California Bound by

New York Daily Times, Tuesday, June 10, 1856


Transit to California.

As our government has recognized the Walker rule in Nicaragua, the first practical advantage to be thought of is the reopening of regular half-monthly communications between the Atlantic States and California over the Isthmus of Nicaragua. The immediate importance of this is not, perhaps, so great as the contingent; for while the Panama route remains unmolested by native outbreaks in New-Granada, or accidental obstructions to the railway, the mails, treasure and immigrants are insured at least one means of getting to and from the Golden State. But the country should undoubtedly make certain of both routes, and although Mr. Morgan has placed a monthly steamer on both sides, and the transit across Nicaragua is now unmolested, the management is neither as permanent nor extensive as it is desirable it should be.

We are not sure as to the prospect of a very prompt alteration in the present schedule, but it will certainly come, and it may be, if Commodore Vanderbilt should consent to alight from his high horse and resume the practical business temper and good sense which usually characterize his management of steamboat jobs, it will be made to the profit of his stockholders in the now charterless Nicaragua Transit Company.

The case, as we understand it, is something like this: On the first news that Walker had annulled his charter, for well-known abuses and short-comings which the old Government of Nicaragua, but for want of proper spirit, would long since have visited with forfeiture, Mr. Vanderbilt repaired to Washington and making complaint to the Government that "one William Walker" had interfered with his American property, demanded redress from Mr. Marcy. The Secretary could not immediately afford it. He could see no valid claim to haste on the part of the transit people, as they had themselves but recently interfered with the action of the Administration against the young fillibuster. However, he promised to look into the matter, and on a comparison of dates and referring to Lord Clarendon's recent explanation in Parliament, we find he did propose to Mr. Crampton to make common cause against Walker.

Meanwhile Vanderbilt returned to New-York with some misgivings, and forthwith tied up his steamers. These were in one sense, American property, and he had the right to do with it as he might deem either wise or expedient to his ends. The other property on the Transit route was Nicaraguan property, to be reached only through the laws and decrees or voluntary consent of that Government. Neither that nor the steamers here were corporate property by virtue of any law or charter from the State of New-York or the United States. The latter could only be held in the nature of joint-stock property, under an association without grant, and acting as common partners in trade.

However, Mr. Vanderbilt would have his own way, and so directed the affairs of the Company as though nothing had occurred, preserving the fiction of a Charter and an annual election of Directors, until the 31st May, when $124,000 of the obligations of the concern fell due. These were based on a mortgage of the two steamers on the Atlantic side, tied up at the dock in New-York, and worth three-fold the money. He, thereupon, caused the steamers to be voted to himself by the Board of so-called Directors for the sum of the mortgage, promising to return them to the Company (if anything of the sort happens to be proved in legal shape) some months or a year hence, on repayment of the money. But it is so chanced that the Trustees to the mortgage were Vanderbilt's rival in steam-line jobbing, Charles Morgan, and Mr. G. A. Hoyt, neither of whom could very well consent to such title under such circumstances. And so the Northern Light and Star of the West are advertised to be sold at public auction to the highest bidder, in regular foreclosure of the mortgage.

This brings us back to the main point -- the reestablishment of the semi monthly line to California via Nicaragua. Here are two of the best boats of the old line to be sold -- "cheap for cash," it may be, though at no such price as $124,000 for the two -- and the probability is, they will be bought either by Morgan or Vanderbilt. If by the former, his new line, with the full compliment of four steamers, two on each side, will be complete, as soon as one of the three on this side can be sent round the Horn to San Juan on the Pacific. And the stockholders in the Nicaragua Transit Company will get all the purchase money over and above the mortgage. If bought by Vanderbilt, either for himself or these stockholders, and due the concessions, are made in the right direction and the proper spirit, we doubt not the old line may be placed in status quo onte bellum, and your duty acknowledged to the power that gave you corporate existence.


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