[New York?]: [ca. 1864].
8pp. 8vo. Unbound. Stained, soiling to first leaf Item #366581
At a time when overland travel remained slow and costly, the fastest and most inexpensive way to transport people from New York to San Francisco was by steamboat to Central America, a brief trip over the Isthmus, and then by boat again to California. The route was first established in a meaningful way by Cornelius Vanderbilt, with his Accessory Transit Company, transporting '49ers to California. The venture was quite successful, and it was largely over control of this route that William Walker invaded Nicaragua in 1855; ultimately forces backed by Vanderbilt's capital pushed Walker out. Vanderbilt's initial contract with the Nicaraguan government ended in 1861, although realistically the route had been out of operation since 1857 and in 1862 the Central American Transit Company was created to reestablish operations. The new company was almost immediately beset by technical, legal, and political difficulties including ships running aground, engine leaks, lawsuits at home, and numerous seizures of property by the various warring nations of 19th-century Central America. While the company never again achieved the success its predecessor enjoyed in the early years of the Gold Rush, it continued at least long enough for Mark Twain to make the trip and record his impressions in 1866 (eventually published as TRAVELS WITH MR. BROWN), before shuttering operations for good at the end of 1868. OCLC records a single copy at the Bancroft Library.
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