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THE PACIFIC RAILROAD.

[From The New York Times, May 4.] THE present week witnesses the completion of the greatest enterprise ever yet undertaken, whether considered in reference to its extent, its cost, or the beneficent re-it, would not have been built. In six years from the present time it will influence the construction of other lines having twice its mileage. In six years a vast population nent, now first rendered accessible, and will be found in the interior of the contiwhose mineral is likely to fully compensate for any lack of agricultural wealth. In six years, with the railroad, the commerce between eastern Asia and the western slope of our continent will reach fivefold its present magnitude.

Where such results have been secured it

sults that are to flow from it a line of railway across the continent and uniting ocean with ocean. Two companies have had this work in handthe eastern, and the Central Pacific of Calithe Union Pacific, fornia the western portion of it. Its whole length from the Missouri River to the navigable waters of San Francisco is 1800 miles. It crosses two immense mountain barriers the Rocky and the Sierra Nevada ranges one at an elevation of 7042 feet above the sea. Upon such a length of line, 1300 miles of which are through is hard to speak but in terms of praise. these great mountain ranges, the obstacles Matters with which all are familiar have encountered must have been immense. thrown a certain amount of obloquy upon The whole distance, almost, was entirely parties engaged in the construction of this without inhabitants or cultivation. All the great work, particularly the eastern portion material and force used in the construction of it. They have been accused of having had to be transported over the line as it made a great amount of money, and of havprogressed. Yet with all these difficulties ing studiously kept from the public the prothis stupendous work has really been exe- cess by which it was made and distributed. cuted in about three and a half years. It All these complaints come after success has is by far the greatest marvel in the whole been fully achieved. If it had been a failure history of civil engineering. length, 1680 miles have been constructed would have been as free as the envy and Of its whole instead of success, contempt and censure since the 1st day of January, 1866. About censure now. 300 miles were completed in each of the the line was chartered the most urgent apFor more than a year after years 1866 and 1867. From the 1st day of peals were in vain made to the solid men January, 1868, to the 1st day of May, 1869, of the country to enlist themselves in it. a period of 317 working days, 1150 miles The uncertain state of affairs, and of the were opened, being at the rate of three and public credit; the excessive liability that six-tenths miles per day. The two companies by their untiring existed as to the practicability of the entermight have to be incurred; the doubts that exertions have anticipated by six years the prise, and of its success, should it be comtime prescribed by Congress for the open-pleted, far outweighed, in most minds, all ing of the line. Previous to the construc- the arguments that could be urged in its tion of this work, a quarter of a mile a day | favor. It was a project which was at the was considered good progress, even after a time to be taken up only by parties of sanroad was graded. At such a rate, working guine temperament, and willing to hazard from both ends, the progress would have a large sum upon a fortunate turn. equalled 160 miles annually, and the time result has fully justified their expectations. required to build the road, after work was Since they commenced work, the rebellion, commenced, over eleven years. The entire then threatening the very existence of the road has been built in a period of a little nation, has been put down. The credit of over four years. all example. Never in any former period the government has appreciated beyond has such progress been made in the construction of railroads, and never has confidence in these works stood higher. Such conditions as these have rendered the enterprise of the Pacific Railroad a splendid success. disastrous failure. But for them it would have been a

The

parties to this work they were careful of
With all the enterprise and dash of the

-

THE PACIFIC RAILROAD.

So far, consequently, the two companies deserve all praise. The value of the six or seven years gained by their courage, energy, and lavish expenditure of money can hardly be estimated. Six years is a long time measured by the results it produces in the United States. In six years 7,000,000 will be added to our population; more than 20,000 miles of railroad will be built; the tonnage of these works, new and old, will

be doubled; the wealth of the country will increase in like ratio. A chief means in Pacific Railroad. It has already been insecuring such marvellous results will be the strumental, in the construction of a greater mileage than its own length, which, without

personal responsibility, and for this purpose no good reason, therefore, to censure the made use of the Crédit Mobilier, about companies for the present condition of which much has been said, and little known. their works. The first-class road will come They found in this company, created by as soon as it can be built. Nor is there the laws of Pennsylvania, a convenient go- any reason for believing that the companies between. This company, therefore, became are not as anxious to complete, as they the contractor for the eastern section of the were to prosecute their enterprises. Their road. The interest in the two companies profits depend mainly upon this, as such -the Union Pacific and the Crédit Mobil- profits consist chiefly in stock, which is valier was identical, the stockholders in the uable or worthless as the roads shall be well former being stockholders in the latter, and or ill constructed. Nor have we any reason the real recipients of all the profits made. to doubt their possession of ample means As things have turned out, it would un- for this purpose. If, therefore, the nation doubtedly have been a wiser and more cred-gets what it contracted for a first class itable course to have avoided such an in- work- certainly no one has any good volved mode of proceeding; but it was a ground of complaint. Government may precaution which most men would be likely have given too liberal a subsidy. This is to adopt in any undertaking of great hazard very probable; but it is now too late to and of doubtful profit. But, however this take advantage of such charge. It made may be, no one that we know of has suf- the bargain with its eyes open, and should fered by the arrangements made whereby now stand to it. But it should see that the the work of construction was carried on, or companies come up rigidly and squarely to has from this reason any just cause for com- their contract. In such an event the adplaint. vantage will be found to be altogether on the side of the former. It gets the road six years sooner than the time exacted. The companies have made enormous sacrifices to secure such a result, reducing thereby their profits within moderate limits, which still depend largely upon the financial success of the great enterprise, the rapidity of whose construction is a marvel, only to be exceeded, we trust and believe, in the grand social, commercial and financial results that are to follow.

The whole charge against either company in which the public is now interested, is that the road has been very imperfectly constructed, while the companies have made a great deal of money. This is a matter in which the government has had, at all times, ample means of self-protection. The law required a first-class road. The government might have withheld its subsidies till such a road was built. But the companies could not proceed without such subsidy, which was, in fact, the basis to give credit to their own bonds. No road, when it is [From The N. Y. Evening Post, 7 May.] opened, is ever a first-class work. It can Ir is but a few years since the scheme of only be made such by using it for the trans-joining the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans by a portation of all kinds of materials for build- railroad across the Continent was commonly ings, bridges, ballasting, &c. A road half- regarded as a distant hope, in the future built must precede the perfect work. While growth of the country, rather than as a such is the fact, there is probably no doubt present enterprise. Now one such road is that the Pacific Railroad is a much better at the point of completion; and many more road than the average of lines when they are planned, more than one of them with apcome from the hands of the contractor. parently stronger prospects of success than There are many reasons why this should be the road now built had even at the close of The road, for almost its entire dis- the war. tance, traverses a rainless country, the soil of which disintegrated sandstone - makes a perfect road-bed. The road is ballasted when the rail is laid. There are only a very few bridges on the line. Taking its whole length it is a remarkably favorable one, although very heavy work had to be encountered in crossing the Rocky and Sierra Nevada ranges, and in descending the Wasatch Mountains into the Salt Lake Valley. The amount of work remaining to be done to render this a first-class work is very corporation of the state of California, to small compared with other roads, however continue its road eastward beyond the large it may be in the aggregate. There is boundaries of that state, until it should

So.

The great railway line which first connects New York with San Francisco has been built by two corporations. The Union Pacific Railroad Company was incorporated by act of Congress, July 1, 1862, for the purpose of building a railroad from some point near Fort Kearney, in Nebraska, to the state line between California and Nevada, with power to extend its track eastward to the Missouri River. The same act authorized the Central Pacific Railroad Company, a

meet the road of the Union Pacific Com-terchanged between the city authorities of pany. New York and San Francisco, and between the Chambers of Commerce of the two cities.

upon

It was afterwards represented to Congress, that capitalists were unwilling to risk money in building this road on the terms of the act of 1862; and by an act approved July 2d, 1864, the land grants in aid of these roads were doubled, and the claim of United States them for its subsidy was made a second, instead of a first, mortgage on the whole property. These liberal gifts made the enterprise safe, with a prospect of enormous profits; and both companies have carried on their work with an energy beyond all precedent. Having fewer difficulties to meet, the Eastern Company have built more rapidly than the Western, and have passed the point fixed for junction, constructing the road for the California Company beyond it.

[From The N. Y. Commercial Advertiser, 8 May.] DE VACA, in 1528, started across the continent, and spent eight years, enduring incredible hardships, in reaching the Pacific. farther north in 1758, but failed. He then JONATHAN CARVER attempted the passage went to London, and vainly endeavored to get aid for a new expedition, which was to make a route across the continent. He predicted it would be done, and said, "Whenever it is, and the execution of it is carried on with propriety, those who are so fortunate as to succeed will reap, exclusive of the national advantages that must ensue, emoluments beyond their most san

The road, as completed, extends from guine expectations." He hoped those who Omaha, by way of Salt Lake City, to Sac-did the work would "bestow commendation ramento. It connects at Omaha with two and blessings on the persons who first lines of road across Iowa, to Chicago, and pointed out to them the way." Ninety at Sacramento, with a line for San Fran-years passed, and one of CARVER'S decisco. The distance from Omaha to Og-scendants, a Doctor from Western New den, the point of junction, is one thousand York, well remembered by those who were and thirty-two miles; from Ogden to Sac- familiar with Washington twenty years ago, ramento seven hundred and thirty miles; pamphleteered and lobbied, and beat the so that the Pacific Railroad, doubtless des- bush vainly in hope of exciting some sort tined before many years to be owned and of interest in a Pacific Railroad. But it controlled by one company, is seventeen was like one crying in the wilderness. hundred and sixty-two miles in length. San There was none so poor as to do reverFrancisco is one hundred and twenty miles ence to his plan, and none to heed or care. from Sacramento; Chicago is four hundred The wild dream of an enthusiast and and ninety miles from Omaha, and nine hundred and thirteen miles from New York. Since the organization of our GovernFrom New York to San Francisco, is a line ment, there have been the expeditions of of road, on which an important through bus- PIKE and LONG, of LEWIS and CLARKE, of iness will be done, and over which freight BONNEVILLE and of FREMONT, and, during will doubtless soon be carried without tran- the last few years, a host of surveying parshipment, of three thousand two hundred ties, all looking for the best and easiest and eighty-five miles. This distance may route, and investigating the point whether be shortened a little for freight by complet-the most feasible line. Old CARVER lived BENTON'S "Buffalo Paths" would prove

"bore" of 1847 is the realization of 1869.

ing connections with railroads which pass south of Chicago; but the actual distance traversed will hardly be less than thirty-two

hundred miles.

a matter

before the era of railroads. His prediction
was vague and general, but he hit the point
on the emolument " question
which has vexed our courts for weeks past.
MR. RICHARDSON, in a forthcoming book,
speaks as follows of some of the antecedents
of the present road:

The last rail uniting the eastern and western parts of this great national work will be laid to-morrow, precisely at noon. The moment when it is fixed in its place will be signalized at every station of the Western Union Telegraph Company by a despatch from the spot where the ceremony is completed. The recognition of the final to a railway. In 1838, Lewis Gaylord Clark union of New York by a great public high-wrote in the Knickerbocker: "The reader is way with the Golden Gate of the Pacific, now living who will make a railway trip across will begin in this city by ringing the chimes this vast continent." In 1846, Asa Whitney beof Trinity Church at noon, accompanied by gan to urge his project upon State Legislatures, a Te Deum and service of thanksgiving. A and popular gatherings, and he continued to message of congratulation will also be in- lagitate the subject for five years. He proposed

In 1835, the Rev. Samuel Parker, in his jourthe mountains presented no insuperable obstacle nal of an overland trip, recorded his opinion that

to build a railway from the Mississippi to Pu- | fanatics undertook. The Sun sketches an

get Sound, (California was not yet settled by initial effort as follows:

whites), if Congress would give him public lands to the width of thirty miles along the entire line. Later experience has shown that their proceeds would have been utterly insufficient. Yet Whitney failed not on that account, but because he could excite no general interest in this subject. In 1850 the first Pacific Railroad bill was introduced into Congress by sturdy old Benton. It contemplated a railway only where practicable," leaving gaps in the impassable mountains to be filled up by a wagon road. As yet, even the Alleghanies were not crossed by any unbroken railway, but by a series of inclined planes, upon which the cars were drawn up and let down by stationary engines. In 1853-4, by direction of Congress, nine routes were surveyed to the Pacific on various parallels, between the British Possessions and Mexico. Among the young officers in charge of these explorations were McClellan, Pope, Saxton, Parke, and Whipple. Another, Lieutenant Gunnison, was murdered by the Indians while in the performance of his duty. The survey resulted in thirteen huge quarto volumes of reports, which are now curiosities of our historical literature.

The first blow was struck in 1863, but that was about all. Money was hard to get, and no contractor would touch the work until August, 1864. Then, one chilly day in the Fall of that year, a few of the State, city, and railroad ofspread ficials put some boards across a dirt car, buffalo robes upon them, and rode out from Omaha to the crossing of the Papillon River, and drank a bottle of champagne in honor of the opening of twelve miles of the Pacific Railroad. In the next year - 1865-twenty-eight miles were built, making forty miles in a year and a half. It was one thousand miles to Salt Lake Valley. At that rate, how long would it take to get there? It was a sum of simple division, with an unpleasant quotient of thirty-seven That would never do. Government years. might authorize them to issue bonds, but who would buy the notes of a railroad feebly crawling thirty miles a year into the wilderness?

Now the "Doctor" is called in, and when DURANT, with his quiet persistency, indomitable will, and undaunted pluck, took the case in hand, the patient began to grow better and stronger, the pulse of the market beat with healthier stroke, and the whole

Miles.

425 105

66

In 1859, Congress authorized the construction of three Pacific railroads, a North-system responded to the new activity that ern, a Southern, and a Central, but the was required of it. The track grew fast, and the work of the years is summed up: war interfered and broke up the immature plans. However, as the years had rolled on, settlements had extended Westward. We had States on the Pacific. New mining regions were opened. The war came, and with it the new phrase, military necessity;" and there was talk, too, of a new republic on the Pacific. So in 1862, in July, MR. LINCOLN signed the new bill for the construction of a railroad from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean, and among the corporators were the recognized chiefs of railway enterprise in the Union. They were empowered to build from the starting point to the Western boundary of Nevada, and there connect with the Central Pacific, of California. They were allowed fourteen years to complete the road, the time being limited to July 1, 1876, when the opening of the Pacific Railroad and the centennial of the Declaration of Independence would come together.

We imagine that some of the corporators of the road were not particularly sanguine as to its completion. Certainly the public was not, and capital was actually repellant. Between the Indians and the alkaline waters; the Sierras and the Sioux; the snow and the wind; the want of coal and wood: the distance and the lack of population between these and ten thousand other objections and sneers, it was a mad task that these

In 1864-5
In 1866

In 1867

Miles.

40 In 1868

265 In 1869
245

New York to Omaha
Omaha to Ogden.
Ogden to Sacramento
Sacramento to San Francisco
New York to San Francisco
The Ogden branch to Salt Lake City

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Total

1,030

A mile a day was nothing, two miles was not uncommon, and on one day seven miles and nineteen hundred feet were laid and put in running order. For 300 miles at one point the road runs at an elevation of At one point, 7,000 feet above the sea. for 150 miles, the track is through the alkaline regions, where the water tanks are supplied by water trains, for neither the passenger nor the locomotive can drink of what the soil yields. On the Sierras there are snow sheds for 22 miles, and 18 miles more are to be constructed. The distances are as follows:

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Miles.

1,479 1,030

748

120 3,377 40

So the great work is done, and the last spike- a golden one goes into the last tie, driven by a silver hammer. The iron girdle lies on this large portion of the earth's surface, and the links around the

world are fast connecting. Even to-day | Pacific Road was liberal, but the risk was we are told by the end of the year the great, and those who had faith in it were China line of telegraph will connect with few in number. But the Government is those to the Mediterranean and so to Lon- reaping its reward in the advance in the don, New York, and San Francisco. Then price of its bonds, and the saving of exthe latter place will be two weeks from pense in transportation. China by steam and not two minutes by telegraph.

To cross the continent in 1849 and in 1869 is quite a different procedure. We shall hear no more from the bold travelers, who, by wagon or stage, have made the journey. The Mormon converts will go

Great as has been the work of the Union Pacific Road, its connecting line in California, the Central Pacific, had an even harder struggle. It was a terrible task to bring no longer with ox teams. The gold digger any one to believe in that road. Sacra- will proceed by rail, and trundle no more mento started the enterprise, when San wheelbarrows to the mines. To-day the Francisco held back. Hear what MR. bells ring in San Francisco and in New RICHARDSON says: York, and the Church utters the pious thanksgiving that on many profane lips will have the chrism of a spirituous if not a spiritual blessing.

Mr. Judah was dispatched to San Francisco, to secure subscriptions for incorporating the company; but, after a month of faithful canvassing, returned home without having obtained a dollar. A poor engineer had started the paper; two plain hardware merchants had put it in business shape; and now, not rich San Francisco, but unpretending little Sacramento, was to make it a success. Even after the Cen-be bridged with rail. The war had cut off tral Pacific Company was chartered by the California Legislature, only two San Franciscans subscribed for shares, and one of them was a

[From The Phil. North American, 8 May.] IN the heat of the great rebellion it was decided that instant safety and future strength demanded that the continent should

woman.

The Union Pacific Road found, for the first five hundred miles west from Omaha, the easiest route ever followed; the Central Pacific, for one hundred and thirty miles east from Sacramento, one of the hardest. Before receiving any Government bonds, the latter company must build and equip forty miles, which would carry the track far up the Sierras, and cost $4,000,000. Money was worth two per cent. a month in California. The corporators put in their entire fortunes, and obtained help both from San Francisco and the State; but all was only a drop in the bucket. To surmount the range would cost millions upon millions more, and it seemed impossible to obtain the money either in the United States or in Europe, for a line that was to become one of the world's main arteries. After reaching the summit of the Sierras, the company pushed forward with wonderful vigor. There was no connecting road from which to borrow rolling stock; and all their iron, locomotives, and other material had to be shipped 16,000 miles around the Horn; yet, under these disadvantages, they built:

Miles.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Total

698

How this company raised its funds, and with what energy FISK & HATCH "pushed things for them are matters of financial history. The Government endowment of the

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whatever physical and pecuniary aid might otherwise have been gained for the gigantic undertaking from almost one-half of the country. The same war had diminished the available supply of labor in the other moiety, exaggerated prices and entered into the general business of life. No equal stretch of construction had ever before been attempted in any country. Most of this was remote from population; all of it was removed from the supply of the first essentials, and not a little led through unwrapped mountain canons, over great prairies that had been pronounced desert, across rivers made as fearful as Tartarus by report, and in the hunting grounds of Indian tribes who were notoriously hostile to whites. The iron was not mined for the rails, nor was it clear that subscriptions could be gained to

pay

for it.

Three years have expired. We have chronicled the glorious end of the rebellion. We now record the last stroke upon the Pacific Railway the true junction of the two oceans, and the perpetual clasp of the opposing extremities of the country. BeMiles. yond all the considerations of political 46 strength, and beyond those of increasing 363 and still to be increased business and pros199 perity that appertain to this consummation, there is something so strange and imposing about it that the mind at once reverts to the marvels of the Arabian Nights. Nothing else will parallel it in grandeur. The other great achievements of men in other ages that are or may be cited in contrast the Pyramids, the Sphynx, the marvellous

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