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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/193

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HISTORY OF RAILWAY TRANSPORTATION 185 gard to the great and momentous interests of our country which are contingent on the execution of this magnificent de- sign." 1 In contrast with the main purpose to be achieved by a trans- continental railway as conceived by the committee in 1846, this committee in 1850, March 13, states the objects of the enterprise as follows: "First, your committee think that it would bind and cement, on the largest scale, and in the most enduring form, the commercial, social and political re- lations of our Eastern and Western domain, as naturally di- vided and marked out by the summit of the ridge between the Mississippi and the Pacific. A primary effect of this work would naturally be, by surmounting the obstacles of nature, to bring into the most intimate commercial contact the two vast regions of productive industry which are destined to be on the Atlantic and Pacific slopes of North America, and thus by creating an everlasting bond of interest, to cement between the same quarters social and political ties equally intimate and equally enduring." 2 This enthusiasm for the Whitney project did not, however, avail. It was pitted against the opposing idea of a national railroad to the Pacific; it was checked by the rising spirit of sectionalism, for it contemplated a route quite to the north; local jealousies of cities aspiring to become the Eastern term- inus also developed opposition. The vigorous agitation by the exponents of the idea of a, transcontinental railway for more than a decade; the migra- tions of the Oregon pioneers throughout the forties to the valley of the Columbia ; and the grand rush of the argonauts in 1849 to California these all contributed to bring the idea most vividly into the public consciousness of the nation and nearer to realization. The following abstract of the salient features of the dif- ferent schemes for overland transportation to the Pacific de- veloped before 1850 may be of service: ilbid., pp. 2-7, 5 and 9. zlbid., pp. a, 42.