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Public exigencies require the survey and determination of the following lines :
The northern and eastern boundary of Nevada, of an aggregate length of 735 miles.
Separate estimates are submitted for this important service.
LEGISLATION GRANTING RIGHT OF WAY TO RAILROADS AND TURNPIKES. An act was approved August 4, 1852, (Statutes, vol. 10, p. 28,) granting the right of way to all rail and plank roads and macadamized turnpikes passing through the public land belonging to the United States for ten years, that law having been subsequently extended by act 3d of March, 1855, (vol. 10, p. 683.) to all puble lands in the Territories of the United States. The privilege was again granted, and for a period of five years from 4th of August, 1862, by the act of July 15, 1862, (vol. 12, p. 577.) By the limitation of the statute this important priv.lege terminated on the 4th of August, 1867. Its extension is hereby recommended, becausi. it in no respect lessens the land revenue, but, on the contrary, affords important aid in the construction of works of intercommunication, and is eminently conducive to the public welfare.
THE PACIFIC SLOPE. Within its limits there is an endless succession of rugged steeps, gentle slopes, fertile valleys, with varied and salubrious climate, its soil yielding in abundance all the cereals and esculents of the temperate zone, fruits and other products of the serni-tropical latitudes, and the grape in all its varieties, the olive, and, in its southern part, the orange, lime, fig, even cotton and tea being within the range of its production-its mountain sides covered with nutritious grasses for cattle, with forests affording immense quantities of lumber of the finest quality for domestic purposes and ship-building: Scattered over its surface are extensive deposits of coal, iron, copper, tin, lead, and quicksilver, its mountains being stocked with the precious metals.
This slope pres.nts an irregular outline of an average length, from north to south, of one thousand miles-in width, six hundred and eighty—including California, Oregon, Nevada, the Territories of Washington. Idaho, Utah, Arizona, and the western parts of Montana, Colorado, and New Mexico, the whole region of 830,000 square miles, equal to 531,000,000 acres, traversed on the west by the Coast Range, the Sierra Nevada, the Cascade, and in the interior by the Wasatch, the Humboldt, the Blue, and Bitter Root mountains ; its shore line, the Pacific, 2,281 miles, exclusive of bays, sounds, islands, and harbors on the coast, San Francisco and Puget sound being justly celebrated as among the first in the world, while the harbor of San Diego and the bay of Monterey, in southern California, and Bellingham bay, in Washington Territory, are capacious and well protected. Its agricultural capacity is adequate to the support of one hundred millions of inhabitants. Its deposits of coal, the great propulsive element, and of the useful metals, iron, copper, tin, lead, and zinc, are sufficient to put in operation machine shops and manufacturing establishments to any extent which the genius and interests of its population may desire to bring into requisition under the science of this age. Its varied industries, as well as those of the whole republic, will be stimulated by the annual gold product, the aggregate of which, since the year 1848, is estimated at a thousand one hundred millions.
Such is the region of our national domain on the Pacific, while on the east is another region of that domain, in the valley of the Mississippi, of boundless fertility, equal in its capacity to the support of a like population, and between these great divisions are situated one thousand millions acres of undisposed of public lands. Already our annual domestic trade has reached, according to the
estimate of high authority,* over five thousand millions of dollars, in which the whole people have participated, in the thirty-seven States and nine Territories, without the intervention of custom-houses. What effect upon this trade and upon the prosperity of the republic is the gradual settlement to have of the public lands yet undisposed of between the Mississippi and the Pacific! Some idea may be formed by the results of the past. The more effectually to unite the interests of our people, Congress has lent the aid of the government for the construction of means of intercourse from an early period of our national existence to the present date, as shown by the legislation in regard to roads and railways.
ROADS. Indispensable to the success and growth of commerce is a well adjusted system of thoroughfares, by which regular and speedy intercommunication may be maintained. When communities advance in agricultural pursuits roads become an imperative necessity, and hence nations which have progressed in civilization have left the memorials of regularly constructed facilities for transit. The semi-civilization of the Aztecs is shown by the remnants of ancient highways which have outlived even the traditions of that people, while the rigor of the Spaniard has failed to obliterate from the land of the Incas the evidence of Peruvian skill in the construction of the causeway which for fifteen hundred miles still skirts the border of the Andes, and with its massive masonry and pendulous bridges favorably compares with similar works of the present age. Not only are such means essential to commercial prosperity, but they constitute the most reliable element of national strength. The prosperity of ancient Italy may be measured to some extent by the increase of the wonderful h ghways which, in the zenith of that state, stretched from the capital to grasp and unite the provinces which, from time to time, were added to the state. These stupendous lines at last reached from the wall of Agricola to the distant waters of the Tigris, the utmost confines of Italian dominion, and of which an aggregate length of four teen thousand miles had been constructed within the limits of Italy proper.
The first Napoleon comprehended the policy and economy of such improvements, estimating their advantages to the commerce and power of a nation. Besides constructing the grand chaussées interlacing France, he connected, by more direct routes, the land commerce of Italy and Austria with western Europe in the construction of routes through the Alps at Mont Cenis and at the Simplon, the latter only thirty-eight miles in length, yet passing over six hundred and eleven bridges, through numerous tunnels, and along solid galleries, and requiring the constant labor of ten thousand men for a period of six years.
A distinguished English historian has declared that, “ of all inventions, the alphabet and printing press alone excepted, those which abridge distance have done most for the civilization of our species, regarding every improvement of the means of locomotion as benefiting mankind morally and intellectually, as well as materially."
In the United States the government has liberally encouraged efforts in the construction of public routes. From the date of the statute, in 1806, authorizing the construction of the national highway to connect the waters of the Atlantic with the western rivers, to the present time, seventy-eight statutes have been passed aiding directly or indirectly such improvements.
The first of these, the Cumberland road, led in its days to important results. It was the pioneer route that conducted the emigrant from the eastern States to the then wilderness of the Mississippi valley. It was the line of communication which, in after years, enabled emigrants to send to the seaboard the
See letter herewith from the Hon. Robert J. Walker, former Secretary of the Treasury, received since the date of the foregoing, showing the views of that distinguished statesman on the subject.
products of their toil. Villages sprang up in the wild sections through which it passed, land was enhanced in value, travel from the Ohio to the Chesapeake reduced two-thirds in time, and, as early as 1829, the transportation from Wheeling to Baltimore, conveyed over the line in a thousand wagons, was thirty two million pounds.
The numerous roads of an early era for commercial or military uses, while serving important purposes in the development of the country, were forerunners of that higher degree of commercial intercourse which to-day characterizes this country.
THE RAILWAY SYSTEM OF THE UNITED STATES. In the first half of the year 1830 there were no steam railways in the United States. In 1840, 2,167 miles existed. In 1850, there were 8,827 miles. In 1860, there were 31,185 miles ; and to-day, 37,000 miles are in complete operation, being a thousand miles for each year since the construction of the first route, the cost being estimated at one thousand eight hundred and fifty millions of dollars. In addition to this completed extent there are by estimate seventeen thousand six hundred and eighty-five miles in process of construction.
The conveniences of local districts, the facilities of domestic trade, the binding power of these iron ligatures are no longer the only incentives to the construction of lines of internal communication; for, as a people, we bave now the prospect of extending our ocean commerce, whereby increased wealth from trade with the older hemisphere may be realized.
The zeal of the navigators who followed in the pathway of the first discoverer of this continent was mainly directed in search of interoceanic coinmunication. Failing in this, succeeding explorers sought for the most feasible routes by which the continent could be spanned. Until the present age it was supposed that communication between the two oceans could be most effectively secured only through ship canals uniting the Atlantic and Pacific, Baron Humboldt, in the early part of the present century, having reported several routes, by either of which he supposed the end could be effected. The Panama, Nicaragua, and Tehuantepec presented the fewest natural obstructions, while other methods looked to the union of the waters of the Rio Grande del Norte with those of the Colorado, or connecting the waters of the Columbia with those of Peace river.
The attention of the government was directed, as early as the administration of President Jefferson, to the importance of direct western communication over the wide spread plains and through the extensive ranges of mountains west of the Missouri. Explorations to this end had been made, but the long distance to be traversed through hostile Indian countries, and the limited means of transportation, then rendered the project practically useless to the commercial world. Up to the year 1848 the interior of the region west of the valley of the Mississippi was comparatively terra incognita to the great mass of the people of the United States—as much so perhaps as are to-day our recent acquisitions on the North Pacific.
The discovery of the gold districts on the western slope awakened a desire for more definite knowledge of its resources, while the speedy growth of cities and towns on the Pacific coast, with the consequent commercial incentives, demanded the construction of feasible land routes leading direct to the western confines of the republic, and which in less than five years will be no longer a project, but a fact accomplished.
The network of railroads from the Atlantic, traversing the middle and western States, will reach the three main lines projected for the Pacific railway, viz: The Union Pacific, starting from Omaha, Nebraska, extending along the valley of the Platte, through Bridger's pass in the Rocky mountains, thence by way of Great Salt Lake City to its connecting point with the Central Pacific.
The Central Pacific line starts eastward from Sacramento, in California, and is making its way to the point of junction at or near Great Salt Lake City, one hundred and thirty-eight miles of which are completed, and in full operation. The Union Pacific having proceeded on its way westward to the extent of five hundred miles, more than six hundred miles of the total distance has been finished since the commencement of the work.
The Union Pacific eastern division leaves the Missouri at Kansas City, following the valley of Kansas river to Fort Riley; thence up the Smoky Hill fork to Fort Wallace, near the western boundary of Kansas; thence onward to the city of Denver, Colorado Territory, and proposed from Fort Wallace, via Forts Lyon and Uvion, to Albuquerque, and through New Mexico and Arizona, along the 35th parallel, to the Colorado of the west; and thence to the city of San Francisco, California. There are now two hundred and ninety miles of this route completed.
The Atlantic and Pacific railway, with its eastern terminus at Springfield, Missouri, it is proposed shall pass southwesterly through the Indian territory, New Mexico, Arizona, and to connect with the Southern Pacific road in the southeastern part of California.
In addition to these is the Northern Pacific route, not yet definitely located, but designed to connect the upper waters of Lake Superior with the Pacific coast at Puget sound.
The Memphis, El Paso, and Pacific route is also projected, to start at a point opposite Memphis ; thence through Arkansas and Texas to the Rio Grande, opposite El Paso, and onward to the Pacific, through the southern portion of New Mexico, Arizona, and California.
In aid of these enterprises, Congress, by different enactments, have granted, by estimate, 124,000,000 acres. Land concessions have also heretofore been granted to Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Louisiana, and California, amounting to 57,588,581.40 acres. Including the quantity granted for wagon roads, it is estimated that in the aggregate there have been conceded in round numbers one hundred and eighty-four million eight hundred and thirteen thousand and nine hundred acres ; of which quantity there have been already certified to the proper beneficiaries within a fraction of twenty-one millions of acres.
This munificence is further augmented by the financial credit, in the issuing of bonds in favor of certain companies.
Eminently advantageous as the result may be from these franchises, it is submitted that the future policy should so economize the public land fund as to restrict it only to such works as may be of indispensable public necessity, and then confining the concession to the most limited basis compatible with the success of the enterprise, because the public domain is a great national heritage, and should be looked to as a source of wealth for ages to come.
The quantity of lands conveyed by these grants is of empire extent, exceeding in the aggregate, by more than five millions of acres, the entire areas of the six New England States, added to the surface of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia.
Not only do these immense quantities eventually pass from the United States, and beyond the reach of those desiring to avail themselves of the benefits of the pre-emption or homestead laws, but pending their adjustment it becomes necessary to withdraw from market large tracts bordering on the roads, in order to await the consummation of the railroad grants. It should further be the purpose to guard the public lands from a tendency to lessen to any considerable extent the sphere and opportunities of our people for obtaining homes upon easy conditions.
The celerity with which two of the main lines west of the Missouri and east of the Rocky mountains are being constructed, and the corresponding industry
shown in the connecting lines on the Pacific side, give assurance of the early completion of these stupendous undertakings.
Already are felt the invigorating results of these enterprises in the influx of foreign immigration, the demand for government lands, the settling of remote districts, and the rapid growth of new towns and cities. They carry with them relief to the pioneer people, who, in the midst of remote mountain districts and in the adverse circumstances of isolation, have revealed the long-hidden resources of the mountains; have there unlocked the great treasure-house of nature; and in giving to the world the product of their toil
, have added to their country's glory in the formation of prosperous towns, cities, and States.
The progress made in the last two decades promises early increased intercourse with the regions of the West, and full development whether of the precious and useful metals, the products of the soil, or yield of the forest. With continuous iron railways, over which the fabrics and wares of Asia on reaching our western shores may be carried to the ports of Europe in less time and with greater security than by other routes, it needs not the spirit of prophecy to predict the speedy revolution in the channels of the world's commercial intercourse, eventuating in their concentration on the railroads and water-courses of this continent.
In this view, and regarding the expansion of domestic and forcign trade as a quickening element in advancing settlements upon the unoccupied public domain, which, exclusive of our new North Pacific territory, is equal in area to foi ty States of the size of Ohio, it is proposed to advert to our commercial relations changed within recent years by the new and commanding position the United States now occupy towards the Asiatic people.
The trade of the East from the earliest ages has been regarded by western nations as a source of wealth and power. The advance of Alexander the Great, more than three centuries before the Christian era, to the Indus, had in contemplation higher objects than mere conquest, as his line of march became a lioe of civilized settlements—in fact, centres of trade. The Egyptian commerce by the Red sea was secured by that great captain, and enlarged by the establishment of his western capital. The Greek settlements which had been made along the Hellespont and Euxine were the bases for opening the northern route by the Caspian and Aral, by which in caravans were brought the products of northern and eastern Asia to European markets.
The routes thus marked out became the channels of trade under the Roman dominion, when the fleets of Augustus passed through a canal then existing from the Nile to the Red sea, and thence to India. The dissolution of the Roman state, the rise of the Parthian and extension of the Mohammedan rule, succeeded with results paralyzing to the trade of the East, continuing until it was reopened in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, when the Venetians and Genoese became rich and powerful in furnishing the European inarkets with the products of Asia.
Upon the discovery by the Portuguese, in 1498, of the route by the Cape of Good Hope, commerce, which had been obstructed and impaired by commercial jealousies growing out of the prejudices of different races and religions, forsook the sborter inland channels for the free ocean route. The commercial movement over this highway by the Portuguese, Dutch, English, French, and Danes resulted in the establishment of British supremacy in India, yet not without a formidable inland rival in imperial Russia, whose military frontier has been pushed across the Jaxartes on the right, and now rests within eight hundred miles of Pekin on the left, with large acquisitions on the Amoor through its length to the ocean, draining an area of more than half a million of square miles. Meanwhile, France has been enlarging her influence by recent extension of territory in Cochin China and Siam.
These events and the increasing desire of European powers for ascendency in the east have given, in this age of steam, to the Suez canal isthmean route most important relations to the commerce of Asia.