The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956 Page: 371
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Railroad Einterprises in the Republic of Texas
such a small and scattered population.28 Moreover, the panic of
1837 which lasted well into the 184o's affected nearly every bank
in the United States. England, which had been a source of cap-
ital for many of the railroads of the United States, was also
affected and the Bank of England was on the verge of failure. The
little credit Texas may have had was rapidly waning. The Con-
gress in 1836 had voted a bond issue of five million dollars, se-
cured by "public lands and a pledge of the public faith." But
the bonds had traveled over the United States and Furope with-
out finding a buyer. At the same time, the government had
greatly increased the issue of paper money until by June, 1840,
it was worth only 17 cents on the dollar and by the close of the
year but 14 cents.29 It should be remembered, however, that rail-
roads in the United States did not become important in the
system of transportation until after the War with Mexico. In
1847 in Ohio only thirty-six miles of railroads were in operation
and as late as December, 1851, there were only four railroads
operating in that state.80 Like the early railroads of Ohio, and
in fact of the whole of the Old Northwest, the roads undertaken
in Texas during the period of the Republic may be regarded as
pioneer enterprises "conceived in poverty and inexperience,
prostrated by general bankruptcy, and revived only in another
28The population in 1836 has been estimated at "scarcely 5o,ooo, scattered thinly
over an area two or three times as large as New England." Potts, Railroad Trans-
portation in Texas, 23.
29Yoakum, History of Texas, II, 286.
8soEugene O. Porter, "Financing Ohio's Pre-Civil War Railroads," Ohio State
Archaeological and Historical Quarterly, LVII, 221.
1aFrederick L. Paxson, "Early Railways of the Old Northwest," Transactions of
the Wisconsin Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters (Madison, 1914), XVII, part 1,
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956, periodical, 1956; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101162/m1/397/: accessed December 14, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.