The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 35, July 1931 - April, 1932 Page: 15
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Texas and the Southern Pacific Railroad, 1848-1860
through the territory of the United States to the Pacific Ocean.
The memorialists stated that the new acquisition of territory by
the United States had attracted the attention of the commercial
world to the importance of a railroad to the Pacific. The railroad
would have many advantages. It would "make us the proprietors
and carriers of this highway of nations and would secure the
thousands of miles of our southwestern frontier from Indian and
foreign encroachments, giving value to unreclaimed lands by set-
tlement and improvement, and would increase the national wealth
The memorialists gave as their opinion that the best route for
a Pacific railroad was the Red River Valley along the 32nd parallel
to El Paso, thence along the Gila River to San Diego. It was sug-
gested that since Texas had passed the act of March 11, 1848,
offering twenty sections of land per mile for such a road "nothing
more is requisite" than for Congress to concede the company the
right to extend across the newly acquired territory. The entire
length of the route from Red River was not over 1,250 miles, army
officers had reported that the route was not impeded by mountains
or other obstacles, and it was reported by high authority that a
four-horse carriage could proceed without difficulty from El Paso
to San Diego. Nature herself had designated this as the great
central line of communication between the two oceans; the soil
was fertile and the climate healthful all along the route. The
wheat crop of the Red River country came in in May, it was stated,
sixty days ahead of all the other wheat growing states of the Union,
so Texas could supply United States markets with flour for sixty
days without a rival. New flour, for example, was always better
than old. New Orleans alone consumed 750 barrels a day. The
benefits of such a road were compared to those of the Erie Canal.
Any number of eastern branches of the road, from New Orleans
to the Great Lakes, might be constructed. The memorial referred
Congress to the accompanying charter of the road and to the en-
closed information gleaned from reports of army officers, engineers
of the War Department, and other gentlemen. It stated that the
trade of Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands would be sub-
servient to our national interests. It referred to Whitney's north-
ern route, but disclaimed any comparison or rivalry "however con-
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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/m1/19/: accessed April 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.