The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 35, July 1931 - April, 1932 Page: 19
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Texas and the Southern Pacific Railroad, 1848-1860
San Diego, but would go to El Paso by way of Austin. The New
Orleans Commercial Convention of 1852 again urged a road
through Texas to the Pacific; but the first action of any kind by
Congress was taken in 1853. A Senate amendment to the Army
Appropriation Bill for the year ending June 30, 1854, authorized
Secretary-of-War Jefferson Davis to have made explorations and
surveys to determine the most practicable route for a Pacific rail-
way. This appropriation of $150,000 was the first actually made
by Congress in the interest of a Pacific railroad. Reports on the
routes were to be laid before Congress on or before the first Mon-
day in February, 1854.48
While the surveys were being made interest in a southern route
was attracted in two other places. A boundary dispute had grown
out of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo with Mexico, and hostili-
ties were threatened with that country. Colonel James Gadsden,
of South Carolina, then our minister to Mexico, negotiated a pur-
chase by the United States of the Mexican release of the southern
part of the Gila River Valley. This peaceful settlement by Gads-
den was praised by the Democratic statesmen and press; but de-
spite the fact that a ratification would prevent hostilities with
Mexico a lively contest was precipitated in the United States Sen-
ate and the treaty was refused ratification. The reason for its
rejection was the fact that the acquisition of this territory would
give the South a much better route for a Pacific railroad.49 On
a second submission of the treaty by President Pierce it was
The Southern Commercial Convention at Memphis, with 500 del-
egates from fifteen states, had General Memucan Hunt, of Texas,
for a vice-president. This convention went on record with the
statement that "our national necessities and individual and com-
mercial wants demand a railroad from the Mississippi River to the
Pacific Ocean." The route suggested was a fan-shaped, or delta
project. Its branches on the eastern end were to number seven
and the extremes were to be at Dubuque, Iowa, and Galveston,
Texas.50 Let us remember that these phases of the subject were
almost contemporary: the Act of December, 1853, in Texas, char-
'8tatutes-at4Large, Hess., 32 Cong., C. 98, S. 10.
"gDe Bow's Review, XVII, 409. See a scholarly work by Paul N. Gar-
ber, The Gadsden Treaty.
"De Bow's Review, XV, 265.
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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/m1/23/: accessed August 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.