ask, what has been attained in regard to speed? When Mr. Stephenson asserted in England, twelve miles an hour might be attained, he was hooted—it has reached now forty-seven and five-tenths miles, and we understand, more lately, even as high as sixty miles an hour on the Great Western road in England. A scientific man (Dr. Lardner) would not undertake to fix a limit short of two hundred miles an hour.
If we ask in regard to economy of travel and freight? The Erie Railroad, eighty-seven miles in length, transports its passengers at one and seventy-two tenths of a cent per mile, and the Providence Rail. road established its rates, a few years ago, at one cent per mile. Coal is transported in Pennsylvania, at the rate, we learn, of one cent per ton per mile, and the average freight upon New England roads is less than two cents. Compared with any other mode of travel, where can competition arise? The British railroads carry bale goods at two pence per ton per mile, and twenty miles an hour! Some of the best of our roads have declared over ten per centannual dividends, whilst those of Europe have gone as high as twelve and a quarter per cent., and in England 4.24 per cent was declared upon a gross receipi in 1848 of forty-seven millions of dollars on all the lines.
If we ask in regard to safely? Dr. Overton, of Nashville, stated in 1845, that upward of forty-four millions of people had traveled over the different railways in Great Britain, in five years, with the loss of only ten lives. In Paris, in 1844, one million eight hundred and eightynine thousand seven hundred and eighteen had traveled without a single person being injured, whilst in the same period there were nine killed and two hundred and eighty-three wounded by the common roadcarriages! In our own country, however, from greater recklessness, the accidents have been much greater, though, out of seventeen millions of passengers transported on the Massachusetts railroads, in 1846-7-8, the whole number of fatal accidents were one hundred and eight (twenty-four only being passengers), being about six in every million! We question, too, if this is not greatly higher than the average from year to year.
Should we falter, then? For as it is sufficient that Great Britain has built a single road, costing one hundred millions of dollars, as much as is required for a road across our continent, and that the statistics of our own country, as carefully collected by our public officers at Washington, show an annual income, realized from all branches of industry among us, 'amounting to two thousand millions of dollars.* If we were to build the road in ten years, not perhaps an impossibility, and the income of the nation were not augmented, an utter impossibility, the amount annually expended on the road would be ten millions of dollars, or one-half of one per cent. of the whole annual income of the country!
Our public works, we mean of the states, and cities, and government, have already cost perhaps five hundred millions of dollars. We pay in taxes, state and federal, &c., sixty or seventy millions annually, and expend, now and then, when the humor seizes us, one hundred millions of dollars in a single year, and on a single war. What of
• Patent Office Report, 1848.
these things! The credit of the American nation was never so high before, and wealth and prosperity never so universal among us.
We all know the extraordinary stimulus wbich was given to British industry, and the prodigious strides that were made by that empire when the wars of Napoleon were causing her an expenditure of one hundred and fifty millions of dollars a year over and above her vast and over-taxed revenues, and in twenty years an expenditure of three thousand millions, all of it raised among her citizens.
The Romans constructed fourteen thousand miles of road, a single one of four thousand miles, many of stones and rocks joined with great care, which remain sound to our day; they had, and we find among their ruins, acqueducts bringing water through rocks and mountains for sixty miles, over valleys raised upon immense arcades of stone, and supporting large canals. The Egyptians, for vain purposes, could construcı prodigious pyramids, obelisks, and statues, sometimes elevating single stones of seventy feet square. The Babylonians had their hanging gardens and great wall--the French built the great Semplon road across the Alps—the British cut a tunnel under the Thames, floating with all its navies—the Chinese put up a GREAT WALL to protect their empire, fifteen hundred miles long, carried over the highest moun. tains, through the deepest valleys, and continued by bridges over rivers, fifteen to thirly feet in height, with a breadth of fifteen feet at the top, of masonry, with square towers at short intervals thirty-seven feet high!' They build a great canal of six hundred and fifty miles! Even the ancient Americans, if Montaigne can be credited, had a road from Quito to Cuzco, nine hundred miles long, twenty-five paces broad, made of stones ten feet square. In fact, there are ruins all over our country of stupendous ancient works, that might perhaps make our Pacific railroad itself blush.
Build the road, then—it is for us, and not for our children-it is within our easy effort-it is most promising in results—it will create, as it goes along, the trade which shall sustain it, and will even carry with it, from station to station, the timber, foundations, and supports, which it requires, from the forests to the prairies, like man himself, in his prog. ress through the wilderness, laden with the material which is to nourish and sustain him.*
* Many roads in our country have already done this. How many villages do we find springing up all along our railroads, and what an extent of country do they bring into cultivation. The amount of trade between any two points is always vastly enhanced by them.
The trade of Santa Fe, in its present discouragements, amounts to perhaps nearly one million of dollars per annum both ways, for the supply of Chihuahua and the other neighboring provinces. The cost of freight is full twenty to twenty. five collars per hundred pounds. With a reduction of this freight to one dollar the hundred weight, what extension of the New Mexican trade may be contemplated !
It will cost the fifty thousand passengers, who are going to California, two hundred dollars each-ten millions of dollars. If, in twenty years tiine, that number of persons were to pass and repass from the United States, or the one-half of them, we should have from this source, from the road alone, several millions of dollars,
Five millions of dollars clear of working expenses, which in New England are estimated at fifty-four per cent. of gross income, would be five per cent. on the cost of road—a good dividend. To do this, the gross income must be ten millions