The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 35, July 1931 - April, 1932 Page: 21
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Texas and the Southern Pacific Railroad, 1848-1860
former working from Marshall, Texas, to El Paso. His report to
his chief stated that there was easy going along the entire route
from the Red River to El Paso; that the cost of railroad construc-
tion there would be very reasonable; that timber and building ma-
terial could be obtained on the ground for over half of the dis-
tance; that the agricultural and mineral resources of this route
were in all respects good; that there were very unusual prospects
for railroad business along the route; and that the land was amaz-
ingly fertile and well watered. Captain Pope closed his report
with the suggestion that the Texas land grant of over 8,000,000
acres should make the company taking advantage of it the richest
corporation in America." The report of Captain Parke stated
that there was a belt of land from ten to one hundred miles wide
along the 32nd parallel route free of mountains and other ob-
Secretary Davis made his report to Congress in February, 1854.
An extract follows: "The route of the 32nd parallel is, of those
surveyed, the most practicable and economical route for a railroad
from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. This is the
shortest route; and not only is its estimated cost less by a third
than that of any other of the lines, but the character of the work re-
quired is such that it can be executed in a vastly shorter period.""
Professor Haney says this report of a Southern statesman was dis-
counted considerably; that the reports of the surveys convinced
Congress that several routes were practicable.51 Senator Thomas
H. Benton, of Missouri, now became more active in his work for a
central route in 1854 and 1855. He declared that no subsidy was
necessary, but that a railway to the Pacific had become a neces-
sity."8 Senator Gwin, of California, had been very active in pre-
senting and supporting plans for any kind of transcontinental
railway that could be constructed. He was able to get through
the Senate in 1855 a bill for the construction of three roads; but
the House of Representatives killed the bill.59 The same bill was
reintroduced the next year, but excitement over the struggle for
"Sen. Exeo. Doc., 1 Hess., 88 Cong., No. 129.
5"See also De Bow's Review, XV, 640.
"Senate Doc., 3 Sess., 33 Cong., No. 78, VII.
"Haney, L. H., A Congressional History of Railways, II, 55.
"Cong. Globe, 2 Sess., 38 Cong., Appendix, 73 if.
'Cong. Globe, 2 Bess., 38 Cong., 747 ff.
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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/m1/25/: accessed December 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.