Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen: -<br><br>It was a cold, gloomy evening, on the 11th of March, 1873, when our train passed through the last deep tunnel or gorge of the Palisades, and drew up at the station which bears the distinctive name of that wonderful canon, on the line of the Central Pacific Railroad. Distant from San Francisco over five hundred miles by the great transcontinental highway, it requires, according to the time-table of the Company, thirty-two hours for the journey from our Bay to this, the nearest point of stage departure for the southern mines of Nevada.<br><br>We had left Sacramento at two o'clock in the afternoon of the preceding day, when the sun was shining with summer warmth, and the bursting noise and the fragrance of the peach blossoms were among the items of delightful observation; and we had all the sorrows of doleful contrast which the nature of the bleakest season and the dreariest landscape could present. I had been accustomed to mountain "coach" traveling, and knew from the first moment of my appointment that the trip would be very wearisome from the date of our leaving the railway; and I had not been without special warning from competent authority against flattering myself with the unctious idea of a moderate or average amount of hard- ship on the route from Palisade to Pioche, at this period. But with all the determination which this preparatory knowledge had given me, I felt the weaker side of my humanity when I saw the miserable mud-wagon in which the first section of the journey was to be performed - eighty-five miles, more or less; with four tired horses hitched in front, and six to eight hundred pounds of extra express in process of loading, fore and aft, and on the "hind seat" of the dilapidated vehicle.<br><br>Four male passengers, besides myself - three white men and one Chinaman - were on the list. But the former were evidently of that rough, good-natured style of pioneers which are far preferable to any others in such a country, as compagnons du voyage, on account cf their spirit of accommodation and the muscular capacity to "help out" in case of accidents most likely to happen in dragging along miry roads and crossing swollen, treacherous streams.