No. 597.
Mr. Baker to Mr. Frelinghuysen .

[Extract.]
No. 721.]

Sir: After various abortive and discouraging attempts, extending through a course of years, to connect Caracas and Laguayra by a railway, [Page 926] it gives me pleasure to be able to report that this has at length been done. Yesterday at about 4.15 p.m. the first train from Laguayra arrived at Caracas.

Besides the President and various Government officials, some thousands of people had come together to witness the spectacle, greatly more curious and novel here than the like would be in Europe or the United States, for but comparatively few of the assembled people of Caracas had ever seen a railway train in all their lives.

The Venezuelan, the English and the United States flags were displayed at the depot, and the engine of the approaching train was decorated with the same flags. The use of the Venezuelan flag was a matter of course; and I take it that the use of the American and the English was in respect to the different nationalities of the foreigners having part in the construction or ownership of the road.

* * * * * * *

The road is about 23 miles in length. It winds along the sides of many-shaped and precipitous declivities, and affords a rare succession of grand and beautiful views of sea and mountain.

Although, as I have said, a train has been brought through, I understand there is yet some work to be done before the road and its appointments will be completely finished. Still, in every substantial sense, the enterprise is to be regarded as a fact accomplished.

It is a great work for Venezuela, not only in itself and for its own uses, but as the prospective forerunner of much longer and less difficult lines of railway communication—a sort of communication which I think will have an important transmuting effect, not only upon the inert and stagnant industrial condition of this country, but also upon that chronic spirit of revolution by which it has been so long afflicted.

I am, &c.,

JEHU BAKER.