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JAMES E. STEWART.
DECEMBER 22, 1854.–Laid upon the table, and ordered to be printed.
Mr. FAULKNER, from the Committee on Military Affairs, made the
The Committee on Military Affairs, to whom was referred the memorial of
James E. Stewart, late a captain in the battalion of Maryland and District of Columbra volunteers, in the war with Mexico, have accordingly had the same under consideration, and submit the following report :
It appears, from the evidence, that the memorialist entered the service as captain of company A, in said battalion, on the 30th of May, 1846, at the city of Washington, for the period of twelve months ; that upon the death of Lieutenant Colonel Watson, who was killed in the action at Monterey on the 21st of September, 1846, the memorialist, by virtue of his position as senior officer, became the officer in command of the battalion, and so continued until the 24th November, 1846, when Major R. A. Buchanan, United States army, assumed the command by regular appointment.
The memorialist claims the difference between the pay of captain and the pay and emoluments of a lieutenant colonel, from the 21st of September, 1846, the date of the death of Lieutenant Colonel Watson, and the 30th of May, 1847, when the battalion was mustered out of service.
How the memorialist can claim pay as a lieutenant colonel for a time when Major Buchanan was regularly in discharge of the duties of the command, the committee cannot conceive.
If the memorialist is entitled to any additional allowance whatever, it would only be for the time between the death of Lieutenant Colonel Watson, on the 21st of September, 1846, and the appointment of Major Buchanan, on the 24th of November, 1846, a period of about two months. The committee are not willing, however, to admit his claim even to that extent, for the reason that they are of opinion that the mere temporary imposition of an additional honor or responsibility upon an officer can give him no claim to extra compensation. The pay is graduated according to the rank of the officer.
There was scarcely a regiment in Mexico which was not at one time under the command of a captain, and yet those officers have never set up any claim to compensation beyond their rank. To allow, then, this demand, would be opening the door to an endless batch of claims of the
same character, and for the performance temporarily of duties which are coveted as the means of honorable distinction, but have never heretofore been regarded as conferring any additional claim to pay.
For these reasons, the committee ask to be discharged from the further consideration of the memorial.
SUBTERRANEAN TELEGRAPH TO THE PACIFIC OCEAN.
[To accompany 8. bill No. 60.]
DECEMBER 27, 1854.
Mr. FARLEY, from the Committee on Territories, made the following
REPORT. The Committee on Territories, to whom was referred the memorial of Hiram
0. Alden and James Eddy, asking for a right of way through the public lands of the United States, for the construction of a subterranean line of telegraph, for the purpose of establishing telegraphic intercourse between the Atlantic and Pacific States, and a grant of land on certain conditions in aid of the same; and also Senate bill No. 60, "authorizing the construction of a subterranean line of telegraph from the Mississippi or Missouri rivers to the Pacific ocean,” based upon a similar memorial, have had the subject under consideration, and beg leave to make the following report:
During the second session of the 32d Congress, the memorial of Messrs. Alden and Eddy was presented and referred in both houses. A favorable bill was reported in the Senate, but not finally acted upon for want of time. At the past session the subject again received a favorable report in the Senate, and a bill carrying out the design of the memorial was passed, and is the same which was referred to your committee. The larger portion of the Senate report of February, 1853, and the whole of that of February, 1854, embracing the views taken of the feasibility of the enterprise, and its importance to the country, from its first introduction into Congress, are hereto appended.
The project contemplated in the bill is of transcendent public concern, and possesses the merits of practicability and early completion, if it can have the encouragement of the government. It provides
Firstly. That a right of way shall be given through the public lands of the United States for the construction of a subterranean line of telegraph, (of at least two independent conductors,) from the Mississippi or Missouri rivers to the Pacific ocean, at San Francisco, in California.
Secondly. That it be constructed by individual enterprise, and at individual expense.
Thirdly. That after its completion, in a specified and most permapent manner, the free use thereof, to the extent of eight thousand words per month, shall be tendered to the general government, and the enjoyment of that privilege secured to it in perpetuity, with the reservation to the government of the further prior use to any extent within the
capacity of said line, at such rates of compensation for messages transmitted as Congress may by law provide.
Fourthly. That thereupon, and in consideration of such free use and said reservation, the government shall permit the parties to select from the public lands not before sold or appropriated in the territories, along and within fifteen miles of said line of telegraph, any quantity, not more than a section and in alternate sections, two millions of acres, which shall then be conveyed to them.
The citizens of the United States residing upon the Pacific coast have the strongest ties connecting them with the older States. They have established themselves there, organized a powerful State, and are rapidly creating a commerce reaching to the islands and the Asiatic coast.
Their peculiar position gives them claims of an imperative character upon the protection and care of the government. Europe is extending lines of telegraph into Asia and Africa, and lines of great length have been constructed in India. When this proposed link shall be completed, the Pacific ocean will be touched upon either shore by lines which, spanning continents, reach to the opposite shores of the Atlantic ocean, and are destined, perhaps, to cross the latter and unite together.
The benefits which will follow the execution of this enterprise cannot be partial or sectional; they must necessarily be of incalculable national importance, and the moral influences resulting therefrom will be coextensive with the world of civilization and commerce. The results of such a work can hardly be overrated, in the enlivening spirit which it will infuse into the business and other relations existing between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, in its influence upon the varied interests of that vast population which is destined so soon to occupy every part of the territory embraced within the limits of the republic, and in the facilities which it will be able to render the government in peace and
While immense advantages must flow from the construction of the proposed line, your committee are not aware that a single evil can; and objections, if any there be, must be directed against the mode recommended to insure its success, rather than the object sought to be accomplished.
It may be contended that the precise point for the location of the line, at its eastern terminus, should be fixed in the bill. This is not important. It is left discretionary with the memorialists to commence from “such point on the Mississippi or Missouri rivers as they may hereafter select.” It will undoubtedly be for their interest to start from some prominent point of population and business. The best route cannot be determined upon without an examination and survey ; and as the public interests cannot suffer thereby, it is thought expedient to leave the eastern terminus and general direction of the line entirely open. The fact that from the point selected for an eastern terminus, wherever it may be, diverging lines running in any direction may and will be made to connect with it, is a sufficient answer to any desire for fixing it in the bill.
It has been said that the building of a telegraph line to the Pacific should be connected with that of a railroad; and, further, that the construction of a telegraph line, as an independent measure, will be mark