The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 35, July 1931 - April, 1932 Page: 16
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
fident we may be of the superior advantages of the route we repre-
The St. Louis commercial convention of 1849, of which Senator
Douglas was president, recommended that a railroad to the Pacific
should be built by the United States authorities, and that it should
have branches from Chicago, St. Louis, and Memphis. But the
first authoritative recommendation for a southern route came from
the Memphis convention of 1849, of which Matthew F. Maury was
president. One resolution stated that it was "the duty of the gen-
eral government to provide for the construction of a railroad from
the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean over the best and short-
est route. The public lands should be used to make a fund for
this purpose." The 32nd parallel route was suggested as the best
in the opinion of the convention At this convention a com-
mittee was appointed to draw up a memorial to Congress on the
subject of a southern Pacific railway. J. D. B. De Bow was chair-
man of the committee, and his memorial appeared in the March,
1850, number of his Review. His chief arguments stressed the
necessity of rapid assimilation of Californians and other Pacific
peoples and the dangers of disruption growing out of their remote-
ness from the central government at Washington.
The Texas legislature, by joint resolution on February 9, 1850,
repeated the act of March 11, 1848, with several modifications.
The new resolution authorized the United States government to
build a railroad to the Pacific Ocean starting from some point on
the Gulf coast in Texas or from the Mississippi River. Alternate
sections of land along a twenty-mile zone were to be given the
government, provided the proposition were accepted before March
4, 1851.40 The report of the committee which recommended the
passage of this resolution in the State Senate insisted that it was
the constitutional power and duty of the United States government
to construct this road for commercial and military reasons. Cli-
matic conditions were argued as favorable to a southern route, and
the advantages to Texas in the expected rise of land values were
stressed. It was said in the Committee Report that the lands
would amount to over two and a half million acres worth $2 an
Senate Misc. Docts., 80 Cong., 2 Hess., No. 33.
"9Mayes, E., "Origin of Pacific Railroads, and especially the Southern
Pacific," in Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, VI, 320.
"UGammel, H. P. N., Laws of Texas, III, 589.
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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/m1/20/: accessed July 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.