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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868, by
JOHN E. POTTER & CO., in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the
Eastern District of the State of Pennsylvania.
The work which is now submitted to the indulgence of a generous public, supplies, it is believed, to some extent, a want that has long been felt on both sides of the Atlantic. The absence of any authentic work which should give a connected and reliable history of the principal railroads in the United States, is a fact of which every intelligent person must be sensible. The preparation of such a work in volyes an immense amount of labor; but it was cheerfully undertaken and has been faithfully pursued, under the encouraging conviction that the results of that labor, as now laid before the public, would be fully appreciated.
The thanks of the author are due, and they are hereby most gratefully tendered, to the many gentlemen, prominently connected with the great railroads of the country, for the exceedingly kind manner in which they responded to his request for data and details in regard to many points, without which the work would have been incomplete. It is owing to this considerate kindness on their part, that the author is now enabled to present his work to the public as authentic and reliable upon every importaut point. In a work of such extent, and embracing so many
errors may be detected. The author will be happy to correct these in a subsequent edition of the work, if pointed out by competent authority.
If there is any one fact which stands out in this work more prominently than another, it is the great and surprising effects that bave followed the consolidation of several lines of railroad into one corporation. The New York and Erie road; the New York Central road; the Pennsylvania Railroad; the Pittsburg, Fort Wayne, and Chicago road; and the Chicago and North Western road, all afford striking illustrations of the vast benefits of judicious consolidation.
The effect of particular railroads in developing the resources of the country is a subject that has not been overlooked; and the chapters on the condition of the Western country before the introduction of railroads, will show how vast a change has been wrought by these great promoters of civilization.
But, without further introduction, the work itself is committed to an indulgent public, as an humble contribution to the literature of the day.
H. M. F.
WASHINGTON, April, 1868.