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Helena weekly herald. [volume] (Helena, Mont.) 1867-1900, September 13, 1883, Image 4

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FISK BROS., - - Publishers.
R. E. FISK, -
The presence in our city on the 7th
of hundreds of honored guests, each one
of whom is a tower of strength and a
center of wide influence, drawn from
every portion of this and foreign coun
tries, bears witness to the consummation
of an event that is recognized to he of
world-wide importance. To us who have
dwelt in the seclusion of these mountain
fastnesses for a score of years, beset with
perils, fenced in by trackless deserts, de
prived of most of the luxuries and many
of the comforts of life, who have borne
up through long years of weary waiting
the heavy load of hopes deferred, it is
easy enough to understand why our
hearts glow and throb with unwonted en
thusiasm at the splendid consummation
of'all our hopes, but it is not equally clear
why such a throng of the world's com
mercial princes should have seen in this
event enough of significance to draw
them hither. This is not the opening of
the first railroad, not even the opening of
the first continental railroad. Other
roads have heavier cuts and grades, higher
trestles, costlier bridges and longer tun
nels. Yet after conceding all that may
be claimed for other similar and former
achievements, the great fact remains,
clearly discernable from any point of
view, that in the fullness of time, in the
most durable and substantial manner, the
great natural route of commerce from the
Atlantic to the Pacific, by way of the
great lakes, in the very center of the
North Temperate Zone, along the line of
the world's progress and empires has been
laid open and made ready for the world's
manifold uses so long as the world en
dures. No one can rise from a careful
study of the world's map without being
convinced that the North Pacific occupies
the most natural and valuable commer
cial route across the continent ; where it
stretches out to its greatest width ; where
its great rivers east and west have worn
away and tunneled the main range in
anticipation of this event ; through the
heart of f he best wheat land and stock
ranges of the world, connecting at
cither end of its track with the best
harbors on the continent, at points where
ocean streams turn away from the coast to
carry the lines of traffic and travel to Eu
rope and to Asia. It was not the richness
of our mines, the fertility of our soil, the
fame of our bunch-grass, or the salubrity
of our climate, that drew this great high
way of commerce through the very heart
of our territory and along the verge of
our Capital City; it was because we were
fortunate enough to be located along that
route, which nature had designated and
been preparing patiently through centur
ies of storm and sunshine, fire and flood
to connect the Mississippi and the Col
umbia, Lake Superior and Puget Sound.
Not only we have occasion to rejoice, but
rightly understood and interpreted, this
event gives cause of rejoicing to every
peasant in Europe, and every toiler in the
human hives of Asia. Just as the fisher
ies along our Atlantic coast show signs of
failing under the increased demands up
on their resources, the way is opened to
the more extensive fisheries of the North
Pacific, so that the supply of brain food is
not likely to be soon exhausted. Just as
the country is viewing with ab.rm the
waste and shrinkage of our northern for
ests, and anxiously inquiring, what shall
we do presently for lumber, there comes
up a reassuring voice from the North Pa
cific coast, "here is plenty, come and get
all you want". Those familiar with the
seas and forests of northern Europe, are
the very ones to settle along this northern
route, and develope the Alaska fisheries,
and fell the west coast forests.
Montana is indeed now well repaid
for being the last of all the territories to
be visited by a railroad, that within her
borders the golden spike is to be driven,
typical alike of the fruits of our mines
and soil; but it is also the type of something
still better, of the golden chain of peace
and enlightenment that is not only to
unite the hitherto widely seperated parts
of this country; but is to unite Asia to Eu
rope by a new tie of mutual interest. It
marks the approaching end of Indian
wars, the elimination of frontiers, when
the finest Pullman car, with an increase of
luxury finds itself safe and at home in the
most remote northern corner of the con
tinent, and on the summit of the main
range of the Rocky Mountains.
Some strange coincidences of history
are suggested by this route. In the dark
days of our great struggle for national
life and unity, the dawn of final success
broke from the west. When the captor
of Vicksburg took command of the armies
before Richmond and Sherman began his
march to the sea, the great heart of the
North cast out all fear and filled full of
courage and confidence of victory. So it
was in the fate of this great enterprise
whose completion we have witnessed and
are now celebrating. It remained for
Henry Villard, who had successfully or
ganized the transportation lines of Oregon
and the West Coast to place himself in
lead of the eastern division of this lagging
enterprise and with the neatness and
celerity of magic almost, unite in two
years what seemed separated by a score of
When a Roman General returned from
the conquest of a new province, it w'as cus
tomary to give him a triumph. The
wealth of ravaged countries and capitols,
with trains of illustrious captives swelled
the triumphant train that rolled along
the paved streets of the imperial city, and
the brutal populace reached its hight of
joy in witnessing the cruel sports of the
amphi theater.
We are witnessing a nobler triumph of
a grander conquest, which has cost no loss
or suffering to any one in the world, one
that will carry joy, relief, prosperity,
safety and enligntment to hundreds of
thousands now living and to generations
[From the Daily Herald of September 8th.]
Opening Ceremonies of the
Northern Pacific at Inde
pendence Creek, Mon
tana, To-day.
The Addresses of President Henry
Villard and Hon. William M.
The Hekald this evening is enabled to
lay before its readers the leading addresses
delivered to-day at Independence Creek in
celebration of that magnificent event which
future ages will recognize as of vastly more
significance than all the seveu wonders of
the ancient world. No man who has stood
erect to-day under our genial September
sun has had a better right to feel proud and
self-satisfied than Henry Villard, through
whose energetic and skillful management
this great enterprise has reached such early
fulfillment. Ambitions have been realized,
hopes fulfilled, and promises redeemed. The
seed time of twenty long years has been
completed and the harvest time for all the
future begun. As in the eyes of faith and
devotion the Crown of Thorns has become
more precious than the richest diadem that
ever glittered on royal brow, so the goldeu
spike that has been driven to-day, iu the
prophetic vision of this age of peaceful con
quests of mind over matter, becomes more
significant than royal scepter and closes a
more eventful conquest than Alexander,
Cæsar, or Napoleon ever achieved. Not con
tent with the favorable reports of the gov
ernment inspectors, as if the Northern Pacific
had been built principally to earn its laud
grant. President Villard has invited the in
spection of the best experts of all lands, that
the assurance may be spread everywhere
that here is a road constructed for the use
and ready to serve three continents. The
president speaks with modesty of his great
share in the accomplishment, and generously
bestows upon others much that more justly
belongs to himself. Men feel mean now iu
referring to the suspicions which were freely
uttered when it was first announced that
Villard, representing the Oregon Steam Navi
gation Company, was in the market seeking
to secure a controlling interest in the great
Northern Pacific enterprise. No, lie did not
seek its control to strangle it or subordinate
it to minor interests, but because be saw as
others did its great capacity to do business
and profitably to serve those who well man
aged its affairs.
The government receives, as it well de
serves, acknowledgement for early bounty
and patient waiting. It gave an empire for
reclamation and enrichment ; it gets in re
turn payment a hundred fold. The day
laborer, who wrought for wages and received
his pay according to contract, is admitted to
an honorable share in the glory of this
With more propriety than when first ut
tered, we could attribute to Villard the words
of Cæsar —rc ii, ridi , rid. His coming aad
seeing were the precursors of enduring con
quest. Future generations will read this
modest address and do honor to the memory
of one who was able most fully to grasp and
comprehend the importance of this grandest
enterprise of associated private energy and
capital. Henry Villard has not only won
laurels for himself; lie has honored and
served well his native and adopted country
and given a pledge that the work begun will
in his hands be carried forward to full
With especial fitness Win. M. Evarts, the
great legal representative of the commercial
metropolis of our Western World the
statesman on whom the mantle of Seward
falls, whose wisdom has guided and presided
over the foreign relations of this great na
tion in its eventful march to the front rank
among the powers of the earth, was selected
to portray the commercial and political sig
nificance of this great work. In graphic
terms has he traced the growth of this work
from the seed of the earliest suggestion till
the ripened fruit is ready for garnering. As
the threads of history, prophecy and in
dividual endeavor are gathered up in this
masterly detail, we fancy we can hear the
grand, stead} tread of destiny marching on
till its star now stands above the spot where
the glad, triumphant throng assembled to
day have witnessed the completion of Bishop
Berkley's prophecy.
"Westward the Star of Empire takes its way."
"Time's noblest offspring is the last."
A man like Evarts, whose mind is accus
tomed to gather up and group the striking
characteristics and grander relations of events,
was the fitting one to interpret the prophe
cies of the past and utter those that future
generations shall see realized.
Those gathered at Independence Creek to
day were but representatives of that vast
andience of continental proportions that
within the circling of the son will have
listened to the glowing words of ex-Secre
tary Evarts with solid satisfaction and
Governor Crosby, in his introductory re
marks, gracefully delivered most eloquent
elogiums on Mr. Villard and the gentlemen
who appeared as the central figures in the
grandest celebration of the period. He ac
quitted himself with high credit and re
flected nobly the character of the great Ter
ritory over which he presides. The text in
full of the addresses are presented in the
order of their delivery :
Address of President Villard.
It is my agreeable duty and very great
pleasure to offer a hearty welcome to this
distinguished assemblage on this memorable
occasion and in these remarkable surround
ings. To you, the representatives of foreign
nations, the members of the executive, legis
lative and judicial branches of the United
States government, the Governors of States
and Territories, the representatives of the
European and American press, and our
guests from abroad and at home generally,
to you, one and all, I beg to offer, in the
name of the Northern Pacific Railroad Com
pany, profound thanks for your kind pres
ence and participation in this, the most im
portant event of our corporate existence.
Our work means the conquest of new fields
for general commerce and industry. It cre
ates a new highway between Europe, Amer
ica and Asia. The population of the States
and Territories traversed by our road is
largely made up from the European nation
alities represented here. We deemed it fit
and proper, therefore, to bid, so to speak,
both the old and the new world to this cele
bration, or, in other words, to arrange a sort
of International Festival. Many of you have
crossed the ocean, and all have traveled
great distances, in order to be with us to
day. Be pleased to accept my assurance
that we greatly appreciate your sacrifice of
time and comfort. In return, we earnestly
wish to do our guests all possible honor and
to give them all possible pleasure, and we
trust that this transcontinental journey has
been and will he an unalloyed enjoyment to
them. We hope, moreover, that as in this
hour a new and indissoluble bond will be
formed between the countries to the east
and to the west of these Rocky Mountains,
this gathering may also strengthen the ties
of good will and friendship between the
Republic of North America and the parent
countries of Europe.
Thanks to the foresight of President
Thomas Jefferson, well nigh four score years
ago, Lewis aud Clarke toiled through these
mountains as the first explorers of Auglo
American origin, and lifted the veil that hid
from civilized mankind the regions watered
by the Upper Missouri, the Yellowstone, the
Columbia and their tributaries. The exploits
of these gifted and fearless meu were the
rich germ, the full fruition of which wc cel
ebrate this day.
More eloquent lips than mine will describe
to you the long and singular, but interesting
process of evolution, by which our enter
prise slowly grew out of the discoveries
then made with so much courage and intel
ligence. They will tell you how the record
of these discoveries first gave rise, as long
us nearly half a century ago, to prophetic
vision« of a transcontinental railroad algon
Lewis and Clarke's route, and how, within
ten years after these visions were first em
bodied in print, they filled the mind of one
man with such fire of enthusiasm as to move
him to go forth, like another apostle, and to
spend the best years of his life and all he
possessed in the propagation of his faith.
You will learn how he became in the end a
very martyr to his belief, but how the pro
ject of a railroad to the Pacific, despite the
failure of its first prophet, made couverts,
spread widely and grew into popularity, un
til it finally attained to the importance of a
leading public question and object of na
tional legislation.
You will be shown how the northern
route, which at first was the only one
thought of, gradually lost prestige and other
routes took prominence. You will see the
(piaint figure of an honest visionary appear
upon the scene, first as the promoter of an
odd illusion, and next as the moving spirit
in the formal birth and christening of our
enterprise through the congressional charter
of 1864. You will hear that the charter
failed to give real life to the corporation,
owing to certain abnormal features engraft
ed upon it, and that it passed eventually to
the control of wise, experienced and influ
ential men, but who, however, also failed at
first to attract the needed capital until those
features were eradicated by congressional
Then the brilliant episode in our history
will pass before you, iu which an able, bold
and resolute man was the central figure, to
whom, most of all, the company owes its
practical existence. You will be reminded
how the hopeful brightness of that period
was eclipsed by the black cataclysm of 1873.
Our fabric seemed then to be lost in a bot
tomless pit. Yet an entire resurrection fol
lowed, owing to the inherent vitality of the
prostrate body, and to the resolute applica
tion of the heroic remedies of foreclosure
and reorganization.
There was no immediate restoration to
very active life. Years of slow recuperation
followed, until the advent of the extraordi
nary revival of commerce and industry gen
erally, and of railroad undertakings espe
cially, in the years 1879 and 1880. The s i
gacious men who then directed the com
pany's affairs saw their patience rewarded
and the time ripe once more for the resump
tion of construction work'on the road.
They began cautiously, seekiug what was
possible rather than wfiat was desirable. All
at once, Fortune smiled with intense radi
ance upon the company. A financial alliance
with a great syndicate was formed. Its con
clusion meant nothing else than the assur
ance of all the capital required to complete
the road, and thereby the end of all uncer
tainty in the prospects of the company—a
leap, in short, into assured success.
With a flood tide in the company's treas
ury, there arose not only the possibility, but
the necessity, of pushing the construction of
our transcontinental line with the utmost
energy. 1 hope I may be permitted to say
that we have striven to do our full duty,
and to obtain the greatest effort of which
human brain and muscles, stimulated by
unlimited capital, are capable, in a given
time and in a stated direction. Work on the
main line was first resumed west of the Mis
souri river in the spring of 1879, and at the
confluence of the Columbia and Snake rivers
in the fall of the same year. The distance
between the two starting points was 1,222
miles. The 217 miles from the Missouri
to the Yellowstone were completed in June,
1881 ; the 225 miles from the Columbia to
Lake Pend d'Oreille in November, 1881.
The completion of the 340 miles of the road
in the Yellowstone Valley took seventeen
months. The 194 miles up the gorges of
Clark's Fork to Missoula, nineteen months;
from the head of the Yellowstone Valley
Helena, and thence to this junction,
months. Thus, the first 442 miles of
total mileage to be completed—that is,
Missouri and Pend d'Oreille divisions—were
finished in two years and eight months,
while the other 780 miles were completed
less than two years. In this time, the great
structure of the Bismarck bridge was
erected. The continuation of the main
down the Columbia for a length of
more miles by another company to Port
land, and a thousand additional miles
lines of branch and allied companies were
finished. Now these figures are easily
quoted, ond apparently speak a very simple
language. But their true meaning goes
beyond the mere space of time and mileage
of completed road they indicate. They
form a great sum of human patience
perseverance, energy and bravery, hardship
and privation. They express long and hard
tests of the power of human ingenuity
and endurance in a mighty struggle of
chanical and manual force against the direct
obstacles of primitive nature. They mean
a painful record of bodily sufiering and loss
of life by disease and accident. You have
seen enough of the work to form an idea
its difficulty, its vastness, its costliness.
You have the testimony of your own eyes
that this highway had to be carved, as
were, out of a very wilderness where
found nothing to help us—no labor,
food, no habitations, no material, no means
of transportation. You see the evidences
of triumph over every hindrance. But you
perceive only finished results ; the dramatic
incidents of their achievement are not
closed to you. Rolling along smoothly,
merrily and luxuriously over the iiue, how
can you k now that the bridges over which
we pass were built while the subdued rivers
were hidden in ice or swollen to perilous
depth and turbulence?—that defiance was
bidden to the seasons, and the pick
shovel kept flying, though the way had
be cleared through thick crusts of snow,
and on frozen ground thawed by fires?
I have not said all this iD a boastful spirit,
but solely in order to give proper credit
where it belongs for the great deed now
well done, and thus discharge, by this pub
lic acknowledgment, as much as possible,
the heavy debt of gratitude that weighs
upon me.
Let me theu own. on this solemn occa
sion, that our edifice could never have been
reared but for the liberality of the people
the United States, acting through the Fed
eral Government, in providing a solid foun
dation in our land grant ; for the devotion
and sagacity of the men who steered
craft iu the days of distress and danger;
the generous forbearance of our stockhold
ers, the confidence of the public, the power
ful help of financial allies; and last, hut
from least, for the ability and faithfulness
of the officers and employees of the com
pany, aud for the myriads of honest toilers
who earned their bread in the sweat of
brows lor our benefit.
And thus we are permitted to day to
hold this mighty task as all but finished.
was my proud privilege to exercise the chief
direction over its later stages. No light duty
it was, but wearisome, and brain and nerve
exhausting. Still, its very grandeur inspired
the will and the power to perform it,
there was comfort and elevation in
thought that we have built what caunot
ish, but will last to the end of all earthly
things. Let us hope and pray that as
great work of man will stand forever.it
may also forever be an immortal honor
its founders, a noble monument to its build
ers, a permanent pride and profit to its own
ers, and, most of all, an everlasting blessing
to man. _
Address of Hon. Wm. M. Evarts.
Mr. President Villard and Gentlemen,
Fellow Citizens and Foreign Guests:
I shall find it easy to conform, for
share of it, to the distribution of the entire
time which has been accorded for this strik
ing ceremony, to mark the date and place
of the completion of this great public work.
Your own address of welcome. Mr. Presi
dent, has recalled to attention the principal
steps and methods by which this noble con
summation has been reached, and the emi
nent gentlemen who are to follow me
illustrate, from every point of view,
magnitude of the achievement, and give
quent utterance to sentiments of admiration
for the great qualities and congratulation
npon the fortunate influences which have
secured the result—sentiments which I
as I look around me, swell every breast
brighten every eye. Indeed, I am very glad
to feel that thus placed between what
gone before and what is to come after,
short speech may be fairly treated as a mere
parenthesis, which, the grammarians say,
may always be omitted without injury
the sense.
It is true, if I were to make the very brief
est allusion to the manifold interesting inci
dents, if I were merely to touch upon even
the many great things which have marked
the progress of this enterprise through
its vicissitudes to its final success, if I were
to exhibit only its most notable contests with
and triumphs over the difficulties and
stacles which nature—human, alas! as well
as material—had put m its way, I should
transcend all limits of time and your
tience before I had got as far as Helena,
starting at either end. But of such enlarge
ment, even, the subject has no need. In
the long route from St. Paul to Portland
and Puget Sound, the work has spoken
will speak the praises of its conception,
projection, its completion, in more impres
sive tones, and with a juster emphasis, than
words could express. If I can only run
single furrow through the wide field of
servation and illustration open before us,
I can barely mark the bright track of
phecy, faith and works which have wrought
out the grand consummation, the demands
of the occasion, I cannot but feel, will
quite satisfied.
I have spoken of prophecy, faith
works as all contributory to the success
this enterprise, and so indeed, they have
been. Neither of them could have been
spared from this, or from any weighty and
imposing task of human endeavor. Fore
cast, confidence and labor will accomplish
whatever is within the compass of man's
power. Let us consider a little the part they
have each played m the work complete,
which now, in our presence, its builder, the
Northern Pacific Railroad Company, has
"crowned with its last hand."
Fortunately for us, neither English nor
Spanish explorers of the West coast had
discovered the mouth of the Columbia river
before our independence was established.
Fortunately, also, after that event, though
both the English and the Spaniards con
tinued their explorations on that coast, it
was a New England trading captain,
Robert Gray, of the ship Columbia, that
first penetrated the mouth of this river, to
which he gave its name, and verified and
recorded it as a discovery which, under the
rules then prevailing, carried to his country
the sovereignty of the region drained by the
river and its tributaries. The accurate and
circumspect entry made in his log book by
this intelligent New England shipmaster, was
the title deed of the United States to the re
gion embraced in the State of Oregon and
the Territory of Washington against subse
quent claims of discovery made by Great
Britain, and, in some sort, by Spain. It
was upon this title that we maintained a
footing of joint occupation with Great
Britain, and, finally, by the treaty of 1840,
of exclusive title up to the division line of
the 49th parallel. By the Treaty of Wash
ington of 1871, under the arbitration of the
Emperor of Germany, our construction of
the division line in Puget's Sound and the
communicating channels, was established.
Until the acquisition of California, as the
result of the Mexican war, this region was
our sole footing upon the Pacific ocean, and
this excited the interest and ambition of the
nation for an overland communication with
this remote and unpeopled possession. Im
mediately upon the Louisiana purchase in
1803, the forecast and energy of Jefferson
was shown in the project of the survey of
the vast wilderness intervening to discover
a practicable route for migration and traffic.
Congress voted the money for an expedi
tion to trace the Missouri to its source, to
cross the highlands, and to follow down the
water courses to the Pacific ocean. Lewis
and Clarke executed this task. Starting
from St. Louis in May, 1804, they wintered
fifty miles above the present town of Bis
marck, and came in sight of the ocean on
the 7th of November, 1805. Commencing
their return in March, 1806, they reached
St. Louis iu September of the same year.
; Thus, under instructions drawn by the hand
j of Jefferson himself, the route now occu
pied by the Northern Pacific railroad was
opened to the attention of tie people of the
United States, and has from time to time
engaged their interest, till the dream, the
prospect, the project and the effort have
ended in the work here and now. Hence
forth the transit from the Mississippi to the
mouth of the Columbia, and the return, will
be made in nine days, for the round trip,
which occupied the first explorers two years
aud a half.
The prophecy and advocacy of a railroad
to our Pacific coast possession, to the Col
umbia river and to Puget Sound, followed
close upon the first introduction in this
country of this system of traffic and travel.
As early as 1834, when the arrival or de
parture of a railroad train had still some
thing of novelty even in Boston, a village
physician in western Massachusetts, Dr.
Samuel Barlow, the father of Mr. Barlow, of
New York, well known on both sides of the
Atlantic as an eminent solicitor, pressed
upon the attention of his countrymen, in ar
ticles showing great forecast and sagacity,
the vast importance and the clear feasibility
of such an enterprise as that whose comple
tion we this day celebrate. He writes, in
1837: "My feeble pen would fail me to ex
patiate on the substantial time-enduring
glory which would redound to our nation,
should it engage in this stupendous under
taking." Dr. Parker, a distinguished mis
sionary to the Oregon Indians, who had re
peatedly traversed the route, in 1833 to
1835, asserted that there was no more dif
ficulty in such a railroad than in one be
tween Boston and Albany, and proDbe BÎnrl
that the tune was not far distan, when
tours would be made across the continent as
they were then made to Niagara. Willis
Gaylord Clark, in 1838, in an eloquent ex
position of the subject in a leading maga
zine, asseverated that "the reader is now
living who will make a railroad trip across
this vast continent. " Penetrated with this
feeling, the missionary, Whitman, in 1842,
started on a winter journey t© Washington
across the Rocky Mountains, to awaken the
State Department to the movements going
on, in British interests, to alienate from us
our Oregon possessions. Under this im
pulse diplomatic negotiations were pushed
and guided till the treaty of 1846 drew the
boundary line between the two nations, and
terminated the joint possession. Thus, all
the early instincts and aspirations for this
transcontinental connection fastened! them
selves upon this northern route. The
spread of knowledge and zeal in the minds
and hearts of our countrymen had to do
with this project and no other.
But the acquisition of California, the dis
covery of its till then hidden gold, the ab
soiption of people and government in the
terrible struggles between freedom and sla
very for the occupation of our new domain,
and, finally, the civil war, aroused new
motives and new argumenta which urged
irresistibly the transcontinental connection,
but diverted the first compliance with the
political, military, and popular exigencies
from the northern to the southern and cen
tral routes. Thus, once more in human af
fairs. the last was made first, and the first
last. During this period, however, the agi
tations of the subject before Congress and
in public meetings by Asa Whitney, the
convention at Chicago in the spring of
1849, and at St. Louis in the fall of that
year, the vehement and persistent propa
gandises of Josiali Per ham, all had to h
with this northern route, and the fri
and interest thus awakened and develo I T
with this object, were, no doubt, eao'
transferred to the service of the other route '
when paramount motives gave them the '
cedence. In 1853 Congress made anf^
priations for the exploration and survey
all the proposed routes, and a valuable °.i
adequate exposition of the northern p a q *
way across the mountains was secured
The survey from the East Un
der the charge of Governor g te
ens, and from the West conducted )
Captaiu McClellan, met near the point who*
we now stand, and these surveys have f t . r
nished the basis upon which the calculations
and combinations, corporate and financial
ever afterwards proceeded, till the point va
reached when actual construction needed t
be provided for.
On the 2d of July, 1864, the bill for the
construction of the Northern Pacific Hail
road was signed by Abraham Lincoln. The
enthusiasm of Perham, which anticipated )
rush of his countrymen that would bring q
need be, a million subscribers for $100 0 f
the stock apiece, induced the insertion of t
clause of the act prohibiting either the issue
of bonds or the creation of a mortgage in
aid of the construction. This financial folly
and much time and labor spent iu trying to
obtain from Congress a very moderate aid
by the Government, in the shape of a guar
anty of interest for a limited period, held
the whole enterprise in abeyance, till, i n
1870, the obnoxious section was expunged
from the Act, and some other beneficial pro
visions inserted, and the Company took the
resolution to build the road on the faith that
capital would show in the enterprise itself,
and in the prospective value of the Govern
ment land grant, should the construction be
carried through.
Perham's popular subscription having
proved wholly abortive, bis organization of
the company was transferred to one made
up in New England in December, 1865, of
which Governor.!. Gregory Smith, of Ver
mont, became the President. The financial
agency of the enterprise was offered to, and
after careful examination aud a new survey,
accepted by, the eminent bankers, Jay
Cooke & Co., then in the highest repute
from their wonderful administration of the
immense Treasury transactions in the issue
and distribution of bonds of the United
The wisdom of the selection of this emi
nent financial agency and the immense en
ginery at its command were quickly demon
strated. During the years 1870 and 1871
the Company received nearly $30,000,000
from the sale of its bonds conducted by Jay
Cooke & Co., and the money was rapidly
applied to the actual building of the road.
The source of supply, however, proved not
to be perennial nor inexhaustible, and the
Company was pressed for funds in the sum
mer of 1872. A change then took place
the Presidency. The financial outlook for
the enterprise became less aud less cncour
aging, till this gloom spread over all our
fairs, and the general panic of 1873 swal
lowed up the Company and its financial
agency' in the common insolvency'. But this
brief period of plenty and prosperity was
well employed. Never was the prudence
making hay while the sun shines more
clearly illustrated. In this period the road
was built from the east to the Missouri river
and on the west between the Columbia river
and Puget Sound. Upon this firm basis,
the pou sto of Archimedes, the skillful en
gineers of the Company's present prosperity
have lifted the heavy globe from the cata
clysm in which it was engulfed, till now
blazes upon our eyes, ' 'totns in seipso, tem,
atque rotundas.''
General Cass succeeded Governor Smith
as President, and skillfully nursed the en
ergies of the enterprise during the inglori
ous period of its eclipse. He became its
Receiver upon the decree of bankruptcy in
1875, and, through the actual cautery of
foreclosure and sale, the property became
vested in the present reorganization under
the honest, generous, substantial and suc
cessful scheme of conciliation between the
disappointed interests of the past and the
hopeful interests of the future, known as
the "Billings" plan. This eminent gentle
man, who unites the unusual distinctions of
credit as a lawyer amena lawyers, and a
financier among financiers, became a direc
tor in tbe company in 1870, and has con
tinued Ln its management ever since, suc
ceeding Mr. Wright, of Pennsylvania, iu
1879, and succeeded by Mr. Villard in 1881,
as President, after a temporary occupancy
of the place by Mr. Barney. As Mr. Bil
lings dates his connection with the com
pany from before the deluge, he will be able
to correct the impressions of any who, m
the glorious sunshine of to day's prosperity,
may imagine it was not much of a shower.
The- restoration, however, of financial
confidence and strength, was by no means
immediate or unchecked. The preferred
stock after the reorganization commanded
only twenty-five or thirty cems on the dollar
in Wall street, and at one time fell to $8 a
share, and the common stock to $1.50. Ap
peals to Congress to aid its securities b)
guaranty of interest were again resorted to
and again refused. But ia the mean while
the good management of the fragments 0
completed road showed net earnings 0
some $300,000 in 1876, and some $. 500,000
in 1878. This kept alive the organization
and confirmed confidence. The merits 0
the route and the value of the lands wben
the road should be finished were courage
ou8ly relied upon by the experienced and
able men who put their own fortunesin | *
enterprise, to attract the confidence of capd^
and give credit to the bonds and value
the stock of the road.
And, now, the flood of the tide of h .
cial prosperity 0 1 the whole country
this enterprise which its ebb ha
sLanded. The resumption of specie
ments by the Government in 1879. the
conversion of the public debt into •H»'
and 3 per cent, secutities, the rapid r

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