The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 35, July 1931 - April, 1932 Page: 23
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Texas and the Southern Pacific Railroad, 1848-1860 23
minded Congress that the distance from El Paso, Texas, to the
eastern California line along the route of the 32nd parallel was
only 470 miles, mostly favorable to railroad construction. But
he ends his references to railroad building as follows: "But I
commend it to your kindly consideration without committing my-
self to any particular route.""
On the heels of the Buchanan recommendation the Gwin Bill
for three routes failed in the Senate; but it was later reintroduced
and was passed in December, 1858, by a vote of 31 to 20.6" But
the House of Representatives took no action on the Senate bill.
In Congress the excitement over the slavery controversy had
reached a high point and was affecting all of the debates on a
transcontinental railroad. In 1857 a stage-coach line had been
established along the line of the present Southern Pacific Railway
from San Antonio, Texas, to San Diego, California. It caused
immigration to flow into Arizona and New Mexico and resulted
in the building of towns and villages, thus confirming some of the
arguments in favor of the Southern Pacific route. Professor
Haney thinks the Southern Pacific would have been built by the
Federal government had the Civil War not interrupted.6"
One last pre-war effort was made by Congress. A bill for two
routes, a southern and a central one, was passed by the House in
December, 1860. The Senate added a third route farther north.
The House refused to accept the amendment.
In the southern commercial conventions of the middle fifties
Texas usually had from three to fifteen delegates, and some of
them were leaders. Mirabeau B. Lamar, a former president of the
Texas Republic, was president of the New Orleans Convention of
1855. Lamar, in his introductory remarks, referred to the Pacific
route on the 32nd parallel, and the plan of 1854 to build the
road by an organization of the Southern and Mexican states was
The Savannah Convention of 1856, attended by 800 men from
fourteen states, was the last to threaten decided action on a south-
ern route. Here it was resolved that a Southern Pacific railroad
should be constructed, chartered by states and territories, aided
"GCong. Globe, 1 Hess., 85 Cong., 242.
"Gong. Globe, 2 Ress., 85 Cong., 348.
"Haney, L. H., A Congressional History of Railways, II, 114.
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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/m1/27/: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.