The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 35, July 1931 - April, 1932 Page: 12
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
found often contemporaneous with and complicated with the gen-
eral movement heretofore treated.
It has been said that "No other industrial enterprise to which
the United States has lent encouragement and support is com-
parable in importance and magnitude to that of the Pacific Rail-
way."28 The first concrete plans for a transcontinental railway
were presented to Congress by Asa Whitney in January, 1854.29
These memorials dealt primarily with trade to China as the end
to be attained. Southern men did not wait until the end of the
year to suggest other routes, and the agitation for a Southern
Pacific usually took the form of describing something better than
the Whitney and other proposed northern or central routes.
Robert Patterson, editor of the Concordia Intelligencer (Louis-
iana), suggested as a better route than Whitney's a road from
Vidalia, Louisiana, opposite Natchez, Mississippi, through Louis-
iana, Texas, and Mexico, to Mazatlan, a Mexican port at the
mouth of the Gulf of California, then very much frequented by
American shipping.30 Soon afterwards Caleb G. Forshey, a
Vidalia civil engineer, elaborated on this scheme, starting the
road from Charleston, and addressed a meeting at Natchez on the
subject in October, 1845. In November, 1845, Forshey presented
his plan to the Memphis Commercial Convention, which was pre-
sided over by Calhoun. He argued that Oregon would be as-
sured to the United States if we built a transcontinental road be-
fore England did, and claimed that we could make the trip from
Charleston to the Pacific "in sixty or seventy hours."31
The next year we hear the views of Colonel James Gadsden
and of the Arkansas Democrat. The former, in his report of the
South Carolina Railroad Company, published maps of proposed
routes and discussed the route to Mazatlan. He also proposed, a
route along the 32nd parallel of latitude through Texas. The
Arkansas Democrat informed the public late in 1846 that the
route of the 32nd parallel could be built for $5,000,000, while the
2"Kline, A. M., "The Attitude of Congress toward the Pacific Railway,"
in Report of the American Historical Association, 1910, 191.
9"Cong. Globe, 28 Cong., 2 Bess., 218.
Southern Pacific," in The Publications of the Mississippi Historical So-
ciety, VI, 313.
"Mayes, Edward, "Origin of the Pacific Railroads and especially the
8"De Bow's Review, I, 23ff.
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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/m1/16/: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.