The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 35, July 1931 - April, 1932 Page: 11
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Texas and the Southern Pacific Railroad, 1848-1860
main trunk lines. Railroad companies were to pay six per cent
interest for the loans, and it was estimated that a sum of $200,-
000,000 could be so raised by the state and that 4,000 miles of
railroad iron would be provided for.28 The state plan failed be-
cause of its costliness, and because the members of the legisla-
ture, in many cases, had other and particular measures they de-
sired to see pass. The "Iron Policy" was urged largely because
some constructive policy was thought necessary to use as a weapon
in opposition to the state plan. It was never seriously considered
by the legislature.
When the legislature met again in July, 1856, the governor
seems to have acknowledged defeat, for his message made no ref-
erence to internal improvements. The state legislature, in 1854,
had set aside $2,000,000 of the United States bonds paid Texas
for her Santa Fe claim as a Special School Fund to be used for
the public schools.24 The most important act of the summer ses-
sion of the legislature in 1856 concerns this school fund. Texas
had only 71 miles of railroad in operation.2 Obviously the land
grant plan was not providing adequate transportation for the
state and needed some aid. A law approved August 13, 1856, pro-
vided that any railroad company which should have completed
as much as twenty-five miles of road, and had an additional
twenty-five miles graded, might be entitled to a loan from the
school fund at the rate of $6,000 for every mile of road actually
completed. This money was to draw eight per cent interest, two
per cent of which was to constitute a sinking fund.26 This act
was praised by De Bow and by the editor of the American Rail-
road Journal as an eminently proper procedure,27 and Texans took
courage again. But the drouth years of 1855-56 were just mak-
ing themselves felt, and the panic year of 1857 with financial
stringency was to follow.
The foregoing account has been necessary in order to show the
general conditions of railroad development in Texas. The special
account of the Southern Pacific in Texas, now to follow, will be
"House Journal, Siwth Legislature, 408.
"'Laws of Texas, 1850-53, 1461.
"Potts, C. S., Railroad Transportation in Texas, 42.
"Gammel, H. P. N., Laws of Texas, IV, 449.
"American Railroad Journal, September 20, 1856.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 35, July 1931 - April, 1932, periodical, 1932; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101092/m1/15/: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.