Folio sheet, folded to 7-3/4" x 9-3/4". Manuscript text on first 1-1/2 pages, docketed on last page. Old horizontal folds, Very Good.
[offered with] RETAINED COPY OF LETTER FROM WOODS TO DOUGLAS, ALSO DATED WASHINGTON JULY 8, 1852:
"WE TAKE THE LIBERTY TO CALL YOUR ATTENTION TO THE RAIL ROAD WHICH IS IN PROCESS OF CONSTRUCTION UPON THE MOST DIRECT LINE FROM CINCINNATI TO CHICAGO. FIFTY TWO MILES OF THIS ROAD ARE COMPLETED AND IN OPERATION, AND TWENTY EIGHT MILES MORE WILL BE FINISHED BEFORE THE FIRST OF DECEMBER NEXT, MAKING THE WHOLE DISTANCE FROM CINCINNATI WHICH WILL BE FINISHED ABOUT 80 MILES. THE BALANCE OF THE ROAD TO LOGANSPORT IS UNDER CONTRACT AND WILL BE COMPLETED IN 1853. THE WAY FROM LOGANSPORT TO THE WEST LINE OF INDIANA BEING ABOUT 100 MILES IS NOT YET UNDER CONTRACT, BUT A COMPANY IS ORGANIZED AND A PART OF THE STOCK SUBSCRIBED AND IT IS THE INTENTION OF THE COMPANY TO COMMENCE THE WORK AT AN EARLY DAY.
"IF FURTHER APPROPRIATIONS OF MONEY SHALL BE MADE TO AID ANY OF OUR WESTERN RAIL ROADS WE DEEM THIS ROAD EMINENTLY ENTITLED TO AID AS THE CONNECTING ROUTE BETWEEN THE TWO GREAT MANUFACTURING AND COMMERCIAL CITIES OF THE WEST.
"AS YOU ARE WELL ACQUAINTED WITH THE CHARACTER OF THE COUNTRY THROUGH WHICH THIS ROAD PASSES AND WITH THE INTERESTS AND PROSPECTS OF THE CITIES WHICH IT WILL UNITE WE TRUST THAT IT WILL RECEIVE YOUR EFFICIENT AID.
"VERY RESPECTFULLY, YOUR OBT. SERVT."
Folio sheet folded to 7-3/4" x 9-3/4", on blue paper. Manuscript text on first 1-1/2 pages, docketed on last page. Old horizontal folds, Very Good.
United States Senator from Illinois, Douglas was ideologically, emotionally, and financially committed to the development of Chicago as the commercial center of an American empire extending to the west coast. All other political questions-- including that of Slavery-- were subordinated. Chairman of the Committee on Territories, he sought a railroad route to the Pacific, with Chicago as the hub: railroads to and from Chicago would create that Illinois outpost as the most important City in the Nation. "Personally, he had invested heavily in real estate at Chicago and at Superior City, Michigan" [Potter, The Impending Crisis, page 152. Harper & Row: 1976].
Woods, former Democratic Congressman and a railroad man, was obviously well-acquainted with Douglas and his priorities. This exchange of letters, written on the same day, expresses Douglas's overriding attachment to public investment in railroad construction, particularly through Chicago. It would lead him, in an effort to develop a transcontinental railroad, to sponsor the fateful Kansas-Nebraska Act, whose passage would repeal the 1820 Missouri Compromise, which had kept an uneasy peace between the Sections for thirty years. Item #33792