MEMORIAL OF A. WHITNEY, PRAYING A GRANT OF PUBLIC LAND TO ENABLE HIM TO CONSTRUCT A RAILROAD FROM LAKE MICHIGAN TO THE PACIFIC OCEAN. FEBRUARY 24, 1846. REFERRED TO THE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC LANDS, AND ORDERED TO BE PRINTED. ... [caption title]. Washington, D. C. Ritchie & Heiss, print., 1846. Octavo, pp.  2-10, folded map, self wrappers, sewn as issued. First edition. Issued as 29th Congress, 1st Session, Senate Doc. 161. Whitney's second memorial, preceded by a 4-page memorial presented in 1845 to the second session of the 28th Congress, the first to be accompanied by a map, here an untitled map of the United States "reduced & engraved by O. H. Throop, Wn. D. C.," showing finished, unfinished and proposed railroads. Only part of Whitney's proposed route to Pacific is projected: extending from Prairie Du Chien to the Idaho border. This is one of the earliest maps to show a proposed transcontinental railroad. The chief early promoter of an American transcontinental railroad was "Asa Whitney, a New York merchant active in the China trade who was obsessed with the idea of a railroad to the Pacific. In January 1845 he petitioned Congress for a charter and grant of a sixty-mile strip through the public domain to help finance construction. Whitney suggested the use of Irish and German immigrant labor, which was in great abundance at the time. Wages were to be paid in land, thus ensuring that there would be settlers along the route to supply produce to and become patrons of the completed line. The failure of Congress to act on Whitney's proposal was mainly due to the vigorous opposition of Sen. Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri, who favored a western route originating at St. Louis. Although Congress failed to sanction his plan, Whitney made the Pacific railroad one of the great public issues of the day. The acquisition of California following the Mexican War opened the way for other routes to the coast. The discovery of gold, the settlement of the frontier, and the success of the eastern railroads increased interest in building a railroad to the Pacific." - Library of Congress, Railroad Maps, 1828 to 1900, Articles and Essays. Wheat Transmississippi West III, p. 187 (note). Some light tanning and a couple of mild fox marks, but an excellent copy. (#164920).
No statement of printing.