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31st CONGRESS) ls£ Session.

* NO. 43&. HO. OF»REP3
^^. • c^i^
[To accompany bill H. Ri. No. 368.]
AUGUST 1, 1850.
Mr. F.- P. STANTON, from the Committee on Naval Affairs, made the following

• i
The Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom was referred the memorial of the Memphis convention, praying Congress to cause to be surveyed the several routes for a railroad from the Mississippi valley to the Pacific ocean, and also to aid and encourage (by proper contracts for transporting the mails and military and naval stores') such private companies as may project communica/ions by ship canal acrsss the isthmus of Tehuanfepec^ Panama, or Nicaragua, beg leave to submit the following' report:
In the consideration of the subjects presented in the memorial, the committee believe they cannot do better than to submit the paper hereto appended, which was prepared by a member of the Memphis convention in the form of a memorial, and which is believed to cover all the material considera-tions bearing upon the proposed connexions of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and the best routes for the same. From this document it will beseen in wl^at manner the subjects of the memorial connect themselves with those which are under the peculiar charge of this committee. Although, in their general aspects, these subjects might seem to be altogether foreign from the affairs of the navy, yet in some important points there is a perfect coincidence of interest. The committee have therefore deemed it appropriate to present a bill making provision for a hydrographical survey of the termini of the proposed ship canals in Central America, as well as for the survey of the routes for a railroad across the continent.
Accompanying document.
A railroad to unite Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States- iiS necessary, to make such States united^ In the opinion of the Memphis convention, the grand trunk of this road should extend from the banks
of the Mississippi river to the shores of California, and be a great national road.
The question of constitutional power to carry such a road through any
2 - Rep. No.489L
incorporated State of this Union has been raised. It is proper to meet it, and, this the committee will endeavor to do on the threshold.
To-avoid the constitutional objections raised by many to. the construction by the general government of -works of internal improvement within the States, it lias been urged from highly respectable quarters, that it would be necessary so to locate the line of this road that it might lie
wholly within the territories.
If there be no better grounds, no clearer source from which to derive
the pawer for the federal government to construct this road, not as awork of internal improvement, but as a work of national defence, it cannot be
constructed by the general government at all.
Before it is possible to complete (he ready New Mexico will be a sovereign State, Deseretwill be a State, California will be a State, besides others, probably, whose names are not'yet familial to the public ear; and the general-government, according to the territorial doctrine, could have nothing to do with the construction of the road within those States after
they are- admitted into the Union as such-
The power, therefore, to build roads, considered merely as works of internal improvement within the Territories, would, as far as this great national highway to the Pacific is concerned, be of very little use; for as the work\ progressed, sovereign States would spring up where now there are unorganized Territories, and present impassable barriers to it in the
lhahds of the government,,
If the constitutional power to build this great -work were derived only
tfro^a this source—if the government had not the power to locate tlie road withiifi its own, borders where it would best answer the objects of its creation aiad subserve the military purposes of defence—if the government
• were compelled to turn it hither and yonder so as to keep it within the Territories and the constitution, it might well be questioned whether such a road would answer the purpose or suit the convenience of its builders—the States of this Union.
They are to build this road; it is to be constructed with their means, for their purposes and welfare, and for the benefit and convenience of their citizens.
The States, through their agent, the federal government, should be free to locate it where their objects would be best subserved, and for such a
• work as this the power to choose routes is scarcely less important than the power to construct the road. If we have to go into the Territories to find the constitutional power to construct this work, the work must be kept within the Territories, and our engineers cannot go out of the Territories to look for routes, because, if they find them, the government, according to this doctrine, could not use them.
The power over the Territories does not include power enough for such a railroad as this, because the grant is not broad enough to include the grounds of location, whether within or without the States where locations would be most beneficial, desirable, and advantageous.
Abandoning all doubtful constructions, and rejecting all insufficient sources of constitutional power for a work like this, the convention adopts the views expressed by its president on taking the chair, and, with him, places this road upon the grounds of NATIONAL DEFENCE. The convention advocates its construction by the general government as a work that
Rep. No. 439. 3
is needed and necessary for the protection, the security, and well being of American citizens inhabiting the Pacific slope of this broad land.
Regarding the circumstances out of which grew the constitution of the United States, it may well be questioned whether the " better to provide for the common defence " were not the chief among them.
The powers of steam, railroads, and the magnetic telegraph were not known to the fathers of the republic as among the means of providing for the "common defence," and because they were not known, then is their use as works and means of national defence to be inhibited now? Then let us destroy our steam men-of-war, for steamships were not any more
than railways in the mind of the constitution-makers when they framed that instrument.
In the judgment of the convention, the powers of steam and railroads would make this country more terrible in war than all the world in arms without them could be; and no one can be so blind to the lights of reason as to deny the power of the government to use such works in its system of national defences.
Yo^r memorialists believe that they can show to the satisfaction of all candid and unprejudiced minds that this proposed railway t& California will be, when completed, not only stronger and more powerful than any fortification or other military work .that is known, but that, as a work of defence, it is necessary for the protection of our Pacific coasts.
They propose at the proper place to lay before your honorable, body the facts, reasons, and arguments which have led them so to regard the Pacific railway. But that your memorialists, and the distinguished bodyforand in whose name they are speaking, may not be misunderstood, let it be supposititiously admitted, for the present, that the railroad to California is a work of national defence; that it is as necessary for the protection .and proper defence of those shores, as the works in process of construction at Key West and the Tortugas are for the gulf States, or as the Rip-Raps and Fortress Monroe are for Norfolk. -
Let this much be admitted, only for the sake of argument; and let it be admitted, also, that it is necessary and obligatory upon us to provide foi* the common defence, by affording California the means of protection.
These premises being granted, would not the general government have the same power to carry this railroad, this work of defence and fortification, if it please, through the States, that she has to build forts and castles, and establish navy yards, within the States? Surely none would deny a postulate so clear and plain.
In this view of the subject, the power to buildi that road and to locate
it In the States or Territories, so that it shall the most effectually answer the objects in view, is derived from the same reading of the constitution which gave the power to establish the Memphis navy yard, within the
State of Tennessee. ' .
It is the same power by which forts were built and guns planted in the harbors of New York and Boston. It is the same constitutional power by which the Atlantic coasts of the northern States have been so thickly planted with frowning batteries and bristling castles, that, if the.guns in them were all placed in a row, we might on the 4th of July commence a grand national salute on the coast of New England, and, catching up the sound of gun after gun, continue the round in one long line to Washing-ton city without interruption.
our own gold coin, and which loss will be
proportonatp tn tho .iwn * /. ••"•" &"111 co]u, ana w iicti loss win ^
W^^ valu of"^ ^ ^ §M circulatlon and r1 loss m the dr u in me \aiue ot the gold uunes in Califoriiri F^ in-pviint surh
goia iiunes in. Caliloniiu. To prevent s
, Rep.No.430.
i Hwont tn build fort1- ^d provide for tTio ,^SltS^^^^ is nio. Jn a powe^
£ :.C°i',:S»S^^^
- s s^^ to" ^S^t0 c— other cla-
^^^K^^^^^for the -k - ^estion-
" Sh^^^^^^^ (^/^ TT ^ T1-
^av 3 differ, with its multitudinous beanngfr for good from all other ^Sherto provide-d with a view to common defence. The e ast have ^n me eworfe of national defence-military structures erected for war
;Sses: In pace, they neither add to the prospentyofthe country, --^r increase the national wealth. They are of no avail to the citizen m
facilitating him-in his intercourse with his fellow.ciUzens They do nothing for commerce, nordo they enhance the value of the public lands-all of which this road would do; and it would therefore he so much the more desirable as a work of defence, for its powers and capacities are such, that, in permitting it to subserve the purpose of the citizen in peace, its efficacy in war as a military work is also increased.
Adopting the language of the president of the convention, your memorialists cordially endorse the sentiment: " This railroad should be a great-national work, worthy of the people and the age by whom, and for whom, and" whose posterity it is to be constructed. I am, therefore, in favor of a road with a double track—a track to go, and a track to come. It is an iron band by which California is to he bound to us, and by which all parts of the great Union are to be held together and preserved. Iftlie Mississippi cannot be bridged, so that this bond of Union may cross it, let li be tunnelled; let theshackle bolts which are to bind the remote States tege'ther he driven on the east bank of that river, so that if California do fall off, it may drag with it not only the Mississippi and its whole valley, . but every one of the original < Old Thirteen;' let us together share a common ruin, or together enjoy the rich promise of the glorious future."
u There is another point of view in which this work becomes an object of great national concern. California has turned to gold at our touch, and, should it continue to supply that precious metal according to the ratio_that_ it-has already done, the proportion of gold to silver in the world
will be changed; and consequently an alteration in the respective value ot the two metals may be expected.
tp"^18 sixtee^ tir?^ more valuable than silver; because silver is six-^ip S ^^^^Vhan gold; in other wordy, the earth has hilhei-
^orton^h61^01' ofthe„mi»er sixteen ounces of silver to one of Ge oro^o^ amow\o{ gold ^orn the callfo^"ia ^"es sensibly changeTuPCO TirrtT\/wt-i--it-n-, -- * ' /i "--'•----A.t^iA ^tJJJJ^iJ t^^iiiJi us.
ESSs^ s=ter«^ -...
lllCbC DrODOrtlOnS- Sn HC t/l rrni,^ fr,- „-,-„. I /. , , • /
, lor example, an ounce of gold to ten of more valuable than silver. As we^SS.^'^^^^^^^^^
—— .. m tne "epreciation of our own onl^ /i«;« n.,,i ...i.;-.i. ,^ ,,r,n he
Rep. No. 439. S
% calamity, it beomes an object of great national concern to stimulate the -working of the silver mines, and so preserve the relative proportions which now exist, as to the quantities of gold and silver. It is obvious that if the mines, of California shall continue to furnish yearly fifteen or' twenty millions to the gold circulation of the world, without a corresponding increase in the supplies of silver, the gold coinage of the world will become plethoric, and the whole amount of the gold depreciation, or the largest portion of it, will be sustained -by us. The Pacific railway will
-serve in a manner to prevent such a loss."
" The silver mines o.f Mexico are inexhaustible, and exceedingly rich;
but they have ceased to be worked with activity,, partly from the scarcity, and consequently high price, of quicksilver, and partly from the want of proper engines for pumping and working the mines. These had to be-transported from Vera Cruz, or other Mexican ports, across the mountains on the backs of mules, and therefore, at an enormous expense. .It needs
• a-io argument to show that very powerful en^'nes cannot be moved on'the' backs of asses, and. that many mines, which now cannot be worked on. account of the difficulties of drainage, the want of proper machinery, and the expenses alluded to., would, if the expense of transporting the quicksilver and machinery to the miaes, and the silver to the sea, were lessened, be worked with great profit. , , ;
" It so, happens that, simultaneously with the discovery of gold in California, quicksilver mines of immense value were also discovered there. Here there is a new source of supply of this metai, for amalgam, to tl..e s&lver miner. , .
tc Now, the Pacific railroad ..should it take the southern route-, (and this, supposing the southern route to be as practicable as the more' northern one, should be a powerful a'enson in its favor,) will pass'e great .mining a-nd mineral districts of norther-n Mexico. Private enterprise will
-shoot out bra-aches in that direction fro m the main stem; quicksilver in abundance,and machinery of ample power and capacity, can then be' 'delivered in the vicinity of the mines, cheaply and without difficulty, over the railway, and thus new life and vigor will be given to the working of the silver mines there, while we are at the same time providing for tr^e-
common defence. ' -
" Nor would the beneficial effects of this road upon these mines end here.- It would turn their produce from the ports^of Mexico, and. bring:
them to this country in exchange for 'the manufactures of New England,' and otheri Yankee aaotaons.'' '• .
" A southern route would bring the road near the northern provinces of Mexico, which are the richest and most desirable portions of that country;
• and all the people there who could be supplied with articles of foreign merchandise more cheaply through o-ur own country, and over this road,
-than they can through the ports of Vera Cruz and Tarnpico,'and over the mountains on the backs of mules, would naturally depend on the railroad for they supplies. . '
" The extent of country to be 'thus supplied will be bounded by the iline at which the freight and-tolls on a bale of merchandise, dragged by the. iron horse of the north, can meet with equal charges a similar bale^ tbrought on donkeys' backs from the seaports of southern Mexico. Below"
• this line, the .people of Mexico would continue to receive their supplies per, ,mule and ass, as heretofore; above it, their commerce would take the new And the cheaper channel that this railroad would open*
* Rep. No. 439.
« This dividing line between ^e 1^^^^^^^^ -distinctly drawn until the railroad^ shall ^e ^ ^ ^ ^
may be safely assumed that the.POTtlono^^^^^^^^ o^ew England,^ tributary to the Pacific road, and to_the worKsn p ^ _, ^i
not include less than three """ "^^P^ manufacture nothing, Zani , commerce with three, mi111"1180,^0^^ in exchange but uncoil everything and who ^"^^^sev'er a commercial people offer 3
^e^^^ the world ^ buy offorei^ ^erchaXe^^^^^^^ than the Spanish Americans. There are twenty
Sfu^so^ it) the United States, we import annuaily about one Ced mnJns of foreign merchandise; this gives an average yearly
ConsumUtion of five dollar's per capita of foreign goods, notwithstanding we manufacture, ourselves, so largely and extensively. ^
" The averaee annual consumption of foreign merchandise per eapita w Cuba is some forty or fifty dollars.^ But suppose that the northern Mexicans, with the cheaper supplies and the increased faculties to buy which this road will afford them, shall, notwithstanding that they manufacture nothing, only buy on the average as much as the people oi the United States, who manufacture almost everything, that will give an internal commerce at once of fifteen millions of dollars the year, wln-h we wilt toth fetch and carry, and which will be paid for mostly in bullion. These are but a portion of the advantages offered by this route for the road.
" There are the Mormons of Deseret, and the people of New Mexico, who' have now, and for years will conlinue to have, as much as they can do in contending with the wild beast and the savage of the forest, and in subduing the earth with the hoe and the plough. As with our northwestern and southern States, several generations wilA probably pass away before they will have the earth sufficiently subdued to turn their attention to manufacturing; they will therefore afford to the manufacturers of the east an immense bus tin ess over this railroad. The old Santa F& trade,. that was carried on by mules, wilt be nothhig in comparison to it.
_ it The people of the eastern States especially have a stake deeply and richly set in this road; and therefore, for sectional and moral, as welt as great national considerations, they ar-e invoked to come forward in support of this great high tower of national defence, of power, and of greatness^ and to unite with the people of the Memphis convention in deehiring themselves in favor of the route, and in pledging themselves to PO for il by that
route which, being practicable, shall best subserve the ^at purposes of national defence." G r
rm^,0^10" is entertained ^ many that a railroad to the Parinc is SS^^^ T^ ef the ^^vening deserts and mountains. exa^S^^^^^ ^^T' the WTe earnestly pray that the necessary S T^ari1 i,8!111'^^ ^i1^ settleln('"t of tLtlue.tion be speedily

^vtheneonIpT^ tlere be b0'11 "^"tainand des.rtiB the Kand^^pn^^^ leml)lny convem'^ liavo an .hiding faith in ^ ^a be u^ lii0^111^11 'T1'111^ ^terpriso, and sk^, aau they to be abanS § say tha1 at1 ldeaa of suoh " work ought llie7eloie
lHulday^^^ ^^ Ejections urged a^iinyt the possibility ^
9 ^ 1848 il was upwards of £60 ihe iiih^;^^^ ^ ^ po^au^
Rep. No. 439. 7
constructing the New York and Erie canal; but in spite of scoffers, its great friend and advocate persisted in it, completed the work, and thereby obtained for Ins State the title of "the Empire State " of the Union. Twenty years ago it would have been as chimerical to this class of objectors to talk of a railway from Albany to Boston as it now is to talk of one to the Pacific ocean.
The Memphis convention did not instruct its committee to ask Congress to build the road—that it was not prepared to do: it instructed its committee to ask for the surveys and examinations that are necessary to settle the question as to practicability, and, if settled affirmatively, to determine as to the merits of routes, it is the wish of the convention that competent and skilful engineers be charged with these surveys, and that, in reporting results, they be directed carefully to prepare and submit estimates as to the cost of ihe road also,
The better to discharge the duty assigned the committee as the organ of the convention, and to fulfil the wishes of their distinguished constituency, the committee deem it expedient to assume, in argument, the practic ability of the work, that, by showing the advantages to the public and the benefits to the nation at large which would arise therefrom, they may the more conclusively demonstrate the propriety and necessity of making the required examinations at an early day,
Returning, therefore, to the consideration of the road as a work of defence, your memorialists beg leave to represent that, in their judgment, and according to the best sources of information within their reach, (and these sources are somewhat ample in their supplies,) the work proposed would be the cheapest and most effectual means that can be divined for protecting the Pacific coasts of the United States.
It is believed that the interest alone of the money which has been expended in providing for the defences of the Atlantic seaboard would constitute .a fund amply sufficient to complete the work under consideration. For the sums which have been expended for this purpose in the Atlantic States, there is nothing to show but bricks, stones, and mortar. For the money to be expended in the proposed work of defence, we and our children after us 'would point to the prosperity of the citizen, the rewards of commerce, and the increased wealth, power, and greatness of the •whole nation, and call those only a portion of the fruits, the profits, and the benefits afforded by such a work.
" It may well be doubted /' says Lieutenant Maury, in one of his papers on the subject, " now that railroads and magnetic telegraphs have been brought into such general and successful operation, whether the,old system of proceeding to provide for the common defence, by lining our coasts with forts and castles, does not require modification. A fortification can at best but protect a single point. The principle upon which strength is given to a fortification is found in the importance of the poitit to be protected. The size and cost of the work are measured by this rule, and the engineer proceeds to make it capable of withstanding the
largest force that an enemy could or would bring against it.
" By this rule, a single fortification on the Atlantic has been made to
cost several millions of dollars. But, while forts and castles protect points^ railroads enable us to defend lines; and the principle upon which the size and strength of forts and castles are hereafter to be measured will be the facilities of railroad communication between them. It will be a
Rep No. 439. 8
,. - anA time to give them more strength than that which „ yaste of mf^^6 to withstand a siege for a few days and until;
^aSfi Sunications with them can bring reinforcements
and. relief. • unwritten history of the day, but it may be .The fact belongs°^^^^^^ In the difficJti
^T^^^ northeastern boundary question, that with Cireat ^ritam P6,.13 —— nienipotentiary to Washington with
power, before she sentto^^^^^^ £nr>T,itimntnm. Droceeded to assemble on uu.i ._.,.,._ , ^et
?her ultimatum., pro
her>ultimatum,pru^^^^ and, notwithstanding she was
SdTtwo^^^^^^^^^^ r-^ ^whole stand-
Smv^eat Britain was sent to North America Her sea captains hadTsLcti-on?, in case a certain contingency should arise, to proceed, and Sit further orders, to commence hostilities, by an attack ypon
• nrincinal seaport towns. War wa? to be declared at the cannon's mouth. Suppose the attack had been made upon New-York and that the systems of railroads and magnetic telegraphs m the old States had been then as complete as they now are: before the echoes of the first
broadside from her (wooden walls' had died away m the highlands of Neversink, the magnetic telegraph would have announced the fact of war, bloody war, in all parts of the country, and the next hour would have found the trains of a thousand engines, filled with soldiers, from the North, and the South, and the West, all speeding with terrible rapidity to the scene of action. It may well be questioned whether the railroads already built and building in the Atlantic States, by private enterprise, have not provided more etfectually for the common defence than all the forls or castles that the general government has ever built or planned.
((If the alternative could be submitted to our military men y as to whether, in defending this country, they would rather have the present fortifications without the railroads, or the railroads without the fortifications, there
• would be but little doubt as to the chiace.
" The first time thia country shall be called on to put forth its real energies in war, railroads will be found to be the strongest fortifications, and the magnetic telegraph to be the most powerful battery that has ever been brought to bear in military operation. Henceforth, in providing for the common defence, the part that railroads are to play must be considered. A railroad from the Mississippi to the Pacific is necessary for the protec. tionot California. It is a possession that the whole world covets; and that power <upon whose flag the sun never sets' is watching it and us
7. ^Je£JOUS eye- - wlth ^^^aled mortification she saw that jewel an into our possession; and, in l.he event of war her first obiect will be
t^^ra^h^' hol(?itJ lf slle can- with her^os e^Kher mil-a^ ^n ca.e^tonava1 T10^ she is now mucli nearer to it than we
operateZTe ^ ^ ^\v? shti w^ assenlble fleets; and land troop^ and
ci68^ r^s^rbe^,' ^(lr a soldier c0^6
trances of the hiThnr1 T t ? slle ooult1 erel;t fortifications at the en. effectual exc^0' f ^ ^ns ln ^ mountain pasaes, which would.
sea. At^me tn1 ri^T^ ?T tllis ^lartei^citlier by land or by road tc.heS woul . ^i ^^^nent wOuld be gLt. Arail-the banksof ?rieAl^is^^ th^ easy. (?onnecinig oil
^th, and ea e ^3' w; h the netwt)^ of ra,lr,»ads ruinii.g north, ; e 1 (iclfic road w0^ rocyive wi^tever furceii llie gov-
Rep. No. 439. 9
crnment and the Atlantic States might have to send. All these connecting roads being constructed with a common gauge, cars and engines sufficient to transport an army of one hundred thousand men might, in case of emergency, be hired or impressed in a day, and the whole body be landed on the shores of the Pacific in one week from the day on which llie first note of war was sounded.
" It is urged that such a railway cannot support itself by its receipts from freight and passengers, and therefore it ought not to be built. Pray, what castle, what ship, or what other work, of all hitherto constructed by this or any other government for the great purposes of national defence, supports itself from any source? Because the means of defence are to consist in a railroad, which is to subserve the great purposes of trade, travel, and popular conveniences, in peace, as well as the objects and requirements of the nation in war, must a new rule be set up; so as to require that hereafter, when a work of national defence is to- be built, it must pay for itself—in other words, it must cost nothing? The expense of providing for the common defence is the greatest expense of the government. Since its creation, it has expended hundreds of millions for this purpose; and the question of dividend, iri the shape of dollars and cents, has never been asked once of such expenditure. But, unlike all other works undertaken for the purpose of national defence, this Pacific railroad will pay for itself many times over, and that right soon. It will be to the slopes of the country between the waters of the .Mississippi and the Pacific ocean what that river is to its own valley—increasing the value of every acre of land, and adding to the prosperity of every citizen for whom it shall serve as an outlet to market.
^Private enterprise will send oat branches from it to the north and:
south. These will be to that portion of the country like commercial arteries, serving to swell the importance and value of the main stern^ as the tributaries of the Mississippi do for that river. It will- increase the capacities of the country to sustain tl"ie population ; it will add to the value of the lands through which it passes, and greatly multiply the sources of national wealth. And then, in the power which the State will have to tax that population and its posterity, and to raise revenue from these multiplied sources of wealth, ad lihitum and forever, this road will bring in dividends to the nation, such as no work of national defence has ever declared. All estimates as to the effects of such a work upon national wealth and industry must necessarily be vague, because the field is so wide and so new. But suppose there will be an annual travel upon this Pacific railroad of fifty thousand persons to and fro between California .and the States—and the day will no doubt come when we shall have tw'\co-that number in motion between the two regions—without the railroad these people must continue the tedious journey across by land, or over the isthmus or around Cape Horn. The average of the time required for the journey by either of these routes may be taken at one hundred days ;
with the railroad, five days would suffice. And thus the road would save tn ihe nation the fruits of the labor of fifty thousand persons for ninety-five days in the year. Let us suppose the value of each one's labor to be $1 perday—we obtain a saving, and therefore a gain to the national wealth, of -•$4,750,000 a year from the road, and on account of this, one of the leayt striking among its items of national profit, government will build the
road , but it is not expected that government will set up the workshops
Rep. No. 439. 11
routes, let us suppose that, as far as topographical features and facilities for constructing the road are concerned, all these several routes shall be found equally practicable. Upon what principle is the choice of routes to be made? That route should be selected which, being topographically practicable, will best subserve the purposes of national defence. As far as it can be done consistently with this great and priiTie object, this route may also be modified so as better to subserve the great interests of commerce in peace; and its eastern terminus may bf3 located so as to be most accessible to a'l the States and convenient to the people.
(' In the first place, let us see (always supposing all the routes equally practicable) which will b st subserve the great object of national defence. The eastern terminus of that route is obviously the navy-yard at Memphis, where the immense naval resources of the Mississippi valley, in war, are to be gathered, and from which sails and cordage, rigging, provisions, and every item in the catalogue of ship chandlery, with men, guns, and munitions of war, are to be poured in upon the Pacific, over this road and its western branches to San Diego, Monterey, and San Francisco. If the government do not build branches to these ports in the Pacific, our citizens will.
" The southern route is the best for national defence, because it will not be obstructed by the storms of winter, and will therefore be available for the purposes of its creation at all times of the year,
ct This southern route is better than one further to the -north would be, because it would enable the government, at less cost of money and with less risk of life, to preserve the nation's faith, solemnly pledged before the world by treaty, to protect Mexico from Indian incursions.
t( With or without this road, military posts must be established along that frontier to carry out this article of the treaty. Having the road, a smaller force will be required for this service, and the same posts can execute the treaty, protect the road, and assist to keep it in repairs also. Therefore, as a matter of efficiency, as a work of national defence, and as a measure of economy to the nation, this route is to be preferred, always supposing it to be practicable as regards topography. Another consideration in favor of the southern route is to be found in the impulse which the road by that route would give to the working of the silver mines of -Mexico, and to the commerce with that country, for which it would serve as a channel, and to which allusion has already been made.
'•'•This work is to be built by the Stares, out of a general fund, and for the common good. I should, therefore, commence at some central point on the Mississippi river; and this point should be that which is the most convenient to all the States for access.
(( Nature and the internal improvements of the States indicate clearly
enough where this point is:
{t It is that point which is on the Mississippi river, and is midway the valley, between the head of the gulf and the foot of the lakes.
lt It is that point between which and the gulf the navigation of the
river is at all trues open.
(< It is that point which the people of Iowa, Wisconsin, and Missouri
can reach with the advantages of down-stream navigation.
(( It is that point which is accessible to Illinois, Michigan, and the lake country, through the Illinois canal, and which is also of convenient ac-
,a Rep. No. 439.
I* *
cess to Indiana, Ohio, and. Pennsylvania, and parts of Kentucky and
^•^tti^^a'd^^^^^ Florida, Georgia the two Carl^d^iilia, are ^-^3^^^^
.Z,inhStatorTe^^^^^ Memphis is 860 miles from the gulf
Shd 841) from Lake Michigan. It would be. moreconveuient for Missouri;
?nwa and Wisconsin to meet the terminus of the railroad at St Louis;
K ^uldnSso much to their convenience as it would take from the convenience flf Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas, and other southern
Pennsylvania extends from the sea to the lakes, and the people of all the-States to the east of her who wish to travel by railroad must cross her borders to get to -the terminus of the Pacific road; and whatever terminus and route be most convenient to her citizens will be most convenient also to the citizens of the States to the east of her
" Theroutes of travel and channels of communication between Pennsylvania and the Mississippi river are various, and they are increasing in number, and, as a matter of convenience to her people, and those of New England, it will be about the same whether they have to come to Memphis or go to St. Louis to get upon the national road. If they come by the lakes, they will find St. Louis most convenient; if they come by way of Pittsbiirg, they will find Memphis quite as convenient as St. Louis. But if they come by sea to New Orleans, or Charleston, or via Baltimore and Washington, over the Virginia and Tennessee railroad, the people of New England and New York will, in every one of these cases, find Memphis the most convenient point of departure for California."
As conclusive as these reasons are, there are others which might also be urged in favor of a southern in preference to a northern route. It is a principle as well established in the construction of railroads as any other principle in commercial economy, that railroads should nowhere seek to connect with the sources of rivers, for there the rivers have nothing of merchandise to offer these business thoroughfares. Railways always seek to connect with-the mouths, or the parts of rivers that are navigable, in order that they may tap those highways of commerce where there are articles of merchandise to be drawn off. Thus we see a system of railroads m the Atlantic States stretching out to tap the Ohio and Mississippi,
and other rivers, m the middle, and always below, never above the head oi navigation.
siss^DDiS6^^"'^'10"1 ^"'P1113 would start from '"'dway the Mis-3 reach ift ^ r"111 ^"D85 the white'the Arkansas, and pass
Son•^ ?h,," m^l6^5111" 'i'1,11 Red rivers below their head of naviga-me^i^l fee^sT t lT !loble l1^'"5' with a11 ^ir tributaries, coin.
Sadoof^eMt'an^he11^ downtheulla' after having crossed the
Colorado of the ^st i ear ^^oi^l "de. he ^ wo"ltl W" reachthe
valley that is traversed by la ^ a^^h^ that means '"^ ttle wh0 't a so Thus it is pnnpli"™] L ' ' the "PP®'' country, tributary to it
as a woA of na^n'll^'^^11 that tlle road ^ t'-is route, not only
would prove to b 'o ^iS'^o^'tn"150 as a S-at national Highway,
any other route fur tho •^.i? . ^S1'61"1" numbers than it would by route, lur the inhabitants of nil the country up stream from it
Rep. No. 439. 13
would be benefited by it. Connected with it by the course of rivers anrl the force of then- currents, they would have the advantao-p of sendin^ their produce to it by down-stream navigation.
The people of the Memphis convention felt that though this road as a work ot national defence, and as a commercial thoroughfare, would do much to benefit their country, yet they were aware that the railroad, regarding it as a commercial highway, would be unequal to do the business which the resources of the great valley in which they dwell, which the spirit of the age, and the wants of the world, require. It did not escape them that there are other markets, and other people, and other treasures, besides those of California, to which easy and cheap access is to be desired. Nor did they forget that there are others besides the inhabitants of the land out there, who, in peace as well as in war, have the right to claim protection from the strong arm of this nation. Our duty to the multitudes of American seamen, and the white winged commerce, which give life, and beauty, and the charm to the ocean, is plain. They recollected that the Gulf of Mexico, with its twin basin, the Caribbean sea, drains the most extensive and fertile system of river basins in the world; that this intertropical sea is supported by a back country that embraces a greater variety of climate than all the commercial rivers put together in the Old World: a back country so large that it could contain all the valleys of all the rivers of Europe and Africa, with half of those of Asia, that discharge themselves in tlie commercial parts of the ocean. The river basins of Europe, Asia, and India contain 3,850,01,)0 square miles; those which
supply this intertropical sea of America embrace an area 556,000 square miles greater than this.,
Rightly appreciating the vast aggregation of elements for wealth, power, and greatness which they saw pictured in the arm of ihis sea below tliem, and which they daily behold reflected from the live waters of the great stream upon the banks of which they had as&embled to deliberate upon these things, they considered that with a railway alone to California, the market way to the Pacific ocean and the means of defence for the Pacific coasts and Pacific commerce would be but half opened, or inadequately supplied. ' •
Moved by these considerations, the convention passed the eighth resolution in favor of a ship -canal or railway across the isthmus. The committee on resolutions accompanied this-resolution with the'following report, which was adopted and made a part ol" the proceedings of the convention:
" In me opinion of your committee, it would be highly advantageous to the commerce of this country, and add greatly to its political power and influence, if an immediate connexion by railroad or canal could be obtained between the gulf of Mexico and- tlie Pacific ocean. Many projects of greater or leys promise for the purpose of constructing the necessary works to complete such a communication, have been of late agitated;
and without, in the present state of our knowledge upon the subject, pretending to decide upon their relative merits, they beg leave to recommend the adoption of the following resolution:
" Rcso'ved, Thai while the contemplated railroad across the continent is being constructed, a present communication between the States of this Union and the American and Asiatic coasts of the Pacific ocean is of vast importance to every portion of this country; that such communication
14 Rep. No. 439.
^^^"^ by ^ip cana1 cr raiI^oad across the isthmus of Tehnan tepee Nicaragna or Panama, or, across them all.which raih-oad or 3
may be constructed by private enterprise; and this convention ,mo?der o encourage the undertaking and completion of such works recomiS
o^T^ a W the con^ess of the united states direcZg tne Postmaster General, Secretary of War, and Secretary of the Navy to malie
annual contracts for the transportation of the mails, troops, and military and naval stores of the government, from the Atlantic to the Pacific posts ot the country, by the shortest, speediest, and cheapest route."
' this commercial highway is a subject which Columbus had in his heart, and the completion of which was foreshadowed to him in a vision which was seen by him from his sick-bed on. the river Beleu. It was there the unknown voice said to him in a dream, "God has made your name great, and given you the keys to unbar the gates of ocean." At
that moment he was-lying at this very gate, but he died without having the power to open it. '
The subject, for the last three centuries has continued from time to time to engage more or less of the attention of the commercial powers of the world. Let it be done now in this our generation, as a monument built by the free people.,of America in honor of the gr?.at navigator who
gave this continent over to the world, civilization, and the blessings of Christianity.
The reasons for opening such a communication, and the benefits to arise from it when opened,, are of more than national concern^ they are of world wide importance.
The committee were not instructed to present any particular route across the isthmus to the especial favor ot your honorable body, nor will they undertake here to decide between the various routes that are in contemplation there. They will, however, go so far as to say that, in their opinion, a railroad wil'l not be sufficient to do the business required across that portion ot the continent; that there will be employment enough for
one or more canals and railways there.
With the view of impressing your honorable body with the importance to the world of a ship canal across the isthmus, your memorialists beg leave to incorporate and make a part of the memorial the following letter from the pen ofLieut. M. F. Maury to the delegates of the Memphis convention and their constituents. The professional experience of this officer gives his opinions upon such subjects a weight and authority which those
of less favored observers cannot challenge:
" 1 regard the Pacific railroad and a commercial thoroughfare across
the isthmus," says that gentleman, who was president of the convention, "as links in the same chain. They are parts of the great whole which, when completed, is to effect a revolution in the course of trade, and a change in the commercial business and relations of different nations, the
like of which has never been known.
i1 In order rightly to appreciate tlie effects which the completion ot mis
last link in the great chain is to have upon the commerce of the world and the destinies-I weigh the word-the destinies of nations itis^
cessarv nrst, to consider the geographical position of the Gulf ot Mexco a^d^twiii basin, the Caribbean sea; their commercial resources and ie-^; ^ WWQ of the winds and the currents of the sea; and o e
hydrograpliical features which govern the course of navigation, andwhicn
Rep No. 439. 15
ma^e one part of the sea a thoroughfare, another a desolate region that is seldom or never traversed.
t( If all parts of the earth produced the same articles for the same amount of labor, there would be no commerce. Commerce consists in the conveying of articles from one place where they are not wanted,, to another place where they are wanted. It has always been a great object with commercial nations to open intercourse -with new climates. The planter who grows more sugar than he can consume, does not wish to exchange his surplus for the sugar of his neighbor. He wants to buy with it corn or wheat, beef or pork, anything and everything except sugar. Hence he sends it off to a climate which is not so favorable for the cultivation of sugar, but which is more favorable than his for the production of some other article of merchandise.
" Starting from this point of view, wesee how vastly important in its bearings upon his prosperity and the commerce of his country is the course •which the river that gives him his market-way has to run in order to get to the sea.
" A river that runs east or west crosses no parallel of latitude—consequently, as it flows towards the sea it does not change its climate; and being in the same Climate, the crops that are cultivated at its mouth are grown also at its sources, and from one end to the other of it there is no variety of productions; it is all wheat and corn, or wine and oil, or some other staple. Assorted cargoes, therefore, cannot be made up from. the produce which such a river brings down to market.
" On the other hand, a river that runs north or south crosses parallels of latitude, changes its climate at every turn, and as the traveller descends it, he sees every day new agricultural staples abounding. Such a river bears down to the sea a variety of productions, some of which some one or other of the different nations of the earth is sure to want, and for winch each one will send to the markets at its mouth, or the port whence they are distributed over the world. The assortmen-ts of merchandise afforded by such a river is the life of commerce; they give it energy, activity, and scope. Such a river is the Mississippi, and the Mississippi is the only such river in the world.
" Again: an arm or bay or gulf of the sea is commercially important in proportion to the back country, for the produce of which it is the receptacle or outlet. Its ports and harbors are like distributing post offices in .the mail system; packages and parcels from all parts of its back country are sent to them, and from them sent to all other parts of the world where a market is to be found.
" The Red sea has no river emptying into it; the Red sea has no •back country to drain off surplus produce; and consequently, the Red sea has nothing to distribute, and therefore has never been, in tnebusiness.ofthe world, of any commercial consequence whatever. It has-been to ships what the desert is to the caravan—only a barren waste interposed on the
road to lengthen the way from. one mart to the other.
" But the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean sea—call them the inter-tropical sea of America, for they are in fact but one sea—are supported by the most magnificent system of river basins in the world, and the-grandest back country on the face of the earth. The rivers which empty into this American sea drain more back country than, do all the seas of Europe,
16 Rep. No. 439.
and they drain more climates than do all the others rivers which empty into any one of the three great oceans.
^This intertropical sea is the receptacle and outlet for all the variety of produce that is known to the climates and soils of seventy degrees of latitude. (I am considering the Amazon as tributary to the Caribbean sea, and will show it so to be.) The back country which supports and supplies with the elements of commerce this sea of ours, extends from 20° south to 50° north. The land within this region is fruitful beyond measure; it includes all the producing latitudes on the face oi God's footstool; and every variety of production, except tea and a few spices, that the three grand kingdoms of nature afford, are to be found here in the greatest perfection, profusion, and abundance; coal measures without limit; mountains of iron, the best silver, and the richest copper mines, and all the materials of mineral wealth abound in this region as they do nowhere else. Nor is the vegetable kingdom less prolific or beautiful. The finest of wheat, the best of fi-uits, corn without measure, hemp, cotton, rice, sugar, wine, oil, indigo, coffee, and India rubber, tobacco and timber, dyestuffs and the finest of woods, are all to be found in this magnificent system of basins in vast quantities and in great beauty and perfection.
" Nor are the supplies from the animal kingdom on a scale less grand. Everything that island or mountain, seashore or inland basin, plains and pampas, tierras templadas, or tierras calientes, can produce, are brought down to enrich this great cornucopia of commerce. It occupies a geographical position that makes it the commercial centre of the sea, and on account of this very position, it possesses advantages which no other part of the wide ocean has ever enjoyed. It is between two hemispheres. It has a continent to the north and a continent to the south. When it is seed time on one side of it, it is harvest time on the other; and there will be, when its back country is settled up, a perpetual delivery of crops in its markets.
(t With Europe to the east and Asia to the west, it is midway between the two parts of the Old World, and it stands on an eminence in navigation and commerce which places all parts of the earth at its feet, and from which it may be made to send its surplus produce down the currents of the ocean or before the winds of heaven, to the people of every city and clime who nre to be found on the seashore.
('An ocean current sweeps past the mouth of the Amazon into the Caribbean sea, and makes that river discharge there. This current runs thence through the Yucalan pa^-s, brushes by the Baliza, and, dashing along at the rate of four miles the liour, whirls through the straits of Florida and enters the Atlantic ocean in the shape of the benignant gulf stream, which tempers with its warmth the climates of Europe, and bears along thence tlie surplus produce that is delivered to it from tkis magnificent system of American rivers and river-basins. On the other side, this intertropical sea is separated by a narrow strip of land from the Pacific ocean, across which a good thoroughfare is required in order to place this cornucopia of the world practically and commercially where
it is geographically, viz: midway between Europe and Asia.
" From this proposed opening, the trade-winds of the Pacific blow from the eastward to the westward, and extend entirely across that ocean.
They blow with wonderful regukirity, steadiness, and constancy. ^In ' runniny down the tradey' tlie mariner enjoys the most beautiful naviga-g uown me
Rep. No. 439. 17
twn. Without care for his safety he sails before them day after day for weeks tog-ther, never once touching a brace or handlin" a sail In
them tlie sea is always smooth, the Weather fine, and the^'climate'deli cious. Gales of wind are unknown, and life there becomes so deho-htfal to the sailor, that, with nothing to do, he congratulates himself inhere wantonncss, with the remark that (it is well all parts of the sea had not been so, cisc Ilis mother would have been a sailor.'
" The trade-winds embrace a belt of ocpan about fifty degrees of latitude in breadth, extending from twenty-five or thirty degrees north to twenty-five or thirty degrees south. An ordinary sailer, in running them down, will average day afier day two hundred miles. She counts upon them with as much certainty as the flatboatman counts upon the downward current of the Mississippi river. To the north of the equator they blow from the northeast; to the south of it they blow from the southeast. From these winds the Pacific takes its name. The (keels, broad^ horn?,' and rafts, which come down the Mississippi,.might navigate the trade-wind region, opposite to the middle of which is the Caribbean sea, with as much safety as they can descend the river. Open boats (yawls) have been known to sail thousands of miles before them across that ocean. So smooth and exempt from storms is it where these winds prevail, that much of the coasting trade of Peru is carried on by ' catamarans' or 'balsas.' These ' balsas' are nothing more than a few light logs tied together; in other words, they are a Mississippi raft, with a pole stuck down between two of the logs, t> which a sail is tied. Piling their produce in sacks or bales on these logs, the Peruvians stand boldly out to sea; and perform sea voyages of considerable duration.
{( It is not overdrawing the picture to add that, with a ship-canal across the isth'uus, the raft which comes down the Mississippi river, or the boat for navigating the Illinois canal, might, on arriving at New Orleans and not finding a market there, stick up a pole for a mast, and, setting sail, go to the Sandwich Islands or Manilla, and perhaps 'to China. Getting through the gulf to the canal across the isthmus, would be the most difli-cult anti dangerous part o{ the voyage.
" I mention these facts and use this illustration to convey correct impressions as to the speed; the cheapness, and facility with which,'by a ship canal across the isthmus, ships laden-with the produce of our river basins may reach the markets of China and India, New Holland, and the thousands of islands which dot and stud the trade-wind regions-of the 'grand ocean.'1 With such a communication open, a ship could go through it and be navigated safely with one-fourth the crew which she now requires to take her around the ( stormy capes,'.'she would require to be fitted and found nearly as expensively as ships now .are which double the capes.
• i To the north of the northeast trades the winds prevail from the opposite quarter. The westerly winds are returning towards the pole to supply the sources of the northeast trades. In this circumstance we see an explanation of the -fact that the return voyage from Liver{)0ol to New York is one-half logger than the outward voyage. The winds to the north of the parallel of thirty degrees are as favorable for the^ret-um voyage from China and Japan to California as they are from New York. to Liverpool—indeed, more so: for tlie Pacific is a larger an^ a more open, 2 ' , . '
18 Rep. No. 439.
ocean than the Atlantic, and therefore the winds are not liable to such
violent disturbances n-om th'e interference of the land.
" In sixty instead of one hundred and fifty days the voyage from our Atlantic ports to China might be performed by way of the isthmus canal. Arrived at her destination, the ship would then have the choice of two routes homeward. The winds are fair for the homeward voyage around.
the Cape of Good Hope. Arrived: off that point, the navigator may lay his .ruler on his chart, draw a straight line, and sail on it all the way home without making a crook or turn. Entering the trade-winds of the Atlantic in about latitude thirty df'grees south, he may with flowing sheets enter the Caribbean sea or Gulf of Mexico on the same course which he stood after leaving il on the outward voyage; or, taking the other rou'te, he may pass from China by the north, through the west-wind region, by way of California. This is the great circle route. It is eight hundred or one thousand miles nearer by this route from China to Panama than it is through the trade-wind region for the outward voyage from Panama to China. This difference of distance inward would compensate, in some measure, for what is lost by the less favorable character of the winds homeward, and make the inward and the outward voyages very .nearly equal; or, if the vessel be bound to New Holland, with a cargo from our northern climes, then the west winds to the south of thirty degrees south would be free winds for the Cape Horn passage. The voyage this way around that cape has never been dreaded by navigators;
they dread only the outward voyage, on which they have to encounter these westerly gales and head winds.
" Seeing how much the dangers of the sea would be lessened by opening this canal, and, consequently, how much the rate of insurance would be lowered—how much the average rate of sailing under canvass would be increased with the trade-winds free, and how much the voyage would be shortened—how small the crew, and how trifling the expenses of navigation would be—it is not unreasonable to anticipate that this ship canal would enable us to deliver our cotton, our lead, perhaps our iron, but -certainly our -rice, wheat, corn, flour, beef and pork, hemp and tobacco, an, the markets of China, India, New Holland, Japan, and the six hundred peopled islands of the trade-w-ind regions of the Pacific, at a less rate of freight than we can now deliver them in Europe. The lead could go for nothing, as it now does to Europe, for it would serve as ballast.
" The rule which governs the rate of freight in sea voyages, under canvass, .is th-e average length of time which it will take a ship to load, perform the voyage, and discharge cargo. If a ship have a cargo on board, it costs no more to sail tlian to lie at anchor—her expenses are the same in either case. We see, by viewing the matter in this light, why the freight is proportionally so much heavier for short voyages by sea than for long; because, in short voyages such a considerable portion of the time is taken up in waiting for freight. A ship that has to make a voy» age of twenty thousand miles, for instance, will charge, in proportion to the distance, much less freight than a ship will which has a voyage of only two thousand miles. Th-is last may be but ten days in making the voyage; but it may take her ten days to load, and a week to unload/and a further delay of some days before she can get another cargo. All these are considerations which, in establishing her rates of freight, have to be taken into account by her, whereas thu ship on the long voyage is certain
Rtp. No. 439» 1^
^F employment for a longer ime; but a small proportion of her time is
taken up in loading and unloading, and in hunting for a fresh carpn. therefore the rates of freight arc proportionally less for Ion? than for short4 * 1 I1 1 1 -I* --r-^Tvrw^ VAV^.1, 1^1 ±101 LHIIr* fW
taken up in loading and unloading, and in hunting for a fresh carpn. therefore the rates of freight arc proportionally less for Ion? than for short
voyages. A. ship going around Cape Horn, with her expensive eaum-ments, heavy crew, dangerous navigation, and large insurance, ch^eS
4nr rrnto-ht. nn nn nvprao-p I 'AL ^on^ci ^an ^^ »-*„ i_. .1 , / . o-*r
voyages. A. ship going around Cape Horn, with her expensive eaum-ments, heavy crew, dangerous navigation, and large insurance chAreeS for freight, on an average, \U cents per ton per day^ a shincar rymg one thousand tons of merchandise around Cape Horn to Lima will
be one hundred and twent-y days making the voyage, and will chare^ §il5 per ton, which, as before stated, gives 12^ cents per ton per dav
« Now, when a ship sailing through this ship canal would make tne' voyage to China in sixty days, and, for tl-ie reasons stated, at much less (say one-half) than the cost of the Cape Horn voyage, the voyagebein^ tehalftlie length of the other,, should, if the expenses of sailing were thef same, be only one-half the Cape Horn freights. But the expense? by the canal being so much less, and the wear and tear of ships being scarcely appreciable, let us suppose it will be just one-half: this^ would ^ive frotnf I\ew Orleans and our Atlantic ports .^7 50 per tori to .China and India, and less to New Holland and, all the islands of the Pacific, and by the same rule* $4 only to Pern and South America. At this rate the. cost of transportation to India and th.e Pacific markets from the Gulf and Atlantic ports of the United States would be:
/i — •
" For Indian corn 10 cents to 17 cents per bushel. " For flour 50 cents to 75cents per barrel. ;
fi For beef and pork 50 cents to 75 cents per barrel.
u For tobacco ^5 to ^7 50 per hogshead. .
" For rice 30 cents to 37^ cents per hundred.
< c For sugar ^a to $.7 50''per hogshead.
" For cotton ^1 to $1 50 per bate., ,
" It is thus perceived how this canal would bring As'a and the multitude of markets in the Pacific ocean to be down-stream f'°m us, and place us on the summit level of commerce. Who can calcuUte how imrpense the advantages of having the favor of both winds? and rtirrents in carrying for us to market those cheap and balky articles whicb constitute ,our staples^ and which cannot afford to pay so heavily for conveyance as the. mora
light and valuable articles can? , „ (( Ofallpartsof the ocean, the Pacific, on aC(X)unt'of the exemption ot,
certain regions of it fromstorms,is the .sea for stfam •navigation. Wereour Atlantic coast as smooth and as free from scales and stonns as are the Pacific coasts of South America, we shoula have quite as mAny^ea steamers engaged along that seaboard as thee now are on all tbd western
waters. • :., ,1,., " The Pacific ocean derives its name fran its mildness, and WitKW
canal we may expect to see an immense extent of steam ^J^^ springing up on that ocean; and itisareiaarkablefactthattroro , *
of the' Columbia to Valparaiso, a coast tine of 809 o^f l^^ ^ , not a particle of coal suitable for steac) ^vigation^^^ ^ ^^
Fhe banks of this ship canal woulfi be^dg^ ^^ ^ incalculable
for the navigation ofthepac1^ there. This country, and aU
amount of this mineral would ^^'tooinuch alive to the valueanti parts of it, with their c^meas^s^t^^^^^^ ^ ^ ^ividuiS
importance of this wwew as a sou^o u* w y ^
20 Rep. No. 439.
health, not to'perceive that a shipcanal across the isthmus is to have important bearings for good upon this one oft!ie great sources of our mineral wealth and social comforts.
" Europe, on account of the gulf stream and the westerly winds above
the region of the trades,' is also down stream^ and to leeward of us. In our outward voyage ihese winds and currents are both in our favor. The difference out and in is as two to three. VYe thus see how this ship canal would set us on a commercial eminence, and would place all the markets of the world at pur feet, to which we could send forth of cur own abundance in infinite variety. With the currents of the sea and the free-winds of heaven to carry for us, we could furnish these markets so cheaply with all onr great staples of agriculture and commerce, that the people there would be compelled to^buy and become our customers.
" Famine is of no uncommon occurrence in India. This canal wilt put the Hindoo down stream,from us; and it is not go^g too far to say that we may be enabled to send breud there and to sell it for less than
famine prices at all times.
" Governed in their character by the great principles of facilitating the-hiterchang& of commodities hetwe/eu different climates, our commercial railroad? are formed''to run, not from eayt to west, or from north to south, but from valhy to valley, with the view of meeting navigable streams, of tapping them of a portion of the merchandise which they are conveying to the sea, ana of drawing it off to other'markets.
ti With this '• ew, all the Atlantic States have been stretching out their arms, tlirough i^ilroads, to the teemiDg valley of the Wcyt. Their railways are coming to tap the Mississippi river:; midway its course, and at some point between Memphis and St. Louis. They will there cdHcct the productions from the north and south, and bear tiiem off to the e-cist. These roads serve is the leg, and the Mississippi as the cross, of a ^reat Commercial T, which stands on the Atlantic. Make the canal across the isthmus, and we conplete another grand commercial T: standing upsfii the markets of Asia a*d the East as a Iwe, it has the valieyof the Amazon and the Mississippi at-he two ends of the cross, with the'Great and Little Antilles in the middle. The cross extends from the southern far up into the northern hemispheri., and will serve as a channel for delivering to the main stem the surplus pnduce of seventy degrees of latitude.
• ^Throughout the whoe length of the west coast of America, it is not a lit\le remarkable that the-e is but one river— the Colorado of the West— which runs north or souti: the general direction of all the rest is west.
Consequently, there is notoae there upon whose banks varieties of agricultural stap^s are produced. Fhe people of every basin there will want ti>
change their sin-plus staples fir the varieties to be found in our ^reat mter-tropical sea. °
Jl^^ i11 that) from the e£*-lie?t times' an c°mmercial. nations have ?t^ contend^ lo^^T6 ;° G^mcn'e with India? They have coveted
rirn^dTeat I't^^ whellevt1- ^PV ^ve oblained it, it has made them S'crots parall^ nvers of India run.
mates that are m*t found in Eu^oro. "am t,helrsurPJlls produce cli-
tocts that grow on their banks, and in ^eque|Llly? the ^P^8 and ^od' drained by them, are sought fflr invain^^ tha[ al-e fertlllzed alld
Europe. All of Europe lies north ot the ^ ^ solis anci cllmates of ^ ^ ui me ^th p^noL of north latitude.
Rep. No. 439. 21
All the river basins of India lie south of that parallel: they are embraced
toween 10° and 30° north. Consequently, the farmer in latitude 50° aiorth, when hewished to exchange his surplus stuff, grown in the valley framed Iiy the Zuyder Zee, for the products of 20° or 30° north which he could only find in India, liad to ship it and send it around the Cape of G»ood Hope—always a circuitous route, 20,000 miles in length Not until the ful-1 expiration of a year could he expect that ship to come back with her return cargo—so tedious is the navigation thence. Still that commerce increased his substance, made his country rich, and gave it revenue.
" But here with us the Amazon, and the Mississippi and tributaries of our intertropical sea, drain the climates and soils of 70° of latitude and
• fetch down to the ocean all varieties of products and staples of commerce that are to be found between 20° south and 50° north. To exchange the products of our climates here for those of another, the ship has but to sail,
• at furthest, from the mouth of the Mississippi to the mouth of the Amazon—
• a distance of only 2,500 miles. The voyage can be performed there and back in thirty six days: consequently, one ship can fetch, carry, exchange, and bring hafk iu a year as imieh merchandise between this American tiystern of river ba^ina as ten ships can between the remote system of the Old World. What immense advantages, what sources of wealth,, power, and greatness do we not behold clustering and centring in this sea of the New World! / .
" A ship canal would make it the focus of the worid'scommerce. Here the commerce of the Atlantic would converge. From here the commerce of the Pacific would diverge, and ships—deeply-laden ships—from the four corners of the earth, would crowd inn it. Sailing down before the southeast trade-winds, the Chileno and Peruvian would come with-the produce of the southern heLnisphere, to give it in exchange for those greater varieties of the north. To pay the difference, they would bear in their hands gold, silver, and copper, jewels, and precious stones, gathered from those Kiountaiils which have dazzled the world with the splendor of
their treasures.
(i Then- merchants and traders bound to California or to China,-on arriving at Panama—if Panama be the place for the canal and railway-would then find their most direct course by an air line to pass through the Mississippi valley. Crossing the isthmus and coming up the gulf to the Pacific railway, they would find themselves iu New Orleans and^Eher gulf ports. Being there, they would see in the market all varieties ot merchandise, with prices and terms to suit. i Why, therefore, they woutd
say, 'go any further? This is good enough for us.' .
:(The same causes an-1 considerations which formerly gave NewUrieans
and the gulf ports the trade with Mexico, the same which now give i\ew
York the trade with Canada West, would give our ^lf.arlarl\^el',p.-? the trade of the six millioas of people who inhabit the Pacine slopes,01
South America. • , -,' ,1 --a-a ^a ii Canada formerly traded with England through the St. Lawrence7,.
navig^ion of which is closed during six months of the year. &w,•i.s. ago a law was passed admitting foreign goods, for the Canada wa r^s, to
• be imported into New York, and to have a free-duty tra"sltthron^h.
United States. Receiving his goods through this c.hannel?the^n^^ merchant came along also to look after them, arrived at New_Yore^e
£& w everything that he wanted, with prices and terms to suit, aiu mere
Rep No. 439.

fore said, ^hat need of sending to London, or going further?' In the language of the New York merchants, these ( Canadians buy immediately.' ' "Like, causes produce like effects. The cutting of the isthmus, and
the construction of the railway from the Mississippi to the Pacific, are-links in that great chain which is to bind, in bonds stronger than iron, all the maritime nations to us, and make the world, in commerce, tributary to the countries bordering on this great sea. In like manner, the £)regonian, and the inhabitant of ' 54° 40'? and of those inhospitable regions of the north, will want of the productions of the more sunny climes of the gulf; with free winds and flowing sheets they, too, will come-.down to barter lor them, for they will find on the banks of their rivers,. that,-run, west and cross no climates, something to give in exchange for the outpourings of our grand cornucopia. They will have fish, or they will. bring peltries, or they will exchange their bread and fruits in the-markets of the Pacific, and bring something thence which the gulf people-will want to increase assortments or add to the variety and abundance of
their stocks.
" Both in New Holland and in Van Dieman^s Land theAnglo Saxon
has already obtained a foothold. Ttirough this canal he will be as near ,to us and nearer than New Orleans now is to London., We know what a customer he is, and that he will most want of those articles which we-have in the greatest abundance to send. He, too, is down stream,, or to (eeward. With trade-winds to take tis there with cargoes of balky articles of merchandise, which, with the free winds of heaven to waft them along at the rate of two hundred miles the day, we can sell cheap, and afford to offer at such prices as will induce him. to buy freely and consume
" As near as Costa Rica is to England, this ship canal will bring China and Japan to us; Japan stands right in the way of our China ships. Suppose the islands of Great Britain were peopled by Japanese, or that they should shut themselves up against commerce, and adopt the policy of Japan, imprisoning, maltreating, and putting to death the crews of all our $hips that might be wrecked or cast ashore on their tradiug voyages to Europe; it would be as reasonable to suppose that the nations of Christendom would allow the adoption of such a policy on tlie British isles, as it is to expect this country will, as its western coasts are settled and its commerce developed, permit Japan to continue the inhospitable and cruet treatment observed towards our unfortunate sailors who have been shipwrecked and cast upon her shores.
" This ship canal will bring the markets of the Gulf of Mexico as near
^o Manilla, Japan, and China, as those of the Baltic and the north of Europe now are to the southern States.
u It is a well known principle in commerce, the nearer the two ports, and the greater the facilities of intercourse between them, the more valuable the trade from the one to the other. Tims the trade between Liverpool
and Dublin, or between Massachusetts and the rest of the States, is greater than that of all the States with all foreign countries whatever.
" There is no commercial or trading people, within sixty days' sail of Us, that takes from us on the average, per iiiliabiumt, tdsy than forty or fatty cents' worth of merchandise a year. By examining the subject, \t
wul be seen that whenever we have beeu brought into commercial iutej;-
Rep. No. 439. ^
course with a people near enough for our great agricultural staples to bear the expenses of transportation to them, we have managed to build up w^n such people a commerce of at least forty or fifty ^ per ca^atneJear
Even with ttie negroes of Hayti we have a commerce greater thanks
and yet one can hardly tell in what it consists, so little have the peoole there of anything that we want. pwpie
< ' Suppose that the shortening of the distance to China, through this canal, and the bringing of those people within fifty or sixty days of us
should form an exception to our universal experience, and, instead of a trade of forty cents per capita, only give us one of ten cents to the inhabitant; there would be then through this canal, with that peoplb alone, an annual commerce of thirty millions.
u This Atlantic ocean is a great protectionist, it stands between us and Europe, and, the moment this canal is completed, will enact a protective tariff in our favor, which will consist of tolls to the winds and to the waves, that European merchandise will have to pay, in the shape of freight and insurance, to cross it and to reach this canal.
li And thus in the markets of the six hundred millions of people to which that canal will lead, our merchants will meet their European competitors, not only with the advantages of time, but also with the expenses of transportation greatly in their favor. This canal is a whig measure, because it will protect so mightily American industry; and this c.anal is a democratic measure, because it will advance so wonderfully the principles of free trade. But it is useless to speculate as to the results of opening a canal; they, no doubt, will be far greater than the most sanguine among us dare to anticipate. We all feel and know that there is a scope and room for great things from it, and the margin for the results is very broad. .
(( In contemplating this subject, other matters besides thpse of commerce, but matters with which the destinies of-the nation seem to be closely woven, present themselves to,the mind's eye. They loom ^ut in the distance too boldly to escape observation. When we regard America as a slaveholding country, we are struck with the fact that this institution is being pressed upon both from the north and the south. In this country, the States to the north have gradually abolished slavery oc forbidden its existence within their limits, and the spirit of emancipatiou-and abolition is pressing this institution down upon the Gulf of Mexico, towards the torrid zune. In South America, Brazil is the great slave-holding power, and there this institution has been pressed upon from the south, and forced up also inthe torrid zone towards the valley .of the Amazon and Caribbean sea. It seems as though Providence-,, in its_ inscrutable ways, was so shaping events as to intimate that the last abiding place of slavery on this continent is to be in or about this, inte^tropicai. sea. Perhaps it is to be on the banks of the Amazon, where the..negro is again to find himself at home among parrots and monkeys—his natural companions in the Old World. .
< ( Thirty years ago, from the Sabme around by the ^lshmwv> the rnouth of the Oronoco, there was but one nation, and she "^.P0"-, erful, and strong. But since that time she has lost her sway, ana, m_ stead of the strong hand of power to govern and unite those P®0?1®,^ find them split up into some half score of petty sovereignties lneseare divided intoi factions among themselves, and so weakened that a handful

Rep. No. 439
of men might overrun them with far more ease than any people, savage or civilized, have ever been overrun, except, perhaps; those nations which inhabited the Promised Land, and which God smote with his own hand and thrust aside to make way for the children of Israel.
tf On the eastern side of this sea are the Great and Little Antilles, Cuba, St. Domingo, and a chain of islands stretching from stave territory on the north to slave territory on the south. From the Florida Pass to the mouth of the Amazon, those islands are to this sea tike stepping-stones for crossing a pool of water. INature has so placed them.
" On the banks of the Amazon the soil and the vegetation are prodigious in the display of vital forces and energies. With us vegetaiion reposes for a season; every year it goes to sleep in the fall, and sleeps through the winter. There, it knows no rest; summer and winter it is in awful activity. , Here we visit the seashore, and find that there is a contrast continually going on between the land and the sea, that each is making inroads upon theotlier, and that each is alternately retiring beforetheother^ but there, vegetation takes the place of the land, and battles with the waves. They come in their might, drive it back, and bury it in the sand. In a few days it struggles out, and; acquiring new strength, marches down to the water's edge and commences anew to contend for
a foothold in the sea. It is awful in the display of vital forces.
" There, on the banks of the Amazon, under a moist climate and burning sun, the white man has never yet had the courage to battle with the ferocious wild beasts, poisonous reptiles, and the terrible vegetation, The negro alone can do this; and may not his be the destiny to subdue, bring under cultivation, and prepare for the blessings of civilization and Christianity the black forests and vigorous soils of that vast region?
" An immense vista is opened from this point of view, and, in looking along it through the dim mists of the future, the mind is dazzled and the imagination bewildered at the things which flit across and present tlien^ selves in shadowing outlines for contemplation.
" I may be pardoned for alluding to the subject of slavery in this connexion; but the institution is being crowded down both from the north and the south, and is so encircling this sea, that we are compelled to ask if there be not some sort of connexion between this sea and the destinies of the black man? Is he to be driven into it; or is he to go across it, with Cuba and Hayti for stepping-stones, to the valley of llie Amazon? Or is he to plant himself down on the margin of it, and some day hold the keys of the world's commerce? Certain it is that destiny seems to be pressing him down upon the torrid zone, and pointing to that as his last abiding place on this continent, whatever is to be his fate, or whatever is to he the part which he is ultimately to play in the affairs of the New World.
(< The expense of a ship canal across the isthmus of Panama has been estimated by European engineers at twenty-live millions of dollars. The summit to be overcome is two hundred and seventy-five foot above the level of the sea. The river ' Chagres' is navigable only lor small vrs-sels a part of the year; and for a part of tin1 way across thy istiimus, winch here is about 'forty-five miles broad, a railway is already in process of construction, or rattier letting") have bren made.
" I am not ill possession of information necessary to enable me to ypeak as to the merits of the Nicaragua rouie for a ship canal, tliough it seems
Rep. No. 439. 25
to possess rare advantages.and is very inviting; therefore, I shall confine myself to a canal across the isthmus of Panama, premising that what 13
said of Panama is eoually applicable to any other part of the isthmus which oflors a practicable route with gond harbors. Money can build a
ship canal here, and there are data enough to show- that, with proper guarantees and aid from government, it would be one of the most profitable investments that could be offered to capitalists, even though its actual cost should treble the estimates. Statistics prove that if a vessel bound from the United States to the market of Peru could cross the isthmus of Panama, she could afford to pay ^14 50 per ton for the privilege, and thus meet the Cape Horn cruiser in Lima on equal terms as to freight, and with double or treble advantages as to time. If, then, we deduct from this sum two thirds, and say that the canal, when built, can afford to pass loaded vessels through tor ^5 per ton, the difference in the freight then and the saving of time will induce all vessels bound to or from the Pacific to use the canal in preference to the ' Horn.'
f There are at present in the Pacific four hundred vessels engaged in. the whaling business: they will average three hundred tons each. During:
the current year five hundred vessels have sailed from theXJnited States, via Cape Horn, for California: they will average, aiso,,three hundred tons each. Besides these tli,ere are three hundred and sixty vessels engaged in the commerce of the Pacific: these will average four hundred tons each. All tliese, except the whalers, would pass through the canal twice a year—once going and once returning. One-third, or 133^ of the whalers, only, would pass the canal twice in a year. . Tons.
13^- whaling vessels, 300 tons each, give — - - 40,000
sint-V^i:^.,5, - - - i-^-nnn5UO California 360 Pacific
150,000 144,000
Total American tonnage - ' - - - . 334,000
$1,670,000 1,670,000
Tolls going, ^5 per ton Toll return-ing
/-^ ' *
Gross receipts
" This estimate is based on present commerce carried on in American ships alone. If we add to these theShips of all other nations tradmg to the Pacific, and which would use'this canal, we shall find that there are ships enough at present engaged in the commerce of the Pacific which, by paying a dollar a ton each instead of five dollars as toll to the canal,
would yield handsome dividends to twenty-five-millions. ^, ., . "What would thf increase of business to which it would give rise do,/ A railroad across the isthmus, though a useful,,valuable, and.importantworic, fan never pass the great agricultural staples of the country, and; put Uiem
in the channels of commerce on the other side, because of the expense ot lading and unloading at either end, and because of the necessity unaer which ykippers would be to l^eep a set of ships on each side toletcn ana
carry. .
2@ Eep. No. 439.
" Suppose the canal built and the Pacific railway in operation, let us see the effects. Up to, the present time, Great Britain has had the advantage often days' sail over^is in all the markets around (Jape, Horn, or the
-Cape of Good Hope.
" The reason is on account of the necessity under -which our ships bound there have hitherto supposed themselves to be, of first sailing across the Atlantic, in order to get favorable winds for the rest of the voyage. This canal will make it necessary for her ships first to cross the Atlantic, in order to get up with us. Before the Pacific railway is completed, it may (be supposed that a line of steamers will be plying between California
and China.
" Now, suppose a rise to take place in Chinese markets, with a demand for any of the staples that are to be found in American markets, In twenty days the Chinese steamer arrives in California with the news on board; it is delivered through telegraph in our Atlantic seaports the same instant, and it happens to reach New York or Boston just in time for the English steamer. The American merchant loads his ship and despatches her across the isthmus, at the same time he writes his agent in China
• what he has done, and sends the letter, with instructions, over the Pacific
railway in time for the return steamer to Chinei.
" Twelve days afterwards, his rival in England receives the same intelligence; an'd thirty or forty, perhaps sixty days after that, his ship, bound across the isthmus with a like cargo and destination, arrives on this side of the Atlantic.
" Before the English or any other European vessel can get to the West Indies, on her way to China, the American is there; and from that time until the arrival of his competitor he has the control of the market. Could avarice covet any greater monopoly?
" The same would be the case with regard to the markets of South America, New Holland, Manilla, or any of the islands of the Pacific.
" The intelligence of a rise in them would be brought by steamer to
New Orleans, whence the magnetic telegraph would spread it over the country.
" The people on the lakes, in Illinois, "Wisconsin, and Iowa, could send down their cargoes of merchandise, and have them in the markets
ofChili and Peru weeks before the ships of any European nation could get there.
" Besides the advantages of time which the isthmus canal would give American merchants, they could with the same articles undersell the European by the whole amount of freight and insurance which he would have to pay to get his cargo of goods across the Atlantic. Thus this ship canal would make our Atlantic and gulf ports the entrepots of trade between. Europe and Asia, and give us a complete free-trade monopoly in the markets of six hundred millions of people wlio inhabit the islands and countries that border on the Pacific.
" There is in the Bible an unfulfilled prophecy which, as surely as day follows the night and night the day, lias to be fulfilled.
" It relates to the bringing of the 'ends of the earth together/ and converting * the islands oftlie sea' to the Christian religion.
" There is not in thu whole Atlantic ocean an island that is inhabited by a heathen race. Commerce, with its train, has accomplished its work
Eep. No. 439. 27
there. The Pacific, therefore, is the sea in which these islands of the Bible are.
(i If we take the Pacific to be what it really is, (for the Indian ocean is an artificial division ofit) vi,: that greatocean which is west of America, south of Asia, and east of Africa, we shall find that its islands and shores
are for the most part heathen lauds. It is there that the great work of the prophecy is to be accomplished.
" At the time it was uttered eastern Asia and western Europe, as far as human knowledge was concerned, were the 'ends of the earth '
" This Pacific railway across tlie country, and .this ship canal across the isthmus, will bring these remote 'ends of the earth* together, and hand the people there over to the influences of commerce to civilize and convert; for, wherever commerce has spread her wings,, there the
arts of civilization and the blessings of Christianity have followed in her train.
" As far as the human eye can reach or the mind of man perceive, these two great works may, for anght that we can tell to the contrary, be the means under Providence by which the fulfilment of the prophecy is to be brought about; and, among the glorious destinies -which seem to be in store for the people of this favored and happy land., the great privilege of being instruments for conveying the blessings of civilization and Christianity to the benighted heathen of that sea may not be the least.''
It will thus be perceived that those two works—the Pacific railway and ship canal—are not only necessary fully to develop the immense resources of the Mississippi valley, and to give scope to the energy of American enterprise, but that their completion would place the United States on the t{ sunn-nit level of commerce," and give us the means, of defending and protecting forever from the foot of the invader the Pacific coasts of the
Union. ' ' ' • • In the opinion of the committee, an isthmus ship canal, properly guarantied and regulated, would make the commercial'nations of the earth dependant upon the United States to such a degree as materially to lessen
the chances and liabilities of ever involving this country in war.'
That it may appear that the importance attached by the committee to the two works in their bearings upon the question of national defence is not overestimated, ttie following letter was addressed to Lieutenant Maury, requesting his views upon the subject. That letter and his reply your
committee beg leave to make a part of this memorial.
••• J
C. V. Mills to Lieutenant Maury.
" WASHINGTON. Cnv , January 8, l8SO.
'• Sin: The committee who were appointed by the Memptus convent^
to memorialize Congress for a railroad to connect the TOte^s.oI.W"^s sissippi with the Pacific ocean, and also by ship canal across the isthmus,
will in a few days be prepared to present said memorial, rlistance
" As one of the committee, 1 would ask ofyoirto ^.y61"6,*60^^^^^ fi-om San Diego to the nearest point on the Mississippi wer, on a straiein,
'"'You will, also, in connexion with this great questlon'cwe^afadTO on the committee and the public by submitting your views m regain to
28 Rep. No. 439.
• i '
the contemplated railroad and ship canal across the isthmus as works of national defence in a. military point of view.
" Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
" Lieut.M. F. MAuny."
Lieutenant Maury to 0. C. Mills.
i • + ' ." ' ''
" NATIONAL OBSERVATORY, ^Washington, January 10, 1850.
< ( SIR: I have received your letter of &he 8th instant, requesting, in behalf of the committee appointed by the Memphis, convention to memo;-ri^ilize Congress, to .know the shortest distance between the Mississippi river and the Pacific ocean, on the coast of California.-
" From San Diego to a point near the mouth of the Red.river is the shortest distance.. The distance between these two points by an air'line, or .the great circle, is twelve hundred and seventy-eight geographical miles, (1278,) equal to one thousand four hundred and seventy-nine common or statute miles. ', • •' — • "
J . •* •• _
" A point in the Cypress Bend just below the mouth of the Arkansas river, is the next nearest. li is only eleven geographical miles timber froni this point than from the other to San Diego.
: " You also requestmy opinion on the subject of a railroadito the Pacific and a ship canal across the,isthmus, as works of national defence.
" A work eminently of national,defence would be the first. It is the
/ *• • ' •
fort, the castle: the other is the moat and ditch to surround it. Neither
/ -. / ^ .
can be complete without the other.
.t( That we may make the importance of ihe road as a military work appear, let us suppose that there be neither ship canal across the isthmus, nor Pacific railway-across the country, when war comes between England and, the United States. England, in that. case, would want California, she would direct her against it. How shall we defend it?
" Great Britain has always a fleet in the Pacific, another in China, and another in the East Indies; besides the; whole Indian army and navy at her command. We, also, havs a squadron in the Pacific, and another on the coasts of China, but they are small and weak in comparison with, the fi'rces that she has there.
• ' q •
" Since the discovery of gold in California, upwards of 500 vessels have cleared from the Atlantic ports of the United States lor that country, and they have had, on the average, a passage of 2QU days. It would therefore take us, if on the declaration of war we had a fleet ready to sail, 200 days to get it to the relief of California.
" In the mean time what is the enemy about ? He sends orders by th&overland route to his China fleet and the-whole Indian navy to move against California, orders of similar import are sent across the isthmus to his Pacific fleet as well as to our own squadron, which last would go to California only to be overpowered by guns and nui-nhers. Should we attempt to despatch a fleet, around Cape Horn, his Brazilian fleet, his African fleet, and his channel fleet arc already on the wiiyside, and they,
Rep. No. 439. 29
vith their light steamers and look-out vessels, would be sure tn intp^n^ our California fleet on its passage, for it would nece^sarnTcSS
with several hundred trmsports to retards it progress; (we had one hi n dred to carry ^noral with a handful of men to' Vera C^iz} In convoys, the slowest vesselregulates the speed of alt the rest; convoys therefore move slowly. Surh a fleet would cover a wide exten-of ocean, and, heretoro, would be the more easy for the enemy to discover, to fall in wirh, and intercept, or, if by any miracle it should escape his cruisers, it could not escape the storms of the sea. He would have but
to invoke the aid against it of his 'ancient and unsubsidized allies ' as the windy ot heaven have been styled, and the storms of Cape Horn
would be pure to cripple and to scatter such an armada, so encumbered as it necessarily would be.
(( Succor, therefore, to California by this route would bo almost hopeless; and even if we should succeed in getting it there, the gettino- of it there would probably cost the nation as much then as the railroad tvould ito'w. Succor to California by that route, it may be safely said, would be impracticable. Long before the two hundred days—more than six months—reouired for the passage, had expired, the whole Indian navy» the China Heet, and Pacific squadron might all be safely anchored in some one or more of the ports of California. Throwing up breastworks to protect the entrance of such harbors, the active enemy would pour in, by transports and steamers, his army from India, march up' and plant himself in the mountain p'-isses, and thus hold that distant province without tlie possibility of recapture: for no one will say we could march an army across the country, climb the Rucky Mountains, cross the Sierra Nevad;i, with such an enemy as that to defend the passes, or to receive us at the foot. On the other hand, suppose the railroad built,and that it have the gauge, as it. should have, of the Atlantic railroads—that the Virginia and Tennessee road, terminating at Norfolk, the South Carolina and Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi railroads, connecting with it and with the railroads of all the other States, .were also completed—that [he cars from them could be put upon the Pacific road: in less than two hundred hours, instead of two hundred days, we could have all the sharp shooters in the great valley of the west assembled in California or anywhere else
along tlie line if need be. i • /I " We know that an invading army cannot be disembarked m a day.
It was two weeks from the time of arrival before General Scott was prepared to summons the castle at vera Cruz. -Should this invasion ot California be attempted, the approach of the enemy, when he makes his appearance in the offing, would be reported in Washington by magnetic telegraph, anJ, before hall' his forces were disembarked, an annymigtit be sent over tills road from the Mississippi valley to give battle and drive him back. With that road, and others which are now under construction, completed, California would be nearer to Washington than New Orleans now island better provided with the means of defence than the soatnern coast of the United Slates is at this day. The forts for the Protection_of New York and Boston, those of Old Point Comfort and the Kip-Kapb,are not more necessary, nor are they more essentially works ot national defence, than this railroad to the Pacific would "be.
l( In order rightly to appreciate the importance of this rail re aa in our
80 Rep. No. 439.
system of national defence, let us take for illustration a case nearer home, and which we are the more likely, therefore, to appreciate:
u From the foundation of the government to the present moment, Norfolk, owing to its position and other conditions, has always been considered one of the most important points on the Atlantic seaboard, as the centre of military operations for the ( common defence.' The skill, the science, and the treasury of the country have been taxed, and justly taxed, to their utmost, for providing it with the means of defence, and for this purpose the forts at Old Point Comfort and the Rip-Raps were projected. Yet these stupendous works can only prevent an enemy from going up with his fleet to sack the city and destroy the navy-yard; they cannot prevent his landing at Lynn Haven bay, and marching up twenty or thirty miles by land to do the same thing, any more than the castle of Vera Cruz could prevent our army from landing there beyond the reach
of its guns.
" The ground is just now about to be broken upon the Virginia and
Tennessee railroad, one end of which is intended to meet the Pacific railroad, while the other will be conducted to Norfolk. With that road completed, suppose an enemy should attempt to land in Lynn Haven bay for any such purpose—before he would have time to land artillery and draw up his forces on the beach, an army put in motion by the sound of the steam-whisile could be sent from the Mississippi valley to drive him back into the sea; and with this road to California completed, that same army could within one week's time after that meet him in California, and there repel invasion also.
" Build the main trunk, and as fast as California becomes settled, individual enterprise will cause stems and branches to shoot out from it in all
directions. ,
" iNo enemy ever thought of invading a wilderness, and therefore where
California is not settled we want no defences. As last as population shall spread itself along the shores of the Pacific, there other branch roads would be extended, and the means of defence be provided chiefly by the people themselves; and thus this great national highway to the Pacific -wuuld, as soon as completed, render California secure from invasion forever.
. "That railroad to the Pacific, more than any single work ever accomplished by this government, would subserve and promote the great ends for "which that government was created. This government was created for the express purpose, and invested with all the necessary forms therefor, ' to form a perfect union;' and would not this railroad perfect the union between California and the ' OLD THIRTEEN* more effectually than anything else can do?
" They formed the Union to c insure domestic tranquillity.' What more powerful agent for this purpose than the Pacific railroad has ever been conceived?
" The old States banded together for the purpose of 'promoting the general welfare;' and last, though not least, among the inducements and considerations which led them to achieve that work which is above all other works of human device, the constitution of the United States, was, that they might (the better provide for the common defence.' And which of all these great purposes will not this road to the Pacific better subserve tlian any other sing e work that has ever yet been accomplished by this government?
Rep. No. 439. g^
tt There arc two modes, and but two modes, of providing for the national defences of our Pacific coast. One is the building up in that ocean a sen
arate and independent navy whose home shall be'there, as that of Z present navy is here; and the lining at the sarn,. time that ^oast with forts and castles, as for the last fifty years we have been doin» the Atlantic
seaboard, without yet having placed it in a satisfactory state of defence The other is by the proposed railroad and ship canal.
" The latter mode would not only be the most speedy and effectual but it would be the cheapest, for in the end it would actually cost less even if the government were itself to undertake to build both railroad and ship canal; and for the government to do the latter, the Memphis convention did not hold as at all necessary. With proper legislative aid and action on the part of the government, private enterprise will build the canal.
" The ship canal will carry the delta of the Mississippi across the con-linent, and place one mouth of that river in the Pacific ocean, which alone will give business enough to make the investment profitable.
" With one mouth in the Florida Pass discharging into the Atlantic, through which vessels are passing and repassing every hour of the day;
with the other dividing the continent in two, and discharging opposite to India and China, New Holland, and the islands and markets of the broad Pacific ocean, what a scene of life and business, what a source of power, grandeur, and wealth would not that river and its tributaries become.
" Suppose the straits of Florida had been blocked up, and that the chain of islands from Cuba to the mouth of the Oronoco had been joined together in an impassable barrier, so that no ship could go from the Atlantic to the mouth of the Mississippi river, the Gulf of Mexico would then have been another Caspian, and the great valley of the West an inland basin, like that of Asia, without ocean drainage, and therefore without cornmerce, without consequence in the political relations of the world,
and, like that, too, without prosperity among its inhabitants. "With a commercial thoroughfare from its mouth to only one ocean,
the resources of the immense valley drained by the Mississippi can never
be more tlian half developed. Nature has provided a way betweenltand the Atlantic on the east, but she has left it for man to do the ^eont^ west, and to open for it a mouth in the Pacific also-mto that greaocean
which covers an area that exceeds in extent all the contlnentsan.dlS OF the globe by ten millions of square yies, that ocean ^hose^^^^
waters encircle 600 islands of the sea, a^i of them frlut^^^ them teeming with untold wealth, that grand ^a1-1^05^ continents contain three.fourths of the entire PT11^^^^
These 600 millions of people, with their ^^^^^^^ their abundance, have ever been separated from the states 01 unn
^ tedious, long, and dangerous routes of ^igation^ ^
" This ship canal would place one_ mouth o.^^^^^^ Pacific ; it would make the greatest of rivers tributary to the giea ,
ns. . , Contrast that valley, as it will be when a direct communi^
° pen between it and the Pacific, with what it is now, then con ^ ,tasi
18 now with what it would have been, had there been "osh^^^^^ between it and the Atlantic, and the reality, could we draw a true pK_tme-t—ii. uciween n anu. my rcn/iiii-';
is now with what it would have been,
^uld show the difference to be not more striking in one case than in ^ other.
82 Eep. No. 489.
• .

" the settled policy of this government and people to permit no European interference with the affairs of this continent.
" As much as the. people represented in the Memphis convention desire to see the long and narrow neck of land which separates the valley of the Mississippi from the valley of the Amazon—the two greatest river-basins in the world—cut asunder by a ship canal, I think I am not going too far when I say that the sentiment of that distinguished body would (in case the alternative were presented) be, Perish all isthmus routes, perish ship canal, with all its bright promises and dazzling prospects, rather lhan court European alliances to guaranty the neutiahty or protect the freedom of such a highway. The people of the valley and the gulf States arenas you well know, determini d that no European power shall, under any pretext whatever, gain any fresh foothold in that direction. They are therefore unwilling to court any alliances by which the nations of Europe may by any possibility claim the right of interference in the affairs of this continent; and they would look upon an alliance with them, to guaranty the neutrality of the isthmus canal, as a sort of platform, a bit of terra Jirma, unwisely granted, upon which they might stand and rest their levers for overturning this or interfering with some other equally cherished American policy. . -
" We can guaranty the neutrality of that canal as effectually as all the
• World Combined can do , and I would have its neutrality preserved in all
• wars, even though we should be one of the belligerents, provided the other maritime nations would agree to extend the neutral ground out to se.a (not on the .land) to the distance, in both oceans, of two or three hundred marine leagues from either end of the canal.
" In this case, and in' the event of war. with Great Britain—and I use her for illustration always, not because I desire to see our friendly relations with that country ever interrupted, but because she is the most powerful nation in the world ; because it is possible that she may become our enemy; and in providing ourselves for self-defence, we must always measure the degree of preparation by the strength of the enemy we are probably to meet—therefore, as I was going to say, in the event of war
• with Great Britain, and in case the canal and its approaches were held neutral, we could use it as a military work for protecting our commerce
' i , ^ i \J
in the Pacific, for defending California, and for all the purposes of war, by sending our public and other armed cruisers through it to that ocean ;
and thus, while we would save the time and avoid the dangers of Cape Horn, we would appear there with our forces in a better and more efficient condition. A ship, tossed and battered by tlie storms ot the Cape
Horn passage, could not in her crippled condition cope with her equal, fresh and trim from the canal.
" We would be nearer than any European nation to the canal by a month or more. Therefore we could bring and send fleets through it that much sooner, and, in case of necessity, have that much tlie start of them in operating with our navy in that ocean.
" If other nations would join us in holding neutral the approaches to this canal for a certain distance out to sea, within which tie harmless merchantmen of all nations joining in such neutrality should be safe, then the canal would pay dividends to its ownfi-s in war as well as in
peace. By such means as this, its construction would be enectually encouraged.

Rep. No. 439.
t<I hope, therefore, that Congress will be invoked to take such legis. lative action as may be necessary to secure the construction, at an early
- _ ^f /^t-ko m- m/iro ol^l-r^ /ini-n-il/'. -»-»---- -' ' '
construction, at an early
1 /» *1 - ^
» Ju^-«-k » —— i- -•
day of one or more ship canals- across-the 'isthaw:'^t'^o^ the Pacific, placing the former upon a footing alike fawrable fo SeS
" With proper guarantees, private enterprise will be quite equal, I have no doubt, to build a ship canal. '• A ? -
" In the mean time, the railroads that are building, or which are in contemplation, across the isthmus, will serve as a beginning to the canal by serving present necessities, and by showing the amount of business that may fairly be expected when the canal is finished.
" The government has it in its power to furnish very important and necessary aid to these railroads, and such aid had better be furnished than not.
" I allude now to the expense of transporting sailors, soldiers, provisions, and munitions of war around Cape Horn to the Pacific. Allow me to explain, and for that purpose to illustrate by a case in point:
" The Ohio, 74, is now on her -way home from California; she is returning to bring to their homes her crew and officers, whose terms have expired; and while she is so returning, like the laborer on his way to the .leld for work, she is rendering no service, but is consuming time, and therefore wasting money. That ship will cost on the average seme $800 or i|l ,000 a day for every day from the time of her leaving California until she arrives here in port and her crew are discharged. Another ship, or other vessels of like force, will be sent around Cape Horn, at like cost, to take her place, and will occupy 200 days on the passage. 200 days going and 20tt days coming, at ^1,000 per day, are ^400,000 as the cost of getting that ship home and relieved. This is not taking into account, either, the inconvenience suffered by the public service in consequence of the time consumed by the passage. Her crew were shipped for three years, and more than one-third of that time is consumed in passingtoand
fro around Cape Horn. , - , /.,. -..i,. "Now, if this Panama railroad had been completed, the Ohio might
have stopped at Panama; exchanged her old crew and officers forafresh
set sent from this side to meet her; the same transPortewhlch?T^ the relieving crew might bring back the old one And thisimght ^ave
been done at a saving of some two or three hundr^^^^ consequently, at a saving of some two or three hundred thousand dollars,
itthe passage across the isthmus were free. mtprpst that the
" Now, i? certainly would be greatly to ^P^1101^ government should use this road, even though it had ^^os^
» dollar for dollar as much as it costs to get around^^^^ advantages would be these: The money that ^^^^ ^thing Cape Horn is, as it were, so much money cast i^0^^!^^^^^^^^ isthmus
to show for it: whereas that same money glvenIor^ ?reat commer-would leave the railroad and its agency in the opening 01 d o
cial thoroughfare and highway to show for it. ^ ^g-" The passage around" Cape Horn is harassing to ^.\^ for
tressing to tl^ ships. I have known hem to b_^ h^^e ship seventy days at a stretch with the storm, the G01^". ^e vessel has
covered with ice, and the crew bady.^.^;-^ passage many t° give up in despair, and put back m distiess. un ma p &
34 Rep. No. 439.
fine ships are crippled, every year, and t many a good tall fellow destroyed ^ all of-which would be avoided by keeping our ships out there, sending them fresh crews and bringing home their old ones across the isthmus
" By using that road, the public service would gain this further advantage, viz: that instead of paying our crews in the Pacific three years, to serve in fact less than two, on account of Cape Horn, we should then get them to and from their station much less weatherbeaten than we now do, and therefore more capable of service. We should; moreover, get the fu'll three years' service from them, lacking the few days it would take to
go and come between this and the isthmus.
" For the same reason it would be a good bargain on the part of the
government to give the railroad for transporting tlie provisions, coal, munitions of war, &c., across, what it costs to send them around Cape Horn; because the isthmus passage would occupy so much less time, and therefore be so much more certain and economical; because the liabilities of such items to damage and. loss are much greater in the long voyage
around the Horn than in the short one across the isthmus.
t1 In this view of the subject—and I think it a correct view—I should consider it both -wise and judicious on the part of the government to encourage by such a transfer of expenditures the projected improvements across the isthmus, for by paying the isthmus Cape Horn prices to render the same services, but to render them better and quicker, would be to make Cape Horn, as it were, help to build up an isthmus route,
" Therefore, I take the liberty of saying that you would be but conforming to the wishes of the Memphis convention by praying Congress, in its behalf, to give such encouragement to the roads already projected across the isthmus, and to accompany it by a declaration ol its intention to have such services performed by one or more ot the isthmus routes, as soon as any one of them is completed.
ii This would serve also as an example and precedent for other governments to do likewise, and thus would be encouraged, for the benefit of government, the public, and the world, that enterprising and patriotic public -spirit which has induced some of our fellow-citizens to engage in these stupendous works.
u It may be safely set down that the cost of sending to and fro around Cape Horn our ships of war, our sailors and soidieis, provisions, munitions of war, &c., does not cost less on the average than three hundred thousand dollars the year. This sum varies—it is sometimes more, sometimes less. I suppose, though, it is never less than ^200,000.
ts Let us assume it, therefore, at ^200,000; that you may pray Congress, in behalf of the Memphis convention, to authorize the proper officers to contract with the Panama railroad, until some other route to the Pacific be completed, for transporting acro&s the isthmus the mails, the officers, seamen, and marines of the Pacific squadron, the officers and men of the army serving on the Pacific coast, with provisions, stores, munitions, and the like, for a sum not exceeding the estimated cost of conveying the same to and fro around Cape Uorn and across the country, provided such estimated cost shall not exceed the sum of ^200,000 annually.
(t Let the principle of affording such encouragement to these works of external improvement across the isthmus be acknowledged, and we shall soon have rival routes to the Panama road. Therefore I would give the
Rep. No. 439. ge
power to contract with Panama only until some other route be comnip^
a^nd then make it the duty of -the government officer to let he sK out to competition and tlie lowest bidder service
((For my views more in detail and upon other points connected with the Pacific rai way and ship canal, I refer you to two letters adaresseoW me to the delega es of the Memphis convention, and their ConS nts,7
and published m the Union and National Intelligencer, of this city"aoout the end of iNovember and beginning of December last. " Respectfully, &c.,
" M. F. MAURY,
_ , - ,, „ i( Lieutenant United States Navy. ^ Col. CHAS, C. MILLS, •"
" Washington.^
Your memorialists beg leave to unite their voices with that of the writer, and, in the name of the distinguished constituency whose representatives they are, to join. in with the sentiments of this letter, and pray your honorable body attentively to consider it, and not to permit their country to be engaged in any " entangling alliances" whatever with the powers of Europe on account of the isthmus routes.
The feeling is instinctive in the breast of the American citizen against European alliances or interference in the affairs of this continent; and while your honorable body is prayed to afford all needful legislation and facilities to those works across the isthmus, it is entreated at the same time to countenance no projects based on European guarantees rights of way across this continent, or as to any immunities and privileges on the land whatsoever. But while it is desirable to avoid European alliances, it is also desirable that the works now in progress across the isthmus shall be completed; for they wilt lead to the opening of a commercial
highway there for all the world. With the view to such encouragement, the committee, in conformity
with the views entertained by the Memphis convention, beg leave to ask the early passage of a law which shall " direct the Postmaster General, Secretary of War, and Secretary of the Navy to make annual contracts for the transportation of the mails, troops, (soldiers and sailors,) and mi^-tary and naval stores of the government from the Atlantic to the i-acinc ports of the country by the shortest, speediest, and cheapest route. They not only ask that this law shall direct those officers to pay for such
services across the isthmus what it now requires to perform them over the land and around Cape Horn, but they pray, moreover, for such_f^
legislative action in encouragement of these works as-bel"^ tional, may, in the opinion of your honorable body, be fair, pioper, ana
^Ko'mmittee, according to the rule o^onduct pres^^^
with regard to the isthmus routes, would not b6.^,13^^ any preference as to the degree of encouragement to be afforded to each
one of those various routes. , . „ .1,-,- nnv other_ Believing the Panama route to be nearer to completion ban an^ o^tner
bearing in mind the resolution of the convention, decla ^.^ awwr
the contemplated railroad across the country is bel^,coufS
M communication between the States of this Union ^.tw^ and Asiatic coasts of the Pacinc ocean is of vast zmyoitance to every por
36 Rep. No. 439.
tion of this country," and that " such communication can he obtained by a ship canal or railroad across the isthmus of Tehuantepec, Nicaragua, or Panama, or across them all"—bearing in mind, also, the fact that the greatest progress so far has been made with the Panama road, and believing, as from present appearances they have reason to believe, that that route will be the first to go into operation—your memorialists feel bound to ask that the officers of the government be directed to contract for such service over the Panama railroad only until such time as some one of the other routes be completed, and that then those officers be forbidden. to show any partiality towards anyone or more of the isthmus routes;
but that they be required to contract for such service with that route •which they shall find to be ((the shortest, speediest, and cheapest.^
Your memorialists would also represent to your honorable body the want of proper and necessary hydrographical information relating to several of the proposed routes across the isthmus. Without such information, neither the government nor the people can act knowingly or decide wisely as to the particular advantages of routes and the degree of encouragement to be afforded to one in preference to the other. The duty of collecting such information falls within the legitimate province of the navy. The passage of an act directing that suitable officers and vessels be detailed for this service on each side of the isthmus is earnestly recommended.
The eighth resolution recommends the establishment, at an early day, of military posts within our own borders to the Pacific ocean. The importance of this is so clear, the necessity of prompt action so urgent, that, like Self-evident truths, they are incapable of further illustration. Your memorialists feel that they can add nothing of force or of weight to a proposition the propriety of which is so obvious, and the granting of which is so urgently demanded by the public weal, the welfare of the citizen, by treaty stipulations, and the voice of humanity.
There are at least two routes for emigration to the Pacific—one to the north, the other to the south—along which, in the judgment of your memorialists, military posts ought to be established, they therefore earnestly recommend both routes to your favorable consideration.
Trusting that your honorable body will favorably consider this and all those other subjects of such interest to freedom, humanity, and the world, which the Memphis convention has so much at heart, it will, as in duty bound, everyray, &c.