The Danville Extension
April 24, 1867
The Danville Extension has received poor responses from the House and good responses from the Senate, only exemplifying more so the conflict of interests within the Government.
When the consolidation bill passed we understood that there was to be peace on earth and good will to men; and that there were such generous emotions, such fountains of brotherly love and good fellowship springing up all through the General Assembly, that there was to be no more antagonism, at this session at least. But we are disappointed. The bill for the extension of the Danville railroad westwardly to some point on the Virginia and Tennessee railroad, which has passed the Senate, has encountered very earnest opposition in the House. This is so strange that we feel inclined to inquire what good grounds there are for the opposition. No people ever had more implicit faith in the expediency and practical tactical advantages of any measure than the friends of consolidation had in their favorite scheme. After the bill passed, the estimable member from Mecklenburg, one of its most devoted friends, addressed the sagacious senator from Pittsylvania as follows: "Now that the consolidation bill is passed, and all debate about it is ended, will you tell me why you opposed it?" There is a deal of "significance" [Mercer] in the question. The noble old Virginian, in his generosity, felt great concern that a friend should oppose a measure he thought so meritorious. But we suspect that he will find occasion to repeat it with reference to this bill for the Danville extension, on which he discovers himself opposed by many of the gentlemen with whom he so lately struggled to carry through consolidation. Looking at the unlimited license of right of way that has been grunted through the territory of Virginia, we are certainly at a loss to conceive how, upon any principle of consistency or justice, this proposed extension is opposed, we hope not to be denied. It is entirely free from the objection which certainly was fairly made to some of them : that they tended to divert the commerce of the State from Virginia cities and seaports. It has no single feature which is not Virginian ; and can have no results but those encouraging to Virginia commerce and trade. Let us hope that the good will and peace that were triumphantly proclaimed on the success of consolidation were not like the butterfly, born to live a single day only. But let the lion and the lamb, in truth, come harmoniously together. Why can't Campbell, and Norfolk, and Richmond, and Augusta, and Mecklenburg, and Pittsylvania, and Rappahannock, and Spotsylvania, be for once in entire harmony, and wind up the session with one fraternal vote on one internal improvement bill, a bill which, we believe, is as free from objections as any passed the present session?
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“The Danville Extension,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed January 17, 2019, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/581.