HISTORY OF RAILWAY TRANSPORTATION 179 very soon, take root and spread along it, shall have their inter- ests developed in other directions, and be estranged from their natural and beneficial connection with their kindred of the Atlantic mother country." 1 The very next year this same consideration is urged, with- out acknowledgment, however, to the unknown author. This time by an engineer, Robert Mills, of Baltimore. His idea was to have a canal connect the waters of the Atlantic Coast with those of the Mississippi Valley ; then he would penetrate the continent to the west with the steamboat on the Missouri ; use would be made of the Columbia in like manner ; the dis- tance between the heads of navigation on these two rivers, esti- mated at 340 miles, should be spanned by a portage railway. This suggestion came some ten years before the locomotive had been proven a success in the historic Manchester and Liverpool trial. During the early part of these ten years in- terest in our Pacific Coast possessions had been heightened by Dr. John Floyd, through pressure of measures before Congress for taking possession of them. In the latter part of this decade there was strenuous agitation of projects of colonization by Hall J. Kelley and others in and around Boston. When the railroad became a recognized success with us application of it was proposed from many sources for serving as a bond to bring into normal union the distant sections of the country. Until very near the close of the forties the Oregon coun- try was regularly the region in which the proposed *western terminus lay. Judge S. W. Dexter, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Dr. Samuel Bancroft Barlow, of Granville, Massachusetts, contented themselves in proposing routes and schemes. Later in the thirties Dr. Hartwell Carver, of Rochester, New York, and John Plumbe, of Dubuque, Iowa, separately, not only proposed plans, but memorializing Congress undertook the promotion of them. Rev. Samuel Parker, too, in the record of his overland trip, taken in 1835, comments on the feasibil- ity of the construction of a railroad from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans. i Quoted by Cleveland and Powell, "Promotion and Capitalization of Rail- 5 in the United States," pp. a6i-a.
Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/187
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