A railroad to connect the Atlantic with the Pacific Oceans by steam, so as to unite the Eastern with our extreme Western States, is certainly something much desired by all our citizens. Various plans have been proposed to effect this object. A few years ago Whitneys plan for a railroad to be constructed by himself from a grant of land made by the government, created a great deal of excitement throughout the Union. The projector of it, with much energy, travelled through the various States, and was the means of getting (we think) a majority of the Legislatures to pass resolutions favorable to his scheme. One or more committees appointed by Congress reported in favor of it. Yet, for ail this, as a scheme to be adopted, it never really received the serious attention of any Session of Congress. A memorial was presented last year to the Senate by Robert Mills, C. E,, of Washington, who proposed a plan and route entirely different from that of Mr. Whitney. The Committee on Public Lands, Senator Borland chairman, made a report on said memorial, and by it a Bill was presented for the construction of a railroad to the Pacific, which bill was the subject of warm discussion in the Senate. The proposed centre of this railroad in the States, was Memphis, Tennessee, but the appropriations for the construction of the road through existing States was met with objections of unconstitutionality. The Bill was amended, to provide only for its construction by government through Territories, and finally, it has come down to an appropriation for a survey, and no more. It certainly does appearto be reasonable that the route should first be thoroughly surveyed and reported upon before money is voted to construct the road. In all likelihood there will be much contention among some of the States west of the Mississippi for the advantage of being the heart to the great veins and arteries of railroads in these United States—Atlantic and Pacific. Be that as it may, there can be no doubt of the necessity and advantages of such a railroad being constructed, and the sooner it is constructed the better. Lieut. Maury, in a letter on the subject, in answer to inquiries made by Senator Dodge, of Iowa, respecting the advantages we would have over the English by such a railroad, in our trade with China, says,11 the California route, as it will be with a railroad hence, and a line of steamers on the Pacific to Shanghai, in comparison with the English routes as they now are, will give a difference in our favor of twenty-five or thirty days. To this great fact we wish to direct the attention of our people. We do not say how the road is to be constructed, nor do we propose what shall be the route, (who can do so correctly ?) but we do say that such a road should be built as soon as possible. Will this be done? if not, let us say but little about our enterprise and sagacity.
This article was originally published with the title "Railroad to the Pacific"