Letter from Oakes Ames to Thomas C. Durant, March 30, 1868

In this letter from March 30, 1868, Oakes Ames writes to Thomas C. Durant discussing the report and recommendations his committee will make to Congress regarding oversight of operations on the Union Pacific Railroad. He states that he thinks the report is "a great thing to us to keep them [Congress] off until the road is done," but tells Durant "if you think of anything better that will probably pass, send it down and I will try to get it substituted if I think it better."

Fortieth Congress U.S.
House of Representatives.

Thos C. Durant Esq.

Dear Sir,

You have seen by the papers, that our Road has been the subject of attack from some of our enemies, & we have succeeded in getting the resolutionrefered [sic] to our committee.

We promised to give it attention and have concluded to report to the house when our committee is called something like the following. Thinking it will be as well or better for us than to have Congress do it as the law now has it ((Be it enacted & C. & [C.] that for the purpose of carrying into effect the intent & meaning of section 18 of the Act of July, 1862. The sec of [Mass] Interior & AttyGenl of the U.S. and two other persons of experience in constructing and operating R. Rds. to be appointed by the Pres. of the U.S., are hereby appointed a board of commissioners, whose duty it shall be on the 1st of July in each year, to establish a tariff of prices for freight and passengers on said Pacific R. Roads & branches at which prices so established. The sd. R. R. Cos shalt be compelled to transport the same, and the said companies shall keep posted in all their stations along the line of sd. road, The bill of prices so established, Provided, However, that this shall not take effect until there shall be a continuous line of Rail Road completed and in running order from Omaha to Sacramento.))

I didn't think the com. will be called for some days, and if you think of any thing [sic] better, that will probably pass, send it down, & I will try to get it substited, [sic] if I think it better.

I think our bill, we have agreed on, will put the thing of [sic] until after the road is done, & I think we can get along with 5 men better than we can with congress as a body, & they cannot act under this report unless we make over 10 per cent. It is a great thing to us to keep them off until the road is done. Will you please give me the views and wishes of your people in regard to matters here. Will Oliver be in N. Y. this week please port me on road matters and finance. &

Oblige Yours,
Oakes Ames

About this Document

  • Source: Letter from Oakes Ames to Thomas C. Durant
  • Extent: 4 pages
  • Citation: Special Collections, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Papers of Levi O. Leonard, Series II, Box 3, Folder 21 (Ames, Oliver, 1866-1876)
  • Date: March 30, 1868