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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/192

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184 F. G. YOUNG the country at large by the following reference to the meas- ure of pressure that had been brought to bear upon them: "The voice of the most eminent men of the country, the pub- lic action of twenty separate states of the Union, renewed in some cases for years, and the favorable reports of special and standing committees of both houses of Congress, heretofore and repeatedly made, with great unanimity, all in favor of Mr. Whitney's proposal, together with a corresponding action of a great variety of public meetings and corporate bodies, throughout the length and breadth of the republic, for several years past, augmenting in number and zeal with the progress of time. . ." Moreover, the committee is impressed that "all feel that this road is wanted, and must be made." For many reasons they "most profoundly deprecate the undertaking of this work by the general government in any form whatever." They would not loan the public credit for the accomplishment of this de- sign as was proposed by one of the plans submitted to them. The following language indicates the limit to which this ma- jority of the committee committed themselves in favor of Whitney's project: "Your committee have reason to believe that the government itself, with all its means and credit, would sink under the attempt to build this road on any other plan than that of Mr. Whitney. Again, after animadverting on the positions taken by national conventions that had just been held at St. Louis and Memphis for promoting a transcontinen- tal railway, they say: The question of means, therefore, is exhausted, and falls to the ground, without hope of rescue, on any other plan than that of Mr. Whitney." In the same confident tone they met all the objections that had been brought against Whitney's plan on the ground of the vast grant of public domain involved. The country would net more through that disposition of its lands than in any other way. The risk is all hisĀ ; his is the only feasible plan. Not only would no other plan than Mr. Whitney's succeed, but they could not refrain "from expressing their solicitude in re-