The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 35, July 1931 - April, 1932 Page: 13
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Texas and the Southern Pacific Railroad, 1848-1860
Whitney road would cost $50,000,000. It claimed further that
the Southern route was 1,400 miles shorter.32
In 1847 J. D. B. De Bow, of New Orleans, editor of the Com-
mercial Review, began to take a more active interest in a trans-
continental railway than he had manifested up to that time. He
published an editorial stating that the loss of lives on the Gulf
of Mexico during the past eighteen months had totalled more
than 1,000, and that the loss of ships and cargoes during the same
period amounted to more than $6,000,000." These figures were
given as an argument for the building of railroads. In the same
volume is printed an article by Professor Forshey, of Vidalia,
Louisiana, attempting to show that the Southern route to the
Pacific would be the most advantageous. He stated that the route
through Texas would be only 1,500 miles long, while the Whitney
route was 2,400 miles long, making an advantage of 900 miles in
favor of the more Southern route. The difference of topography
was stressed at length, and the Southern plains and plateaus were
favored over the Rocky Mountain barriers in the North. In dis-
cussing climate he stated that the Whitney route would be im-
passible for two or three months of the year and the Southern
route never. Another point in favor of the Texas route was that
the territory through which it passed was more populous than the
rival territory, and the Texas route was also said to be rich in
minerals. Mr. Forshey pointed out that we were winning the war
against Mexico and could likely dictate our own terms of peace.
He suggested that we should demand a railroad right-of-way as a
concession in the peace treaty. Forshey said that the distance of
550 miles through Texas, by way of San Antonio and El Paso,
would cost $5,500,000, while the entire road of 1,491 miles would
cost $22,000,000. This road would extend to Mazatlan, at the
mouth of the Gulf of California."
The Forshey argument, published in July, 1847, was answered
by Whitney in the Review for October of the same year. Whitney
denied all of the advantages claimed for the Texas route by For-
shey, and urged the Northern route as one that was national and
"Arka/nsas Democrat, December 11, 1846. (Quoted by Cotterill, R. S.,
"Early Agitation for a Pacific Railroad," in Mississippi Valley Historical
Review, V, 191.)
"De Bow's Review, III, 476.
"De Bow's Review, III, 477ff.
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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/m1/17/: accessed May 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.