Sept 28th 1858
Honlb O E Learnard
Fearing the extended opperations I now have to superintend will not permit of an immediate visit to your place I therefore avail myself of the present opportunity to indicate my most anxious desires, in regard to our prospective Rail Roads. The subjects to which I wish to draw the attention of your citizens, is the indispensable preliminaries to insure ultimate success: That is a thurrough and well advised, absolute location of the road to the extended & intermediate points desired by its friends & supporters.
With this view I have made a plat of our Western branch making Burlington a point to Emporia. I then called a special meeting of our Directors and laid the subject fairly before them, and after some consideration they adopted Burlington as a point, I would put an Engineer immediately on the line to locate it, but the heavy demands
on our individual resources in preparing this main Trunk of road for letting out to Contractors on the 18th proximo, has put it beyond our power to advance the funds, But could the patriotism of the Citizens between this and Emporia be aroused to a true sense of their interest, and they would by either subscription of stock, donations, & credit aid us in the appliances necessary for the field work we will make an immediate location of the line.
The Citizens of Emporia have promised me Two hundred Dollars at least, and I left them a paper to enter their subscriptions, and provided the other Towns will make up a like sum, the work shall be immediately done;
Should we be succesfull in getting these lines permently located this fall, then we shall have something tangible to opperate upon this winter before the Legislative bodies. What we intend to do we ought to make a fixed fact, and then all cavil and scramble on an appropriation sceases;
You have some experience from last winter when the Legislature tried to convert my private road which I had already surveyed, into a Legislative speculation by compelling me to change my rout and run by “Mineola”. The most prudent plan is to leave no open question; We have a charter West and provided we can locate it deffinitly before any grant of Land is made there will
be no room for quibble.
As Wm. McLean is one of the legitimate Directors I furnish him with a form of paper to obtain an evidence of what will be contributed provided we proceed to locate the rout.
You are aware there will be much antagonisticism, in the application of a grant of land by congress. Human nature is, if man cannot sail a ship is to sink it: This main Trunk of road is advancing so rapidly, and beyond all expectations that the opposition is now in the agonies of desperation against its further prosecution. You can have but little idea where you reside of the madness of some men; You would hardly suppose there were some statesmen who pretend great devotion to the interest of the people, yet their mallice & envy would if in their power slander this road out of existence, and such a work the very salvation of the poor man,
As soon as the letting of our contracts is over I shall have time [to] go over and see you: But it would please me much if it was possible for you and some friends to visit the letting of contracts on the 18 when all our board of Directors will be present:
Your Obt. Svt
J. B. Chapman