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The Great South; A Record of Journeys in Louisiana, Texas, the Indian Territory, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland:
Electronic Edition.

King, Edward, 1848-1896

Illustrated by Champney, James Wells, 1843-1903



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(title page) The Great South; A Record of Journeys in Louisiana, Texas, the Indian Territory, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland
Edward King
Illustrations by J. Wells Champney
xiv, [17]-802, [4] p., ill.
Hartford, Conn.
American Publishing Co.
1875
Call number C917 K52 (North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)


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Illustration

[Title Page Image]


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[Title Page Verso Image]


THE
GREAT SOUTH:
A RECORD OF JOURNEYS
IN
LOUISIANA, TEXAS, THE INDIAN TERRITORY, MISSOURI, ARKANSAS,
MISSISSIPPI, ALABAMA, GEORGIA, FLORIDA, SOUTH CAROLINA,
NORTH CAROLINA, KENTUCKY, TENNESSEE, VIRGINIA,
WEST VIRGINIA, AND MARYLAND.

BY

EDWARD KING.

PROFUSELY ILLUSTRATED FROM ORIGINAL SKETCHES
BY J WELLS CHAMPNEY.

AMERICAN PUBLISHING COMPANY,
HARTFORD, CONN.
1875.


Page verso

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874, by
SCRIBNER & Co.
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington, D. C.


Page Frontispiece

Illustration

ON THE OCLAWAHA FLORIDA.


Page i

PREFACE.

        THIS book is the record of an extensive tour of observation through the States of the South and South-west during the whole of 1873, and the Spring and Summer of 1874.

        The journey was undertaken at the instance of the publishers of Scribner's Monthly, who desired to present to the public, through the medium of their popular periodical, an account of the material resources, and the present social and political condition, of the people in the Southern States. The author and the artists associated with him in the preparation of the work, traveled more than twenty-five thousand miles; visited nearly every city and town of importance in the South; talked with men of all classes, parties and colors; carefully investigated manufacturing enterprises and sites; studied the course of politics in each State since the advent of reconstruction; explored rivers, and penetrated into mountain regions heretofore rarely visited by Northern men. They were everywhere kindly and generously received by the Southern people; and they have endeavored, by pen and pencil, to give the reading public a truthful picture of life in a section which has, since the close of a devastating war, been overwhelmed by a variety of misfortunes, but upon which the dawn of a better day is breaking.

        The fifteen ex-slave States cover an area of more than 880,000 square miles, and are inhabited by fourteen millions of people. The aim of the author has been to tell the truth


Page ii

as exactly and completely as possible in the time and space allotted him, concerning the characteristics of this region and its inhabitants.

        The popular favor accorded in this country and Great Britain to the fifteen illustrated articles descriptive of the South which have appeared in Scribner's Monthly, has led to the preparation of the present volume. Much of the material which has appeared in Scribner will be found in its pages; the whole has, however, been re-written, re-arranged, and, with numerous additions, is now simultaneously offered to the English-speaking public on both sides of the Atlantic.

        To the talent and skill of Mr. J. WELLS CHAMPNEY, the artist who accompanied the author during the greater part of the journey, the public is indebted for more than four hundred of the superb sketches of Southern life, character, and scenery which illustrate this volume. The other artists who have contributed have done their work faithfully and well.

NEW YORK, November, 1874.


Page iii

DEDICATION.

TO MR. ROSWELL-SMITH,
Scribner & Co., 654 Broadway, New York.

        My Dear Sir:--You have been from first to last so inseparably as well as pleasantly connected with "The Great South" enterprise, that I cannot forbear taking this occasion to thank you, not only for originally suggesting the idea of a journey of observation through the Southern States, but also for having generously submitted to the enlargement of the first plan's scope, until the undertaking demanded a really immense outlay.

        I am sure that thousands of people will unite with me in testifying to you, and the gentlemen associated with you, their thanks for the lavish expenditure which has procured the beautiful series of engravings illustrating this volume. What I have been able only to hint at, the artists have interpreted with a fidelity to life and nature in the highest degree admirable.

        I herewith present you the result of the joint labor of author and artists, "The Great South" volume. Permit me, sir, to dedicate it to you, and by means of this humble tribute to express my admiration for the energy and unsparing zeal with which you have carried to completion the largest enterprise of its kind ever undertaken by a monthly magazine.

Sincerely Yours.

EDWARD KING.

NOVEMBER 1, 1874.


Page v

CONTENTS.


Page ix

ILLUSTRATIONS
AND MAPS.


Page 17

THE GREAT SOUTH.

I.

LOUISIANA PAST AND PRESENT.

        

Illustration

Bienville, the Founder of New Orleans.

        LOUISIANA to-day is Paradise Lost. In twenty years it may be Paradise Regained. It has unlimited, magnificent possibilities. Upon its bayou-penetrated soil, on its rich uplands and its vast prairies, a gigantic struggle is in progress. It is the battle of race with race, of the picturesque and unjust civilization of the past with the prosaic and leveling civilization of the present. For a century and a-half it was coveted by all nations; sought by those great colonizers of America,--the French, the English, the Spaniards. It has been in turn the plaything of monarchs and the bait of adventurers. Its history and tradition are leagued with all that was romantic in Europe and on the Western continent in the eighteenth century. From its immense limits outsprang the noble sisterhood of South-western States, whose inexhaustible domain affords an ample refuge for the poor of all the world.

        A little more than half a century ago the frontier of Louisiana, with the Spanish internal provinces, extended nineteen hundred miles. The territory


Page 18

boasted a sea-coast line of five hundred miles on the Pacific Ocean; drew a boundary line seventeen hundred miles along the edge of the British-American dominions; thence followed the Mississippi by a comparative course for fourteen hundred miles; fronted the Mexican Gulf for seven hundred miles, and embraced within its limits nearly one million five hundred thousand square miles. Texas was a fragment broken from it. California, Kansas, the Indian Territory, Missouri, and Mississippi, were made from it, and still there was an Empire to spare, watered by five of the finest rivers of the world. Indiana, Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska were born of it.

        From French Bienville to America Claiborne the territorial administrations were dramatic, diplomatic, bathed in the atmosphere of conspiracy. Superstition cast a weird veil of mystery over the great rivers, and Indian legend peopled every nook and cranny of the section with fantastic creations of untutored fancy. The humble roof of the log cabin on the banks of the Mississippi covered all the grace and elegance of French society of Louis the Fourteenth's time. Jesuit and Cavalier carried European thought to the Indians.

        Frenchman and Spaniard, Canadian and Yankee, intrigued and planned on Louisiana soil with an energy and fierceness displayed nowhere else in our early history. What wonder, after this cosmopolitan record, that even the fragment of Louisiana which has retained the name--this remnant embracing but a thirtieth of the area of the original province--yet still covering more than forty thousand square miles of prairie, alluvial, and sea marsh--what wonder that it is so richly varied, so charming, so unique?

        Six o'clock, on Saturday evening, in the good old city of New Orleans. From the tower of the Cathedral St. Louis the tremulous harmony of bells drifts lightly on the cool spring breeze, and hovers like a benediction over the antique buildings, the blossoms and hedges in the square, and the broad and swiftly-flowing river. The bells are calling all in the parish to offer masses for the repose of the soul of the Cathedral's founder, Don Andre Almonaster, once upon a time "perpetual regidor" of New Orleans. Every Saturday eve, for three-quarters of a century, the solemn music from the Cathedral belfry has brought the good Andre to mind; and the mellow notes, as we hear them, seem to call up visions of the quaint past.

        

Illustration

The Cathedral St. Louis--New Orleans.

        Don Andre gave the Cathedral its dower in 1789, while the colony was under the domination of Charles the Fourth of Spain. The original edifice is gone now, and in its stead, since 1850, has stood a composite structure which is a monument to bad taste. Venerable


Page 19

and imposing was the old Cathedral, with its melange of rustic, Tuscan, and Roman Doric styles of architecture; with its towers crowned with low spires, and its semicircular arched door, with clustered columns on either side at the front; and many a grand pageant had it seen.

        

Illustration

"A blind beggar hears the rustling of her gown, and stretches out his trembling hand for alms."

        Under the pavement of the Cathedral lies buried Father Antonio de Sedella, a Spanish priest, who, in his time, was one of the celebrities of New Orleans, and the very recollection of whom calls up memories of the Inquisition, of intrigue and mystery. Father Antonio's name is sacred in the Louisiana capital, nevertheless; for although an enraged Spanish Governor once expelled him for presuming to establish the Inquisition in the colony, he came back, and flourished until 1837, under American rule, dying at the age of ninety, in the odor of sanctity, mourned by the women and worshiped by the children.

        Now the sunlight mingles with the breeze bewitchingly; the old square, the gray and red buildings with massive walls and encircling balconies, the great door of the new Cathedral, all are lighted up. See! a black-robed woman, with downcast eyes, passes silently over the holy threshold; a blind beggar, with a parti-colored handkerchief wound about his weather-beaten head, hears the rustling of her gown, and stretches out his trembling hand for alms; a black girl looks wonderingly into the holy-water font; the market-women hush their chatter as they near the portal; a mulatto fruit-seller is lounging in the shade of an ancient arch, beneath the old Spanish Council House. This is not an American scene, and one almost persuades himself that he is in Europe, although ten minutes of rapid walking will bring him to streets and squares as generically American as any in Boston, Chicago, or St. Louis.

        

Illustration

"A black girl looks wonderingly into the holy-water font."

        The city of New Orleans is fruitful in surprises. In a morning's promenade, which shall not extend over an hundred acres, one may encounter the civilizations of Paris, of Madrid, of Messina; may stumble upon the semi-barbaric life of


Page 20

the negro and the native Indian; may see the overworked American in his business establishment and in his elegant home; and may find, strangest of all, that each and every foreign type moves in a special current of its own, mingling little with the American, which is dominant: in it, yet not of it--as the Gulf Stream in the ocean.

        But the older colonial landmarks in the city, as throughout the State and the Mississippi Valley, are fast disappearing. The imprint of French manners and customs will long remain, however; for it was produced by two periods of domination. The hatred of Napoleon the Great for the English was the motive which led to the cession of Louisiana to the United States: had he not come upon the stage of European politics, the Valley of the Father of Waters might have been French to-day; and both sides of Canal street would have reminded the European of Paris and Bordeaux.

        The French Emperor, fearful lest the cannon of the English fleets might thunder at the gates of New Orleans when he was at war with England, at the beginning of this century, sold the "Earthly Paradise" to the United States. "The English," said the man of destiny, "shall not have the Mississippi, which they covet." And they did not get it. Seventy years ago the tide of crude, hasty American progress rushed in upon the lovely lowlands bordering the river and the Gulf; and it is astonishing that even a few landmarks of French and Spanish rule are left high above the flood.

        

Illustration

The Archbishop's Palace--New Orleans.

        Yonder is the archbishop's palace: enter the street at one side of it, and you seem in a foreign land; in the avenue at the other you catch a glimpse of the rush and hurry of American traffic of to-day along the levée; you see the sharp-featured "river-hand," hear his uncouth parlance, and recognize him for your countryman; you see huge piles of cotton bales; you hear the monotonous whistle of the gigantic white steamers arriving and departing; and the irrepressible negro slouches sullenly by with his hands in his pockets, and his cheeks distended with tobacco.

        You must know much of the past of New Orleans and Louisiana to thoroughly understand their present. New England sprang from the Puritan mould; Louisiana from the French and Spanish civilizations of the eighteenth century. The one stands erect, vibrating with life and activity, austere and ambitious, upon its rocky shores; the other lies prone, its rich vitality dormant and passive, luxurious and unambitious, on the glorious shores of the tropic Gulf. The former was Anglo-Saxon and simple even to Spartan plainness at its outset; the latter was Franco-Spanish, subtle in the graces of the elder societies, self-indulgent and romantic at its beginning. And New Orleans was no more and no less the opposite of Boston in 1773 than a century later. It was a hardy rose which dared to blush, in the New England even of Governor Winthrop's time,


Page 21

before June had dowered the land with beauty; it was an o'er modest Choctaw rose in the Louisiana of De Soto's epoch which did not shower its petals on the fragrant turf in February.

        In Louisiana summer lingers long after the rude winter of the North has done its work of devastation; the sleeping passion of the climate only wakes now and then into the anger of lightning or the terrible tears of the thunder-storm; there are no chronic March horrors of deadly wind or transpiercing cold; the sun is kind; the days are radiant.

        Wandering from the ancient Place d'Armes, now dignified with the appellation of "Jackson Square," through the older quarters of the city, one may readily recall the curious, changeful past of the commonwealth and its cosmopolitan capital; for there is a visible reminder at many a corner and on many a wall. It requires but little effort of imagination to restore the city to our view as it was in 1723, five years after Bienville, the second French Governor of Louisiana, had undertaken the dubious project of establishing a capital on the treacherous Mississippi's bank.

        Discouraged and faint almost unto death, after the terrible sufferings which he and his fellow-colonists had undergone at Biloxi, a bleak fort in a wilderness, he had dragged his weary limbs to the place on the river where New Orleans stands to-day, and there defiantly unfurled the flag of France, and made his last stand! Bienville was a man of vast courage and supreme daring; he had been drifting along the Mississippi, through the stretches of wilderness, since 1699; had vanquished Indian and beast of the forest; was skilled in the lore of the backwoodsman, as became hardy son of hardier Canadian father.

        When he succeeded the alert and courageous Sauvolle as Governor of the colony, which had then become indisputably French, he entered upon a period of harrowing and petty vexations. He had to keep faithful and persistent watch at the entrance of the river from the Gulf, for, during many years England, France, and Spain were at war, and the Spaniards ever kept a jealous eye on French progress in America. The colony languished, and was inhabited by only a few vagabond Canadians, some dubious characters from France, and the Government officers. On the 14th of September, 1712, Louis the Magnificent granted to Anthony Crozat, a merchant prince, the Rothschild of the day, the exclusive privilege, for fifteen years, of trading in all the indefinitely bounded territory claimed by France as Louisiana.

        Crozat obtained with his charter the additional privilege of sending a ship once a year for negroes to Africa, and of owning and working all the mines that might be discovered in the colony, provided that one-fourth of their proceeds should be reserved for the king. One ship-load of slaves to every two ship-loads of independent colonists was the proportion established for emigration to Louisiana more than a century and a half ago. Slavery was well begun.

        In 1713 Bienville was displaced to make room for Cadillac, sent from France as Governor; a rude, quarrelsome man, who saw no good in the new colony, and hated and feared Bienville. But Cadillac's daughter loved the quondam Governor whom her father's arrival had degraded; and to save her from a wasted


Page 22

life, the proud Cadillac offered her in marriage to Bienville. The latter did not reciprocate the maid's affection, and Cadillac, burning with rage, and anxious to avenge himself for this humiliation, sent Bienville with a small force on a dangerous expedition among the hostile Indians. He went, returning successful and unharmed. Cadillac's temper soon caused his own downfall, and others, equally unsuccessful, succeeded him. Crozat's schemes failed, and he relinquished the colony.

        And then? Louisiana the indefinite and unfortunate fell into the clutches of John Law. The regent Duke of Orleans had decided to "foster and preserve the colony," and in 1717 gave it to the "Company of the Indies," a commercial oligarchy into which Law had blown the breath of life. The Royal Bank sprang into existence under Law's enchanted wand; the charter of the Mississippi Company was registered at Paris, and the exclusive privilege of trading with Louisiana, during twenty-five years, was granted to that company.

        France was flooded with rumors that Louisiana was the long-sought Eldorado; dupes were made by millions; princes waited in John Law's anti-rooms in Paris. Then came the revulsion, the overturn of Law. Louisiana was no longer represented as the new Atlantis, but as the very mouth of the pit; and it was colonized only by thieves, murderers, beggars, and gypsies, gathered up by force throughout France and expelled from the kingdom.

        After the bursting of the Law bubble, Bienville was once more appointed Governor of Louisiana, and his favorite town was selected as the capital of the territory. The seat of government was removed from New Biloxi to New Orleans, as the city was called in honor of the title of the regent of France.

        Let us look at the New Orleans of the period between 1723 and 1730. Imagine a low-lying swamp, overgrown with a dense ragged forest, cut up into a thousand miniature islands by ruts and pools filled with stagnant water. Fancy a small cleared space along the superb river channel, a space often inundated, but partially reclaimed from the circumambient swamp, and divided into a host of small correct squares, each exactly like its neighbor, and so ditched within and without as to render wandering after nightfall perilous.

        The ditch which ran along the four sides of every square in the city was filled with a composite of black mud and refuse, which, under a burning sun, sent forth a deadly odor. Around the city was a palisade and a gigantic moat; tall grasses grew up to the doors of the houses, and the hoarse chant of myriads of frogs mingled with the vesper songs of the colonists. Away where the waters of the Mississippi and of Lake Pontchartrain had formed a high ridge of land, was the "Leper's Bluff;" and among the reeds from the city thitherward always lurked a host of criminals.

        The negro, fresh from the African coast, then strode defiantly along the low shores by the stream; he had not learned the crouching, abject gait which a century of slavery afterwards gave him. He was punished if he rebelled; but he kept his dignity. In the humble dwellings which occupied the squares there were noble manners and graces; all the traditions and each finesse of the time had not been forgotten in the voyage from France: and airy gentlemen


Page 23

and stately dames promenaded in this queer, swamp-surrounded, river-endangered fortress, with Parisian grace and ease.

        There were few churches, and the colonists gathered about great wooden crosses in the open air for the ceremonials of their religion There were twice as many negroes as white people in the city. Domestic animals were so scarce that he who injured or fatally wounded a horse or a cow was punished with death. Ursuline nuns and Jesuit fathers glided about the streets upon their scared missions. The principal avenues within the fortified enclosure were named after princes of the royal blood--Maine, Condé, Conti, Toulouse, and Bourbon; Chartres street took its name from that of the son of the regent of Orleans, and an avenue was named in honor of Governor Bienville.

        Along the river, for many miles beyond the city, marquises and other noble representatives of aristocratic French families had established plantations, and lived luxurious lives of self-indulgence, without especially contributing to the wealth of the colony. Jews were banished from the bounds of Louisiana. Sundays and holidays were strictly observed, and negroes found working on Sunday were confiscated. No worship save the Catholic was allowed; white subjects were forbidden to marry or to live in concubinage with slaves, and masters were not allowed to force their slaves into any marriage against their will; the children of a negro slave-husband and a negro free-wife were all free; if the mother was a slave and the husband was free, the children shared the condition of the mother.

        Slaves were forbidden to gather in crowds, by day or night, under any pretext, and if found assembled, were punished by the whip, or branded with the mark of the flower-de-luce, or executed. The slaves all wore marks or badges, and were not permitted to sell produce of any kind without the written consent of their masters. The protection and security of slaves in old age was well provided for; Christian negroes were permitted burial in consecrated ground. The slave who produced a bruise, or the "shedding of blood in the face," on the person of his master, or any of the family to which he appertained, by striking them, was condemned to death; and the runaway slave, when caught, after the first offence, had his ears cut off, and was branded; after the second, was hamstrung and again branded; after the third, was condemned to death. Slaves who had been set free were still bound to show the profoundest respect to their "former masters, their widows and children," under pain of severe penalties. Slave husbands and wives were not permitted to be seized and sold separately when belonging to the same master; and whenever slaves were appointed tutors to their masters' children, they "were held and regarded as being thereby set free to all intents and purposes."

        The Choctaws and Chickasaws, neighbors to the colonists, were waging destructive war against each other; hurricanes regularly destroyed all the engineering works erected by the French Government at the mouths of the Mississippi; and expeditions against the Natchez and the Chickasaws, arrivals of ships from France with loads of troops, provisions, and wives for the colonists, the building of levées along the river front near New Orleans, and the


Page 24

occasional deposition from and re-instatement in office of Bienville, were the chief events in those crude days of the beginning.

        I like to stand in these old Louisiana by-ways, and contemplate the progress of French civilization in them, now that it has been displaced by a newer one. I like to remember that New Orleans was named after the regent of France; that the beautiful lake lying between the city and the Gulf was christened after the splendid Pontchartrain, him of the lean and hungry look, and of the "smile of death," him to whom the heart of Louis the Fourteenth was always open; and that the other lake, near the city, was named in memory of Maurepas, the wily adviser of Louis the Sixteenth and unlucky.

        I like to remember that Louisiana itself owes its pretentious name to the devotion of its discoverer to the great monarch whom the joyous La Salle could not refrain from calling "the most puissant, most high, most invincible and victorious prince." I like to picture to myself Allouez and Father Dablon, Marquette and Joliet, La Salle, Iberville, and Bienville, following in the footsteps of Garay and Leon, Cordova and Narvaez, De Vaca and Friar Mark; and finally tracing and identifying the current of the wild, mysterious Mississippi, which had been but a tradition for ages, until every nook and cranny, from the Falls of St. Anthony to the Gulf of Mexico, re-echoed to French words of command and prayer, as well as to gayest of French chansons.

        Let us take another picture of New Orleans, from 1792 to 1797, thirty years after the King of France had bestowed upon "his cousin of Spain" the splendid gift of Louisiana, ceding it, "without any exception or reservation whatever, from the pure impulse of his generous heart." That a country should, by a simple stroke of the pen, strip herself of possessions extending from the mouth of the Mississippi to the St. Lawrence, is almost incomprehensible.

        France had perhaps already learned that her people had not in their breasts that eternal hunger for travel, that feverish unrest, which has made the Anglo-Saxon the most successful of colonists, and has given half the world to him and to his descendants. But the French had nobly done the work of pioneering. Sauvolle, grimly defying death at Biloxi; Bienville, urging the adventurous prow of his ship through the reeds at the Mississippi's mouth, are among the most heroic figures in the early history of the country.

        New Orleans from 1792 to 1797? Its civilization has changed; it is fitted into the iron groove of Spanish domination, and has become bigoted, narrow, and hostile to innovation. Along the streets, now lined with low, flat-roofed, balconied houses, out of whose walls peep little hints of Moorish architecture, stalks the lean and haughty Spanish cavalier, with his hand upon his sword; and the quavering voice of the night watchman, equipped with his traditional spear and lantern, is heard through the night hours proclaiming that all is "serene," although at each corner lurks a fugitive from justice, waiting only until the watchman has passed to commit new crime. Six thousand souls now inhabit the city, there are hints in the air of a plague, and the Intendant has written home to the Council of State that "some affirm that the yellow fever is to be feared."


Page 25

        The priests and friars are half-mad with despair because the mixed population pays so very little attention to its salvation from eternal damnation, and because the roystering officers and soldiers of the regiment of Louisiana admit that they have not been to mass for three years. The French hover about the few taverns and coffee-houses permitted in the city, and mutter rebellion against the Spaniard, whom they have always disliked. The Spanish and French schools are in perpetual collision; so are the manners, customs, diets, and languages of the respective nations. The Ursuline convent has refused to admit Spanish women who desire to become nuns, unless they learn the French language; and the ruling Governor, Baron Carondelet, has such small faith in the loyalty of the colonists that he has had the fortifications constructed with a view not only to protecting himself against attacks from without, but from within.

        The city has suddenly taken on a wonderful aspect of barrack-yard and camp. On the side fronting the Mississippi are two small forts commanding the road and the river. On their strong and solid brick-coated parapets, Spanish sentinels are languidly pacing; and cannon look out ominously over the walls. Between these two forts, and so arranged as to cross its fires with them, fronting on the main street of the town, is a great battery commanding the river. Then there are forts at each of the salient angles of the long square forming the city, and a third a little beyond them--all armed with eight guns each. From one of these tiny forts to another, noisy dragoons are always clattering; officers are parading to and fro; government officials block the way; and the whole town looks like a Spanish garrison gradually growing, by some mysterious process of transformation, into a French city.

        

Illustration

Some aged private dwellings, rapidly decaying."

        Yet the Spanish civilization does not and can not take a strong hold there. Spain does not give to New Orleans so many lasting historic souvenirs as France. Barracks, petty forts, dragoon stables, and many other quaint buildings finally disappear, leaving only the "Principal," next the Cathedral, its fellow on the other side of the old church, some aged private dwellings, rapidly decaying, and a delicate imprint and suggestion of former Spanish rule scattered throughout various quarters of the city. But Spanish society still lingers, and in some parts of the old town the many-balconied, thick-walled houses for the moment mislead the visitor into the belief that he is in Spain until he hears the French language, or the curious Creole patois everywhere about him.

        Let us take another look at the past of New Orleans. The Spaniard has gone his ways; Ulloa and O'Reilly, Unzaga, Galvez, and Miro, have held their governorships under the Spanish King. Carondelet, Gayoso, Casa-Calvo, and


Page 26

Salcedo alike have vanished. There have been insurrections on the part of the French; many longings after the old banner; and at last the government of France determines once more to possess the grand territory. Spain well knows that it is useless to oppose this decision; is not sorry, withal, to be rid of a colony so difficult to govern, and so near to the quarrelsome Americans, who have many times threatened to take New Orleans by force if any farther commercial regulations are made by Spaniards at the Mississippi's outlet.

        

Illustration

A brace of old Spanish Governors.--From portraits owned by Hon. Charles Gayarré, of New Orleans.

        Napoleon the Great has three things to gain by the possession of the Territory: the command of the Gulf; the supply of the islands owned by France; and a place of settlement for surplus population. So that, at St. Ildefonso, on the morning of October first, 1800, a treaty of cession is signed by Spain, its third article reading as follows: "His Catholic Majesty promises and engages, on his part, to retrocede to the French Republic, six months after the full and entire execution of the conditions and stipulations herein relative to His Royal Highness the Duke of Parma--the colony or province of Louisiana, with the same extent that it now has in the hands of Spain, and that it had when France possessed it; and such as it should be after the treaties subsequently entered into between Spain and other states."

        This treaty is kept secret while the French fit out an expedition to sail and take sudden possession of the reacquired Territory; but the United States has sharp ears; and Minister Livingston besets the cabinet of the First Consul at Paris; fights a good battle of diplomacy; is dignified as well as aggressive; wins his cause; and Napoleon tells his counselors, on Easter Sunday, 1803, his resolve in the following words: "I know the full value of Louisiana, and I have been desirous of repairing the fault of the French negotiator who abandoned it in 1763; a few lines of a treaty have restored it to me, and I have scarcely recovered it when I must expect to lose it. But if it escapes from me, it shall one day cost dearer to those who oblige me to strip myself of it than to those to whom I wish to deliver it." And it is forthwith ceded to the United States, in 1803, on the "tenth day of Floreal, in the eleventh year of the French republic," in consideration of the payment by our government of sixty millions of francs.

        Half a generation brings the conflicting national elements into something like harmony, and makes Louisiana a territory containing fifty thousand souls. The first steamboat ploughs through the waters of the Mississippi, but more stirring events also take place. In 1812 Congress declares that war exists between Great Britain and the United States, and early in 1815 General Andrew Jackson wins a decisive victory over the English arms, on the lowlands near New Orleans. Fifteen thousand skilled British soldiers are beaten off and sent home


Page 27

in disorder by the raw troops of the river States, by the stalwart Kentuckians, the hunters of Tennessee, the rough, hard-handed sons of Illinois, the dashing horsemen of Mississippi, and the handsome and athletic Creoles of Louisiana. When the victorious Americans return to New Orleans, a grand parade is held in the square henceforth to commemorate the name of Jackson, and where

Illustration

"And where to-day stands a fine Equestrian Statue of the great General."

to-day stands a fine equestrian statue of the great general. In front of old Almonaster's cathedral the troops are drawn up in order of review. Under a triumphal arch, from which glittering lines of bayonets stretch to the river, General Jackson, the hero of the Chalmette battle-field, passes, and bows low his laurel-crowned head to receive the apostolic benediction of the venerable Abbé.


Page 28

II.

THE FRENCH QUARTER OF NEW ORLEANS--THE REVOLUTION AND ITS EFFECTS.

        LET me show you some pictures from the New Orleans of to-day. The nightmare of civil war has passed away, leaving the memory of visions which it is not my province--certainly not my wish--to renew. The Crescent City has grown so that Claiborne and Jackson could no longer recognize it. It was gaining immensely in wealth and population until the social and political revolutions following the war came with their terrible, crushing weight, and the work of re-establishing the commerce of the State has gone on under conditions most disheartening and depressing; though trial seems to have brought out a reserve of energy of which its possessors had never suspected themselves capable.

        Step off from Canal street, that avenue of compromises which separates the French and the American quarters, some bright February morning, and you will at once find yourself in a foreign atmosphere. A walk into the French section enchants you; the characteristics of an American city vanish; this might be Toulouse, or Bordeaux, or Marseilles! The houses are all of stone or brick, stuccoed or painted; the windows of each story descend to the floors, opening, like doors, upon airy, pretty balconies, protected by iron railings; quaint dormer windows peer from the great roofs; the street doors are massive, and large enough to admit carriages into the stone-paved court-yards, from which stairways communicate with the upper apartments.

        Sometimes, through a portal opened by a slender, dark-haired, bright-eyed Creole girl in black, you catch a glimpse of a garden, delicious with daintiest blossoms, purple and red and white gleaming from vines clambering along a gray wall; rose-bushes, with the grass about them strewn with petals; bosquets, green and symmetrical; luxuriant hedges, arbors, and refuges, trimmed by skillful hands; banks of verbenas; bewitching profusion of peach and apple blossoms; the dark green of the magnolia; in a quiet corner, the rich glow of the orange in its nest among the thick leaves of its parent tree; the palmetto, the catalpa;--a mass of bloom which laps the senses in slumbrous delight. Suddenly the door closes, and your paradise is lost, while Eve remains inside the gate!

        From the balconies hang, idly flapping in the breeze, little painted tin placards, announcing "Furnished apartments to rent!" Alas! in too many of the old mansions you are ushered by a gray-faced woman clad in deepest black, with little children clinging jealously to her skirts, and you instinctively


Page 29

note by her manners and her speech that she did not rent rooms before the war. You pity her, and think of the multitudes of these gray-faced women; of the numbers of these silent, almost desolate houses.

        Now and then, too, a knock at the porter's lodge will bring to your view a bustling Creole dame, fat and fifty, redolent of garlic and new wine, and robust in voice as in person. How cheerily she retails her misfortunes, as if they were blessings! "An invalid husband--voyez-vous ça! Auguste a Confederate, of course--and is yet; but the pauvre garçon is unable to work, and we are very poor!" All this merrily, and in high key, while the young negress--the housemaid--stands lazily listening to her mistress's French, nervously polishing with her huge lips the handle of the broom she holds in her broad, corded hands.

        Business here, as in foreign cities, has usurped only half the domain; the shopkeepers live over their shops, and communicate to their commerce somewhat of the aroma of home. The dainty salon, where the ladies' hairdresser holds sway, has its doorway enlivened by the baby; the grocer and his wife, the milliner and his daughter, are behind the counters in their respective shops. Here you pass a little café, with the awning drawn down, and, peering in, can distinguish half-a-dozen bald, rotund old boys drinking their evening absinthe, and playing picquet and vingt-et-un, exactly as in France.

        

Illustration

"A lazy negro, recumbent in a cart."

        Here, perhaps, is a touch of Americanism: a lazy negro, recumbent in a cart, with his eyes languidly closed, and one dirty foot sprawled on the sidewalk. No! even he responds to your question in French, which he speaks poorly though fluently French signs abound; there is a warehouse for wines and brandies from the heart of Southern France; here is a funeral notice, printed in deepest black: "The friends of Jean Baptiste," etc., "are respectfully invited to be present at the funeral, which will take place at precisely four o'clock, on the --." The notice is on black-edged note-paper, nailed to a post. Here pass a group of French negroes, the buxom girls dressed with a certain grace, and with gayly-colored handkerchiefs wound about an unpardonable luxuriance of wool. Their cavaliers are clothed mainly in antiquated garments rapidly approaching the level of rags; and their patois resounds for half-a-dozen blocks.

        Turning into a side street leading off from Royal, or Chartres, or Bourgogne, or Dauphin, or Rampart streets, you come upon an odd little shop, where the cobbler sits at his work in the shadow of a grand old Spanish arch; or upon a nest of curly-headed negro babies ensconced on a tailor's bench at the window of a fine ancient mansion; or you look into a narrow room, glass-fronted, and see a long and well-spread table, surrounded by twenty Frenchmen and Frenchwomen, all talking at once over their eleven o'clock breakfast.

        Or you may enter aristocratic restaurants, where the immaculate floors are only surpassed in cleanliness by the spotless linen of the tables; where a


Page 30

solemn dignity, as befits the refined pleasure of dinner, prevails, and where the waiter gives you the names of the dishes in both languages, and bestows on you a napkin large enough to serve you as a shroud, if this strange melange of French and Southern cookery should give you a fatal indigestion. The French families of position usually dine at four, as the theatre begins promptly at seven, both on Sundays and week days. There is the play-bill, in French, of course; and there are the typical Creole ladies, stopping for a moment to glance at it as they wend their way shopward. For it is the shopping hour; from eleven to two the streets of the old quarter are alive with elegantly, yet soberly attired ladies, always in couples, as French etiquette exacts that the unmarried lady shall never promenade without her maid or her mother.

        One sees beautiful faces on the Rue Royale (Royal street), and in the balconies and lodges of the Opera House; sometimes, too, in the cool of the evening, there are fascinating little groups of the daughters of Creoles on the balconies, gayly chatting while the veil of the twilight is torn away, and the glory of the Southern moonlight is showered over the quiet streets.

        The Creole ladies are not, as a rule, so highly educated as the gracious daughters of the "American quarter;" but they have an indefinable grace, a savoir in dress, and a piquant and alluring charm in person and conversation, which makes them universal favorites in society.

        One of the chiefest of their attractions is the staccato and queerly-colored English, really French in idea and accent, which many of them speak. At the Saturday matinées, in the opera or comedy season at the French Theatre, you will see hundreds of the ladies of "the quarter;" and rarely can a finer grouping of lovely brunettes be found; nowhere a more tastefully-dressed and elegantly-mannered assembly.

        

Illustration

"The negro nurses stroll on the sidewalks, chattering in quaint French to the little children."

        The quiet which has reigned in the old French section since the war ended is, perhaps, abnormal; but it would be difficult to find village streets more tranquil than are the main avenues of this foreign quarter after nine at night. The long, splendid stretches of Rampart and Esplanade streets, with their rows of trees planted in the centre of the driveways,--the whitewashed trunks giving a fine effect of green and white,--are peaceful; the negro-nurses stroll on the sidewalks, chattering in quaint French to the little children of their former masters--now their "employers."

        There is no attempt on the part of the French or Spanish families to inaugurate style and fashion in the city; quiet home society, match-making and marrying of


Page 31

daughters, games and dinner parties, church, shopping, and calls in simple and unaffected manner, content them.

        The majority of the people in the whole quarter seem to have a total disregard of the outside world, and when one hears them discussing the distracted condition of local politics, one can almost fancy them gossiping on matters entirely foreign to them, instead of on those vitally connected with their lives and property. They live very much among themselves. French by nature and training, they get but a faint reflection of the excitements in these United States. It is also astonishing to see how little the ordinary American citizen of New Orleans knows of his French neighbors; how ill he appreciates them. It is hard for him to talk five minutes about them without saying, "Well, we have a non-progressive element here; it will not be converted." Having said which, he will perhaps paint in glowing colors the virtues and excellences of his French neighbors, though he cannot forgive them for taking so little interest in public affairs.

        

Illustration

"The interior garden, with its curious shrine."

        Here we are again at the Archbishop's Palace, once the home of the Ursuline nuns, who now have, further down the river, a splendid new convent and school, surrounded by beautiful gardens. This ancient edifice was completed by the French Government in 1733, and is the oldest in Louisiana. Its Tuscan composite architecture, its porter's lodge, and its interior garden with its curious shrine, make it well worth preserving, even when the tide of progress shall have reached this nook on Condé street. The Ursuline nuns occupied this site for nearly a century, and it was abandoned by them only because they were tempted, by the great rise in real estate in that vicinity, to sell. The new convent is richly endowed, and is one of the best seminaries in the South.

        Many of the owners of property in the vicinity of the Archbishop's Palace have removed to France, since the war,--doing nothing for the benefit of the metropolis which gave them their fortunes. The rent of these solidly-constructed old houses once brought them a sum which, when translated from dollars into francs, was colossal, and which the Parisian tradesmen tucked away into their strong boxes. Now they get almost nothing; the houses are mainly vacant. With the downfall of slavery, and the advent of reconstruction, came such radical changes in Louisiana politics and society that those belonging to the ancien régime who could flee, fled; and a prominent historian and gentleman


Page 32

of most honorable Creole descent told me that, among his immense acquaintance, he did not know a single person who would not leave the State if means were at hand.

        The grooves in which society in Louisiana and New Orleans had run before

Illustration

The New Ursuline Convent--New Orleans.

the late struggle were so broken that even a residence in the State was distasteful to him and the society he represented; since the late war, he said, 500 years seemed to have passed over the common-wealth. The Italy of Augustus was not more dissimilar to the Italy of to-day than is the Louisiana of to-day to the Louisiana before the war. There was no longer the spirit to maintain the grand, unbounded hospitality once so characteristic of the South. Formerly, the guest would have been presented to planters who would have entertained him for days, in royal style, and who would have sent him forward in their own carriages, commended to the hospitality of their neighbors. Now these same planters were living upon corn and pork. "Most of these people," said the gentleman, "have vanished from their homes; and I actually know ladies of culture and refinement, whose incomes were gigantic before the war, who are 'washing' for their daily bread. The misery, the despair, in hundreds of cases, are beyond belief."

        "Many lovely plantations," said he, "are entirely deserted; the negroes will not remain upon them, but flock into the cities, or work on land which they have purchased for themselves." He would not believe that the free negro did as much work for himself as he formerly did for his master. He considered the labor system at the present time terribly onerous for planters. The negroes were only profitable as field hands when they worked on shares, the planters furnishing them land, tools, horses, mules, and advancing them food. He said that he would not himself hire a negro even at small wages; he did not believe it would be profitable. The discouragement of the natives of Louisiana, he believed, arose in large degree from the difficulty of obtaining capital with which to begin anew. He knew instances where only $10,000 or $20,000 were needed for the improvement of water power, or of lands which would net hundreds of thousands. He had himself written repeatedly, urging people at the North to invest, but they would not, and alleged that they should not alter their determination so long as the present political condition prevailed.

        He added, with great emphasis, that he did not think the people of the North would believe a statement which should give a faithful transcript of the present condition of affairs in Louisiana. The natives of the State could hardly


Page 33

realize it themselves; and it was not to be expected that strangers, of differing habits of life and thought, should do it. He did not blame the negro for his present incapacity, as he considered the black man an inferior being, peculiarly unfitted by ages of special training for what he was now called upon to undertake. The negro was, he thought, by nature, kindly, generous, courteous, susceptible of civilization only to a certain degree; devoid of moral consciousness, and usually, of course, ignorant. Not one out of a hundred, the whole State through, could write his name; and there had been fifty-five in one single Legislature who could neither read nor write. There was, according to him, scarcely a single man of color in the last Legislature who was competent in any large degree.

        The Louisiana white people were in such terror of the negro government that they would rather accept any other despotism. A military dictator would be far preferable to them; they would go anywhere to escape the ignominy to which they were at present subjected. The crisis was demoralizing every one. Nobody worked with a will; every one was in debt. There was not a single piece of property in the city of New Orleans in which he would at present invest, although one could now buy for $5,000 or $10,000 property originally worth $50,000. He said it would not pay to purchase, the taxes were so enormous. The majority of the great plantations had been deserted on account of the excessive taxation. Only those familiar with the real causes of the despair could imagine how deep it was.

        Benefit by immigration, he maintained, was impossible under the present régime. New-comers mingled in the distracted politics in such a manner as to neglect the development of the country. Thousands of the citizens were fleeing to Texas (and I could vouch for the correctness of that assertion). He said that the mass of immigrants became easily discouraged and broken down, because they began by working harder than the climate would permit.

        In some instances, Germans on coming into the State had been ordered by organizations both of white and colored native workmen not to labor so much daily, as they were setting a dangerous example! Still, he believed that almost any white man would do as much work as three negroes. He hardly thought that in fifty years there would be any negroes in Louisiana. The race was rapidly diminishing. Planters who had owned three or four hundred slaves before the war, had kept a record of their movements, and found that more than half of them had died of want and neglect. The negroes did not know how to care for themselves. The women now on the same plantations where they had been owned as slaves gave birth to only one child where they had previously borne three. They would not bear children as of old; the negro population was rapidly decreasing. Gardening, he said, had proved an unprofitable experiment, because of the thievish propensities of the negro. All the potatoes, turnips, and cabbages consumed by the white people of New Orleans came from the West.

        Such was the testimony of one who, although by no means unfair or bitterly partisan, perhaps allowed his discouragement to color all his views. He frankly


Page 34

accepted the results of the war, so far as the abolition of slavery and the consequent ruin of his own and thousands of other fortunes were concerned; he has, indeed, borne with all the evils which have arisen out of reconstruction, without murmuring until now, when he and thousands of his fellows are pushed to the wall. He is the representative of a very large class; the discouragement is no dream. It is written on the faces of the citizens; you may read and realize it there.

        Ah! these faces, these faces;--expressing deeper pain, profounder discontent than were caused by the iron fate of the few years of the war! One sees them everywhere; on the street, at the theatre, in the salon, in the cars; and pauses for a moment, struck with the expression of entire despair--of complete helplessness, which has possessed their features. Sometimes the owners of the faces are one-armed and otherwise crippled; sometimes they bear no wounds or marks of wounds, and are in the prime and fullness of life; but the look is there still. Now and then it is controlled by a noble will, the pain of which it tells having been trampled under the feet of a great energy; but it is always there. The struggle is over, peace has been declared, but a generation has been doomed. The past has given to the future the dower of the present; there seems only a dead level of uninspiring struggle for those going out, and but small hope for those coming in. That is what the faces say; that is the burden of their sadness.

        These are not of the loud-mouthed and bitter opponents of everything tending to reconsolidate the Union; these are not they who will tell you that some day the South will be united once more, and will rise in strength and strike a blow for freedom; but they are the payers of the price. The look is on the faces of the men who wore the swords of generals who led in disastrous measures; on the faces of women who have lost husbands, children, lovers, fortunes, homes, and comfort for evermore. The look is on the faces of the strong fighters, thinkers, and controllers of the Southern mind and heart; and here in Louisiana it will not brighten, because the wearers know that the great evils of disorganized labor, impoverished society, scattered families, race legislation, retributive tyranny and terrorism, with the power, like Nemesis of old, to wither and blast, leave no hope for this generation. Heaven have mercy on them! Their fate is too utterly inevitable not to command the strongest sympathy.

        Of course, in the French quarter, there are multitudes of negroes who speak both French and English in the quaintest, most outlandish fashion; eliding whole syllables which seem necessary to sense, and breaking into extravagant exclamations on the slightest pretext. The French of the negroes is very much like that of young children; spoken far from plainly, but with a pretty grace which accords poorly with the exteriors of the speakers. The negro women, young and old, wander about the streets bareheaded and barearmed; now tugging their mistresses' children, now carrying huge baskets on their heads, and walking under their heavy burdens with the gravity of queens. Now and then one sees a mulatto girl hardly less fair than the brown maid he saw


Page 35

at Sorrento, or in the vine-covered cottage at the little mountain town near Rome; now a giant matron, black as the tempest, and with features as pronounced in savagery as any of her Congo ancestors.

        But the negroes, taken as a whole, seem somewhat shuffling and disorganized; and apart from the statuesque old house and body servants, who appear to have caught some dignity from their masters, they are by no means inviting. They gather in groups at the street corners just at nightfall, and while they chatter like monkeys, even about politics, they gesticulate violently. They live without much work, for their wants are few; and two days' labor in a week, added to the fat roosters and turkeys that will walk into their clutches, keeps them in bed and board. They find ample amusement in the "heat o' the sun," the passers-by, and tobacco. There are families of color noticeable for

Illustration

"And while they chatter like monkeys, even about politics, they gesticulate violently."

intelligence and accomplishments, but, as a rule, the negro of the French quarter is thick-headed, light-hearted, improvident, and not too conscientious.

        Perhaps one of the most patent proofs of the poverty now so bitterly felt among the hitherto well-to-do families in New Orleans was apparent in the suspension of the opera in the winter of 1873. Heretofore the Crescent City has rejoiced in brilliant seasons, both the French and Americans uniting in subscriptions sufficient to bring to them artists of unrivaled talent and culture. But opera entailed too heavy an expense, when the people who usually supported it were prostrate under the hands of plunderers, and a comedy company from the Paris theatres took its place upon the lyric stage. The French Opera House is a handsomely arranged building of modern construction, at the corner of Bourbon and Toulouse streets. The interior is elegantly decorated, and now during the season of six months the salle is nightly visited by hundreds of the subscribers, who take tickets for the whole season, and by the city's floating population. Between each act of the pieces all the men in the theatre rise, stalk


Page 36

out, puff cigarettes, and sip iced raspberry-water and absinthe in the cafés, returning in a long procession just as the curtain rises again; while the ladies receive the visits of friends in the loges or in the private boxes, which they often occupy four evenings in the week. The New Orleans public, both French and American, possesses excellent theatrical taste, and is severely critical, especially in opera. It is difficult to find a Creole family of any pretensions in which music is not cultivated in large degree.

        People in the French quarter very generally speak both prevailing languages, while the majority of the American residents do not affect the French. The Gallic children all speak English, and in the street-plays of the boys, as in their conversation, French and English idioms are strangely mingled. American boys call birds, fishes and animals by corrupted French names, handed down through seventy years of perversion, and a dreadful threat on the part of Young America is, that he will "mallerroo" you, which seems to hint that our old French friend malheureux, "unhappy," has, with other words, undergone corruption. When an American boy wishes his comrade to make his kite fly higher, he says, poussez! just as the French boy does, and so on ad infinitum.

        Any stranger who remains in the French quarter over Sunday will be amazed at the great number of funeral processions. It would seem, indeed, as if death came uniformly near the end of the week in order that people might be laid away on the Sabbath. The cemeteries, old and new, rich and poor, are scattered throughout the city, and most of them present an extremely beautiful appearance--the white tombs nestling among the dark-green foliage.

        It would be difficult to dig a grave of the ordinary depth in the "Louisiana lowlands" without coming to water;

Illustration

"The old French and Spanish cemeteries present long streets of cemented walls."

and, consequently, burials in sealed tombs above ground are universal. The old French and Spanish cemeteries present long streets of cemented walls, with apertures into which once were thrust the noble and good of the land, as if they were put into ovens to be baked; and one may still read queer inscriptions, dated away back in the middle of the eighteenth century. Great numbers of the monuments both in the old and new cemeteries are very imposing; and, one sees every day, as in all Catholic communities, long processions of mourning relatives carrying flowers to place on the spot where their loved and lost are entombed; or catches a glimpse of some black-robed figure sitting motionless before a tomb. The St. Louis Cemetery is
Page 37

fine, and many dead are even better housed in it than they were in life. The St. Patrick, Cypress Grove, Firemen's, Odd Fellows, and Jewish cemeteries, in the American quarter, are filled with richly-wrought tombs, and traversed by fine, tree-planted avenues.

        The St. Louis Hotel is one of the most imposing monuments of the French quarter, as well as one of the finest hotels in the United States. It was originally built to combine a city exchange, hotel, bank, ball-rooms, and private stores. The rotunda, metamorphosed into a dining-hall, is one of the most beautiful in this country, and the great inner

Illustration

The St. Louis Hotel--New Orleans.

circle of the dome is richly frescoed with allegorical scenes and busts of eminent Americans, from the pencils of Canova and Pinoli. The immense ball-room is also superbly decorated. The St. Louis Hotel was very nearly destroyed by fire in 1840, but in less than two years was restored to its original splendor. On the eastern and western sides of Jackson Square are the Pontalba buildings, large and not especially handsome brick structures, erected by the Countess Pontalba, many years ago. Chartres street, and all the avenues contributing to it, are thoroughly French in character; cafés, wholesale stores, pharmacies, shops for articles of luxury, all bear evidence of Gallic taste.

        Every street in the old city has its legend, either humorous or tragical; and each building which confesses to an hundred years has memories of foreign domination hovering about it. The elder families speak with bated breath and touching pride of their "ancestor who came with Bienville," or with such and such Spanish Governors; and many a name among those of the Creoles has descended untarnished to its present possessors through centuries of valor and adventurous achievement.


Page 38

III.

THE CARNIVAL--THE FRENCH MARKETS.

        CARNIVAL keeps it hold upon the people along the Gulf shore, despite the troubles, vexations, and sacrifices to which they have been forced to submit since the social revolution began. White and black join in its

Illustration

The Carnival--"White and Black join in its masquerading."

masquerading, and the Crescent City rivals Naples in the beauty and richness of its displays. Galveston has caught the infection, and every year the King of the Carnival adds a city to the domain loyal to him. The saturnalia practiced
Page 39

before the entry into Lent are the least bit practical, because Americans find it impossible to lay aside business utterly even on Mardi-Gras. The device of the advertiser pokes its ugly face into the very heart of the masquerade, and brings base reality, whose hideous features, outlined under his domino, put a host of sweet illusions to flight.

        The Carnival in New Orleans was organized in 1827, when a number of young Creole gentlemen, who had recently returned from Paris, formed a street-procession of maskers. It did not create a profound sensation--was considered the work of mad wags; and the festival languished until 1837, when there was a fine parade, which was succeeded by another still finer in 1839. From two o'clock in the afternoon until sunset of Shrove Tuesday, drum and fife, valve and trumpet, rang in the streets, and hundreds of maskers cut furious antics, and made day hideous. Thereafter, from 1840 to 1852, Mardi-Gras festival had varying popularity--such of the townspeople as had the money to spend now and then organizing a very fantastic and richly-dressed rout of mummers. At the old Orleans Theatre, balls of princely splendor were given; Europeans even came to join in the New World's Carnival, and wrote home enthusiastic accounts of it. In 1857 the "Mistick Krewe of Comus," a private organization of New Orleans gentlemen, made their début, and gave to the festivities a lustre which, thanks to their continued efforts, has never since quitted it. In 1857 the "Krewe" appeared in the guise of supernatural and mythological characters, and flooded the town with gods and demons, winding up the occasion with a grand ball at the Gaiety Theatre; previous to which they appeared in tableaux representing the "Tartarus" of the ancients, and Milton's "Paradise Lost." In 1858 this brilliant coterie of maskers renewed the enchantments of Mardi-Gras, by exhibiting the gods and goddesses of high Olympus and of the fretful sea, and again gave a series of brilliant tableaux. In 1859 they pictured the revels of the four great English holidays, May Day, Midsummer Eve, Christmas and Twelfth Night. In 1860 they illustrated American history in a series of superb groups of living statues mounted on moving pedestals. In 1861 they delighted the public with "Scenes from Life"--Childhood, Youth, Manhood and Old Age; and the ball at the Varieties Theatre was preceded by a series of grandiose tableaux which exceeded all former efforts. Then came the war; maskers threw aside their masks; but, in 1866, after the agony of the long struggle, Comus once more assembled his forces, and the transformations which Milton attributed to the sly spirit himself were the subject of the display. The wondering gazers were shown how Comus,


                         "Deep-skilled in all his mother's witcheries,
                         By sly enticement gives his baneful cup,
                         With many murmurs mixed, whose pleasing poison
                         The visage quite transforms of him that drinks,
                         And the inglorious likeness of a beast
                         Fixes instead."

        In 1867 Comus became Epicurean, and blossomed into a walking bill of fare, the maskers representing everything in the various courses and entrées of a


Page 40

gourmand's dinner, from oysters and sherry to the omelette brûlée, the Kirsch and Curaçoa. A long and stately array of bottles, dishes of meats and vegetables, and desserts, moved through the streets, awakening saturnalian laughter wherever it passed. In 1868 the Krewe presented a procession and tableaux from "Lalla Rookh;" in 1869, the "Five Senses;" and in 1870, the "History of Louisaina;" when old Father Mississippi himself, De Soto and his fellow-discoverers, the soldiers, adventurers, cavaliers, Jesuits, French, Spanish, and American Governors, were all paraded before the amazed populace. In 1871, King Comus and his train presented picturesque groupings from Spenser's "Faery Queene;" in 1872, from Homer's "Tale of Troy;" and in 1873 detailed the "Darwinian Development of the Species" from earliest beginnings to the gorilla, and thence to man. The Krewe of Comus has always paid the expenses of these displays itself, and has issued invitations only to as many people as could be accommodated within the walls of the theatre to witness the tableaux. It is composed of one hundred members, who are severally sworn to conceal their identity from all outsiders, and who have thus far succeeded admirably in accomplishing this object. The designs for their masks are made in New Orleans, and the costumes are manufactured from them in Paris yearly. In 1870 appeared the "Twelfth-Night Revelers"--who yearly celebrate the beautiful anniversary of the visit of the wise men of the East to the manger of the Infant Saviour. In 1870 the pageants of this organization were inaugurated by

Illustration

"The coming of Rex, most puissant King of Carnival." [Page 41.]


Page 41

"The Lord of Misrule and his Knights;" in 1871, "Mother Goose's Tea Party" was given; in 1872, a group of creations of artists and poets and visionaries, from lean Don Quixote to fat Falstaff, followed; and in 1873 the birds were represented, in a host of fantastic and varied tableaux.

        Another feature has been added to the festivities, one which promises in time to be most attractive of all. It is the coming of Rex, most puissant King of

Illustration

"The Boeuf-Gras--the fat ox--is led in the procession." [Page 42.]

Carnival. This amiable dignitary, depicted as a venerable man, with snow-white hair and beard, but still robust and warrior-like, made his first appearance on the Mississippi shores in 1872, and issued his proclamations through newspapers and upon placards, commanding all civil and military authorities to show subservience to him during his stay in "our good city of New Orleans." Therefore, yearly, when the date of the recurrence of Mardi-Gras has been fixed, the mystic King issues his proclamation, and is announced as having arrived at New York, or whatever other port seemeth good. At once thereafter, and daily, the papers teem with reports of his progress through the country, interspersed with anecdotes of his heroic career, which is supposed to have lasted for many centuries. The court report is usually conceived somewhat in the style of the following paragraph, supposed to be an anecdote told at the "palace" by an "old gray-headed sentinel:"

        "Another incident, illustrating the King's courageous presence of mind, was related by the veteran. While sojourning at Auch (this was several centuries ago), a wing of the palace took fire, the whole staircase was in flames, and in the highest story was a feeble old woman, apparently cut off from any means of escape. His Majesty offered two thousand francs to any one who would save


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her from destruction, but no one presented himself. The King did not stop to deliberate; he wrapped his robes closely about him, called for a wet cloth --which he threw aside--then rushed to his carriage, and drove rapidly to the theatre, where he passed the evening listening to the singing of 'If ever I cease to love.'"

        This is published seriously in the journals, next to the news and editorial paragraphs; and yearly, at one o'clock on the appointed day, the King, accompanied by Warwick, Earl-Marshal

Illustration

"When Rex and his train enter the queer old streets, the balconies are crowded with spectators." [Page 43.]

of the Empire, and by the Lord High Admiral, who is always depicted as suffering untold pangs from gout, arrives on Canal street, surrounded by troops of horse and foot, fantastically dressed, and followed by hundreds of maskers. Sometimes he comes up the river in a beautiful barge and lands amid thunderous salutes from the shipping at the wharves. This parade, which is gradually becoming one of the important features of the Carnival, is continued through all the principal streets of the city. The Boeuf-Gras--the fat ox--is led in the procession.
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The animal is gayly decorated with flowers and garlands. Mounted on pedestals extemporized from cotton-floats are dozens of allegorical groups, and the masks, although not so rich and costly as those of Comus and his crew, are quite as varied and mirth-provoking. The costumes of the King and his suite are gorgeous; and the troops of the United States, disguised as privates of Arabian artillery and as Egyptian spahis, do escort-duty to his Majesty. Rumor hath it, even, that on one occasion, the ladies of New Orleans presented a flag to an officer of the troops of "King Rex" (sic), little suspecting that it was thereafter to grace the Federal barracks. Thus the Carnival has its pleasant waggeries and surprises.

        Froissart thought the English amused themselves sadly; and indeed, comparing the Carnival in Louisiana with the Carnival in reckless Italy, one might say that the Americans masquerade grimly. There is but little of that wild luxuriance of fun in the streets of New Orleans which has made Italian cities so famous; people go to their sports with an air of pride, but not of all-pervading enjoyment. In the French quarter, when Rex and his train enter the queer old streets, there are shoutings, chaffings, and dancings, the children chant little couplets on Mardi-Gras; and the balconies are crowded with spectators. But the negroes make a somewhat sorry show in the masking: their every-day garb is more picturesque.

        Carnival culminates at night, after Rex and the "day procession" have retired.

Illustration

"The joyous, grotesque maskers appear upon the ball-room floor." [Page 44.]


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Thousands of people assemble in dense lines along the streets included in the published route of march; Canal street is brilliant with illumination, and swarms of persons occupy every porch, balcony, house-top, pedestal, carriage and mule-car. Then comes the train of Comus, and torch-bearers, disguised in outré masks, light up the way. After the round through the great city is completed, the reflection of the torch-light on the sky dies away, and the Krewe betake themselves to the Varieties Theatre, and present tableaux before the ball opens.

        This theatre, during the hour or two preceding the Mardi-Gras ball, offers one of the loveliest sights in Christendom. From floor to ceiling, the parquet, dress-circle and galleries are one mass of dazzling toilets, none but ladies being given seats. White robes, delicate faces, dark, flashing eyes, luxuriant folds of glossy hair, tiny, faultlessly-gloved hands,--such is the vision that one sees through his opera-glass.

        Delicious music swells softly on the perfumed air; the tableaux wax and wane like kaleidoscopic effects, when suddenly the curtain rises, and the joyous, grotesque maskers appear upon the ball-room floor. They dance; gradually ladies and their cavaliers leave all parts of the galleries, and come to join them; and then,


                         "No sleep till morn, when youth and pleasure meet,
                         To chase the glowing hours with flying feet."

        Meantime, the King of the Carnival holds a levée and dancing party at another place; all the theatres and public halls are delivered up to the votaries of Terpsichore; and the fearless, who are willing to usher in Lent with sleepless eyes, stroll home in the glare of the splendid Southern sunrise, yearly vowing that each Mardi-Gras has surpassed its predecessor.

        Business in New Orleans is not only entirely suspended on Shrove Tuesday (Mardi-Gras), but the Carnival authorities have absolute control of the city. They direct the police; they arrest the mayor, and he delivers to them the keys, while the chief functionaries of the city government declare their allegiance to "Rex;" addresses are delivered, and the processions move. The theatres are thrown open to the public, and woe betide the unhappy manager who dares refuse the order of the King to this effect. On one occasion a well-known actor arrived in the city during the festivities to fulfill an engagement, but as the managers of the theatre at which he was to act had refused to honor the King's command for free admission to all, the actor was at once arrested, taken to the "den" of the Earl-Marshal, and there kept a close prisoner until a messenger arrived to say that the recalcitrant manager had at last "acknowledged the corn." The violet is the royal flower; the imperial banner is of green and purple, with a white crown in the centre; and the anthem of the mystic monarch is, "If ever I cease to love." The accumulation of costumes and armor, all of which are historically accurate, is about to result in the establishment of a valuable museum.

        The artist's pencil has reproduced in these pages one of the many comical incidents which enliven the Carnival tide, and calls his life sketch "Beauty and


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Illustration

"Many bright eyes are in vain endeavoring to pierce the disguise."

the Beast." From the gallery of the Varieties Theatre, many bright eyes are in vain endeavoring to pierce the disguise under which a fashionable member of the Comus Krewe parades before their gaze.

        From early morning until nightfall the same quaint, distorted street-cries which one hears in foreign cities ring through the streets of New Orleans; and in the French quarter they are mirth-provoking, under their guise of Creole patois. The Sicilian fruit-sellers also make their mellifluous dialect heard loudly; and the streets always resound to the high-pitched voice of some negro who is rehearsing his griefs or joys in the most theatrical manner. Negro-beggars encumber the steps of various banks and public edifices, sitting for hours together with open, outstretched hands, almost too lazy to close them over the few coins the passers-by bestow. A multitude of youthful darkies, who have no visible aim in existence but to sport in the sun, abound in the American quarter, apparently well fed and happy. The mass of the negroes are recklessly


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Illustration

"The French market at sunrise on Sunday morning."

improvident, living, as in all cities, crowded together in ill-built and badly-ventilated cabins, the ready victims for almost any fell disease.

        Next to the river traffic, the New Orleans markets are more picturesque than anything else appertaining to the city. They lie near the levée, and, as markets, are indeed clean, commodious, and always well stocked. But they have another and an especial charm to the traveler from the North, or to him who has never seen their great counterparts in Europe. The French market at sunrise on Sunday morning is the perfection of vivacious traffic. In gazing upon the scene, one can readily imagine himself in some city beyond the seas. From the stone houses, balconied, and fanciful in roof and window, come hosts of plump and pretty young negresses, chatting in their droll patois with monsieur the fish-dealer, before his wooden bench, or with the rotund and ever-laughing madame who sells little piles of potatoes, arranged on a shelf like cannon balls at an arsenal, or chaffering with the fruit-merchant, while passing under long, hanging rows of odorous bananas and pineapples, and beside heaps of oranges, whose color contrasts prettily with the swart or tawny faces of the purchasers.

        During the morning hours of each day, the markets are veritable bee-hives of industry; ladies and servants flutter in and out of the long passages in endless throngs; but in the afternoon the stalls are nearly all deserted. One sees delicious


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types in these markets; he may wander for months in New Orleans without meeting them elsewhere. There is the rich savage face in which the struggle of Congo with French or Spanish blood is still going on; there is the old French market-woman, with her irrepressible form, her rosy cheeks, and the bandanna

Illustration

"Passing under long, hanging rows ot bananas and pine-apples." [Page 46.]

wound about her head, just as one may find her to this day at the Halles Centrales in Paris; there is the negress of the time of D'Artaguette, renewed in some of her grandchildren; there is the plaintive-looking Sicilian woman, who has been bullied all the morning by rough negroes and rougher white men as she sold oranges; and there is her dark, ferocious-looking husband, who handles his cigarette as if he were strangling an enemy.

        In a long passage, between two of the market buildings, where hundreds of people pass hourly, sits a silent Louisiana Indian woman, with a sack of gumbo spread out before her, and with eyes downcast, as if expecting harsh words rather than purchasers.

        Entering the clothes market, one finds lively Gallic versions of the Hebrew female tending shops where all articles are labeled at such extraordinarily low rates that the person who manufactured them must have given them away; quavering old men, clad in rusty black, who sell shoe-strings and cheap cravats, but who have hardly vitality enough to keep the flies off from themselves, not to speak of waiting on customers; villainous French landsharks, who have eyes as sharp for the earnings of the fresh-water sailor as ever had a Gotham


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shanghai merchant for those of a salt-water tar; mouldy old dames, who look daggers at you if you venture to insist that any article in their stock is not of finest fabric and quality; and hoarse-voiced, debauched Creole men, who almost cling to you in the energy of their pleading for purchases. Sometimes, too, a beautiful black-robed girl leans over a counter, displaying her superbly-moulded arms, as she adjusts her knitting-work. And from each and every one of the markets the noise rises in such thousand currents of patois, of French, of English, of good-natured and guttural negro accent, that one cannot help wondering how it is that buyer and seller ever come to any understanding at all.

        Then there are the flowers! Such marvelous bargains as one can have in bouquets! Delicate jessamines, modest knots of white roses, glorious orange blossoms, camelias, red roses, tender pansies, exquisite verbenas, the luscious and perfect virgin's bower, and the magnolia in its season;--all these are to be had in the markets for a trivial sum. Sometimes, when a Havana or a Sicilian vessel is discharging her cargo, fruit boxes are broken open; and then it is a treat to see swarms of African children hovering about the tempting piles, from which even the sight of stout cudgels will not frighten them.

        In the winter months the markets are crowded with strangers before six o'clock every morning. Jaunty maids from New England stroll in the passages,

Illustration

"One sees delicious types in these markets." [Page 47.]


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Illustration

"In a long passage, between two of the market buildings, sits a silent Louisiana Indian woman." [Page 47.]

escorted by pale and querulous invalid fathers, or by spruce young men, who swelter in their thick garments, made to be worn in higher latitudes. While New York or Boston ladies sip coffee in a market-stall, groups of dreamy-eyed negro girls surround them and curiously scan the details of their toilets. Black urchins grin confidingly and solicit alms as the blond Northerner saunters by. Perchance the Bostonian may hear a silvery voice, whose owner's face is buried in the depths of a sun-bonnet, exclaim--"There goes a regular Yankee!"

        Sailors, too, from the ships anchored in the river, promenade the long passage-ways; the accents of twenty languages are heard; and the childlike, comical French of the negroes rings out above the clamor.

Illustration

"Stout colored women, with cackling hens dangling from their brawny hands."

Wagons from the country clatter over the stones; the drivers sing cheerful melodies, interspersed with shouts of caution to pedestrians as they guide their restive horses through the crowds. Stout colored women, with cackling hens dangling from their brawny hands, gravely parade the long aisles; the fish-monger utters an apparently incomprehensible yell, yet brings crowds around him; on his clean block lies the pompano, the prince of Southern waters, which an enthusiastic admirer once described as "a just fish made perfect," or a "translated shad."

        Towards noon the clamor ceases, the bustle of traffic is over, and the market-men and women betake themselves to the old cathedral, in whose shadowed aisles they kneel for momentary worship.


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IV.

THE COTTON TRADE--THE NEW ORLEANS LEVEES.

        COTTON furnishes to New Orleans much of its activity and the sinews of its trade. It stamps a town, which would otherwise resemble some decayed but still luxurious European centre, with a commercial aspect. Americans

Illustration

"These boats, closely ranged in long rows by the levée." [Page 52.]

and Frenchmen are alike interested in the growth of the crop throughout all the great section drained by the Mississippi and its tributaries. They rush eagerly to the Exchange to read the statements of sales, and rates, and bales on hand; and both are intensely excited when there is a large arrival from some unexpected quarter, or when the telegraph informs them that some packet has sunk, with hundreds of bales on board, while toiling along the currents of the Arkansas or Red rivers.

        In the American quarter, during certain hours of the day, cotton is the only subject spoken of; the pavements of all the principal avenues in the vicinity of the Exchange are crowded with smartly-dressed gentlemen, who eagerly discuss crops and values, and who have a perfect mania for preparing and comparing the estimates at the basis of all speculations in the favorite staple; with young Englishmen, whose mouths are filled with the slang of the Liverpool market;


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and with the skippers of steamers from all parts of the West and South-west, each worshiping at the shrine of the same god.

        From high noon until dark the planter, the factor, the speculator, flit feverishly to and from the portals of the Exchange, and nothing can be heard above the excited hum of their conversation except the sharp voice of the clerk reading the latest telegrams.

        New Orleans receives the greater portion of the crop of Louisiana and Mississippi, of North Alabama, of Tennessee, of Arkansas, and Florida. The gross receipts of cotton there amount to about thirty-three and one-third per cent. of the entire production of the country. Despite the abnormal condition of government and society there, the natural tendency is towards a rapid and continuous increase of cotton production in the Gulf States.

        But the honor of receiving the Texas crop, doubled, as it soon will be, as the result of increased immigration, favoring climate, and cheap land, will be sharply disputed by Galveston, one of the most ambitious and promising of the Gulf capitals; and the good burghers of New Orleans must look to a speedy completion of their new railways if they wish to cope successfully with the wily and self-reliant Texan.

        Judging from the progress of cotton-growing in the past, it will be tremendous in future. In 1824-'25 the cotton crop of the United States was 569,249 bales; in 1830-'31, it ran up to 1,038,000 bales; during '37-'38 it reached as high as 1,800,000 bales; and eleven years later was 2,700,000 bales. In 1859-'60 the country's cotton crop was 4,669,770 bales; in 1860-'61 it dropped to 3,656,000 bales. Then came the war. In the days of slave labor, planters did not make more than a fraction of their present per cent. They themselves attended very little to their crops, leaving nearly everything to the overseers. Cotton raising is now far more popular in the Gulf States than it was before the war, although it has still certain distressing drawbacks, arising from the incomplete organization of labor. The year after the close of the war, 2,193,000 bales were produced, showing that the planters went to work in earnest to retrieve their fallen fortunes. From that time forward labor became better organized, and the production went bravely on. In 1866-'67 it amounted to 1,951,000 bales, of which New Orleans received 780,000; in 1867-'68 to 2,431,000 bales, giving New Orleans 668,000; in 1868-'69 to 2,260,000, 841,000 of which were delivered at New Orleans; in 1869-'70 to 3,114,000, and New Orleans received 1,207,000; in 1870-'71 to 4,347,000, giving the Crescent City 1,548,000; and in 1871-'72 to 2,974,000, more than one-third of which passed through New Orleans. The necessity of a rapid multiplication of railroad and steamboat lines is shown by the fact that more than 150,000 bales of the crop of 1870-'71 remained in the country, at the close of that season, on account of a lack of transportation facilities. From 1866 to 1872, inclusive, the port of New Orleans received 6,114,000 bales, or fully one-third of the entire production of the United States. The receipts from the Red River region alone at New Orleans for 1871-'72, by steamer, were


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197,386 bales; for 1870-'71 they amounted to 284,313 bales; and the Ouachita River sent to the metropolis 89,084 bales in 1871-'72, and 151,358 in 1870-'71.

        

Illustration

"Whenever there is a lull in the work they sink down on the cotton bales."

        Knowing these statistics, one can hardly wonder at the vast masses of bales on the levée at the landings of the steamers, nor at the numbers of the boats which daily arrive, their sides piled high with cotton. About these boats, closely ranged in long rows by the levée, and seeming like river monsters which have crawled from the ooze to take a little sun, the negroes swarm in crowds, chatting in the broken, colored English characteristic of the river-hand. They are clad in garments which hang in rags from their tawny or coal black limbs. Their huge, naked chests rival in perfection of form the works of Praxiteles and his fellows.

Illustration

"Not far from the levée, there is a police court, where they especially delight to lounge."

Their arms are almost constantly bent to the task of removing cotton bales, and carrying boxes, barrels, bundles of every conceivable shape and size; but whenever there is a lull in the work they sink down on the cotton bales, clinging to them like lizards to a sunny wall, and croon to themselves, or crack rough and good-natured jokes with one another. Not far from the levée there is a police court, where they especially delight to lounge.

        In 1871-'72 (the commercial year extends from September to September) the


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value of the cotton received at New Orleans was $94,430,000; in 1870-'71 it was $101,000,000; and in 1869-'70 even $120,000,000. The difference in the value of the crops during that period was very great. In 1869-'70 cotton sold for nearly $100 per bale, and in 1870-'71 it had depreciated to an average of $65 per bale. Until the facilities for speedy transportation have been greatly increased, a glut of the market, produced by a successful conduct of the year's labor on the majority of the plantations, will continue to bring prices down.

        The whole character of the cotton trade has been gradually changing since the war. Previous to that epoch a large portion of the business was done directly by planters through their merchants; but now that the plantations are mainly worked on shares by the freedmen, the matter has come into the hands of country traders, who give credits to the laborers during the planting seasons, and take their pay in the products of the crop, in harvest time. These speculators then follow to market the cotton which they have thus accumulated in small lots, and look attentively after it until it has been delivered to some responsible pruchaser, and they have pocketed the proceeds.

        They often pay the planter and his coöperating freedmen a much higher price for cotton than the market quotations seem to warrant; but they always manage to retain a profit, rarely allowing a freedman to find that his season's toil has done more than square his accounts with the acute trader who has meantime supplied him and his family with provisions, clothing, and such articles of luxury as the negro's mind and body crave. Shortly after the war there was trouble between planters and factors; and it is not probable that much, if any, business will hereafter be transacted by the latter directly with the planter, though upon the arrival of the crop in New Orleans the cotton factor becomes the chief authority. Business is largely done between buyer and seller on the basis of a confidence which seems to the casual observer rather reckless, but which custom has made perfectly safe.

        The Cotton Exchange of New Orleans sprang into existence in 1870, and merchants and planters were alike surprised that they had not thought its advantages necessary before. It now has three hundred members, and expends thirty thousand dollars annually in procuring the latest commercial intelligence, and maintaining a suite of rooms where the buyer and seller may meet, and which shall be a central bureau of news. The first president of the Exchange was the well-known E. H. Summers, of Hilliard, Summers & Co., of New Orleans; the second and present one is Mr. John Phelps, one of the principal merchants of the city.*

        *The writer takes this occasion to acknowledge his indebtedness to Secretary Hester of the Cotton Exchange of New Orleans, and to Mr. Parker of the Picayune, for many interesting details in this connection; to Hon. Charles Gayarré for access to historical portraits; and to Collector Casey and his able deputy, Mr. Champlin, for reference to official statistics.


The boards of the Exchange are carefully and thoroughly edited, and are always surrounded by a throng of speculators, as well as by the more staid and important of the local merchants. During the busy season, the labor at the Exchange, and in the establishments of all the prominent merchants and factors, is almost incessant.


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        In the months between January and May, when the season is at its height, clerks and patrons work literally night and day; so that when the most exhausting period of the year arrives, finding themselves thoroughly overworked, they leave the sweltering lowlands, and fly to the North for rest and cool refuge. New Orleans is accused of a lack of energy, but her cotton merchants are more energetic than the mass of Northern traders and speculators, working, as they do, with feverish impulse early and late. One well-known cotton factor, whose transactions amount to nearly $12,000,000 yearly, gets to his desk, during the season, long before daylight,--and that, in the climate of the Gulf States, comes wonderfully early.

        The railroad development of the South since the war has metamorphosed the whole cotton trade of New Orleans. Cotton which once arrived in market in May now reaches the factor during the preceding December or January. The Jackson and Mobile roads did much to effect this great change, and when rail communication with Texas is secured, it will bring with it another marked difference in the same direction.

        The sugar interest once left the most money in New Orleans; now cotton is the main stay. It is estimated that each bale which passes through the market leaves about seven dollars and fifty cents. Most of the business with England is done by cable, and the telegraph bills of many prominent firms are enormous. The Board of Arbitration and Board of Appeals of the Exchange make all decisions, and have power to expel any unruly member.

        The Louisiana capitalists have given some attention to the manufacture of cotton, and the factories which have already been established are clearing from eighteen to twenty-five per cent. per annum. There are two of these factories in New Orleans, each of which consumes about one thousand bales yearly; a third is located at Beauregard, and a fourth in the penitentiary at Baton Rouge. The consumption by all the Southern cotton mills, during the three years closing with 1872 amounted to two hundred and ninety-one thousand bales, and is increasing at a rapid rate. Each new railway connection enlarges the city's claims as a cotton mart. The Jackson Railroad, during the commercial year 1871-'72, brought into it forty thousand bales, thus adding about four million dollars to the trade.

        When the levées are crowded with the busy negroes, unloading cotton from the steamboats, the apparent confusion is enough to turn a stranger's head; yet the order is perfect. Each of the steamers has its special stall, into which it swings with grace and precision, to the music of a tolling bell and an occasional hoarse scream from the whistle; and the instant the cables are made fast and the gangways swung down, the "roustabouts" are on board, and busily wheeling the variously branded bales to the spaces allotted them on the wharves.

        The negroes who man the boats running up and down the Mississippi are not at all concerned in the discharging of cargoes, being relieved from that duty by the regular wharfmen. There is a rush upon the pile of bales fifty-feet high on the capacious lower deck of a Greenville and Vicksburg, a Red River, or a Ouachita packet, and the monument to the industry of a dozen planters


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vanishes as if by magic. Myriads of little flags, each ornamented with different devices, flutter from various points along the wharves; and as the blacks wheel the cotton past the "tally-man" standing near the steamer's gangways, he notes the mark on each bale, and in a loud voice calls out to him who is wheeling it the name of the sign on the flag under which it is to rest until sold and removed. While the bales remain on the levées, the cotton thieves now and then steal a pound or two of the precious staple.

        

Illustration

"The cotton thieves."

        This army of "roustabouts" is an ebony-breasted, tough-fisted, bullet-headed, toiling, awkward mass; but it does wonders at work. It is generally good-humored, even when it grumbles; is prodigal of rude, cheerful talk and raillery; has no secrets or jealousies; is helpful, sympathetic, and familiar. It leaps to its work with a kind of concentrated effort, and, as soon as the task is done, relapses into its favorite condition of slouch.

        Neither the sharp voices of the skippers, nor the harsh orders of the masters of the

Illustration

"There is the old apple and cake woman." [Page 56.]

gangs, nor the cheery and mirth-provoking responses of the help, mingled with the sibilations of escaping steam, the ringing of countless bells, and the moving and rumbling of drays, carts and steam-cars can drown or smother the jocund notes of the negro's song. His arms and limbs and head keep time to the harmony, as he trundles the heavy bale along the planks.

        When he pauses from his work, you may see his


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dusky wife or daughter, in a long, closely-fitting, trim calico gown, and a starched gingham sun-bonnet, giving him his dinner from a large tin pail; or you may find him patronizing one of the grimy old dames, each of whom looks wicked enough to be a Voudou Queen, who are always seated at quiet corners with a basket of coarse but well-prepared food. Small merchants thrive along the levée. There is the old apple and cake woman, black and fifty, blundering about the wharf's edge; there is the antiquated and moss-grown old man who cowers all day beside a little cart filled with cans of ice-cream; there is the Sicilian fruit-seller, almost as dark visaged as a negro; there is the coffee and sausage man, toward whom, many a time daily, black and toil-worn hands are eagerly outstretched; and bordering on Canal street, all along the walks leading from the wharf, are little booths filled with negroes in the supreme stages of shabbiness, who feast on chicken and mysterious compounds of vegetables, and drink alarming draughts of "whiskey at five cents a glass." The sailor on the Mississippi is much like his white brother of more stormy seas, who drinks up his wages, gets penitent, confesses his poverty, and begs again for work.

        

Illustration

"The Sicilian fruit-seller."

        At high water, the juvenile population of New Orleans perches on the beams of the wharves, and enjoys a little quiet fishing. For two or three miles down the river, from the foot of Canal street, the levées are encumbered with goods of every conceivable description. Then the landings cease, and, almost level with the bank on which you walk, flows the grand, impetuous stream which has sometimes swept all before it on the lowlands where the fair Louisiana capital lies, and transformed the whole section between Lake Pontchartrain and the present channel into an eddying sea.

        Up the river, commerce of the heavy and substantial order has monopolized the space, and you may note in a morning the arrival of a hundred thousand bushels of grain, on a single one of the capacious tow-boats of the Mississippi Valley Transportation Company. Merchants even boast that the port can supply, to outgoing ships, that quantity daily from the West; and that the lack of transportation facilities often causes an accumulation of three hundred thousand bushels in the New Orleans storehouses. Up and down the levées run the branch lines of the Jackson, the Louisiana and Texas, and the New Orleans, Mobile and


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Texas railways, and teams drive recklessly on the same tracks on which incoming trains are drawn by rapidly moving locomotives. The freight depots, the reception sheds and the warehouses are crammed with jostling, sweating, shouting, black and white humanity; and, in the huge granite Custom-House, even politics has to give way,

Illustration

"At high water, the juvenile population perches on the beams of the wharves, and enjoys a little quiet fishing." [Page 56.]

from time to time, before the torrents of business. At night a great silence falls on the levée. Only the footsteps of the watchmen, or of the polite, but consequential negro policeman, are heard on the well-worn planks. Now and then an eye of fire, the lamp of an incoming steamer, peers out of the obscurity shrouding the river, or glides athwart the moonlight, and three hoarse screams announce an arrival. Along the shore, a hundred lights twinkle in the water, and turn the commonest surroundings into enchantment. There is little sign of life from any of the steamers at the docks, though here and there a drunken river-hand blunders along the wharves singing some dialect catch; but with early sun-peep comes once more the roar, the rush, the rattle!

        

Illustration

"The polite, but consequential negro policeman."

        The coastwise trade is one of the important elements of the commerce of New Orleans. Of the total tonnage entered and cleared from that port during the fiscal year 1871-'72, fifty-four per cent., or 1,226,000 tons, belonged to this trade, representing something like $125,000,000; while the foreign trade was only $109,000,000 for the same period. During the commercial year ending September 30, 1872, two thousand five hundred and nine steamboats, comprising a tonnage of 3,500,000 tons burthen, arrived at the port. The value of the principal articles brought in by these boats was $160,000,000, the up-river cargoes amounting to about $90,000,000. It is, therefore, fair to estimate the net value of this commerce at nearly $400,000,000 per annum.


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        Now let us take the actual figures of the commerce of the Gulf for one year: that from September, 1871, to September, 1872.

        
Coastwise trade $135,000,000
Galveston trade 25,000,000
Mobile trade 24,000,000
Exports from New Orleans 90,800,000
Imports to New Orleans 18,700,000
Cuban trade 150,000,000
Porto Rico 25,000,000
Mexico 35,000,000

        This, exclusive of the Darien and Central American trade, now so rapidly increasing, makes a grand total of more than five hundred millions of dollars.*

        * The collection district, of which New Orleans is the chief port, embraces all the shores, inlets, and waters within the State of Louisiana east of the Atchafalaya, not including the waters of the Teche, of the Ohio river, or the several rivers and creeks emptying into it, or of the Mississippi or any of its tributaries except those within the State of Mississippi. The district extends on the coast from the western boundary of Mississippi, on Lake Borgne, to the Atchafalaya; and the ports of delivery, to which merchandise can be shipped under transportation bond, are as follows: Bayou St. John and Lake Port, in Louisiana; Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga and Knoxville, in Tennessee; Hickman and Louisville, in Kentucky; Tuscumbia, in Alabama; Cincinnati, in Ohio; Madison, New Albany and Evansville, in Indiana; Cairo, Alton, Quincy, Peoria and Galena, in Illinois; Dubuque, Burlington and Keokuk, in Iowa; Hannibal and St. Louis, in Missouri, and Leavenworth, in Kansas. The shipment of merchandise, under transportation bond, has increased steadily from $1,736,981 in 1866 to $5,502,427 in 1872; the value of merchandise imported, from $10,878,365 to $20,006,363; and domestic exports, from $89,002,141 to $95,970,592, in the same period. The total value of the merchandise imported during those years is $102,305,014; the total of domestic exports amounted to $608,871,013, and the whole amount of revenue collected, to $35,140,906.

        The receipts from customs at New Orleans for 1872 were very much diminished by the large shipments of goods in bond to the interior cities of Memphis, Nashville, Louisville, Cincinnati, Cairo, St. Louis, Chicago, etc., the duties on which were collected at those ports respectively. From 1866 to 1872 inclusive, the movement of the port included 2,852 foreign vessels, with a tonnage of 1,547,747 tons, and 1,773 American ships, with a tonnage of 1,100,492. The revenue receipts at New Orleans have been largely diminished by the removal of the duties on coffee--the importations of that article during the seven years following 1866 amounting to 155,953,213 pounds, valued at $16,511,602. The magnitude of the trade of the port may also be well illustrated by showing the importations of sugar and railroad iron for the same time. Of the former article there were imported 263,918,978 pounds, worth $14,531,960, and of the latter 480,043 tons, valued at $15,299,642.

        It will be seen that the imports are small in quantity as compared with the exports when the cotton is counted in--the imports amounting to only about one-seventh of the exports; but this ratio will be much reduced in time, as New Orleans becomes a more economical port. Five steamship lines now make the city their point of departure. Three of these, the Liverpool Southern, the Mississippi and Dominion, and the State Line Steamship Company, communicate directly with Liverpool, while other lines are projected.



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V.

THE CANALS AND THE LAKE--THE AMERICAN QUARTER.

        NEW ORLEANS is built on land from two to four feet below the level of the Mississippi river at high water mark. It fronts on a great bend in the stream in the form of a semicircle, whence it takes its appellation of the "Crescent City," and stretches back to the borders of Lake Pontchartrain, which

Illustration

The St. Charles Hotel--New Orleans. [Page 61.]

lies several feet below the level of the Mississippi, and has an outlet on the Gulf of Mexico. The rain-fall, the sewerage of the city, and the surplus water from the river, are drained into the canals which traverse New Orleans, and are thence carried into the lake. The two principal canals, known as the Old and New Basins are navigable; steamers of considerable size run through them and the lake to the Gulf, and thence along the Southern Atlantic coast; and schooners and barks, laden with lumber and produce, are towed in and out by mules. The city is divided into drainage districts, in each of which large pumping machines are constantly worked to keep down the encroaching water. Were it not for the canals and the drainage system, the low-lying city would, after a heavy rain, be partially submerged. A fine levée extends for four and a-half miles along the front of Lake Pontchartrain, making a grand driveway; and as a complement to this improvement, it is expected that in a few years the cypress swamps will be filled up, and the lake front will be studded with mansions. The building of this levée was an imperative necessity, the action of the lake making the perfecting of the city's present system of drainage impossible otherwise.

        On Sundays the shell road leading northward from Canal street past the Metairie and Oakland Parks, by the side of the New Basin, is crowded with teams, and the restaurants, half hidden by foliage, echo to boisterous merriment. But on a week day it is almost deserted. Schooners on the canal glide


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lazily along; ragged negro boys sit on the banks, sleepily fishing; while the intense green of the leaves is beautifully reflected from the water. Arrived near the lake, you catch a view of dark water in the canal in the foreground, with a gayly-painted sail-boat lying close to the bank; an ornamental gateway just

Illustration

The New Basin. [Page 59.]

beyond; a flock of goats browsing at the roadside; and afar off, a white light-house standing lonely on a narrow point of land. You may step into a sail-boat at the lake, and let a brown, barefooted Creole fisherman sail you down to the pier where the railroad from New Orleans terminates; then back again, up the Bayou St. John, until he lands you near the walls of the "old Spanish fort." There you may find a summer-house, an orchard, and a rose-garden. From the balcony you can see a long pier running into the lake; the sun's gold on the rippling water; the oranges in the trees below; the group of sailors tugging at the cable of their schooner; the pretty cluster of cottages near the levée's end; the cannon, old and dismounted, lying half-buried under the grasses; the wealth of peach-blossoms in the bent tree near the parapet; and a bevy of bare-legged children playing about their mother, as she sits on the sward, cutting rose-stems, and twisting blossoms into bouquets.

        As evening deepens, you sail home, and, in the dining-room of the restaurant near the canal, look out upon the passing barges and boats gliding noiselessly townward; hear the shouts of festive parties as they wander on the levée, or along the cypress-girt shore; hear the boatmen singing catches; or watch a blood-red moon as it rises slowly, and casts an enchanted light over the burnished surface of the water-way.

        A promenade on Canal street is quite as picturesque as any in the French quarter. There is the negro boot-black sitting in the sun, with his own splay-feet on his blacking-block; and there are the bouquet-sellers, black and white, ranged at convenient corners, with baskets filled with breast knots of violets, and a world of rose-buds, camelias, and other rich blossoms. The newsboy cries his wares, vociferous as

Illustration

The old Spanish Fort.

his brother of Gotham. The "roust-abouts" from the levée, clad in striped trowsers and flannel shirts, and in coats and hats which they seem to have slept in for a century, hasten homeward to
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dinner, with their cotton-hooks clenched in their brawny hands. The ropers for gambling-houses--one of the curses of New Orleans--haunt each conspicuous corner, and impudently scan passers-by.

        From twelve to two the American ladies monopolize Canal street. Hundreds of lovely brunettes may be seen, in carriages, in cars, in couples with mamma, or accompanied by the tall,

Illustration

The University of Louisiana--New Orleans. [Page 62.]

dark, thin Southern youth, attired in black broadcloth, slouch hat, and irreproachable morning gloves. The confectioners' shops are crowded with dainty little women, who have the Italian rage for confetti, and the sugared cakes of the pastry-cook vanish like morning dew. The matinées at the American theatres, as at the French, begin at noon; and at three or half-past three, twice a week, the tide of beauty floods Canal, St. Charles, Carondelet, Rampart, and other streets. At evening, Canal street is very quiet, and hardly seems the main thoroughfare of a great city.

        The American quarter of New Orleans is superior to the French in width of avenue, in beauty of garden and foliage; but to-day many streets there are grass-grown, and filled with ruts and hollows. In that section, not inaptly designated the "Garden City," there are many spacious houses surrounded by gardens, parks and orchards; orange-trees grow in the yards, and roses clamber in at the windows. The homes of well-to-do Americans, who have been able to keep about them some appearance of comfort since the war, are found

Illustration

The Theatres of New Orleans

mostly on Louisiana and Napoleon avenues and on Prytania, Plaquemine, Chestnut, Camp, Jena, Cadiz, Valence, Bordeaux, and St. Charles streets. Along St. Charles street, near Canal, are the famous St. Charles Hotel; the Academy of Music, and the St. Charles Theatre, both well
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appointed theatrical edifices; and the Masonic, City, and Exposition Hails. Opposite the City Hall--one of the noblest public buildings in New Orleans, built of granite and white marble, in Grecian Ionic style--is Lafayette Square. On its south-western side is the First Presbyterian Church; and at

Illustration

Christ Church--New Orleans.

its southern extremity the Odd Fellows' Hall, where the famous McEnery Legislature held its sessions. On Common street, one of the business thoroughfares of the town, is the University of Louisiana. The city is making its most rapid growth in the direction of Carrollton, a pretty suburb, filled with pleasant homes, and within three-quarters of an hour's ride of Canal street.

        Canal street is bordered by shops of no mean pretensions, and by many handsome residences; it boasts of Christ Church, the Varieties Theatre, the noted restaurant of Moreau, the statue of Henry Clay, a handsome fountain, and the new Custom-House. The buildings are not crowded together, as in New York and Paris; they are usually two or three stories high, and along the first story runs a porch which serves as a balcony to those dwelling above, and as protection from sun and rain to promenaders below. The banks, insurance offices, and wholesale stores fronting on Canal street are elegant and modern, an improvement in the general tone of business architecture having taken place since the war. Under the régime of slavery, little or no attention was paid to fine buildings; exterior decoration, save that which the magnificent foliage of the country gave, was entirely disregarded. Now, however, the citizens begin to take pride in their public edifices.

        

Illustration

The Canal street Fountain--New Orleans.

        The bugbear of yellow fever has, for many years, been a drawback to the prosperity of New Orleans. The stories told of its fearful ravages during some of its visitations are startling; but there is hope that the complete and thorough draining of the city will prevent the repetition of such scenes and consequent panics in future. The inhabitants who remain in the city throughout the summer are, in ordinary seasons, as healthy a people as can be found in the United States. Although a lifetime spent in the soft


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climate of Louisiana may render an organism somewhat more languid and effeminate than that of the Northerner, there are few of the wretched chronic complaints, terminating in lingering illness and painful death, which result from the racking conflict of extremes in the New England climate.

        

Illustration

The Charity Hospital--New Orleans.

        Many Louisianians disbelieve in the efficacy of quarantine against the yellow fever. They say that, during seventy years, from 1796 to 1870, they had quarantine nineteen times, and in each of those nineteen years the dread fever at least showed its ugly face. The war quarantine, they assert, failed every year of the four that it was in operation. The Charity Hospital has received cases of yellow fever annually for the last fifty years. Only in two cases, however, where the proper quarantine precautions had been taken, had the disease assumed the proportions of a general plague. The general impression is that the fever will certainly carry off unacclimated persons; but physicians in the hospitals assert that there has been no evidence of the transmission of the fever in hospital wards to unacclimated people; and as they have watched cases for weeks after exposure, their testimony should be considered valuable. Previous to the war, no proper attention had been paid to drainage and cleanliness of streets in New Orleans; and it is the opinion of many good authorities that a careful examining of all vessels arriving from foreign ports, and in town a sanitary police of the most rigorous character, will soon make the fever a rare and not a very dangerous visitor.

        

Illustration

The old maison de Santé--New Orleans [Page 64.]

        The Charity Hospital is one of the noblest buildings in the city, and the people of New Orleans have good reason to be proud of it. Dating from the earliest foundation of the city, it has never closed its doors save when accident


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has compelled it to do so temporarily. From the time when the Ursuline nuns took charge of it under Bienville until now it has been one of the most beneficent charities in the country. No question of race, nationality, religion, sex or character hinders from admission a single applicant for repose and healing

Illustration

The United States Marine Hospital--New Orleans.

within the walls; and the best medical talent is placed at the disposition of the poorest and meanest of citizens. The Asylum of St. Elizabeth, and the male and female orphan asylums, are also noteworthy charities.

        The Maison de Santé, long one of the most noted infirmaries of New Orleans, is now deserted, and like the United States Marine Hospital, which has not been used since 1860, is rapidly falling into decay. During the war the fine United States Hospital, which once stood at MacDonough's, on the river opposite New Orleans, was destroyed.

        The Protestant churches in the American quarter are good specimens of modern church architecture. The oldest of the Episcopal organizations, dating back to 1806, is Christ Church, on Canal street, founded by Bishop Chase. This church was the germ of Protestantism in the South-west. The present edifice is the third erected by the society. The fashionable Episcopal churches

Illustration

Trinity Church--New Orleans.

        St. Paul's Church--New Orleans.


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are considered to be Trinity and St. Paul's. Annunciation Church is a fine edifice. The McGhee Church, of which Rev. Dr. Tudor is pastor, is the principal of the Methodist Episcopal churches South. The Northern post-bellum settlers are mainly Congregational or Methodist, and have gathered at the First Congregational Church, and at the Methodist Episcopal Ames Chapel. The First Presbyterian Church Society long enjoyed the spiritual guidance of the eloquent Dr. Palmer, a divine of national reputation. The principal Baptist society assembles at the Coliseum Place Church. There are great numbers of colored church organizations, many of which are in a flourishing condition,

Illustration

First Presbyterian Church--New Orleans.

having been largely aided by Northern missions. As there are one hundred and sixteen churches in New Orleans, the visitor can hardly hope to peer into them all; but on Baronne street he may steal for a moment into the shade of the old Jesuit Church, and, entering the dimly-lighted nave, see the black-robed girls at the confessional, and the richly-dressed women making their rounds before the chapels and kneeling, prayer-books in hand, beside the market-woman and the serving girl. The Jesuit Church, St. Augustine's, St. Joseph's, St. Patrick's, and the Mortuary Chapel, are

Illustration

The Catholic Churches of New Orleans.

among the best of the Catholic religious structures. St. Patrick's has a tower 190 feet high, modeled after that of the famous minster at York, England.

        The city is not rich in architecture. After the National Capitol, the Custom-House is considered the largest public building in the country. It has


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a front of 334 feet on Canal street, and nearly the same on the levée. It is built entirely of granite from Massachusetts. Begun in 1848, little has been done since the war to complete it. As the seat of the United States courts, and of the exciting political conventions which have been so intimately

Illustration

The Custom-House--New Orleans.

connected with the present political condition of Louisiana, the Custom-House attracts an interest which its architecture certainly could never excite. The building still lacks the roof contemplated in the original plan. When General Butler was military commander of New Orleans he proposed to erect a temporary roof, but his recall came before the work was begun.

        The Ionic building at the corner of Esplanade and New Levée streets, once used as a United States branch mint, is noted as the place of execution of Mumford, who tore down the flag which the Federal forces had just raised on the roof when in 1862 the city was first occupied by the Northern forces. Mumford was hung, by General Butler's order, from a flag-staff projecting from one of the windows under the front portico of the main building.

Illustration

The United States Branch Mint--New Orleans.


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VI.

ON THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER--THE LEVÉE SYSTEM--RAILROADS. THE FORT ST. PHILIP CANAL.

        THE banks of the Mississippi, within the State of Louisiana, are lovely, the richness of the foliage and the luxuriance of the vegetation redeeming them from the charge of monotony which might otherwise be urged. Here and there a town, as in the case of Plaquemine, has been compelled to recede before the encroachments of the river.

        The people of the State have shown rare pertinacity in maintaining the levée system. Like the Dutch in Holland, they doggedly assert their right to the lowlands in which they live, always braving inundation. They have built, and endeavor to maintain in repair, more than 1,500 miles, or 51,000,000 cubic feet of levées within the State limits. Their State engineer corps is always at work along the banks of the Mississippi, above and below Red River, on the Red River itself, on the Lafourche, the Atchafalaya, the Black and Ouachita, and on numerous important bayous.

        The work of levée building has been pressed forward even when the Commonwealth has been prostrated by a hundred evils. Detailed surveys are constantly necessary to insure the State against inundation. The cost value of the present system is estimated at about $17,000,000, and it is asserted that the future expenditure of a similar sum will be necessary to complete and perfect it.

        Ten years before the war, when Louisiana was in her most prosperous condition, she possessed 1,200 miles of levées, and the police juries of the several parishes compelled a strict maintenance of them by "inspectors of sections." Of course, during the war, millions of cubic feet of levées were destroyed by neglect, and for military purposes; and that the State, in her impoverished condition, should have been able to rebuild the old, and add new levées in so short a time, speaks volumes for her energy and industry,--qualities which find a thorough representative in General Jeff Thompson, the present State Engineer.

        The Louisiana people claim that the general government should now take the building of levées along the Mississippi into its own hands, and their reasoning to prove it is ingenious. They say, for instance, that the tonnage of the great river amounts during a given year to 1,694,000 tons. They then claim that the transit of steamboats gives, by causing waves, an annual blow, equal to the whole tonnage of the commerce of the river, against each portion or point of the levées, or the banks on which the levées are erected; and that this blow is delivered at the average rate of about six miles an hour, a force equal to


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15,000,000 tons;--a force expended by the commerce of the whole Mississippi basin upon each lineal foot in the 755 miles of Louisiana levées upon the river! On these grounds they object to paying all the expenses of levée building in their own State; and they are supported by able scientists.

        

Illustration

"Sometimes the boat stops at a coaling station."

        The United States certainly is the only power in America which can ever control the Mississippi, and prevent occasional terrible overflows; and it is its bounden duty to do it.

        By day and night, the journey down river in the State of Louisiana is alike beautiful, impressive, exhilarating. But when a moonless night settles down upon the stream, and you float away into an apparent ocean on the back of the white Leviathan whose throbbing sides, seem so tireless, the effect is solemnly grand.

        Sometimes the boat stops at a coaling station, and tons of coal are laboriously transferred from barges to the steamer. An army of negroes shovel the glistening nuggets into rude hand-barrows, which another army, formed into a procession, carries to the furnaces.

        I went down from Vicksburg on one of the larger and finer of the steamers; and the journey was a perpetual succession of novel episodes. At one point, when I supposed we were comfortably holding our way in the channel, a torch-light flared up, and showed us nearing a scraggy bank. The thin, long prow of the boat ran upon the land. Gangways were lowered; planks were run out from the boat's side to the bank; forty negroes sprang from some mysterious recess below, and huddled before the capstan.

        The shower of harmless sparks from the torches cast momentary red gleams over the rude but kindly black faces. A sharp-voiced white man, whom I learned afterwards to call the "Wasp," because he always flew nervously about stinging the sprawling negroes into activity, thrust himself among the laborers. Twenty stings from his voice, and the dusky forms plunged into the darkness beyond the gangways. Then other torches were placed upon the bank--lighting up long wood-piles.


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        The Wasp flitted restlessly from shore to deck, from deck to shore, while the negroes attacked the piles, and, each taking half a dozen sticks, hurried to the deck with them. Presently there was an endless procession of black forms from the landing to the boat and back through the flickering light, to the tune of loud adjurations from the Wasp. Now and then the chain of laborers broke into a rude chant, beginning with a prolonged shout, such as


                         "Oh! I los' my money dar!"
and followed by a gurgling laugh, as if the singers were amused at the sound of their own voices. When any of the darkies stumbled or lagged, the Wasp,

Illustration

"The Wasp."

generally kind and well-disposed towards the negroes, despite his rough ways, broke into appeal, threat, and entreaty, crying out raspingly and with, oaths, "You, Reuben!" "You, Black Hawk!" "Come on thar, you Washington! ain't you going to hear me!" Now and then he would run among the negroes, urging them into such activity that a whole pile would vanish as if swallowed by an earthquake. In two hours and a-half sixty cords of wood were transferred from the bank to the boat, and the Wasp, calling the palpitating wood-carriers around him, thus addressed them: "Now, you boys, listen. You, Black Hawk, do you hear? you and these three, first watch! You, Reuben, and these three, second watch!" etc. Then the torches were dipped in the river, and the great white boat once more wheeled around into the channel.

        On the shores we could dimly discern huge trees half fallen into the stream, and stumps and roots and vines peeping up from the dark waters. We could hear the tug-boats groaning and sighing as they dragged along heavily laden barges; and once the light of a conflagration miles away cast a strange, dim light over the current. Now and then the boat, whirling around, made for the bank, and the light of our torches disclosed a ragged negro holding a mail-bag.


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Up the swinging gangway clambered one of our deck hands; the mails were exchanged; the lights went out once more.

        So on, and ever on, a cool breeze blowing from the perfumed banks. Now we could see the lights from some little settlement near a bayou emptying into

Illustration

"Some tract of hopelessly irreclaimable, grotesque water wilderness."

the stream; now, the eye of some steamer, and hear the songs of the deck-hands as she passed us. Now we moved cautiously, taking soundings, as we entered some inlet or detour of the river; and now paused near some great swamp land--some tract of hopelessly irreclaimable, grotesque water wilderness, where abound all kinds of noisesome reptiles, birds and insects.

        One should see such a swamp in October, when the Indian summer haze floats and shimmers lazily above the brownish-gray of the water; when a delicious magic in the atmosphere transforms the masses of trees and the tangled vines and creepers into semblances of ruined walls and tapestries. But at any season you see towering white cypresses, shooting their ghostly trunks far above the surrounding trees; or, half rotten at their bases, fallen into the water; the palmettoes growing in little clumps along the borders of treacherous knolls, where the earth seemed firm, but where you could not hope with safety to rest your feet; the long festoons of dead Spanish moss hanging from the high boughs of the red cypress, which refuses to nourish the pretty parasite; and the great cypress knees, now white, now brown, looming up through the warm haze, and peeping from nooks where the water is transparent, seeming like veins in a quarry riven by lightning strokes.

        Vista after vista of cypress-bordered avenues, with long lapses of water filling them, and little islands of mud and slime, thinly coated with a deceptive foliage, stretch before your vision; a yellowish ray, flashing across the surface of the water, shows you where an alligator had shot forward to salute his friend or


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attack his enemy; and a strange mass hanging from some remotest bough, if narrowly inspected, proves an eagle's nest, fashioned with a proper care for defense.

        You see the white crane standing at some tree root, sullenly contemplating the yielding mass of decaying logs and falling vines; and the owl now and then cries from a high perch. The quaint grossbeak, the ugly heron, the dirty-black buzzard, the hideous water-goose, with his featherless body and satiric head, start up from their nooks as you enter; the water moccasin slides warily into the slime; and if you see a sudden movement in the centre of a leaden-colored mass, with a flash or two of white in it, you will do well to beware, for half a dozen alligators may show themselves at home there. You may come upon some monarch-tree, prostrate and decayed within from end to end. Entering it, and tapping carefully as you proceed to frighten away lurking snakes, you will find that you can walk through without stooping, even though you are of generous height.

        As far as the eye can reach you will see hundreds of ruined trees, great stretches of water, forbidding avenues which seem to lead to the bottomless pit, vistas as endless as hasheesh visions; and the cries of strange birds, and the bellowings of the alligator, will be the only sounds from life. You will be glad to steal back to the pure sunlight and the open lowland, to the river and the odors of many flowers--to the ripple of the sad-colored current, and the cheery songs of the boatmen.

        Some evening, just as sunset is upon the green land and the broad stream, you stand high up in the pilot-house, as you float into a channel between low-lying islands, clad even to the water's edge with delicate shrubs whose forms are minutely reflected in the water. You may almost believe yourself removed out of the sphere of worldly care, and sailing to some haven of profoundest peace.

        So restfully will the tender glory of the rose and amethyst of the sunset come to you; so softly will the perfume of the jessamines salute your senses; so gently will avenue after avenue of verdurous banks, laved by tranquil waters and extending beyond the reach of your vision, open before you; so quietly will the wave take from the horizon the benison of the sun's dying fires; so artfully will the perfect purple--the final promise of a future dawn--peep up from the islets' rims ere it disappears, that you will be charmed into the same serene content which nature around you manifests. From some distant village is borne on the breeze the music of an evening bell; from some plantation-grounds, or a grove of lofty trees, comes the burden of a negro hymn, or a jolly song of love and adventure.

        Down below, the firemen labor at the seven great furnaces, and throw into them cords on cords of wood, tons on tons of coal; the negroes on the watch scrub the decks, or trundle cotton bales from one side of the boat to the other, or they lie listlessly by the low rails of the prow, blinking and shuffling and laughing with their own rude grace. Above, the magic perfume from the thickets fillled with blossoms is always drifting, and the long lines of green islets bathed by the giant stream, pass by in rapid panorama.


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        You notice that some little fiend of a black boy, clad in an old woolen cap, a flannel shirt whose long flaps hang over his ragged and time-honored trowsers, and shoes whose heels are so trodden in that when he walks his motion seems to rock the steamer, will, when his comrade is not watching, steal some little article which said comrade can ill afford to lose; whereupon comrade, in due time discovering the loss, will end by complaining of the suspected boy to the Wasp; then you see the Wasp come buzzing and stinging and swearing along the broad decks, and calling George Washington to a certain post where he is to face him. Perhaps the Wasp will say: "George Washington, Jack says you stole his belt;" and then will sting and buzz and swear; whereupon George Washington, mopping his black face with the flap of his red flannel over-garment, will say hastily, in one indignant sibilation: "Deed to God, hope I die, sah--no sah!" Perhaps then the Wasp will make George Washington hold up his hand, and, looking him earnestly in the face, will say, "George Washington, are you going to tell me a lie?" with a buzz and a sting and a swear.

        

Illustration

The monument on the Chalmette battle-field.

        Whereupon George Washington will again and defiantly sibilate: "If dat nigger say dat, he lied. I do' know nuffin about his belt nohow. Mus' a los' it woodin-up las' night. I did n't tetch it;" but after various hand-raisings will finally end by rendering up the belt, and retiring to the shade of a cotton bale, followed by the laughter of his comrades.

        You come to a plantation landing where some restive steers are to be taken aboard, and notice the surprising manner in which those playful creatures toss about the negroes who wish to lead them on, until one or two agile fellows, catching the beasts by the tails, and as many more holding their horns, manage to make them walk the narrowest planks.

        Or you come to some landing where a smart-looking young negro man comes on board with a quadroon wife; and you notice a hurried look of surprise on some of the old men's faces as the couple are shown a state-room, or as they promenade unconcernedly.

        Or a group of chattering French planters, with ruddy complexions and coal black eyes and hair, arrive, and the village priest, a fat, stalwart old boy in a white choker and a shovel hat, accompanies them; or perhaps a lean, gray-haired man, with a strongly marked dialect and a certain contemptuous way of talking of modern things, tells you that he remembers the first steamboat but three that ever ran upon the Mississippi river, and hints that "times were better then than now. That was a right smart o' years ago."

        Descending the river from New Orleans, you go slowly down a muddy-colored but broad and strong current, between low and seemingly unstable banks. You pass the Chalmette battle-field, where Andrew Jackson won his victory over the English, and where Monument Cemetery, the burial place of


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many thousand soldiers, killed in the late civil war, is located. The monument from which the cemetery takes its name was erected in 1856, to commemorate General Jackson's good fight.

        The fears that the levées along the Mississippi would not be able always to resist the great body of water bearing and wearing upon them have several times been realized. Among the most disastrous instances of the "crevasse" is that of May, 1816, when the river broke through, nine miles above New Orleans, destroying numbers of plantations, and inundating the back part of the city. Gov. Claiborne adopted the expedient of sinking a vessel in the breach, and saved the town. In 1844 the river did much damage along the levée at New Orleans; and the inundations of 1868 and 1871 were severe lessons of the necessity of continually strengthening the works.

        Within fifty or sixty miles of the river's mouths, the banks become too low for cultivation; you leave the great sugar plantations behind, and the river broadens, until, on reaching the "Head of the Passes," it separates into several streams, one of which in turn divides again a few miles from its separation from the main river. Beginning at the north and east, these passes, as they are called, are named respectively "Pass à l'Outre," "North-east Pass," the "South Pass," and "South-west Pass." Across the mouths of these passes bars of mud are formed, deposited by the river, which there meeting the salt and consequently heavier water of the gulf, runs over the top of it, and, being partially checked, the mud is strained through the salt water, and sinks at once to the bottom.

        This separation of the fresh from the salt water is maintained in a remarkable degree. When the river is high, the river water runs far out to sea, and has been seen at fifteen miles from the passes, with as sharply defined a line between them as that between oil and water. This is also true with reference to the upper and lower strata. Sometimes, when a steamer is running through a dense pea-soup colored water on top, the paddle-wheels will displace it sufficiently to enable one to see clear gulf water rushing up to fill the displacement. The flood tide runs up underneath the river water for a long distance, and, at extra-ordinary high tides, is distinctly visible as far as New Orleans, one hundred and ten miles above.*

        * For these and many other interesting details, the writer gratefully acknowledges his obligations to Major C. W. Howell, Captain of United States Engineers, and to Captain Frank Barr, United States Revenue Marine.


The bars change their depth constantly.

        When the river is high, and consequently brings down most mud, the depth of the deposit increases with great rapidity; while in a low stage of the river the accumulation is slight. The bars are subject to another and great change, believed to be peculiar to the Mississippi; that is, the formation of "mud lumps." These mud lumps are cone-shaped elevations of the bottom, often thrown up in a few hours, so that although the pilot may find ample depth for the largest ship on one day, on the next he may be aground with one of a much lighter draught.

        Sometimes the lumps disappear as quickly as formed; at others they spread, show themselves above the water, and gradually grow into islands. It is supposed


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that this is the manner in which the long, narrow banks on either side of the "passes" have been formed. These cone-shaped lumps of mud are believed to be started by the action of carburetted hydrogen gas formed by the decay of vegetable matter contained in the river deposits, the substance of the bar being loosened by the action of the gas and forced upward until the lump makes its appearance above the water; when, becoming dry, and being continually fed by the forces from below, it gradually gains consistency, and forms another link in the delta chain, extending into the waters of the Gulf.

        The attention of the United States Government to the necessity of improvement at the mouths of the Mississippi was first attracted in earnest in 1837, when an extended and elaborate survey of the passes and mouths was made by Captain Talcot, of the Engineer Corps. To save the commerce of New Orleans it was necessary to deepen the channel; and the plan of dredging with buckets was carried into effect as far as a slight appropriation permitted. No farther work was then undertaken until 1852, when $75,000 was set aside for it; and a number of processes for deepening--such as stirring up the river bottom with suitable machinery, and the establishment of parallel jetties, five miles in length, at the mouth of the South-west Pass--were tried.

        By 1853 a depth of eighteen feet of water had been obtained in the South-west Pass by stirring up the river bottom; but in 1856 it was found that no trace of the deepening remained. In that year the sum of $300,000 was appropriated for opening and keeping open, by contract, ship channels through the bars at the mouths of the South-west Pass.

        Contractors began work, but unless they labored incessantly, they could not keep the channels open; and they retired discomfited. The plan of dragging harrows and scrapers seaward along the bottom of the channel was adopted, thus aiding the river-flood to carry the stirred-up matter to deep water; and a depth of eighteen feet was maintained upon the bar for one year at a cost of $60,000. Other efforts, in 1866 and 1867, were equally costly and of small avail;

Illustration

Light-house -- South-west Pass. [Page 75.]

and in 1868, the "Essayons," a steam dredge-boat, constructed by the Atlantic Works, of Boston, was employed upon the bar at Pass à l'Outre. The plan of this boat, which had been recommended by General McAllister, was a powerful steamer with a cutting propeller, which could be lowered into the surface of the mud, where its rapid revolutions would effect the necessary "stirring-up." So far as her draught permits, the "Essayons" has been a complete
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success; and another steamer, whose cutting propeller can work at greater depth, and which has been named "McAllister," is now engaged upon the work. The main labor with these new boats has been done at the South-west Pass, which has become the principal entrance to the Mississippi, and there the United States Government is erecting a light-house on iron piles, as the marshes offer but an insecure foundation. The improvements at the river's mouth, like those in the Red River, Tone's Bayou, the Tangipahoa River, the harbor of Galveston, and the Mississippi forts, as well as those on the lakes in the rear of New Orleans,

Illustration

"Pilot Town"--South-west Pass.

are all under the direction of Major C. N. Howell, of the Engineer Department. Pass à l'Outre is generally considered by best authorities the natural channel for eastward-bound and returning ships. With its bar opened, none such would, it is affirmed, ever go to South-west Pass, for the reason that they might save several hours coming in. This pass, properly opened, can accommodate three times the number of ships which now annually enter the Mississippi.

        The effect on the commerce of New Orleans of the bar-formations at the river's mouths is depressing. They cause burdensome taxes on the earnings of ships. In 1870 the value of imports at New Orleans amounted to only one-seventh of the exports; but if the port were made as economical as that of New York, by removing all obstacles to free entrance and exit, the imports would soon nearly equal the exports. The Government is at present expending about $650,000 annually on the necessary river and harbor improvements in Louisiana and Texas. Twice that amount might be judiciously invested every year. The work on the channel at the Mississippi's outlet must evidently be perpetual, unless the plan of a canal is adopted.

        "The Balize," now a little collection of houses at the North-east Pass, was a famous place in its day--was, indeed, the port of New Orleans; and vessels were often detained there for weeks on the great bar, which had been labored upon to but little advantage before the cession of Louisiana to the United States. The extensive French military and naval establishments at the Balize were utterly destroyed by the great hurricanes of September, 1740. Now-a-days, the venerable port is almost desolate; a few damp and discouraged fishermen linger sadly among the wrecks of departed greatness. "Pilot Town," at the South-west Pass, is interesting and ambitious. The pilots and fishermen are delightful types, and are nearly all worthy seamen and good navigators. At "Pass à l'Outre" and "South-west Pass" the Government maintains a "boarding-station" for protection


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of the revenue, and an inspector is sent up to the port of New Orleans with each incoming vessel.

        Steaming back to the Louisiana capital on one of the inward-bound vessels, leaving behind you the low-lying banks; the queer towns at the mouths of the passes, with their foundations beneath the water; the long lines of pelicans sailing disconsolately about the current; the porpoises disporting above the bars, and the alligators sullenly supine on the sand, you will land into the rush and whir of the great commerce "on the levée." If it be evening, you will hear the hoarse whistles of a dozen steamers, as they back into midstream, the negroes on their decks scrambling among the freight and singing rude songs, while the loud cries of the captains are heard above the noise of escaping steam.

        One of the most pressing needs of Louisiana is an increase of railway lines. The New Orleans, Mobile and Texas road has done much for the commerce of the State, and is, undoubtedly, one of the best constructed lines in the country. It drains extensive sections of Mississippi and Alabama toward New Orleans. The extension of this route to Houston in Texas, and the building of a branch from Vermilionville to Shreveport, will do much for the development of the commonwealth. The trade between New Orleans and Shreveport, which is really immense, was much restricted for many years by the difficulty of navigating the Red river, whose tortuous water-ways have latterly been considerably improved. The projected "Louisiana Central" railroad, located along the route of the Red river for about 200 miles, passing through Alexandria and Natchitoches, will make Shreveport within twelve hours of New Orleans. The journey formerly occupied three or four days. Morgan's "Louisiana and Texas" railroad extends from New Orleans to Brashear City on Berwick's Bay, where it communicates with a fleet of first-class iron steamers running to Texas ports. The branch of this road from Brashear City to Vermilionville, graded years ago, might now be completed to advantage.

        The New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern railroad gives a valuable connection with the North, via Jackson, in Mississippi. A recent enterprise is the New Orleans and North-eastern road, which is to cross Lake Pontchartrain on a trestle-work, supported on piles, and opening up a delightful location for suburban residences beyond the lake, is to push on into the iron and coal regions of Alabama. The Illinois Central Railroad Company has built a line from Jackson, Tennessee, to the south bank of the Ohio river, opposite Cairo, Illinois, bringing New Orleans as near to Chicago by rail as it is to New York, and creating an important adjunct to the system for transportation from the Northwest to the gulf and the ocean. Railroad routes along the banks of the Mississippi would give new life to such towns as Baton Rouge, the old capital of Louisiana, 129 miles from New Orleans, and Natchez in Mississippi. Baton Rouge now has no communication with New Orleans save by steamer. It is a lovely town, built on gently sloping banks crowned with picturesque houses, the ruined Gothic State Capitol, a substantial Penitentiary, and the Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb. It is one of the healthiest towns in the State, and with proper facilities for speedy communication with other towns, might be the seat


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of a flourishing trade. Routes parallel with the river would be speedily built if New Orleans had better outlets and more tonnage. Knowing this, the enterprising inhabitants of that city are anxious for the Fort St. Philip canal, which shall render the tedious and risky navigation of the passes at the Mississippi's mouth unnecessary.

        The project of the Fort St. Philip canal is not entirely due to the sagacity of this generation. Forty years ago the Legislature of Louisiana, at the suggestion of a distinguished engineer, memorialized Congress on the subject of a canal to connect the Mississippi river with the Gulf, leaving the stream a few miles below Fort St. Philip and entering the Gulf about four miles south of the island "Le Breton." Numerous commercial conventions have endorsed it since that time. It would give, by means of a system of locks, a channel which would never be subject to the evils now disfiguring the passes at the river's mouth, and would communicate directly with deep water. The estimated cost of the work is about eight millions of dollars. It is a national commercial necessity, and should be undertaken by the Government at once. New Orleans would more than quadruple her transportation facilities by means of this canal, not only with regard to Liverpool, Bremen, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Southampton, Havre, and Glasgow, but to New York and Philadelphia. Havana, Lima, and Aspinwall.

        

Illustration

"A Nickel for Daddy."


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VII.

THE INDUSTRIES OF LOUISIANA--A SUGAR PLANTATION. THE TECHE COUNTRY.

        THE main industries of Louisiana at the present time are the growth of cotton, the production of sugar, rice, and wheat,--agriculture in general,--and cattle raising. The culture of the soil certainly offers inducements of the most astonishing character, and the immigrant who purchases a small tract--five to ten acres--of land can, during the first year of possession, make it support himself and his numerous family, and can also raise cotton enough on it to return the purchase money.

        Vergennes, in his memoir on La Louisiane, printed early in this century, says: "I will again repeat what I have already many times said--that Louisiana is, without doubt, by reason of the softness of her climate and the beauty of her situation, the finest country in the universe. Every European plant, and nearly all those of America, can be successfully cultivated there." This was the verdict of one who had made a careful survey of the great province then known as Louisiana, and especially the tract now comprised in the lowlands. Rice, an important article of food, can be raised on grounds which are too low and moist for any other species of valuable vegetables, and in the Mississippi basin, rice, sugar and corn can be cultivated in close proximity. The fertility of the sugar lands is proverbial; and Louisiana is prodigal of fruit of all kinds. With but little attention orange and fig-trees prosper and bear splendid crops; apples and peaches are produced in abundance; and grape-bearing lands are to be found in all sections of the State. Sugar, cotton, rice and tobacco might all be readily cultivated on the same farm in many sections.

        The cultivation of rice, introduced into Louisiana by Bienville, at the time of the founding of New Orleans, may be profitably pursued in all the "parishes," i. e., counties, on the river and Gulf coasts, and on the high pine lands of the northern part of the State. The rice raised on the irrigated lands below New Orleans, and in the immediate proximity of the Gulf, is known as "lowland rice;" that raised elsewhere as "upland."

        The quality of the staple is constantly improving by cultivation. In 1860 the rice crop of Louisiana amounted to 6,500,000 pounds. There is no good reason why it should not now be 60,000,000. Barley and buckwheat flourish admirably in the State, and the attention given to the cultivation of wheat since the close of the war has accorded singularly gratifying results. The average yield in the hill portion of the State is fully equal to that of the Northern States, --about twelve bushels to the acre--and in the Red River Valley, where the


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planters were compelled to devote much of their old cotton land to the production of wheat, for the sake of getting the wherewithal to live, the yield was twenty bushels to the acre.

        The wheat yearly gains largely in weight, size and color. It is said that wherever the cavalry of the United States camped in Louisiana during the war, immense grain fields sprang up from the seed scattered where horses were fed. In the swamps of Assumption parish wheat and rye have been known to yield forty bushels to the acre. The wheat may be planted in September, October, or November, and reaped late in April or early in May. Indian corn does not yield well, rarely giving over fifteen bushels to the acre. Marsh, Hungarian herbs, and prairie grasses grow in abundance and make excellent hay. Pasturage is perennial, and in the Attakapas the grazing regions are superb. Cotton may be cultivated throughout the entire arable portion of the State.

        The cultivation of the sugar-cane in Louisiana merits especial mention. One of the most remunerative of industries under the slave system, it has been for some time languishing because of the disorganization of labor, and because also of the division of large plantations into small farms. For a whole year before the sugar crop is ready for the market, a constant outlay is required, and the small planters succeed but poorly, while the larger ones have been ruined by the war, and have allowed their sugar-houses to decay, and their splendid machinery to rust in ditches.

        In 1751, two ships transporting soldiers to Louisiana, stopped at Hispaniola, and the Jesuits on that island sent some sugar-canes and some negroes, used to their cultivation, to the brothers of their order in the new colony. The Jesuits at New Orleans undertook the culture of the crop, but did not succeed; and it was only in 1795 that the seeds became thoroughly naturalized in Louisiana.

        Up to 1816 the cultivation of the cane was confined to the lower parishes, but it is now raised with reasonable success in many other portions of the State. From 1828 to 1833, the sugar production in the commonwealth was about 280,000 hogsheads. The following table will show the amount of the crops of each year from 1834 to 1873 inclusive:

        
Year. Production, Hogsheads.
1834 100,000
1835 30,000
1836 70,000
1837 65,000
1838 70,000
1839 115,000
1840 87,000
1841 90,000
1842 140,000
1843 100,000
1844 200,000
1845 186,000
1846 140,000
1847 240,000
1848 220,000
1849 247,000
1850 211,000
1851 236,000
1852 321,000
1853 449,000
1854 346,000
1855 231,000
1856 74,000
1857 279,000
1858 362,000
1859 221,000
1860 228,000
1861 459,000
1864.. War, 7,000
1865 15,000
1866 39,000
1867 37,600
1868 84,000
1869 87,000
1870 144,800
1871 128,461
1872 105,000
1873 90,000

        The ribbon cane planted in Louisiana was brought from Java, in a ship which touched at Charleston. It was hardy, and was at once adopted in all sections of


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the State. But it is thought that it has deteriorated very much, and an association recently sent a gentleman to the islands of the Pacific Ocean and to India to search for a fresh supply. He secured some ten thousand cuttings, which were so long in transit as to be nearly all destroyed, and parties in the sugar interest are now anxious that a government vessel should be sent out to obtain a new supply.

        There were, at the time of my visit to Louisiana, 1,224 sugar-houses in operation in the State, 907 of which possessed steam power. The number of large plantations is everywhere decreasing, while small farms take their place.

        The coöperative system, as practiced in Martinique and other colonies, has been adopted to some extent in the State. It separates the production of cane from the manufacture of sugar, the small planters taking their cane to the sugar-houses to be worked through on shares. This is much better than the old system, which made the raising of sugar by free labor so expensive as to be almost impossible. The coöperative system will, perhaps, prevail very largely ere long, many extensive planters giving it their sanction. In 1871, there was enough labor and capital expended on the crop to have brought it up to a quarter of a million hogsheads.

        The accumulated losses of the last three years have made the trade so dubious that dozens of the largest planters in the State cannot secure a cent of advances. Plantations are deserted; owners are completely discouraged. The present sugar production of this most fertile of cane-growing lands is only two per cent. of the whole production of the world. The consumption of sugars in the United States for the calendar year 1871 was 663,000 tons, of which eighty-five per cent. was foreign. The whole number of acres now devoted to the cultivation of sugar in Louisiana is estimated at 148,840, producing to the acre about 49,000 pounds of cane, or 1,500 pounds of raw sugar. To every thousand pounds of sugar there is also a yield of 666 pounds of molasses.

        All the land comprised in the section known as the "Delta proper of the Mississippi River," embracing eighteen parishes and an area of 12,000 square miles, is peculiarly adapted to the cultivation of sugar-cane, as well as of cotton, corn, rice, tobacco, indigo, oranges, lemons and figs. More than half of the population of the State is settled upon this delta; and in 1860, one hundred and fifty thousand slaves were held in that section, and the total estimate of taxable property there, including the slaves, amounted to $271,017,667, more than half of the State's entire valuation. It is not wonderful that stagnation has fallen upon this once prosperous region, since, reckoning the slaves at the average $1,000 apiece, by their liberation alone $150,000,000 of the above valuation at once vanished into thin air.*

        *The census of 1870 gives Louisiana 732,731 population, of whom 364,210 were blacks. The population of New Orleans in 1870 was nearly 200,000.


        For fifty or sixty miles below New Orleans, the narrow strip which protects the Mississippi channel on either side from the gulf is crowded with plantations. The soil there is all of recent alluvial formation, and is, consequently, extremely


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prolific. This section may, without the least exaggeration, be called "of the best land in the world." The rivers and bayous furnish fish and oysters of finest flavor; the earth brings forth fruit and vegetables in tropical abundance; all the conditions of life are easy; and, in addition, there is the profitable culture of sugar and rice.

        The negroes themselves are making money rapidly in this section, and show much skill in managing their affairs. In many cases they were aided in purchasing their lands by their old masters, and generally go to them for advice as to speculation and conduct in crop raising. The same negro who will bitterly oppose his old master politically, will implicitly follow his advice in matters of labor and investment in which he is personally concerned.

        At every turn, and on every available spot along the shore, as one drifts slowly down the lower Mississippi, one is charmed to note the picturesque grouping of sugar-houses and "quarters," the mansions surrounded by splendid groves, and the rich fields stretching miles away towards a dark belt of timber.

        Each plantation has its group of white buildings, gleaming in the sun; each its long vistas of avenues, bordered with orange-trees; for the orange and the sugar-cane are friendly neighbors. When the steamer swings around at the wharf of such a lordly plantation as that of the "Woodlands" of Bradish Johnson, or that of Effingham Lawrence, the negroes come trooping out, men and women dancing, somersaulting, and shouting; and, if perchance there is music on the steamer, no power can restrain the merry antics of the African.

        The "Magnolia" plantation of Mr. Lawrence is a fair type of the larger and better class; it lies low down to the river's level, and seems to court inundation. Stepping from the wharf, across a green lawn, the sugar-house first greets the eye, an immense solid building, crammed with costly machinery. Not far from it are the neat, white cottages occupied by the laborers; there is the kitchen where the field-hands come to their meals; there are the sheds where the carts are housed, and the cane is brought to be crushed; and, ranging in front of a cane-field containing many hundreds of acres, is a great orange orchard, the branches of whose odorous trees bear literally golden fruit; for, with but little care, they yield their owner an annual income of $25,000.

        The massive oaks and graceful magnolias surrounding the planter's mansion give grateful shade; roses and all the rarer blossoms perfume the air; the river current hums a gentle monotone, which, mingled with the music of the myriad insect life, and vaguely heard on the lawn and in the cool corridors of the house, seems lamenting past grandeur and prophesying of future greatness. For it was a grand and lordly life, that of the owner of a sugar plantation; filled with culture, pleasure, and the refinements of living;--but now!

        Afield, in Mr. Lawrence's plantation, and in some others, one may see the steam-plough at work, ripping up the rich soil. Great stationary engines pull it rapidly from end to end of the tracts; and the darkies, mounted on the swiftly-rolling machine, skillfully guide its sharp blades and force them into the furrows. Ere long, doubtless, steam-ploughs will be generally introduced on Louisiana sugar estates. Four of these stationary engines, built at Leeds, England, and


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supplied with water brought from the river in mule carts, suffice to do the work upon the ample plantation of Mr. Lawrence.

        As to the details of plantation work, the negroes, evidently, do not attend to them with quite the thoroughness exacted under the rigid discipline of slavery. Evidences of neglect, in considerable variety, offer themselves to the critical eye. Entering the sugar-house, the amiable planter will present you to a venerable, mahogany-looking individual in garments stained with saccharine juices, and with a little tone of pride in his voice will tell you that "this is Nelson, overseer of this place, who has been here, man and boy, forty years, and who knows more about the process of sugar-making than any one else on the plantation."

        

Illustration

"A cheery Chinaman."

        Nelson will, therefore, conduct you into the outer shed, and, while showing you the huge rollers under which the canes, when carted in from the fields in November or December, are crushed, will impress upon you the danger of early winter frosts which may baffle every hope of profit, will explain to you how difficult and how full of risks is the culture of the juicy reed, which must be nursed through twelve or thirteen weary months, and may leave but a meagre result. He will take you across the delightfully-shaded way into one of the fields, passing on the walk a cheery Chinaman wearing a smile which is seven times childlike and bland, and point you to the stalks of the cane left at the last harvest to lie all winter in the furrows and furnish young sprouts for the spring. These shapely and rich-colored stalks have joints every few inches along their whole length, from which spring out the new buds of promise. When the spring ploughing begins, these stalks are laid along the beds of the drills, and each shoot, as it makes its appearance, is carefully watched and cultured that it may produce a new cane, a great portion of the crop being thus reserved, each year, for seed.

        The complaisant overseer will give you a profusion of details as to how the cane, if safe from the accidents of the seasons, is cut down at its perfection and brought to the sugar-house; how all hands, black and white, join, for many days, in "hauling" it from the fields, and then keep the mill going for a week night and day; how there is high wassail and good cheer in the intervals of the work, and every nerve is strained to the utmost for the completion of the task. He will show you the great crushers which bring the sweetness out of the fresh canes as they are carried forward upon an endless series of rollers, and will then point out the furnace into which the refuse is thrown to be burned, thus furnishing the motive power for crushing the stalks and for all the minor and subordinate mechanical details in the processes of the manufacture. The baggasse, as this refuse is called, usually furnishes steam enough for this purpose, and leaves nothing but a kind of coke in the ash-pit of the furnace; no coal being used except in the refining mill's furnace.


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        Out from the crushed arteries of the cane wells a thick, impure liquid, which demands immediate attention to preserve it from spoiling; and then the clarifying process is begun and continued, by the aid of hundreds of ingenious mechanisms, whose names even you will not remember when Nelson takes you into the refinery.

        You enter a set of huge chambers, the floors of which are sticky with sugar, and watch the juice passing through various processes. There are the great open trays, traversed by copper and iron steam-pipes; there are the filter-pans filled with bone dust, from which the liquid trickles down. Now it wanders through separators, and then through bone dust again, onward toward granulation in the vacuum pans, and then into coolers, where the sugar is kept in a half

Illustration

Sugar-cane Plantation--"The cane is cut down at its perfection." [Page 82.]

liquid state by means of revolving paddles, until, finally, it comes to the vessels, in which, by rapid whirlings, all the molasses is thrown out; and the molasses, leaving the dry sugar ready for commerce, goes meandering among the pipes under the floors, and round and round again through the whirling machines, until there is no suspicion of sweetness in it, and it is ignominiously discharged.

        It seems a pity that such fine machinery should be in use only during one-sixth of the year, as it would be injured far less by being kept constantly running than by remaining idle. The new steam-mills are, in every point of view, so vastly superior to the old horse-mills, that they have been adopted on the greater portion of the sugar plantations, and are desired by every planter; but


Page 84

they are so enormously expensive, that coöperative or joint ownership is, in many cases, essential.

        The division of the large plantations into small farms seems, sooner or later, inevitable; as no one owner can, under the new condition of things, make the necessary and continuous outlay. In a few years the cane now crushed at one of these immense sugar-houses in the winter months will belong, in small lots, to a hundred different men, instead of to the one aristocratic and wealthy planter, as under the old régime.

        There is not a parish in Louisiana which does not offer powerful inducements to immigration; not one which will not most bitterly need it if the present political condition, which is driving the original inhabitants from their homes, is continued. Closely following upon the bloodshed in Grant parish, came a hurried, voluminous emigration of its citizens to Texas. They flocked to the new Eden in the greatest terror, seeming eager to leave their homes forever behind them. Still, these troubles must some day have an end, because, save in the final disruption of the world, there is no end to the fairy beauty and fertility of the bayou lands, or to the luxuriant vegetation of the vast plains.

        The parishes bordering on the Red river are especially adapted to the staples--sugar, cotton, wheat, corn, rye and oats--and are always accessible, the river in their vicinity remaining navigable at all seasons of the year. These parishes, six in number, comprise more than 8,500 square miles of rich alluvial land, and some of the largest towns are situated in them. Shreveport, on the west bank of the river, is the second city in the State. It is now the great centre of emigration into Eastern and Northern Texas, and a line of railway is projected to it from Vicksburg, which will give it increased commercial importance.

        In the parishes which comprise South-western Louisiana, there are more than 3,000,000 acres of land of almost inexhaustible fertility. The forests are composed of oak, ash, locust, pine, gum, maple, cypress, elm, willow, hickory, pecan, persimmon, dogwood, mulberry, and magnolia trees. The giant cypresses along the lakes and bayous are abundant enough to last for a century. Employment to hundreds of mills and thousands of workmen could readily be furnished, the lumber being easily floated down the innumerable bayous and along the lakes to market.

        By the borders of the great desolate sea-marshes of St. Mary and Iberia runs a grand belt of timber from one to two miles wide. A western editor once said that if the Teche lands of Louisiana were in Illinois, they would bring from $300 to $500 per acre. And they could be made worth that sum in their present situation in five years from this writing by the introduction of intelligent and laborious immigrants, and by the amplification of the State's railway system. The "Attakapas" region, as the five parishes or counties of St. Mary, Iberia, Vermilion, St. Martin and Lafayette were originally called, from the name of a tribe of Indians, is certainly seductive enough to tempt the most fastidious.

        The cattle-grazing regions are as extensive as remarkable. There are seven great prairies, respectively named Grand Choiseuil, Attakapas, Opelousas, Grand Prairie, Prairie Mamon, Calcasieu, and Aubine, all covered with rich pasturage.


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Thousands of cattle roam over these prairies; the population is pastoral and to a certain extent uncultivated. There are Frenchmen and Frenchwomen among them who are as remote from any active participation in the politics of the State or the country at large, as if they lived in France. Cattle and horses subsist even in the marshes, and graze the year round upon a treacherous surface, in which such animals, bred on solider ground, will instantly sink and flounder. I am not willing to vouch for the Louisiana statement that these marsh-bred cattle and horses are web-footed, though such is the affirmation. One informant assured me that a proper system of transportation from the marshes to New Orleans would develop this now almost useless section immensely. Thousands of cattle might be turned in to grow fat and bide the time when their owners should seek them for the New Orleans market. They would not even need a cowherd's care.

        All the prairies in Western Louisiana are perennially green; and upon them were once located the largest vacheries in the United States--vacheries whose owners sometimes branded five thousand calves apiece yearly. Sheep by thousands were also raised, but both these important industries seem to have largely fallen off since the war. The French paid great attention to the cattle and sheep husbandry in this section of Louisiana early in the last century, and it has been estimated by a competent authority that, allowing one animal to every five acres, more than 220,000 cattle could be annually reared and transported from the single prairie of Opelousas--a vast expanse of natural meadow. It was not uncommon for a stock raiser to possess from 30,000 to 40,000 head of cattle, and twenty-five years before the war, the stock raisers of one parish in that section owned 100,000 cattle and 30,000 horses.

        There is no good reason why Louisiana should not be known in future as an extensive a cattle-raising State as her neighbor, Texas. She has nothing to fear from the dangers incurred by proximity to a foreign frontier, and there are no Indians to manifest their unconquerable longing for "raids."

        But if you wish once again to find the lost gate of Eden, if you wish to gain the promised land, if you wish to see in this rude, practical America of ours an "earthly paradise," where life is good, because Nature has invested it with everything that is delicious and fairest; if you wish to see plantations at the height of culture--lawns as fragrant, as clean-shaven, as nobly shaded by graceful trees as any sovereign's--seek the Teche country. It is the pearl of Louisiana; it is the gem of the South. Thither, more than a century ago, when the cruel order of the English dispersed them from their homes, Andry and the exiled Acadians took their mournful way. Thither they went, threading the swamps and wandering up the beautiful Atchafalaya, and her lakes, where


                         "Water lilies in myriads rocked on the slight undulations
                         Made by the passing oars, and, resplendent in beauty the lotus
                         Lifted her golden crown above the heads of the boatmen.
                         Faint was the air with the odorous breath of magnolia blossoms,
                         And with the heat of noon; and numberless sylvan islands,
                         Fragrant and thickly embowered with blossoming hedges of roses,
                         Near to whose shores they glided along, invited to slumber."


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        Now, as then, the traveler, pushing his way in a tiny steamer, or in a shallop or pirogue, can hear--


                         "Far off, indistinct, as of wave or wind in the forest,
                         Mixed with the whoop of the crane, and the roar of the grim alligator,"
strange sounds from the dark forests and the lonely lands.

        From Berwick's Bay, where the rich fields lie trustingly upon the water, and strange vines and creepers seem to caress the waves, and bid them be tranquil, ascend the Teche bayou, and lose yourself in the tangled network of lake and lakelet, plain and forest, plantation and swamp. By day you shall have the exquisite glory of the sun, which, gleaming on the seigniorial residences, on the great white sugar-houses with their tall chimneys, on the long rows of cabins for the laborers, on the villas peering from orange groves and bosquets of the mespilus, makes all doubly bright and beautiful; and at evening the moon will lend her witchery to swell your surprise and admiration.

        You will drift on by superb knots of shrubbery, from which sprightly birds are singing madrigals; past floating bridges and garden bowers; past ruined plantations, the wrecks of the war; past dense cypress swamps, bordered by picturesque groupings of oaks and ash and gum-trees; through that fine region stretching from the entrance of the bayou into the parish of Iberia and the town of New Iberia, where the beautiful water willows and forest trees lean forward from the banks as if to see themselves reflected in the stream; where the wheels of passing steamers rudely brush the arching foliage; where the live oak spreads its ample spray over some cool dell upon whose grassy carpet grow strange bright-hued flowers; and where vistas of forest glade--happy sylvan retreats--open as by enchantment, and moonlight makes delicious checkerwork of gleam and shadow.

        Below New Iberia, on Petit Anse Island, there is a salt mine sixty feet beneath the level of the Gulf of Mexico, and you may go down through fifty-eight feet of solid rock-salt, to watch the miners pick out the crystal freight which has proved superior to any other salt found in the Southern market. Or you may penetrate the romantic country near Lake Peigneur, and even hunt the genial comedian--the noble artist who created the rôle of "Rip Van Winkle,"--in his "Orange Island" retreat.

        The richness of Louisiana may perhaps be best illustrated by this same island. It is one of many in the lake, rising high above it and the surrounding prairie. It possesses delicious lawns miles in length, sloping gently southward; orange groves, which in 1868, after a neglect of ten years, produced half a million oranges; bold banks and knolls with northward outlook; and delightful sea breezes constantly blowing over the whole length and breadth of its lovely lands. On Grand Cote Island you may wander among wide fields of cotton and of corn, or you may climb steep hill-sides to find a lake of purest water high up among them, its surface covered with water lilies; or you may sit in garden bowers over which the Scuppernong grape-vines run riot, and gaze out upon the towering magnolia, the blooming cotton and the waving cane.


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        The forests in the parish of St. Martin, in the Teche valley, contain millions of tall, straight cypress-trees; and beyond are stretches of ash, gum, hickory, black walnut, magnolia, live, white and red oaks, linn, pecan, sycamore, and other trees. There are also here some grand estates, notably those of General Declouet, Mr. Lestrapes, and Dr. Wilkins. General Declouet's mansion is a fine type of the old Creole house, with spacious halls and corridors, baronial dining-room, and portrait galleries from which look down the faces of a hundred ancestors. Avenues, bordered with China-trees or with pines, lead up to it; while magnolias, fig-trees, and live oaks are scattered throughout the grounds.

        One finds superb forests everywhere in Louisiana. They are among the chief glories of the State. One may purchase, for an insignificant sum, a lovely natural park, with trees in it which an English duke might covet for his estate.

Illustration

"The beautiful 'City Park'"--New Orleans.

The oaks which stud the beautiful "City Park," and the "race-course" grounds, in New Orleans, are exceedingly fine. City and country alike abound in the most delicious foliage.

        St. Mary's parish formerly contained 170 sugar plantations, scattered along the banks of the Teche, the Atchafalaya, and the various bayous and waterways in that section. In the same parish, 13,000 slaves were owned before the war, and more than 100 vessels plied between Franklin (a pretty, cultured town, twenty miles from Brashear) and various Northern and Southern ports. The fertile lands readily yield a hogshead of sugar to the acre, and

Illustration

MAP SHOWING THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE COLORED POPULATION OF THE UNITED STATES.

Illustration

THE GULF STATES AND ARKANSAS.


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the manufacture may begin early in November. Flooded rice-lands produce ten barrels to the acre; unflooded, six. There are orange orchards in this parish producing 3,000,000 of oranges annually. Such facts are eloquent.

        Lands in certain of the parishes, not very far from towns and trade centres, can be generally purchased at from $3 to $15 per acre; those more remote are only worth $1 or $1.50 per acre. The general health of South-western Louisiana is good; there is no greater error than the common supposition in the North that the lowland climate is fatal to health. There is not a heartier or healthier population in the Union than that of South-western Louisiana; none more frank, unsuspicious and generous. Of course hostility and even ostracism, at the present time, are the lot of such as take sides for the Kellogg Government; but for him who does not take active part, no matter what his opinions may be, there is never even a harsh word. The recent operations of the "White League" in Northern Louisiana have been prompted by the extremists of the Democratic party, in the vain hope of intimidating negro' voters, and driving out "Yankees" who are settled in some of the parishes, and who vote the Republican ticket. The assassinations of which this League has been guilty, and the proscriptive measures which it has adopted, are condemned in the strongest terms by large numbers of native Conservatives in other sections of the State, who realize that no reform is possible on the basis of an exclusive white man's government, and who appreciate the immense harm done the material interests of the commonwealth by a revival of the old Ku-Klux tactics which once disgraced the State.

        Louisiana has some few valuable minerals, and the discovery of rock-salt in Vermilion parish, and of crystalline sulphur on the Calcasieu river, has encouraged a search for others. Iron is scattered at various depths below the surface of the State south of Red river, and in some of the parishes it is so abundant as to obstruct the ploughs or the hoes of the farmers. Valuable deposits of organized peat are found in many places near the coast, and the investment of a little capital might soon develop a great industry in the preparation of this important fuel. Coal abounds in certain regions through which railway lines are already projected, and the petroleum wells in Bossier, Bienville, and Natchitoches parishes, as well as in a broad belt extending nearly to the Gulf in Calcasieu parish, promise a remarkable development. The salt region runs through five islands, ranged along the coast for about twenty miles west of the mouth of the Atchafalaya. One of these islands is 140 feet above the sea-level.


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VIII.

THE POLITICAL SITUATION IN LOUISIANA.

        THE testimony of most of the planters in Louisiana, as elsewhere throughout the South, is that the free negro works well, and earns his wages, save when he is distracted by politics. Indeed, there are none who are willing to assert that free labor has not been a success; and the majority would prefer it to the most arbitrary days of ownership, if the State were otherwise in a settled condition.

        It is, nevertheless, evident that political excitements, gotten up by adventurers with the hope of obtaining power, take the negro's attention altogether too much from his work, and constitute a species of mild intellectual dissipation, which he thinks it vastly fine to indulge in, but which only unfits him for serious efforts at progress, and factitiously elevates him to a position directly opposed to the interests of his fellow-citizens.

        Judging from conversations with great numbers of persons, there is not much hope that the equality of races will be at present recognized by the white man in Louisiana. He will not admit that the negro is at all competent to legislate for him, or to vote with him on matters of common importance to white and black.

        While he has no desire to see any of the conditions of that kind of society which prevailed before the war re-established, he refuses to recognize or acquiesce in the actual condition. Having been, as he considers, doomed by the revolution, he sits haughtily tranquil, wrapped in reserve, save when he ventures to predict the downfall of the Republic, and to lament the despotism under which he asserts that he is kept. He is fond of gloomy horoscopes, and delights in announcing to the world that the precedent established in Louisiana by the Lynch returning-board and the Durell decision will yet be disastrous to New York and Massachusetts.

        He is not more glad to be rid of slavery than he would be to see the last negro vanish from the soil. He is weary of the whole subject of politics; anxious for immigration, yet doubtful of its practical results; willing to guarantee, to the extent allowed by his impaired fortunes, any reasonable enterprise tending toward the commercial development of the State, but discouraged, and often-times distracted.

        Impulsive, intensely individual, and extremely sensitive, he fancies that he sees fresh humiliations in the thousand changes which are but the inevitable attendants of the revolution. In the parishes, the tyranny of those who use the new political element for base purposes is constantly increasing in boldness and violence--now


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showing itself in an appetite for public plunder, and now in shielding from richly merited punishment some infamous scoundrel.

        Sometimes the negro, annoyed and perplexed, takes the reins into his own hands, and then follow scenes of bloodshed and violence; then comes to the front the question of black versus white, and the commonwealth is, as nearly always when the Legislature is in session, convulsed to its centre. Meantime professional politicians and lobbyists constantly arrange new plans for the pacification of parties, for compromises never to be effected, and victories never to be won.

        The citizens are willing and anxious to work, but all their energy, all the intense commercial ambition of New Orleans is neutralized by the incubus of a legislature which in no wise properly represents the people. The negro afield, with his sturdy family around him, cultivating the little plot which has at last become his, and the white man, with his own hand to the plough, showing that he no longer thinks labor degrading, are, to be sure, gratifying sights, which present themselves from time to time; but they are by no means so common as they would be if the State were not constantly anguish-stricken, overwhelmed with taxation and myriad debts, and hindered from making the improvements necessary to the securing of new trade and consequent prosperity.

        There are in Louisiana men of brilliant and imposing eloquence; men of entrain and magnetism, who seem fashioned for leadership; and yet, strange as it may appear, who take but little interest in the affairs of their own State; who either content themselves with deriding their inferiors, or with watching chances for personal elevation by taking advantage of the weakness or insincerity of those in power. They laugh at the discomfiture of their fellows, while the house is being pulled down over their own heads. With anarchy at their doors, they refuse to take the first step toward reconciliation, or a proper understanding between the races now so equally divided as to numbers within the State limits.

        In 1864 Michael Hahn was chosen first free State Governor of Louisiana. On the occasion of his inauguration, the celebrated Gilmore, then a band director in the Federal army; gave his first mammoth jubilee. Cannon roared, drums rolled, the earth shook. A constitutional convention was next held, and a constitution prohibiting slavery was a few months later adopted by the Reconstruction party. In 1865 Henry C. Warmoth was elected a delegate from the "territory" of Louisiana to the National Congress. The negroes placed him in office, and supplied him with funds. Under Banks, he had been provost judge of the parish of Orleans, and there had acquired influence over, and the confidence of, the colored voters.

        In the fall of 1865 the first general election under the new State constitution was held, and the Democrats were overwhelmingly successful in all sections. They elected J. Madison Wells Governor, and at the first session of their Legislature passed several bills which placed them in direct antagonism with the colored people. Among the measures instrumental in bringing on a conflict of races was a bill for the regulation of labor, which the negroes bitterly opposed.


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        In 1866 a new constitutional convention was held, the members of the Radical party desiring to check the Democratic successes by remodeling the constitution. Riots occurred, in which white and black men lost their lives. This led to the appointment of a special committee of investigation by Congress, and to the inauguration of the policy of reconstruction.

        In the fall of 1867 another convention met, which had been provided for by the Reconstruction Act, and in May of 1868 a thoroughly radical constitution was adopted, Henry C. Warmoth being elected Governor, and a Republican Legislature, of course largely composed of ignorant negroes, coming into power. This legislative session was occupied by petty squabbles, and by the passage of many bills in the interest of corrupt jobs. The Conservatives did not, however, yield their power without some show of resistance, and the Presidential campaign of 1868 was the occasion of much severe fighting in the State. The negroes were very shamefully intimidated, and but few of them succeeded in casting their votes for President.

        However, the new party, composed of ignorant and immoral negroes, led on by reckless and greedy white adventurers, held Louisiana completely in its power, and gross frauds were perpetrated. Ignorance, captivated by the glitter of money, and misled by wily sharpers, thrust ruin in a hundred ways upon the unfortunate State. For two or three years the most scandalous plundering was indulged in. The Governor was himself disgusted with such manoeuvres, and gradually showed a leaning toward the respectable Conservatives, who now and then gathered around him. But the Conservatives had waited too long before attempting a policy of conciliation. The negroes were thoroughly estranged, and could not be persuaded to listen to anything which they might say. A division took place in the Republican party; the Legislature became hostile to Governor Warmoth, and in the summer of 1871 a new convention was held in New Orleans. Both wings of the now divided Republican party attempted to obtain control of this convention, which was held in the Custom-House. The Federal appointees in New Orleans--Mr. Casey, the collector of the port, Mr. Packard, the United States Marshal, and others--refused the opposite faction admission to the convention, the services of a company of United States infantry being secured to prevent Warmoth's entrance.

        Upon this, Warmoth and his party declared war against the Federal appointees, held an opposition convention, and even sent a committee to President Grant asking for the removal of Packard and Casey. The President disregarded this request, and Warmoth and his friends therefore opposed his re-election, Warmoth even braving the anger of the Administration by participating in the Cincinnati "Liberal" convention of 1872.

        The division in the Republican ranks grew daily more pronounced, and when the time came to choose a new governor candidates were abundant. The Conservatives finally united upon John McEnery; Warmoth ran on an independent ticket, and the Federal, or "Custom-House" party, brought forward William Pitt Kellogg, the then United States Senator from the State. Mr. Kellogg had been collector of the port of New Orleans under President Johnson, and had acquired


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some little knowledge of Louisiana politics. He was, without doubt, beaten in the election for governor, McEnery being unquestionably elected, although it is conceded on all hands that frauds were liberally practiced by both parties.

        The Conservatives, who had doubtless learned wisdom from their political experiences since the close of the war, were about to resume power, not a little glad to be freed from the contest of factions which had so long paralyzed the State, when their hopes were dashed by sudden Federal intervention.

        The history of the infamy which, in the name of law, was perpetrated in New Orleans, in December of 1872, is well known to all who have taken any interest in general politics. The non-elected Legislature was placed in power by Federal bayonets, called into requisition by an order issued by a Federal judge named Durell. A returning-board which had not, and did not pretend to have the election returns before it, yet which was the only one recognized by Judge Durell, who was firm in his policy of usurpation, seated the Kellogg government, and struck a direct blow at the will of the majority. It pushed Louisiana to the very verge of ruin.

        

Illustration

The Supreme Court--New Orleans.

        In his speech on the Louisiana bill, made before the United States Senate early in 1873, Carl Schurz has briefly summed up the whole matter in the following words. Speaking of the Legislature mentioned above, he says:

        "There was, I believe, not a single one of them who was returned by a board that had the official returns of the election in its hands or had ever seen them. By virtue of what, then, were those men put in the Legislature? Not by virtue of votes, not by virtue of returns, but upon the ground of newspaper reports, of wild guesses, of forged affidavits, of the usurpation of a Federal judge, and of Federal bayonets. That was their whole title to the legislative capacity which they assumed.

        "What was their first act? They impeached the Governor. Throwing aside all the forms of impeachment prescribed by law, they impeached and suspended the Governor, if a summary decree can be called impeachment and suspension. They who had not a shadow of right based upon law, upon votes, upon an election, upon legal returns, proceeded to undo one governor and to make another. That second governor was Pinchback. The National Government recognized him as the Governor of Louisiana.

        "Then they proceeded to what they called the canvass of the votes in the Legislature, not canvassing legal returns of voters in any legal form, but a canvass on the ground of newspaper reports, wild guesses, and forged affidavits. What I say here is by no means an exaggerated assertion, for it is distinctly


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proven by the testimony, and I think it is denied by no one. Then they declared the men of their choice: Kellogg, Governor; Antoine, Lieutenant-Governor, and so on all the State officers of Louisiana.

        "Thus the usurpation is consummated--a usurpation without the shadow of a law as an excuse; with nothing but fraud and force to stand upon; a usurpation palpable, gross, shameless, and utterly subversive of all principles of republican government; a usurpation such as this country has never seen, and probably no citizen of the United States has ever dreamed of. The offspring of this Legislature is the Kellogg government."

        What has been the result of this usurpation? The State has been broken down by taxation and debt; the negro has been demoralized; the principal cities and towns are impoverished.

        Had the usurpation been confined within bounds, the people of Louisiana would doubtless have borne it in silence; but the usurping government was not content with ordinary measures. Possessed of arbitrary power, it proceeded to exercise it in the most odious fashion. Scarcely ninety days after the Durell decision, the judges whom, by large majorities, the people of the parish of Orleans had elected to preside over certain district courts, and who had been commissioned by Warmoth and sworn in, were unseated by force, and the candidates who had been defeated were put in their places.

        This was the signal for an uprising. The incipient riot, however, was speedily quelled, and the natives of the State who did not propose to compromise their loyalty by a collision with the United States troops, stationed in New Orleans, were remanded to their condition of a subjugated class.

        Resistance to taxation, which began in 1873, was pretty effectually checked by the proclamation of the President, which made such resistance dangerous. People who wish to keep in their hands what little property now remains to them are compelled in one manner or another to pay up.

        New Orleans has suffered peculiarly, its taxable property being cumbered with two huge debts, that of the city itself, now estimated at about $22,500,000 and over three-fifths of the State's various liabilities. While the city groans under such enormous taxation, it has been loaded down with grievous licenses on all trades, professions, and occupations, amounting to nearly $1,000,000 annually.

        

Illustration

The United States Barracks--New Orleans.

        Under these burdens it is not astonishing that real estate in the city has declined from thirty to more than fifty per cent. The double public debt of the city is already more than one-fourth of its property assessment, and many times more than the value of all the available property now owned by


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the corporation. The annual expenditures of the city were increased from $3,767,000 in 1862, to $6,961,381 in 1872; and still mount upward. Meantime the streets remain uncared for, and the treasury is empty. Where has the money gone?

        The city certificates are sold on the street at enormous discounts; the Legislature's sessions cost the people half a million dollars yearly, instead of $100,000 as in 1860, and this also the city is compelled mainly to pay; whoever, therefore, buys property in the city of New Orleans buys with it a share of a great and discouraging public debt.

        There is some hope, however, at present, for the administration of the metropolis. The economy inaugurated in 1873 will be but of small avail for a year or two, for the sums expended around the City Hall in New Orleans were so enormous that gradual reduction will not relieve the people much. The budget of 1872 provided for the payment of the sum of $229,000 to the various employes about the City Hall, or more than is annually paid to the President, Vice-President, judges of the Supreme Court, and cabinet officers of the United States, and the State officers of Louisiana. There was a veritable army of office-holders and dependents about the municipal head-quarters.

        The government of the city is now entirely vested in a mayor, and seven "administrators," respectively charged with the administration of finance, commerce, improvements, assessments, police, public accounts, and water works and public buildings. These eight gentlemen constitute what is known as the City Council, and are elected biennially at the time of the election for members of the General Assembly.

        The famous Board of Metropolitan Police, created by Warmoth, is in no manner under the direction of the City Council, the administrator of the police department being merely an ex-officio member of that board. The Metropolitan Police constitute a body directed by a board controlled by the State Executive, and which is paid by taxes levied upon the city. It is in reality an armed military force which the central State Government maintains in the capital for the enforcement of its measures and the prevention of riots. Since Warmoth created it, its cost has been enormous, amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars yearly. The police expenses for the year ending October 1st, 1869, were $930,809.09; for 1870, $725,357.73; and for 1871, about $800,000. The municipality constantly threatens rebellion against the control of its action by State interference, but, meantime, that control increases in strength and extent.

        The speculation in warrants, the creation of certain courts out of elements diametrically opposed to the real interests of the people of the State, are evils which are even worse than they have been represented by the injured, and for which there is no excuse. The Federal Government may and should protect the freedman in the rights given him by the revolution consequent on the war; but it should not permit the use of ignorant masses of negroes as stepping-stones to tyrannical, centralized power; it should not allow interlopers to array the black freedman against the white freeman, under any pretense whatsoever.


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        To give an account of the condition of the State finances is somewhat difficult. It was stated, in 1872, that the amount of the actual funded and unfunded debt was between $24,000,000 and $25,000,000; that the contingent liabilities amounted to $5,483,602; and that the amount of bonds "authorized" by the Legislature, but not yet issued, was $10,770,000, making a total of actual, contingent, and prospective liability which is far from cheering, especially as from 1860 to 1871 the valuation of property in the State decreased from $435,000,000 to $250,000,000.

        With the possibility of a war of races constantly thrusting forward its ugly head, it is easy to perceive how industrial development is hindered and capital frightened away; it is easy to see how passions which should long since have become extinct still smoulder, and are ready at a moment's warning to burst forth into anarchy and chaos.

        It is now and then asserted that corruption, consequent upon despair and disgust, has affected the ranks of the native born citizens; and that there have been cases where even they have crowded the lobbies of the hybrid legislature in the interests of corporations. This seems hardly credible, when it is remembered that the masses of the conservative citizens vehemently assert that the returning-board which established that legislature in power had no official statements in its possession on which to base its conclusion, and since they are supported in their assertion by the declaration of a Committee of the United States Senate that the Lynch returning-board's canvass "had no semblance of integrity."

        A visit to Mechanics' Institute, the seat of the Kellogg Legislature, during the session, is a curious experience. At the doors stand negro policemen, armed with clubs and revolvers; and crowds of blacks obstruct the passage-ways.

Illustration

Mechanics' Institute--New Orleans.

Mounting a staircase covered with old, tobacco stained matting, one finds himself in the House of Representatives, where sit the law-makers with their feet upon their desks. Nearly all the honorable members are black; some of them are so completely ignorant that they cannot follow the course of debate. But all are so drilled by the adventurers who control them that their opposition to anything likely to better the present horrible political condition is firm and determined. There are also many blacks in the Senate. When a colored man is in the chair, he is always falling into profound errors with regard to his rulings and decisions. He finds it difficult to
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follow the course of any bill the moment half-a-dozen members are speaking of it, and constantly submits to corrections and suggestions from some lean white man, dressed in new clothes, who smiles contemptuously, as, from a carpet-bag point of view, he superintends this legislative farce. And this scene has been enacted for six weary years--the State meantime sinking deeper and deeper into the abyss of crushing taxation. It is not wonderful that "White Leagues," in opposition to negro government, are springing up throughout Louisiana.

        Here are some instances which will show how greatly property has decreased in value under the present crushing taxation and wholesale plundering.

        A gentleman in New Orleans was, some time since, offered a loan of $6,000 on the security of certain real estate owned by him. He did not then need the money; but recently went to the capitalist and said, "I will now accept your kind offer." Said the capitalist, "I would not now lend you $600 on the property. It is worth nothing as security. No property in the city, in the current condition of politics, is worth anything."

        A gentleman who purchased, a short time before the war, a finely wooded estate in a rich section of Louisiana, for $100 in gold per acre, informed me that he had tried repeatedly to borrow upon the security of that estate, and that he could not get any one to lend a sum equivalent to one dollar per acre on it.

        Some three years ago a prominent capitalist was addressed by a citizen of Louisiana, who represented that a great many rich estates could be purchased in various sections of the commonwealth for at least one-third of their original value; and added, as an inducement to speedy decision, that he did not think property would ever be lower in Louisiana. The capitalist replied that he differed with his much esteemed friend; that in a few years those estates would, by the various derangements consequent on the then predominant legislation, be reduced to almost no value whatever, and that he was therefore determined to wait.

        During a visit to New Orleans, in March of 1874, my attention was called to a number of notable instances of the rapid decline of property. One gentleman pointed out a house which, in 1868, he would have been glad to purchase for $12,000; a little later it was sold for $8,000; then for $6,000, and now no one could be found to take it at $4,000. Many houses are given rent free to persons who will occupy them, that they may not be allowed to fall into decay.

        The sheriff is the prosperous man in New Orleans. His office has been made worth $60,000 yearly.

        The annual session of the Legislature, fortunately limited by the Constitution to sixty days, is a terrible trial. The state government cannot be depended upon. Earnest men, on the conservative side, are deterred from conciliatory action by the insincerity of those in power. At one time the dominant party seemed really desirous of inaugurating reform in the management of certain affairs, and called for a committee of investigation to be composed of the property-holders. But as, at nearly the same time, it voted away $500,000 worth of State bonds for a doubtful enterprise, the property-holders could not be made to believe that there was, in truth, any desire for "retrenchment" and "reform."


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        Time and time again the legislature which the Federal Government placed in power in Louisiana has sworn in as members men whom the returning-boards did not even pretend had been elected; and these men have been allowed to sit as representatives of people whom they have never seen.

        One of the worst features of the situation in Louisiana is the entire absence of the intelligent and well-to-do negroes from politics there. It is only the rascals and the dubious who get into power; and they are more terrible than the white rogues. They practice all the vices in the calendar; they take the thousands of dollars diverted from their proper channels, and lavish them upon abandoned white women; they enrich themselves and boast of it.

        The present condition of the educational system of Louisiana is encouraging, although disfigured by evils which arise from the political disorganization. The State superintendent of education, at the time of my visit, was a mulatto gentleman of evident culture--seeming, indeed, quite up to the measure of his task, if he only had the means to perform it. He could not tell me how many schools were in operation in the State; nor how much the increase had been since the war. There was, he explained, the greatest difficulty in procuring returns from the interior districts, even the annual reports being forwarded tardily, or sometimes not at all. The school-tax has heretofore been two mills on the dollar, but it is to be raised to one-fourth of one per cent. The State is in six divisions, one of which comprises New Orleans, and there is a superintendent for each division.

        There are now in Louisiana 291,000 youth between the ages of six and twenty-one; and it is fair to presume that at least one-half of them are children of colored parents, since the population of Louisiana is pretty equally divided into white and black. The Legislature appropriates half a million dollars yearly for the use of the schools, of which about seven-eighths is annually expended. There are a few mixed schools now in the State, although the mingling of colors has not been insisted upon.

        Great numbers of private schools have sprung into existence, especially in New Orleans, where the predominant religion is the Catholic; and the Germans have shown their fear of mixed schools by establishing special schools for their own children. The Catholic clergy in New Orleans have not gone so far as to forbid the attendance of children of Catholic parents in the public schools; but the organ of that clergy announced, some time since, that the poverty, and not the will of the parties, acceded the permission to attend secular schools. Immense progress has certainly been made since the war. In 1868, when the real work of school reform in the State began, there was no supervision whatever exercised over school funds, and millions of dollars were uselessly squandered. There were then less than one hundred public schools in the entire State. But it was estimated at the first educational convention ever held in Louisiana, which met in New Orleans, in 1872, that there were at that time 1,100 schools in operation, with nearly 100,000 pupils. The old system, or lack of system, had had most painful results. There were no means of obtaining proper reports; there was no certainty that the few teachers who were employed did their duty.


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        The present school-law is well adapted to the condition and wants of the State. There is one ugly fact in the way of progress in the interior of the commonwealth, and that is, as asserted by the superior officials, that the money appropriated to the different parishes for school funds, has, in many cases, never been used for schools; and prosecution of officers supposed to have retained that money is of but small avail. There are ostensibly parish boards of school directors in office in every section of the State; but they do not all perform their duty.

        The school-law provides for the maintenance of a proper normal department; and good teachers are yearly sent out therefrom. New Orleans now has about seventy public schools, and a little more than $700,000 invested in school property. The teachers in those schools exclusively attended by white children are all white; in the few mixed schools there are some colored teachers. The superintendent said that it would not do to insist upon mixed schools in remote districts, as the people would in that case refuse to have any school at all.

        The Louisiana State University, temporarily located at Baton Rouge until its new buildings at Alexandria are completed, is a struggling institution, which needs and merits much aid from richer States; and an agricultural college and a system of industrial schools have been projected. The colored children in the public schools manifest an earnestness and aptitude which amply demonstrates their claim to be admitted to them. People in all sections have ceased grumbling at the "school-house taxes," and that in itself is a cheering sign.


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IX.

"HO FOR TEXAS!"--GALVESTON.

        ONE of the saddest sights in New Orleans or Galveston is the daily arrival of hundreds of refugees from the older Southern States, seeking homes on the Texan prairies. The flood of emigration from South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia is formidable, and turned the tide of politics in Texas, in a single

Illustration

Going to Texas.

year, from Republican flood to Democratic ebb. Old men and little children, youths and maidens, clad in homespun, crowd the railway cars, looking forward eagerly to the land of promise. The ignorance of these poor people with regard to the geography of the country in general, is dense. "I never traveled so much befo'," is a common phrase; "is Texas a mighty long ways off yet?" The old men, if one enters into conversation with them, will regale him with accounts of life in their homes "befo' the surrender." With them,
Page 100

everything dates from the war, leaving the past irrevocably behind its yawning gulf, while in front there is only poverty--or flight.

        The route from New Orleans to Brashear City is, in the delightful months of April and May, one of the most beautiful in the South. The railroad which connects at Brashear City with the Morgan steamers sailing to Galveston, and along which the tide of emigration constantly flows, traverses weird forests and lofty cane-brakes, and passes over bayous, swamps, and long stretches of sugar plantations.

        Crossing the Mississippi by the great railroad ferry to Algiers, the traveler soon leaves behind the low, green banks, studded with neat, white houses embowered in a profusion of orange groves; and is borne out of sight of the black lines of smoke left upon the cloudless sky by the funnels of the river steamers. He passes Bayou des Allemands, and a low country filled with deep, black pools; hurries across the reedy and saturated expanse of Trembling Prairie, dotted with fine oaks; rattles by Raceland, and its moist, black fields, to La Fourche Bayou, on which lies the pretty, cultivated town of Thibodeaux.

        He next passes Chacahoula swamp, a wilderness of shriveled cypresses and stagnant water; Tigerville, with its Indian mounds; the rich Bæuf country, along the banks of whose lovely bayou lie wonderful sugar lands, once crowded with prosperous planters, but now showing many an idle plantation. He passes immense groves, from the boughs of whose trees thousands of Spanish moss beards are pendent; and through which long and sombre aisles, like those of a cathedral, open to right and left. He wonders at the presence of the bearded moss on all the trees, and his commercial eye perhaps suggests that it be made available in upholstery; but he is told that the quaint parasite already does good service as the scavenger of the air.

        At Brashear City he finds a steamer for Texas at the fine docks built by the enterprising proprietor of the "Morgan line," and notes, as he passes out to the blue waters of the Gulf, the richness of the vegetation along the shores of the inlet. An afternoon and a night--and he is in Galveston.

        The coast line of Texas, bordering upon the Gulf of Mexico from Sabine Pass to the Rio Grande,--from the Louisiana boundary to the hybrid, picturesque territory where the American and Mexican civilizations meet and conflict, is richly indented and studded with charming bays. Trinity, Galveston, West, Matagorda, Espiritu Santu, Aransas, and Corpus Christi harbors, each and all offer varied possibilities for future commerce. The whole coast, extending several hundred miles, is also bordered by a series of islands and peninsulas, long and narrow in form, which protect the inner low-lying banks from the high seas.

        The plains extending back from the coast in the valleys of the Sabine, the San Jacinto and the Colorado, seem in past centuries to have formed a vast delta, whose summit was probably near the Colorado, and whose angles were formed by the Sabine and the Nueces. Great horizons, apparently boundless as the sea, characterize these plains; the wanderer on the Gulf sees only the illimitable expanse of wave and alluvial; the eye is fatigued by the immensity, and gladly seeks rest upon the lines of ancient forest which cover the borders


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of the Colorado and the Nueces. Beyond these plains comes the zone of the prairies, whose lightly undulating surface extends inland as far as the Red river, while the mountains on the north-west crown the fertile knolls of rolling country.

        These mountains are portions of the Sierra Madre, which is itself but a spur from the grand Andean chain. Running to the north-west in the State of Coahuila (once a portion of Texas), the Sierra Madre spur bifurcates to enter the Texas of the present, and continues in a north-westerly direction, under the name of the San Saba, in whose breasts are locked the rich minerals which the Spaniard, during his period of domination, so often and so vainly strove to unearth.

        The Texan coast sweeps downward and outward by a wide curve to the Mexican boundary. Approaching it from the sea, the eye encounters only a low-lying level of white sand, with which, however, at all hours, the deep colors of the gulf are admirably contrasted.

        The great sea highway to which I have previously alluded, from Brashear City, on Berwick's Bay, on the Louisiana coast, to Galveston, is well known and fascinating to the modern traveler. The enterprise and liberal expenditure of a citizen of New York, Mr. Charles Morgan, has covered the waves of this route with steamships, which, until recently, furnished the only means of communication between Texas and the rest of the United States. The Morgan Line was not merely the outgrowth of an earnest demand; it was the work of an adventurous pioneer; and although its importance, in view of the grand railroad development of Northern Texas, can henceforth be but secondary, its founder will always be remembered for his foresight and daring. The improvements in the channels from Berwick's Bay outward are also the work of the owner of this line. They comprehend the dredging of a great bar which once obstructed the short passage to the Gulf, and when completed will be of infinite importance to the commerce of the whole south-west. Thousands of tons of shells have been dragged out of the dark-blue water to make room for the prows of the Morgan fleet, pointed toward Galveston and Indianola.

        And what is Galveston? A thriving city set down upon a brave little island which has fought its way out of the depths of the Gulf, and given to the United States her noblest beach, and to Texas an excellent harbor. Seen from the sea, when approaching under the fervid light of a Southern dawn, or when sailing away from it in the white moonlight, so intensely reflected on the sand, it is indeed a place where


                         "Myrtle groves
                         Shower down their fragrant wealth upon the waves
                         Whose long, long swell mirrors the dark-green glow
                         Of cedars and the snow of jasmine cups."

        It is a city in the sands; yet orange and myrtle, oleander and delicate rose, and all the rich-hued blossoms of a tropic land, shower their wealth about it. In the morning the air is heavy with the perfume of blossoms; in the evening the light, to Northern eyes, is intense and enchanting.


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        Thirty-one miles of picturesque beach are constantly laved by the restless waters. It is only a few steps from an oleander grove to the surf, the shell-strewn strand, and the dunes. The approach from the mainland will instinctively remind the traveler of Venice. A great bridge, two miles in length, connects the islet

Illustration

"It is only a few steps from an oleander grove to the surf."

with the continent. Dismantled fortifications near the bridge show one that the war reached even to the Gulf; and the mass of low-lying, white, balconied houses forms a pleasant group.

        Much of the island is unkempt and neglected-looking. Cattle wander freely about. There are a few market-gardens, and some meat-packeries in the suburbs of the city. Galveston itself, however, is as trim and elegant as any town in the South. The business quarter looks quaint and odd to strangers' eyes, because of the many long piers and jetties; the mule-carts, unloading schooners anchored lightly in the shallow waves; and the hosts of slouching darkies, shouting and dancing as they move about their tasks.

        The "Strand," the main business thoroughfare, has been twice ruined by fire, but has sprung up again into quite a magnificence of shop and warehouse; and Tremont, and other of the commercial avenues, boast of as substantial structures as grace the elder Northern cities. There is a network of wharves and warehouses, built boldly out into the water, in a manner which recalls Venice even more forcibly than does the approach from the mainland.

        The heat is never disagreeably intense in Galveston; a cool breeze blows over the island night and day; and the occasional advent of the yellow-fever,--the dread intruder who mows down hundreds of victims,--is a mystery. It comes, apparently, upon the wings of the very wind which puts health and life into every vein; and many a midsummer is rendered memorable by its ravages.

        Yet there could hardly be imagined a more delightful water-side resort than Galveston, during, at least, four months in the year. My first visit to the beach was in February, and the air of Northern June fanned the waves. The winter months could certainly be delightfully spent in Galveston; and the little city has built a splendid hotel as a seductive bait for travelers.


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        Galveston is memorable in Texan history as the retreat of the dread pirates of the Gulf--the smugglers and outlaws of Barataria. Though discovered in 1686 by La Salle, it remained uninhabited until 1816, when Lafitte and his pirate brethren from the Louisiana coast tested the capacities of the harbor, and shortly after it was occupied by the forces of the "Mexican Republic." Privateers went out from the bay to cruise against Spanish commerce, and the fleets of Spain were swept from the Gulf.

        The island also became a depot for the sale of negroes, to be imported into Louisiana, the native African's market value being one dollar per pound. At one time the followers of "Lafitte, the Galveston buccaneer," numbered a thousand refugees from justice. Lafitte was appointed "governor of the island" by the Mexican authorities, who cared little for the character of their public servants, provided they were efficient.

        But in due time the prince of pirates was compelled by the Government of the United States to leave Galveston forever, as his followers had so far forgotten themselves as to plunder American shipping. The island again became a waste, and only an occasional superstitious hunter for the spoils of the pirates visited the sandy shores.

        As the republic of Texas grew in after years, however, so grew Galveston. It was a promising town before the late war, with perhaps ten thousand population. While the rude interior towns were still in their infancy, Galveston was a port of entry, the station of the navies of the little republic, and the scene of many courtly festivities in honor of foreign ambassadors.

        During the war its commerce was, of course, utterly broken, and it was occupied in turn by Union and Confederate soldiers. Latterly it has assumed a commercial importance which promises to make it a large and flourishing city,

Illustration

"The mule-carts, unloading schooners anchored lightly in the shallow waves." [Page 102.]


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although it has many rivals in the field whence it expects to draw its trade. The cotton factors of the city are enthusiastic in their belief that they shall succeed in bringing to their port the majority of the cotton grown in Texas, but they overlook the formidable rivalry of St. Louis. The capitalists of that city intend to control the whole cotton crop of Northern Texas, bringing it into their market over the new Cairo and Fulton line and over the railroads running through Central Northern Texas; and in case the New Orleans, Mobile and Texas railroad should connect Houston with New Orleans, Houston might take the remainder of the cotton crop, diverting it from the Galveston channel, and throwing it into the New Orleans market. Galveston has but one railroad exit, the line leading to Houston, where all the railroads of the grand new system will centre. Although the business men of Galveston are confident that the

Illustration

"Galveston has many huge cotton presses"

cotton crop will all fall into their hands, those of Houston think differently. Galveston has many huge cotton presses, in whose sheds thousands of bales lie stored.

        It is to be hoped that such a large proportion of the twenty millions of acres of cotton-bearing lands in Texas will speedily come under cultivation that all the channels of trade will be filled to repletion. The freed negroes, who are throughout Texas an industrious and prosperous class, although, of course, characterized by the failings of their race, and the crudities consequent on their sudden change of station, are extensively engaged in the culture of cotton. The negro who is fortunate enough to have secured a tract of land, grows all the cotton he can, and if he would take the necessary pains to clean and prepare it, would soon enrich himself in the profitable culture.


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        The lands at the head of Galveston Bay, and on the adjoining San Jacinto Bay, as well as all the lands in immediate proximity to the Gulf, are well adapted to the culture of sea-island cotton--equal in quality to the best grown upon the islands along the South Carolina and Georgia coasts. It would be difficult to imagine a better paying culture than that of this excellent staple, the yield being from $200 to $300 in gold per acre. The alluvial lands along the Gulf demand the presence of the Chinaman; great fortunes lie hidden in their flats.

        The export of sea-island cotton is trivial as yet, but growing daily. In 1870 the exports amounted to $17,719; in 1871, to $44,863, and in 1872, to $84,437. Some of the exports of the ordinary upland cotton from Galveston since the war are shown in the appended table:

        
Year. Bales. Dollars.
1866 16,417 $2,146,224
1867 66,271 6,730,257
1868 87,794 7,687,464
1869 84,485 9,997,661
1870 144,123 14,476,550
1871 233,737 16,060,794
1872 186,073 11,898,870
1873 333,502 32,423,806
The commercial year begins May 1st.

        The total amount of dutiable and free imports for each year since the re-establishment of business, May 1st, 1866, in the Galveston Custom-House, until December 31st, 1872, is as follows: 1866, $366,388; in 1867, $766,627; in 1868, $251,052; in 1869, $276,588; in 1870, $774,918; in 1871, $1,586,408; and in 1872, $1,940,292.

        The number of entrances of foreign and coastwise vessels in Galveston harbor yearly varies from 700 to 1,400. Steamships loaded with cotton run regularly between Galveston and Liverpool;

Illustration

The Custom-House--Galveston.

and, returning, bring out English, Irish, and Scotch emigrants, giving them credit for their passage-money, and binding them by contract to work for a fixed sum for a certain term after their arrival in Texas. This plan has thus far succeeded admirably, and is bringing hundreds of worthy families from the slums of English cities into the inspiring atmosphere of the Texan uplands. The main shipments of cotton are, of course, to Liverpool although London, Bremen, and Hamburg receive some of the crop.

        There are now fifteen steamers running to Berwick's Bay; eight to New


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York; a line to Baltimore; bayou steamers to Houston, and river steamers from the Trinity and the Brazos. The steamship line between New York and Galveston carries about ninety-five per cent. of all the merchandise sent into Texas from New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Baltimore. The foreign trade of the

Illustration

"Primitive enough is this Texan jail." [Page 107.]

port is increasing with wonderful rapidity; tallow and cotton-seed oil-cake are important exports; and on my second visit to Galveston I saw the famous steamer "Hornet" loading with cattle for Havana. It is proposed to supply the West Indian market hereafter entirely with Texan cattle, the transit requiring only three days; and there are large exports of hides and wool.

        The imports are salt, coffee, crockery, iron and tin, and best of all--though non-dutiable--a steady current of sturdy Germans, who tame the wildness of Texas faster than the natives themselves can do it. Galveston is likely to remain the best coffee market in the United States. The importation of lumber from Florida, Louisiana, and Northern ports, employs a large number of vessels yearly, for Galveston stands in a timberless region; there is not an acre of forest land for miles on miles around.

        Thus much for the present commerce of Galveston; its future would be perfectly certain were it not for the rivalry forced upon neighboring towns by the marvelously rapid development of transit lines. Very little fear have the Galvestonians, the cheery "sand-crabs," as the people of Houston affectionately call them, of being "left out in the cold." And they go on building superb new avenues, planting their oleanders, and trellising their roses, without any worry for the morrow. The rebound since the war has certainly been surprising. Galveston was almost depopulated at the close of the great struggle, hardly two thousand people remaining there. Let us take a picture or two from the life of the "Island City."

        Morning: A bright sunlight on the silver-rippling water, and one catches the inspiring breath of the waves. Yonder is a mass of dense foliage, from whose


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green peer out faintest red and purest white, the color of the blossoms and the gleam of the house-walls. Here the oleanders have arched their boughs and made a shaded walk; the magnolia towers above a little balconied cottage, on whose gate a couple of half-naked negro children are swinging; a mocking-bird is imitating the strange whir of the insect-life about him; there is very little din or rattle of carriages or drays; the town seems to have wakened lazily, and to be lolling in the sun-bath, and rejoicing in the hints of the


                         "Salt and spume o' the sea"
which drift lightly inland.

        At the doors of the Custom-House half-a-dozen negroes are lying with their heads upon the broad steps, yawning and joking; at the long, white-painted market-sheds, the market-men and women have done their shouting, and relapsed into a kind of contented rest as they feel the day's heat coming on; under the wooden awnings in the principal avenues of lighter trade a few black-robed, dark-eyed ladies pass quietly to and fro; and from the sea drifts up the chant of dusky watermen loading their mule-carts.

        Noon: From this balcony we can overlook the jail, the cathedral, and the town beyond. Primitive enough is this Texan jail--a common two-story brick structure--surrounded with a high wall, garnished with cruel glass, set in cement. In the jail-yard you may see still life--very still life. The jailer has just let the prisoners out from their steaming ovens, and they are stretched on the scant grass, a motley crew--an old man, with a hang-dog look, and eyes which seem to fear any one's face as he blinks in the sun's glare; a frowsy, mean negro girl, slouched down upon a water-butt, smoking a corn-cob pipe; and half-a-dozen stout black men, hideous in rags and dirt.

        At the jail's front there is a little tower and a kind of mediæval gate, where the prisoners sometimes huddle to watch a passing circus or to note the advent of a new prisoner. Invitingly near stands the Court-House, whence now and then issue legal-looking gentlemen, furiously masticating tobacco.

        

Illustration

The Catholic Cathedral--Galveston.

        Beyond the Cathedral, with its graceful group of roofs, there is a stretch of dusty roadway, and, farther still, a herd of young horses quietly feeding. Yon dusky horseman means to bring them in. Ha! Like the wind they fly--every nerve and sinew strained. Escaped? No: The black centaur speeds beyond them like a flash, and the homeward race begins--wild but decisive. Here and there dead cattle lie scattered.


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Here is the very aspect of the San Antonio plains within a mile of the principal seaport of Texas.

        Evening: The tide is out, and you may promenade the Gulf shore along a hard, unyielding track left by the receded water, and watch the negro fisherman as he throws his line horizonward, to see it swirl and fall in the retreating surf to come up laden with scaly treasure. The blue of the water, the dark of the seemingly endless strip of beach, the faint crimson, or the purple, or the gold of the sunset sky, form delicious contrasts. A few sails steal seaward like unquiet ghosts; miles away, at a rugged promontory, where the tide is beginning to set about and come in again, the sky seems to have come down to kiss the sea,

Illustration

"Watch the negro fisherman as he throws his line horizonward."

so exquisitely do colors of heaven and water blend; the long line of carriages hurries cityward; lights seem to spring from the very bosom of the sea, so low and trustingly does the little islet-town lie on the Gulf's surface; the orange-trees and the fig-shrubs send forth a delicate perfume in the cool air of the twilight.

        The depth of water on the various bars at the ports along the Texan coast is so shallow that most of them can never receive the largest shipping; but the plan of Captain Howells, the department engineer, for the improvement of the entrance to Galveston Bay, is an excellent one, and contemplates the admission of vessels drawing eighteen feet of water.


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        The merchants of Galveston will hardly be contented until they have Liverpool ships of largest draught at their very docks. They have built a wharf railroad which enables the loading of vessels directly from the cars, avoiding tedious transfers. They are also planning for a canal to connect the Rio Grande with the Mississippi. This canal would be of immense advantage to South-western Louisiana and South-eastern Texas; and it is estimated that it would bring into cultivation nearly 4,000,000 acres of land adapted to the raising of sea-island cotton. But this is one of the measures which will probably come with the "moving of the Mexican frontier."

        Society in Galveston is good, cultured and refined; and the standard of education is excellent, judging from the large number of institutions of learning in the city. The Collegiate Institution, the Catholic College, the Convent for Women, the Galveston Female Seminary, the Medical College, and several German schools, all have fine reputations. The new Methodist and Episcopal churches, and the Cathedral are the finest religious edifices in the State.

        On Tremont street stands the beautiful Opera House, where is also located the office of The Galveston News. This paper, founded by Willard Richardson, is by far the ablest Democratic journal in Texas, and takes high rank in the South-west. Its founder has been conspicuous in aiding by word and work, the upbuilding of Texas, and through a long series of years, has published the "Texas Almanac," a voluminous and faithful record of the great common-wealth's progress.

        Galveston also has its Club, "The Gulf City," frequented by many of the prominent citizens of the State. Few cities, with a population of twenty-five or thirty thousand are more spirited; though manufacturing, as a solid basis is, nevertheless, a supreme need.


Page 110

X.

A VISIT TO HOUSTON.

        THE need of manufactures is, indeed, strongly felt throughout Texas. In nearly every county farmers and merchants are paying treble and quadruple the prices they can afford to pay for goods brought thousands of miles, whereas, local investment in manufacturing establishments would enable them to multiply facilities for agricultural development, and for the comfort and culture of which the interior is now so barren.

        Now that transit facilities have come, such an outgrowth of manufactures may be looked for.

        The wheat region of Texas comprehends 40,000 square miles. What millions of barrels of flour, if proper mills were at hand, might be placed in the market two months in advance of consignments from the West!

        Houston has already begun the manufacture of cotton cloth, and applicants for situations in the mills are so numerous that the employers are embarrassed by them. At Hempstead, New Braunfels, and the State Penitentiary, this manufacture

Illustration

"The cotton train is already a familiar spectacle on all the great trunk lines."

is prosperous; yet I doubt if more than $1,000,000 is thus invested in the whole State. The people of Texas are learning that they have in their very midst all the elements necessary to support life and make it comfortable and even luxurious; and they are making a genuine effort to secure and hold Northern and Western capital.

        In a few years cotton and woolen mills will rapidly multiply in Texas; labor will be cheap, because of the cheapness of provisions and the ease with which life is sustained; and Northern capital will find one of its most profitable fields in the very region which, ten years ago, was hardly counted among the cotton and woolen producing sections of the South. The "cotton train" is already a


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familiar spectacle on all the great trunk lines. It is carefully guarded against danger from fire by vigilant negroes, and when seen at a distance, crawling across the level lands, looks like some huge reptile, from whose nostrils issue smoke and steam.

        Houston is one of the most promising of Texan towns. It lies fifty miles inland from Galveston, on Buffalo Bayou, and is now the central point of a complicated and comprehensive railway system. It was christened after the resolute, strong-hearted and valiant man whose genius so aided in creating an independent Texas, and it cherishes his memory tenderly. It is the ambitious rival of Galveston, and because nature has endowed its streets with unusual capacity for muddiness, Galveston calls its inhabitants "mud-turtles." A free exchange of satiric compliments between the two infant cities is of frequent occurrence.

        In the days of the Texan republic, when Houston was the capital, it was an important point. Only fifteen miles below the present town limits, on the banks of the picturesque bayou, that republic was born; for the travail of San Jacinto certainly brought it to the light. Audubon, the naturalist, has left a curious memorial of Houston as it was during the republic. The residence of President Houston was a typical Southern log-cabin, two large frame-works, roofed, and with a wide passage-way between. Audubon found the President dressed in a fancy velvet coat, and trowsers trimmed with broad gold lace, and was at once invited to take a drink with him. All the surroundings were uncouth and dirty, in Audubon's eyes; but he did not fail to recognize that the stern men who had planted a liberty pole on that desolate prairie in memory of the battle of San Jacinto would make Texas an autonomy. They did their rough work in their rough way; but it will stand for all time. The old "Capitol," now a hotel, stands on the main street of modern Houston. It is a plain two-story wooden structure, painted white; and contains the "Senate Chamber" which once resounded to the eloquence of the early heroes.

        Houston was a little settlement which had sprung up near the town of Harrisburg, the scene of many dramatic events when the republic was struggling with Santa Anna for its life; and the Texan Congress first met there in 1837. There, too, was finally and definitely established the first Texan newspaper, The Houston Telegraph, an adventurous sheet which had been forced by Mexican invasion to flee from town to town, until Houston's victory confirmed its right to live. To-day it is one of the institutions of Texas; has been edited by men of rare culture; showed wonderful enterprise in obtaining news during the war of secession, and is a credit to the State.

        My first visit to Houston was in winter. It was late at night when, after a long ride from the frontier of the Indian territory, where snow was still on the ground, I


                         "Dropt into that magic land."

        Stepping from the train, I walked beneath skies which seemed Italian. The stillness, the warmth, the delicious dreaminess, the delicate languor were most intoxicating. A faint breeze, with a hint of perfume in it, came


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through the lattice of my window at the hotel. The magnolias sent their welcome; the roses, the dense beds of fragrant blossoms, exhaled their greeting. Roses bloom all winter, and in the early spring and May the gardens are filled with them.

        The bayou which leads from Houston to Galveston, and is one of the main commercial highways between the two cities, is overhung by lofty and graceful magnolias; and in the season of their blossoming, one may sail for miles along the channel with the heavy, passionate fragrance of the queen flower drifting about him.

        

Illustration

"There are some notable nooks and bluffs along the bayou."

        Houston is set down upon prairie land; but there are some notable nooks and bluffs along the bayou, whose channel barely admits the passage of the great white steamer which plies to and from the coast. This bayou Houston hopes one day to widen and dredge all the way to Galveston; but its prettiness and romance will then be gone.

        On the morning of my arrival I was inducted into the mysteries of a "Norther," which came raving and tearing over the town, threatening, to my fancy, to demolish even the housetops. Just previous to the outbreak, the air was clear and the sun was shining, although it was cold, and the wind cut sharply. This "dry Norther" was the revulsion after the calm and sultry atmosphere of the previous day. A cloud-wave, like a warning herald, rose up in the north, and then the Norther himself


                         "Upon the wings of mighty winds
                         Came flying all abroad."


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        It was glorious, exhilarating, and--icy. Suddenly the cloud vanished; only a thin mist remained, and after his brief reign of a brace of hours, the Norther was over. He is the physician of malarious districts, from time to time purging them thoroughly. Sometimes he blows down houses, trees, and fences, forcing the beasts on the plains to huddle together for safety; rarely, however, in his coldest and most blustering moods, bringing the mercury of the thermometer below twenty-five degrees.

        

Illustration

"The Head-quarters of the Masonic Lodges of the State."

        Houston is well laid out, and grows rapidly, prosperous business houses lining its broad Main street. The head-quarters of the Masonic lodges of the State are there; the annual State Fair, which brings together thousands of people from all the counties, every May, is held there; and the Germans, who are very numerous and well-to-do in the city, have their Volks-fests and beer-absorbings, when the city takes on an absolutely Teutonic air.

        The colored folk are peaceable and usually well-behaved; they have had something to do with the city government during the reconstruction era, and the supervisor of streets, and some members of the city council, at the time of my sojourn there, were negroes. The railroads are hastening Houston's prosperity. The quiet inhabitants who came to the town a quarter of a century ago, and who, frightened by the fancied perils of the Gulf, have never since been back to "the States," hear of the route from "Houston to St. Louis in sixty hours," with

Illustration

"The railroad depots are everywhere crowded with negroes, immigrants, tourists and speculators." [Page 114.]


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superstitious awe. It opens a new country to them. Northern Texas, even, seems to them like a far-off world. They hardly realize that within twenty-four hours' ride a new Texas is springing up, which, in commercial glory and power, will far surpass the old.

        The future commercial importance of Houston can readily be seen by examining its location with regard to railway lines. The Houston and Texas Central connects it by a direct line

Illustration

The New Market-Houston. [Page 115.]

with Denison in Northern Texas, with the Missouri, Kansas and Texas railway through the Indian Territory and South-western Missouri, and thence by the Missouri Pacific with St. Louis. The Houston and Great Northern route, with which the "International" road has been consolidated (the united lines taking as a new title the "International and Great Northern"), gives a through route from Columbia near the coast to Houston, thence to Palestine and Longview in Northern Texas, and over the "Texas and Pacific," via Marshall to Texarkana, on the Arkansas border. There it connects with the new Cairo and Fulton and Iron Mountain route to St. Louis. The Texas and Pacific road also gives it connection with Shreveport and with the road projected from that point across Northern Louisiana to Vicksburg in Mississippi. Houston is connected with Galveston by the Galveston, Houston and Henderson road, now under the control of Thomas W. Pierce of Boston, who is also building the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio road, now completed to within forty miles of San Antonio. The extension of the New Orleans, Mobile and Texas railroad through Louisiana to the Texan border will be of immense advantage to Houston.

        

Illustration

"The ragged urchin with his saucy face." [Page 115.]

        At the time of my visit there were about 1,100 miles of completed railroad in Texas; and the projected routes, and surveys, indicated a determination to build at least as many more lines, opening up the whole of Northern Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas. Although the roads have been laid down with surprising rapidity, they are generally good, and bright little towns are springing up at all the junctions and termini. The railroad depots are everywhere crowded with negroes, immigrants, tourists, and speculators. The head-quarters of the Houston and Texas Central,


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and of the International and Great Northern roads, are at Houston. The former route, of which William E. Dodge, of New York, is president, was chartered in 1848, and had built eighty miles of its line before the war. All the rest has been done since 1861, and it now stretches, 340 miles from Houston to the Red river, 115 miles from Hempstead to Austin, the Texan capital, and 45 miles from Bremond to Waco, one of the most promising towns of the northern section. Galusha A. Grow, the noted Pennsylvania politician, has taken up his abode in Texas, and presides over the destinies of the International and Great Northern railroad.

        Thus connected with the outer world, Houston grows daily in commercial importance, and should be made a prominent manufacturing centre. At present, however, there are only the Eureka and Houston City cotton mills, running a few thousand spindles; the various railroad machine and repair shops; a fine new market and opera-house combined; a few brick yards, beef packeries, and foundries. In the vicinity, among the pineries along the bayou, there are numbers

Illustration

"The negro on his dray, racing good-humoredly with his fellows." [Page 116.]

of steam saw-mills, which furnish lumber to be worked into the "saloons," hotels, and shops of the ambitious new towns in the recently opened northern region.

        There is a frankness and cordiality about the society of Houston which is refreshing to one coming from the more precise and cautious East; the manners of the people are simple, courteous, delightful; there are, in the little city, many families of culture and social distinction, whose hospitality renders a sojourn among them memorable. The Texan of the South is, if possible, possessed of more State pride than his brother of Northern Texas: he is never tired of declaiming of the beauties of the climate, and is extremely sensitive to criticism. Above all, do not tell the Texan maiden that her land is not the fairest; for the women of this Southern commonwealth are even more idolatrous of their beautiful homes than are the men. There is a touch of defiance in the loving manner with which they linger over the praise of Texas; they talk best and look prettiest when they are praising "stars which Northern skies have never known." They show the same content with their own section as is found in France, and a leaning


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toward incredulity if one speaks of landscapes more perfect or of flowers more rare than those of the "Lone Star State!"

        The street life is interesting; the negro on his dray, racing good-humoredly with his fellows; the ragged urchin with his saucy face and his bundle of magnolia-blossoms; and the auctioneer's "young man," with mammoth bell and brazen voice, are all interesting types, which, as the reader will observe, the genial and careful artist has faithfully reproduced.

        

Illustration

"The auctioneer's young man."


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XI.

PICTURES FROM PRISON AND FIELD.

        ABOUT fifteen miles from Houston, on the banks of the bayou, and upon a dull, uninteresting plain, is the site of the famous battle of San Jacinto. The character of Houston who fought it, annihilating a Mexican force more than twice as large as his own, and capturing the redoubtable Santa Anna, is, and always will be, the subject of much heated discussion in Texas.

        Few men have ever left such firm friends and such implacable enemies. There are two versions of every episode of Texan history with which he was connected, his enemies invariably representing him as a man of bad and designing nature, without special ability, while his friends magnify the real excellence of his character into exalted heroism.

        "Sam Houston" was a man of extraordinary merit, sternness, strength of will, and was possessed of a foresight quite beyond the ordinary range. He was a

Illustration

Sam Houston.

Virginian by birth, the hardy son of hardier and noble parents, going in his youth with his widowed mother to Tennessee, then the boundary between the white man and the Cherokee Indian. His education was slight, and, being refused, when at school, the privilege of learning Greek, which he desired after reading a translation of the Iliad, he swore that he would never recite another lesson, and kept his word.

        He crossed the Tennessee river and joined the Indians, remaining with them until his manhood. Some time later he distinguished himself in the war against the Creeks, and in 1823 was elected to Congress from


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Tennessee. An unfortunate marriage seems finally to have decided his career. While governor of Tennessee, in 1829, he suddenly separated from his newly married wife, resigned his high office, and returned to his friends the Cherokees.

        After remaining with them for some years he again mingled with white men, and in 1833, entering Texas politics, leaped to the front, became the commander-in-chief of the Texan armies, and, in the face of the determined opposition of an empire of 8,000,000 of people established the independence of the State.

        

Illustration

View on the Trinity River.

        There is but little of interest on the battle-ground of San Jacinto to-day. The ride down the bayou from Houston is delightful; but, arriving at the plain, one sees only a dreary expanse, and the line of rising ground where, on the 21st of April, 1836, the Texans established their camp. On that field, with his little band of war-worn Texans, General Houston made his final stand against the formidable forces of Santa Anna. Suddenly rallying his almost exhausted men, he charged upon the enemy, smote them hip and thigh, trampled them into the morasses and bayous, and terribly avenged the Alamo, and its kindred massacres.

        The Texans engaged in the battle numbered 783, and the Mexicans lost 630 killed! The next day Santa Anna was found lying prone in the grass near the field of battle,--his disgraced head covered with a blanket,--and was made prisoner. Texas was effectually wrested from the cruel grasp of Mexico.

        Houston possessed remarkable eloquence and great magnetic power. His speech had a certain majesty about it which was in itself convincing to the popular ear. A man of many faults, he was full of the pride and joy of life, although at times intemperate and choleric. There are many traditions in Houston of his fondness for gaming, his adventures after drinking freely, and his power of control over others. When the late war came he stood a magnificent bulwark against the waves of secession and indecision, and always spoke his mind. Never, in the maddest moments, was he denounced; his person and his opinions were held sacred, and he died peacefully at Huntsville before the great struggle was ended. In the various portraits extant of him there is as much difference as in the opinions of his friends and enemies. The most authentic gives him a keen, intellectual face, somewhat softened from its original determination by age and repose, but emphatically a manly and powerful one.

        The courtesy of President Grow, of the "International and Great Northern" railroad, placed a special train at the disposition of the artist and myself during our stay in Houston, and we visited the banks of that charming stream, the Trinity river, and the fertile lands beside it; then turning aside to look at the great State Penitentiary, where nearly a thousand convicts are registered,


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more than half of whom are employed, like galley slaves, as hewers of wood and stone on the railroads and highways.

        The sight of the "convict train" is one of the experiences of Texan travel which still clings like a horrid nightmare in my memory. To come upon it suddenly, just at twilight, as I did, at some lonely little station, when the abject, cowering mass of black and white humanity in striped uniform had crouched down upon the platform cars; to see the alert watchmen standing at each end of every car with their hands upon their cocked and pointed rifles; to see the relaxed muscles and despairing faces of the overworked gang, was more than painful.

        Once, when we met this train, a gentleman recognized an old servant, and cried out to him, "What, Bill, are you there?" and the only answer was a shrinking of the head, and a dropping of the under jaw in the very paralysis of shame.

        

Illustration

"We frequently passed large gangs of the convicts chopping logs in the forest by the roadside." [Page 120.]

        The convict labor is contracted for, and is of great value in the building of the railways and the clearing of forests. As a rule, the men are worked from dawn to dark, and then conveyed to some near point, to be locked up in cars or barracks constructed especially for them. They are constantly watched, working or sleeping; and the records of the Penitentiary show many a name against which is written, "Killed while trying to escape."


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        We frequently passed large gangs of the convicts chopping logs in the forest by the roadside; they were ranged in regular rows, and their axes rose and fell in unison. When they had finished one piece of work, the stern voice of the supervisor called them to another, and they moved silently and sullenly to the indicated task. In the town where the Penitentiary is located, it is not unusual to see convicts moving about the streets, engaged in teaming, carpentry, or mason work; these are commonly negroes, sent to the Penitentiary for trivial offences, and denominated "trusties." Sambo and Cuffee have found the way of the transgressor unduly hard in Texas and most of the Southern States, since the war liberated them. The pettiest larceny now entitles them to the State's consideration, and the unlucky blackamoor who is misty as to the proper ownership of a ragged coat, or a twenty-five cent scrip, runs risk of the "convict train" for six months of a year. One good result, however, seems to have followed this unrelenting severity; you may leave your baggage unprotected anywhere on the Texan lines of travel, and no one will disturb it.

        A branch line of rail leads from the main trunk of the "International and Great Northern" to the Penitentiary, prettily situated among green fields and pleasant hills. It is vigilantly guarded everywhere by armed men. Inside, the shops are light and cheery, and the men and women, even the "lifers," who have stained their hands with blood, look as contented in the cotton spinning room as the ordinary factory hand does after a few years of eleven hours' toil daily. The prisoner make shoes, clothing, furniture and wagons, weave good cottons and woolens, and it is even proposed to set them at building cars.

        The large number of prisoners serving life sentences seemed surprising until, upon looking over the register, we noted the frequency of the crime of murder. The cases of murderous assault--classified under the head of "attempt to kill"-- were generally punished by a term of two to five years; never more. At the time of my visit there were seventy persons so sentenced.

        Since the passage of the act making the carrying of concealed weapons illegal, these commitments are not so common. Yet the Democratic Legislature last assembled--true to its principle of undoing all which had been done by its Republican predecessors--would gladly have repealed the law.

        In a corridor of the Penitentiary I saw a tall, finely-formed man, with bronzed complexion, and long, flowing, brown hair--a man princely in carriage, and on whom even the prison garb seemed elegant. It was Satanta, the chief of the Kiowas, who with his brother chief, Big Tree, is held to account for murder. Being presently introduced to a venerable bigamist who, on account of his smattering of Spanish, was Satanta's interpreter, I was, through this obliging prisoner, presented at court.

        Satanta had stepped into the work-room, where he was popularly supposed to labor, although he never performed a stroke of work, and had seated himself on a pile of oakum. His fellow-prisoner explained to Satanta, in Spanish, that I desired to converse with him, whereupon he rose, and suddenly stretching out his hand, gave mine a ponderous grasp, exclaiming as he did so, "How!" He then replied through his interpreter to the few trivial questions I asked, and


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again sat down, motioning to me to be seated, with as much dignity and grace as though he were a monarch receiving a foreign ambassador. His face was good; but there was a delicate curve of pain at the lips which contrasted oddly with the strong Indian cast of the other features. Although much more than sixty years old, he hardly seemed forty, so erect was he, so elastic and vigorous.

        When asked if he ever expected liberation, and what he would do if it should come, he responded, with the most stoical indifference, "Quien sabe?" "Big Tree" was meanwhile briskly at work in another apartment plaiting a chair seat, and vigorously chewing tobacco. His face was clear cut and handsome, his coal black hair swept his shoulders, and he paused only to brush it back, give us a swift glance, and then turn briskly to his plaiting as before. The course pursued toward these Indians seems the proper one; it is only by imposing upon them the penalties to which other residents of the State are subject that they can be taught their obligations.*

        * Satanta and Big Tree have since been set at liberty.


        

Illustration

"Satanta had seated himself on a pile of oakum."

        The Penitentiary in Texas is satisfactorily conducted, being leased from the State by enterprising persons who make it a real industrial school, albeit a severe one. But certain of the jails in the State are a disgrace to civilization, and many intelligent people at Austin spoke with horror of the manner in which criminals were treated in the "black-hole" in that place. All the barbarities of the Middle Ages seemed in force in it.

        There is also a certain contempt for the ordinary board or brick county jail, manifested by a class of desperadoes and outlaws, unhappily not yet extinct in the remote sections of the State. During my last visit to Austin, the inhabitants were excited over a daring jail delivery effected in an adjacent county by a band of outlaws. Some of their fellows had been secured, and the outlaws rode to the jail, in broad daylight, attacked it, and rescued the criminals, killing one or two of the defenders, and firing, as a narrator told me, with a touch of enthusiasm in his voice, "about eighty shots in less 'n three minutes." Not long after, tidings were brought us of the descent of an armed body of men upon the jail in Brenham, a large and prosperous town, and the rescue of criminals there.

        As a rule, however, such acts of lawless violence are due more to the carelessness of the law officers in securing their prisoners than to any defiance of law. It would be singular if, in a State once so overrun by villains as Texas, there were


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no defiant rascals still unhung. Governor Davis, in his last annual message, admitted that in four-fifths of the counties the jails were not secure, and that the constant escape of prisoners was made the excuse for a too free exercise of lynch law upon persons accused of offences. He also added that the jails so constructed as to secure the prisoners confined in them were dens unfit for the habitation of wild beasts.

        To the credit of Texas, however, it should be said that political bitterness rarely, if ever, has any part in the scenes of violence enacted in certain counties; the rude character of the people, and the slow return to organized society after the war, being the real causes of the troubles in those regions. Under the reconstruction government, law and order had returned, and it is to be hoped that the now dominant legislators will do nothing to hinder their supremacy in the by-ways as well as the highways of the State. The Democratic Legislature can ill afford to undo the wise legislation which established a State police for the arrest and punishment of outlaws, and which forbade the carrying of concealed weapons.

        The little towns along the International and Great Northern railroad are as yet very primitive, and constructed upon the same monotonous, stereotyped plan as those on the Red river. From Houston to Palestine the road runs through a country of great possibilities. On all these new lines the picture is very much the same. Let us take one as it looks in the early dawn.

        Morning comes sharply on the great plains, and sends a thrill of joy through all nature. The screaming engine frightens from the track a hundred wild-eyed, long-horned cattle that stand for a moment in the swampy pools by the roadside, jutting out their heads, flourishing their tails angrily, and noisily bellowing, as if resenting the impertinence of the flame-breathing iron monster, and then bound away like deer.

        On the slope of a little hill stand a dozen horses, gazing naïvely at the train; a shrill yell from the steam-throttle sends them careering half a mile away, their superb necks extended, their limbs spurning the ground. Behind them gallop a hundred pigs, grimy and fierce, snorting impatiently at being disturbed.

        In the distance one can see an adroit horseman lassoing the stupid beef creature which he has marked for slaughter. He drives it a little apart from the herd, and it turns upon him; a quick twirl of his wrist, and he has thrown the deadly noose about its neck; a rapid gallop of a few seconds, and he has tightened the long rope. The horse seems to enjoy the sport, bracing himself as the animal makes a few angry struggles, and then gallops rapidly once more away. The poor beef, now in the tortures of suffocation, falls upon his knees and staggers blindly and heavily forward, bellowing hoarsely and brandishing his horns; again he falls headlong; and once more piteously bellows as much as his choked throat will permit. The disturbed herd walk slowly and mournfully away, huddling together as if for protection. At last the horseman, loosening a little the dreadful noose, forces the subdued creature to follow him submissively, and so takes him to the slaughter.


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        This wonderful expanse of plain, which melts away so delicately into the bright blue of the cloudless sky, has inspiration in it. The men and women whom one meets at the little stations along the road are alert and vigorous; the glow of health is upon them; the very horses are full of life, and gallop briskly, tossing their heads and distending their nostrils.

        Every half hour we reach some small town of board shanties, crowned with ambitious signs. Each of these hamlets is increasing weekly by fifties and hundreds in population. As the train passes, the negroes gather in groups to gaze at it until it disappears in the distance. At one lonely little house on the edge of a superb wheat country a group of Germans, newly come, is patiently

Illustration

"As the train passes, the negroes gather in groups to gaze at it until it disappears in the distance."

waiting transportation into the interior. The black-gowned, bare-headed women are hushing the babies and pointing out to each other the beauties of the strange new land.

        Not far away is the timber line which marks the course of a little creek, whose romantic banks are fringed with loveliest shrubbery. A log cabin's chimney sends up a blue smoke-wreath, and a tall, angular woman is cutting down the brush near the entrance. A little farther on, half-a-dozen small tents glisten in the morning sun; the occupants have just awoke, and are crawling out to bask in the sunshine and cook their coffee over a fire of twigs. The air is filled with joyous sounds of birds and insects, with the tinkling of bells, with the rustling of leaves, with the rippling of rivulets. One longs to leave the railroad, and plunge into the inviting recesses which he imagines must lie within reach.


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        The Houston and Texas Central railroad route runs through neither a bold nor broken country, but is bordered for at least a hundred miles by exquisite foliage and thickets. At Hearne, 120 miles from Houston, it meets the International line running to Longview, and furnishing the route to Jefferson, at the head of the chain of lakes extending to Shreveport, in Louisiana.

        These lakes were formed by the obstructions created by the Red river raft, and Jefferson has become, by the diversion of the waters of this river from their natural channel, the head of navigation in that section. An important steamboat commerce with New Orleans, St. Louis, and Cincinnati has sprung up here, and Jefferson now exports nearly 100,000 bales of cotton annually. Before the Texas Pacific railroad branch from Marshall was completed, 20,000 wagons freighted with cotton yearly entered the town. Though the war found Jefferson a miserable collection of one-story shanties, it is now a city of 10,000 inhabitants, with elegant brick buildings, and a trade of $20,000,000 annually. To what it may grow, now that it is connected with the direct route to St. Louis, and that 15,000 square miles of territory in Northern Texas are opened to settlement, no one can tell. Marshall not only enjoys much the same advantages as Jefferson, but is the head-quarters in Texas of the great Texas and Pacific railway which the famous Scott is stretching across the country to El Paso, and which is already completed beyond Dallas. The same genius now presides over the destinies of the Transcontinental line, to run through the upper counties from Texarkana to Fort Worth, where the two routes are merged in the main line, which shoots out thence straight to the Mexican frontier.

        The International railroad as originally planned was to extend via Austin and San Antonio into Mexico; but a Democratic Legislature refused to accord the aid offered by its Republican predecessor.

        North-eastern Texas has extensive iron interests, and, throughout the counties in the vicinity of Jefferson, large foundries are grouping villages around them. These beds of iron ore, lying so near the head of steamboat navigation, are destined to an immense development. All the north of the State is rich in minerals.

        In the wild Wichita regions, where exploring parties have braved the Indians, there is an immense copper deposit, continuing thence hundreds of miles, even to the Rio Grande. The copper ore from some of the hills has been tested, and will yield fifty-five per cent. of metal. Notwithstanding even the expense of transporting ore 500 miles by wagon, the copper mines of Archer County have proved profitable. All the requisites for building furnaces and smelting the ores exist in the immediate vicinity of the deposits. The whole copper region is exquisitely beautiful. The mountains are bold and romantic; the valleys mysterious and picturesque; the plains covered with flowers--and Indians! But who will let the ignoble savage stand in the way of mineral development?

        The Indian troubles in North-western Texas are quite as grave as those in the extreme western part of the State. Now and then an adventurous frontiersman is swept down by the remorseless savage, who seems to delight in waiting until his victim fancies he has attained security before murdering him and his family.


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Government should certainly afford better protection to the settler on the extreme frontier--by some other method if it cannot do it by means of the regular army.

        Waco, now a fine town, on a branch of the Texas Central, was once an Indian village, and, long ago, was the scene of a formidable battle between the Wacos and some Cherokee forces. The noble Wacos had acquired, in a surreptitious manner, a good many Cherokee ponies, and, in the pursuit and battle which followed, the Waco village was plundered and burned, and extensive fortifications--traces of which still remain--were heaped with the conquered thieves' dead bodies. Waco, situated on the Brazos river, is to-day a handsome, solidly-built town, possessing many manufacturing establishments. Throughout all the adjacent region stock-raising is fast giving way to agriculture; and great fields of cotton, corn and cane are springing into existence. Every one has heard of Dallas, set down on the banks of the Trinity river, and contributed to by the great feeders of the Texas Central and Texas Pacific. It grows like an enchanted castle in a fairy tale. Dallas is the centre of Northern Texas; has superb water power, and lumber, coffee, iron, lead, and salt fields to draw upon. In the midst of the rich, undulating prairies, and near a plateau covered with noble oaks, elms and cedars, it promises to be beautiful as well as prosperous. It is also one of the centres of the wheat region, some of the finest wheat lands on the continent being in its vicinity. The absolutely best wheat region is said to be in Lamar, Hunt, Kaufman, and Navarro counties.

        The eastern corners of the lands now settled in Northern Texas were nearly all held by emigrants from Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi until the railroad's advent, when the North-westerner joined them in the country, and the Northerner mingled with them in the towns. Slavery flourished there before the war, and the revolution improved neither the negro nor his old master much; so that both are gradually yielding before the new-comers.

        In the northern and middle counties, however, slavery never was popular. Some 3,000 families from Indiana and Illinois were introduced into those counties between 1843 and 1854. They owned no slaves and never desired any; and the influence of their example was good even before emancipation came. Hundreds of intelligent and cultured families live there, happy and well-to-do, sowing their wheat and rye in October, and reaping it in June; planting corn in February, to harvest in September; and raising great herds of cattle and horses.

        The black, sandy lands are admirably suited for orchards and vineyards; and the "black-waxy,"--a rich alluvial,--for all the cereals. As all the cotton lands of Northern Texas will readily produce a bale to the acre, how many years will pass before the cotton crop of the Lone Star State will be 10,000,000 bales?

        The labor question is to be an engrossing one in Texas very soon. The proportion of the colored to the entire population being small, the negroes' share in the labor of cultivation is, of course, not large. The Chinaman is already at St. Louis; the completion of the Texas Pacific railroad will establish him along the whole Texan coast. At present, in great numbers of the counties,


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there is hardly one negro to fifty white people, so that Cuffee stands no whit in the way of John.

        With one single field of coal covering 6,000 square miles; with apparently inexhaustible copper and iron stores; with lead and silver mines; with 20,000,000 of acres of cotton-bearing land, and with agricultural resources equal to those of any State in the Union, Texas can enter upon her new career confidently and joyously. As a refuge for the ruined of our last great revolution, she is beneficent; as an element of greatness in the progress of the United States, she has no superior. She has peculiar advantages over her sister Southern States. While they vainly court emigration, the tide flows freely across her borders, and spreads out over her vast plains. Whatever danger there may be of political disagreements and disturbances within her limits, nothing can permanently impede her progress. Lying below the snow line, she furnishes the best route to the Pacific; fronting on the Gulf, she will some day have a commercial navy, whose sails will whiten every European sea.

        Few persons who have not visited the South appreciate the vast extent of territory which the Texas and Pacific route has opened up. Its most beneficent work will be the chasing of the Indian from the vicinity of the "cross-timber" country, which is an excellent location for small farmers. The settlers there are bravely holding on to their lands, keeping up a continual warfare with the redskins, in hopes that they may preserve their lives until the advent of the rail.

        The Indian reserves in this section of the State have, according to the testimony of competent authorities, all been failures, whether considered as protection to the white man or as a means of civilization to the Indian. For ten years the savage has been master of all that part of Texas. The new Pacific route will not only send a civilizing current through there, but will also develop a portion of the great "Staked Plain" territory, now one of the unknown and mysterious regions of Northern Texas. The Transcontinental branch is doing good pioneer work in new counties. It also runs through some of the oldest and most cultured sections of the State.

        Clarksville, in Red River county, has long been a centre of intelligence and refinement; it was settled early in 1817, and in 1860 had under cultivation nearly 17,000 acres of corn and 8,000 acres of cotton. It is noteworthy that in this county lands which have been steadily cultivated for fifty years show no depreciation in quality. Paris, a handsome town in Lamar county, is also touched by this line. These towns and counties offer a striking contrast to other portions of the northern section which lie within a day's journey of them. They are like oases, but the rest of the apparent desert is being so rapidly reclaimed, that they will soon be noticeable no longer. By all means let him who wishes to cultivate fruit, cotton, or the cereals in Texas visit these elder counties.


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XII.

AUSTIN, THE TEXAN CAPITAL--POLITICS--SCHOOLS.

        MY various journeys to Austin, the capital of Texas, enabled me to judge of its winter and summer aspects, and I do not hesitate to pronounce them both delightful. The town itself is not so interesting at first sight as either Galveston or Houston; but every day adds to the charm which it throws about the visitor. At Austin the peculiarities of Western and Eastern Texas meet and compromise; one sees the wild hunter of the plains and the shrewd business man of the coast

Illustration

The State Capitol--Austin.

side by side in friendly intercourse. The majority of the public buildings are not architecturally fine; the Capitol, the Land Office, the Governor's Mansion, are large and commodious, but not specially interesting. But a touch of the grand old Spanish architecture has crept into the construction of the Insane Asylum, which is built of the soft gray sandstone so abundant in that region; and the edifice, standing in a great park, whose superb trees seem to have been cultured for centuries, rather than to be mere gifts of nature, is very beautiful.

        It is, however, overcrowded with unfortunates, and the State's imperative duty is to build another asylum at once. Under the rich glow of the February sun the white walls of the structure formed a delicious contrast to the foliage of the live oaks near at hand, making it seem more like a temple than like the retreat of clouded reason. In wandering through the wards I came suddenly upon a group of idiot girls, seated on benches in a niche before a sunny window. These poor creatures cowered silently--grimacing now and then--as I stood gazing upon them, when suddenly one or two of them, doubtless excited by the


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presence of a visitor, rose and began dancing and shrieking. The suddenness of the transition, and the fearful, mysterious nature of these idiotic saturnalia, appalled me. I avow that I could hardly drag my limbs to the door, and when once more in the sunlight I felt as if I had come from Dante's Hell. The cheery German physician in charge complained of the overcrowded condition of the asylum, adding that as the majority of the cases brought him had already become chronic, it was a hopeless throng with which he had to deal.

        

Illustration

The State Insane Asylum--Austin.

        In a yard of the asylum, comfortably inclosed, and covered by a picturesque roof upon which a vine had been trained, I saw the sty in which "Queen Elizabeth," a filthy and dreadful old negress, wallowed all day long. Behind green lattices neatly set into the walls of another building, I could hear the furiously insane groaning and shouting. It is said that there are more than 1,200 insane in the State, for most of whom an asylum is necessary.

        Not far from the Lunatic Asylum, in another beautiful nook, is the institution for the blind, which comprises a school for the industrial training of the patients whose vision is hopelessly lost. The Colorado river flows to the westward of Austin, close to the city, issuing from a romantic mountain range, a long gap in which forms what is known as the Colorado Valley; and on the west bank of the river is an efficient and pleasant school and home for the deaf and dumb of the State.

        

Illustration

The Texas Military Institute--Austin.

        One of the notable sights of Austin, too, is the well-drilled little company of cadets from the "Texas Military Institute," originally located at Bastrop, but now situated on a lovely hill-side near the capital. The school, which is one of general and applied science, is modeled after West Point and the Virginia Military Institute, and can receive one hundred cadets, whose gray uniformed company is often seen in martial array in the lanes and fields near the town.

        Austin is very prettily set down in an amphitheatre of hills, beyond which rises the blue Colorado range. The little town, which boasts "from 8,000 to


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10,000 inhabitants," is very lively during the legislative session. One passenger train daily, each way, connects it with the outer world; beyond are the mesquite-covered plains, and only wagon roads.

        The governor, whose term of office lasts four years, has a special mansion, which was the president's house when Austin was the capital of the Texan republic; and the surroundings of his office at the Capitol are of Spartan plainness. In both the Senate and the House of Representatives I noticed a good deal of the freedom of Western and South-western manners, which would be counted strange in the older States. There were no objections, apparently, to the enjoyment of his cigar by any honorable senator on the floor of the Senate, if the session was not actually in progress; senators sat with their feet upon their desks, and the friendly spittoon handy; but these are eccentricities which prevail in many a State beside Texas. There were men of culture and refinement in the Senate, others who were coarse in manners and dress; the president was amiable and efficient. One or two negroes occupied senatorial chairs, although the Thirteenth Legislature, which I saw, was almost entirely Democratic. The House of Representatives was a sensible, shrewd-looking body of men, with no special Southern type; a Northerner might readily have imagined himself in a New England legislature during the session, save for certain peculiarities of dialect. Here, also, there were negroes, more numerous than in the Senate, and mingling somewhat more freely in the business of the session. The portraits of Austin and Houston looked down benignantly upon the lawgivers.

        

Illustration

The Governor's Mansion--Austin.

        Texas went through a variety of vexatious trials during the period between the close of the war and the election of what is known as the "Davis party." A. J. Hamilton was appointed provisional governor by President Johnson, but surrendered his power in 1866 into the hands of Governor Throckmorton, the successful "Conservative Union" candidate, who was elected after the adoption of a new State constitution by a majority of more than 36,000 votes over E. M. Pease, the "Radical" candidate. The advent of reconstruction brought Texas into the Fifth Military District with Louisiana, and under the control of General Sheridan. In 1867 Governor Throckmorton, who was considered an "obstacle" to reconstruction, was removed, and the defeated candidate Pease made governor in his stead. During his administration, he had a controversy with General Hancock, who had meantime been appointed commander of the district in place of Sheridan, and was prevented from undertaking several arbitrary measures which the military authorities deemed inexpedient at that time.


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        The new registration which came into force in Texas, as elsewhere in the South, reduced the number of white voters from 80,000 to a little less than 57,000. A second Constitutional Convention was held in June of 1868, in obedience to an order from the army authorities, then represented by General Rousseau, who succeeded General Hancock in command. This convention was presided over by Edmund J. Davis, an uncompromising loyal man, who had once had a Confederate rope around his neck in war-time, The State was at that time in a very bad condition. Murder and lawlessness were rampant; it was said that there had been nine hundred homicides in the State between 1865 and 1868. The Conservative and Radical wings of the Republican party had much sharp discussion in the convention, which was finally adjourned until the last days of November. Meantime, the differences of opinion between the wings of the party brought forward Mr. Davis as the Radical, and A. J. Hamilton as the Conservative candidate for governor. The constitution was submitted to the people in November, and ratified by more than 67,000 majority. Mr. Davis and his party were at the same time elected to power, and the military force was withdrawn.

        Governor Davis certainly succeeded in restoring order and maintaining peace in the State during the four years of his administration, although some of his measures were bitterly opposed. He inaugurated the militia act, which the Democrats of course fought against. It was an act delegating to the governor the power to suspend the laws in disturbed districts, and was perfectly efficient in the only three cases in which it was ever resorted to. During his term, also, the "State Police"--a corps for the maintenance of order throughout the State--was established, and did much to rid Texas of outlaws and murderers.

        A tax-payers' convention, held at Austin in September, 1871, united all the elements of opposition against the Davis party. Ex-Governors Throckmorton, Pease and Hamilton participated in it. The Democrats re-organized, and succeeded in securing the Legislature, which is elected annually in Texas. Toward the close of Governor Davis's term, as the tenure of office of some of the State officials was involved in doubt, the Legislature passed an act providing for a general election in December. A new and vehement political contest at once sprang up. The Republicans renominated Governor Davis, and the Democrats, who had been powerfully reinforced by thousands of immigrants from Alabama, Georgia, and other cotton States, put forward Judge Richard Coke as their candidate. In the election which followed, the Democrats elected Judge Coke as governor by more than 40,000 majority; and the State was completely given over to the Conservative element.

        This election caused great excitement among the Republicans. Governor Davis, backed up by the declaration of the Supreme Court of the State that the recent election was unconstitutional, at first refused to yield his power, and called on the President for troops to maintain him in office. But the United States declined to interfere; the Democrats took possession of the Capitol; and Governor Davis finally withdrew his opposition. The Democrats propose in due time to hold another Constitutional Convention, and threaten to undo much of


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the legislation which, under reconstruction and the régime of the Radicals, had proved salutary to the State.

        On the steps of the Capitol stands the small and unambitious monument built of stone brought from the Alamo. It is but a feeble memorial of one of the most tragic events in American history, to which the State would do well to give lasting commemoration by some stately work in bronze or marble on Alamo plaza, in San Antonio.

        

Illustration

The Alamo Monument--Austin.

        In the office of the Secretary of State at Austin, one may still see the treaties made with France, England, and other nations, when Texas was a republic, when Louis Phillippe was King of the French, and Victoria was young. Three years after Texas had declared her independence of Mexico, the commissioners appointed under President Lamar's Administration selected the present site on the Colorado as the capital, and, in grateful remembrance of the "father of Texas," called it Austin. It seems, indeed, strange that it has not grown to the proportions the commissioners then predicted for it; for the best of building stone and lime and stone-coal abound in the vicinity, and it has an immense and fertile back-country to draw upon. These same commissioners also fondly hoped, by building the town, effectually to close the pass by which Indians and outlaws from Mexico had from time immemorial traveled to and from the Rio Grande and Eastern Texas. In October, 1839, President Lamar's Cabinet occupied Austin,--and, although Indian raids in the neighborhood were frequent, the brave little government remained there. Those were great days for Texas,--a State with hardly the population of one of her counties to-day, yet holding independent relations with the civilized world.

        The European governments had their representatives at the Court of Austin, while hosts of adventurers thronged the Congressional halls. Gayly-uniformed officers of the Texan army and navy abounded; and the United States daily felt the pulse of the people as to annexation. Once in a while there was a diplomatic muddle and consequent great excitement, as when,--the owner of some pigs which had been killed for encroaching on the French Minister's premises having abused said minister in rather heated language,--Louis Phillippe felt himself insulted, and very nearly ruined the infant republic by preventing it from obtaining what was then known as the "French Loan."

        The Texan government in those early days had always been a great straggler, moving from town to town, and when, in 1842, the Administration proposed to remove the archives to Houston, because a Mexican invasion was feared, the citizens of Austin revolted, and General Houston, the then President, was compelled to leave the records where they were.


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        In the Secretary of State's office I was shown the original ordinance for the secession of Texas from the Union,--a formidable parchment, graced with a long list of names,--and a collection of the newspapers printed in the State during the war, a perusal of which showed that there are several sides to the history of all our battles, and that in those days the Texans were taught that the Confederates invariably won.

        The four presidents of the Texan republic, Burnet, Houston, Lamar and Jones, were all strong men, but of widely different character. Lamar was a brilliant writer and talker, clear-headed and accomplished; Jones was an intellectual man, bitter against the Houston party, and to judge from his own memoirs, jealous and irritable. He died by his own hand.

        The population of Texas has increased, since its annexation to the Union in 1845, from 150,000 to more than a million of inhabitants. Its principal growth has, of course, been since the war, for before that time Northern Texas was as much a wilderness as is Presidio county to-day. The greatest needs of the State at the present time are more people, and more improvement along the lines of travel. The coarse cookery, bad beds, and villainous liquor-drinking which one now finds in remote towns will vanish when people and manufactures and inducements to ease and elegance come in.

        A favorable sign on the railroads is the occasional entrance of some rough fellow into the Pullman car, and his intense enjoyment of it. I recall now, vividly, the gaunt drover who went to bed before dark in one of the berths of a palace car one evening between Austin and Hempstead. "Never was in one of these tricks befo'," he said; "I reckon I'll get my money's worth. But look yere," he added, to a gentleman near him, confidentially, "if this train should bust up now, where'd the balance of ye go to, d'ye reckon?" He appeared to think the berth a special protective arrangement, and that he was perfectly safe therein.

        The negro and the Mexican are both familiar figures in Austin, and the negro seems to do well in his free state, although indulging in all kinds of queer freaks with his money; he saves nothing. Sometimes he undertakes long journeys without the slightest idea where he is going, and finding he has not money enough to return, locates anew. As a rule, he does not acquire much property, expending his money on food and raiment--much of the former, and little of the latter. The commercial travelers in Texas all carry large stocks of confectionery, with which, when they fail to tempt Sambo to expend his little hoard in any other manner, they generally manage to exhaust his means. There is no idea of economy in the Texan negro's head. On the Texas railroads, the candy venders are allowed to roam at large through the trains and practice the old swindle of prize packages, by which they invariably deplete the darkey's purse. They display the tempting wares, and hint at the possibility of gold dollars and greenbacks in the packages; of course, appetite triumphs, and Sambo falls.

        The Land Office is one of the important institutions of Texas, and a main feature of Austin. The United States has no government lands in the commonwealth;


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and the land system, although somewhat complicated, on account of the various colonization laws and old titles acquired under them, is a good one. In the Land Office there is an experienced corps of men, who have the history of each county and its records at their fingers' ends, and who can trace any old title back to its Spanish source. Plans of all the counties, and every homestead on them, are also to be seen. This, in a State where the counties comprise areas of from 900 to 1800 square miles each, is of the utmost importance to persons buying land and wishing to establish a clear title to it; although, as a general rule, the settler who acquires land under the preëmption laws of the State, has no trouble, and runs no risk.

        An attempt was once made to sectionize all the State public lands,--now amounting to nearly 90,000,000 of acres,--and to offer them, as the United States does, in open market, but it was thought wiser to continue the original plan. The legislation of Texas favors preëmption, and the new settler had best go with it; but he may also become the legal owner of a portion of the public domain

Illustration

The Land Office of Texas--Austin.

by "locating a land certificate," at from thirty-five to sixty-five cents in gold per acre, and then proving his title to it by forming a perfect chain of deeds from the original grantee down to himself. In doing this the facilities afforded by the Land Office are, of course, invaluable. The State Bureau of immigration, located at Galveston, has commissioners constantly in the Southern and Western States, and in Europe, soliciting immigrants to take up the millions of acres in the Western and Northern parts of the State. Judging from the statistics of 1872-3, I should say that fully three thousand persons monthly land at Galveston, coming from the older Southern States. How little we at the North have known, in these last few years, of this great, silent exodus, this rooting up from home and kindred, which the South has seen, and the anguish of which so many brave hearts have felt! But your true American is peripatetic and migratory, so that perhaps the struggle is less intense with him than with the Europeans who crowd our shores.

        Texas owes but little money--a trifle more than $1,500,000--and her taxable property, which was estimated in 1871 at $220,000,000, and was then thought to be undervalued, must now be nearly $300,000,000. In most respects the outlook of the State is exceedingly good; certainly as favorable for immigration as the majority of the States of the West. The grand middle ground, more than 1,000 miles in extent, between the Atlantic and the Pacific, it must be covered with railroads in every direction; and even the barbarity of the savages can last but little longer.


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        Journalism has had an astonishing growth in Texas since the war. Out of 140 newspapers now printed in the State, 110 have been started since the close of the great struggle. Most of the small new towns have two or three papers each, and support them handsomely. The proprietor of a weekly journal, in one of the mushroom cities, told me that five columns of his paper paid him $6,000 clear profit yearly.

        Everybody--merchant, gambler, railroad contractor, clergyman, desperado--patronizes the newspaper, and pays large prices for advertising. The majority of the papers are Democratic, but in the cities the Republicans usually have influential organs. "Democratic" does not always mean a full support of the party, but a kind of independent journalism, to which the air of Texas is more conducive than even that of the North. The Age and Union in Houston, the Civilian, Post, and Standard in Galveston, the Times in Jefferson, the Reporter in Tyler, and the State Journal, Gazette, and Statesman in Austin, and the Red River Journal in Denison, are among the principal newspapers published either daily or triweekly. Almost every county has an excellent weekly, filled with enthusiastic editorials on the development of the State, and appeals to the people to appreciate their advantages. The Germans have also established several influential journals both in Western and Eastern Texas; and all of them are very prosperous. In Galveston, Houston, and all the principal towns there are elegantly-appointed German book-stores, whose counters are freighted weekly with the intellectual novelties of the Old Country.

        The school question, so seriously and severely disputed in all the Southern States, has created much discussion in Texas; and, indeed, the people do well to occupy themselves with the subject; for it is estimated that in 1873 there were yet in the State 70,895 white, and 150,617 colored persons over ten years of age who could neither read nor write. This appalling per centage of ignorance is gradually decreasing under the beneficent workings of the new system, which came in with reconstruction, and to which there was, of course, a vast deal of opposition.

        Texas has always been reasonably liberal in matters of education; as early as 1829 the laws of Coahuila and Texas made provisions for schools on the Lancastrian plan; the republic inaugurated the idea of a bureau of education, and its Congress took measures for establishing a State university. After annexation, free public schools were established, and supported by taxation on property. In 1868 the reconstruction convention established a school fund amounting to more than $2,000,000; and in April, 1871, the Legislature passed an Act organizing a system of public free schools, and the schools were begun in September of the same year.

        The opposition to them took the form of complaint of the taxes, and in most of the leading cities the courts were overrun with petitions asking that collection of the school tax be restrained. In this manner the progress of the system has been very much embarrassed. The Texan of the old régime cannot understand how it is right that he should be taxed for the education of his neighbor's children; neither is he willing to contribute to the fund for educating his former bondsmen.


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        There have been at different times about 127,000 pupils in the public schools of the State, and the average number taught during the year is 80,000, while the whole number of children in the commonwealth is estimated at 228,355. During the first year of the application of the system, over 6,500 teachers were examined and accepted. The number of colored pupils in the public schools cannot be accurately determined, and mixed schools seem to be nowhere insisted upon. In many counties where the opposition to the payment of the tax was persistent, the schools were forced to close altogether.

        In the large towns, as in Houston, the Germans have united with the leading American citizens in inaugurating subscription schools in which the sexes are separated, and have introduced into them some of the best German methods. There has been much objection to the compulsory feature of the

Illustration

"The emigrant wagon is a familiar sight there." [Page 136.]

free system, parents furiously defending their right to leave their children in ignorance. Texas needs, and intends soon to found, a university and an agricultural college. The latter should be opened at once. There are a good many thriving denominational schools scattered through the counties; the Baptists have universities at Independence and Waco; the Presbyterians at Huntsville; the Lutherans at Columbus; the Methodists at Chappell Hill; and the Odd Fellows have a university at Bryan. Wherever the public school has been established there is a private one which is patronized by all the old settlers, who thus gratify their desire for exclusiveness, and embarrass the growth of the free system.

        Between Austin and Hempstead the river Brazos is crossed, and not far from its banks stands the populous and thriving town of Brenham, in Washington


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county, one of the wealthiest and most thickly settled in the State. The beauty of the famous La Bahia prairie has not been exaggerated; I saw its fertile lands where the great oaks stood up like mammoth sentinels; where the pecan-tree, the pride of Texas, and one of the noblest monarchs of the sylvan creation, spread his broad boughs; where the cotton-wood, the red cedar, and the ash shot up their noble stems; where the magnolia and the holly swore friendship; where the tangled canebrake usurped the soil, and where upon the live oak the grapevine hung lovingly encircling it with delicate leaves and daintiest tendrils. How fair, too, were the carefully cultivated lands, hedged in with the Osage orange and the rose, the vineyards and the pleasant timber lines along the creeks! What beautiful retreats by the Brazos! One might fancy himself in the heart of the richest farming sections of England. Tobacco, rye, hops, hemp, indigo, flax, cotton, corn, wheat and barley, as well as richest grapes, can be profitably grown; deer bound through the forests, wild turkeys stalk in the thickets, and grouse and quails hide in the bosquets. The emigrant wagon is a familiar sight there, and the wanderers from the poorer Southern States find that this rich tract realizes their wildest dreams of Texas. In this section small farms are rapidly increasing in number, land being rented to new-comers unable to buy.

        One's senses are soon dulled by satiety. When I first traversed Texas, fresh from the white, snow-covered fields of the North, how strange seemed the great cypresses, hung with bearded moss; the tall grasses rustling so uncannily; the swamps, with their rank luxuriance and thousands of querulous frogs; the clumps of live oaks, and the tangled masses of vines!

        But a winter in the South had familiarized me with all these things, and on my return I sought in vain the impressions of my earlier trip. Extraordinary rural charms are like the perfume of the jessamine. At first it intoxicates the senses, but, as familiarity grows, it ceases to attract attention. Even absence will not restore its sweetness and subtlety.


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XIII.

THE TRUTH ABOUT TEXAS--THE JOURNEY BY STAGE TO SAN ANTONIO.

        GALUSHA A. GROW, once speaker of the national House of Representatives, and now the energetic and successful manager of a railroad in the Lone Star State, has changed the once memorable words, "Go to Texas!" from a malediction into a beneficent recommendation. The process was simple: he placed the curt phrase at the head of one of those flaming posters which railway companies affect, and associated it with such ideas of lovely climate and prospective prosperity, that people forthwith began to demand if it were indeed true that they had for the last twenty years been fiercely dismissing their enemies into the very Elysian Fields, instead of hurling them down to Hades.

        The world is beginning to learn something of the fair land which the adventurous Frenchmen of the seventeenth century overran, only to have it wrested from them by the cunning and intrigue of the Spaniard; in which the Franciscan friars toiled, proselyting Indians, and building massive garrison missions; which Aaron Burr dreamed of as his empire of the south-west; and into which the "Republican" army of the North marched, giving presage of future American domination.

        Austin and his brave fellow-colonists rescued Texas from the suicidal policy of the Mexican Government, and the younger Austin accepted it as his patrimony, elevating it from the degraded and useless condition in which the provincial governors had held it. Under his lead, it spurned from its side its fellow-slave, Coahuila, and broke its own shackles, throwing them in the Mexican tyrant Guerrero's face; its small but noble band of mighty men making the names of San Felipe, of Goliad, of the Alamo, of Washington, of San Jacinto, immortal.

        It crushed the might of Santa Anna, the Napoleon of the West; it wrested its freedom from the hard hands of an unforgiving foe, and maintained it, as an isolated republic, commanding the sympathy and respect of the world; it placed the names of Houston, of Travis, of Fannin, of Bowie, of Milam, of Crockett, upon the roll of American heroes and faithful soldiers, and brought to the United States a marriage-gift of two hundred and thirty-seven thousand square miles of fertile land.

        The world is beginning to know something of this gigantic south-western commonwealth which can nourish a population of 50,000,000; whose climate is as charming as that of Italy; whose roses bloom and whose birds sing all


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winter long; whose soil can yield the fruits of all climes, and whose noble coast-line is broken by rivers which have wandered two thousand miles in and out among Texan mountains and over vast Texan plains. It is a region of strange contrasts in peoples and places: you step from the civilization of the railway junction in Denison to the civilization of Mexico of the seventeenth century in certain sections of San Antonio; you find black, sticky land in Northern Texas, incomparably fertile; and sterile plains, which give the cattle but scant living, along the great stretches between the San Antonio and the Rio Grande.

        You may ride in one day from odorous, moss-grown forests, where everything is of tropic fullness, into a section where the mesquite and chaparral dot the gaunt prairie here and there; or from the sea-loving populations of Galveston and her thirty-mile beach, to peoples who have never seen a mast or a wave, and whose main idea of water is that it is something difficult to find and agreeable as a beverage.

        The State has been much and unduly maligned; has been made a by-word and reproach, whereas it should be a source of pride and congratulation. It has had the imperfections of a frontier community, but has thrown off the majority of them even while the outer world supposed it to be growing worse and worse. Like some unfamiliar fruit supposed to be bitter and nauseous, it has gone on ripening in obscurity until, bursting its covering, it stands disclosed a thing of passing sweetness, almost beyond price.

        Much of the criticism to which Texas has been subjected has come from people very little acquainted with its actual condition. Border tales have been magnified and certified to as literally true. The people of the North and of Europe have been told that the native Texan was a walking armament, and that his only argument was a pistol-shot or the thrust of a bowie-knife. The Texan has been paraded on the English and French stages as a maudlin ruffian, sober only in savagery; and the vulgar gossipings of insincere scribes have been allowed to prejudice hundreds of thousands of people.

        Now that the State is bound by iron bands to the United States, now that, under good management and with excellent enterprise, it is assuming its proper place, the truth should be told. Of course, it will be necessary to say some disagreeable things; to make severe strictures upon certain people and classes of people; but that is not, by any means, to condemn the State by wholesale or to write of it in a hostile spirit. The first impression to be corrected--a very foolish and inexcusably narrow one, which has, nevertheless, taken strong hold upon the popular mind--is, that travel in Texas, for various indefinite reasons, is everywhere unsafe. Nothing could be more erroneous; there is only one section where the least danger may be apprehended, and that is vaguely known as the "Indian country." Hostile Comanches, Lipans, or predatory Kickapoos might rob you of your cherished scalp if you were to venture into their clutches; but in less than three years they will have vanished before the locomotive--or, possibly before the legions of Uncle Sam, who has a pronounced mania for removing his frontier quite back to the mountains of Mexico.


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        Indeed, this apprehension with regard to safety for life and property in Texas is all the more inexplicable from the very fact that the great mass of the citizens of the State were and are determined to maintain law and order, and to fight with bitter persistence the outlaws who have found their way into the country.

        It is true that during the war, and for two years thereafter, things were in lamentable condition. Outlaws and murderers infested the high-roads, robbed remote hamlets, and enacted jail deliveries. There were a thousand murders per year within the State limits; but at the end of the two years the reconstruction government had got well at work, and annihilated the murderers and robbers.

        It is a noteworthy fact, too, that the people then murdered were mainly the fellows of the very ruffians who murdered them--shot down in drunken broils, or stabbed in consequence of some thievish quarrel. Of course, innocent people were occasionally plundered and killed; but then, as now, most of the men who "died with their boots on" were professional scoundrels, of whom the world was well rid.

        It may with truth be said that there exists in all of the extreme Southern States a class of so-called gentlemen who employ the revolver rather suddenly when they fancy themselves offended, sometimes killing, now and then only frightening an opponent. These people are not, as yet, treated with sufficient rigor in Texan society. There are even instances of men who have killed a number of persons and are still considered respectable. The courts do not mete out punishment in such cases with proper severity, sometimes readily acquitting men who have wantonly and willfully shot their fellow-creatures on the slightest provocation.

        A correct summary of the present condition of Texas may, it seems to me, be stated as follows: A commonwealth of unlimited resources and with unrivaled climate, inhabited by a brave, impulsive, usually courteous people, by no means especially bitter on account of the war, who comprise all grades of society, from the polished and accomplished scholar, ambassador, and man of large means, to the rough, unkempt, semi-barbaric tiller of the soil or herder of cattle, who is content with bitter coffee and coarse pork for his sustenance, and with a low cabin, surrounded with a scraggy rail fence, for his home.

        The more ambitious and cultured of the native Texans have cordially joined with the newly-come Northerners and Europeans in making improvements, in toning up society in some places, and toning it down in others; in endeavoring to compass wise legislation with regard to the distribution of lands, and the complete control of even the remote sections of the State by the usual machinery of courts and officials; and in the binding together and consolidation of the interests of the various sections by the rapid increase of railway lines.

        It was a charming morning in April that I climbed to the high box-seat by the driver of the San Antonio stage, and sat perched above four sleek and strong horses in front of the Raymond House, at Austin, the Texan capital.

        Heavy heat was coming with the growing day; the hard, white roads glistened under the fervid sun, and the patches of live oak stood out in bold relief against a cloudless sky. The shopkeepers were lolling under their awnings, in


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lazy enjoyment of the restful morning, and a group of Mexicans, lounging by a wall, cast wild glances at us from beneath their broad sombreros and their tangled and matted black hair. In the distance, Mount Bonnel showed a fragment of its rock-strewn summit, and white stone houses peered from the dark green of the foliage, while the State House, crowning a high knoll, and flanked on either side by the Land Office and the Governor's Mansion, hid from us the view of the rich plain, extending back to the bases of the hills which form an amphitheatre in whose midst Austin is prettily set down.

        

Illustration

Sunning themselves.--"A group of Mexicans, lounging by a wall."

        Nine inside and three outside. "Now, then, driver, are you ready? Here is your way-bill; here are half-a-dozen mail bags; ballast up carefully, or you will have your coach upset!" The driver, a nut-brown man, handsome and alert withal, clad in blue overalls, velvet coat, and black slouch hat, springs lightly into his seat, cracks his long whip-lash, and we plunge away toward the steep banks of the Colorado, bound for an eighty-mile stage ride to the venerable and picturesque city of. San Antonio.

        Rattle! we are at the bank, and must all dismount to walk down the declivity, and cross the almost waterless river channel on a pontoon bridge. We toil painfully across a sandy waste, and then up the bank on the other side, turning to look at the town behind us, while the horses pant below.

        A cavalcade of hunters passes us, mounted on lithe little horses and grave, sure-footed mules, returning toward Austin. The men are brown with the sun, and carry rifles poised across their high-peaked Mexican saddles. Their limbs are cased in undressed skin leggings, and their heads are covered with broad hats, entwined with silver braids. Each man bows courteously, and all canter briskly down to the stream.

        Mounting once more to our perches, beside the driver, artist and writer alike are inspired by the beauty of the long stretch of dark highway, bordered and covered with huge live oaks, or with the wayward mesquite, whose branches are a perpetual danger to the heads of outside passengers.

        The driver nervously inspects us; then lights a cigar, and, in a gentle voice, appeals to his horses with: "Git up, ye saddle critturs!"--evidently a mild


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reproach. The saddle critturs dash forward at a rapid gait. Each glossy flank is branded with the name by which the animal is known; and whenever a leader lags or a wheel horse shows a disposition to be skittish, the loud voice says, "You Pete!" or "Oh Mary!" and Pete and Mary alike prick up their pretty ears with new energy. The driver's tones never rise beyond entreaty or derision; and the animals seem to feel each stricture upon their conduct keenly.

        So we hasten on, past pretty farm-houses with neat yards, where four-year-old boys are galloping on frisky horses, or driving the cattle or sheep afield; past the suburbs of Austin, and out into the open country, until we have left all houses behind, and only encounter from time to time wagons, drawn by oxen, and loaded with barrels and boxes, with lumber and iron, toiling at the rate of twenty miles a day toward the West. Behind each of the wagons

Illustration

"We encounter wagons drawn by oxen."

marches a tough little horse, neatly saddled; and a forlorn dog with a general air of wolfishness about him, and showing his teeth as we dash past, brings up the rear.

        Presently the driver turns to us with, "I'm a dreadful good hand to talk, if ye've got any cigars." Then, in another breath, "From New York, hey? Ain't ye afraid to come away out here alone?" (Implying a scorn for the outside impression of Texan travel.) A moment after, in a tone of infinite compassion, as if regarding Gotham as a place to be pitied, driver adds:

        "Wal, I s'pose thar are some good souls thar" (confidentially); "I've hauled more 'n two thousand o' them New Yorkers over to San Anton within the last year. Heap o' baggage. We told one young feller on the box here, one day, lots of Injun stories, just as it was gittin dark. Reckon he was n't much afeared. Oh, no!" Suppressed merriment lurking in the handsome brown face. "You Pete! you ain't fit for chasin' Injuns! Git up!"

        San Antonio is 2,270 miles from New York by present lines of rail and stage, and is situated in one of the garden spots of South-western Texas. To the newly-arrived Northerner, Galveston certainly seems the ultima-antipode of Gotham; but once across the Brazos and the Colorado, and well into the fertile plains and among the glorious prairies of Western and South-western Texas, the sense of remoteness, of utter contrast, is a thousand-fold more impressive. To think, while clinging to the swaying stage-seat, that one may journey on in this pleasant way for eight hundred miles still within Texan limits, gives, moreover, a grand idea of the great State's extent.


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        Whirling thus, hour by hour, away from railroads, from houses, taverns, and bridges, and beaver-hatted and silk-bedizened folk, one cannot resist the growing feeling that he is in a foreign land, and as he sees the wild-eyed children staring at him from the fields, or notes the horseman coursing by, with clang and clatter of spur and arms, he has a vague expectation that if addressed it will be in a foreign tongue.

        A halt:--at a small stone house, through whose open door one sees a curious blending of country-store, farm-house and post-office. Here the mail for the back-country is delivered. "Morning, Judge," from a lean by-stander, meditatively chewing tobacco, to an outside passenger. "Got them radical judges impeached yet? Driver, won't you bring me a copy of the Texas Almanac next time you come out? Reckon I kin use it." A drove of pigs curiously inspect the open entrance to the store, whereupon two dogs charge them, flank the youngest of the swine, and teach them manners at the expense of their ears.

        Lime-flavored water is brought in a tin dipper and passed around; such of the passengers as choose, perfume the vessel with a drop of whiskey. "Wal! sha'n't git ye to San Antonio 'fore this time to-morrow, if ye drink the rivers all dry," is the mild remonstrance. As we move off, the driver vouchsafes:

        "Thar was Mose--Judge, you remember Mose; he wouldn't let no stranger talk to him, he wouldn't. Crossest man on this line; had a right smart o'swear-words: used 'em mostly to hosses, tho'! Had one horse that was ugly, and always tied his tail to the trace. Outsides mostly always asked him: 'What do you tie that horse's tail to the trace for?' You oughter hear Mose answer. Took him half an hour to get the swear-words out. One day, a feller from New York went over with Mose, and didn't say a word about the horse's tail all the way to the relay; when they got to the unhitching place, Mose offered the New Yorker half a dollar--'Stranger,' he says, 'I reckon you've gin me that worth of peace of mind; you are the first man that never asked me nothing about that'ar critter's tail.'"

        A ford, the sinuous road leading to the edge of a rapidly-rushing streamlet, on whose banks, among the white stones, lie the skeletons of cattle perished by the wayside! Buzzards hovering groundward indicate some more recent demise. Ah! a poor dog, whose feet no longer wearily plod after the wagon train. The collar is gone from his neck, some lonely man having taken it as a remembrance of his faithful companion.

        A mocking-bird sings in some hidden nook; a chaparral cock runs tamely before us, fanning the air with his gray plumes, and gazing curiously at the buzzards. An emigrant wagon is lumbering through the shallow, bluish-green water; the children of yonder grim-bearded father are wading behind it: inside, the mother lies ill on a dirty mattress. Two old chairs, with pots and kettles, a Winchester rifle, a sack of flour, and a roll of canvas, are strung at the wagon's back. The horses display their poor old ribs through their hides, and their tongues protrude under the intense heat.

        Our steeds splash through the stream. We come upon a Mexican camp, where a group of lazy peons, who have wandered across from Mexico, braving


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danger and death daily, have at last found a safe haven. The dingy father sleeps under his little cart. His mules crop the dry grass, tethered near a small, filthy tent, wherein reposes an Indian girl, with a cherub-child's head resting upon her exquisite arm. A gipsy-looking hag is munching dried meat before a little fire where coffee is boiling.

        Now along a rolling prairie, in a route disfigured by what is known as the "hog-wallow;" then, up to a range of hills: and O gioja! the matchless beauty of a wide expanse of vale below filled with masses of dense foliage, and beyond, forest-clad hills peered down upon by a blue, misty range, far away. A comfortable farm-house crowns the hill up which we climb; shepherds are driving flocks of sheep afield; horsemen are mounting and dismounting; bright-eyed maidens flit about the yard, bareheaded and barearmed; half-naked negro

Illustration

"Here and there we pass a hunter's camp."

children tumble about on the turf, and little white boys on ponies play at Comanche. Majestic waves of sunlight flit across the valley; the campagna to which we are now coming swims in the delicious effulgence of the perfect Texas April noon. Here and there we pass a hunter's camp. We spin forward merrily, having had plenty of relays of fresh horses, and put the Blanco river behind us almost without wetting their hoofs, so low is it; though in times of freshet it holds the whole country round in terror for weeks.

        A halt for dinner, which is served in a long, cool kitchen; a swart girl standing at one end and a swart boy at the other. Each agitates a long stick adorned with strips of paper, and thus a breeze is kept up and the flies are driven off. Buttermilk, corn-bread, excellent meat, and the inevitable coffee are the concomitants


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of the meal. The landlady stares at the paper-currency offered, as only gold and silver are known in this section. The farmer comes in from the field for his dinner, and his pleasant, homely talk recalls one to America. After all, then, this is not a foreign land. "Stage ready; come, now, if ye want to git anywhar to-night!"

        Onward to the San Marcos, another small, but immensely powerful stream, running through rich lands, and passing hard by the prosperous town of San Marcos, the shire of a county whose best products are cotton, corn, and sorghum. The river, which has its source not far from the town, and near the old homestead of Gen. Burleson, the noted Indian fighter, affords water-power which cannot fail to tempt Northern capital some day. Wood and building-stone of the best quality are abundant; San Marcos may yet be a second Lawrence or Manchester. We pass the court-house and the Coronal Institute; pass the long street lined with pretty dwellings, and ride forward all the hot afternoon towards the Guadalupe.

        The fields, in which the corn is already half a foot high, are black; the soil is like fruit-cake. In obscure corners we find little cabins--erected by the Mexicans who abound along the way. Toward sunset we come upon neat stone houses, with quaint German roofs. "Everything Dutch now," ejaculates the driver, and indeed we are about to see what German industry and German thrift have done for Western Texas.

        The stage rumbles on through the "lane" which extends for miles on either side of New Braunfels, bounded by fertile, well-fenced, well-cultivated fields, such as the eye of even a New England farmer never rested upon. It is dark as we rattle past the cottages; the German families, mother, father, and the whole gamut of children, from four to fourteen, are coming in from work.

        The women have been afield ploughing, with the reins round their necks and the plough handles grasped in their strong hands. Yet they are not uncouth or ungracious; their faces are ruddy, their hair, blown backward by the evening breeze, falls gracefully about their strong shoulders. Surely, this is better than the tenement house in the city!

        At last we reach the Comal, and crossing its foamy, greenish-blue waters, rattle on to New Braunfels, the cheery town which the German Immigration Company settled in 1845, and which is now an orderly and wealthy community of 4,000 inhabitants, set down in the midst of a county which has probably 10,000 residents.

        The Germans were the pioneers in this section, endured many hardships, and had many adventures, many battles with the Indians, before they were allowed to push forward from New Braunfels and create other settlements. As we enter the long main street of the town, the lights from the cottage doors gleam forth cheerily. The village maidens are walking two by two with their arms about each others' waists, and crooning little melodies, and the men are smoking long pipes at the gates. Suddenly we dash up to the hotel, and a pleasant-faced old gentleman, in a square silk cap, hastens to welcome us into a bright room, where little groups of Germans sit ranged about clean tables, drinking their foaming


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beer from shiniest of glasses. Are we then in Germany? Nay; for supper is spread in yonder hall, and the new driver whom we took up at the last relay is calling upon us, in our English tongue, to make haste.

        New Braunfels bears as many evidences of wealth and prosperity as any town in the Middle States. It has always been liberal in sentiment, and for many years boasted of having the only free school in Texas. The shrewd Germans have taken advantage of the admirable water-power of the Comal and Guadalupe, and have established manufactories in the county.

        The Comal, one of the most beautiful streams in Texas, gushes out at the foot of a mountain range not far from New Braunfels, from a vast number of springs; and from its sources to its confluence with the Guadalupe, a distance of three miles, has forty feet of fall, and mill-sites enough for a regiment of capitalists. Indeed it is easy to see that the place will, at some future time, become a great manufacturing centre. White labor is easily obtained, and the community is peaceful and law-abiding.

        A large cotton factory was established on the Comal some years ago, but was destroyed by an exceptionally disastrous tornado in 1869. There are many water-mills in the county, all engaged in the manufacture of flour for export via the port of Indianola, settled by the same immigration company which founded New Braunfels, or via Lavaca. The trees along the river and creek bottoms are almost overborne with the mustang grape; the county abounds in fruit, while cotton, corn, and the other cereals are raised in profusion. Irrigation is not difficult.

        It is quite dark, and a cool night wind is blowing when we mount once more to the coach-top, and settle ourselves for a ride which will last until two in the morning. The driver cracks his long whip, and we plunge into the darkness. The two great lamps of the coach cast a bright light for twenty feet ahead, and we can see little patches of the landscape, beyond which is the infinite darkness relieved only here and there by the yellow of camp-fires, or by the fitful gleams of the fire-flies. At last we strike across the prairie. The mesquite-trees, which we pass every moment, look white and ghostly in the lamplight, and flit by us like a legion of restless spirits. Then, too, as the horses trot steadily forward, there is the illusion that we are approaching a great city, so like are the innumerable fire-flies to the gaslights of a metropolis. Now we are in a stable-yard, in the midst of a clump of mesquite and oak-trees; the tired horses are unhitched, fresh ones replace them, and away we go again over the prairies. Presently the architecture changes; the little houses, dimly seen at the roadside, from time to time, are low, flat-roofed, and built of white stone; there are long stone walls, over which foliage scrambles in most picturesque fashion, while, sprinkled in here and there, are the shabby Mexican cottages, with thatched roofs and mud floors. There is a hint of moonlight as we approach the hills, and we can see the cattle in relief against the sky, hundreds of them lying comfortably asleep, or starting up as they hear the rattle of the coach, and brandishing their horns or flourishing their tails. Faster, faster flit the mesquite ghosts; faster fly away the oaks and the chaparral; and faster the little streams which we speed across. Now we


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mount upon a high table-land, from which we can see, faintly defined in the distance, a range of hills, and can catch a glimpse of the beautiful valley at their feet. The hours pass rapidly by; the night breeze is inspiring, and the driver is singing little songs; we dash into a white town; pass a huge "corral," inside

Illustration

"We pass groups of stone houses."

which stand blue army wagons drawn up in line; pass groups of stone houses, then into a long street, thickly lined with dwellings, set down in the midst of delicious gardens; scent the perfume drifting from the flower-beds; climb a little hill, whirl into a Spanish-looking square, and descend, cramped in limb and sore in bone, at the portal of the Menger House, in the good old city of San Antonio, the pearl of Texas,


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XIV.

AMONG THE OLD SPANISH MISSIONS.

        THE great State of Texas is usually spoken of by its inhabitants as divided into eight sections--namely, Northern, Eastern, Middle, Western, Extreme South-western, and North-western Texas, the Mineral Region, and the "Pan Handle." This latter section, which embraces more than 20,000 square miles, is at present inhabited almost entirely by Indians. The mineral region proper, believed to be exceedingly rich in iron and copper ores, comprises 50,000

Illustration

"The vast pile of ruins known as the San José Mission." [Page 154.]

square miles. The vast section between the San Antonio river and the Rio Grande--as well as the stretch of seven hundred miles of territory between San Antonio and El Paso, on the Mexican frontier, is given up to grazing herds of cattle, horses, and sheep, to the hardy stock-raiser, and to the predatory Indian and Mexican. Across the plains runs the famous "old San Antonio road," which, for 150 years, has been the most romantic route upon the western continent. The highway between Texas and Mexico, what expeditions of war, of plunder, of savage revenge, have traversed it! What heroic soldiers of liberty have lost their lives upon it! What mean and brutal massacres have been perpetrated along its dusty stretches! What ghostly processions of friar and arquebusier, of sandaled Mexican soldier and tawny Comanche; of broad-hatted, buckskin-breeched volunteer
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for Texan liberty; of gaunt emigrant, or fugitive from justice, with pistols at his belt and a Winchester at his saddle; of Confederate gray and Union blue, seem to dance before one's eyes as he rides over it! The romance of the road and of its tributaries is by no means finished; there is every opportunity for the adventurous to throw themselves into the midst of danger even within forty miles of "San Antōn," as the Texans lovingly call the old town; and sometimes in the shape of mounted Indians, the danger comes galloping into the very suburbs of San Antonio itself.

        San Antonio is the only town in the United States which has a thoroughly European aspect, and, in its older quarters, is even more like some remote and obscure town in Spain than like any of the bustling villages of France or Germany, with which the "grand tour" traveler is familiar. Once arrived in it, and safely ensconced among the trees and flowerets on Flores street, or on any of the lovely avenues which lead from it into the delicious surrounding country, --there seems a barrier let down to shut out the outer world; the United States is as a strange land.

        In San Antonio, too, as in Nantucket, you may hear people speak of "going to the States," "the news from the States," etc., with utmost gravity and good faith. The interests of the section are not so identified with those of the country to which it belongs as to lead to the same intense curiosity about American affairs that one finds manifested in Chicago, St. Louis, and even in Galveston. People talk more about the cattle-trade, the Mexican thievery question, the invasion of Mexico by the French, the prospect of the opening up of silver mines, than of the rise and fall of the political mercury; and the general government comes in for consideration and criticism only when the frontier defenses or the Mexican boundaries are discussed. "What general was that down yer with Gin'ral Sherman?" said a man to me at an out-of-the-way town in Western Texas. "Reckon that was one o'your Northern gin'rals." As he had no interest in following Cabinet changes, he had never heard of Secretary Belknap.

        Although everything which is brought to San Antonio from the outer world toils over many miles of stage or wagon transit, the people are well provided with literature; but that does not bring them closer to the United States. Nothing but a railroad ever will; and against the idea of the railroad soon to reach them the majority of the elder population rebels. Steaming and snorting engines to defile the pure air, and disturb the grand serenity of the vast plains! No, indeed; not if the Mexicans could have their way, the older Mexicans, the apparently immortal old men and women who are preserved in Chili pepper, and who, as their American neighbors say, have been taught that they will have but short shrift when the railways do come. "It will bring you all sorts of epidemics, and all kinds of noxious diseases," they have been told by those interested to prevent the road's building. And this the venerable moneyed Mexicans actually consider a valid reason for opposition, since San Antonio now has the reputation of being the healthiest town on the American continent.

        The local proverb says, "If you wish to die here, you must go somewhere else;" and, although the logic is a little mixed, it certainly has a fond de vérité.


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For many years consumptives have been straying into San Antonio, apparently upon their very last legs, only to find renewed life and vigor in the superb climate of Western Texas; and so certain are consumptives and other invalids to be cured in the city and the surrounding region, that retreats and quiet residences for people to enshrine themselves in during recovery are going up in all quarters. A few of the golden mornings--a few of the restful evenings, when the odorous shadows come so gently that one cannot detect their approach --and one learns the charm of this delightful corner of the world.

        San Antonio is the cradle of Texan liberty. Its streets and the highways leading to it have been drenched with the blood of brave soldiers. Steal out with me into the fields this rosy morning, friends, and here, at the head of the San Antonio river, on this joyous upland, at the foot of the Guadalupe mountains whence flow a thousand sweet springs, and overlooking the old town, hear a bit about its history and the early struggles of the Texans.

        France was a great gainer for a short time by the fortunate accident which in 1684 threw De La Salle's fleet into the bay of San Fernando, on the Gulf of Mexico, during his voyage from La Rochelle to take possession of the mouths of the Mississippi in the name of the king of France. De La Salle virtually opened Texas. After he had discovered his error in reckoning, and that he was on new ground, he established a fort between Velasco and Matagorda; but it was soon after destroyed, and De La Salle's premature death, at the hands of his quarrelsome and cowardly associates, greatly retarded the progress of French discovery. But the expedition, and those which followed it, caused great alarm, and as much indignation as alarm, at the Court of Spain. A century and a-half was yet to elapse ere her feebleness should compel Spain to abandon a conquest whose advantages she had so abused; ere she should see herself driven to give up the immense territory which she had held so long.

        Meanwhile De La Salle's expedition caused new activity in Spain; and in 1691, a governor "of the States of Coahuila and Texas" was appointed, and with a handful of soldiers and friars went out to establish missions and military posts. Colonies were planted on the Red river, on the Neches, and along the banks of the Guadalupe; but in a few years they died out. Presently other efforts were made--the Spaniards meantime keeping up a sharp warfare with the Indians, the mission of San Juan Bautista, on the right bank of the Rio Grande, three miles from the river, being created a presidio or garrison, and the "old San Antonio road" between Texas and Mexico running directly by it.

        Meantime the French were vigorously pushing expeditions forward from the settlements along the Louisiana coast; and so very much in earnest seemed the movements of Crozat, the merchant prince, to whom Louis XIV. had ceded Louisiana, that the Viceroy of Mexico began anew measures for establishing missions and garrisons throughout Texas. And so it happened that in 1715, after a mission had been established among the Adaes Indians, and another, the "Dolores," west of the Sabine river, the fort and mission of San Antonio de Valero was located on the right bank of the San Pedro river, about three-fourths of a mile from the site of the present Catholic Cathedral in San Antonio of to-day.


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        From this year (1715) may be said to date the decisive occupancy of Texas by Spain, as opposed to France; she drove out the French wherever found, opposed their advances, and finally succeeded in definitely planting fortified missions at the principal important points. San Antonio was then known as a garrison, and was usually spoken of as the Presidio of Bexar. Indeed, to this day the elder Mexicans living in the surrounding country speak of going al presidio (to the garrison) whenever they contemplate a visit to San Antonio. Texas was then known as the "New Phillippines;" and San Antonio, with its five missions, was one of the four garrisons by which it was protected.

        The Marquis of Casa Fuerte had long believed that this post would be a good site for a town, and, having asked the Spanish Government to send emigrants there, "thirteen families and two bachelors" (say the ancient town records) arrived from the Canary Islands, and settled on the east side of the San Antonio river, founding a town which they called San Fernando. To them came sturdy Tlascalans from Mexico, and the colonists built a stout little hamlet around the great square which to-day is known as the "Plaza of the Constitution," or the main square in San Antonio. The town was called San Fernando, in honor of Ferdinand, the then king of Spain. It was rough work to be a colonist in those days, and the Spaniards, friars, soldiers and all, were very glad to get into the great square at night, close the entrance with green hides, set their sentinels on the roofs of the flat houses, and, trembling lest the sound of the war-whoop of the terrible Apaches and Comanches should startle their slumbers, catch a little repose. These Apaches and Comanches overran in those days the country between San Antonio and Santa Fé, and would swoop down upon the infant settlement from their stronghold in the pass of Bandera. They swarmed in the Guadalupe mountains, where even now they come in the full of the moon, searching for horses, as their ancestors did.

        In due time, there was a town on either side of the San Antonio river, each with its mission and attendant garrison. Around the mission of the "Alamo" had clustered a little garrison and village. This mission church, whose history is so romantic, was first founded in 1703, in the Rio Grande valley, by Franciscans from Queretaro, under the invocation of San Francisco de Solano; but, water being scarce, was moved back and forth until 1718, when,


                         "Borne, like Loretto's chapel, thro' the air,"
it migrated to the west bank of the San Pedro river, and remained in that vicinity until, in 1744, it was removed to the high plateau on the east side of the San Antonio, and the foundations of the Church of the Alamo were laid on the very ground where, ninety years after, Travis and his braves fell as only heroes fall.

        The mission was known, until 1783, as San Antonio de Valero, in honor of the Marquis of Valero, the then Viceroy of "New Spain." The town below the river-retained its name of San Antonio de Bexar.

        The missions built up around San Antonio were named respectively La Purissima Concepcion de Acuna, San Juan, Campitran, San Francisco de Assissis, and San José. The Franciscans, completely estranged from all the ordinary cares


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and passions of the world by the vows of their order, gave themselves heartily to their work, and vigorously employed the soldiers allotted them by the Government in catching Indians, whom they undertook to civilize. The missions were fortified convent-churches, built in massive and enduring form, and surrounded by high walls, so thick and strong that they could resist all Indian attacks. Within these walls the converted Indians and the missionaries and soldiers gathered whenever a sentinel gave the alarm; and the brawny friars joined with the men-at-arms in fiercely defending the stations where the cross had been planted. The Indians who were induced to settle in the vicinity of the Franciscans, and submit to the religious and industrial training which the friars had prepared for them, were rarely guilty of treachery, and submitted to all the whippings which Mother Church thought good for them. Barefooted, and clad in coarse woolen robes, with the penitential scourge about their waists, the priests wandered among the Indians at the missions, learned their language, and enforced chastity, temperance and obedience. Inside the square which the mission buildings formed were the dwellings allotted both the soldiers and the Indians--the savages chafing under this restraint, although they could not doubt the motives of the good fathers in restraining them. But they toiled well in the fields, went meekly to catechism, and were locked up at night, lest they should be led into temptation. Whenever the converts rebelled, there were soldiers enough at hand to subdue them; and the commander of the church garrison was a kind of absolute potentate, who made any and every disposition he pleased of a convert's life and property.

        In 1729, the right reverend fathers forming the college of Santa Cruz of Queretaro, were authorized to found three missions on the river San Marcos; and, in 1730, a superior order from the Marquis of Casa Fuerte authorized the foundation of these missions upon the river San Antonio, under certain conditions as to their distance from the San Antonio garrison. The result was that before 1780, four superb mission edifices had been reared, at short distances from each other, and not far from the beautiful San Antonio river.

        

Illustration

The old Concepcion Mission near San Antonio--Texas.

        On the 5th of March, 1731, the foundations of La Purissima Concepcion de Acuna were laid, and, after many vicissitudes and escapes from imminent destruction, it was completed in 1752. For twenty-one years Indians and friars had toiled upon one of the noblest churches ever erected by Catholics in America. To-day it is a ruin, deserted


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save by an humble German family, who exhibit the time-honored walls to visitors, and till the lands in the vicinity. The San josé mission, in all respects the finest, was completed in 1771; that of San Juan in 1746; and the "Espada" in 1780.

        As the communities clustered about these missions grew, so grew San Antonio; as they suffered, so it suffered in protecting them. The same Indians who cantered up to the town-gates did not fail to offer some menace to the missions before returning to their mountain fastnesses. In 1758, they went farther, for they assaulted the mission which had been established at San Saba. Pastors and their flocks, as well as the guardian soldiery, were sacrificed. Swarms of the savages surrounded the mission, and the wonderfully rich silver mines which had been developed near it, and not a Spaniard was left alive to bear the news of the dreadful massacre to his trembling comrades at the other missions. Some day the San Saba mines will be re-opened; but their exact location has been long lost to the knowledge of Europeans or Mexicans, and no Indian will point the way to them.

        It was sunset, on a beautiful April evening, when I first climbed to the roof of the Concepcion mission. As the day had been heated and dusty in town, I was glad, toward evening, to steal away down the lovely road; past the dense groves and perfumed thickets, along the route which wound among trees and flowers, and fertile fields watered by long canals; past quiet cool yards, in whose shaded seclusion I could catch glimpses of charming cottages and farm-houses, where rosy Germans or lean Americans sat literally under their own "vine and fig-tree."

        The carriage rolled suddenly through a ford in the deep, swift stream, came out upon a stretch of open field, and at a distance I saw, peering above some graceful trees, the twin towers of Concepcion--saw them with a thrill of joy at their beauty and grandeur, just as hundreds of weary travelers across the great plains had doubtless seen them a century ago. In those days they were a welcome sight, for they guaranteed comparative security in a land where nothing was absolutely certain, save death. Approaching, I could see that the towers arose from a massive church of grayish stone, once highly ornate and rich in sculpture and carving, but now much dilapidated. The portal was decayed; the carvings and decorations were obscure; a Spanish inscription told of the founding of the mission. A group of awe-struck girls lingered about the door-way as an old man rehearsed some legend of the place.

        The edifice bore here and there hints of the Moorish spirit, the tendency to the arch and vault which one sees so much in Spanish architecture. The great dome, sprung lightly over the main hall of the church, was a marvel of precision and beauty. In front, jutting out at the right hand, a long wall now fallen into decay showed the nature of the mission's original defenses. This wall was of enormous thickness, and the half-ruined dwellings in its sides are still visible.

        As I wandered about the venerable structure, the gray walls were bathed in the golden light of the fervid Southern sunset; numberless doves hovered in and out of the grand towers; lizards crawled at the walls' base; countless thousands


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of grasshoppers flashing in the air, nestled on the mission's sides; the stone cross between the twin towers stood up black against the sky. Curious parapets along the roof, contrived at once for ornament and shelter, showed loop-holes for muskets. There were mysterious entrances in the rear, and the stone threw a dark shadow upon the short, sparse, sun-dried grass. I tried to call up the mission fort as it was a century ago, surrounded with smiling fields, cultivated by patient Indians; with soldiers at their posts, diligently guarding the approaches; with the old friars in their coarse robes, building and teaching, and praying and scourging themselves and the Indians. I pictured to myself a cavalcade arriving at sunset from a weary journey; men-at-arms, and gayly-costumed cavaliers entering the gateway; the clatter of swords and the click of musket-locks; the echoes of the evening hymn from the resounding vault of the cathedral;--but the Present, in the shape of a rail-fence and four excitable dogs anxiously peering at me from behind it, would obtrude itself, so I gave meditation the good-by, and asked of the family the way to the roof.

        The barefooted German maiden, naïve and bashful, seemed strangely out of place in the shadows of the mission. I wandered through the kitchen, an old nook in the wall, and venturing behind the heels of half a dozen mules stabled in a niche of the sanctuary, mounted a crazy ladder leading to the belfry window.

        Getting in at the huge opening, I startled the doves, who flew angrily away, and then clinging to the wall on one side, I climbed still another flight of stone steps, and emerged on the roof. A giant piece of masonry, my masters of today! You can certainly do but little better than did the poor friars and Indians a century ago. Being built of the soft stone of the country, the ruin has crumbled in many places; but it looks as if it might still last for a century. For miles around, the country is naked, save for its straggling growth of mesquite, of cactus, of chaparral; the forest has never reasserted itself since the fathers cultivated the fields; and one can very readily trace the ancient limits.

        The grant of the mission of Concepcion was about the first by the Spanish Government in Texas of which there is any record. In March of 1731 the captain commanding at San Antonio went to the newly allotted mission grounds, kindly greeted the Indians who had decided to settle there, and caused the chief of the tribe to go about over the ceded lands, to pull up weeds, turn over stones, and go through all the traditional ceremonials of possession. The same formalities were observed in founding all the missions near San Antonio; the transfer of the lands being made to the Indians, because the Franciscans, on account of their vows, could hold no worldly estate.

        We Americans of the present should lean rather kindly toward these old Franciscans, for they were largely instrumental in the work of freeing Texas from the yoke of Spanish and Mexican tyranny. As priests, they were too human and sympathetic to enjoy or sympathize with the brutal policy of Spain; and as sensible men, they had Democratic leanings, doubtless enhanced by the Spartan plainness in which they lived.

        The various internal troubles undergone by Spain early in this century had only served to make her more arrogant toward her colonies, and a large party in


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them was anxious to revolt. At this time there were few Americans in the territory. Now and then the agents of Wilkinson and Burr ran through it, endeavoring to perfect designs for their new South-western Empire; but, besides these ambitious schemers, only desperadoes from the United States entered Texas.

        In 1813, however, Augustus W. Magee, a lieutenant in the American army, undertook, in conjunction with a Mexican revolutionist, to conquer Texas to the Rio Grande, with a view to annexing it to America or Mexico, as circumstances should dictate. He resigned his commission and plunged headlong into the invasion, bringing to it many men and much courage, and fighting a good fight at Nacogdoches; but, finally contemplating a retreat, and unable to carry his men with him in his plans, he is generally believed to have ended his life by his own hands.

        A short time thereafter, the invading Americans and the revolting Mexicans arrived before San Antonio, and attacked the city at once. General Salcedo, the Spaniard commanding, valiantly defended it; but the Americans and Mexicans won, and as the Indians from the missions had joined in, but few prisoners were taken, more than 1,000 Spaniards being killed and wounded. Salcedo and a number of noted Spanish officials were brutally murdered.

        A few days later, the Americans and Mexicans were attacked by other Spanish forces, whom they repulsed with great slaughter. But a third Spanish force was sent to San Antonio, and 4,000 men gave battle to 850 Americans and twice as many Mexicans, composing the "Republican Army of the North," near the Medina river. The Spaniards were victorious, and all of the Americans but ninety-three were massacred. A large number of the Americans were shot on the San Antonio road, their cruel captors seating them by tens on timbers placed over newly-dug graves, and thus despatching them. This terrible massacre was known as the "battle of the Medina." Then the brave old town of San Antonio suffered the vengeance of the Spanish authorities. Seven hundred of its best citizens were imprisoned, and 500 of the wives and daughters of the patriots were thrown into filthy dungeons.

        From that time forth the history of San Antonio was one of blood and battle, of siege and slaughter. The Americans, who, in a reckless manner, had given their blood for Texan freedom, were henceforth to act from the simpler motive of self-defense.

        The vast pile of ruins known as the San José Mission stands in the midst of the plain about four miles westward from San Antonio. Mute, mighty and passing beautiful, it is rapidly decaying.

        The Catholic church in Texas, to whom the missions and the mission lands now belong, is too poor to attempt the restoration of this superb edifice which one of the most famous of Parisian architects, in a recent tour through this country, pronounced the finest piece of architecture in the United States. San José has more claims to consideration than have the other missions, as the king of Spain sent an architect of rare ability to superintend its erection. This architect, Huizar, finally settled in Texas, where his descendants still live.


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        It is impossible to paint in words the grand effect of this imposing yellowish-gray structure, with its belfry, its long ranges of walls with vaulted archways, its rich and quaintly carved windows, its winding stairways, its shaded aisles, rearing itself from the parched lands. As our party entered the rear archways an old, sun-dried Mexican approached, and in a weak voice invited us to enter the church.

        

Illustration

An old Window in the San José Mission.

        The old man and his bronzed wife had placed their household goods in the interior of the edifice; and in the outer porch dried beef was hung over the images of the saints. An umbrella and candlestick graced the christening font. Lighting a corn-shuck cigarette, the old man lay down on one of the beds with a moan, for he was a confirmed invalid. We climbed to the tower, but speedily came down again, as the great dome fell in last year, and the roof is no longer considered safe.

        Returning to the shade, the Mexican woman, clad in a single coarse garment, her hair falling not ungracefully about a face which, although she must have been fifty, seemed still young, served us with water in a gourd, and then seated herself on the ground with the hens affectionately picking about her. Was she born at the mission? we asked. No, señor; but in San Fernando. And where had she spent her youth? In Piedras Negras, señor. And did she not fear the roof of the old mission might some day fall and crush her? Who knows, señor, she answered, ambiguously; giving that vague shake of the head by which both Spaniards and Mexicans so accurately express profound unconcern. In the shade of some of the great walls were little stone cabins, in which lived other Mexican families. Bronzed children were running about in the sun, and bronzed fathers were working lazily in the field. In the distance, in any direction--chaparral,--mesquite,--cactus,--short, burned grass, and the same prospect all the way to the Rio Grande.

        

Illustration

"An umbrella and candlestick graced the christening font."

        A sun-swept, sun-burnished land; a land of mirages, and long, wearying distances without water; a land of mysterious clumps of foliage, inviting to ambush; where soldiers are always chasing marauding savages whom they rarely catch, and where the Mexican and the Indian together hunt the cattle of the "Gringo;" where little towns cluster trustingly around rough fortresses; where the lonely "ranch" is defended by the brave settler with his "Winchester;"


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where millions of cattle and thousands of horses and sheep roam fancy free from year to year, their owners only now and then riding in among them to secure the increase;--that is the beyond.

        The San Juan mission, a little beyond the San Antonio river, some three or four miles farther down, like the Espada, which stands upon the bend in the river still below, is but a ruin. In its day it was very large, and many families lived within its bounds. Now there is little to be seen, except a small chapel and the ruins of the huge walls. A few families live among the débris, and there is even a "San Juan Mission Store."

        The scene about the humble abodes of the Mexicans, residing in or near these missions, is very uniform. There is a rude water-cart near the door; a few pigs run about the premises, and a hairless Mexican dog watches them; two or three men, squatted on their haunches, sit blinking in the sun. No one ever seems to do any work; though the Mexicans about San Antonio have a good reputation as laborers.

        

Illustration

"The comfortable country-house so long occupied by Victor Considerant."

        It was at the Concepcion mission that the patriot army of Texas assembled in 1835, after the capture of Goliad; and it was along the river bottom and in the timber by the river, that a battle was fought in which the Mexicans received severe treatment.

        On the river road from San Antonio to Concepcion stands the comfortable country-house so long occupied by Victor Considerant, the French free-thinker and socialist. Considerant, after his ineffectual attempt to found a community of the Fourier type in Texas, lived tranquilly with his family near the old mission for many years, going to San Antonio now and then for society, and occupying his leisure with literary work. A strange man, strongly fixed in his beliefs and prejudices, he was not thoroughly understood, though universally respected by the Texans who met him.


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XV.

THE PEARL OF THE SOUTH-WEST.

        SAN Antonio is watered by two beautiful streams, the San Antonio and the San Pedro, the former running directly through the town's centre. Its bluish current flows in a narrow but

Illustration

The San Antonio River--"Its bluish current flows in a narrow but picturesque channel."

picturesque channel between bold and rugged banks in some places, and sloping borders in others, and is everywhere overhung with delicate groupings of foliage. It passes under bridges, by arbors and bath-houses; by flights of stone steps leading up into cool, cozy houses, as the stairways lead from Venetian canals; past little lawns, where the San Antonian loafs at his ease at midday; and on through sweet fields, full of a wealth of blossoms. Nowhere, however, is it so supremely beautiful as at its source, on the high plateau at the foot of the Guadalupe range, where it breaks out from a fine spring, and shapes itself at once into a beautiful stream. Around the natural park of several hundred acres which lies along the base of the mountains, Mr. Brackenridge, the banker, who purchased the estate, has thrown a protecting wall enclosing a park which an

Illustration

The Source of the San Antonio River.

English duke might covet. The stream is a delicious poem written in water on the loveliest of riverbeds, from which mosses, ferns, dreamiest green and faintest crimson, rich opalescent and strong golden hues, peep out. Every few rods there is a waterscape in miniature--an apotheosis of color. Noble pecans, grand oaks, lofty ashes, shade the stream, which flows down toward a quarry a little above the town, where it again forms a picture such as only
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the Marne at St. Maur, or the Seine at Marly can rival. To the people of San Antonio it is a perpetual delight, a constant treasure, of which they speak almost reverently. The San Pedro is commonly known as a creek, but has many a beautiful nook along its banks; and in one of them, called "San Pedro Springs,"

Illustration

San Pedro Springs--"The Germans have established their beer gardens."

the Germans have established their beer gardens. There, in the long Sunday afternoons, hundreds of families are gathered, drinking beer, listening to music and singing, playing with the fawns, or gazing into the beer garden and the den of the Mexican panther. There, too, the Turnverein takes its exercise; and in a long hall, dozens of children waltz, under the direction of a gray-haired old professor, while two spectacled masters of the violin make music. This is the Sunday rendezvous of great numbers of the citizens of San Antonio, Germans and Americans, and is as merry, as free from vulgarity or quarreling, as any beer garden in Dresden. The German element has been of incalculable value to Western Texas, and especially to San Antonio. It has aided much in building

Illustration

"Every few rods there is a waterscape in miniature." [Page 157.]


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up the material interests of the whole section; has very largely increased the trade of the city; has brought with it conservatism and good sense in manners, so that even a frontier town, eighty miles from any railroad, and not more than

Illustration

"The river passes under bridges, by arbors and bath-houses." [Page 157.]

thirty miles from Indians, has all the grace and decorum of older societies. The German was a good element, too, when the trying issues of the last war came; and was unwavering in its loyalty. The Germans suffered much, and many were driven out, losing property and money; hundreds were slaughtered in trying to escape to Mexico, or into the North-west; there were shameful massacres; but they were not to be frightened, and they held to their opinions, although often obliged to conceal them.

        Texas is a changed place indeed to the people who were afraid to express their views before the war. As a gentleman in San Antonio said to me, "It was like living in an asylum where every one was crazy on one especial subject; you never knew when dangerous paroxysms were about to begin." The Texas of twelve years ago, when it was dangerous for a man to

Illustration

The Ursuline Convent--San Antonio. [Page 161.]

be seen reading the New York Tribune, and critically perilous for him to be civil to a slave, has passed away, and the Texans themselves are glad that they have awakened from their dream of patriarchal aristocracy, which placed such a check upon the development of the State. The Germans have settled several thriving
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places west of San Antonio, the most noted of which is Fredericksburg. German and Jewish names are over the doors of certainly more than half the business houses in San Antonio; and German or Hebrew talent conducts many vast establishments which have trade with the surrounding country, or with Mexico.

        San Antonio has so long been a depot for military supplies for all the forts on the south-western frontier, and for the Mexican States this side of the Sierra Madre, that some of the merchants are not in favor of the advent of railroads, fearing that with them trade will move beyond the venerable city, and forgetting that even in that event there will be ample compensating advantages. The sooner Western Texas has railroads, the sooner will the Indian and Mexican difficulties be settled; the sooner will all the available rich lands be taken up.

Illustration

St. Mary's Church--San Antonio. [Page 161.]

Even now the business done by means of the slow wagon trains, which can at best only make twenty miles per day, is enormous, amounting to many millions yearly. What will it be when railroads penetrate to the now untamed frontiers? Many of the appliances of civilization are fast reaching Western Texas for the first time. San Antonio now has four prosperous banks,--she had none before the was,--gas-lights, two daily papers, and a weekly for the Germans; how can she avoid railroads?

        Three lines are at present pointed directly at the antique city; the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio railroad, nearly completed; the Gulf, Western Texas and Pacific railroad, which at present extends from Indianola to Victoria, and has been graded to Cuero, thirty miles beyond Victoria; and the International railroad, which contemplates touching both Austin and San Antonio, thus opening a through line to Longview, in Northern Texas, and south-westward to Mazatlan on the Pacific, with a branch to the city of Mexico. There is not much probability that the last line will be finished to San Antonio, at least for many years.

        The plazas, or public squares of San Antonio, merit special attention. The four principal ones are the Alamo, the Constitution, the Military, and Travis. The latter is a handsome grass-grown, common surrounded by pretty residences, some of them fronting upon charming lawns and gardens; a stone church is to


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be erected there by the Episcopalians. The Ursuline Convent and St. Mary's Church are among the noticeable Catholic edifices of the town.

        The old church of San Fernando is now removed from the "Plaza of the Constitution," or rather is enshrined within a new and imposing edifice, built of

Illustration

A Mexican Hovel. Page 162]

the white stone of the section. The Constitution plaza is the original garrison square of San Fernando, and streets lead out from it into the open country, the Military plaza, and the main part of the town. The Military plaza is surrounded by storehouses and shops, and is always filled with wagon teams and their picturesque and ragged drivers. From thence it is only a few steps to one of the Mexican quarters of the town, sometimes called "Laredito." There the life of the eighteenth century still prevails, without taint of modernism. Wandering along the unpaved street in the evening, one finds the doors of all the Mexican cottages open, and has only to enter and demand supper to be instantly served; for the Mexican has learned to turn American curiosity about his cookery to account. Entering

Illustration

The Military Plaza--San Antonio.


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one of these hovels, you will find a long, rough table with wooden benches about it; a single candlestick dimly sending its light into the dark recesses of the unceiled roof; a hard earth-floor, in which the fowls are busily bestowing themselves for sleep; a few dishes arranged on the table, and glasses and coffee-cups beside them. The fat, tawny Mexican materfamilias will place before you various savory compounds, swimming in fiery pepper, which biteth like a serpent; and the tortilla, a smoking hot cake, thin as a shaving, and about as eatable, is the substitute for bread. This meal, with bitterest of coffee to wash it down, and dulcet Spanish talked by your neighbors at table for dessert, will be an event in your gastronomic experience. You will see many Americans scattered along at the tables in the little houses in Laredito; even where I went there was a large party of the curious, ciceroned by one of the oldest and most respected of San Antonio's citizens, "Don Juan" Twohig, the wealthy

Illustration

"The Mexicans slowly saw and carve the great stones."

Irish banker, who was sixty-five years old that very day, but rolled tortillas as heartily as when a sturdy youth, and was as gay as when, a gallant revolutionist, he beguiled the hours of captivity in the Castle of Perote, where the cruel Mexicans had sent him.

        The residences on Flores street are all completely embowered in shrubbery, and many of them are intrinsically fine. There are few wooden structures in the city. The solid architecture of previous centuries prevails. Putting up a house is a work of time; the Mexicans slowly saw and carve the great stones; but the work is solid when completed, and fire-proof. Most of the houses and blocks in Commerce and other principal streets are two stories high--sometimes three--and there are some fine shops--one or two of them being veritable museums of traffic.

        It is from these shops that the assortments are made up which toil across the plains to the garrisons and to Mexico; and a wagon-train, loaded with a "varied


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assortment," contains almost everything known in trade. Through the narrow streets every day clatter the mule-teams, their tattered and dirty-clothed negro drivers shouting frantically at them as they drag civilized appliances toward Mexico. These wagoners lead a wild life of almost constant danger and adventure, but they are fascinated with it, and can rarely be induced to give it up.

        The Mexicans monopolize a corner of the town, which has won the sobriquet of "Chihuahua." It is a picturesque collection of hovels, built of logs, stones,

Illustration

"The elder women wash clothes by the brookside."

and dried mud, and thatched with brush or straw. Little gardens are laid out in front of the houses, some of which are no larger than a sentry-box, and naked children play in the primitive streets. Young girls, bold-eyed and beautiful, gayly dressed, and with shawls thrown lightly over their superb heads, saunter idly about, gossiping, or staring saucily at strangers; the elder women wash clothes by the brookside. The men seem to be perpetually waiting for some one to come and feed them. They wander about in the most purposeless fashion, and one is tempted to think them on the look-out for a chance to rob or murder; yet they are, on the contrary, quite inoffensive. "Chihuahua" and "Laredito" are nooks that one would never suspect could exist on American soil. But the Mexican is hard-headed, and terribly prejudiced; he cannot be made to see that his slow, primitive ways, his filth and lack of comfort, are not better than the frugal decency and careful home management of the Germans and Americans who surround him.

        The Alamo is the shrine to which every pilgrim to this strange corner of America must do utmost reverence. It is venerable as mission church and fortress, and was so baptized in blood that it is world-famous. The terse inscription on the Alamo monument, in the porch of the capitol at Austin, "Thermopylæ had her messenger of death; the Alamo had none!" indicates the reverence in which the ruins are held by Texans. There is now but little left of the original edifice. The portion still standing is used as a Government storehouse; and the place where Travis and his immortals fell, which should be the site of a fine monument, is a station for the mule and ox-teams waiting to receive stores.


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        It was a noteworthy struggle which led to the massacre at the Alamo, and thence to Texan independence. Moses and Stephen F. Austin, father and son, struggled through a dreary period of colonization from 1821 until 1836. The father died before he had succeeded in availing himself, to any extent, of the hesitating permission he had received from the Spaniards to introduce Americans into Texas; but his son took that permission as his patrimony, and went at the work with a will.

        Stephen Austin was obliged to brave a thousand dangers in founding his first colony on the banks of the Brazos; but the colony grew, and acquired a steadiness and prosperity, even while the adjacent Mexican States were undergoing twenty revolutions. The time, however, came, and speedily, when the Government of Mexico perceived that the two races were radically antagonistic, and that American activity would soon conquer the whole territory, unless force were opposed to it. So, with the usual blindness of despotism, Guerrero, the weak and despicable tyrant, began hostilities against the Americans, and detachments of soldiers crept in upon the colonists, occupying various posts, under one pretext or another, until the colonists saw through the ruse, and openly defied the crafty invaders.

        Guerrero continued provocative measures; freeing slaves throughout Mexico, and thus violating a treaty made with the American colonists; and at last the Mexican Congress forbade any more Americans to enter Texas.

        Then came the thunder-storm! The colonists sent commissioners to complain to the Mexican Government of their ill-treatment. These commissioners were imprisoned and abused, and the colonists flew to arms--took the citadel of Anahuac--took other fortresses and held them--released their commissioners--repudiated Mexico--met in convention at San Felipe, in 1832, and drew up a constitution under which they desired to live. Stephen Austin agreed to present

Illustration

Mexican types in San Antonio.


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it to the parent government in the city of Mexico, but when he reached that place he was thrown into prison. This and other odious tyrannies of Santa Anna, the new ruler and liberator of Mexico, opened the way to the Alamo, to San Jacinto, and to independence. It was a bloody path, but bravely trod! There were giants in those days, men who gave their lives cheerfully, men who held death in contempt. Such men were Austin, Houston, Travis, Fannin, and Milam.

        

Illustration

"The remnant of the old fort of the Alamo."

        The final struggle between Santa Anna, dictator of Mexico, and the Texan-American army began in 1834. It was a clever pretext which brought about the real war. The Mexican governor of Coahuila, the province allied to Texas, had, in order to meet his expenses, proposed the sale of lands in Texas.

        Numerous speculators presented themselves; but they were all Americans, and when this became known, the Mexican Government refused to ratify the governor's action. The governor insisted; troops were sent into Coahuila to expel the rebel Legislature which had voted the land measure, and the Texan-Americans found themselves, as well as their neighbors, in danger of invasion. They could wait no longer; they raised the standard of revolt on the plains of San Jacinto, August 16, 1835; and as soon as the news of the rebellion came to Mexican ears, General Cos, by Santa Anna's orders, sat down before San Antonio, the rebellious capital, to starve it into submission. There was fighting everywhere--at Goliad, at Gonzales, in all the towns, and around them.

        General Cos took San Antonio; was besieged in it; had to give it up to brave Ben Milam and the "three hundred men who were ready to die;" and, a little time after, the people of Texas, assembled in convention at Washington, on the Brazos river, enthusiastically voted the declaration of the absolute independence of Texas. So Santa Anna, with three army corps, began the third siege of San Antonio.

        As you see the remnant of the old fort of the Alamo now, its battered walls looming up without picturesque effect against the brilliant sky, and the clouds of dust which the muleteers and their teams stir up, half hiding it--perhaps it does not seem to you like a grand historic memorial. Indeed it is not so grand as in its old days, when, as a church, standing proudly under the shade of the noble cottonwood trees, it was the cynosure of every eye. It has fallen much into decay, and the Government, which would use Washington's tomb for a storehouse,


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rather than build a proper one, if Mount Vernon were a military depot, has cumbered it with boxes and barrels.

        But you must picture the old fort as it was on Sunday, the 6th of March, 1836, when Texas was a young and war-ridden republic. Santa Anna, with an overwhelming force of infantry, had hemmed in and forced to retreat into the fort a little band of one hundred and forty or fifty men, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Travis. In those days the fort extended over two or three acres.

        A thousand men would hardly have been sufficient to man the defenses. It was a capacious structure, with chapel, long stone barracks, barrier walls, and intrenchments, fortified with cannon. The barracks were loop-holed, and the doors were barricaded with semicircular parapets, made of double curtains of hides filled with earth. The walls were so tremendously thick and strong that batteries playing upon them night and day produced but little effect.

        It was a troublous time for the new republic; the United States had given sympathy, but no aid; the Mexican troops were ten times as numerous as were the patriot armies; terrible struggles against the enemy had been made at Goliad, and at other places, but in vain; all hope of succor was cut off from the soldiers in the Alamo, although Houston's little army was doing its best to rally. Fannin was desperately awaiting the attack upon Goliad. The Alamo and its defenders were left alone, to the mercy of the "Napoleon of the West."

        But Lieutenant-Colonel Travis and the little garrison had made up their minds. There was but one idea of duty in the souls of these men. Bowie and Crockett and Bonham, and those noble volunteers who had succeeded in making their way into the fort from the town of Gonzales--one hundred and eighty-eight souls in all, say some chroniclers;--resolved to defend the Alamo to the uttermost. Like Leonidas and his Spartans at Thermopylæ, they pledged themselves to victory or death. Then and there did they consecrate Texas to liberty. The Alamo was stormed by thousands of ferocious Spaniards and Mexicans. The Texans fought like demons, killing hundreds of their assailants, but were finally overpowered, and were all put to death. Two women, their two children, and a negro boy, were the only survivors of this dreadful massacre; and but one, a Mexican woman, is alive to-day. The "Napoleon of the West" gave his name to infamy, and sealed the doom of his own cause by this infamous massacre and the still bloodier one which followed it at Goliad. The heroism of the Alamo was the inspiration of the men who fell upon Santa Anna's army at San Jacinto, destroyed it, and made Texas free. Not even the bones of Travis and his men were preserved. The mutilated bodies were burned a few hours after they fell; and the fierce north winds which now and then sweep over San Antonio, have long ago scattered the ashes which the Texans a year after the massacre had gathered up and reverently buried.


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XVI.

THE PLAINS--THE CATTLE TRADE.

        THERE are many almost distinctively Mexican types to be seen in the San Antonio streets. Prominent among them are the horsemen from the plains, with their blankets well girt about them, and their swarthy features shaded by broadest of sombreros. Youths mounted on overloaded little mules shout lustily in Spanish. The drivers of the ox-teams swear and swear again as they crack their long whips, and groups of rough, semi-Indian looking men sun themselves at unprotected corners. The candy and fruit merchants lazily wave their fly-brushes, and sit staring open-eyed all day, although the intense sunlight reflected from the hard, white roads is painfully annoying to the stranger. The old beggars, half-blind and wholly ragged, huddle together, howling for alms, and invoking ten thousand saints, or, muttering to themselves, stray aimlessly up and down the avenues.

        A residence of a few weeks in San Antonio affords one a good look into the cattle trade of Western Texas, one of the most remarkable industries of the southwest. One might with justice call it an indolent industry--for it accomplishes

Illustration

"The horsemen from the plains."


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great results in a lazy, disorderly way, and makes men millionaires before they have had time to arouse themselves for real work.

        Cattle-trading is a grand pastime with hundreds of Texans. They like the grandiloquent sound of a "purchase of 60,000 head." There is something at

Illustration

"The candy and fruit merchants lazily wave their fly-brushes." [Page 167.]

once princely and patriarchal about it. They enjoy the adventurous life on the great grazing plains, the freedom of the ranch, the possibility of an Indian incursion, the swift coursing on horseback over the great stretches, the romance of the road. Nearly all the immense region from the Colorado to the Rio Grande is given up to stockraising. The mesquite grass carpets the plains from end to end, and the horses, cattle and sheep luxuriate in it; while the giant pecan throws down stores of oily nuts every year for the wandering hogs to revel over.

        The mountainous regions around San Antonio offer superb facilities for sheep husbandry; and the valleys along the streams are fertile enough for the most exacting farmer. There are millions of cattle now scattered over the plains between San Antonio and the Rio Grande, and the number is steadily increasing. It is not uncommon for a single individual to own 200,000 head.

        

Illustration

A Mexican Beggar.

        The cattle owners of Western Texas have been much before the public for the last few years, on account of their numerous complaints of thievery on the frontier. While I was in San Antonio a Government commission arrived from a long and tedious journey through the Rio Grande valley and the country between San Antonio and the Mexican boundary, where they had been taking testimony with regard to the Mexican outrages.

        Opinion seems somewhat divided as to the extent and nature of the damage done the cattle-raising interest by the Mexicans, some Texans even asserting that the Texan claims are grossly exaggerated, and that there has been much stealing on both sides of the Rio Grande. But the commission itself has taken testimony with great care, and, whatever may be the exact nature of the claims against Mexico, they are enough to justify a prompt aggressive policy in case the hybrid neighbor republic does not see fit to take notice of the demands of her more powerful sister. The troubles on the Mexican-Texan frontier have resulted largely from


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an attack made on the Kickapoo Indians. It appears that these Indians, during our late civil war, left their reservation with the intention of going to Mexico, and while passing through Texas in May of 1864, were mistaken for a hostile force by a Confederate corps of observation, and were attacked. When the mistake was corrected, the Indians were allowed to proceed on their way; but they found the attack a pretext for an offensive policy, and soon after reaching Mexico began a series of distressing frontier depredations. There were only nine hundred and thirty-five of these Kickapoo Indians, originally; and it is now supposed that at least half of them are dead; but those who remain are terrible fellows. The Kickapoo is a kind of perverted Indian; he is unlike the original tribes of Texas, who, like their neighbors in Mexico, were mild-mannered until aroused by ideas of wrong. He was born with the genius of murder and rapine firmly implanted in his breast, and being somewhat civilized, of course he is much worse than if he were a pure savage. He had not been long in Mexico before he began to dominate the native Mexican Indians; and the Comanches joining with them, they soon had things their own way in their new home.

        These Bedouins of the West have been a terror to the stock-farmer since 1864. They have acted like fiends; seeming to be far more malignant and savage than their ancestors. Indeed, as the Indian race decreases in Texas, from disease, internal dissensions, and intangible causes, the "type of the decadence" is the most repulsive which the blood has ever produced. It is as if the savage spirit made its last protest against annihilation tenfold more bitter and deadly than its first.

        The Kickapoos, in conjunction with Comanches, Apaches, and Mexicans, have carried off immense herds, and committed numberless murders. They have been almost ubiquitous, overrunning that vast section between the Rio Grande and San Antonio rivers, and the road between the towns of San Antonio and Eagle Pass,--a region embracing 30,000 square miles. They were wont to dash into the ranches and stampede all the stock they could frighten, driving it before them to the Rio Grande, and, although well armed pursuers might be close behind them as they crossed the fords, they would usually escape with their prey, knowing that in Mexico reclamation would be an impossibility.

        They came, and still come from time to time, within a few miles of San Antonio, to gather up horses; and if they cannot succeed in escaping with the horses they invariably kill them. At the full of the moon the Indians will usually enter the vicinity of the ranches, on foot, carrying their lassos. They hide carefully until they have discovered where the stock is, and then the gathering up is a speedy matter. An attempt at pursuit is folly, as the pursuer can only travel in the day-time, when he can see the trail, and the only hope of peace seems to be the extermination of the Indians.*

        * I believe the Kickapoos in question have been removed from Mexico to some reservation, but there are still Indians enough left in Texas to keep stock-stealing up to its old standard.


The citizens gather at San Antonio, and discuss measures of vengeance; but it is useless.

        The Rio Grande valley has always been the paradise of stock-farming. Before the Spaniards had left the Texan country, the whole section between the


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Rio Grande and the Nueces was covered with stock. The Indians were in those days employed in herding cattle; imagine one of them engaged in such a gentle, pastoral occupation to-day! As soon as the influence of the missionaries began to wane, the Indians ceased herding, and returned to their old habits of murder and rapine.

        The United States Commissioners to Texas are of opinion that not only have the Indians been aided and abetted by Mexicans in their stealing from the rancheros of Western Texas, but that Mexicans themselves are directly engaged in the stealing. So great has been the loss from these causes since the war, that the number of cattle now grazing west of San Antonio is between two-thirds and three-fourths less than in 1866.

        But the stock-raisers, despite the many dangers and vexations which beset them, are a healthy, happy set. Their manners have a tinge of Spanish gravity and courtesy; they are sun-browned, stalwart men, unused to the atmosphere of cities, and in love with the freedom of the plains.

        

Illustration

"The citizens gather at San Antonio, and discuss measures of vengeance." [Page 169.]

        Their herds of thousands range at will over the unfenced lands, and only once yearly do the stout rancheros drive them up to be examined, branded, and separated. Ownership is determined by peculiar brands and ear-marks, records of which are kept in the offices of the county clerks, and published in the newspapers. There is a stock-raisers' association which has decided on rules for mutual protection and aid.

        In 1872 there were 450,000 cattle driven overland from Western Texas to Kansas, through the Indian Territory, by Bluff Creek and Caldwell, up the famous "Chisholm trail." In 1871 as many as 700,000 were driven across. The general value of "Kansas beeves" is $12 to $13 gold; but after deducting all expenses, the average profit on the "drive" is not much more than a fair rate of interest on the money invested. The cattle interest is rather heavily taxed for transportation, and suffers in consequence.


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        But few cattle are transported by sea, the outlet for the trade by way of Indianola having never been very successful. The Morgan steamships carry perhaps 40,000 beeves yearly that way. The two great shipping points in 1872-73 were Wichita, on a branch of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fé railroad, at the junction of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas rivers, and Ellsworth, on the Kansas Pacific railroad. The whole country, at the time of transit, is covered with vast herds, which begin to arrive in Kansas early in May and await buyers there. A stampede is something which baffles description; you must witness it. It is a tempest of horns and tails, a thunder of hoofs, a lightning of wild eyes; I can describe it no better.

        Merely to see a man on foot is sometimes sufficient to set Texan cattle into a frenzy of fear, and a speedy stampede; for the great majority of them have never been approached save by men on horseback. The gathering up of stock is no light task, as a herd of 75,000 cattle will range over an area fifty miles wide by 100 miles long. Large stock-raisers are always increasing their stock by buying herds adjacent to their ranges. Many persons make fortunes by simply gathering up and branding the cattle which the rightful owners have neglected to brand; cattle found unbranded, and a year old, being known as "Mavericks."

        

Illustration

A Texan Cattle-Drover.

        The origin of this name is very funny. Colonel Maverick, an old and wealthy citizen of San Antonio, once placed a small herd of cattle on an island in Matagorda Bay, and having too many other things to think of, soon forgot all about them. After a lapse of several years, some fishermen sent the Colonel word that his cattle had increased alarmingly, and that there was not grass enough on the island to maintain them. So he sent men to bring them off. There is probably nothing more sublimely awful in the whole history of cattle-raising than the story of those beasts, from the time they were driven from the island until they had scattered to the four corners of Western Texas. Among these Matagordian cattle which had run wild for years were 800 noble, but ferocious bulls; and wherever they went they found a clear field. It was as if a menagerie of lions had broken loose in a village. Mr. Maverick never succeeded in keeping any of the herd together; they all ran madly whenever a man came in sight; and for many a day thereafter, whenever unbranded and unusually wild cattle were seen about the ranges, they were called "Mavericks." The bulls were long the terror of the land.

        The estimated profits of cattle-raising are enormous. Some authenticated instances are worthy especial mention. One man in the vicinity of San Antonio


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began in 1856 with 150 head of cattle; he now has 60,000, and is considered worth $350,000. Another, who began by taking stock to attend to for one-third of the increase, is worth about the same sum. One ranch, that of Mr. Kennedy, some distance west of Corpus Christi, has an inclosure of 150,000 acres, the fencing for which alone cost $100,000. Many a stock-raiser brands 15,000 head of calves yearly. The profits of horse-raising, making due allowance for losses by Indian raids and American and Mexican horse-thieves, are even greater. The owner of a large horse-ranch near Castroville*

        * Castroville is one of the most thriving towns in Western Texas. It was founded by Henry Castro, a Frenchman of great culture and executive ability.


told me that he had repeatedly endeavored to get up an issue with the Indians, who often attacked his ranch--hoping to get them indicted and then requisitioned in Mexico; but their tribal arrangements prevent that. The chief alone is responsible for the bad deeds of all his warriors, and any quantity of indictments would never bring him to justice. An attempt to operate under the treaty made by Corwin, in 1862--by which the Government authorized district judges to demand the extradition of criminals,--was equally unsuccessful. The Mexican officers on the frontier recognize no law, no authority except their own.

        The head-quarters of such troops of the regular army as are in the Department of Texas, is at San Antonio. A chain of defensive forts extends from Fort Sill in the Indian Territory--in that section occupied by the Kiowas, Arapahoes and Comanches,--south-west and south to the Rio Grande, and along the Mexican frontier. Forts Richardson, Griffin, Concho, McKavett, Clark, Duncan, McIntosh, Ringgold, and Brown, are the most important posts, and each is well garrisoned with several companies of infantry and cavalry. It is at Fort Clark that the gallant Colonel McKenzie has long been stationed. The close proximity

Illustration

Military Head-quarters--San Antonio.

of the fort to the river has somewhat troubled the raiding Indians; but they generally manage to pass between the forts without being observed. Cavalry scouts are constantly engaged along the whole defensive line; but the men and horses are but poor matches for the Indians and their ponies. There is no telegraphic communication from fort to fort; therefore the officers at the various posts are never capable of concerted action. The line of forts extending from Concho to Fort Sill is intended to protect against incursions from the "Staked Plains" district, where the Indians still wander at their own
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sweet will over the grass-carpeted plains, which are seemingly boundless as the ocean. The grandeur, the rugged beauty of these mighty table-lands will for many years yet be enjoyed only by the Indian; he makes a good fight there.

        South-west from Fort Concho runs a defensive line, dotted with Forts Stockton, Davis, Hultman, and Bliss, the latter opposite El Paso, at the extreme western limit of Texas, and nearly seven hundred miles from San Antonio, at the entrance of the mountain passes of Chihuahua. Service in this department is no child's play; it is a rough and tumultuous school; and to see the general activity, one wonders that more is not actually accomplished.

        

Illustration

Negro Soldiers of the San Antonio Garrison.

        Railroads alone can solve the question. As it is, the thirty-five hundred men in the department, whether officered by General Auger, the present department commander, or General Grant, cannot catch and punish the evil-minded Indians. The soldiers are rarely attacked; the alert and logical savage seeks a peaceful prey rather than a fight with men as well armed as himself. Never advertising his coming, as the soldiers too often do, he rarely meets them. He is all eyes and ears; the tiniest cloud of dust on the horizon announces to him the approach of some one; he notes the faintest tremor among the grasses, and knows what it signifies; he detects a little imprint on the turf, and can decide at once whether or not it is that of a soldier's foot, or a white man's horse.

        When he mounts a hill, he looks about to see if there is anything stirring on the plain; and if there be, he hides until he knows what it is. It is easy to see that recruits and unpracticed frontiersmen cannot fight such people as these. Very few soldiers are harmed; it is mainly the innocent settlers, who have no


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idea of protecting themselves, who suffer. Since 1866 over 300 unoffending Texans have been killed by murderous Indians and Mexicans.

        Great care is necessary in traversing the plains, even with an escort of soldiers. A gentleman, returning from Fort Clark, once strayed ahead of the main party and was found, with arrows sticking in him and minus his scalp, dead. The Indians even hovered around the Government commissioners, on their journey from Eagle Pass to Laredo. For efficiency's sake, the Texans should be allowed in some way to take the matter of subduing the Indians and protecting their frontier against the Mexicans into their own hands.

        Wonderful land of limitless prairie, of beautiful rivers and strange foliage--land where there is room to breathe full breaths--land beyond which there seem no boundary lines--the railroad will yet subdue you! Then there will be no more mystery in your plains--your chaparral thickets--your groves of post oak and pecan--your cypress-bordered streams--your grand ranges--your sunburnished stretches. Stage routes will be forgotten; the now rapidly decaying native Indian tribes will stray into some unexplored nook, never to sally forth again. The Rio Grande will no longer be a boundary, and the Sierra Madre's rocky gaps will echo back the sharp accents of the American tongue. All this in a few years, unless the tokens fail!


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XVII.

DENISON--TEXAN CHARACTERISTICS.

        STANDING in the main street of Denison, Texas, the new town near the southern border of the Indian Territory, six hundred and twenty-one miles south-west of St. Louis, it was hard to realize that only four months before my visit its site was almost a wilderness, not a building of any kind having yet been erected there. For all around us was Babel--a wild rush of business, a glory in affairs, an unbounded delight in mere labor, by which I was at once oppressed and appalled.

        

Illustration

Scene in a Gambling House--"Playing Keno"--Denison, Texas.

        The slightest indication of progress was pointed out as a gigantic foreshadowing of the future preëminence of Denison. "There are from 2,500 to 3,000 people here now," said one gentleman to us; "how's that for four months? That'll make some of the incredulous


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folks take their frame houses off from the rollers!"--an expression intended to open up a startling prospect for the future of Denison. But, indeed, all these enthusiastic pioneers of a new civilization were justified in their seemingly wild prophecies of greatness. Northern Texas, under the beneficent influences of railroad pioneering, is assuming a prominence which had never been imagined for it until within the last five years.

        As soon as the Missouri, Kansas and Texas railway had crossed the Red river, a stream of immigration, which the most sanguine had not hoped for, set in. The North-west seemed to move en masse. The tracts of fertile, black-wax land, which literally needed but to be tickled with the plough to smile a

Illustration

"Men drunk and sober danced to rude music." [Page 177.]

harvest, were rapidly taken up, and Denison sprang into existence as the chief town of the newly developed region. It was organized four months before my visit, and since that time the Denison Town Company had sold $90,000 worth of building lots. The town stands in a county absolutely free from debt, and is at the outlet of one of the most fertile farming regions of the world. Two railroads, coming to it from opposite points, and not costing it a cent, laid the foundation for its remarkable advance, an advance more like magic than like the normal growth of a pioneer settlement.

        All the lumber for the houses and business establishments was brought hundreds of miles, there being none suitable in the vicinity; and the car-loads


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of material were changed into rough but commodious structures in a twinkling. It was exceedingly remarkable, also, that in a community one-half of which was undoubtedly made up of professional ruffians, "terminus" gamblers, and the offscourings of society, and where there was not yet a regularly organized government, there was not more of terrorism.

        Every third building in the place was a drinking saloon with gambling appurtenances, filled after nightfall with a depraved, adventurous crowd, whose profanity was appalling, whose aspect was hideous. Men drunk and sober danced to rude music in the poorly-lighted saloons, and did not lack female partners. In vulgar bestiality of language, in the pure delight of parading profanity and indecency, the ruffian there had no equal. The gambling houses were nightly frequented by hundreds. Robberies were, of course, of frequent occurrence in the gambling hells, and perhaps are so still; but in the primitive hotels, where the luckless passengers from the Missouri, Kansas and Texas railway awaited a transfer by stage to Sherman, and where they were packed three or four together in beds in a thinly-boarded room through whose cracks rain might fall and dust blow, they were as safe from robbery or outrage as in any first-class house. Rough men abounded, and would, without doubt, have knocked any one upon the head who should find himself alone, unarmed, and late at night, in their clutches. But the carrying of concealed weapons is so expressly forbidden by the laws of Texas, that cases of shooting rarely occurred, and there was no more danger to the life or limb of the traveler than may be met with on Broadway. I was too late to see the Denison where rascals had held supreme sway. Their régime vanished when the railroad crossed the Red river.

        The business men of Denison are a stern, self-reliant, confident company. They have a thorough belief in Northern Texas; intend to tame its wildness, and make it one of the gardens of the world. The Kansas and Missouri and Illinois and Western New York character crops out everywhere in Denison, and is the chief reliance of the town.

        The aboriginal Texan looks on, and admires the energy displayed, but he takes good care not to mix in the fray too much himself. There is something sublimely impudent, charmingly provoking, in the manner in which he disappears from work and the street when a cold "Norther" comes on; in the cool, defiant way in which he forces others to work for him, and the utter surprise he manifests when he is accused of droning. He is a child of the sun; he dislikes effort; it gives him no gratification to labor in the rough ways of a new town like Denison.

        Yet this same man can leap to the level of a hero when his rights are assailed; can bathe a San Jacinto plain with his best blood; can stand at an Alamo's breastworks until covered with wounds, and can ride at the head of a brigade into the very gates of death without losing one iota of his magnificent equipoise.

        But the old population of Northern Texas is rapidly assimilating with the new-comers, and there is no longer any vestige of the intolerance which made a


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Texan regard a stranger as an intruder. Neither is it safe in a new town like Denison to judge a man, as we are forced to do in large cities, by his outer garb and manners. The huge hulking fellow with one cheek distended with tobacco, and with his clothes all so disposed that they seem to have been thrown upon him, will answer you with all the courtesy and grace of a high-bred gentleman, and will show a consideration for your opinions and your remarks which you do not always receive from the habitués of a city. The roughness is exterior only, and he who contents himself with a passing glance will not penetrate to the sterling qualities which that exterior conceals.

        The earnestness of the new town, the almost religious quality of its ambition, were amusing as well as inspiring. Every one talked in exaggerated phrase; land values were fictitious; the estimates of immigration were overdrawn; the "probabilities" were certainly elastic, but there was such hope! Many men who had only been in Texas a year or two had already become rich, enhancing, at the same time, the value of property in the localities in which they had settled. In the little boarded newspaper office there was the same dauntless ambition; in the saloon, again the same. "Sherman ain't nothin' to this yer," said one man to me; "we've got the riffle on her on saloons." He could not even allow a neighbor town a preëminence in vice. "General Sheridan's going to build a supply depot here, 'n' then you'll see!" was the final, annihilating rejoinder administered to a carping Shermanite in our hearing. All the inhabitants were determined to make a magnificent city out of this irregular group of one-story wooden buildings, confusedly located on the high rolling land four miles south of the Red river, and their zeal was both to them and to us "like new wine."

        He would, indeed, be a brave man who should, at this writing, prophesy that the great new route to the Gulf will redeem the Indian Territory from its present isolation, and bring it into the Union first as on probation, and finally as a State. Nevertheless, the people of the south-west are firmly convinced that such will be the case, and, for various important reasons, the inhabitants of Northern Texas earnestly desire it. The existence of such an immense frontier, so near to the newly settled districts of Texas, enables rogues of all grades to commit many crimes with impunity, for, once over the border, a murderer or a horse-thief can hide in the hills or in some secluded valley until his pursuers are fatigued, and can then make his way out in another direction.

        

Illustration

"Red Hall."

        So frequent had this method of escape become, at the time of the founding of Denison, that the law-abiding citizens were enraged; and the famous deputy-sheriff, "Red Hall," a young man of


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great courage and unflinching "nerve," determined to attempt the capture of some of the desperadoes. Arming himself with a Winchester rifle, and with his belt garnished with navy revolvers, he kept watch on certain professional criminals. One day, soon after a horse-thief had been heard from in a brilliant dash of grand larceny, he repaired to the banks of the Red river, confident that the thief would attempt to flee.

        In due time, the fugitive and two of his friends appeared at the river, all armed to the teeth, and while awaiting the ferry-boat, were visited by Hall, who drew a bead upon them, and ordered them to throw down their arms. They refused, and a deadly encounter was imminent; but he finally awed them into submission, threatening to have the thief's comrades arrested for carrying concealed weapons. They delivered up their revolvers and even their rifles, and fled, and the horse-thief, rather than risk a passage-at-arms with the redoubtable Hall, returned with him to Denison, after giving the valiant young constable some ugly wounds on the head with his fist. The passage of the river having thus been successfully disputed by the law, the rogues became somewhat more wary.

        "Red Hall" seemed to bear a charmed life. He moved about tranquilly every day in a community where there were doubtless an hundred men who would have delighted to shed his blood; was often called to interfere in broils at all hours of the night; yet his life went on. He had been ambushed and shot at, and threatened times innumerable, yet had always exhibited a scorn for his enemies, which finally ended in forcing them to admire him. When he visited me on my arrival in Denison, he remarked, "I shall see you in Sherman Monday, as I have some prisoners to take to court there;" but Monday morning, as I was starting for Sherman, he informed me that when he awoke in the morning, he was surrounded by armed men; a pistol was held under his nose; and he was told that he was arrested at the instance of the United States Marshal, to whom some one had been retailing slanders concerning him. Even as he spoke he was vigilantly guarded by armed men. But in the afternoon he was free again--once more in authority, and awing the ruffians into a proper respect.

        The tracks of the great railway connecting Northern Texas with the outer world had but just been completed to Denison when I visited the town, but the huge freight-houses were already filled with merchandise awaiting transportation to the interior. The Overland Transportation Company was closing its books, for the Texas Central railway line was expected in a few weeks to reach the Red river, and the great Gulf route would be complete.

        Staging to Sherman, we passed immense wagon-trains of merchandise, creaking forward through the wax-like soil, which clung in such masses to the wheels that the teams stopped from time to time, discouraged. Gangs of stout fellows from Illinois and Missouri were marching along the highways, en route for the railroad lines which they were to aid in constructing; mule-teams, drawing loads of lumber, each team driven by a six-foot Texan with a patriarchal beard, passed us; wild-looking men mounted on horses or mules, with rifles slung over shoulders, and saddle-bags stuffed with game, cantered by.


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        Sometimes we met a discouraged company, painfully forcing its way back toward sunrise, the paterfamilias driving a span of sorry mules which dragged a weary wagon-load of grumbling and disheartened family. So, faring forward through forest and brake, over creeks and under hills, beside smiling fields and along mournful wastes, into primitive clearings and out of forsaken nooks, and crannies where civilization had only made the wilderness look worse, we reached Sherman, the forty-year-old shire town of Grayson county.

        

Illustration

The Public Square in Sherman, Texas.

        Glorious sunlight enlivened the town as we entered it, and intensest activity prevailed, the county court being in session. The town is built around a square, in the centre of which stands a low, unpainted wooden building, known as the Court-House. The "grand jury" was not far from the aforesaid building, as we drew up at the hotel opposite it, and was to outward appearance a collection of rough, sensible farmers, impressed with a full sense of their duty. The horses on which half-a-hundred of the neighboring farmers had ridden in to attend to their marketing and upon the sessions of the court, were hitched at a common hitching frame not far from the court-house; and in the centre of the square a noisy auctioneer, whom the Texans were regarding with admiring eyes, was bawling out his wares. The plank sidewalks were crammed with tall youths, in patched homespun; with negroes, whose clothing was a splendid epitome of color; with


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spruce speculators--Northerners and Westerners--dressed in the latest styles; with dubious-looking characters, who shrank a little apart from the common gaze, as if afraid of the day-light; with swine, that trotted hither and yon; and with the hook-nosed and loud-voiced Israelites, who are found in every city and hamlet throughout the South.

        Large numbers of people seemed diligently engaged in doing nothing whatever, or in frankly enjoying the delicious sunlight, which gave new glory and picturesqueness to everything upon which it rested.

Illustration

"With swine that trotted hither and yon."

Now and then a soft breeze came gently from the uplands, and softened the effect of this generous sun. The excited gambler came out to bathe his livid face in zephyr and sunlight; the negro crawled to the side-walk's edge, and with his feet in the mud, blinked like an owl in the fierce glare; the stage-drivers swore round but rather jocund oaths at the rearing and plunging mules drawing the coaches for Denison, McKinney, and other little towns; and the big negro who guarded the court-house door twirled the great key majestically, and looked ferocious.

        Although it was midwinter, the day was as perfect as one in June at the North; but the languor which stole over us was purely Southern, as I imagined myself to be dreaming away the afternoon in lazy abandon and irresolute comfort, spiced only with the charm of studying new types of a common nationality. Toward evening there was absolute tranquillity all over the place. Not even a loud word was spoken. The dusky figures who sat crouched in the porch of our hotel, mutely regarding the glories of the setting sun, seemed almost in the act of worship.

        Denison was a yearling when I saw it for the second time, and the most wonderful changes had meanwhile taken place. The Texas Central railway line was completed. Northern and Southern Texas were connected, and Pullman cars were running through the untamed prairies. The gamblers and ruffians had fled. Denison had acquired a city charter; had a government, and the rabble had departed before law could reach them. A smart new hotel, near the railroad, was doing a driving business, hundreds of people thronging its dining-rooms.

        Above Denison, at the river, another town had sprung up, a child of the Texas Central, and ambitiously named "Red River City." Newsboys called the daily paper about the streets of Denison; we heard of the opera-house; we saw the announcement of church services; and the notices of meetings for the discussion and advocacy of new railroad routes were numerous.

        I confess to a certain feeling of disappointment in not having found more marked peculiarities of the people of Texas. There are, of course, phases and bits of dialect which distinguish them from the inhabitants of other sections; but even the rude farmer in the back-country is not as singular as he has been represented. In extreme Southern and extreme Northern Texas, the visitor from the North or West sees but little variation from his own types in the cities; and yet in the remote districts he may find more ignorance and less idea of comfort than he would have thought possible in America.


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        There are a good many instances of rude and incult rich men; people who are of the old régime, and who, while owning thousands of cattle, sheep, and horses, live in log-houses, eat mean food, and have scarcely more than one suit of clothes in ten years. But these people are quietly disappearing before the newcomers. At first they are fierce against innovation, and indignant at frame houses, railroad stations, and saloons; but finding that they must yield or retire, they acquiesce.

        The general characteristics of an old style Texan farm were unthrift and untidiness; the land was never half tilled, because it produced enough to support life without being highly cultivated. When a fence fell into decay,--if by some strange chance there was a fence,--the rails or boards lay where they fell; people

Illustration

Bridge over the Red River--(Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway).

grew up like weeds, and choked each other's growth. Those who held slaves counted their wealth in "niggers," and sometimes boasted that they were worth a hundred thousand dollars, while living in meaner and more uncomfortable fashion than the poorest Irishman at the North.

        The only amusement of the paterfamilias was a hunt, or a ride to the county seat in court time, where, in days when every one carried arms, there was usually some exciting event to disturb the monotony of existence--perhaps to disturb existence itself. There was no market, no railroad within hundreds of miles, no newspaper, no school, save perhaps some private institution miles from the farm or plantation, and no intellectual life or culture whatever.

        The rich slave-owner was a kind of patriarchal savage, proud of his own dirt and ignorance. The heroic epoch of the struggle for independence being over, thousands of persons settled down to such life as this, and thought it vastly fine. What a magnificent awakening has come to them!

        The mass of people in the interior still have a hearty scorn for anything good to eat. The bitter coffee, and the greasy pork, or "bacon," as it is always called, still adorns the tables of most farmers. A railroad president, inspecting a route in Northern Texas, stopped at a little house for dinner. The old lady of the homestead wishing to treat her guest with becoming dignity, inquired in the kindest manner, after having spread the usual food before him, "Won't ye have


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a little bacon fat to wallop your corn dodgers in now, won't ye?" This was the acme of hospitality in that region.

        Now and then, in these days of immigration, a housewife will venture a timid "Reckon ye don't think much of our home-made fare, do ye?" when the visitor is a stranger; and, indeed, he shows upon his face his wonder that a well-to-do farmer's stout sons and pretty daughters are satisfied with pork and molasses and clammy biscuits, with no vegetables whatever.

        The negro is responsible for the introduction of such oceans of grease into Texan cookery; it suited his taste, and the white people for whom he cooked mutely accepted it, just as they insensibly accepted certain peculiarities of his dialect,--notably "dat 'ar" and "dis yer," and "furder" for further; mispronunciation which it makes one stare to hear good-looking white people use, as if they supposed it correct. The Texan has one phrase by which he may easily be recognized abroad: "I reckon so," with the accent on the last word, is his common phrase of assent. In the country, when riding on horseback, and inquiring how far it is to a certain place, you will now and then be told that it is "two sights and a look," which you must understand if you can.

        There is in Western Texas a more highly-colored, vivid, and dramatic manner of talk than in the rest of the State, doubtless the result of long contact with the Spaniard and Mexican. In parts of Northern Texas, too, among some classes, there is a profanity which exceeds anything I have ever encountered elsewhere. In Western Texas it is fantastic, and, so to speak, playful. I once traveled from Galveston to Houston in the same car with a horse-drover, who will serve as an example. This man was a splendid specimen of the Texan of the plains, robust and perfectly formed. There was a certain chivalrous grace and freedom about all his movements which wonderfully impressed one. His cleancut face was framed in a dark, shapely beard and moustache, which seemed as if blown backward by the wind. He wore a broad hat with a silver cord around it, and I felt impelled to look for his sword, his doublet, and his spurs, and to fancy that he had just stepped out of some Mexican romance.

        His conversation was upon horses, his clear voice ringing high above the noise of the car-wheels, as he laughingly recounted anecdotes of adventures on ranches in the West, nearly every third word being an oath. He caressingly cursed; he playfully damned; he cheerfully invoked all the evil spirits that be; he profaned the sacred name, dwelling on the syllables as if it were a pet transgression, and as if he feared that it would be too brief.

        Even in bidding his friend good-by, he cursed as heartily as an English boatswain in a storm, but always with the same cheeriness, and wound up by walking off lightly, laughing and murmuring blasphemous assent to his friend's last proposition.

        Some of the small towns in the interior are indeed trials to him who must long stay in them. My severest experience was in a Northern Texan "metrop olis,"--its name shall be spared,--where the main hotel was a new board structure, without the suspicion of ceiling or lathing on the premises, and through whose roof one could see the stars. The front office was about the size of a


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New England wood-box; and when some twenty persons, variously impregnated with questionable liquids, had gathered therein, the effluvia became shocking.

        In the long, creaking supper-room beyond, a dirty cloth was laid on a dirtier table, and pork, fried to a cinder and swimming in grease hot enough to scorch the palate, was placed before the guests. To this was presently added, by the hands of a tall, angular, red-haired woman, a yellow mass of dough supposed to be biscuit, a cup of black, bitter bean-juice named coffee, and as a crowning torture, a mustard-pot, with very watery mustard in it.

        This, the regular sustenance, I suppose, of the unfortunate people of that town, was so unusually bad that I forthwith desired to be shown my room; and was ushered into a creaking loft, over a whiskey saloon wherein a mob of drunken railroad laborers were quarreling, and threatening, with the most outrageous profanity, to annihilate each other. To the music of these revels I attempted to lull my wearied body to repose; but did not succeed, and went to the four-in-the-morning train unrefreshed.

        Even at the station my troubles were not at an end, for on venturing to expostulate with an employé for not checking my baggage, he profanely condemned me, adding that "It's mighty easy to get up a fight in Texas." Had I remained twenty-four hours longer in that town, it is my firm belief that I should have been accommodated with a complete and thorough exposition of all the eccentric features generally accredited to the society of the State.

        The people of Texas suffered greatly from the war; thousands were ruined by it. Young and old together went to the fight, returning only to find ruin staring them in the face, and the poverty which was so bitter hangs by them still. The sudden fall from large fortune to day-labor, so general in Louisiana, smote Texas sternly. But never, on the whole, was a people more cheery. It is resolved to rebuild and to accept the advent of


                         "New men, new faces, other minds."

        The beauty of the fair Southern land is but faintly shadowed in these pages. It is too intense to admit of transfer. But no visitor will ever forget the magic of the climate--never guilty of the extremes of heat or cold which we suffer in the North, and yet so varied that the most fastidious may suit themselves within home boundaries; one cannot forget the attractive wildness of the great western plains, nor the tropic luxuriance of the southern shore.

        He cannot forget his pilgrimage to rock-strewn Mount Bonnell, Austin's guardian mountain; nor the Colorado running between its steep banks, with the wooded slopes beyond melting softly into the ethereal blue; nor the long, white roads, bordered by graceful live oaks; nor the bayous, along which the whippoor-wills and chuck-will's-widows keep up lively chorus all night long.

        Nor will one visitor forget how, just at dawn, he saw a troop of hundreds of Texan cattle fording a shallow stream, and leaving a track of molten silver behind them, as the sun smote the ripples made by their hurrying feet; nor how, by night, as the slowly-moving train stole across the country, millions of fire-flies flashed about the fields; how gaunt and weary emigrants gathered in groups


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around the camp fires; how, now and then, some weary figure, bent and ragged, stole up behind the train with pack upon its back, plodding its way toward the land of promise; how the darkies at the little stations where the iron horse stopped to refresh himself, sang quaint songs as they threw the wood into the tender; how mahogany-colored old women besieged him with platters, covered with antique "spring chicken" and problematic biscuits; how hale, stalwart old men with patriarchal beards and extraordinary appetites for tobacco, talked with him of the rising glory of Texas, impressing upon him that this is a mighty State, sir; fast rising to the lead, sir; has come out of the war gloriously, sir; and, sir, enough for all the world in her broad acres, sir; yes, sir.

        Nor will he forget the motley throng of Mexican prisoners, straggling into the streets of Austin, charged with murder most foul, their great eyes glittering with demoniac hatred under the gray of their sombreros; nor the pretty maidens dismounting from their restive ponies at the "horse-blocks" in front of the shops, and trailing their long overskirts before the merchants' windows; nor the groups of negroes at the corners, chattering like parroquets.

        Nor the disguised army detective, slouching about the public places in the clothes of a western ranchero, prospecting for deserters; nor the gaunt teamsters from the borders of the San Marcos, the Guadalupe, or the San Antonio, with their half-melancholy, half-ferocious look; nor the erect military figure of "the governor," with his keen, handsome face and blond Prussian moustache.

        Nor the typical land agent, with his bland smile and diffuse conversation about thousand-acre tracts and superb locations; nor the dusty and pallid travelers descending from the El Paso stage, their Winchester rifles in their hands, and their nerves strained with eight hundred miles of adventurous stage travel.

        Nor can he forget how, one morning, on the banks of the beautiful Colorado, a ghastly cross-tree affronted the sky, while around a platform a great throng of white, and black, and brown men, American, and negro, and Mexican, gathered to see two men die. He will remember how the criminals came to the gallows and gazed round from the scaffold in search of some sympathetic desperado to help them; how, in his despair at finding none, one of them, in derision, broke into a shuffling dance, and after making a blackguard speech, fainted as the rope was placed about his guilty neck; how the crowd jeered at and mocked the two men until the scene was over, leaving the vacant gallows to stand as a perpetual warning.

        Nor will he forget the moonlit evenings in the gardens of the southern coast, where the thick clumps of cedar joined their heavy perfume to that of the magnolia; where the rose and the myrtle vied in fragrance, and the dagger-tree spread its sharp leaves defiantly; where the snow-white of the jessamine peered from the darkness; where the China-tree showered its strange fruit on the turf; the fig put forth its tender shoots; the orange and the oleander, the verbenas and the pansies all looked coquettishly out of their midwinter beds at the Northern new-comer, seeming to smile at his wonder; where the grape trellises were covered with clinging vines; and where strange birds sang songs in consonance with the lapping of the waters on the Gulf shore, and with the intense hum of the unseen insect life, rising and falling like a magnificent harmony.


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XVIII.

THE NEW ROUTE TO THE GULF.

        A JOURNEY from Sedalia, in Missouri, through the Indian Territory to Denison, will enable one to appreciate properly the vastness of the southwest, and the magnitude of the railway projects so constantly carried into execution there.

        The ruder aspects of Sedalia, the Missourian terminus of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas railway, have vanished before the march of improvement, and the town has arisen from the low level of a speculative frontier-village, where the tenure of life and position in society was very uncertain, to the grade of an

Illustration

important junction, and a city of prominence. It is not very long since the revolver was the supreme arbiter in all disputes in Sedalia,--since, indeed, the streets were cleared of all peaceable men in an instant, whenever there was prospect of a quarrel between the bloodthirsty thieves and ruffians who infested the whole adjacent region.

        The drift of iniquity from the impromptu towns along the Union Pacific line came into Missouri, Kansas, and the Indian Territory, as soon as the project of the new route to the Gulf was broached, and brought with it murder and wholesale robbery. The men who had been attracted to Missouri from the States of Illinois and Ohio, and from portions of Kansas, by the excellent chances to enrich themselves in land speculations, were appalled by the conduct of the drunken and ferocious fiends who came to haunt the new towns. The projectors of the


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new route to the Gulf had to face this criminal element and to submit to its presence in their midst. Often it was the stronger, and openly defied law, as is now the case in certain sections of the West. But the pioneers of the route had had their schooling in new lands; the engineers and builders were men of muscle and brain, of coolness and "nerve," and moved quietly but irresistibly forward, amid the harassing outrages of a mean and cowardly banditti, whose chief precept was assassination, and whose trade was rapine.

        With dauntless energy, courage, and industry, and by the aid of generously expended capital, these pioneers of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas railway worked steadfastly, and in three and a-half years laid 551 miles of solidly-constructed track, or a little over half a mile for every working day. When they took up their task, the anguish of the war was hardly ended; the total disorganization of society consequent on the radical changes inaugurated in the lately slaveholding States made many of the conditions of life and labor onerous and disagreeable; but the superb end hoped for always made the difficult means easier to work with.

        To-day a tract of country which, two years ago, was comparatively as unknown to the masses of our citizens as Central Africa, is now easily accessible; palace cars convey the traveler over the rich plains of the Indian territory from St. Louis, with its legacy of more than a century's history, to Denison, the young giant of Northern Texas, with its records of a year.

        Two New Yorkers, Messrs. George Denison and David Crawford, jr., gave the railway its first financial status, and brought it before the eyes of the world with its respectability thoroughly guaranteed, and its objects all properly explained. The enterprise, originally known as the Southern branch of the Union Pacific Railway Company, was magnificent in scope, and found ready support from men of large minds and ample means.

        The system north of the Red river, when perfected, was intended to comprehend more than 1,000 miles; and the proposed extension south of the Red river would amount to 1,000 more. The scheme was that of a grand vertebral line through Texas, via Waco and Austin, to Camargo on the west bank of the Rio Grande; thence almost due south, through Monterey, Saltillo, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, and Queretaro, to the City of Mexico.

        The company, in constructing its railway and branches through Missouri and Kansas, asked but few favors of the States. It has built the road mainly with its own money, and has shown the true pioneering spirit in boldly pushing its tracks, at an enormous expense, through the Indian Territory, without waiting for the settlement of the question of the distribution of lands there. The same indomitable pluck and persistent effort will doubtless be shown in the future building of Texas and Mexican extensions.

        The Legislature of Texas has accorded the company organization under a special law, and the general law gives to any railway built within the State limits extensive land grants, so that the people will not be subjected to burdensome taxation, and in a few years the outside world will suddenly discover that a journey to Mexico is no more difficult than the present journey to New


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Orleans, and that new lands and territories have been opened up to speculation and profit as if by magic. But the plan is not limited merely to this. It is possible that in future the line may extend from where it now joins the Houston and Texas Central railway at Denison, southward, down the valley of the Trinity, --the richest in Eastern Texas,--to Galveston,

Illustration

"The Pet Conductor."

with a branch to the waters of Sabine Bay, which route to the Gulf, it is claimed, would save from 700 to 1,200 miles of railway transportation upon all the foreign importations and exportations of the West Mississippi States and Territories, over shipments via the Atlantic ports. The value of the Texas business will also be immense; and should the Missouri, Kansas and Texas railway lines touch the Gulf, there will be travel and trade enough for it and for the International and Great Northern and the Houston and Texas Central, even though they double their tracks and rolling stock. Besides this, the branch from Sedalia, extending across the Missouri river at Booneville, to Moberly, Missouri, gives a magnificent direct line from Chicago to Galveston.

        As the Indian Territory boasts no towns worthy the name along either of the two lines of rail which penetrate its domain, the railroad company placed at the disposition of our party a superb hotel car, equipped with kitchen, drawing, and sleeping-room. The larder of the traveling-home was well stocked; engineer, fireman, and brakeman took their rifles, prepared for an encounter with deer, or to chase the cautious wild turkey; and a merry party, one frosty morning in January of 1873, rattled out of Sedalia. Both artist and writer were fascinated

Illustration

"Charlie."

with this perfection of travel, this journeying so thoroughly at one's own will, with power to stop at every turn, and with no feeling of haste. The presiding genii of the train, "the Pet Conductor" and "Charlie," made the travel through the wilds as comfortable as the journey of an emperor. Wherever it seemed to us good, we dismissed our train to a side track, and wandered off.

        The Missouri towns in this section were passed over with a cursory glance, as being so much alike in general character. Windsor was a sleepy place; Calhoun sleepier and older. The latter village was a cluster of ill-looking buildings, grouped around a muddy square. At the time we saw it, there was also snow enough to make it uncomfortable. "Yer ought to see it Sundays," said an informant at the depot, "when them fellows get full of tangle-foot. They kin just fight!" But the railroad is bringing


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Calhoun a better future. A little farther on, we paused before the entrance to a shaft sunk in one of those rich veins of coal which crop out in all this section. An old man, dwarfed and bent, but still vigorous, the very image of a gnome, conducted us into the narrow galleries, a hundred and fifty feet below the surface, where we crawled on our hands and knees along passages scarcely three feet high, examining the superb strata into which the railway company delves for fuel. A railway built over a coal-bed gives its corporation no cause for complaint, although, far as the eye can reach, on either hand, there may be scarcely a stick of timber to be seen.

        The men and women in these small Missouri towns had a grave, preoccupied look, doubtless born of the hard ways of the West. The farming population in

Illustration

Our Special Train. [Page 188.]

that section is none too prosperous, and rarely has any ready money. The immense disproportion between the cost of labor and implements for producing crops, and the prices of the produce itself, has made sad havoc with many brilliant prospects. At that time, throughout that part of the South-west, the tillers of the soil were savagely discontent. Many with whom we conversed spoke with great bitterness of the difficulty of obtaining proper representation in Congress on the subject of their grievances. In this first day's journeying it was curious to note how the advent of the railway had caused whole towns and villages to change their location, and come tumbling miles across the prairie, to put themselves in direct communication with the outer world. Sometimes, at a little station, we were shown, far off on the horizon, a landmark of the village's former site, and told that the citizens one day set their houses upon wheels, and had them dragged by long trains of oxen to the railway line. For a time everything was in transition; people had to give up church on Sundays until the "meeting-house came over to the new village;" a gambling-hell, and the house of a pious citizen often jogging along for days in friendly company. Sometimes a great wind, turning a whole migratory village
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upside down, would compel the vigorous "bull-whackers" to shout themselves hoarse in their efforts to right things.

        Instances of discouraged towns were abundant on every hand. Here and there we came to a long street, bordered by white one-story board structures and plank walks, and inhabited by a bevy of dejected and annoyed colonists, forever cursing their lack of judgment in not having selected the site destined to be the great railway city of the South-west. Entering the shop of the humblest tradesman, we were at once the centre of an admiring and awestricken group, every person in it manifesting surprise that commerce in that especial locality had revived even to the extent of the expenditure of a ten-cent scrip. In such towns, the hotel was usually a small, frail, frame structure, kept by a giant of a man, with a disappointed face and a sour and envious manner

Illustration

"A stock-train from Sedalia was receiving a squealing and bellowing freight." [Page 191.]


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of greeting--a manner grafted upon him by the hard facts of pioneer life, but which it was easy to see belied his real nature. The women were silent, impassive, laborious, seeming to have forsworn folly of every kind, and to be delving at Nature with desperate will, determined to wrench riches from her, even though the golden opportunity had moved on.

        

Illustration

"The old Hospital"--Fort Scott. [Page 192.]

        After Charles had made all tidy for bed within the palace-car, on the first evening of the journey, we wandered among the drovers and herdsmen at one of the great stock-yards on the railway line. A stock-train from Sedalia was receiving a squealing and bellowing freight as we reached the yards, leading from which to the car door ran an inclined plane. Along the outer side of the fence inclosing this plane stood a dozen stout men, armed with long poles and pitchforks. Presently the figure of a man sprang out of the darkness. "Is your lot ready, Bill?" with an oath. "Yes!" with an oath; and then to the music of other oaths innumerable, a mass of struggling porkers were forced forward to the car door. A rain of curses, yells and sharp pitchfork thrusts fell upon their defenceless backs. They rushed madly over each other along the crowded way into the car, those who lagged behind receiving prods enough to honey-comb an elephant's hide. Now and then, before succumbing to the captivity of the car, some giant porker would throw down one of his human assailants and give him a savage bite--these being none of your luxurious pigs of the civilized sty, but sovereign rooters at large brought forth and reared on the prairie. Many a drover has carried to his grave the ugly scars given him by Texas steers and Missouri swine.

        The next day was Sunday, and the one street of the little town of Appleton, where a New York publishing firm has generously built a handsome school-house, was lined with tired-looking women and pretty girls moving churchward. Rough fellows, who had been occupied all the week with hard labor, mounted their ponies and galloped away for a day's hunting. We went on through the towns of Nevada and Deerfield to Schell City, a superb location for a fine town, and one of the especial favorites of the railway corporation. Thousands of acres of rich land are owned there by the company, and many substantial buildings are already in progress. In the afternoon we came to the prosperous little town of Fort Scott, in Kansas, stretched along a range of hills lined with coal.


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        Situated directly at the junction of the Kansas City, Fort Scott and Gulf railway with the Missouri, Kansas and Texas, and crowded with enterprising and industrious citizens, Fort Scott is destined to a large prosperity. The Government post there was long ago deserted; nothing remains of it but a few barrack buildings, grouped around a weed-grown square, and the old hospital, which decay aids in rendering picturesque. The building of the new Gulf route has had a great influence for good upon Fort Scott and the surrounding country; and although the reclamation of lands of the railway company from people who claim to have acquired a title to them by occupancy has occasioned some trouble, it is expected that a satisfactory arrangement may be reached.

        This was a lawless section but a few years ago; now the security of life and property are as great as in any community in the world. The era of crime passed with the building of the new railway, and found no inducement to linger even for a moment. It has been a sweeping change, this metamorphosis

Illustration

Bridge over the Marmiton River, near Fort Scott.

of Kansas, from the condition of a wild territory, whose lands were held and inhabited solely by the Indians driven west of the Mississippi, into a transplanted New England. In 1841 Fort Scott was a post with which to hold the savages in check; now a full-blooded Indian is hardly to be met with in the vicinity. Thirty-five miles below Fort Scott we came to Osage mission, where a good Jesuit, Father Schumacher, began his labors among the Indians a quarter of a century ago; and from the mission a rapid run of a few miles brought us to Parsons--a thriving town named in honor of the president of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas railway.

        Parsons, of course, owes its existence to this road. From the town the route extends southward to the Indian Territory and to Texas; and north-west, through the thriving towns of Neosho Falls, Burlington, Emporia, and Council Grove, the line stretches to Junction City, where the Kansas Pacific joins it. The entrepot for the rich regions between the boundary of the Indian Territory and the plains,--all the wonderfully fertile Neosho Valley,--it is not surprising that the growth of the town has been rapid. Less than a month after Parsons was "started," in 1871, upward of one hundred lots, on which parties were pledged


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to put up buildings worth at least $1,000, had been sold; and at present the town boasts good hotels, churches, handsome residences, banks, and large stone railway shops. Land has already assumed a marked speculative value in many of these towns; but at Parsons, as indeed throughout the Neosho Valley, the opportunities for investment are still magnificent.

        

Illustration

A street in Parsons, Kansas.

        The town is one of the great centres for the trade and travel of at least fifty thriving towns and villages, into which the immigration from all parts of the West is rapidly flowing. The valley offers homes to thousands of people, on terms which the poorest man can accept and fulfill. All through this rich country there is abundance of timber--black walnut, ash, maple and oak; and for steam machinery, there is plenty of coal and water; so that the various implements of agriculture, the furniture, the building materials, which are now brought hundreds of miles, from St. Louis and Chicago, may be manufactured near at hand, the moment shrewd men of capital can induce themselves to operate in so promising an enterprise.

        The Neosho Valley is a revelation to one who has never before visited the South-west. Miles on miles of wondrously fertile valleys and plains, watered by

Illustration

A Kansas Herdsman.

fine streams, along whose banks is a heavy growth of timber, are now within easy reach by rail. Hundreds of cattle, horses and swine wander at will through the fields, guarded only against straying into the crops by the alert movements of the herdsman, who, well mounted and accompanied by a shepherd dog, spends his whole time in the open air. The houses of the farmers are usually of logs roughly hewn, but carefully put together. Shelter of crops being rarely necessary in such a climate, the granaries are somewhat rudely constructed. A corn granary is a tower of logs, built like a boy's cobhouse. No one ever thinks of stealing from it. The horses career as they please in the front yard, and look in at the parlor windows; the pigs invade the kitchen, or quarrel with the geese
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at the very steps of the houses; but whenever the master of the household thinks that discipline has been too seriously infringed, he sends a sprightly dog to regulate matters. Pigs are taken by their ears, geese fly screaming away, and horses scamper into the distance.

        As we passed through the reservation of the "Kaw" Indians--the Kansas aborigines--our artist could not refrain from capturing a few types, and has faithfully sketched for us the little grave by the wayside, with the slain horses lying upon it, and the flag floating over it, to mark it as the resting-place of a chieftain; the stone house which the graceless Kaw has turned into a stable for his pony; and the warrior galloping across the field in the midst of a pouring rain. The Kaws are dirty, lazy, and frequently dishonest beings,--just as far from civilization as were their ancestors three hundred years ago.

        They generally refuse to speak English to strangers, and will only converse by signs. They still sigh for the time when their forefathers were wont to swoop

Illustration

A Kansas Farm-yard.

down upon the wagon-trains toiling from the Missouri State line to Santa Fé in New Mexico, when the traders were almost at the mercy of the tawny banditti, until the post of Council Grove, now a flourishing town, was established as a general rendezvous, where caravans numbering hundreds of wagons and thousands of mules could form into processions of sufficient strength to protect themselves.

        There were at one time nearly 6,000 men, 18,000 oxen, and 6,000 mules engaged in the New Mexico trade, all of whom made Council Grove their head-quarters. The villages of the Kaws are remote from the present line of rail, and the Indians rarely patronize the road save when, for the pure delight of begging, they entreat the conductor for a free passage from one village to another. When they are refused the privilege, they break forth into the most violent profanity of which the English language is capable. Their vocabulary of English oaths is more complete than even that of the native American, who, in many parts of the South-west, is charged with violent expletives as a musket is charged with powder.


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        At Junction City, which stands in a beautiful valley, where the Smoky and Republican rivers join, in a country not so rich as that twenty miles south, yet still wonderfully fertile, we were detained by a sudden snow-fall and a miniature whirlwind, which blockaded tracks and made travel impossible. The beautiful Smoky Valley was, therefore, a forbidden domain to us; and we consoled ourselves with a visit to Fort Riley, an important frontier post, established in 1852, on the left bank of the Kansas river, at the junction of the Smoky Hill and Republican Forks, and three miles from Junction City.

        

Illustration

"The little grave, with the slain horses lying upon it." [Page 194.]

        General Oakes, in command at the post, welcomed us with true South-western hospitality. He was for many years stationed in Texas, and has had a rich experience of frontier garrison life. This adventurous and isolated existence seems to have a charm for all who have adopted it, and very few of the officers take advantage of their furloughs to visit the Eastern cities. Ladies, too, find rare attractions in a garrison winter, and the forts all along the frontier do not lack good society from November until May. At Fort Riley the soldiers support a good little theatre, much of the talent for which is furnished by members of the cavalry regiment quartered there. Not far from the fort is the "geographical centre of the United States," on a hill-top, where stands a monument erected to the memory of Brevet-Major E. A. Ogden, founder of Fort Riley.

        We hastened back toward Parsons, again crossing the great Kaw reservation, and meeting long trains of Indians, mounted on their shaggy ponies. This Neosho Valley line, which we had traversed, was the beginning of the present great trunk route from Sedalia to the Gulf. Work was begun on it, under a contract with the Land Grant Railway and Trust Company, in November, 1868, the line to extend from Junction City to Chetopa, on the frontier of the Indian Territory, a distance of 182 miles; and it was completed in October, 1870.

        While this was in construction, the building of the line from Sedalia to Parsons was begun, and the whole route, 160 miles, was completed early in 1871. Meantime work was going forward, at lightning speed, in the Indian Territory. The manager of the line had made a bold stroke in order to be the first to reach the Cherokee country, and obtain permission to run a line through it, as well as

Illustration

"The stone house which the graceless Kaw has turned into a stable for his pony." [Page 194.]

to get conditional land-grants; and in May of 1870 occurred quite an episode in the history of railway building. On the 24th of that month the line had reached within twenty-four miles of the southern boundary of Kansas. Much of the grading was unfinished; bridges were not up; masonry was not ready. But on the 6th day of June, at noon, the first locomotive which ever entered the Indian Territory uttered its premonitory shriek of progress.
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In eleven days twenty-six and a-half miles of completed rail were laid, four miles being put down in a single day. A grant of over 3,000,000 acres of land, subject, under treaty stipulations, to temporary Indian occupancy, has been accorded the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway Company, on the line of the

Illustration

"The warrior galloping across the fields." [Page 194.]

road in the territory between Chetopa and the Red river. The question of the future disposition of the Indian Territory is interesting to the railroad builders, as they have extended their line through the great stretch of country, hoping that the fertile lands now waste may come into market. Until it is opened to white settlement, or until the Indians adopt some new policy with regard to their lands, the Territory is, in many respects, a barrier to the best development of that portion of the South-west. The immense reservation, larger than all New England, extending over 60,000,000 acres, lying between Texas, with her 1,000,000 settlers, Arkansas, with her hardy 500,000, and Missouri and Kansas, with their 2,000,000 of stout frontiersmen, is now completely given over to the Indian, and the white man who wishes to abide within its borders will find his appeal sternly rejected by an Indian Legislature, unless he marries into one of the dusky tribes and relinquishes his allegiance to Uncle Sam.

        

Illustration

Monument erected to the memory of Brevet-Major E. A. Orden, near Fort Riley, Kansas.

        A little beyond Chetopa lies a long range of low hills. The new Gulf route, cutting through them, carries one out of the United States and into the Cherokee nation. Here the traveler is no longer in the domain of the white man; the Government of the United States can protect him only through the feeble medium of marshals and deputy-marshals, who exercise their own judgment as to whether or not they shall do him justice, the nearest towns lying nestled among the hills, or in the tall timber on the banks of creeks. The railway runs through a seemingly deserted land. Rarely does one see along the route the face of an Indian, unless at some of the little wooden stations, or at a lone water-tank near a stream. The inhabitants have acquiesced sullenly in the opening of their country to railway travel, but they do not build near the line, and rarely patronize it.


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XIX.

THE "INDIAN TERRITORY."

        THE Indian Territory is, to its inhabitants and to the Government of the United States, at this present writing, a problem. The area of 52,780,000 acres has as yet scarcely population enough to make a city of tenth rank. The estimated numbers of the tribes scattered over the vast plains and among the mountains are as follows: Cherokees, 17,500; Choctaws, 17,000; Creeks, 13,500;

Illustration

An Indian Territorial Mansion.

Chickasaws, 5,500; Seminoles, 2,500; Osages, 3,500; Sacs and Foxes, 468; Shawnees, 670; Cheyennes and Arapahoes, 3,390; Confederate Peories, 170; Eastern Shawnees, 80; Wyandottes, 150; Quawpaws, 236; Senecas, 188. And this little band of 65,000 people is so separated by great distances, unabridged by railways, and by barriers of language and custom, that there is hardly any intercourse between tribes. The land lies waste because there are not hands enough to hold the plough, and the country remains a wilderness because the Indian jealously refuses to allow the white man to make it blossom as the rose.

        There is something pathetic in the resolution with which the Indian clings to this Territory, the very last of his strongholds. His race and his history are soon to be inextricably mingled with that of the white men, whom he still considers as intruders; and while he recognizes the inevitable fate attending him and his possessions, he fiercely repulses any attempt at a compromise.

        He now stands firm by the treaty stipulations; for the treaties made in 1837 by the Government of the United States with the various tribes east of the Mississippi, giving them the "Indian Territory," on condition that they should move into and occupy it, were comprehensive and binding. The Osages had been the virtual owners of these immense tracts of land until the advent of the white man, but to-day have almost entirely disappeared.

        To the Cherokees, in 1837, a patent in fee simple was given, while the other tribes held their lands under treaty stipulations. From 1837 to 1845 the task of removing the various tribes from their homes east of the Mississippi went on, and


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with the unwillingness of the Seminoles to migrate came the Florida war. In the treaties it was provided that the five distinctive tribes, the Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Creeks, and Seminoles, should hold the lands of the Territory as homes forever. They, in their turn, have allowed smaller tribes to make homes among them. In 1866, the Delawares and Shawnees of Kansas agreed to live thereafter in the Cherokee Nation, and to give up their own nationality, adding the funds resulting from the sale of their Kansas lands to the annuities of the Cherokees.

        The annuities of the various nations in the Territory arise from their sales of lands in the past; those of the Cherokees amount to about $350,000 yearly; of the Choctaws, $250,000; the Creeks, $175,000; the Chickasaws, $100,000; and the Seminoles, $10,000. The various treaties were all revised and renewed in 1866--following on the "Treaty of Amity" made at Fort Smith, at the close of the late war.

        The Indians of the Territory of to-day are, therefore, just as securely vested with the control of the Territory as against its settlement by white men as they were in 1837, and they manifest no more disposition to yield their claims than they did a quarter of a century ago.

        The Cherokees have naturally made the greatest advances in civilization, and are at present the most powerful of all the tribes in the Territory. They have a ruling voice in matters that concern the general polity of the nations, or tribes of the Territory, and their manners and customs are better known to the outside world than are those of any other tribe.

        Their general status is not below that of the white frontiersmen. They are industrious and capable agriculturists, and understand the care of stock better than any other people in the South-west. They live remote from each other--on farms which, it is true, they hold in common, yet to which there is an individual and perpetual right of occupancy. All the land is vested in the Nation; a man may sell his improvements and buildings--but not the land.

        The Indians throughout the Territory are not, as a rule, farmers in any proper sense, as they raise simply what they need; this, however, is because there is no market for surplus produce. The Government originally supplied them with capital; they do not realize the advantages of gain, they simply desire to "make a living." Throughout the various nations there is an utter neglect of internal improvements. An Indian highway is as difficult as the Vesuvian ascent, and none of the magnificent rivers were bridged before the advent of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas railway.

        The "Indian Agents"--who are appointed directly by the President, and who, residing among the different tribes, are properly the interpreters of all the treaties, have charge of the annuities, and make the annual reports--usually have much influence with the Indian chiefs, and, of late years, some few improvements have been introduced at their suggestion. The person of an agent is always respected, and as a rule his word is law.

        The government of the Cherokees, as well as that of the other principal nations in the Territory, corresponds in large degree to those of our States. The


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Cherokees elect a "principal" and second chief for four years. They also have an upper and lower house of the Legislature, the former continuing in power four, the latter two years. Bills, or acts, are regularly introduced, and passed through the various readings to be engrossed, as in other Legislative assemblies. There is a supreme court, with three judges, and there are also district judges and sheriffs.

        

Illustration

A Creek Indian.

        At Tahlequah, the capital, the annual sessions of the legislature are held in the council-house, beginning in November, and lasting thirty days. The legislators are paid out of the annuities of the nation. Tahlequah is an average town of the South-west, with nothing especially denoting its Indian origin. The Choctaws and Creeks have the same general form of government. The Creeks are a fine people; their women are handsome, and their men generally brave and honest. The Seminoles have vested their executive authority in twenty-four band-chiefs, all of whom are controlled and directed by a "principal," who is an absolute autocrat, having an irrefragable veto-power. All the tribes or nations join in a general council, provided for by the treaty of 1866, and it is presided over by the Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Southern Superintendency. At this council only such matters are legislated upon as are of comity between the nations--the rendition of criminals, the joint action in regard to land, etc.

        This superb country, unquestionably one of the most fertile on the globe, is a constant source of torment to the white men of the border, in whom the spirit of speculation is very strong. The hardy

Illustration

Bridge across the North Fork of the Canadian River, Indian Territory (M., K. & T. Railway).

citizen of the South-west bears no ill-will toward the various Indian tribes, but it irritates him to see such vast tracts of land lying idle. He aches to be admitted to the Territory with the same privileges granted Indian citizens, viz.: the right to occupy and possess all the land they may fence in, and to claim all that remains unfenced within a quarter of a mile on either side of their fenced lots. He is crazed with visions of the far-spreading, flower-bespangled prairies, the fertile foot-hills, the rich quarries, mines, and valley-lands. He burns to course at free will over the grazing regions where even the Indians raise such fine stock. And now that the railroad has entered a protest against continued
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exclusiveness on the part of the Indians, he thunders at the northern and southern entrances of the Territory, and will not be quiet.

        At the time of the emigration of the Cherokees to the Indian Territory, a powerful feud existed between two influential families in the nation--the Rosses and the Ridges. It grew out of dissatisfaction at a treaty made by the Ridge party. Those hostile to the treaty claimed that the Ridges and others had agreed to sell a portion of the Territory to the United States, contrary to the instructions of the nation.

        

Illustration

An Adopted Citizen.

        A vendetta followed, in which Boudinot, Ridge, and all the parties to the treaty were killed, save Stand Weatie, who succeeded in defending himself, single-handed, against a dozen murderous assailants. On the wave of indignation against the Ridges and the other parties to this odious treaty, the Ross party came into power, and has since achieved considerable distinction both by its lead in the affairs of the whole Territory and by its loyalty to the Government during the late war.

        At the beginning of the war, the Indians of the various tribes in the Territory were naturally in closer relations with the South than with the North. Their agents had mainly been Southern men, and the annuities, by which they had become rich and independent, had been derived from the South, and paid promptly.

        Most of the Indians knew nothing whatever concerning Northern people or politics. They had been residents of a slave-holding section all their lives. Many of the Cherokees had 200 or 300 slaves each, and negroes who had settled among the Indians also held slaves. In May of 1862, when the great struggle was gravely accentuated, the Indians took sides with the South, a regiment being formed among the Cherokees, and placed under the command of General Stand Weatie, a full-blooded Indian.

        The principal chief, John Ross, used his utmost endeavors to prevent any of the tribes from further engaging in the struggle. There was presently an engagement between the United States troops and the Cherokee regiment, at Pea Ridge, in Arkansas. A portion of the Cherokees at that time threw down their arms, and returned to their allegiance to the General Government. William P. Ross, the present chief, was among them, and his father, continuing his loyal efforts, went to Washington, and gave a true statement of the situation. He remained loyal until his death, which occurred in Philadelphia, in 1864.

        To General Albert Pike was principally due the conversion of most of the Indians in the Territory to Southern sentiment. The Confederates made better treaties with the Indians than ever the United States had made, and even paid them one annuity in Confederate money.

        Meantime the fair lands underwent all the ghastly and appalling disasters which follow in the train of war. They were occupied alternately by Northern


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and Southern armies, and were plundered by both. The Indian adherents of the Southern cause moved their families into Texas, and those who had cast their fortunes with the Government stampeded into Kansas.

        The departure of the loyal Indians for the loyal States was the signal for a determined attack upon them, and was the cause of almost unparalleled suffering among the women and children. At one time there were fifteen thousand refugees in Kansas, all supported by the General Government, while hundreds were daily arriving in a starving condition.

        The story of Opothlehola, chief of the Creeks, furnishes one of the most striking instances of determined loyalty. The Creeks had long been beset by General Pike, who had finally succeeded in inducing a certain number of them to go South. But the chief Opothlehola, then nearly one hundred years old, and reverenced with almost superstitious awe by the masses of his people, rejected all Pike's advances, and, after a long and stormy council, called on all who wished to seek the Great Father's hand to go northward with him.

        

Illustration

An Indian Stock-Drover.

        He hastily gathered such of his young men and warriors as would join him, with their wives and children, and in mid-winter, with but few provisions, and dragging all their household goods, the loyal refugees set forth for Kansas. They were followed by Pike and regiments from Texas, and a bloody battle ensued at Honey Springs, in which, as in a succeeding fight, Opothlehola's little band was routed with much slaughter.

        But they continued on until January, 1863, when those who remained alive reached Kansas in an almost famished condition. On the dread march more than a thousand men, women and children sickened, died, and were left by the wayside. When the old chieftain reached Kansas, his first act was to enroll his warriors as soldiers of the United States, and every able-bodied man enlisted in the service! Opothlehola died shortly afterward, at Fort Leavenworth, where he was buried with military honors. The various regiments from the territorial tribes on both sides in the war were good soldiers. When they were led well, they fought well. They waged relentless war on one another. The feud is still nourished to some extent, and will be until this generation has gone its way.

        Before the war the Indians were rich in stock, and it was not uncommon for a well-to-do stock-raiser to possess 15,000 head of cattle; while it was a very poor and woe-begone Indian, indeed, who had not at least twenty. Then, as now, all the labor necessary was the branding of the beasts, as they grazed at will over the unbounded lands.


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        But when the war came, the total destruction of this stock ensued! Hundreds of thousands of the beasts were stolen, and taken into the neighboring States: both armies fed from the herds; and so great was the consequent decline of prosperity, and the distress, that the General Government appropriated money for the purchase of new stock, and now the tribes have nearly as much as before the war. The only present subject of disagreement among any of the tribes is the land question; the various propositions tending to an opening up of the land to white settlement, which have been made by one party, having all been received with disdainful threats by the other. Death is the speedy fate of any Indian of any tribe who dares to accede to approaches on the part of the white man tending to the sale of lands; and the white man who attempts to ingratiate himself too freely among the Indians runs risk of a sudden and mysterious disappearance.

        

Illustration

"The ball-players are fine specimens of men."

        Religion is creeping into the simple yet logical minds of the various tribes. There are no previous impressions to correct, for these tribes have no mythology, save the gracious and beautiful embodying of some of nature's loveliest forms. After the war, the Cherokees invited the missions and their schools to return to the Territory, and the other tribes followed their example.

        There are few, if any, church edifices among the tribes, and the meetings are now held in school-houses. Church expenses are borne by voluntary gifts. Many of the tribes seem to have a dim idea that they are fragments of one of the "lost tribes of Israel," and the Choctaws have a fund of curious legends concerning the wanderings of their forefathers which tend to that belief.

        Manners and superstitions are, of course, in many respects still thoroughly Indian. Games in which physical strength and skill are required are popular among all the tribes, and the ball-players are fine specimens of men. Hospitality is unbounded, and as soon as an Indian of wealth and station takes a wife, all her relatives, even the most distant, come to live on his estate, and remain forever, or until they have impoverished him. The tyranny of mothers-in-law in the Territory is something frightful to contemplate. One Indian gave as his reason for not wishing to get rich the torments which his relatives, in case he married, would cause him.

        Food is simple among all the "nations." Corn, ground with mortar and pestle, furnishes the material for bread; a few vegetables are grown; and game, pork and beef are abundant.

        The hog of the Indian Territory is a singular animal. Having always run wild, he is as distinguished for thinness as are his brethren of civilization for


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corpulence, and his back well merits the epithet of razor-edge applied to it. Stock feeds itself, winter and summer, and there is rarely a season when it is necessary to put up any hay. In the winter of 1871 grass along the Arkansas bottom was green until the middle of December.

        Marriage is gradually becoming a recognized institution among all the tribes, the efforts of the missionaries tending to encourage it; but heretofore men and women have simply cohabited without formal tie and reared families. The usual practice has been for a young man who has become enamored of a maiden to ingratiate himself with her brother, or with a near male relative, and for the latter to intercede with the father. Should the father regard the suitor favorably, he puts him on probation, and at the end of a certain term receives him, and presents him to the daughter as her future husband. The family relation seems much respected, and is guarded against disorganization by many excellent laws.

        

Illustration

A Gentleman from the Arkansas Border.


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XX.

RAILROAD PIONEERING--INDIAN TYPES AND CHARACTER.

        AFTER leaving Chetopa, a pretty town, with nearly 2,000 inhabitants, and a point of supply for territorial traders, our special train steamed merrily along the broad expanse of prairie until Vinita, the junction of the Atlantic and Pacific line with the Missouri, Kansas and Texas railway, was reached. At Vinita, the junction has made no growth, because white men are not allowed to live there, and the Indians content themselves with agriculture and hunting. We had prepared ourselves for a sojourn of a fortnight between this point and

Illustration

Limestone Gap--Indian Territory. [Page 212.]

the Red river, and a brief inspection of the culinary department, over which the ebony Charles presided, was eminently satisfactory. Telegrams were received from various gentlemen at each end
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of the main line, stating that they would join us at Fort Gibson, and we set out on our journey with delightful anticipations.

        The long grasses rustled; the timber by the creeks stood out in bold relief against the Naples-blue of the sky; the distant line of mounds assumed the appearance now of a giant fortification, now of a city, and now of a terraced garden; here and there a gap in the woods lining the horizon, showed a glimpse of some far-reaching valley, on whose bosom still lay a thin snow-veil; and sometimes we saw a symmetrical tree standing midprairie, with a huge white-hooded hawk perched lazily upon a bending bough, and a gaunt wolf crawling away from the base. But nowhere was there any sign of man.

        The train halted for water and coal, the engineer and firemen helping themselves at the coal-cars and water-tank, and we moved on. At last, at a little wooden station, we saw half-a-dozen tawny youths, tall and awkward, with high cheek-bones, intensely black hair, and little sparkling eyes, which seemed the very concentration of jealousy. This was a party of young beaux from the

Illustration

"Coming in the twilight to a region where great mounds reared their whale-backed height."

nearest Cherokee village. They wore the typical American slouch hats, but had wound ribbons around and fastened feathers in them; their gayly-colored jackets were cut in fantastic fashion, and at their sides they carried formidable revolvers, which they are, however, slower to use than is the native American.

        They stared curiously at our party, seated in luxurious chairs on the ample platform of the rear car, and, after having satisfied their curiosity, they mounted their horses and galloped away. So we rattled on, coming in the twilight to a region where great mounds reared their whale-backed heights on either hand. Upon the summit of one of them stands a monument of hewn stone, doubtless to some deity who went his ways long before Columbus uncovered America to European eyes. These mounds seem constructed according to some general plan, and are of immense extent.

        We went on in the deepening twilight until we came to Gibson station, the limit of our journey for the day. Only one or two houses were to be seen; a


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cold wind blew over the prairie, and we betook ourselves to the supper-table, where prairie-chickens, mysteriously purveyed for our surprise by the beneficent Charles, sent up a savory steam. The stillness of death reigned outside, and we listened languidly to the conductor's stories of "terminus troubles" a brace of years agone, until we were aroused to welcome delegations brought by the night express trains from each way to join our party, and to prepare for the morrow.

        

Illustration

A "Terminus" Rough.

        When we were all snugly tucked up in our berths in the gayly-decorated sleeping-saloon, one of the new-comers began dreamily to tell stories of more terminus troubles. "Not much as it was when we were here and at Muskogee in 1870," he said. "Three men were shot about twenty feet from this same car in one night at Muskogee. Oh! this was a little hell, this was. The roughs took possession here in earnest. The keno and monte players had any quantity of tents all about this section, and life was the most uncertain thing to keep you ever saw.

        "One night a man lost all he had at keno; so he went around behind the tent and tried to shoot the keno-dealer in the back; he missed him, but killed another man. The keno man just got a board and put it up behind himself, and the game went on. One day one of the roughs took offence at something the railroad folks said, so he ran our train off the track next morning. There was no law here, and no means of getting any. As fast as the railroad moved on, the roughs pulled up stakes and moved with it.

        "We tried to scare them away, but they didn't scare worth a cent. It was next to impossible for a stranger to walk through one of these canvas towns without getting shot at. The graveyards were sometimes better populated than the towns next them. The fellows who ruled these little terminus hells,--where they came from nobody knows--never had any homes--grew up

Illustration

"We came to the bank of the Grand river, on a hill beyond which was the post of Fort Gibson." [Page 208.]


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like prairie grass, only coarser and meaner. They had all been 'terminuses' ever since they could remember. Most of them had two, three, and four murders on their hands, and confessed them. They openly defied the Indian authorities, and scorned Uncle Sam and his marshals. They knew there was money wherever the end of the road was, and they meant to have it."

        "But how long did this condition of affairs continue?"

        "It went on steadily until the Secretary of the Interior came down here to see the Territory and to examine the railroads. He came down in this same car, and was carefully informed of all the lawlessness and flagrant outrages which decent people had been obliged to submit to. One night the superintendent-in-chief pushed on a little ahead of the train to get a physician, as a gentleman in the special car was taken suddenly ill. The roughs captured the superintendent and proposed to shoot him, as they fancied that he was a United States marshal. He explained who he was, however, and begged off. As they hardly dared to shoot him then, he succeeded in reaching a physician, got back to the train, and next took the Secretary to inspect this specimen of railroad civilization."

        "And what did the Secretary see?"

        "Oh, all the ruffians flocked to hear what he had to say. They had killed a man that morning from mere caprice, and he was laid out in a little tent which the party passed while looking around. One after another of the rough fellows was presented to the party, each one speaking very plainly, and declaring that he had a good right to stay in the 'Nation,' and (with an oath) meant to; and he'd like to hear any one hint that he had better go away. Then they told stories of their murderous exploits, practiced at marks with their revolvers, and seemed to have no fear of the Secretary."

        "What was the result?"

        "Well, the Secretary of the Interior took a bee-line for the nearest telegraph station, and sent a dispatch to General Grant, announcing that neither life nor property was safe in the Territory, and that the Indians should be aided in expelling the roughs from their midst. So, in a short time, the Tenth Cavalry went into active service in the Territory."

        "Did the ruffians make any resistance?"

        "They got together, at the terminus, armed to the teeth, and blustered a good deal; but the cavalrymen arrested one after another, and examined each man separately. When one of the terminuses was asked his name, he usually answered that it was Slim Jim, or Wild Bill, or Lone Jack (with an oath), and that he was a gambler, or a 'pounder,' as the case might be, and furthermore, that he didn't intend to leave the Territory. Whereupon the officer commanding would say: 'Well, Slim Jim, or Wild Bill, or Lone Jack, I'll give you twelve hours to leave this town in, and if you are found in the Territory a week from this date, I'll have you shot!' And they took the hint."

        A moment afterward, the same voice added:

        "By the way, at the next station, Muskogee, a man was shot before the town got there, and the graveyard was started before a single street was laid out. You


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can see the graveyard now-a-days--eleven men are buried there with their boots on. Good night."

        The landscape was snow-besprinkled next day, but our merry party of six climbed into a rickety ambulance, and set out on the seven miles' ride to Fort Gibson. As we rattled along past the dense bosquets, great flocks of prairie-chickens rose in leisurely flight; wild turkeys waddled away; deer fled across the roads after bestowing a scornful gaze upon us; and rabbits jumped painfully in the snow.

        The farm-houses which we passed were all built of logs, but were large and solidly constructed; and the Indian farmers were making preparations for the Spring ploughing. When we came to the bank of the Grand river, on a hill beyond which was the post of Fort Gibson, we found the ferries obstructed by masses of floating ice. Negro cavalrymen from the fort were in midstream, desperately clinging to the guide-rope, and in imminent danger of being carried down river and out into the mighty Arkansas. At last, the dangers over, two

Illustration

A Negro Boy at the Ferry.

lazy half-breeds ferried us across, after infinite shouting and disputing; and we met, on the other bank, "Uncle John" Cunningham, postmaster at Fort Gibson. "I saw you across the stream, and was watching out for you a little carefully," said Uncle John, "for there's a fellow come into town this morning with six gallons of whiskey, and we expect some of the Indians to go circusing around as soon as they get it down."

        We climbed the hill to the fort, a well-built post usually garrisoned by three companies either of infantry or cavalry. Fort Gibson is the residence of the present chief of the Cherokee nation, William P. Ross, a cultivated and accomplished gentleman, whom I had previously met in Washington. The fort stands on the Grand river, about two and a-half miles from its confluence with the Arkansas, and is only twenty-one miles from Tahlequah, the capital of the Cherokees. The whole of the adjacent country, except upon the high range of the hills along the Grand, Verdigris and Illinois rivers, is arable and easy to cultivate.

        From the verandah of the commanding officer's quarters at the fort, one can overlook a range of hills known as the "Boston mountains," the town, set down in an amphitheatre formed by the slopes, the broad, swift river running between its picturesque banks,--a charming scene.

        At Fort Gibson we were in a real Cherokee town, and at every turn saw one of the tall, black-haired, tawny citizens of the Territory. It was evidently a market-day with the farmers for many a mile around. Horses were tied before the porches of the Indian traders and along the bank of the river, and every few moments some stout Indian came rattling into town, his wife mounted behind. him on the demure-looking pony, equal to anything, from the fording of a river


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Illustration

"We found the ferries obstructed by masses of floating ice." [Page 208.]

to the threading of a cañon. Many of the men carried side-arms, but none of them showed any disposition to quarrel, and we saw no one who seemed to have been drinking liquor. Indeed, so severe are the penalties attaching to the sale of ardent spirits in the Indian Territory, that men do not care to take the risk. The United States marshals and the Indian authorities pursue the offenders with great persistence, and a law-breaker rarely escapes.

        The Indians--Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws and Seminoles--all have a strange thirst for intoxicating liquor, and often make the most astonishing efforts to secure it. All kinds of patent medicines in which alcohol forms an ingredient find ready sale among the various tribes; and camphor, pain-killer, and similar articles, were for a long time so much in use among the Cherokees as to provoke an examination by the agents, who discovered the braves to be drinking whole bottles at a gulp, in order to feel some effect therefrom. A bottle of whiskey is still one of the most powerful bribes that can be placed before an Indian.

        The women were all robust, and not devoid of a certain wild beauty; but they wore a prim, Shakerish costume which defied criticism. A poke-bonnet nearly concealed their features, and a stiff, heavy robe fell down to the ankles, while a shawl was decorously draped about the shoulders. Many of the Indians seemed to have negro wives, and we saw more than one stalwart negress receiving courteous attention


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from tall, copper-colored beaux, whose manners would have done no discredit to a salon in society.

        The men, as a rule, would not respond when addressed in English, and often turned sullenly away; while younger members of the tribes, both boys and girls, would chat cheerily, and question us with childish curiosity as to our reasons for visiting the nation. There were some superb heads among these Cherokees, with masses of tangled hair peeping in most charming confusion from under torn hats, slightly shaded faces, with matchless eyes, and features in which the Indian type of a century agone was yet preserved--all the reserve, all the immobility, all the silent scorn being still distinctly marked. Yet civilization was beginning to do its work. The greater number of countenances were losing their savage traits, and becoming more like those of their fellows in the neighboring States; still there was a certain atmosphere of strangeness about them, born, doubtless, of their methods of thought, their traditions, their almost complete lack of sympathy with the whites. Never until the war had they been called upon to feel that their territory constituted a part of a common country; now they realize it.

        

Illustration

"They wore a prim, Shakerish costume." [Page 209.]

        

Illustration

A Trader among the Indians.

        From Fort Gibson, where Lieutenant-Colonel Lawson, the amiable commanding officer, and his associates had made our stay a very pleasant one, we rode back along the very rough roadways until we came to Gibson station. The station-agent came to see us, and announced that some of the "Indians had been having a circus" during our absence. "Came in here, an old woman did," he said, "with a butcher-knife, and took a piece out of my chair, and a man with her fired half-a-dozen shots from his revolver through the roof. But I finally quieted 'em." Liquor, or possibly pain-killer, was the cause of this sudden outburst.

        So we journeyed slowly on through the great Territory, now coming into the shadows of the prehistoric mounds, and now into delightful valleys, which needed only human and tasteful occupancy to be transformed into veritable Elysian Fields. At night the train was switched off at some lonely siding, and the baggage-car transformed into a kitchen. Then arose the complicated aroma of broiled venison, savory coffee, and fried potatoes and muffins, or delicate toast,--the work of the dusky Charles, who could growl fiercely whenever profane eyes attempted to peer into the arcana of the kitchen. One of the leading citizens of Parsons, Kansas, presided over the venison; half-a-dozen eager hands conducted the coffee from the mill in which it was ground into the cup in which it was


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poured; and the "pet conductor" watched over the comfort of all, generously forgetting his own. Late o' nights a thunderous roll and a flash of light would salute our ears and eyes, and sometimes a bundle of letters and home papers, fresh from St. Louis and the East would be handed us out of the darkness by the conductor of the "down express."

        Our train was always in motion when we awoke in the morning, reminding us more of life on an ocean steamer than on the "rattling rail-car." We spent some time at Muskogee, the railway station communicating most directly with Fort Gibson, and a town which owes all its present prosperity to the Missouri, Kansas and Texas railway. Immense stock-yards have been built there, and the arrival and departure of goods and mails for Ocmulgee, the capital of the Creek nation, forty-five miles to the westward, and We-wo-ka, the capital of the Seminoles, one hundred miles west, gives employment to large numbers of men. Here, too, is a point of debarkation for travel to Armstrong's Academy, the Choctaw seat of government; and to Tishomingo, the principal town in the Chickasaw nation. Stage routes branch out in all directions from Muskogee, and weekly mails are forwarded thence to the interior.

        Between Gibson and Muskogee we had crossed the Arkansas river on one of the immense bridges of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas railway, a grand triumph of engineering skill; and some miles below Muskogee we also crossed the "North Fork" and the "Canadian," both of which run through a singularly wild and beautiful, country. Near the Canadian we crossed the fields to visit one of the mission schools, of which there are numbers in the Territory. It is in the Creek domain, and is known as the "Asbury Manual Labor School," being supported by the Methodist Church South. About eighty Indian children of both sexes are boarded, lodged, and taught at this institution, and the school-rooms which we entered were models of order and comfort.

        The native Creek schools, of which there

Illustration

"The Asbury Manual Labor School," in the Creek domain.

are twenty or twenty-five, are not very useful; even the examining boards are deficient, and the native teachers are only able to give ordinary elementary
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instruction. The mission schools throughout the Territory have been of great service. The Presbyterians also support a mission among the Creeks, called the "Tallahassee Manual Labor School," where, as in the Asbury, work afield and in the house is expected from the scholars. The pupils of the Asbury School in one season produced 2,000 bushels of corn from about fifty acres.

        In the Cherokee nation much attention is paid to the thirty "neighborhood schools," as they are called, and all the Northern missionaries who, of course, were compelled to retire during the war, were invited to return to their posts, and received cordial welcome, when peace was re-established. The common schools among the Cherokees were established by the Legislature in 1867. There are schools set apart for colored children, but no spirit of exclusion is now manifested; for the Indians, when the war closed and they emancipated all their slaves, frankly placed them on the same basis with themselves. Five orphans are boarded, clothed and instructed in each of the public schools.

        Once in two years a superintendent of schools is chosen, and he appoints a board of directors for each school. The district schools are mainly taught by women, and those pupils who desire more than an elementary education are sent to colleges in the South and West. The Choctaws support forty youths and twenty maidens in institutions at Louisville, Kentucky, and other Southern cities. Various influences are gradually doing away with the desire to retain the Indian language in the schools. The Seminoles have thus far established five common schools, and a missionary boarding-school, under the charge of the Presbyterian Church. This little tribe is improving as rapidly in material wealth and in education as any other in the Territory.

        On the Canadian river is a town which has at various times possessed the euphonious appellations of "Sandtown" and "Buzzard's Roost." It is now merely a collection of roofless cabins, but was long the rendezvous of all the ruffians infesting the Territory. Perched on a waste near the river's side, it was a convenient location for murder and plunder, and travelers learned to give it a wide berth.

        Passing Perryville, an old trading-post of the Choctaws, and now a station of some promise; then along the picturesque and fertile line of Ream's Valley, a magnificent region; dashing through the wonderful coal region near McAllister, we came at last to Limestone Gap.

        From Limestone Gap to the Red river the country is wonderfully fertile, and in summer beautiful beyond description. Towns of more or less promise are interspersed with solitudes which are very impressive. Stringtown is to be one of the lumber markets of the future; and at Caddo, one of the curious new towns which are plenty in the vicinity of the Texan frontier, the Fort Sill trade debouches, and with the building of a branch railway to Paris, the cotton from that town and other points in Northern Texas will come in.

        The railroad runs over trestle-work of the most difficult character between A-to-ka and South Boggy, which latter town was once the capital of the Choctaw nation. Not far from the banks of the Red river, on the Indian side, a small town has grown up, and the Texas Central railroad will soon cause the


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growth of a hamlet on the opposite side. The river, at the point where it is crossed by the railroad, on a superb bridge, is not grand, although the banks are high and stony. There is usually but a small volume of water in the stream, and the sands show on either side.

        Not far from the railway bridge we saw a long line of cattle fording the channel; and the answer to our inquiry as to the reason why no bridge had been constructed by the Texas and Indian Governments at those points was that a Chickasaw Indian had long ago secured legislative privilege to charge one dollar for each person crossing the river from either direction, at the very point most available for bridge-building. The income of this Indian has, for some years, been $100 per day, while the working expenses of the ford are not more than $20 weekly.

        

Illustration

The Toll-Bridge at Limestone Gap, Indian Territory.

        As our train lay in the shadow of the hills at Limestone Gap that night, the express from St. Louis went thundering by, and we were awakened to catch a glimpse of cars filled with weary emigrants, their faces eagerly turned toward the South. Ere I slept again, I followed them in fancy on their journey to the Gulf.

        Now they were hurried through sharply-defined hill ranges, and deep, sequestered, fertile valleys, until, the last creek crossed, the last forest of the Territory dominated, the fickle stream that marks the Texan boundary was reached; then, on through new forests, where a gnarled, unprofitable growth rankly asserted itself; and now over uplands, whose black earth needs but a caress to bring forth abundant harvest.

        Now through thickets where Spanish moss hung in hundred fantastic forms from the trees it feeds upon; past immense fields, where thousands of cattle were grazing; by banks and braes, in summer-time dotted and spangled with myriads of flowers; along highways where horsemen rode merrily. Now the train rushed through a still, old town, where negro children were playing about the doors of the dirty, white houses, or a stalwart negress, with a huge bundle on her head, was tramping in the shade of friendly trees; and now along the borders of a marsh in which a million frogs were croaking a dreary burden, their monotonous chorus rising out of little pools from which the flag-lily raised its defiant head.

        Or now the train stopped where one could see, in the tremulous air of evening, the reflection of the dying sun in a little lake nestling among the trees,


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with Spanish graybeards dipping into its clear depths; now where a path wound up a hill-side, and a magnolia tree stood lonely, its green leaves giving promise of future bloom and perfume, and its coarse bark sending forth a subtle odor; now where sombre creeks stole in and out among the crooked trees, as if eager to furnish seductive nooks for the brown, gray and red birds which fluttered and hovered and hopped from a thousand twigs.

        Or now where the mesquite quivered in the glare of the generous Texan sun; where the voices of negroes were heard in loud refrain, singing some boisterous melody as they loitered home from their half-completed tasks, the urchins somersaulting on the elastic earth; and now where the shadows in the distance were strangely lighted up by the erratic glow of the moon, which threw a fantastic glamour on moss and thicket, on lily, magnolia, and live oak.


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XXI.

MISSOURI--ST. LOUIS, PAST AND PRESENT.

        MISSOURI is the child of a compromise whose epitaph was written in letters of blood. Her chief city was founded more than a century ago, by a colony of adventurous Frenchmen; and for many years, during whose lapse the title to its soil was savagely disputed by Gaul and Indian, was a fur-trading post.

        

Illustration

"Looking down on the St. Louis of to-day, from the high roof of the Insurance temple." [Page 217.]

        When Laclede Liguest and the brave band of men who followed him set out from New Orleans, in 1763, to explore the country whose exclusive trade had


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been accorded them by charter from the hands of the governor of the province of Louisiana, the lands west of the Mississippi were unexplored and unknown. Beyond the mouth of the Missouri river the bateau of no prying New Orleans trader had ever penetrated. The song of the voyageur was as yet unheard by the savage; and the inhabitants of the little post of Sainte Genevieve looked with amazement and reverence upon the trappers, hunters and merchants who started from their fort, one autumn morning, to explore the turbid current of the Missouri.

        

Illustration

"Where now stands the great stone Cathedral." [Page 217.]

        Laclede Liguest and his men did not long remain in the mysterious region adjacent to the junction of the two great rivers, but speedily returned to the site of the present city, and there, early in 1764, a few humble cabins were erected, and the new settlement was christened St. Louis, in honor of the dissolute and feeble Louis XV., of France. A hardy and fearless youth named Auguste Chouteau was left in command of the few men protecting the infant town, and at once began negotiating with the Missouri Indians, who came in large bodies to visit the strangers, and to learn their intentions.

        The treaty by which all the French territory on the Mississippi's eastern bank, save New Orleans, was ceded to the English, had just been made; scarlet-coated soldiers were daily expected at the forts near St. Louis. Laclede Liguest did not dream that another cession, embracing all lands west of the Mississippi, had been made to the king of Spain, and that his pet town was actually upon Spanish soil; he was happy in the belief that the banner of France would flaunt in the very eyes of the hated English, and was delighted to find that the Indians who surrounded him were resolved to fight the soldiers of Great Britain to the death.

        So he merrily extended the limits of his colony; but had been at work hardly a year before he received orders from the governor of Louisiana to surrender to Spain. The governor himself was so chagrined at the orders he was compelled to communicate, that he died of a broken heart soon after; and Laclede Liguest, mute with rage at the pusillanimous conduct of the Home Government, remained stubbornly at his post, ignoring Spanish claims. The French from all the stations east of the Mississippi took refuge with him, when the English came to their homes, and St. Louis grew more and more Gallic until 1768, when the Spanish came in, and after several unsuccessful attempts to gain the confidence of the early settlers, finally quite disregarded their feelings, and in 1770 pulled down the French flag.


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        In that year the French had consecrated their little log church, built on the land where now stands the great stone cathedral, and in that humble edifice they assembled to mourn the loss of their nationality, and to listen to the counsels of peace given them by their priests. The Spanish commanders finally succeeded in fraternizing with the French, and cordially joined them in hating the English.

        Laclede Liguest died during a voyage down the Mississippi, and was buried in the wild solitudes at the mouth of the Arkansas river. His immense properties in St. Louis were sold to strangers. His valiant lieutenant, Auguste Chouteau, became his administrator, and a few years afterward the Chouteau mansion was built in the field where now there is a continual roar of traffic.

        Thenceforward, through the bloody days of the colonial revolution, St. Louis experienced many vicissitudes. It underwent Indian massacres; suffered from the terrorism of the banditti haunting the Mississippi; began gradually to get acquainted with the gaunt American pioneers who had appeared on the eastern bank of the Father of Waters; and in 1788 had more than 1,000 inhabitants. In those days it was scoffingly called "Pain Court" (short bread), because grain was expensive, and the hunters who came to the "metropolis" to replenish their stock of provisions got but scant allowance of bread for their money.

        The Osages were forever hanging upon the outskirts of the settlement, and many an unfortunate hunter was burned at the stake, impaled, or tortured slowly to death by them. Toward the close of the last century, however, the inhabitants pushed forward into the wilderness, and the fur trade increased rapidly. Numerous neat, one-story cottages, surrounded by pretty gardens, sprang up in St. Louis. France once more recovered her possessions west of the Mississippi; and in 1804 the settlement which Laclede Liguest had so carefully founded, hoping that it might forever remain French, came under the domination of the United States.

        A formal surrender of Upper Louisiana was made to the newly enfranchised American colonies; the stars and stripes floated from the "Government House" of St. Louis; and the Anglo-Saxon came to the front, with one hand extended for a land grant, and the other grasping a rifle, with which to exterminate Indian, Spaniard or demon, if they dared to stand in his way.

        

Illustration

The Old Chouteau Mansion (as it was.)

        Looking down upon the St. Louis of to-day, from the high roof of the superb temple which the Missourians have built to the mercurial god of insurance, one can hardly


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believe that the vast metropolis spread out before him represents the growth of only three-quarters of a century. The town seems as old as London. The smoke from the Illinois coal has tinged the walls a venerable brown, and the grouping of buildings is as picturesque and varied as that of a continental city.

        

Illustration

The St. Louis Life Insurance Company's Building.

        From the water-side, on ridge after ridge, rise acres of solidly-built houses, vast manufactories, magazines of commerce, long avenues bordered with splendid residences. A labyrinth of railways bewilders the eye; and the clang of machinery and the whirl of a myriad wagon-wheels rise to the ear. The levée is thronged with busy and uncouth laborers; dozens of white steamers are shrieking their notes of arrival and departure; the ferries are choked with traffic; a gigantic and grotesque scramble for the almost limitless West beyond is spread out before one's vision.

        The town has leaped into a new life since the war; has doubled its population, its manufactures and its ambition, and stands so fully abreast of its wonderful neighbor, Chicago, that the traditional acerbity of the reciprocal criticism for which both cities have so long been famous is latterly much enhanced.

        The city which now stretches twelve miles along the ridges branching from the water-shed between the Missouri, the Meramec and the Mississippi rivers, flanked by rolling prairies richly studded with groves and vineyards; which has thirty railroad lines pointed to its central depots, and a mile and a-half of steamboats at its levée, 1,000 miles from the sea; whose population has increased from 8,000, in 1835, to 450,000, in 1874; which has a banking capital of $19,000,000;

Illustration

"In those days the houses were nearly all built of hewn logs."

which receives hundreds of thousands of tons of iron ore monthly, has bridged the Father of Waters, and talks of controlling the cotton trade of Arkansas and Texas--is a giant in comparison with the infant settlement wherein, in a rude cottage, Colonel Stoddard had his head-quarters when the United States assumed territorial jurisdiction. In those days the houses were nearly all built of hewn logs, set upon end, and covered with coarsely shingled roofs. The town then extended along the line of
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what are now known as Main and Second streets; a little south of the square called the Place d'Armes, Fort St. Charles was held by a small garrison, and in the old stone tower which the Spaniards had built, debtors and criminals were confined together.

        French customs and French gayety prevailed; there were two diminutive taverns, whose rafters nightly rang to the tales of hair-breadth escapes told by the boatmen of the Mississippi. The Chouteaus, the Lisas, and the Labbadies were the principal merchants; French and English schools flourished; peltry, lead and whiskey were used for currency, and negroes were to be purchased for them; the semi-Indian garb of the trapper was seen at every street corner; and thousands of furs, stripped from the buffalo and the beaver, were exported to New Orleans. The mineral wealth lying within a hundred miles of St. Louis had hardly been dreamed of; the colonists were too busy in killing Indians and keeping order in the town, to think of iron, lead, coal and zinc.

        The compromise which gave the domain of Missouri to slavery checked the growth of the State until after it had passed through the ordeal of the war. How then it sprang up, like a young giant, confident of the plenitude of its strength, all the world knows! St. Louis, under free institutions, has won more prosperity in ten years than under the old régime it would have attained in fifty.

        It is now a cosmopolitan capital, rich in social life and energy, active in commerce, and acute in the struggle for the supremacy of trade in the South-west. The ante-bellum spirit is rarely manifested now-a-days; progress is the motto even of those men of the old school who prayed that they might die when they first saw that "bleeding Kansas" had indeed bled to some purpose, and that a new era of trade and labor had arrived. The term "conservative" is one of reproach in St. Louis to-day; and the unjust slur of the Chicagoan, to the effect that the Missouri metropolis is "slow," puts new fire into the blood of her every inhabitant.

        After the ravages of the war, both State and city found themselves free from the major evils attendant upon reconstruction, and entered unimpeded upon a prosperous career. The 100,000 freedmen have never constituted a troublesome element in the State; no political exigencies have impeded immigration or checked the investment of capital; and the commonwealth, with an area of more than 67,000 square miles of fertile lands, with 2,000,000 of inhabitants, and $1,100,000,000 worth of taxable property; with 1,000 miles of navigable rivers within her territory and upon her boundaries, and with vast numbers of frugal Germans constantly coming to turn her untilled acres into rich farms, can safely carry and in due time throw off the various heavy obligations incurred in the building of the railway lines now traversing it in every direction. The present actual indebtedness of the State is nearly $19,000,000, for more than half of which sum bonds have been issued.

        The approaches to St. Louis from the Illinois side of the Mississippi are not fascinating, and give but a poor idea of the extent of the city. Alighting from some one of the many trains which enter East St. Louis from almost every direction, one sees before him a steep bank paved with "murderous stones," and


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the broad, deep, resistless current of the great river, bearing on its bosom tree trunks and branches from far-away forests.

        East St. Louis stands upon famous ground; its alluvial acres, which the capricious stream in past times yearly overflowed, have been the scene of many fierce contests under the requirements of the so-called code of honor, and its sobriquet was once "Bloody Island." It is now a prosperous town; hotels, warehouses and depots stand on the ancient dueling ground; immense grain elevators and wharves have been erected on soil which the river once claimed as its own. Huge ferry-boats ply constantly across the river; but the railway omnibuses and the ferry-boats are soon to be but memories of the past, as the graceful arches of the new bridge testify.

        

Illustration

"The crowd awaiting transportation across the stream has always been of the most cosmopolitan and motley character."

        The crowd awaiting transportation across the stream has always been of the most cosmopolitan and motley character. There may be seen the German emigrant, flat-capped and dressed in coarse black, with his quaintly attired wife and rosy chilnren clinging to him; the tall and angular Texan drover, with his defiant glance at the primly dressed cockneys around him; the "poor white" from some


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far Southern State, with his rifle grasped in his lean hand, and his astonished stare at the extent of brick and stone walls beyond the river; the excursion party from the East, with its maps and guide-books, and its mountains of baggage; the little groups of English tourists, with their mysterious hampers and packets, bound toward Denver or Omaha; the tired and ill-uniformed company of troops "on transfer" to some remote frontier fortress; the smart merchant in his carriage, with his elegantly dressed negro driver standing by the restive horses; the hordes of over-clothed young commercial men from the Northern and Western cities, with their mouths distended by Havana cigars, and filled with the slang of half-a-dozen capitals; and the hundreds of negroes, who throng the levées in summer, departing in winter like the swallows, at the slightest hint of snow, or of the fog which from time to time heightens the resemblance of the Missouri capital to London.

        Before the bridge was built, the levée on each side of the river was a kind of pandemonium. An unending procession of wagons, loaded with coal, was always forcing its way from the ferry-boats up the bank to the streets of St. Louis, the tatterdemalion drivers urging on the plunging and kicking mules with frantic shouts of "Look at ye!" "You dar!" These wagons, in busy days, were constantly surrounded by the incoming droves of stock, wild Texan cattle, that with great leaps and flourish of horns objected to entering the gangways of the ferry, and now and then tossed their tormentors high in the air; and troops of swine, bespattered with mud, and dabbled with blood drawn from them by the thrusts of the enraged horsemen pursuing them. Added to this indescribable tumult were the lumbering wagon-trains laden with iron or copper, wearily making their way to the boats; the loungers about the curbstones singing rude plantation songs, or scuffling boisterously; the nameless ebb-tide of immigration scattered through a host of low and villainous bar-rooms and saloons, whose very entrances seemed suspicious; and the gangs of roustabouts rolling boxes, barrels, hogs-heads, and bales, from wagon to wharf, and from wharf to wagon, from morning to night.

        Below the bridge, the river, gradually broadening out, was covered with coal-barges and steam-tugs, and above it, along the banks, one saw, as one still sees, dark masses of homely buildings, elevators, iron foundries, and various manufactories; while along the shore are moored thousands of logs, fastened together in rafts.


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XXII.

ST. LOUIS GERMANS AND AMERICANS--SPECULATIVE PHILOSOPHY--EDUCATION.

        THE old French quarter of St. Louis is now entirely given up to business, and but little of the Gallic element is left in the town. Some of the oldest and wealthiest families are of French descent, and retain the language and manners of their ancestors; but there are few exterior traces of French domination. Souvenirs still remain; streets, both English and American in aspect, bear the names of the vanished Gauls. Laclede has a monument in the form of a mammoth hotel; and the principal outlying ward of the city, crowded with vast rolling-mills, and iron and zinc-furnaces, is called Carondelet.

        

Illustration

The Court-House--St. Louis.

        On the Illinois side of the river the village of Cahokia still lingers, a moss-grown relic of a decayed civilization, its venerable church, Notre Dame des Kahokias, being the most ancient building in the West. But not one of the great circular stone towers, erected in early times as defences against the Indians, remain; block-houses and bastions have been replaced by massive residences, in which live the merchant princes of the day.

        "The Hill" is traversed in every direction by horse railroads; and a few minutes' ride will take one from the roar of business into a quiet and elegant section, where there are miles of beautiful and costly dwellings. As the ridges rise from the river, so rise the grades of social status. Mingled with the wholesale establishments, and the offices of mining and railway companies in Main and Second streets, parallel with the river, are hundreds of dirty and unhealthy tenement houses; on Fourth, and Fifth, and Sixth streets, and on those running at right angles with them, are the principal hotels, the more elegant of the shops and stores, the fashionable restaurants, and the few places of amusement which the city boasts; Beyond, on the upper ridges, stretching back to Grand avenue, which extends along the summit of the hill, are the homes of the wealthy.

        The passion for suburban residences is fast taking possession of the citizens of St. Louis, and several beautiful towns have sprung up within a few miles of the


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city, all of which are crowded with charming country houses. Lucas Place is the Fifth avenue of St. Louis, and is very rich in costly homes surrounded by noble gardens. The houses there have not been touched by the almost omnipresent smoke which seems to hover over the lower portion of the town. In Lucas Place lived the noted Benton, and there he foamed, fretted, planned his duels, nourished his feuds, and matured his magnificent ideas. The avenues which bear the names of Washington, Franklin, Lindell, McPherson, Baker, Laclede and Chouteau all give promise of future magnificence.

        

Illustration

Thomas H. Benton (for thirty years United States Senator from Missouri).

        St. Louis is not rich in public buildings, although many of the recent structures devoted to business are grand and imposing. The hotels partake of the grandeur which distinguishes their counterparts of other cities; on Fourth and Fifth streets there are many elegant blocks.

        The street life is varied and attractive, as in most southern towns; and the auction store is one of the salient features which surprise a stranger. The doors of these establishments are open from sunrise until midnight, and the jargon of the auctioneer can be heard ringing loudly above the rattle of wheels. The genius who presides behind the counter is usually some graduate of the commerce of the far South. Accustomed to dealing with the ignorant and unsuspecting, his eloquence is a curious compound of insolence and pleading. He has a quaint stock of phrases, made up of the slang of the river and the slums of cities, and he begins by placing an extravagant price upon the article which he wishes to sell, and then decreasing its value until he brings it down to the range of his customers.

        On Saturday evenings the street life is as animated as that of an European city. In the populous quarters the Irish and Germans throng the sidewalks, marketing and amusing themselves until midnight; and in the fashionable sections the ladies, seated in the porches and on the front door-steps of their mansions, receive the visits of their friends.

        A drive through dozens of streets in the upper portion of the city discloses hundreds of groups of ladies and gentlemen thus seated in the open air, whither they have transferred the etiquette of the parlor. A far more delightful and agreeable social freedom prevails in the city than in any Eastern community. The stranger is heartily welcome, and the fact that most of the ladies have been educated both in the East and the West, acquiring the culture of the former


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and the frankness and cordiality of the latter, adds a charm both to their conversation and their beauty.

        At the more aristocratic and elegant of the German beer gardens, such as "Uhrig's" and "Schneider's," the representatives of many prominent American families may be seen on the concert evenings, drinking the amber fluid, and listening to the music of Strauss, of Gungl, or Meyerbeer. Groups of elegantly dressed ladies and gentlemen resort to the gardens in the same manner as do the denizens of Dresden and Berlin, and no longer regard the custom as a dangerous German innovation.

        The German element in St. Louis is powerful, and has for the last thirty years been merging in the American, giving to it many of the hearty features and graces of European life, which have been emphatically rejected by the native population of the more austere Eastern States. In like manner the German has borrowed many traits from his American fellow-citizens, and in another generation the fusion of races will be pretty thoroughly accomplished.

        There are more than fifty thousand native Germans now in St. Louis, and the whole Teutonic population, including the children born in the city of German parents, probably exceeds one hundred and fifty thousand. The original emigration from Germany to Missouri was largely from the thinking classes--professional men, politicians condemned to exile, writers, musicians, and philosophers, and these have aided immensely in the development of the State.

        The emigration began in 1830, but after a few hundreds had come out it fell off again, and was not revived until 1848, when the revolution sent us a new crop of patriots and statesmen, whose mother country was afraid of them. Always a loyal and industrious element, believing in the whole country, and in the principles of freedom, they kept Missouri, in the troublous times preceding and during the war, from many excesses.

        The working people are a treasure to the State. Arriving, as a rule, with little or nothing, they hoard every penny until they have enough with which to purchase an acre or two of land, and in a few years become well-to-do citizens, orderly and contented. The whole country for miles around St. Louis is dotted with German settlements; the market gardens are mainly controlled by them; and their farms are models of thorough cultivation.

        In commerce they have mingled liberally with the Americans; names of both nationalities are allied in banking and in all the great wholesale businesses; and the older German residents speak their adopted as well as their native tongue. At the time of my visit, a German was president of the city council, and bank presidents, directors of companies, and men highly distinguished in business and society, who boast German descent, are counted by hundreds.

        German journalism in St. Louis is noteworthy. Carl Schurz and his life-long friend and present partner, Mr. Pretorius, are known throughout the country as distinguished journalists, and have even, as we have seen in these later days, played no small role upon the stage of national politics.

        The failure of the Liberal Republican movement rather astonished the masses of the Germans in Missouri, who had the most unwavering confidence in the


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ability of Schurz to accomplish whatever he chose; and has left them somewhat undecided as to what course to pursue in future. There are four daily German newspapers in St. Louis, one of which has been recently planted there by the Catholics, who have also started a clever weekly, in the hope of aiding in the fight against the new principles put in force by the Prussian Government--principles, of course, largely reflected among the Germans in America. The sturdy intellectual life of the Teuton is well set forth in these papers, which are of great ability.

        The uselessness of the attempt to maintain a separate national feeling was shown in the case of the famous "Germania" Club, which, in starting, had for its cardinal principle the non-admission of Americans; but at the present time there are 200 American names upon its list of membership. The assimilation goes on even more rapidly than the Germans themselves suppose; it is apparent in the manners of the children, and in the speech of the elders.

        German social and home life has, of course, kept much of its original flavor. There are whole sections of the city where the Teuton predominates, and takes his ease at evening in the beer garden and the arbor in his own yard. At the summer opera one sees him in his glory.

        Entering a modest door-way on Fourth street, one is ushered through a long room, in which ladies, with their children, and groups of elegantly dressed men are chatting and drinking beer, into the opera-house, a cheery little hall, where very fashionable audiences assemble to hear the new and old operas throughout a long season. The singing is usually exceedingly good, and the mise en scène quite satisfactory. Between the acts the audience refreshes itself with beer and soda-water, and the hum of conversation lasts until the first notes of the orchestra announce the resumption of the opera. On Sunday evenings the opera-house is crowded, and at the long windows of the hall, which descend to the ground, one can see the German population of half-a-dozen adjacent blocks, tiptoe with delight at the whiff of stolen harmony.

        The "breweries" scattered through the city are gigantic establishments, for the making of beer ranks third in the productive industries of St. Louis. Iron and flour precede it, but a capital of nearly $4,000,000 is invested in the manufacture, and the annual productive yield from the twenty-five breweries is about the same amount. Attached to many of these breweries are concert gardens, every way scrupulously respectable, and weekly frequented by thousands.

        The Germania and Harmony Clubs, and a hundred musical and literary organizations use up the time of the city Germans who are well-to-do, while their poorer brethren delve at market gardens, and are one of the chief elements in the commerce of the immense and picturesque St. James Market, whither St. Louis goes to be fed. The Irishman is also prominent in St. Louis, having crept into the hotel service, and driven the negro to another field.

        The operation of the German upon the American mind has been admirably exemplified in St. Louis by the growth of a real and noteworthy school of speculative philosophy in the new and thoroughly commercial capital, at whose head, and by virtue of his distinguished preëminence as a thinker, stands William T. Harris, the present superintendent of the city public schools. Mr. Harris,


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during his stay at Yale, in 1856, met the venerable Alcott, of Concord, and was much stimulated by various conversations with him. At that time he had studied Kant a little, and was beginning to think upon Goethe.

        The hints given him by Mr. Alcott were valuable, and some time afterward, when he settled in St. Louis, and came into contact with Germans of culture and originality, his desire for philosophical study was greatly increased and strengthened. In 1858 he became engaged in teaching, for eight years conducting one of the city graded schools.

        The first year of his stay in St. Louis he studied Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason," without, as he says, understanding it at all. He had been solicited and encouraged to these studies by Henry C. Brockmeyer, a remarkable and brilliant German, and so enthusiastic for Kantian study that he awoke a genuine fervor in Mr. Harris. They arranged a Kant class, which Mr. Alcott on one occasion visited, and in a short time the love for philosophical study became almost

Illustration

William T. Harris, editor of the St. Louis "Journal of Speculative Philosophy."

fanaticism. A number of highly cultured Germans and Americans composed the circle, whose members had a supreme contempt for the needs of the flesh, and who, after long days of laborious and exhaustive teaching, would spend the night hours in threading the mysteries of Kant. In 1858 Mr. Harris claims that they mastered Kant, and between that period and 1863 they analyzed, or, as he phrases it, obtained the keys to Leibnitz and Spinoza. The result of this long study is written out in what Mr. Harris calls his "Introduction to Philosophy," in which he deals with "speculative insights." Every one, he claims, will have the same insight into Kant, Leibnitz and Spinoza as he did, by reading his "Introduction." He already has a large number of followers, many of whom, according to his confession, apply his theories better than he does himself: and his Journal of Speculative Philosophy, started boldly in the face of many obstacles, has won a permanent establishment and gratifying success.

        Among the most prominent members of the Philosophical Society, definitely organized in 1864, were Mr. Brockmeyer, J. G. Werner, now a probate judge, Mr. Kroeger (a stern, unrelenting philosopher, enamored of Fichte, translator of the "Science of Knowledge," and author of a "History of the Minnesingers"), George H. Howison, now in the Boston Institute of Technology, and Mr. Thomas Davidson, one of the most profound students of Aristotle in this country. Mr. Brockmeyer is the accomplished translator of Hegel's "Logic."

        The Journal of Speculative Philosophy was prompted in this wise: Mr. Harris wrote a "Critique upon Herbert Spencer's First Principles," which was


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offered to The North American Review, but the editors failed to discover anything in it save that it was very audacious, and returned it to the author. Mr. Harris thereupon boldly started his own journal in April of 1867. The publication is gaining ground in this country, and has won a very wide and hearty recognition in Germany and among thinking men throughout Europe.

        Mr. Harris has been an indefatigable worker, as well as a deep thinker, for a score of years. The impetus given by him and his confreres to the growth of a deep and pure literature in the West and South is as yet too little appreciated. A brilliant talker, a man of great originality, and of positive genius for analysis, he is fitted to shine in the brightest of the world's capitals, but loves his Southwestern home, and will doubtless remain in it. The teachers grouped around him in his work of directing the schools of the new metropolis are brilliant men and women, thoroughly in love with their work, and animated by his inspiring presence with the proper spirit.

        The Germans have, as a rule, frankly joined hands with the Americans in the public schools, and have imparted to them many excellent features. The composite system differs largely from that in vogue in other cities. There is, of course, a very large Catholic population in St. Louis, but it is pretty evenly balanced by German skepticism.

        The city public schools are utterly secular in their teaching, but, notwithstanding that fact, the priesthood makes constant and successful efforts to keep Catholic children from them; and wherever a new public school building is erected, Holy Church speedily buys ground and sets up an institution of her own. The Catholic laity of St. Louis, however, are, perhaps, if they spoke their real sentiments, in favor of the public schools; and there has been a vast advance toward liberalism on their part within the last few years. The Catholics have eight or nine out of the twenty-four members of the school board, and of course have much to say.

        It is wonderful that in a capital where the population is so little gregarious, and where, up to last year, it has been so comparatively indifferent to lecture courses, such an earnest interest should be taken in the schools by all classes. All the powers relating to the management of the schools are vested in a corporate body called "the Board of President and Directors of the St. Louis Public Schools," the members of the board to be elected for terms of three years. The school revenue is derived from rents of property originally donated by the General Government, by the State school fund, and from taxes of four mills on the dollar on city property, the yearly income from these sources averaging perhaps $700,000. The school board has authority to tax to any amount.

        Between the district and the high schools there is a period of seven years, during which the pupil acquires a symmetrical development admirably fitting him for the solid instruction which the finishing school can offer. But out of forty thousand children enrolled upon the public school list, only about two and a-half per cent. enter the high school. The feature of German-English instruction has become exceedingly popular, and the number of pupils belonging to the classes increased from 450 in 1864-65, to 10,246 in 1871-72. The phonetic


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system of learning to read was introduced in the primary schools in 1866, and has been attended with the most gratifying results.

        The city acted wisely in introducing the study of German, as otherwise the Teutonic citizen would doubtless have been tempted to send his child to a private school during his early years. Now native American children take up German reading and oral lessons at the same time as their little German fellow-scholars; and in the high school special stress is laid upon German instruction in the higher grades, that the pupils may be fitted for a thorough examination of German science and literature.

        The growth of St. Louis is so rapid that the school board has been compelled to build several large new school buildings annually, each capable of containing from seven to eight hundred pupils. The introduction of natural science into the district schools is indicative of liberal progress. Normal schools in St. Louis and at Kirksville and Warrensburg are annually equipping splendid corps of teachers. The public school system throughout the State is exceedingly popular, judging from the fact that a quarter of a million of children attend the schools during the sessions.

        

Illustration

The High School--St. Louis.

        The State fund appropriated to school purposes is usually large, and although there have been objections to local taxation for school support in some of the counties, the taxes have generally been promptly paid. The largest and finest edifices in such flourishing cities as St. Joseph, Kansas City, Sedalia, Clinton, Springfield, Mexico, Louisiana, and Booneville are usually the "school-houses;" and in Kansas City, which was without railroad communication in 1865, the school buildings are now as complete, elegant, and large as any in Boston or Chicago. The School of Design in St. Louis, conducted by Mr. Conrad Diehl, is rapidly growing, and has already won enviable praise in the most cultured art circles of the East.

        The Catholic population within the archdiocese of St. Louis is certainly very large, probably numbering two hundred thousand persons; and from this population at least twenty-five thousand children are furnished to the one hundred parish schools attached to the various churches in the diocese. None of these schools receive any aid from the common school fund, and the pupils are in every way removed from the influences of secular education, and made a class by themselves.

        It is estimated that the Catholics now own more than four million dollars' worth of church and school property in Missouri; and in their various colleges,


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convents, seminaries, and academies in St. Louis and the other large cities of the State they have at least fifteen hundred students. They have kept well abreast of the tide of secular education, and bid it open defiance on all occasions, while the skeptical and easy-going German laughs at their zealotry, and the American shuts his eyes to their growing power.

        

Illustration

Washington University--St. Louis.

        Vast as is the growth of colleges and schools of various other denominations, such as the Baptist, the Methodist, and the Methodist Episcopal Church South, the Catholics keep even with them all. Ever since old Gribault, the first pastor in St. Louis, led his little flock of five hundred Frenchmen to the altar, Mother Church has been bold, dominant, defiant in the young capital of the West.

        In St. Louis I was especially interested in "Washington University," conducted by Rev. Dr. Eliot, so long pastor of the First Unitarian Church in that city. The institution has had a superb growth since its founding in 1853-54, despite the unfortunate intervention of the war, and now has more than eight hundred students in its various branches. Nourished by generous gifts from the East, it has made great progress in its departments of civil and mechanical engineering, mining and metallurgy, and architecture, and its law department is ably supported.

        To that section of the University devoted to the special education of women, known as "Mary Institute," the flower of Missourian girlhood annually repairs. The University seems to have had an almost mushroom growth; yet its culture is solid and substantial. The State University is located at Columbia, and has also been characterized by a remarkable growth since the war. During the struggle its buildings were occupied by United States troops, and its sessions were entirely broken up; the library was dispersed, the warrants of the institution were afloat at a discount, and various prejudices had nearly ruined it.

        At last Rev. Dr. Daniel Read took the presidency; and the reorganized University comprises a normal college, an agricultural and mechanical college, opened in 1870, law and medical schools, and a department of chemistry, and now has attached to it a "school of mines and metallurgy," established at Rolla, in South-eastern Missouri. Into this mining school students flock from all directions, turning their attention toward a scientific development of the mineral resources of the State. Women have finally been admitted to the University, and, at the commencement of 1872, a young lady was advanced to the baccalaureate grade in science.


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XXIII.

COMMERCE OF ST. LOUIS--THE NEW BRIDGE OVER THE MISSISSIPPI.

        THE midsummer heats, during which I visited the Exchange of St. Louis, seem to make but little difference with the ardor and energy of its members. The typical July day in the Missourian capital is the acme of oppressive heat; before business hours have begun, the sun pours down bewildering beams on the current of the great river, on the toiling masses at the levée, and along the airless streets rising from the water-side.

        The ladies have done their shopping at an early hour, and gone their ways; paterfamilias seeks his Avernus of an office, clad only in thinnest of linen, and with a palm-leaf fan in his hand; a misty aroma of the ices of Hellery or Gregory floats before him as he seats himself at his desk, and turns over the voluminous correspondence from far Texas, from the vexed Indian Territory, from the great North-west, from Arkansas, or from the hosts of river towns with which the metropolis does business.

        At eleven the sun has become withering to the unaccustomed Easterners, but the St. Louis paterfamilias dons his broad straw hat, and, proceeding to the

Illustration

The new Post-Office and Custom-House in construction at St. Louis.

"Merchants' Exchange," a large circular room into which the thirteen hundred members vainly try each day to cram themselves, he makes his way to the corner allotted to his branch of trade, and patiently swelters there until nearly one o'clock. In this single room every species of business is transacted; one corner is devoted to flour, a second to grain, a third to provisions, a fourth to cotton, etc.

        A whirlwind of fans astonishes the stranger spectator; people mop their foreheads and swing their palm-leaves hysterically as they conclude bargains; and, as they saunter away together to lunch, still vigorously fan and mop. The tumult and shouting is not so great as in other large


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cities, but the activity is the same; the participants from time to time refreshing themselves at great cans filled with sulphur water. But in a few years the magnificent new Exchange building, which will be, in many respects, the finest on the continent, will be completed, and trade will not only be classified, but will have far greater facilities for public transactions than at present.

        St. Louis has determined to become a leading cotton market, and, in view of the new railroad development ministering directly to her, it seems probable that she will take position among the cotton marts of the world. The opening of Northern Texas, and of the whole of Arkansas, to immediate connection by rail with the Missourian capital, and the probability--alas, for the faithlessness of nations!--of white settlement and increase of cotton culture in the Indian Territory, will give a back-country capable of producing millions of bales annually for St. Louis to draw upon. She will eventually become a competitor with Houston, Galveston, and New Orleans for the distribution of the crop of the South-west, and has already, as she believes, received sufficient encouragement to justify the building of large storehouses along the line of the Iron Mountain railroad.

        A good deal of the cotton once handled in New Orleans has lately been going to New York by rail, and the St. Louis merchants and factors are now using a "compress," by means of which 23,000 pounds of cotton can be placed in a single freight car. The city is receiving only 40,000 to 60,000 bales annually, but confidently counts on several hundred thousand as soon as it has perfected arrangements for transportation. It will, without doubt, control the cotton in certain sections of Arkansas, and the southern portions of Missouri, and can make very seductive bids for the crops of many sections of Texas.

        To draw the attention of cotton-growers toward the St. Louis market, the Agricultural Association recently offered premiums of $10,000 for the best specimens of various grades of cotton. The Atlantic and Pacific, the Missouri, Kansas and Texas, the St. Louis and South-eastern, the Mobile and Ohio, and the Iron Mountain roads will probably bring large quantities of cotton to St. Louis in the future. The testimony of many of the planters of Northern Texas is that their shipments to St. Louis have been far more satisfactory than those to Galveston.

        St. Louis is emphatically the railroad centre of the Mississippi valley, being the actual terminus of no less than fourteen important railroads, while at least thirty are pointed toward her. By all the railroads and by river routes she received, in 1872, nearly 4,000,000 tons of freight, being a vast increase over her receipts of 1871, and shipped 2,009,941 tons. In 1872 the railroads alone brought her nearly 800,000 tons of coal. In 1872 she expended $7,000,000 in new buildings, and in 1873 about $8,000,000.

        Through her vast elevators, four of which are located along the banks of the Mississippi, and one of which has a capacity of 2,000,000 bushels, passed more than 28,000,000 bushels of grain in 1872; and in 1873 the receipts and exports were largely increased over this figure. She contributed $2,500,000 in duties from her custom-house in 1872; manufactured in 1873, 1,384,180 barrels of flour,


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and received nearly that number by various rail and river routes; received 279,678 cattle, and shipped 188,306; imported and exported more than 1,000,000 swine; took nearly 30,000 bales of hemp into market; handled hundreds of millions of feet of lumber, shingles and laths drifted down from the Upper Mississippi, the Black and the Wisconsin rivers; and consummated vast bargains in wool, hides and tobacco.

        The river trade has many peculiar features, and is subject to a thousand fluctuations and adversities which make it, at all times, hazardous. For many years past the steamboat men have had unprofitable seasons to bewail. Their especial enemies have been low water and railroad competition. The railways may in future gradually absorb the carrying trade of the Mississippi valley; but such is not at present the case. The rivers have thus far remained the principal arteries of commerce; and the moment that low water is reached, or ice closes navigation, the greatest depression is visible in St. Louis; trade is at an absolute stand-still.

        The Mississippi is the main outlet possessed by the city for her supplies for southern consumers. In view of this fact, it is of the greatest importance that the river should receive the improvements so much needed between the mouths of the Missouri and the Ohio. A formidable system of dykes and dams, it is confidently believed, would make open navigation feasible throughout the year.

        It is impossible to give an adequate idea of the picturesqueness and vivacity of the river trade; it must be seen. One appreciates the real volume of the current of the "Father of Waters" only after he learns something of the multitude of boats, barges and rafts on its ample breast. Every conceivable variety of river-boat grates its keel against the St. Louis levée: the floating palace, the "Great Republic;" the "Natchez," or the "Robert E. Lee;" the strong, flat-bottomed Red river packet; the cruisers of the Upper Mississippi and of the turbid Missouri; the barges, in long procession, laden with coal and iron and lead and copper ore; the huge arks of the Transportation Company, each capable of receiving 100,000 bushels of grain within its capacious bosom; while rafts of every size and shape are scattered along the giant stream like chips and straws on a mountain brook.

        Nearly 3,000 steamboat arrivals are annually registered at the port of St. Louis. Drifting down on the logs come a rude and hardy class of men, who chafe under city restraint, requiring, now and then, stern management. Sometimes one of these figures, suddenly arriving from the ancient forests on the rivers above, creates a sensation by striding through a fashionable street, his long hair falling about his wrinkled and weather-beaten face, and his trusty rifle slung at his shoulder.

        The steamboat men on these upper waters of the Mississippi suffer when the "ice gorges" come. Faces become dark with anxiety or black with fear at the news of each fresh disaster. Even the dreaded "low water," with all the dangers of "snags" and sunken wrecks, is not so much to be feared as one of the great ice sweeps which, with its glittering teeth, will in a few moments grind to atoms hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of property.


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Illustration

The new Bridge over the Mississippi at St. Louis.

        In December the Mississippi, at St. Louis, is sometimes closed by ice, and before the great bridge was built, hundreds of teams crossed upon the natural bridge to and from the Illinois shore. The breaking up is sudden--dozens of boats and cargoes being swept away and annihilated. Then come the stories of romantic and hair-breadth escapes; the population along the banks becoming wild with excitement over the pending fate of some unfortunate family swept out into the ice-filled current. Steamboat owners even hardly dare look in a newspaper.

        In 1872 there were over five hundred and fifty disasters on the Mississippi river and her tributaries--by few of which, however, was there any loss of life, although the annual destruction of property is enormous, occurring in almost every conceivable manner. But the record of these disasters is not without its grim humor. One can hardly repress a smile at the announcement, in the terse, expressive language of the river, that "Phil. Sheridan broke loose at St. Louis," or that "Hyena broke her engine," "Lake Erie ran through herself," "Mud Hen blew up at Bellevue," "Enterprise broke a wrist at Cairo," "Andy Johnson blew out a joint near Alton," "Wild Cat sunk a barge at Rising Sun," "Humming Bird smashed a shaft," "St. Francis broke her doctor," "Daniel Boone was crowded on shore by ice," or "John Kilgour, trying to land at Evansville, broke nine arms." The river-men have not been satisfied to confer upon their beloved craft the names of heroes and saints. They rake up all fantastic cognomens which the romance of the centuries or the slang of the period can afford, bestowing


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them upon clumsy and beautiful crafts alike, while they pay but little regard to incongruities of gender or class: the "Naiad" may be a coal-barge, or the "Dry Docks" a palace steamer. The ice makes short work of even the largest cargoes; the river will swallow up several hundred thousand bushels of coal or grain as if it were the merest bagatelle, while the gorges gape for more.

        Great numbers of barges ply between St. Louis and Pittsburg, via the Ohio, engaged in the transportation of iron ore. It is a long and wild journey, moving slowly upon the treacherous currents of the two great streams, the men on the barges sometimes contenting themselves for a month without going on shore, living on rude fare, and cuddling with their families in little cabins in the boats'

Illustration

View of the Caisson of the East Abutment of the St. Louis Bridge, as it appeared during construction.

sides, like the Belgian canal-men. Dozens of these barges are always moored at Carondelet, waiting the freights which pour into them from the mines in the south-east of the State. When navigation throughout the Mississippi valley shall have been properly improved, the river trade of St. Louis will be quadrupled.

        The triumph in engineering, won by Captain Eads in the successful completion of the great bridge, is a magnificent one. This was not, however, the first important work accomplished by him. He built the vessels "Benton," "Baron de Kalb," "Cincinnati," and others, used with such effect by Admiral Porter during the war. He afterward constructed fourteen iron clads for the United


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States, and he invented various improvements in military and naval defences. He was the first man in America or Europe to devise successful means for operating heavy ordnance by steam. He knows the Mississippi as well as any one can know that most capricious and uncertain of streams, and was, of all men, best qualified for the work of bridging the current.

        It was evident from the first that the Father of Waters would not consent to be bridged without a struggle. The main obstacles to the construction were, of course, the width, the depth, and the shifting sands of the river. It was necessary to take into account the certainty of an enormous increase of transportation, and to obstruct navigation as little as possible. The foundations must be planted on the rock-bed below the fickle and dangerous sands.

        Two companies for building the bridge were at first organized, one chartered by the Missouri Legislature, the other by that of Illinois. The company chartered in Missouri was naturally somewhat jealous of the other, fearing lest Chicago might play some game against the interests of St. Louis, and quite a contest ensued until, in the spring of 1868, a consolidation was effected, and the

Illustration

The building of the East Pier of the St. Louis Bridge.

work was placed under the direction of Captain Eads as chief engineer. The new corporation, which has been ably officered, assumed the title of the Illinois and St. Louis Bridge Company. The original estimate of the cost of the structure
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was $5,000,000; but the whole cost will probably reach $10,000,000, two-thirds of which sum have been supplied by J. T. Morgan & Co., American bankers in London.

        The greatest difficulties in the work were encountered in the sinking of the piers. Captain Eads decided to construct them of solid masonry, and to sink them by means of pneumatic caissons, many of the features of which had been designed by him expressly to meet the exigencies of the case. The caisson for the first pier was made of heavy wrought iron, weighed 500,000 pounds, and was 82 feet long, 60 feet wide, and 18 feet high. It had seven air-chambers, with thirteen girders, and nearly 200 workmen were employed on it for four months in reaching to the rock-bed in the stream. This was effected at a depth of 93 feet and four inches below the surface of the water, in March, 1870. In November of 1870, the launch of the caisson to be used in laying the eastern abutment pier was made the occasion of quite a public celebration. That pier now rests on the rock at a depth of 130 feet below high water mark. The work in the air-chambers during the building of these piers was difficult and dangerous, and from time to time the river, as if angry at the intrusion, required a sacrifice of human life. Sometimes in winter the work was interrupted by the vast masses of ice hurled against the bridge-works; now and then the sand outside the caissons was scoured away, causing the sand inside (put there to equalize the pressure) to burst the walls; and at the banks great trouble was experienced in setting the coffer dams.

        But all obstacles were finally overcome, and in June of 1874, trains began crossing the Mississippi on the new bridge. It now stretches from the foot of Washington avenue in St. Louis to a corresponding point on the Illinois shore, at an elevation of fifty feet above high water.

        Its extraordinary breadth of span and depth of foundation are its chief merits. In the western abutment there are 2,500 tons of stone, and in the eastern abutment pier 45,000. The bridge has three spans, each formed with four ribbed arches made of cast-steel. The centre span is 520 feet, and the side ones are each 500 feet in the clear. The four arches forming each of these spans consist each of an upper and lower curved rib, extending from pier to pier, and between these ribs there is a horizontal system of bracing for the purpose of securing the arches in their relative distances from each other. Two centre arches of each span are thirteen feet nine and a-half inches apart from centre to centre, and the upper member of one arch is secured to the lower one of the other by a system of diagonal bracing. The roadways are formed by transverse iron beams twelve inches in depth, suitably separated.

        The bridge accommodates two double steam railway tracks, and one for street railways, besides footwalks and a carriage-way. It is estimated that the annual saving to St. Louis by the facilities for transportation accorded by the bridge will amount to a million of dollars.

        In the mere item of coal, which is carried to St. Louis from the Illinois side, hundreds of thousands of dollars will be saved yearly. A fine union depot will soon be erected at the end of the tunnel through which trains will enter and leave St. Louis via the bridge.


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XXIV.

THE MINERAL WEALTH OF MISSOURI.

        LET us peer into that busy suburban ward of St. Louis which still clings so fondly to its old French name of "Carondelet." The drive thither from the city carries you past the arsenal, where Government now and then has a few troops, and past many a pretty mansion, into the dusty street of a prosaic manufacturing town, near the bank of the Mississippi.

        Descending toward the water-side from the street you find every available space crowded with mammoth iron and zinc-furnaces, in whose immense structures of iron, wood, and glass, half-naked men, their bodies smeared with perspiration and coal dust, are wheeling about blazing masses of metal, or guiding

Illustration

In the "Cut" at Iron Mountain, Missouri. [Page 241.]

the pliant iron bars through rollers and moulds, or cooling their heated faces and arms in buckets of water brought up fresh from the stream. Here, in a zinc-furnace, half-a-dozen Irishmen wrestle with the long puddling rods which they
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thrust into the seventy-times-seven heated furnaces; the green and yellowish flames from the metal are reflected on their pale and withered features, and give them an almost unearthly expression.

        Farther on, the masons are toiling at the brick-work of a new blast-furnace, which already rears its tall towers a hundred feet above the Mississippi shore; not far thence you may see the flaming chimney of the quaint old Carondelet furnace--the first built in all that section; or may linger for hours in such immense establishments as the South St. Louis or Vulcan iron works, fancying them the growth of half a century of patient upbuilding, until you are told that nearly every establishment has been created since the war.

        

Illustration

At the Vulcan Iron Works--Carondelet.

        The Vulcan Iron Works, which now employs twelve hundred men in its blast-furnaces and rolling-mills, overspreads seventeen acres, boasts $600,000 worth of machinery, and has two furnaces smelting 25,000 tons of ore annually, while its rolling-mill can turn out 45,000 tons of rail in a year, was not in existence in 1870; indeed, there was not a brick laid on the premises. There is nothing else so wonderful as this in the South or South-west; Kansas City, in the north-western part of the State, is the only other place in Missouri which can show similar material progress.

        The little Rivière des Pères, where the holy Catholic fathers once had a mission among the Osage Indians, empties into the Mississippi, close beside the Vulcan iron works; its banks are piled high with coal and refuse. The fathers would know it no more. They would stare aghast at the thousand horse-power pump; at the myriads of fiery snakes crawling about on the floors of the rolling-mill; at the troops of Irish laborers, the cautious groups about the doors of the sputtering blast-furnace, and the molten streams pouring into the sand-beds to form into "pigs" of iron; and could hardly credit the statement that Carondelet furnaces alone can manufacture 140,000 tons of iron yearly.


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        This sudden and marked progress at Carondelet is significant. Such amazing growth is indicative of a splendid future. The elder England is fading out; her iron-fields are exhausted; and her producers growl because American iron-masters can at last undersell those of England. The heart of the republic, the great commonwealth of Missouri, is to be the England of to-morrow.

        Her mineral stores are inexhaustible. There are a thousand railroads locked up in the great coffers of the Iron Mountain. A thousand iron ships lie dormant in the ore-pockets scattered along the line of the Atlantic and Pacific railway, and a million fortunes await the men who shall come and take them. Missouri is one of the future great foundries of the world; the coal-fields of Indiana and Illinois are near at hand; the earth is stored with hematites; the hills are seamed with speculars. The work has already begun in earnest.

        Enough good iron can be produced from Missouri ores and Illinois coal to supply the wants of the United States henceforth; and at the rate at which furnaces are at present multiplying throughout the State, this consummation will be reached. All the conditions for a favorable competition with England have at last been arrived at, for the cost of labor in Missouri furnaces to-day is but a trifle more than it is in the cheapest furnaces in Wales. The four or five millions which St. Louis now has invested in the manufacture of pig-iron will, in a few years, become forty or fifty; and the furnaces in South-eastern Missouri, aided by those in Pennsylvania supplied with ore from the same source, will girdle the world with their products. The aggregate production of pig-iron in Missouri in 1870 was 54,000 tons; in 1880 it will be ten times that amount, for the capacity of Carondelet alone in 1873 was nearly three times as much as that of the whole State three years ago.*

        *The coal used at Carondelet comes from the Illinois side of the Mississippi, and a new bridge across the stream at that point is contemplated, that the high prices charged during the icy season may be avoided.


If St. Louis, unaided by any special interest, could increase the value of her manufactured products from $27,000,000 in 1860 to more than $100,000,000 in 1870, what may she not be expected to accomplish, with the Iron Mountain at her back, in the decade at whose very beginning she has demonstrated such wonderful capacity for progress?

        How long, before, with proper investment of capital, St. Louis may be the centre of a region producing as many millions of tons of pig-iron annually as are now produced in England? Continuing as she has begun, less than twenty years will place her at that pinnacle of commercial glory.

        I will not follow the ingenious individuals who have lightened the ennui of their leisure by computing, upon a highly speculative basis, the exact number of tons of ore contained in the famous Iron Mountain. But there is no doubt that the term inexhaustible can with justice be applied to its stores.

        Certain acute English witnesses have recently, after a careful survey, declared that the coal and iron deposits of Alabama are now the most deeply interesting material facts on the American continent. Whether or not this statement is at all influenced by the knowledge that numerous investments in Alabama's iron-fields have been made by Englishmen, or by ignorance of the quantity and


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quality of the ore in Missouri, I do not know; but the latter State may certainly claim an equal share in the interest which her sister of the South has awakened, so far as the value of her deposits is concerned. If it can be said that the hematites of Alabama, which yield fifty-six per cent. of pure iron, will compare favorably with the best ores of Cumberland and the North of Spain, what shall we say of the ores of Missouri, which in many cases boast a proven yield of sixty-six per cent.?

        The main iron region of Missouri is situated in the south-east and southern portions of the State, and the greater portion of it is adjacent and directly tributary to St. Louis. The hundreds of thousands of tons of ore annually sent out of the State to be smelted all pass through or near the great city.

        My visit to the Iron Mountain had been resolved upon before I entered Missouri; but my wildest ideas of its importance were none too exaggerated for the reality. The "mountain" is situated eighty-one miles south-west of St. Louis, on the Arkansas branch of the Iron Mountain railroad. The route thither in summer-time is charming. The railroad runs so near to the banks of the Mississippi (there high and rugged), that nervous people, not fascinated by the grand outlook over the current, may confess to a tremor now and then.

        But the exquisite shapes of the foliage on the one bank, and the great expanse of the "bottoms" on the other, made a pleasing picture, to which the dazzling sheen of the broad sheet of smoothly-flowing water, bearing lightly forward the white steamers and the dark, flat barges, lent a strange charm. From Bismarck, a pretty little station among pleasant fields, it was but a brief ride to Iron Mountain station, the town which has grown up out of the mining interests managed and owned in these latter years by Chouteau, Harrison, and Vallé. Three of the wealthiest families in Missouri are represented in the ownership of this and the adjacent region, and each has been much interested in the material development of the State.

        The "mountain," which rises rather abruptly from a beautiful valley, landlocked and filled with delicious fields, was originally rather more than 200 feet high, and its base covers an area of 500 acres. All the country round about is still crowded with reminiscences of Spanish domination. The names of some of the counties and towns are French and Spanish souvenirs; and the "King's Highway," running through St. François county, is still often called by its original name.

        The people in the vicinity are quiet and usually well-to-do farmer folk, and look upon the mountain as the most wonderful of natural phenomena. The French and Spaniards seem never to have suspected the rich nature of the queerly-shaped elevation and its surroundings; for the original possessor, Joseph Pratte, who obtained it by a grant from Zenon Trudeau, the Spanish governor, in September of 1797, mentions in his petition for a grant that the land is sterile, and only fit for grazing.

        Pratte's grant composed some 20,000 arpents, or 17,000 English acres, and from his hands it became the property of Van Doren, Pease & Co., who, in 1837, were recognized as the Iron Mountain Company. Congress had meantime confirmed


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the Spanish grants. In 1843 the American Iron Mountain Company took the place of the above-mentioned firm. August Belmont, of New York, was among the subscribers to the capital stock, which was $273,000; and James Harrison, of St. Louis, one of the most energetic iron workers of the West, was its first president.

        For many years the investments of the original companies did not pay, and the investors were sneered at as guilty of an act of folly.

        In those days the Iron Mountain railroad was not, and all the ore dug out was hauled painfully forty-five miles in carts to the ancient town of St. Genevieve. But when pig-iron became worth $85 per ton, there was no lack of energy in examining the real resources of the mountain, and since 1862 the company has taken millions of tons of ore from the surface and from the deep incisions made in the hill-sides.

        The ores there, as throughout the section, are mainly rich specular oxides, and were originally pronounced too rich to work. Even to this day the surface specimens are plenteous, and one could readily pick up a cart-load of lumps all ready for the furnace. In the deep cuts and along the mountain sides more than 1,000 men were at work at the time of my visit, Irishmen, Swedes and Germans predominating.

        

Illustration

The Furnace--Iron Mountain, Missouri. [Page 242.]

        The mountain is composed almost exclusively of iron in its purest form, and the regiment of laborers mine ore enough to load 125 cars, carrying 10 tons each, daily, besides supplying two furnaces of large capacity, established at the base of the mountain. A century of hammering at the hill's sides will not bring it level with the valley. The surface ore is so intermingled even with the earth, that I


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found a number of stout Swedes washing it very much as gold is washed for, and extracting tons which, in more careless days, had been thrown away.

        Iron Mountain is a typical Missouri mining town. It was mainly built up by Hon. John G. Scott, of St. Louis, an ex-Congressman, and largely identified with all the iron interests of that section. Mr. Edwin Harrison, the present president, and one of the principal owners, is an accomplished metallurgist, one of the most active business men in the South-west, and interested in a dozen large and successful enterprises connected with the development of metal. Both at Iron Mountain and at Irondale, as well as at other mining towns which I visited, the workmen have built handsome cottages, and liquor and the other debasing influences sometimes found at mines are beyond their reach.

        There was a subtle charm about the roar and ominous hum of the great furnaces after dark, when the clink of the hammers and the noise of the blasting on the mountain had ceased, and darkness had shrouded the little valley. The chimneys of the "blasts" glowed like dragons' eyes; the semi-nude figures flitting in the huge open sheds, before the doors of the furnaces, looked like demons.

        When the masses of broken and carefully-selected ore, together with the requisite charcoal and limestone, had been transfused in the fearful heat, and the blast was ready to be drawn off, the workmen gathered half timorously about the aperture whence the molten iron was to flow, and gave it vent. Then first sprang out a white current--the slag--looking like gypsum, and hardening as it touched the sand. Finally came the deep fiery glow of the iron itself, as it flowed resistlessly down the channels cut in the sand to receive it, hissing fiercely from time to time, and lighting up the great stone vault of the furnace with an unearthly glare, then "dying into sullen darkness," and forming the cold, hard, homely bars which are one day rolled into the rails by means of which we annihilate distance, and build cities like St. Louis.

        The whole region round about is rich in mines and minerals. A few miles below Iron Mountain rises Pilot Knob, a stately peak towering far above the lovely Ozark range which surrounds it in every direction; and from the porphyry there and on Shepherd Mountain great quantities of ore are extracted. It is the boast of the people of the section that Iron county, in which lie Shepherd, Arcadia and Bogy mountains and the Knob, contains more iron than any other equal area known on the globe.

        From this valley more than 100,000 tons of iron have been shipped since the formation of the Pilot Knob Iron Company. The works there and elsewhere in this section were much injured, and some of them were burned, during the war, by Price's raiders. The silicious and magnetic and specular oxides found in the Pilot Knob and Shepherd Mountain region are abundant and pure. The specular oxides abound in Dent, Crawford, Phillips and Pulaski counties. The beds of bog ore extend for miles among the swamps and cypresses in South-eastern Missouri; and hematite ores are found in almost every county in the south of the State. Throughout the coal-measures of the commonwealth there are vast beds of spathic ore, which will serve when the more available deposits have been exhausted.


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        And this is not all. For miles and miles along the Missouri river, iron crops out from the bold and picturesque bluffs, and it is estimated that it can be easily mined and placed in barges for less than a dollar per ton. On the line of the Atlantic and Pacific railroad also, vast deposits of the blue specular variety are gradually being unearthed. At Scotia, at Sullivan, at Jamestown, at Salem, the treasures of iron are astonishing.

        

Illustration

The Summit of Pilot Knob--Iron County, Missouri. [Page 242.]

        Missouri should take care to keep the furnaces for smelting these ores within her borders, for pig-iron and Bessemer steel can to-day be made cheaper there, at the present prices of labor and coal, than in Pennsylvania. If America desires or intends one day to supply Europe with the ore which she is beginning to clamor for, the policy of transporting the ores from these fresh fields to the furnaces in the Quaker State seems neither wise nor economical. The stores of coal match those of iron; it was long ago estimated that Missouri had an area of 26,000 square miles of coal-beds between the mouth of the Des Moines river and the Indian Territory; and along all the railroads in Northern Missouri, and beside the Missouri Pacific, coal-veins have proved very extensive.

        The development of the lead mines of Missouri is full of romance. De Soto, disdaining any thing save gold, carelessly passed them by. One hundred and fifty years ago Renault and La Motte hunted in the Ozark hills for the precious metal, but only found lead, and to-day La Motte's mine is still called by his name. As early as 1819 the annual yield of the lead mines in the State was 3,000,000 of pounds; in 1870 the annual production amounted to nearly 14,000,000; and in 1872 it had risen to over 20,000,000.

        The revival of the lead mining interest, in 1872, created almost as much excitement in certain sections as if gold had been in question. The largest investments were made in South-western and Central Missouri; old mines were reopened, new machinery was hurried in, and in Jasper county, a wild section on the borders of Kansas and the Indian Territory, a new town sprang up as by magic in the midst of a section where lead lay near the surface. There was genuine California enthusiasm; furnaces, stores, shops, hotels and churches arose on Joplin creek, and the town of "Joplin" was born. An impulse was given to the lead production of Missouri, which will not decline until the imports of lead from Europe to this country have been vastly reduced.


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        The area of the lead region comprises nearly 7,000 square miles. In the neighborhood of Jasper and Newton counties are large stores of zinc ores, supposed to extend into the Indian Territory. In the counties of St. François and Madison there is a fine vein of lead, of great length, "running at large" through limestone strata. Upon this vein are the splendid properties of the Mine La Motte Company. Most of the lead in that vicinity, and in Franklin, Washington, Jefferson, Crawford, Phelps, Dent, and other counties, carries cobalt and nickel in abundance, and not far away, brown hematite iron ores are found in profusion. The extension of the Iron Mountain and the Atlantic and Pacific railroads through the mineral regions has done more for the future development of the State than all other efforts put together.

        In a few years both roads will be lined with furnaces and mines of all descriptions, and will extend branches in every direction. Several varieties of copper are found in the State, and the mines in Shannon, Madison, and Franklin counties have been worked successfully. New discoveries of zinc ore are daily made in all sections; cobalt, nickel, manganese, tin, and marble are also found. The Ozark marbles of Missouri are already famous; they aid in the adornment of the national capital. Excellent building limestones, coarse, reddish granite and various shades of sandstones, are to be found in all quarters.

        But the iron and coal interests tributary to St. Louis dominate all others, and give the finest promise. It is evident that Missouri is about to enter as a formidable competitor upon one of the greatest industrial fields in the world. She has cheap food in a strong new country, rapidly receiving immigration. She has ores of surpassing richness lying close to the surface. She has coal in vast areas, easily mined--coal, too, which does not require coking before it aids in the smelting of iron ore. She has an economical system of inter-communication by river and rail, backed, we may hope and predict, by plenty of money in the strong boxes of the fathers of St. Louis. The time is coming when that capital, which has so long lain dormant, will be awakened, and turned into the service of the industry that in less than a generation is to make St. Louis a city with a million inhabitants.

        

Illustration

The "Tracks"--Pilot Knob, Missouri. [Page 242.]

        Here we are again at Carondelet--passing the long ore-trains hourly arriving from the Iron Mountain. What crowding, what noise and clang of machinery, what smoke and stench of coal! The workmen, with thick leather aprons about their waists, and gloves on their hands, are bringing the bars of pig-iron from the blast-furnaces, and cording them up by hundreds. Here is a crowd of perturbed Irish laborers, shrieking and


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dancing around a prostrate man, whose limbs have been scarred and seared by a sudden spurt of hot iron from the furnace. His comrades are bending over him, eagerly cutting away his garments with their knives, while the iron burns its way into his flesh.

        

Illustration

MAP OF MISSOURI.


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XXV.

TRADE IN ST. LOUIS--THE PRESS--KANSAS CITY--ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI--THE CAPITAL.

        FROM Carondelet we may return cityward by another route, climbing the hill which leads to Grand avenue, and wandering up a country road to a vineyard, and a "garden-close" among beautiful shrubbery. The hills around are covered with vineyards, or rich fields of corn and other cereals. Returning to Grand avenue, you may drive through the new "Tower Grove" park, with its

Illustration

View in Shaw's Garden--St. Louis.

pretty arbors, rustic houses, and clumps of trees; past Lafayette park, much like one of the great squares in the West End of London, and, rattling through street after street, lined with elegant houses, descend at last toward the banks of the river and the business section of the town.

        Although the suburbs of St. Louis are not remarkable, there are many attractive parks and parklets near at hand. The superb botanical garden known as "Shaw's," adjoining the "Tower Grove" park, is the especial pride of Missouri. The Forest park, containing fourteen hundred acres, clothed in delicious foliage, dotted with elms, oak, ash and sycamores, festooned with grape-vines,


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and watered by the capricious little Rivière des Pères, is not as yet improved, but will doubtless be the principal recreation ground of the city in time. Lindell, Belmont, and the Park of Fruits, are all beautiful; and the park upon which the famous St. Louis fair is annually held has many lovely winding walks, garden-spots, and knots of shrubbery.

        To this fair-ground every October many thousands of visitors flock from the whole Mississippi valley; and the vast amphitheatre, which will seat twenty-five thousand people, is daily crowded by a constantly changing audience. St. Louis worships annually one day at the shrine of this fair, which is mechanical as well as agricultural in its scope. All business is suspended; schools are closed, and a species of high carnival is inaugurated. Inside the amphitheatre there is a huge procession of horses, cattle, sheep, and swine, at which the good burghers look on something after the fashion of ancient Romans at the Coliseum.

        The stranger will do well to wander the whole city over--dine at Porcher's, and loiter in the pleasant parlors of the "University Club;" to attend the concerts at Uhrig's, and the mass in the old cathedral; inspect the plafonds and other gorgeous splendors of the palace in which the St. Louis Life Insurance

Illustration

Statue to Thomas H. Benton, in Lafayette Park.

Company transacts its business; see Benton on his pedestal in Lafayette park; and visit the burial grounds of beautiful Bellefontaine. He may dive into the great vaults of the Imperial Wine Company, where a million bottles of native champagne lie always cooling; or do reverence to the Water Works, where two powerful engines each force the Mississippi river to contribute seventeen million gallons daily to supply the wants of the city; or have a peep at the prisons of the "Four Courts," and even be a looker-on at the matinee, locally known as "The Terrible Court," where a police judge dispenses justice, sends vagrants to the workhouse for a thousand days, and suspicious characters across the river in twenty minutes. Or he may explore the score of mammoth foundries, where iron is manufactured in every form, from gas-piping to architectural work for houses; or gaze at the dome of the imposing Court-House,--a kind of miniature "St. Paul's,"--or climb the hill at the city's back, on which the ungainly Lunatic Asylum stands. Or he may visit the First Presbyterian and Christ churches; or inspect the Gratiot street prison, where many sympathizers with the
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cause of the South were confined during the late war. But after all this, he may look about and be surprised to find that a city of four hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants cannot boast a first-class theatre,*

        *There are several theatrical buildings, but there is no regularly organized theatre.


and is compelled to have its opera season in a second-rate variety hall.

        

Illustration

The "Four Courts" Building--St. Louis. [Page 247.]

        If one insists on being amused, however, he can read the editorial columns of the leading newspapers, and note the playful animosity which evidently guides the editorial pens, getting a lesson or two, meanwhile, in journalism; for St. Louis is as rich in journals as it is poor in theatres,--The Democrat, The Republican, The Globe, and The Times all showing admirably equipped establishments. The Republican building is one of the most elegant and complete newspaper offices in the world; there is but one in the country which equals it, and that is in New York. The Democrat is a Republican journal, and The Republican is Democratic.

        

Illustration

The Gratiot Street Prison--St. Louis. [Page 247.]

        The first number of The Republican was issued in 1808, as The Gazette, printed on a rude press of Western manufacture. It has twice arisen, an untiring phoenix, from the ruins of great fires. Mr. Knapp, its editor, was always an opponent of secession, although strictly his paper might now be classed as an opposition sheet. The Democrat was an early advocate of free soil principles, and a stout defender of the new Republican party in the troublesome times following the election of Buchanan. It is now ably managed by George W. Fishback, one of the leading journalists of the West. The Globe grew out of a division of interests in The Democrat; both it and The Times have grown up handsomely. The Dispatch and The Journal are evening papers, respectively Democratic and Republican. The


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religious and literary press of the city numbers several able periodicals, among which is The Southern Review, a quarterly of national reputation.

        The higher intellectual life in St. Louis is not apparently so vigorous as that of many of the Eastern cities. The nature of its population prevents a large and symmetrical growth at present in that direction. A great portion of that population is either foreign born, or in the transition from the old to the new nationality; and the material growth of the city and the neighboring country is so "fierce and vast"*

        *See General Walker's preface to last Census Report.


that people have little time for abstractions, or for the graces and culture which come with literature and art. There are one or two promising artists, and Mr. Diehl and Mr. Pattison have done some good work.

        It has been said that no course of lectures has ever paid in St. Louis; this seems astonishing, if, indeed, it be the fact. The libraries are numerous and good. The Mercantile is the largest, and its spacious rooms are adorned with statues by Miss Hosmer, and other sculptors of note.

        

Illustration

First Presbyterian Church--St. Louis. [Page 247.]

        Of course the city boasts many splendid interiors and almost princely establishments. It could hardly fail to produce them, with a dry-goods trade which, in 1872, aggregated fifty millions of dollars, and is steadily increasing at the rate of thirty per cent. yearly. Before the war the dry-goods business engaged but from ten to twelve millions. The retail trade of one dry-goods establishment in St. Louis now amounts to more than six million dollars annually, and there are two which boast a million, and four half-a-million each. The trade in groceries spreads over an immense section, there being in this business three firms whose transactions amount to two millions each annually, and no less than seven which claim a million each.

        The sales of sugar by one of the principal sugar refinery companies amounted to 32,000,000 pounds in 1872, and yielded the Government nearly $1,000,000 of revenue. The wholesale trade in hardware counts up several millions, and in 1871 seven wholesale firms reported sales varying from $600,000 to $150,000. More than one hundred million feet of lumber are usually on hand in the St. Louis markets. From five to seven million dollars are invested in leather manufactures, and the annual sales exceed fifteen millions. Three-fourths of all the sheetings sold in St. Louis are now manufactured in cotton mills in the Mississippi valley, and St. Louis herself has considerable capital invested in the manufacture of textile fabrics for her own market.


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        The gain which the city has made since the war is shown by the statement that in 1860 the capital invested in manufactures there was about $13,000,000, while it is now more than $60,000,000. Fine churches, hospitals, and many worthy charities show that much of the profit from these immense businesses is properly employed.*

        *These figures only serve to show the condition of trade in St. Louis in 1873-74; the growth and increase is so rapid that it is almost impossible to collect statistics one month which will be correct the next.


In the local and municipal politics there are but few excitements. The Germans are not so readily welcomed in official positions as they once were, because a pretty liberal exercise of power had revived their feeling of nationality rather too strongly, and they were making German blood an overweening qualification for office.

        

Illustration

Christ Church--St. Louis. [Page 247.]

        The true valuation of the property within the limits of St. Louis city is $475,000,000. the bonded debt of the metropolis is a little over $14,000,000; the floating debt is $543,669; the amount of cash and assets now in the sinking fund, $805,744. It is impossible in the limits of a work of this description to give an exact statement of the amount of trade, and increase in wealth and manufactures. I have endeavored merely to show how vigorous and substantial that increase has been. New industries are constantly locating at St. Louis, or in its immediate vicinity; and a persistence is shown in their establishment which augurs grand results. The history of glass manufacture there has been one of disaster for many years; it is said that a million dollars has been sunk in unsuccessful efforts to establish it, but at last St. Louis has the credit of an establishment which can produce plate-glass, said to be equal to the best of European manufacture.

        St. Louis is, I believe, the only city in the United States which ever adopted the Continental method of licensing the social evil, and there has been a great battle recently fought over it, in which church, society, and the Legislature took active part. Mayor Brown, progressive and liberal in municipal matters, sided with the license system, maintaining that it was the only means to the much desired end--reform and control of the fallen. The money received from license fees was devoted purely to the furthering of reformatory measures. The Legislature was induced to consider the matter seriously, and St. Louis was finally compelled to relinquish a system which has been so much debated. Missouri maintains a State lottery, and that too has been somewhat discussed. It is honestly administered, but seems poor business for a State to lend its sanction to.


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        The Missouri river, flowing from west to east through the commonwealth, divides the State into northern and southern portions, the rich agricultural lands of which Missourians are so proud lying mainly north of the muddy, lazy stream. Where the river first touches the Kansas line there is, as has been already intimated, another instance of marvelous growth, still more wonderful, perhaps, than the progress of St. Louis.

        Kansas City, the young colossus bestriding the bold and irregular bluffs on the southern bank of the Missouri just below the mouth of the Kansas, was, in 1850, a shabby town, vainly struggling upon the flats by the river side. It had once been a station for the wild "bull-whackers," who came to load their "prairie schooners" from the Missouri river boats; and even several years afterward it was graceless enough to be thus touchingly characterized by one of the rude men of the frontier: "There's no railroad west of Junction City, no law west of Kansas City, and no God west of Hays' City." During the war the forlorn and remote town suffered all kinds of evils; but in 1865 the Missouri Pacific railroad reached it. Then it sprang up! It is now the terminus of nine splendid railroads, which stretch out their long arms over Kansas, Missouri, across the great desert to Colorado, give direct connection with Omaha, Chicago and the North, and tap Texas and her newly developed fields.

        The city seems to have sprung out of the ground by magic. Upon its scraggy bluffs, pierced in all directions by railroad tracks, more than 40,000 people have settled, and built miles of elegant streets, lined with fine warehouses, school and church edifices. They have bridged the Missouri, erected massive depots and stock-yards, fine hotels and many princely residences, and have two of the best newspapers in the North-west. They control the market from the Missouri river to the Rocky Mountains, have a valuation of $42,000,000, instead of the $1,000,000 which they boasted twelve years ago. The jobbing trade of the city alone amounts to $17,000,000. The aggregate deposits in the banking institutions in 1872 reached $72,000,000. Eighty railway trains arrive and depart from the crowded depots daily. During the last seven months of 1871, 200,000 cattle were received in its stock-yards. More beef is packed there than in any other city in the United States.

        In the lower town, which lies down close to the Kansas line (a portion of it, indeed, being in Kansas), one sees throngs of drovers and cattle-dealers; clouds of dust arise in the wake of the bellowing and plunging herds in transit; there is a lively stock-market, where hundreds of persons are buzzing about from sunrise until sunset; and the railway lines through the streets are so numerous that a stranger's life is constantly in danger. Four great packing-houses have facilities for dressing 2,000 cattle daily; the spectacle within their vast interiors, where hundreds of grimy and bloody butchers dexterously rend the vitals of the animals, and convert their flesh into carefully cured and packed provisions, being as imposing as it is disagreeable. In 1872 more than 20,000 cattle and 120,000 swine passed through the hands of Kansas City butchers.

        As the eastern terminus of the great Texan cattle roads of the West alone, Kansas City can become one of the largest cities in the West. It is a busy,


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bustling town, in whose streets the elegantly dressed business man jostles the slouching, unkempt farmer from the back-country; where the hearty currents of frontier rudeness meet and mingle with the smoothly-flowing and resistless streams of business civilization. Energy is necessary--for, when a new street is to be laid out, a bluff has to be leveled; the town has only been fastened to its place by sheer audacity and tremendous pluck. Thousands of Germans and Jews have settled in all the region round about.

        The hard riding, hard drinking, blustering Missourian, who carries bowie-knife and revolver--the type of those adventurous knights who used to amuse themselves by crusading into Kansas, and committing "border-ruffian" outrages, is rarely to be seen; and when one of them finds himself by accident in the roaring, trafficking town, he feels so uncomfortably out of place that he immediately turns his horse's head toward the open country again. Where in 1860 there was nothing but a desolate moor, now stands a depot through which 1,000,000 people annually pass. In twenty years Kansas City will become one of the great manufacturing centres of the country.

        The influence and mark of Southern manners have vanished from the northwestern sections of Missouri. A new type has arisen, and swept out of sight those who prevailed "befo' the waw." The same remark may be made of St. Louis. Once a thoroughly Southern city in all its attributes, it is now cosmopolitan. In the northern and north-western portions of the State there are large numbers of New England people; the tone of society and manners is a curious mixture of Colorado and Maine. In some of the counties there is wild life, and the enforcement of law is rather difficult; but such counties are the exceptions. The Missouri farmers can never allow a court to try a horse-thief; they always give him short shrift. Popular justice is very healthful in many instances, and keeps down future rascality.

        Population is the prime need of Missouri. The agricultural resources of the State are immense. The river-bottoms along the Missouri are as rich as the valley of the Nile. In journeying beside them on the Missouri Pacific railroad one sees immense spaces but recently cleared of forests, dotted with log-cabins, and barns and their omnipresent appendages, the hog-yards filled with dozens of swine; yellow corn-fields, acres on acres, extending as far as the eye can reach among the girdled trees; men and women cantering to market on bareback horses, and grimy children staring from the zig-zag fences.

        The life is like the products of the soil, dusty and coarse; there is a flavor of corn and pork about it, but it is full of vigor. The country north of the Missouri river is rich, undulating prairie, watered by abundant streams. The Platte country is famous for hemp, grain, and superb stock; and, indeed, there is no section of Missouri which is not well adapted to stock-raising. The climate is so mild that there is rarely any necessity of shelter for stock in the winter. The State is covered with a network of small streams; the grasses everywhere are rich, and grain crops are unfailing. Countless swine, sheep and cattle now roam over the vast swelling prairies; the swine, I am sorry to say, roaming with equal freedom in the streets of most of the towns: Immense tracts of good land south


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of the Osage river--a grand section for vineyards, sheep-farms, and fruit--can be had for from fifty cents to five dollars per acre. The bottom lands along the Mississippi river are very rich, and are all capable of cultivation. The staple products of the State--Indian corn, wheat, rye, oats, barley, buckwheat, potatoes, tobacco, hay, grapes, wool and hemp*

        *In 1870 Missouri produced nearly 4,000,000 pounds of wool; more than 1,000,000 pounds of honey; sorghum to the amount of 1,731,000 gallons, and 1,000,000 gallons of wine.


--grow luxuriantly and yield largely.*

        *There are at present more than 150,000 farms in Missouri, and there is ample room for five times as many more.


        The foliage of the Missouri forests is exquisitely beautiful. The timber-lines along the creeks, and the great woods, covering hundreds of acres, are alike charming. Even in sections where there has been no cultivation, one finds delicious lawns shaded by trees, as graceful and luxuriant as if the product of the care of centuries.

        The sycamores and oaks are of marvelous height, sometimes measuring 130 or 140 feet, and on all the forest monarchs hang graceful festoons of wild grapevines, the trumpet-flower, and many pretty winding parasites. In the south-east of the State are enormous groves of yellow pine, in whose aisles wild animals still stalk fearlessly. But the woodman's axe is rapidly annihilating all these beautiful sylvan retreats.

        In journeying across the State along the line of the Kansas City and Northern railroad, I found many little towns of the same unsubstantial outward appearance as those I had seen in South-western Missouri during our journey Texas-ward. The little villages seemed like those toy ones we play with in childhood, and were all of one general plan. "Saloon--Wines and Liquors" is always a conspicuous sign; and the hum and bustle of the town centres about the depot.

        Such places are the outgrowth of the railway; but the older towns are more substantial and interesting. Lexington, Moberly and Mexico are flourishing communities in the midst of fertile regions. St. Joseph is perhaps the most attractive, as it is the largest, in North-western Missouri. In aspect it is a New England town, and is built on hills along the Missouri river--hills which slope gently away until they reach rich prairies extending over thousands of acres. The sum total of its wholesale and retail trade averages $25,000,000 annually. It has costly hotels, theatres, churches, residences, a mammoth bridge across the great river,--and 25,000 inhabitants. From St. Joseph a railroad stretches across the State to Hannibal, another thriving city.

        But this is digression. These cities properly belong to the North-west, whose spirit they manifest, and whose manners and energy they represent. St. Louis and the country tributary to it, however, are Southern in interest, and must so remain. St. Louis will become one of the greatest clearing-houses of the South. Its interests are allied with those of Texas, Arkansas, the Indian Territory, and the Mississippi valley. Its rolling-mills must make rails with which to lay Southern railroads, and its capital must build mills in which to manufacture Southern cotton.


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        Along the Atlantic and Pacific railway line must come a trade which will build St. Louis marvelously fast. Pierce City, Joplin, and dozens of other small towns, will become wealthy and important. Springfield, now pioneering in cotton manufacture, will be a great spindle centre, like Lowell or Lawrence.

        St. Charles, the little town nestled at the junction of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, looks charmingly picturesque seen from the high bridge over the Missouri. The houses are nearly all German in architecture, and their low, broad, sloping roofs are huddled into artistic groups. A few steamers lie at the levée, others drift lazily along the broad, sheeny tide, between the rich green banks. The pretty town is really older than St. Louis, for as "Village des Cotes" it was settled two years before Laclede visited the site of St. Louis, and was once the seat of the State government, before the legislators betook themselves to the rather prosaic Jefferson City.

        Sainte Genevieve is another romantic old town, and a few venerable Frenchmen, lingering on the edge of these moving times, give many stories of the good old days when the trappers and voyageurs made it a rendezvous, and the people of St. Louis came there to buy provisions. They cannot comprehend the grand movement which has made St. Louis a metropolis, and left their village to its primitive quiet. They see hundreds of steamers and barges slip down the broad current, and it seems to them all a dream.

        There are many pretty, and some prosperous towns along the Mississippi, on the Missouri shore, between St. Louis and the section opposite the Ohio's mouth. St. Mary's, Wittenberg, Cape Girardeau, are thriving settlements, indicating a vigorous growth in the back-country, whence come rough farmers, mounted on tough horses, to see the boats come in, to get the mails, and, mayhap, a little whiskey.

        

Illustration

The Missouri Capitol, at Jefferson City.

        Southward of Cape Girardeau begins the "Great Swamp,"--a magnificent wilderness, extending to the mouth of the St. Francis river, a region picturesque enough in its wildness and desolation as I saw it, when the giant stream had overflowed all the lowlands, and left nothing visible but a half-submerged forest. Cape Girardeau lies on a solid bed of marble, and is called the Marble City. New Madrid, a small and unimposing town in the south-eastern portion of the State, and on the river, was the scene of the colossal earthquake in 1811, when the whole land was moved and swayed like the ocean, and the tallest oaks bent like reeds.


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        There are but four States in the Union which out-rank Missouri in the amount of manufacturing done within their limits. Those States are New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Ohio. It is true that Missouri and Illinois are so closely abreast that the supremacy is keenly disputed. The rate per cent of increase in Missouri has, however, been 394 since the war, while that in Illinois has been but 257.

        There is an earnestness in the manner in which the Missourian declares his determination to place his State at the head of all others, which almost convinces one that he will do it. The cash value of the farm lands in the State is fully four hundred million dollars, and is steadily increasing. In 1872 the State produced almost one hundred million bushels of corn, nearly eight million bushels of wheat, and seventeen million bushels of oats. So uniting agriculture and the rapid development of manufactures, Missouri has a wonderful future before her.

        

Illustration

"The Cheery Minstrel." [Page 256.]

        St. Louis certainly has considerably more than four hundred thousand inhabitants; the citizens claim 450,000, and, indeed, it is not improbable, judging from the rapidity with which the currents of immigration pour into it and through it. The people of Missouri have wisely left their capital in a small town, never entrusting it to the influences of a large metropolis, and at Jefferson City a legislature assembles, which is usually, though not always, up to the level of the State's progress. Jefferson City itself is a prosperous town of seven thousand inhabitants, situated on the south bank of the Missouri river, 125 miles west of St. Louis. It has been the capital since 1828, the seat of government having previously been rather peripatetic, making visits to St. Louis, St. Charles, and Marion.


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        The State-House occupies a bluff overhanging the river; the handsome residence of the governor, a crowded penitentiary, the Lincoln Institute, and the Court-House are the other public buildings. There is abundant and admirable limestone in the vicinity, and this alone, so well adapted to the construction of serviceable public buildings, may induce the Missourians to locate the capital permanently at "Jefferson." The Democrats have been for some time in power, and have distinguished themselves rather by a lack of progressive legislation than by any tendency to undo the advance already made.

        The State withheld itself from the cause of secession, and the memorable phrase of Governor Stewart, in his valedictory in 1861, shows the independence and good sense of the masses in the commonwealth: "Missouri will hold to the Union so long as it is worth the effort to preserve it. She cannot be frightened by the past unfriendly legislation of the North, nor dragooned into secession by the restrictive legislation of the extreme South." To-day the best spirit prevails; old enemies work in the upbuilding side by side, and the animosities of the past are buried under the impressive and fascinating opportunities of the present.

        The cheery minstrel, whose portrait our artist has given, makes music on the cars between St. Louis and the State capital. He is one of the celebrities of Missouri, known to thousands of the traveling public, and when the Legislature is in session, and the tide of travel is strong, coins many an honest penny, the fruit of much manipulation of harmonicon and triangle.


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XXVI.

DOWN THE MISSISSIPPI FROM ST. LOUIS.


                         "O, starboard side!"
                         "Oo-le-oo-le-oo!"
                         "Nudder one down dar!"

        THE roustabouts were loading sacks of corn from one of the immense elevators at East St. Louis into the recesses of that mammoth steamboat, the "Great Republic," and singing at their toil. Very lustily had they worked, these grimy and uncouth men and boys, clad in soiled and ragged garments, from early morning, and it was full midnight as we stood listening to their song. In their voices, and in the characteristic wail with which each refrain ended, there was a kind of grim passion, not unmixed with religious fervor. The singers' tones seemed to sink into a lament, as if in despair at faulty expression.

Illustration

The Steamer "Great Republic," a Mississippi River Boat.

But the music kept them steadily at their work,--tugging at the coarse, heavy sacks, while the rain poured down in torrents. The "torch-baskets" sent forth their cheery light and crackle, and the heat-lightning, so terrible in Missouri, now and then disclosed to those of us still awake the slumbering city, with
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its myriad lights, and its sloping hills packed with dark, smoke-discolored houses, beyond the river.

        Toward morning, the great steamer turned swiftly round, the very spray from the boiling water seeming crowded with oaths, as the officers drove the negroes to their several tasks; and the "Great Republic" glided slowly, and with scarcely a perceptible motion, down the stream. The blinking lights of the ferries behind us faded into distance. We passed tug-boats fuming and growling like monsters, drawing after them mysterious trains of barges; and finally entered upon the solitude which one finds so impressive upon the Mississippi.

        

Illustration

"Down the steep banks would come kaleidoscopic processions of negroes and flour barrels." [Page 259.]

        A journey of 1,200 miles by water was before us. We were sailing from the treacherous, transition weather of Missourian March to meet loveliest summer robed in green, and garlanded with fairest blooms. The thought was inspiring. Eight days of this restful sailing on the gently-throbbing current, and we should see the lowlands, the Cherokee rose, the jessamine, the orange-tree. Wakeful and pacing the deck, across which blew a chill breeze, with my Ulster close about me, I pondered upon my journey and the journey's end.

        The "Great Republic" is the largest steamer on the Mississippi river,--literally a floating palace. The luxuriantly furnished cabin is almost as long and quite as ample as the promenade hall in the Hombourg Kursaal, and has accommodations for 200 guests. Standing on the upper deck or in the pilot-house, one fancies the graceful structure to be at rest, even when going at full speed. This is the very luxury of travel. An army of servants come and go. As in an ocean voyage, breakfast, dinner and tea succeed each other so quickly that one regrets the rapid flight of the hours. In the evening there is the blaze of the chandeliers, the opened piano, a colored band grouped around it and playing tasteful music while the youths and maidens dance. If the weather is warm, there are trips about the moonlit wilderness of decks--and flirtations.


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        The two-score negro "roustabouts" on the boat were sources of infinite amusement to the passengers. At the small landings the "Great Republic" would lower her gang-planks, and down the steep banks would come kaleidoscopic processions of negroes and fluor barrels. The pilots, perched in their cosy cage, twisted the wheel, and told us strange stories. Romantic enough were their accounts of the adventures of steamers in war time,--how they ran the gauntlet here, and were seized there; and how, now and then, Confederate shells came crashing uncomfortably near the pilots themselves. The pilots on the Western rivers have an association, with head-quarters at St. Louis, and branches at Louisville, Pittsburg, and Cincinnati. Each of the seventy-four members, on his trip, makes a report of changes in the channel, or obstructions, which is forwarded from point to point to all the others. They are men of great energy, of quaint, dry humor, and fond of spinning yarns. The genial "Mark Twain" served his apprenticeship as pilot, and one of his old companions and tutors, now on the "Great Republic," gave us reminiscences of the humorist. One sees, on a journey down the Mississippi, where Mark found many of his queerest and seemingly impossible types.

        Our first night on the river was so extremely dark that the captain made fast to a shelving bank, and the "Great Republic" laid by till early dawn. Then

Illustration

The Levée at Cairo, Illinois.

we sailed down past the fertile bottom lands of Missouri and Illinois, past Grand Tower, with its furnaces and crowded villages, past the great cypress swamps and the wooded lands, until we came to Cairo, in Illinois, at the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi. One broad lake spread a placid sheet above the flat
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country at the Ohio's mouth. The "Great Eastern" might have swung round in front of the Illinois Central tracks at Cairo. Stopping but to load more bags of corn and hogsheads of bacon, with hundreds of clamorous fowls, we turned, and once more entered the giant river, which was then beginning to show a determination to overflow all proper bounds, and invade the lands upon its banks.

Illustration

An Inundated Town on the Mississippi's Bank.

        When the rains have swollen its tributary rivers to more than their ordinary volume, the Mississippi is grand, terrible, treacherous. Always subtle and serpent-like in its mode of stealing upon its prey, it swallows up acres at one fell swoop; on one side sweeping them away from their frail hold on the main land, while, on the other, it covers plantations with slime, and broken tree trunks and boughs, forcing the frightened inhabitants into the second story of their cabins, and driving the cattle and swine upon high knolls to starve, or perhaps finally to drown. It pierces the puny levées which have cost the States bordering upon it such immense sums, and goes bubbling and roaring through the crevasses, distracting the planters, and sending dismay to millions of people in a single night. It promises a fall on one day; on another it rises so suddenly that the adventurous woodmen along the border have scarcely time to flee. It makes a lake of the fertile country between the two great rivers; it carries off hundreds of woodpiles, which lonely and patient labor has heaped, in the hope that a passing steamer will buy them up, and thus reward a season's work. Out of each small town on its western bank set too carelessly by the water's edge, it makes a pigmy Venice, or floats it off altogether. As the huge steamer glided along on the mighty current, we could see families perched in the second stories of their houses, gazing grimly out upon the approaching ruin. At one point a man was sculling from house to barn-yard with food for his stock. The log barn was a dreary pile in the midst of the flood. The swine and cows stood shivering on a pine knoll, disconsolately burrowing and browsing. Hailed by some flustered pater-familias or plantation master bound to the nearest town for supplies, we took him to his destination. As we got below the Arkansas and White rivers, the gigantic volume of water had so far overrun its natural boundaries that we seemed at sea, instead of upon an inland river. The cottonwoods and cypresses stood up amid


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the water wilderness like ghosts. Gazing into the long avenues of the sombre forests, we could see only the same level, all-enveloping flood. In the open country the cabins seemed ready to sail away, though their masters were usually smoking with much equanimity, and awaiting a "fall."

        While we are gossiping of the river, let us consider its peculiarities and the danger of its inundations more fully. Below the mouth of the Missouri, the great river takes a wholly different appearance and character from those of the lovely stream which stretches from Lake Pepin down; and some of the old pilots say that section of it below St. Louis should have been called the "Missouri" rather than the Mississippi. The Missouri, they claim, gives to the Father of Waters most of the characteristics which dominate it until it has been reinforced

Illustration

The Pilot-House of the "Great Republic." [Page 259.]

by the Ohio, the Arkansas, the White and the Red. The river is forever making land on one side, and tearing it away on the other, the bends in its course not permitting the current to wash both banks with equal force. The farmer on the alluvial bottoms sees with dismay his corn-field diminish year by year, acres slipping into the dark current; yet the ease with which corn, cotton and sugar are raised in their respective localities along its banks is such that they willingly run the risk. The pilots complain bitterly of the constant changes in the channel, which it requires the eyes of Argus almost to detect. They say that the current might be made to bear more upon the rocky shores, thus avoiding disastrous losses of land and many "crevasses," as the gaps made in the levées by the
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encroaching water are called. The stream is so crooked that a twenty miles sail by water is sometimes necessary where the distance across the promontory, round which the steamer must go, is not more than a mile. Sometimes the current, tired of the detour, itself brushes away the promontory, and the astonished pilots see a totally new course opened before them.

        The occasional inundations of the alluvial lands are so little understood, and the general course of the Mississippi is comprehended by so few, that a little idea of its progress downward to the Delta country may prove interesting.

        At the junction of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers properly begins what is known as the Lower Mississippi, although the name is not usually applied to the stream until it has crossed the grand "rocky chain" or bed extending across its channel between St. Louis and Cairo. All below this "chain," in the Mississippi valley, is alluvium, through which the river meanders from one bluff to another --the bluffs being from forty to one hundred miles apart. Touching these bluffs at Commerce, Missouri, on the west bank, it courses across the valley, passing the vast prairies of Lower Illinois, known as "Egypt," on the east, meets the Ohio at Cairo, then strikes the bluffs again at Columbus, on the eastern or Kentucky shore. It skirts these bluffs as far as Memphis, having on its west the broad earthquake lands of Missouri and Arkansas. It then once more crosses its valley to meet the waters of the White and Arkansas rivers, and skirts the bluffs at Helena in Arkansas, flanking and hemming in the St. Francis with her swamps and "sunk lands." Reinforced by the White and Arkansas, it again crosses its valley to meet the Yazoo near Vicksburg, creating the immense Yazoo reservoir on the east bank, extending from the vicinity of Memphis to Vicksburg, and the valleys and swamps of the Macon and Tensas, on the west side. These latter have no terminus save the Gulf of Mexico, as the river does not approach the western bluffs after leaving Helena. From Vicksburg to Baton Rouge the river hugs the eastern bluffs, and from Baton Rouge to the mouth is the pure "delta country," for a distance of more than 200 miles.

        

Illustration

A Crevasse in the Mississippi River's Banks.

        All of this valley below the rocky chain crossing the river channel lies lower than the high water line of this powerful current, and the efforts of men to stay an inundation seem very puerile. The valley is divided into several natural districts, one embracing the lands from the chain to the vicinity of Helena, where the St. Francis debouches; another from Helena nearly to Vicksburg on the east bank, for the Yazoo valley; a third comprises the country from the Arkansas to the Red river, known as the Macon and Tensas valley; a fourth runs from the Red river to the Gulf, on the west side; and a fifth from Baton Rouge to the Gulf on the east side.


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        Some of these districts have been imperfectly levéed; others have never been protected at all, and the general opinion is that when high water does come the fact that there are a few levées increases the danger of a complete inundation, as the stream, finding itself restrained, breaks the barriers which attempt to control its current. Under the slave system, the planters on the lowlands were able to guard against ruin by water by elaborate preparation and vigilance, which they cannot summon now; and it is believed that nothing but the execution of a grand national work by the General Government will ever secure to the delta that immunity from ruin so desirable for people already savagely stripped by war and political knavery.

        Yet the inundations do not come with alarming frequency. In 1867 the lowlands were overflowed and distress ensued; and in this year, 1874, the confusion, distress, and trepidation have been terrible to witness. Starvation has stood at thousands of doors, and only the hands of the Government and charity have saved hundreds from miserable deaths. Below Memphis, and in a wide belt of country round about, along the bottom lands in the State of Mississippi, and throughout the Louisiana lowlands, there has been immense damage. In an hour the planter is doomed to see a thousand acres, which have been carefully prepared for planting cotton, covered with water two or three feet deep. The country round about becomes a swamp--the roads are rivers, the lakes are seas.

        As the Mississippi valley, south and north, will in future be one of the most populous sections of the American Union, and as the great network of rivers which penetrate to the Rocky Mountains, and the mighty cañons of the Mauvaises Terres are so well adapted for commercial highways; as a score of States and Territories border on the Mississippi alone, why should not the National Government at once undertake the control and care of the stream and its tributaries?


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XXVII.

MEMPHIS, THE CHIEF CITY OF TENNESSEE--ITS TRADE AND CHARACTER.

        PASSING Columbus and Hickman,--two thriving towns on the Kentucky shore,--and the ruins of the fortifications on "Island Number Ten," an island rapidly sinking in Mississippi's insidious embrace, past Fort Pillow, now rounding bends which took us miles out of our way, and now venturing through "cut-offs," made by the sudden action of the resistless flood, we skirted along the vast desolate Arkansas shore, reached the third Chickasaw bluff on the Tennessee side, and saw before us the city of Memphis.

        Memphis is the chief city of Western Tennessee, and, indeed, of the whole State. It has been well and widely known ever since the five thousand acre

Illustration

View in the City Park at Memphis, Tennessee.

tract on the fourth Chickasaw bluff, on which the town now stands, came into the possession of Judge Overton, Major Winchester, and General Andrew Jackson, the original proprietors. From the river, Memphis presents quite an imposing appearance, stately piles of buildings running along the bluff, at whose foot stretches a levée, similar to those of all the other river towns. Opposite to it, on the west bank of the Mississippi, is the level line of the Arkansas bottom, whose lowlands are often submerged; and from a ferry station at Hopefield a railroad leads to Little Rock, the Arkansas capital. The streets of Memphis are broad, regular, and lined with handsome buildings; there is but one drawback to their perfection, and that is a wooden pavement, so badly put down, and so poorly cared for, that a ride over it in an omnibus is almost unendurable. In the centre of the town is an exquisite little park, filled with delicate foliage, where a bust of Andrew Jackson frowns upon the tame squirrels frisking around it, or climbing on the visitor's shoulders
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and exploring his pockets for chestnuts. Since the terrible visitation of yellow fever in 1873, the City Government has made most extraordinary efforts to secure perfect drainage and cleanliness in the streets; and Memphis certainly compares favorably in this respect with any of its riparian sisters, Northern or Southern. On the avenues leading from the river toward the open country there are many lovely residences surrounded by cool and inviting lawns; the churches and school buildings are handsome and numerous, and there is an air of activity and thrift which I was not prepared to find manifested after the severe experiences through which the city has passed. Several good newspapers--the Avalanche, the Appeal, the Ledger, and the Register, do much to enliven Memphis and the highly prosperous county of Shelby, in which it stands; and the carnival in winter, and the cotton trade until midsummer, make excitement the rule. Those who fancied Memphis "dead" after the yellow fever's ghastly visitation are wrong; the number of business houses in the city has increased ten per cent. since that terrible event, the number of physicians, curious to note, decreasing in exactly the same proportion. The wholesale trade has been growing enormously, and the influx of population has been so very considerable, that Memphis claims to-day about 65,000 inhabitants. Great injustice has been done the city in former times by the false statement extensively published that, after Valparaiso and Prague, Memphis had the highest death-rate in the world. The cemetery on the Chickasaw bluff, besides receiving the dead of the city itself, serves as the burial place for the dead of all the migratory multitudes who toil up and down the currents of the half-dozen giant streams which bring trade and people to Memphis. It is quite probable, whatever appearances may indicate, that the death-rate of Memphis is no higher than that of any city in the central valley of the Mississippi. The city itself occupies a tract of three square miles. Opposite it is the centre of a district, one hundred miles square, east of the White and St. Francis rivers and west of the Mississippi, which has been for ages enriched by the alluvial deposits brought down by the mighty river. It is said that in this area there are 5,000,000 acres, each one of which is capable of producing annually a bale of cotton. This plain, says a local writer, "was the rich granary of the city of the mound-builders, once occupying, as suggested by the great mounds on the city's southern confines, the heights on which Memphis stands." North of the city lies the famous Big Creek section, the home of many opulent cotton-planters before the war, but now but little cultivated, and with many of its fine lands deserted.

        Memphis is very near the centre of the cotton belt, and has an enormous supply trade with Arkansas, Mississippi, Western Tennessee, and Northern Alabama. The export trade of inland ports like Memphis, Macon, and Augusta has become so great that the railroads have accorded them very low rates. Much of the cotton once sent to New Orleans is now shipped directly across the country to Norfolk. The railroad system of Memphis is already very important--as follows: The Memphis and Charleston road extends to Stevenson in North Alabama, and connects with routes to Norfolk and the sea, as well as with those


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running northward. It is at present under a lease to the Southern Railway Security Company, but it is expected that the control of the line will in time return to the stockholders. Next in importance is the Louisville and Nashville and Great Southern railroad, sometimes called the Memphis and Ohio. This line extends to Paris, Tennessee, connecting thence to Louisville, Kentucky, and with the Memphis and Clarkville and Louisville and Nashville roads. The Mississippi and Tennessee road extends from Memphis to Grenada, a smart town in the former State, and runs through an excellent cotton-raising, although thinly settled country, for one hundred miles, connecting by the Mississippi Central with New Orleans. The road to Little Rock gives connection with the network in which Texas is tangled; and the Memphis and Paducah, only partially completed, will give almost an air-line to Chicago. The Memphis and Selma road is also begun. But the project considered of most importance by the citizens of Memphis is the contemplated road from Kansas City to Memphis, which would render the latter independent of and in direct competition with St. Louis.

        The cotton trade of Memphis represents from $35,000,000 to $40,000,000, annually. Its growth has been extraordinary. In 1860-61 Memphis received nearly 400,000 bales. She then had also an extensive tobacco trade, which the war took from her, and which has never been returned. After the war, production was so crippled that there was but a gradual return to the old figures in the cotton trade, as shown by the appended table:

        
Year. Bales.
1867-68 254,240
1868-69 247,698
1869-70 247,654
1870-71 511,432
1871-72 380,934
1872-73 414,955
1873-74 up to April 398,637

        The cotton received at Memphis comes mainly from Western Tennessee, Northern and Central Alabama, the same sections of Mississippi, and Arkansas, as far south as Chicot. The south-eastern portion of Missouri also furnishes some cotton to Memphis. The market is made up of buyers from New England and the Northern spinning element generally, and from Liverpool, Manchester, and the continental ports. Nearly one-third of the receipts, it is said, are now taken by foreign shippers. Of course most of those purchases go to Europe via Norfolk, New York, or Boston, but one German buyer this season shipped forty thousand bales via New Orleans and the Gulf. The character of the cotton is such as to make it specially sought after by all classes of spinners. As a cottonport Memphis is independent of New Orleans, and this independence has been recently achieved. Of the entire crop brought into Memphis in 1860-61 there were 184,366 bales sent to the Louisiana metropolis: whereas in 1872-73 scarcely 25,000 bales were sent there for market. The prices are so nearly up to those of New Orleans as not to leave a margin. The Louisville and Nashville road takes a great deal of cotton northward, and the various packet lines to St. Louis, to Cairo, to Cincinnati, Evansville, and Cannelton, carry many hundreds of bales.


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There are so many lines that Memphis is never blockaded. As a single item of commerce, that of cotton is enormous, amounting, at an average estimate, to something like $28,000,000. It is calculated that the whole commerce of Memphis foots up $62,000,000 yearly. Thousands on thousands of barrels of flour, pork, bales of hay, sacks of oats, barrels of corn-meal, are brought in on the Mississippi river and thence dispersed. Besides handling one-eighth of the entire cotton crop of the United States, Memphis has thus far kept in food as well as in courage a very large portion of the half-discouraged planters of the South; her merchants having made great efforts to accommodate themselves to the new order of things. So changed are all the conditions under which planters labor, and so evident is it that the character of planting or farming must change a good deal, that the merchants themselves are beginning to doubt the real beneficence of the supply system.

        Memphis now has a prosperous Cotton Exchange, and has had an excellent Chamber of Commerce for many years. Shelby county is rich. Its people were wont to grumble about taxes, but have at last become wiser, and it was even expected, at the date of my visit, that the Mayor, a Republican, would succeed in collecting $700,000 of "back taxes." Party lines are not especially regarded in city politics, there being a general happy determination to take the best man. The negroes have great numbers of societies, masonic, benevolent, and strictly religious; and one often sees in a dusky procession, neatly clad, the "Sons" or "Daughters of Zion," or the "Independent Pole Bearers," or the "Sons of Ham," or the "Social Benevolent Society."

        Memphis has a banking capital of $2,000,000, which for six months of the year is ample, but during the cotton season is by no means enough. Her schools are excellent, both for white and black, and there is a State Female College in the neighborhood. There are numerous excellent Catholic schools, to which, as elsewhere in the South, those Protestant parents who do not yet look with favor on the free system send their children. For about a year the number of pupils in the public schools has been increasing at the rate of two hundred monthly. One-fourth of the children in the free schools are colored, and one of the school-houses for the blacks contains seven hundred pupils.

        In the busy season there are seven steamers a week from St. Louis to Memphis, and there are three which extend their trips to Vicksburg--a voyage of nine hundred miles. The Memphis and St. Louis Packet Company brings down about one hundred and fifty thousand tons of freight yearly, and carries up stream perhaps forty thousand bales of cotton in the same period. The gigantic elevator at Memphis, built on the sloping bluff so that next the water it is of the height of an ordinary three-story house, showed only its top floor, so high ran the Mississippi, at the time of my visit. From Memphis, steamboats run up the Arkansas and the White rivers, threading their way to the interior of Arkansas. There is a line to Napoleon, Arkansas, two hundred miles below; one to the plantations on the St. Francis river, and one direct to Cincinnati. The lack of confidence between merchants and planter sometimes causes a diminution


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in amount of supplies forwarded; but the dull seasons are brief.*

        *The writer desires to express his obligations to Mr. J. S. Toof, Secretary Memphis Cotton Exchange, and to Messrs. Brower and Thompson of the Avalanche, for many interesting facts concerning the city's growth.


The manufactures of Memphis are not numerous; there are some oil-mills, a few foundries, and steam saw-mills for cutting up the superb cypresses from the brakes in the western district of Arkansas.

        The yellow fever came to Memphis in 1855 and again in 1867, each time having been brought by steamer from below. In 1867 it was quite severe in its ravages, but was confined to the section of the city where it first appeared. In August of 1873 it came again, and nothing stayed its course. Two boats arrived during the month of August, the "George C. Wolf," from Shreveport, and the tow-boat "Bee," from New Orleans, each with a sick man on board. These men

Illustration

The Carnival at Memphis, Tennessee--"The gorgeous pageants of the mysterious Memphi." [Page 269.]

were put off at the upper levée, where there is a coal-fleet, and in front of what is known as "Happy Hollow," not far from the remains of the Government navy-yard which Memphis once boasted. It is a low, marshy place, which the genius of Dickens would have delighted to picture, filled with shanties and flat-boats, with old hulks drifted up during high water and then adopted by wretched 'long
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shoremen as their habitations. One of the two men died before he could be taken to hospital; the other shortly after reaching it, and the physicians hinted that they thought the disease the yellow fever. For three weeks it was kept in "Happy Hollow," then it moved northward through the navy-yard, and suddenly several deaths on Promenade street, one of the principal avenues, were announced.

        The authorities then went at their work, but it was too late, except to cleanse and disinfect the city. The deaths grew daily more numerous; funerals blocked the way; the stampede began. Tens of thousands of people fled; other thousands, not daring to sleep in the plague-smitten town, left Memphis nightly, to return in the day. From September until November hardly ten thousand people slept in town over night. The streets were almost deserted save by the funeral trains. Heroism of the noblest kind was freely shown. Catholic and Protestant clergymen and physicians ran untold risks, and men and women freely laid down their lives in charitable service. Twenty-five hundred persons died in the period between August and November. The thriving city had become a charnel house. But one day there came a frost, and though suffering too severely to be wild in their rejoicings, the people knew that the plague itself was doomed. They assembled and adopted an effective sanitary code, appointed a fine board of health, and cleansed the town. Memphis to-day is in far less danger of a repetition of the dreadful scenes of last year than are Vicksburg or New Orleans or half-a-dozen other Southern cities. Half-a-million dollars contributed by other States were expended in the burial of the dead and the needed medical attendance during the reign of the plague.

        This terrible visitation did not, however, prevent Memphis from holding her annual carnival, and repeating, in the streets so lately filled with funerals, the gorgeous pageants of the mysterious Memphi--such as the Egyptians gazed on two thousand years before Christ was born,--the pretty theatres being filled with glitter of costumes and the echoes of delicious music. The carnival is now so firmly rooted in the affections of the citizens of Memphis that nothing can unsettle it.


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XXVIII.

THE "SUPPLY" SYSTEM IN THE COTTON COUNTRY, AND ITS RESULTS--NEGRO LABOR--PRESENT PLANS OF WORKING COTTON PLANTATIONS--THE BLACK MAN IN THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY.

        AT Memphis I heard much concerning the miseries and revelations of both capitalists and laborers in the cotton country. It is easy to see that the old planters are in trouble under the new order of things. They are not willing to become farmers. "These people will never," said to me a gentleman familiar with the whole cotton-planting interest, "grow their own supplies until they are compelled to." They choose to depend upon the West for the coarse food supplied to negro laborers, and seem totally unconscious of the fact that they can never secure white immigration, so much desired, until they raise the status of the laboring man. White labor has proved a failure in a great many sections of the South, because the laborers who come to make trial are not properly met. They are offered strong inducements--can purchase good lands on almost unlimited credit, and are kindly received--but they find all the conditions of labor so repulsive that they become disheartened; and give up the experiment. The negro along the Mississippi works better than ever before since freedom came to him, because he is obliged to toil or starve, and because, being the main stay of the planters, they accord to him very favorable conditions. Self-interest is teaching the planters a good deal, and in the cotton-growing regions of Northern Alabama and Mississippi, as well as generally throughout the older cotton States, a diversity of crops will in time force itself upon them as a measure of protection.

        It is noticed that cotton culture is gradually moving from the Atlantic seaboard to newer and more productive lands. The States west of the Mississippi, and bordering on that stream, are receiving immense colonies of negroes fleeing from the temporarily exhausted sections of Alabama, and the lands which they have left will soon come under the influence of fertilizers, and corn and rice and wheat will be raised. In consequence of the gradual change in the location of the planting interest, buyers from the North in such markets as Memphis hear from time to time that less cotton is planted than heretofore, and are led to figure on higher prices; but they find that new lands are constantly opened up, and that the yield on them is surprising. It is the belief of many acute observers living at important points along the Mississippi river that the ultimate home of the black man is to be west of that stream, on the rich bottom lands where the white man has never been known to labor, and where it would be perilous to his health


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to settle. In the fall and winter of each year the migration to Arkansas and Louisiana is alarming to the white planters left behind. In Western Tennessee the exodus has not been severely felt as yet, but it will doubtless come. The two hundred thousand negroes in that rich and flourishing region are reasonably content. They do not, in the various counties, enter so much into politics as they did immediately after the war. They show there, as, indeed, almost everywhere in the Mississippi valley, a tendency to get into communities by themselves, and seem to have no desire to force their way into the company of the white man.

        There must, and will be, a radical change in the conduct of the rising generation of planters. The younger men are, I think, convinced that it is a mistake to depend on Western and Northern markets for the articles of daily consumption, and for nearly everything which goes to make life tolerable. But the elders, grounded by a lifetime of habit in the methods which served them well under a slave régime, but which are ruinous now-a-days, will never change their course. They will continue to bewail the unfortunate fate to which they think themselves condemned--or will rest in the assurance that they can do very well in the present chaotic condition of things, provided Providence does not allow their crops to fail. They cannot be brought to see that their only safety lies in making cotton their surplus crop; that they must absolutely dig their sustenance, as well as their riches, out of the ground.

        Before the war, a planter who owned a plantation of two thousand acres, and two hundred negroes upon it, would, when he came to make his January settlement with his merchant in town, invest whatever there was to his credit in more land and more negroes. Now the more land he buys the worse he is off, because he finds it very hard to get it worked up to the old standard, and unless he does, he can ill afford to buy supplies from the outer world at the heavy prices charged for them--or if he can do that, he can accomplish little else. As most of his capital was taken from him by the series of events which liberated his slaves, he has been compelled, since the war, to undertake his planting operations on borrowed capital, or, in other words, has relied on a merchant or middle-man to furnish food and clothing for his laborers, and all the means necessary to get his crop, baled and weighed, to the market. The failure of his crop would, of course, cover him with liabilities; but such has been his fatal persistence in this false system that he has been able to struggle through, as in Alabama, three successive crop failures.

        The merchant, somewhat reconciled to the anomalous condition of affairs by the large profits he can make on coarse goods brought long distances, has himself pushed endurance and courage to an extreme point, and when he dare give credit no longer, hosts of planters are often placed in the most painful and embarrassing positions. So they gather up the wrecks of their fortunes, pack their Lares and Penates in an emigrant wagon or car, and doggedly work their way to Texas.

        The appalling failure of crops in certain sections has not, however, lessened the cotton production of the region supplied from Memphis. In the aggregate


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it is greater than ever before, and I was informed that its increase would be even more than it is if so many planters did not "overcrop"--that is, plant more than they can cultivate. Those who plant a little land, and care for it thoroughly, usually make some money, even although they depend upon far-off markets for their sustenance, and are completely at the mercy of the merchants. It is believed that the crop failures will induce planters, in the sections which have suffered, to make an effort to grow their own supplies, and until that effort has been successful, there can be no real prosperity among them. Even when fortune smiles, and they make a good crop, but little is left after a settlement with the merchant. Life is somewhat barren and unattractive to the man who, after a laborious season spent in cultivating one staple, finds that, after all, he has only made a living out of it. He has done nothing to make his surroundings agreeable and comfortable; his buildings are unsightly and rickety, and there are very few stores in his cellar, if indeed he has any cellar at all.

        The region which finds its market and gets its supplies in Memphis, Vicksburg, and Natchez, is probably as fair a sample of the cotton-producing portion of the South as any other, and I found in it all the ills and all the advantages complained of or claimed elsewhere. Imagine a farming country which depends absolutely for its food on the West and North-west; where every barrel of flour which the farmer buys, the bacon which he seems to prefer to the beef and mutton which he might raise on his own lands, the clothes on his back, the shoes on his feet, the very vegetables which the poorest laborer in the Northern agricultural regions grows in his door-yard--everything, in fact,--has been brought hundreds of miles by steamer or by rail, and has passed through the hands of the shipper, the carrier, the wharfmen, the reshipper (if the planter live in a remote section), and the local merchant!

        Imagine a people possessed of superior facilities, who might live, as the vulgar saying has it, on the fat of the land, who are yet so dependent that a worm crawling over a few cotton leaves, or the rise of one or two streams, may reduce them to misery and indebtedness from which it will take years to recover! Men who consider themselves poorly paid and badly treated in Northern farming and manufacturing regions live better and have more than do the overseers of huge plantations in this cotton country. If you enter into conversation with people who fare thus poorly, they will tell you that, if they raise vegetables, the "niggers" will steal them; that if times were not so hard, and seasons were not so disastrous, the supply system would work very well; that they cannot organize their labor so as to secure a basis on which to calculate safely; and will finally end by declaring that the South is ruined forever.

        These are the opinions of the elders mainly. Younger men, who see the necessity of change and new organization, believe that they must in future cultivate other crops besides cotton; that they must do away with supply-merchants, and try at least to raise what is needed for sustenance. There are, of course, sections where the planter finds it cheapest to obtain his corn and flour from St. Louis; but these are small items. There are a hundred things which he requires, and which are grown as well South as North. Until the South has got capital


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enough together to localize manufactures, the same thing must be said of all manufactured articles; but why should a needless expenditure be encouraged by the very people whom it injures and endangers?

        There are many plans of working large plantations now in vogue, and sometimes the various systems are all in operation on the same tract. The plan of "shares" prevails extensively, the planter taking out the expenses of the crop, and, when it is sold, dividing the net proceeds with the negroes who have produced it. In some cases in the vicinity of Natchez, land is leased to the freedmen on condition that they shall pay so many bales of cotton for the use of so many acres, furnishing their own supplies. Other planters lease the land in the same way, and agree to furnish the supplies also. Still others depend entirely upon the wages system, but of course have to furnish supplies at the outset, deducting the cost from the wages paid hands after the crop is raised. Sometimes the plantation is leased to "squads," as they are called, and the "squad leader" negotiates the advances, giving "liens" on the squad's share of the crop and on the mules and horses they may own. This plan has worked very well and is looked upon favorably.

        Under the slave régime, the negroes working a large plantation were all quartered at night in a kind of central group of huts, known as the "quarters;" but it has been found an excellent idea to divide up the hundred or five hundred laborers among a number of these little villages, each located on the section of the plantation which they have leased. By this process, commonly known as "segregation of quarters," many desirable results have been accomplished; the negro has been encouraged to devote some attention to his home, and been hindered from the vices engendered by excessive crowding. On some plantations one may find a dozen squads, each working on a different plan, the planters, or land owners, hoping in this way to find out which system will be most advantageous to themselves and most binding on the negro.

        Clairmont, a plantation of three thousand acres, of which one thousand are now cultivated, on the Louisiana side of the Mississippi river, opposite to Natchez, is cut up into lots of one hundred acres each, and on each division are ten laborers who have leased the land in various ways. It was amusing, by the way, to note the calculation that one negro made when negotiating for one of these tracts. He was to be allowed one-half, but was vociferous for one-tenth. As ten is more than two, he supposed a tenth to be more than a half. On this Clairmont, in 1860, the owner raised 1,000 bales of cotton and 8,000 bushels of corn; now he raises about 500 bales, and hardly any corn.

        Still, the conduct of the laborers is encouraging. The little villages springing up here and there on the broad acres have a tendency to localize the negroes, who have heretofore been very much inclined to rove about, and each man is allowed to have half an acre of ground for his garden. The supplies spoken of as furnished the negroes are of the rudest description--pork, meal and molasses--all brought hundreds, nay, thousands of miles, when every one of the laborers could, with a little care, grow enough to feed himself and his family.


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        But the negro throughout the cotton belt takes little thought for the morrow. He works lazily, although, in some places, pretty steadily. In others he takes a day here and there out of the week in such a manner as to render him almost useless. The planter always feels that the negro is irresponsible and must be taken care of. If he settles on a small tract of land of his own, as so many thousand do now-a-days, he becomes almost a cumberer of the ground, caring for nothing save to get a living, and raising only a bale of cotton or so wherewith to get "supplies." For the rest he can fish and hunt. He does n't care to become a scientific farmer. Thrift has no charms for him. He has never been educated to care for himself; how should he suddenly leap forth, a new man, into the changed order of things?

        Nevertheless, some of the planters along the river near Natchez said, "Give the negro his due. The merchant will ordinarily stand a better chance of collecting all his advance from fifty small black planters than from fifty whites of the same class, when the crop is successful." But if the negro's crop fails, he feels very loth to pay up, although he may have the means. He seems to think the debt has become outlawed. In success he is generally certain to pay his "store account," which is varied, and comprehends a history of his progress during the year.

        The shrewd Hebrew, who has entered into the commerce of the South in such a manner as almost to preclude Gentile competition, understands the freedman very well, and manages him in trade. The negro likes to be treated with consideration when he visits the "store," and he finds something refreshing and friendly in the profuse European manner and enthusiastic lingo of Messrs. Moses and Abraham. The Hebrew merchants have large establishments in all the planting districts. In Mississippi and in some other sections they have made more than 100 per cent. retail profit, and excuse themselves for it by saying that as they do not always get their money, they must make up for bad debts. They are obliged to watch both white and black planters who procure advances from them, to make sure that they produce a crop. If the merchant sees that there is likely to be but half a crop, he sometimes notifies the planters that they must thereafter draw only half the amount agreed upon at the outset. In short, in some sections the Hebrew is the taskmaster, arbiter and guardian of the planters' destinies.

        Some of the elder planters are liberal in their ideas, and would welcome a complete change in the labor system, but they do not believe one possible. One of the best known and influential in the valley told me that he and his neighbors in the magnificent Yazoo country, where the superb fertility of the soil gives encouragement even to the rudest labors, had tried every expedient to bring new labor into their section, but could not succeed. His laborers were now practically his tenants; but he had to supply them and to watch over them, very much as he did before the war. He was willing to admit that the negro was better adapted to the work than any white man who might come there; but thought the younger generation of negroes was growing up idle and shiftless, fond of whiskey and carousing, and that the race was diminishing in fibre and strength. Those who


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had been slaves were industrious, and conducted themselves as well as they knew how; but the others, both men and women, seemed to think that liberty meant license, and acted accordingly. They were wasteful, and there was but little chance of making them a frugal and foresighted farming people. Whenever they could secure a little money the ground in front of their cabins would be strewn with sardine boxes and whiskey bottles.

        The planters in the lowlands of Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana have been particularly troubled to get and keep serviceable plantation labor; and are now importing large numbers from Alabama. In truth, the hundreds who flock in from the older cotton States were starving at home. On a plantation in Concordia parish, in Louisiana, opposite Natchez, there are many of these Alabama negroes. One planter went into the interior of that State, and engaged a hundred and twenty-five to follow him. They did not succeed in leaving without meeting with remonstrances from the colored politicians, but were glad to flee from an empty cupboard.

        Densely ignorant as these negroes are, they are yet capable of fine development. They have sound sense, and some idea of manners, seem well-inclined toward their employers, and appear to appreciate their own defects. On many of these plantations on the lowlands the negroes do not vote; on some they are even hired with the distinct understanding that they shall not, unless they wish to be discharged. But sooner or later the politicians reach them, and they become political victims.

        I took a ride one morning in this same Concordia parish for the purpose of conversing with the planters, and getting testimony as to the actual condition of the laborers. Concordia was once the garden spot of Louisiana; its aspect was European; the fine roads were bordered with delicious hedges of Cherokee rose; grand trees, moss-hung and fantastic in foliage, grew along the green banks of a lovely lake; every few miles a picturesque grouping of coarsely thatched roofs marked negro "quarters," and near by gleamed the roof of some planter's mansion. In this parish there was no law and but little order--save such as the inhabitants chose to maintain. The negroes whom I met on the road were nearly all armed, most of them carrying a rifle over their shoulders, or balanced on the backs of the mules they were riding. Affrays among the negroes are very common throughout that region; but, unless the provocation has been very great, they rarely kill a white man.

        In a trip of perhaps ten miles I passed through several once prosperous plantations, and made special inquiries as to their present condition. Upon one where six hundred bales of cotton were annually produced under slave culture, the average annual yield is now but two hundred and fifty; on another the yearly average had fallen from one thousand to three hundred bales; and on two others which together gave the market fifteen hundred bales every year, now barely six hundred are raised. The planters in this section thought that cotton production had fallen off fully two-thirds. The number of negroes at work on each of these plantations was generally much less than before the war. Then a bale to the acre was realized, now about one bale to three acres is the average.


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Much of this land is "leased" to the negro at the rate of a bale of cotton weighing four hundred and thirty pounds for each six acres.

        The planters there raise a little corn, but are mainly supplied from the West. The inundation was upon them at the epoch of my visit, and they were in momentary expectation of seeing all their year's hopes destroyed. The infamous robberies, also, to which they had been subjected by the Legislature, and the overwhelming taxation, had left them bitterly discouraged. One plantation which I visited, having sixteen hundred acres of cleared land in it, and standing in one of the most fertile sections of the State, was originally valued at one hundred dollars per acre; now it could not be sold for ten dollars. In Madison parish recently a plantation of six hundred improved acres, which originally cost thirty thousand dollars, was offered to a neighboring planter for seven hundred dollars.

        The "wages" accorded the negro, when he works on the wages system, amount to fifteen or sixteen dollars monthly. But few ever save any money; and this remark will, I think, apply to the majority of the negroes engaged in agriculture throughout the cotton region of the Mississippi valley. Still there are praiseworthy exceptions to this general rule. Enormous prices are placed upon everything, because of the cost of transportation. The grangers have accomplished some good in the cotton States by buying for cash and selling for cash, the object being to keep supplies as near the wholesale price as possible, and have already become a formidable organization there, having scores of societies, small and large, in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Mississippi.

        While there is no doubt that an active, moneyed, and earnest immigration would do much toward building up the southern portion of the Mississippi valley, it is evident that so long as the negro remains in his present ignorance, and both he and the planter rely on other States for their sustenance, and on Providence never to send them rainy days, inundations, or caterpillars, the development of the section will be subject to too serious drawbacks to allow of any considerable progress. All the expedients, the tenant systems, and years of accidental success will not take the place of thorough and diversified culture, and intelligent, contented labor resulting from fair wages for fair work. Nothing but the education of the negro up to the point of ambition, foresight, and a desire to acquire a competence lawfully and laboriously, will ever thoroughly develop the Lower Mississippi valley. As the negro is certainly to inhabit it for many years at least, if not forever, how shall he learn the much-needed lesson?

        On the other hand, the whites need to be converted to a sense of the dignity of labor, to learn to treat the laboring man with proper consideration, to create in him an intelligent ambition by giving him education. Something besides an introduction to political liberties and responsibilities is needed to make the negro a moral and worthy citizen. He is struggling slowly and not very surely out of a lax and barbarously immoral condition. The weight of nearly two centuries of slavery is upon his back. He needs more help and counsel. An old master will tell you that he can discover who of his employés has been a slave, "for the slave," he says, "cannot look you in the eye without flinching."


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        Neither can the ex-slave be very moral, if indeed moral at all. It is hard for him to bear the yoke of the family relation. Although conscious that he is a freeman, and can leave his employer in the lurch if he chooses, he is, here and there, almost content to slip back into the old devil-may-care dependence of slavery. The responsibilities of freedom are almost too much for him. He has entered upon a battle-field armed with poor and cumbersome weapons, weighed down with ignorance and "previous condition;" and I venture to say that no one feels the difficulty and bitterness of his position more keenly than he does himself.

        Unable as he is to aid in his own upbuilding, it is to be considered whether there is not really more room now for educational enterprises, and for a general diffusion of intelligence among his race, by Northern and Western men and women, than there was immediately after the war. Might it not be wise to appoint commissioners to investigate thoroughly the labor question in the South, and to make a final effort to remedy its evils by every proper means? Events have shown that the National Government must undertake the improvement and the control of the Mississippi river; why ought it not to devote some little attention to the removal of the obstacles to immigration into the most fertile sections of the Mississippi valley?

        

Illustration

A Steamboat Torch-Basket.


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XXIX.

ARKANSAS--ITS RESOURCES--ITS PEOPLE--ITS POLITICS. TAXATION--THE HOT SPRINGS.

        NEARLY two hundred miles below Memphis, at the mouth of the Arkansas river, and on lowlands which, when I saw them, were drowned and buried under the combined flood of the two great rivers, stands Napoleon, once a flourishing town, but now gradually slipping away into the stream. The only other towns on the Arkansas bank of the river, of importance, are Sterling, which lies at the mouth of the St. Francis river, and Helena, a rather thriving and vigorous community of five thousand inhabitants. The White river, which was the scene of much fighting during the war, comes down from the wilds a little above Napoleon, and pours its floods into the Arkansas. Napoleon did not have a good reputation in past days. Various anecdotes, not entirely devoid of grim humor, were told of it, as illustrating the manners of the town. It was at Napoleon that the man showed a casual passer-by on a steamboat a pocket full of ears, and, with a grin, announced that he was among the boys while they were having a frolic last night. Murder, daily, was the rule, and not the exception. Brawls always ended in burials. Even now-a-days there are occasional scenes, which end in furious free fights. A pilot on one of the up-river steamers one day went into a saloon where a group were playing cards. The bystanders laughed at the loser, and the pilot laughed too. Being a stranger, his laughter was resented by the loser, who pulled a bowie-knife from his boot, and made a desperate lunge at him. The pilot returned to his boat. But the river is yearly more and more closely embracing the doomed town, and the roughs, like the rats, will leave before the final engulfing comes. In war time, Napoleon was an important rendezvous for gunboats and other warlike craft; the United States Marine Hospital there had been seized by the Confederates when Arkansas seceded, but was recovered as soon as the Mississippi was partially opened.

        These wild and weird forests and swamps bordering the junction of the Arkansas and Mississippi were threaded by the French as early as 1671, and the State now known as Arkansas was a part of Louisiana until the purchase made by the United States in 1812. It had a varying fortune for some time thereafter; was made a territory in 1819, then became part of Missouri territory, but was finally admitted into the Union as a separate State in 1836. Arkansas is in area one-sixth larger than the State of New York, comprising more than fifty-two thousand square miles. It is separated by Nature into two important divisions--the one comprehending some of the richest agricultural


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bottom lands in the world, the other containing vast deposits of valuable minerals. The mountain ranges, beginning in the south-western part of the State, develop into the Masserne range, and toward the north and east become broad, elevated tracts until they reach the Ozark mountains, which run from the vicinity of Little Rock, north and west, into Missouri. The often-repeated remark that "Arkansas is all swamp and backwoods" is an error inexcusable in one who travels so much as does the average American. There are tracts along the Mississippi which certainly are swamps, and will remain such until reclaimed by some general system of drainage; but they comprehend but a small portion

Illustration

View on the Arkansas River at Little Rock.

even of the lowlands. Drainage is necessary both to render the land productive, and to guard against the spread of pernicious climatic diseases.*

        * "Resources of Arkansas," by James P. Henry.


The lands which extend from Napoleon to Memphis on the Arkansas side form the nucleus of a mighty lowland empire. Drained, settled, and carefully cultured, they would produce almost incalculable wealth. The negro is the man for this work. He is adapted to the climate, and if he had but the ambition, could speedily enrich himself.

        The Arkansas river journeys two thousand miles to meet the Mississippi coming eastward from the mountains of Colorado; and the entrance from it into the White river, near its mouth, is easy. The White river drains, with its tributaries, a large expanse in the north-western, middle, and south-eastern parts of the State, and renders the transportation of products easy and inexpensive. The Arkansas forms a superb water-way directly across the State, and into the recesses of the Indian Territory. It is navigable for several months in the year, and with needed improvements might be always serviceable. The Ouachita and its contributing streams drain that part of the State lying south of the Arkansas river, and the Red river gives drainage to the south-west. It would be difficult to find another State of which it can be said that of its seventy-three counties fifty-one are watered by navigable streams. The climate varies with the location, but none could be healthier than that of the romantic mountain region; more invigorating than that of the thick pine forests in the lower counties; or more malarial than are the undrained and uncleared bottom lands.


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        Time was when a journey up the Arkansas river was not devoid of thrilling adventure; when the passengers stopping at Little Rock laid their bowie-knives and pistols beside their knives and forks, on the hotel table, at supper; and when along the river-bank could be heard the pistol-shot from time to time. Great numbers of outlaws from the older States came to Arkansas when it was first opened up, and fascinated with the grandeur and beauty of the more elevated portions of the State, they remained there,--some to become honest and hardworking citizens, others to pursue their old callings of robbery and murder, and finally to die at the muzzle of a rifle. Wild life and careless culture of the soil, disregard of humanizing influences, and a general spirit of indifference, characterized large numbers of the people; while others were as orderly, enterprising and industrious as those to be found in any of the older States. But the commonwealth has thus far been completely terra incognita to the people of the North and East. No railroads, up to a very recent date, have penetrated its fertile lands; river navigation has been tedious and unattractive; and the stories, more or less exaggerated, told of the sanguinary propensities of some classes of the inhabitants, were such a grotesque mixture of fun and horror, that civilized people had no more desire to go there than to Central Africa.

        But now the most effective civilizer, the iron rail, has been laid across the State. The St. Louis, Southern, and Iron Mountain railroad has stretched an arm from the Missouri border down the Black and White River valleys to Little Rock, the pretty and flourishing capital of the commonwealth; thence through Arkadelphia, along the Ouachita valley, and across the Little Missouri and the Red River valley to the Texas boundary, where it connects with the International and Great Northern and the Trans-Continental. In other words, it has placed Arkansas on the direct high road to Texas, and opened up to settlement, on terms which the poorest immigrant can accept, good lands for raising corn and the smaller grains; uplands wooded with pine, and bottoms all through the Red River valley timbered with walnut, oak and ash, noble cotton lands, and a fine country for fruit and grapes. The wild grape grows abundantly in the forests, and to large size. Along the line of this railroad also are scattered iron, coal, kaolin, and clay in large deposits. That portion of the road extending from the Missouri border down was built as the Cairo and Fulton railroad, giving a through line from Cairo, on the Mississippi, to Fulton, on the Texas line; but it is now consolidated with the St. Louis and Iron Mountain road, which has recently completed its line from St. Louis to Little Rock, running through the range of mineral mountains in South-eastern Missouri, and uniting with the Cairo and Fulton route at Newport. In the White River valley there are some of the loveliest river bottom lands on the continent, where cotton yields a bale or a bale and a-half, corn seventy-five bushels, and wheat twenty-five bushels to the acre. This section of Arkansas is also admirably suited for the culture of tobacco and hemp, besides being an excellent fruit and stock country. Along this mammoth line of rail, nearly two million of acres, confirmed to the company by act of Congress, are now in market, and immigrants are rapidly settling at distances of five and ten miles from the railroad.


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        The Arkansas river at Little Rock is broad and noble, and here and there the bluffs are imposing. The town is said to take its name from a small rock on the west side of the stream,--the first one encountered on that side from the mouth of the Mississippi to that point,--so level is the alluvial. Some distance up stream, on the east bank of the Arkansas, stands Big Rock, a bluff of a little prominence. The river is handsomely bridged for the railroad's convenience, and Little Rock, since the iron horse first snorted in its streets, has had a wonderful growth. It is a handsome, well laid out town, containing 20,000 inhabitants; and one can see, from any eminence, hundreds of small, neat houses--the best testimonials to individual thrift in a community. The handsome but somewhat dilapidated State Capitol, the picturesque Penitentiary, perched on a rocky hill, the Deaf and Dumb State Asylum, the Asylum for the Blind, the land offices of

Illustration

The Arkansas State Capitol--Little Rock.

the railroad companies, St. John's College, and St. Mary's Academy, are among its best public buildings. Many of its streets are beautifully shaded, and the peach-trees were in bloom on the March days when I visited it. The main part of the city lies on a high, rolling plateau overlooking the river; back at some distance from the stream is the arsenal and post where United States troops are still stationed, and near by is a national cemetery. Little Rock was for many years the home of General Albert Pike, the noted Confederate general and poet, and his mansion is pointed out with pride by the people of the State. There, too, lived for many years the original of the "Arkansas Traveler," whose story has penetrated to the uttermost ends of the earth; and there the negro has done much to increase one's faith in his capacity for industry and progress.

        The colored citizens of Little Rock and of Arkansas in general, number many gentlemen of education and refinement. The Superintendent of the Penitentiary,


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the Commissioner of State Lands, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, some of the State senators, police judges, and many preachers of excellent ability, are colored men. Among these gentlemen are graduates of Harvard University and of Oberlin, and of many of the best Western schools. A large proportion of the colored people at Little Rock own their own homes, which are mainly in the third ward, whence two aldermen,--black men and slaves up to the war, but now worth from $5,000 to $10,000 each,--are sent up to the Council. At Helena and Little Rock there have been many noteworthy instances of progress among the negroes. This is not so common in the back-country, although some of the counties have colored sheriffs and clerks. One of the most intelligent of his race in the State told me that the negroes had, as a rule, a horror of clearing up new land, and that they had been a good deal hindered from undertaking cotton-farming by the lack of means to begin with,--this requiring quite an outlay. The large landholders, too, have generally been averse to selling land in small parcels. For these reasons the country negroes are mainly "hired laborers, working on shares, or tenants by rental, payable in produce." In either case the landlord often furnishes the supplies of food, seed and stock, and at the annual settlement has the lion's share of the proceeds, the laborers making little more than their living for the year. A very reliable colored man told me that if the freedmen of Arkansas had made less progress since the war than those of the elder States since emancipation, he believed it to be because the white population of Arkansas was also, in many respects, behind that of the other States, being more sparsely settled and isolated, without large towns, railroads, and other improving agencies. The educational societies of the North had comparatively neglected the State. Political commotions had been the rule ever since reconstruction, and the State was already bankrupt at the outbreak of the war. The Republican party, which came in with reconstruction, inaugurated vast schemes for "internal improvements," and to obtain means to carry on said improvements, funded the old ante-bellum bonds of the State as a pledge of good faith. This process, he thought, had resulted in a large increase of the State debt, the debt in onerous taxation, and the taxation in a high rental. The State bonds outstanding March 14, 1874, are classified as follows:

        
Railroad aid bonds $5,350,000
Funded bond, July 1, 1869 2,000,000
Funded bond, January 1, 1870 2,350,000
Levée bonds 2,208,500
Outstanding insurance certificates 1,600,000

        Some manufacturing has been introduced at Little Rock, and the wholesale trade of the town is very large, although as no organized chamber of commerce yet exists, I could not discover its amount. At the close of the war it was only a small village, with little or no railroad outlet, and with a minor trade. Planters had been in the habit of bringing almost literally everything which they needed from Memphis; the idea of keeping supplies in the State had never occurred to them. Now the through route to Texas, the Memphis and Little Rock, and the


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Little Rock and Fort Smith railroads give plenty of outlets, and are bringing the town considerable new population. The latter route, in which a good many Eastern men are interested, is not yet completed, and is in wretched financial and material condition, but it runs through a fine country, and, if ever finished, will develop the most interesting portion of Arkansas. The noble country along the borders of the Indian Territory needs developing: it is rich in minerals and in grand mountain scenery, but is now in semi-barbaric hands, and it will take a persistent effort to improve the tone of society there. Fort Smith is on the Arkansas river and the border of the Territory, has a population of 3,000, is a military post whence offenders from the Indian Territory are taken to be tried, and once had a very extensive Western trade, which has been taken away by the passage of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas line of rail within sixty-five miles of the town. Society throughout this section is said to be improving. My own opinion is that it will never improve much in the face of ignorance, whiskey, and weapons. Most of the deadly broils occur between drunken ruffians, whose only sentiment is revenge by pistol-shot, and whose chief amusement is coarse and bestial intoxication. The "Fort Smith road" runs through the counties of Pulaski, Vincennes, Faulkner, Conway, Pope, Johnson, Franklin, Crawford, and Sebastian. Conway, Lewisburgh, and Russelville promise to be important towns along the line, although the local business is thus far slight.

        Over the 33,000,000 of acres in Arkansas are scattered barely 500,000 people, and the nature of their employment forbids the building of many large towns. The grade of intelligence in the interior districts, where they have never had schools, is much the same as in Eastern Tennessee. There are fewer churches than school-houses in the "up-country.". The masses of the whites are ambitionless; and even the most enthusiastic that I met seemed dubious about the State's prospects. The north-eastern current of immigration is wanted, and would do much toward reforming the State. Something beyond a rough prosperity in cotton-raising and whiskey seems to be demanded; and the cultured people living in the larger towns are making special efforts to redeem the commonwealth from the bad name it has received. Certainly Little Rock's handsome development should do much to make one believe in the State's possibilities; it has a flourishing library, a dozen good churches, several well-ordered banks, and fine streets; society and schools are as good as in Eastern towns of the same size. But in the back-country!--there the prospect is very different. Little Rock, with its streets and gardens filled with azaleas, japonicas, China and peach-trees, the queenly magnolia, and the lovely box-elders and elms, is a striking contrast to some of the rude lowland towns near the river, or the log-built, unkempt settlements in the interior, where morals are bad, manners worse, and there are no comforts or graces. The Presbyterian Church South is the prevailing denomination at Little Rock, and Northern people worship in it, politics being eschewed. The schools are, of course, classified for black and white; mixed schools having been nowhere attempted, or, indeed, demanded. The Industrial University at Fayetteville is to be a powerful institution, and the Judsonian University, located at Judsonia, in White county, is one of the hopes


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of the future. Schools have been organized and maintained for a number of years in Fort Smith, Pine Bluffs, Helena, Arkadelphia, Dardanelle and Camden, and have been well attended by both white and black children. The State Superintendent could not inform me how many schools were in operation in the community; inasmuch as he had to operate with only the semi-annual apportionment of $55,000 in State scrip, worth forty cents on the dollar, he could not make much new effort. He admitted that but little progress in education had as yet been made in the remote parts of Arkansas; the thinly settled character of the region preventing neighborhood schools.

        The vexed condition of politics in the State since the war has greatly hindered its development. People complained a good deal of the manner in which the Arkansas Central (narrow gauge) railroad scheme was conducted. This road is now in operation from Helena to Clarendon, and is eventually to be completed to Little Rock. It traverses one of the best cotton-producing regions in the South. Its completion is hindered by the anomalous condition of affairs in the State, and by the various accusations brought against its builders as to the manner in which they obtained the money to build it with. The Little Rock, Pine Bluff and New Orleans road now runs from Chicot to Pine Bluff, and will this year reach Little Rock. The Mississippi, Ouachita and Red River road is intended to run across the State from Chicot, on the Mississippi, to Texarcana, on the Red river. The Ouachita Valley road extends from Arkadelphia to Camden, and thence will connect with Monroe in Louisiana. Camden is one of the largest towns in Southern Arkansas, in the heart of a fine cotton-growing section. It will be seen that as soon as these projected lines are completed, Arkansas will be very thoroughly traversed by roads, and, with her splendid river highways, will find no difficulty in annually sending an early crop to Memphis and New Orleans. Steamers can reach Camden from New Orleans coming up the Red and Ouachita rivers, and thousands of bales of cotton annually go to New Orleans that way. But these facilities for communication cannot enrich the State so long as an appeal to arms by a discontented faction may at any time overthrow law, destroy order, and turn towns into camps. There seems to have been, since the close of the war, the most bitter struggle between the different factions, sometimes resulting in bloodshed, and always in a paralysis of the State's vitality for some time after the combat. The partisans in a State where the use of arms is so common as it is in Arkansas are, of course, violent and vindictive, and a good many lives are wasted in useless struggling to prevent those sudden changes in party sentiment which are inevitable.. When Governor Clayton was elected to the United States Senatorship, he was seemingly unwilling to allow his successor to take his office, for fear that he might change the course of the party. So, recently, the Republican Governor now in office, having inaugurated his course by promising something like an honest administration, and by uniting around him the more reputable of the old Conservatives--in other words, by bringing politics, to a certain extent, back to their normal condition, and not controlling the intelligent property-owners by ignorant and incompetent office-holders--was temporarily ousted by the beaten candidate, who brought a formidable army at his back, expelled the


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rightful Governor, Mr. Baxter, and opened the way to a series of arrests and counter-arrests, which would have been laughable had they not been so disgusting to any one possessing a high ideal of republican government. It required the interference of the Federal Government to secure the reinstatement of Governor Baxter, and the would-be usurper, who had mustered at his back a Falstaffian army of idle and worthless fellows, retired only when the proclamation of the President warned him to do so. The re-establishment of law and order was followed by a popular vote on the question of holding a new constitutional convention. The election occurred in July, and the people of the State affirmed, by more than seventy thousand majority, their desire for a convention. Several important amendments to the constitution will, doubtless, be made; some of the elder Democrats have already manifested a disposition to return to the illiberal ante-bellum policy with regard to general taxation.

        Taxes in the State now are nearly six per cent. The vicious system of issuing State warrants is pursued in Arkansas as in Louisiana, and with the same disastrous results. A stern reign of law and order for four years would fill Arkansas with immigrants; but a coup d'etat every four years will not be very reassuring. The Legislature should enact a law forbidding the bearing of arms, and should enforce it if possible. Murder is considered altogether too trivial an offense in Arkansas. I walked through the Penitentiary at Little Rock, and saw a large number of white and black criminals who were serving life, or long term sentences for homicide. A brace of negroes working at the prison forge were murderers; an old man, peacefully toiling at a carpenter's bench, was a murderer; a young negro, hewing a log, was a murderer; and in a dark cell, a murderer, stretched on his iron bedstead, was sleeping off the terrors which had partially subsided with the reprieve just sent him. The Governor had fifteen proclamations, offering rewards for murderers, flying about the State at the date of my visit. The day before I left Little Rock, however, a desperado was hung in the neighboring town of Clarksville, and it was thought that the execution would have a salutary effect on the lawless element.

        The resources of Arkansas are, like those of all the other Southern and South-western States, as yet but little drawn upon by the resident population; and they are immense. Arkansas contains twelve thousand square miles of coal,*

        *Testimony of the State Geologist.


and a valuable coal-basin is situated along both sides of the Arkansas river. In Sebastian county there are veins from three to six feet thick. A lead belt extends diagonally across the State; the lead and silver mines in Sevier county promise much clay. Kaolin, gypsum, copper, and zinc are found in profusion, manganese, ochre, and paint-earths are to be had in many counties; and there are vast quarries of slate, whetstone, limestone, and marble. Iron ore has been discovered at various points; but the coal-stores are the great treasure, and must some time enrich the State.

        The St. Louis, Iron Mountain, and Southern railroad has brought the Hot Springs, that famous Bethesda of the rheumatic and scrofulous unfortunate, within convenient distance of a Pullman palace-car. The staging is now eighteen


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instead of eighty-five miles to this Bad-Gastein of America, which lies in a wild, mountainous region near the line of the St. Louis, Southern and Iron Mountain road. The hot springs issue from the western slope of a spur of the Ozark range, about fourteen hundred feet above the sea-level. There are now nearly sixty of these springs, new ones appearing annually. Their temperature varies from ninety-five to one hundred and fifty degrees Fahrenheit, and they discharge something like three hundred gallons per minute. Thousands of discouraged pilgrims flock to Hot Springs yearly, and return much recovered; while those who do not achieve a cure experience great relief. The town lies in a valley which follows the Hot Spring creek, and is very well supplied with

Illustration

The Hot Springs, Arkansas.

hotels and neat but inexpensive residences. I did not penetrate to the Springs but heard very powerful testimony in their behalf. It is expected, and, I think, desired, that the United States, which has a disputed claim to the "Hot Springs reservation," should succeed in getting possession, and making the valley a grand sanitary resort free to the people.

        The forests of Arkansas offer the most stupendous chances for the development of State wealth. The yellow pine and cypress, the cedar, the cottonwood, the mulberry, the oaks, hickories, pecans, and ash, can be borne easily to market on the bosoms of the great currents near which they grow. There are still eight millions of acres of land belonging to the United States subject to homestead entry, and these are among the best in Arkansas. A decent State government, and the progress of education among the masses, would enable the State to leap into as wonderful a growth as that achieved by Texas and Missouri. But there is a great deal to do before that prosperity can be achieved.


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XXX.

VICKSBURG AND NATCHEZ, MISSISSIPPI--SOCIETY AND POLITICS. A LOUISIANA PARISH JURY.

        THE journey along the Mississippi river from Napoleon, on the Arkansas shore, to Vicksburg, the largest town in the State of Mississippi, discloses naught save vast and gloomy stretches of forest and flat, of swamp and inlet, of broad current and green island, until Columbia, a pretty town on the Arkansas side, is passed. Below Columbia the banks of the river are lined with cotton plantations for more than 150 miles.

        Vicksburg, the tried and troubled hill-city, her crumbling bluffs still filled with historic memorials of one of the most desperate sieges and defences of modern times, rises in quite imposing fashion from the Mississippi's banks in a

Illustration

Vicksburg, Mississippi.

loop in the river, made by a long delta, which at high water is nearly submerged. The bluffs run back some distance to an elevated plateau. In the upper streets are many handsome residences. The Court-House has climbed to the summit of a fine series of terraces; here and there a pretty church serves as a land-mark; and the remains of the old fort from which "Whistling Dick," a famous Confederate
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gun, was wont to sing defiance to the Federals, are still visible on a lofty eminence. From the grass-grown ramparts one can see "Grant's Cut-off" in the distance; overlook the principal avenue--Washington street, well-lined with spacious shops and stores, and unhappily filled at all hours with lounging negroes; can see the broad current sweeping round the tongue of land on which the towns of De Soto and Delta stand, and the ferries plying to the landings of the railroad which cuts across North Louisiana to Shreveport; can see the almost perpendicular streets scaling the bluff from the water-side, and, down by the river, masses of elevators and warehouses, whence the white, stately packets come and go. There is evidence of growth; neat houses are scattered on hill and in valley in every direction; yet the visitor will find that money is scarce, credit is poor, and that every tradesman is badly discouraged.

        The river is so intricate in its turnings that one is at first puzzled on seeing a steamboat passing, to know whether it is ascending or descending; at the end of the "loop," near the mouth of the Yazoo river, and at the point where Sherman made his entrance from the "Valley of Death," is the largest national cemetery

Illustration

The National Cemetery at Vicksburg, Mississippi.

in the country, in whose grassy plats repose the mortal remains of sixteen thousand soldiers. The view from the slopes of the cemetery, reached by many a detour through dusty cuts in the hills, is too flat to be grandiose, but ample enough to be inspiring. The wooded point; the cross-current setting around it; the wide sweep away toward the bend, are all charming. The old Scotch gardener and sexton told me that twelve thousand of the graves were marked "unknown." The original design contemplated the planting of the cemetery with tree-bordered avenues intended to resemble the aisles and nave of a cathedral. This was impracticable; but oaks have been planted throughout the ground, and the graves were covered with lovely blossoms. The section of Vicksburg between the cemetery and the town is not unlike the park of the Buttes Chaumont in Paris. Grapes grow wild in the adjacent valleys, and might readily be cultivated on the hill-sides. A simple marble shaft in the cemetery is destined to commemorate the spot where Grant held his famous interview with Pemberton.

        Vicksburg has acquired a not altogether enviable notoriety as a town where shooting at sight is a popular method of vengence, and, shortly before my second visit there, three murders were committed by men who deemed it manly to take the law into their own hands. There is still rather too much of this


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barbarism remaining in Mississippi, and it has not always the excuse of intoxication to palliate it. The Vicksburg methods seems not to be the duel, but cold-blooded murder. The laws of the duello are pretty thoroughly expunged in

Illustration

The Gamblers' Graves--Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Mississippi, although I was not a little amused to learn from Governor Ames that the ultra-Democratic people in those counties of the State bordering on Louisiana refused in any manner to aid the authorities in securing duelists who steal out from New Orleans to fight on Mississippi soil, on the ground that the "d--d Yankees want to do away with dueling so as to make their own heads safe." Mississippi is a sparsely settled State, and in some of the counties life is yet as rough as on the South-western frontier. But that open and deliberate murder should be encouraged in a city of fifteen thousand inhabitants, where there is good society, and where church and school flourish, is monstrous!

        Vicksburg was once the scene of a terrible popular vengeance. A number of gamblers persisted in remaining in the town against the wishes of the citizens,

Illustration

Colonel Vick, of Vicksburg, Mississippi, Planter.

and having shown fight and killed one or two townsmen, they were themselves lynched, and buried among the bluffs. The town gets its name from one of the oldest and most highly respected families in Mississippi,--the Vicks,--whose family mansion stands on a handsome eminence in the town of to-day. Colonel Vick, the present representative of the family, is a specimen of the noble-looking men grown in the Mississippi valley,--six feet four in stature, erect and stately, with the charming courtesy of the old school. The picture which our artist has given of him does justice only to the fine, manly face; it cannot reproduce the form and the manner. Mississippi raises noble men, and they were wonderful soldiers, showing pluck, persistence, and grip. Nineteen lines of steam-packets ply between New Orleans and Vicksburg, and from Vicksburg up the Yazoo river. The scene in the elevators at the river-side, as in Memphis,
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is in the highest degree animated. Thousands of bales and barrels roll and tumble down the gangways which communicate with the boats, and the shouting is terrific. The railroad from Vicksburg to Jackson, the Mississippian capital, runs through the scene of some of the heaviest fighting of the war, crossing the Big Black river, and passing Edwards and other flourishing towns, set down between charming forests and rich cotton-fields.

        Sailing on through the submerged country from Vicksburg was sorrowful work; every one was depressed with imminent disaster. We passed into the great bend, or lake, where, on Hurricane Island, lie the plantations formerly owned by the Davis Brothers,--famous for their wealth. The broad acres once known as the property of Jefferson Davis are now in the hands of his ex-slave, who, by the way, is said to be a miracle of thrift and intelligence.

        Negroes were toiling in the mud at some of the landings, building ineffectual dams, around which the current of the great river, sooner or later, remorselessly ran. The white men, splashing along the overflowed roads on horseback, looked grimly courageous, and gave their orders in a cool, collected manner. The whole land seemed one treacherous morass; the outlook was very discouraging.

        We passed several rude villages on the eastern bank, which had been built by colonies of negroes, who had fled as the floods came upon them. These blacks gain a precarious livelihood by cutting wood and growing chickens for passing steamers; they depend on the captains of the boats for their supplies of cornmeal, molasses, pork and whiskey, and are sometimes reduced almost to starvation when their natural recklessness and improvidence have resulted in empty larders.

        At one of these primitive settlements, known as "Waterproof" (it was by no means proof against the water, however), there were once two negro preachers who were extravagantly fond of whiskey. As each desired to maintain in the eyes of the other a reputation for strictest temperance, some secrecy in procuring the supplies of the coveted article was necessary, and each made the clerk of the "Great Republic" his confidant. Whenever the boat stopped at "Waterproof," the preachers were promptly on hand, each one obtaining of the clerk a private interview, and imploring him to bring, on the return trip, a good keg of whiskey, carefully enveloped, so that "dat udder nigger" should not know what it was. When the clerk complied, he received at the hands of the grateful preachers thank-offerings of chickens and fat ducklings, and whenever he mischievously threatened to expose the reverend sinners, he would hear the frightened words:

        "Fo' de Lord, you's gwine to ruin me!"

        When the river destroys the land upon which the negroes have built a town, and tumbles their cabins and their little church into the current, they retire to the higher lands, a few miles back, or seek a new water-side location. They cultivate but little corn, and give much of their time to merry-makings, "meetings," mule races, and long journeys from one settlement to another. As we passed a little village where there were, perhaps, a hundred negroes, comfortably


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installed in weather-proof cabins, a passenger on the "Great Republic," who was a planter of the old régime, indulged in the following monologue:

        "Thar's what they call free niggers. Thar's a change from a few years ago, sir. Them poor things thar are just idlin' away their time, I reckon; and you notice, they're mighty ragged and destitute lookin.' Thar's a d--d nigger a-ridin' a mule, as comfortable like as ye please. Not much like the old times, when they were all working quiet-like in the fields. Sundays yo'd seen 'em in their clean white clothes, singin' and shoutin' or may be doin' a bit of fishin', and at night, when the plantation bell rung, agoin' peaceful as lambs to quarters. Now it's all frolic. I reckon they 'll starve. What kin they do alone, sir?"

        

Illustration

Natchez-under-the-Hill, Mississippi.

        "I hain't nothin' agin a free nigger," said a tall native of Mississippi bound for Texas, "but I don't want him to say a word to me. The world's big enough for us both, I reckon. We ain't made to live together under this new style o' things. Free niggers and me could n't agree." And the two spat sympathetically.

        The negroes in the valley cheered the "Great Republic" as she passed; the swart mothers, fondling their babes, looked up and waved their hands, and some of the men doffed their hats, unconsciously retaining the respectful manner which they had been forced to observe under the stern domination of slavery.

        The western bank of the river below Vicksburg, even to the Gulf of Mexico, is within the bounds of Louisiana. The eastern bank, to a point nearly opposite


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the Red river, is in Mississippi. The characteristics of the river-side populations in both States are much the same. The negroes in many of the counties are largely in the majority, and hold responsible offices. One of the prominent citizens of Natchez, who was in former days a man of large wealth, owning several hundred negroes, was sitting on his verandah one day, when a negro with a book under his arm approached, and with the dignity befitting a state official, said to the Caucasian:

        

Illustration

View in Brown's Garden--Natchez, Mississippi. [Page 293.]

        "I's de century-man, sah!"

        He was the officer appointed to take the census for the county. He could not read well, and his chirography was painful, but he showed diligence and determination.

        Grand Gulf, in Mississippi, is a pretty town, lying on romantic hills, whose bases are bathed by the great stream. A railway extends from Grand Gulf to Port Gibson, eight miles distant, and a thriving trade is done with the interior. The hills overhanging the river were advantageous positions for the Confederates in war time, and the Federal fleet of gun-boats shelled the town and its battery-crowned heights in 1862. Below Grand Gulf there are no towns of importance on either side of the river until Natchez, one of the loveliest of Southern towns, and without exception the most beautiful in Mississippi, is reached.

        Natchez, like Vicksburg, lies on a line of bluffs which rear their bold heads from the water in an imposing manner. He who sees only Natchez-under-the-Hill from a steamboat's deck gets an impression of a few prosaic houses huddled together not far from a wharf-boat, a road leading up a steep and high hill, and here and there masses of foliage. Let him wander ashore, and scale the cliff, and he will find himself in a quiet, unostentatious, beautifully shaded town, from which, so oppressive at first is the calm, he almost fancies


                         "Life and thought are gone away;"
but he finds cheeriest of people,--cheery, too, under heavy misfortunes,--and homes rich in refinement and half buried under the lustrous and voluptuous blossoms which the wonderful climate favors. Natchez has an impressive cathedral, a fine court-house, a handsome Masonic temple, and hosts of pretty houses. You walk beneath the shade of the China-tree and the water oak, the cedar and the laurimunda. Nowhere is there glare of sun on the pavement; nothing more clamorous than the galloping of a horse stirs the blood of the nine thousand inhabitants.

        There were, before the war, great numbers of planters' residences in the suburbs,--beautiful houses, with colonnades and verandahs, with rich drawing and dining-rooms, furnished in heavy antique style, and gardens modeled after the


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finest in Europe. Many of these homes have been destroyed. We visited one or two whose owners have been fortunate enough to keep them. The lawns and gardens are luxurious. The Mississippian wealth of roses is inconceivable to him who has not visited such gardens as Brown's, in Natchez-under-the-Hill, and that of Mr. Shields, in the suburbs of the upper town. I remember no palace garden in Europe which impressed me so powerfully with the sense of richness and exquisite profusion of costly and delicate blooms as Brown's, at Natchez, which a wealthy Scotchman cultivated for a quarter of a century, and handed down to his family, with injunctions to maintain its splendor.

        From the bluff above this indescribably charming spot one can overlook the plain of Concordia, in Louisiana, on the west side the broad, tranquil river, and catch the gleam of the lake among the mammoth trees.

        There are still many wealthy families in Natchez, independent of the war and its abasements. Here and there a French name and tradition remind one that the town is of French origin, that D'Iberville founded it in 1700, and that Bienville once had a trading-post there among the Natchez Indians. There that tribe, fire-worshipers and noble savages, passed an innocent and Arcadian existence, keeping ever alight on their altars a fire in honor of the sun. But the white man came; the fire on the altars went out; the Indian was swept away. Gayarre, who has written well concerning these Southern Indian tribes, says the Natchez were the Athenians of Louisiana, as the Choctaws were the Boeotians. A hundred years after the Natchez had first seen the French, Fort Rosalie, on the bluff,--its site is still pointed out to the stranger,--was evacuated by the Spaniards, that the flag of the United States might be raised over it, and since 1803 Natchez has been an incorporated American city. It has no manufactures now; its trade depends entirely on cotton. No railroad reaches it, but a narrow-gauge, called the Natchez, Jackson, and Columbus road, has been begun. The adjoining counties furnish from five to twenty thousand bales of cotton annually, which are shipped to New Orleans for sale.

        Natchez was out of debt when it was given over to the Republican party, but has acquired quite a heavy indebtedness since. The negroes came into power there in 1867. The present Sheriff, the County Treasurer and Assessor, the majority of the magistrates, and all

Illustration

Avenue in Brown's Garden--Natchez, Mississippi.

the officers managing county affairs, except one, are negroes. The Board of Aldermen has three negroes in it. There is the usual complaint among the Conservatives that money has been dishonestly and foolishly expended; but the government of the city seemed, on the whole, very satisfactory. About a thousand children are at school in the public schools, and four hundred of them,--the colored pupils,--have a handsome new school-
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house, called the "Union," built expressly for them. Natchez had an excellent system of public schools before the war, and the "Natchez Institute," the original free-school, is still kept up. The Catholic institutions are numerous and thriving. A good many of the negroes, as in Louisiana, are Catholics.

        One-half of the population of Natchez is black, and seems to live on terms of amity with the white half. White and black children play together in the streets, and one sometimes feels like asking "Why, if that be so, should

Illustration

A Mississippi River Steamer arriving at Natchez in the Night.

they not go to school together?" But the people of Mississippi, like the people throughout the South, will not hear of mixed schools. The negroes are vociferously prominent as hackmen, wharfmen, and public servants generally; but they do not like to leave the town and settle down to hard work on the worn-out hills at the back of the city.

        On the bluffs, some three miles from the town, is a national cemetery, beautifully planned and decorated, and between it and Natchez stands the dilapidated United States Marine Hospital, and the grass-grown ramparts of Fort McPherson mark the site of a beautiful mansion which was razed for military purposes. When its owner, a rich Frenchman, was offered compensation by the army officer superintending the work, he gruffly refused it, saying that he had enough still left to buy the United States Government.


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        The taxes in Natchez and vicinity are very oppressive, amounting to nearly six per cent. The State and county tax touches four per cent., and is based on full two-thirds the valuation. The railroad movement has, however, done something to increase these burdens.

        Many of the Natchez planters own plantations on the Louisiana side of the river, but, of course, have no political influence there, and are dependent on the negroes for the local legislation necessary to secure them in their rights, and for measures to prevent inundation. I attended a session of a parish jury in Vidalia, opposite Natchez, and was surprised to find it almost entirely composed of blacks. The white planters with whom I conversed grumbled bitterly over their hard fate, and recounted thrilling stories of the exploits of carpet-baggers in their vicinity. From the tone of their conversation, it was easy to see that they believed these carpet-baggers had misled the negroes, who would otherwise have been well enough disposed.

        The jury, whose office corresponds, so far as I could learn, very much to that of our county commissioners in the Northern States, comprised men of various grades of intelligence. One or two of the negroes were well dressed, and quiet and gentlemanly in their manners; the others were slouching, unkempt, suspicious in their demeanor, and evidently unfit for any public duty. The planters addressed them familiarly, stating their needs, and making hearty appeals to the common sense of the most intelligent of the number. As the inundation was rapidly invading all the neighboring lands, the negroes recognized the necessity of action.

        At Vidalia I also met one of the prominent negro members of the Louisiana Legislature, Mr. David Young, a coal black man. When I first saw him he was addressing a row of his fellow-citizens, who were seated upon a fence in that nerveless, unexpectant attitude so characteristic of the lowland negro. As an election was about to occur in Vidalia, he was endeavoring to impress on the colored voters the necessity of electing reform officers, and indulged in some general remarks on the importance of a purification of Louisiana politics. Brandishing his ballots, he warned the listeners to vote for honest representatives; whereupon one ragged negro said sullenly:

        "I's done gwine to vote to suit myself. Dave Young nor no udder man ain't gwine to tell me nothin' 'bout my vote."

        Mr. Young then proceeded to explain to them that Northern sentiment was beginning to rebel against the misrule at the South, and that the colored voters throughout the State must be "wise in time." The listeners shook their heads suspiciously, although evidently impressed with what they had heard. As we drew near, and entered into conversation, Mr. Young turned his attention to us, and expressed himself desirous of a fair government in the State for both whites and blacks. While he gave his views, in plain but well chosen language, I noticed that the other negroes listened intently, making whispered comments on his remarks. They were far from friendly toward Young, as he was a candidate for re-election to the Legislature against a white man who had a notoriously evil reputation as a carpet-bagger, yet who had obtained the firm support of a majority of the negroes in the parish.


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        "We do not object," said one planter to me, as we left Vidalia, "to the presence of the negro in the parish jury, we complain because nine out of ten who sit upon the jury are ignorant and have no property at all, and yet are permitted to judge of. what is best for the interests of property-holders. We are often compelled to submit questions of vital importance to the judgment of irresponsible and suspicious fellows, who, because they are opposed to us politically, seem to think it their bounden duty to do nothing for our material well-being. But such men as Dave Young do some good. They are teaching the negroes a little prudence and moderation. I would rather have a nigger like David, than a white man like--" (mentioning the wicked carpet-bagger).

        

Illustration

"Sah?"


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XXXI.

LIFE ON COTTON PLANTATIONS.

        DURING my stay in Natchez, one of the many gentlemen interested in cotton-planting on the west or Louisiana side of the river, invited me to accompany him on a tour of inspection. The rapidly-rising river threatened to inundate the lands on which hundreds of negroes had been expending weeks of patient care, and the planter felt it his duty to take a horseback ride over the trio of plantations under his charge; so we crossed the Mississippi, and rode twelve miles into the interior of Louisiana.

        On the road, which led along the lovely banks of Lake Concordia, the planter chatted of some of the vexations by which he is daily beset, and spoke rather hopelessly of the labor problem. The condition of society, too, he thought very bad, and that it was an actual hindrance to the development of the section.

        "Are the negroes," I asked him, "aggressive and insolent toward the white people?"

        But as the planter was about to answer this question, we approached a ferryboat, or barge, in which we were to cross an arm of the lake to the island on which my friend's plantations were situated. An old negro man, much the worse for liquor, was preparing to monopolize the boat with his mule-team, but held back the mules, and touched his hat with drunken courtesy as we came up.

        "Stand aside, uncle," said the planter firmly, but very politely; "we wish to cross at once, and there is not room for us all."

        "Yas, sah; yas, Colonel," said the old man. "I's willin' to wait on you gemmen, 'cause you is gemmen; but ef yer was no count folks, I'd go for yer. Ride in, Colonel."

        When we were some distance from shore, the planter said:

        "That old man made way for us simply out of deference to our social position. The negroes are courteous enough to us; it has been their habit so long that they cannot forget it. But they will kill our deer and steal our poultry and bacon, and we have no redress."

        After an hour or two of journeying over rough roads, we came to one of the plantations. A host of negroes were busily filling a breach in a dyke which the treacherous water might sweep away if rains came to swell the already ominous floods of the Mississippi. A pack of hounds came yelping to meet the planter; and the black women in the cabin courtesied obsequiously.

        We crossed the field, bordered by noble cypresses and oaks, stopping now and then to watch the negroes as they carefully prepared the ground which an inundation might, in less than a day, reduce to a hopeless wilderness


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of mud. Entering the house of the overseer, we found that functionary smoking his pipe and reposing after a long ride over the plantation. He was a rough, hearty, good-natured man, accustomed to living alone and faring rudely. I asked him what he thought of the negro as a free laborer.

        "He works well, mostly, sir. These yer Alabama niggers that's workin' on our plantations now do well on wages. They make some little improvements around their cabins, but mighty little, sir. Ef politics would only let 'em alone, they 'd get along well enough, I reckon."

        "Do the negroes on this plantation vote?"

        "I reckon not (laughing). I don't want my niggers to have anything to do with politics. They can't vote as long as they stay with us, and these Alabama boys don't take no interest in the elections here."

        "What do they receive as monthly wages?"

        "From ten to sixteen dollars. It costs us about fifteen dollars per head to bring 'em from Alabama. These niggers likes wages better than shares. We keep a store here, and, Saturday nights, most of the money they have earned comes back to us in trade. They're fond o' whiskey and good things to eat."

        "What is the routine of your work on a large plantation like this, and those adjoining it, throughout the year?"

        "Wal, sir, I reckon that's a long story. We don't have much spare time, and mighty little amusement. Wal, sir, the first thing we do, sir, we begin early in January, a few weeks after the old crop is all gathered in, to repair fences and clean out all the ditches, sir. Then we pull down the old stalks, and start the ploughs to throw quadruple furrows in the fields. Then we throw out the 'middles.'"

        "What are they?"

        "Wal, sir, we throw out soil at the sides so as to leave a slope bed of fresh ground to plant on, and loose earth to cover it with. If the spring freshet breaks on to this yer prepared earth, we've got to begin over again, and that makes the season very late.

        "Planting begins about the last of March, or very early in April. Piles of cotton seed are laid along some ways apart on the field, and then the niggers sow. it along the beds, a ton of seed to eight acres. Then it is 'barred off'--covered up, that means.

        "Ez soon as the cotton stalks begin to peep up, 'scraping' begins. The hands weed every row carefully, and don't leave any weakly plants. That, and looking after the caterpillars, keeps 'em busy till July. Caterpillars ain't the only danger we have to fight against. Thar's a hundred others. Cotton's a ticklish plant to raise. You 've got to watch it mighty close, and then the worms and the weather will sometimes ruin the crop.

        "Between July and September we keep the hands busy, getting out baskets, and setting things in order; then we pile in new help, and for the rest of the season, employ three times as many hands as thar's in the fields now. Up to Christmas it 's picking and ginning, and it 's right lively, you can be sure."


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        From the overseer's conversation I learned that cotton-picking is done quite as thoroughly under the system of free labor as in the days when slave-driving was permissible; but that the "niggers" require constant watching. On many plantations where the yield is abundant, it is difficult to concentrate labor enough at the proper time to get the cotton into the gin-house the same year that it is planted. I have seen cotton-fields still white with their creamy fleeces late in December, because the negroes were either too lazy or too busily engaged in their annual merry-makings to gather the harvest. But on the large lowland plantations along the Mississippi, the crop is usually gathered early, and the picking is very thorough. I could not discover that there was any system of "forced labor" now in use, and I thought the overseer's statement, that a "good field-hand now-a-days would pick 250 pounds of cotton daily," was excellent testimony in favor of free labor. He added, however, that on many plantations the average hands would not pick more than 100 pounds per day.

        The laborers were coming in from the field in a long picturesque procession. As it was spring-time many of them had been ploughing, and were mounted upon the backs of the stout mules which had been their companions all day. Some of the men were singing rude songs, others were shouting boisterously and scuffling as they went their way along the broad pathway bordered by giant cypresses and noble oaks. The boys tumbling and wriggling in the grass perpetually exploded into guffaws of contagious laughter. Many of the men were tall and finely formed. They had an intelligent look, and were evidently not so degraded as those born on the Louisiana lowlands. The overseer sat on the veranda of his house, now and then calling out a sharp command or a caution, the negroes looking up obsequiously and touching their hats as they heard his voice. When the mules were stabled the men came lounging back to the cabins, where the women were preparing their homely supper, and an hour afterward we heard the tinkle of banjos, the pattering of feet and uproarious laughter. The interiors of the negro cabins were of the rudest description. The wretched huts in which the workmen live seem to them quite comfortable, however. I saw no one who appeared discontented with his surroundings. Few of these laborers could read at all. Even those who had some knowledge of the alphabet did not seem to be improving it.

        Late in the evening, as the planter, with his heavy cloak thrown about his shoulders, was reposing from the fatigues of a wearisome ride over the broad acres, a delegation of field-hands came to see him, all to ask favors of "de Cunnel,"--to get him to write a few letters, or to bring some tiny parcel from the town on his next visit to the plantation. The men came huddling in, bowing awkwardly, and stood with their caps in their hands as near the door as possible, as if ready to run on the slightest provocation. If I looked at them steadily they burst into uneasy laughter and moved away, while the black women in the door-way and on the porch re-echoed the merriment. Meantime the planter listened to one after another of the delegation. Charles, a black boy, six feet tall, and with sinews strong as steel, stepped forward to the flickering light given by the candles and the burning logs in the fire-place.


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        "Cunnel, I wish you read me dat letter, please, sah."

        The "Cunnel" read it, Charles meantime standing erect, with his great arms folded across his mighty chest and the massive column of his throat throbbing with scornful emotion. There was a strange, baffled expression in his face; a look of contempt for his own helplessness which was painful.

        The letter was common-place enough, reproaching Charles for having left Alabama before liquidating the pressing claims of certain swarthy creditors. Having, after some trouble, deciphered the letter's meaning, the Colonel said, gently but coldly:

        "Stand aside, Charles. Andy, who is the likeliest negro from Alabama now on the plantation?"

        No answer for a minute. Andy stepped forward into the light, looking first into the fire-place, then at the deer's horns over the mantel, then at the shining revolver on the rough wooden table, while his immense lips worked nervously, as if endeavoring to draw in inspiration from the air.

        "Did you hear me, Andy?"

        "Cunnel, I's a studyin', sah."

        After having studied some time, Andy darted out without a word, and presently returned with three hulking black giants, who huddled together in the same helpless way that the first arrivals did. They held their shapeless felt hats in their enormous hands, glancing from them into the faces of the white men; then exchanging significant looks with each other, burst into the regulation laugh.

        "Did the colored politicians try to keep you from leaving Alabama to come here with me, boys?" inquired the Colonel.

        Intense surprise on the part of the negroes.

        "No, sah; reckon not, sah."

        "Did you vote in Alabama?"

        "Yas, Cunnel; yas, sah, always voted, sah."

        "Can you do better here than in Alabama?"

        After mature reflection, the trio responded in the affirmative.

        "Would you care to vote here?"

        Hesitatingly, "No, sah;" whereupon the three negroes were dismissed into the darkness.

        The Alabama papers at the beginning of the current year reported that the colored laborers were leaving that State in troops of thousands. They were nearly all en route for the cotton plantations of Mississippi, and on the Louisiana bank of the Father of Waters. Central Alabama appeared at that time to be undergoing rapid depopulation for the benefit of the richer lands along the Mississippi bottom. It was estimated in the spring of 1874 that Alabama had already lost from $700,000 to $1,000,000 in her labor element alone. How long the influx of the freedmen into Mississippi and Louisiana from the South Atlantic States and from Alabama will continue is uncertain. In 1873 Georgia lost fully 20,000 of her able-bodied colored laborers, and gained but little in white immigration to balance it.


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        The women and children on the cotton plantations near the Mississippi river do not work in the fields as much as they used. Rude as are their surroundings in the little cabins which they now call their own, they are beginning to take an interest in their homes, and the children spend some time each year at school. The laborers on the plantations in Louisiana have sometimes been paid as high as thirty dollars per month, and furnished with a cabin, food, and a plot of ground for a garden; but this is exceptional.

        While supper was being prepared the master of the plantation apologized for what he modestly called the homely fare which, he said, was all that he could set before us.

        "We are so far from town here," he said, "that we can offer you only plantation fare--rough meat and eggs, with bacon, a loaf of baker's bread, and some bottles of claret which I brought from Vidalia."

        I ventured to suggest that on the plantation he had every facility for a superb garden, and to wonder that the overseers did not employ some of the negroes to cultivate a plot of ground that its fruits might appear on the table.

        "Oh, oh," laughed the overseer. "Make a garden here; reckon it would have to have a mighty high wall; the niggers would steal everything in it as fast as it was ripe."

        But I suggested that if each of the negroes had a small garden, which he seemed to have ample time after hours to cultivate, he would not desire to steal.

        The Colonel smiled gravely, and the overseer shook his head incredulously, adding:

        "These is good niggers, but stealing is as natural as eating to them;" and, with this remark, we were ushered into the supper-room, where two black servant girls ran nimbly about, bringing in plain but substantial fare, which our hard riding made thoroughly palatable.

        There was no white lady on the plantation. The overseer and his two assistants were busy from dawn till dark, and when night threw its shadows over the great cypress-bordered aisles of the forest and the wide expanse of the fields, they dismissed the negroes about the store and the stables and retired to rest. But on the occasion of our visit we saw unusual activity. A violent storm arose while we were at supper, and the overseers mounted their horses and rode off in different directions to inspect the levées. Troops of negroes were dispatched in skiffs along the lake with hundreds of sacks, which they were instructed to fill with sand and place at weak points on the levées. All night they fought the slowly but steadily-rising waters, while my companion and I slept on a mattress on the floor of the overseer's room, undisturbed by anything save the sighing of the winds through the noble trees surrounding the house, and the clatter of rain upon the shingles.

        With early morning back came the Colonel, pale and worn with a night of battle with the steadily-rising water, and, as he laid aside his heavy cloak, placed his revolver on the table, and sat down with a weary sigh, he said it was hardly worth while to try to be a successful cotton-planter now-a-days; things human and things divine seemed to conspire to make it impossible to succeed. I


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thought of his sigh and of his helpless look a day or two afterward, when I was told that one thousand acres of his plantation had been flooded and badly injured by the offensive policy of a neighbor planter, who had cut the Colonel's levées to save his own.

        With daylight also, although the rain was steadily falling, the plantation blossomed into activity. The overseers had arisen long before the dim streaks of the dawn were seen on the lowland horizon; had galloped over many a broad acre, but returned gloomily, announcing that the land was too wet to work that day. The negroes slouchingly disposed themselves about the store and the overseer's "mansion," keeping at a respectful distance from the kitchen, where sat the overseer himself, surrounded by his dogs. Nothing more dispiriting could be imagined than the atmosphere of this lowland plantation over which imminent disaster seemed breaking. From right and left came stories of trouble and affliction. Here and there a planter had made a good crop and had laid

Illustration

A Cotton Wagon-Train.

aside a little money, but the evidences of material prosperity were painfully few. The overseers, while doggedly persistent in working the plantations up to their full capacity, still seemed to have a grim sense of a fate which over-hung the whole locality, and which would not permit consecutive years of prosperity and plenty.

        There is still much on one of these remote and isolated plantations to recall the romance which surrounded them during the days of slavery. The tall and stalwart women, with their luxuriant wool carefully wrapped in gayly-colored handkerchiefs; the picturesque and tattered children, who have not the slightest particle of education, and who have not been reached even since the era of reconstruction, by the influences of schools and teachers; the groups of venerable darkeys, with their gray slouch hats and impossible garments, who chatter for hours together on the sunny side of some out-buildings, and the merry-makings at night, all recall a period which, the planter will tell you, with a mournful look, comprised the halcyon days of Louisiana.


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        The thing which struck me as most astonishing here, in the cotton-lands, as on the rice plantations of South Carolina, was the absolute subjection of the negro. Those with whom I talked would not directly express any idea. They gave a shuffling and grimacing assent to whatever was suggested; or, if they dissented, would beg to be excused from differing verbally, and seemed to be much distressed at being required to express their opinions openly. Of course, having the most absolute political liberty, because in that section they were so largely in the majority, numerically, that no intimidation could have been practiced, it seemed astonishing that they should be willing to forego the right to vote, and to willingly isolate themselves from their fellows. I could not discover that any of the negroes were making a definite progress, either manifested by a subscription to some newspaper or by a tendency to discussion; and, while the planter gave me the fullest and freest account of the social status of the negroes employed by him, he failed to mention any sign of a definite and intellectual growth. The only really encouraging sign in their social life was the tendency to create for themselves homes, and now and then to cultivate the land about them.

        The rain continued to fall in torrents as we rode across the island along the muddy roads, under the great arches of the cypress-trees, on our return to Natchez. Here and there a few negroes were desperately striving afield, endeavoring to effect something in spite of the storm; but the planter shook his head gravely, and said that all agricultural operations must now be two months later than usual. The lack of concerted operations among the planters against the inroads of the floods, and the disastrous consequences of an incompetent labor system, were, to his thinking, effectual drawbacks to much material progress for a long time. In a previous chapter I have shown how the production of Concordia parish has fallen off since slavery was abolished; and he could not give any encouragement to my hope that this wretched state of affairs would soon be changed.

        At last we reached the arm of the lake where we expected to find our sable ferry-man, but the rain had washed the waters into quite a fury, and we could see neither ferry-man nor barge. Half-an-hour's hallooing at last brought the old man from his cabin on the opposite side, and another half hour brought him, dripping wet, with the gray wool of his beard glistening with rain-drops, to the shore on which we stood. He complained bitterly of his poverty, yet I was surprised to learn that each time the Colonel visited his plantation he paid this venerable boatman a dollar for his ride across the lake. Although I diligently endeavored to enter into conversation with the aged black man, he steadily avoided any reference to political topics, and assumed a look of blank amazement when I appealed to him for a direct opinion. But he was always civil, courteous to a degree not discoverable among people in his rank of life in the North. His character swayed and bent before any aggression, but did not break; it was as stubborn as elastic.

        In the forest through which ran the road leading to the Colonel's plantation, we met a brown man mounted on a stout horse, and loaded down with a


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small armory of fire-arms, in addition to which he carried a long knife and a hatchet, evidently intended for dissecting some deer.

        "Ha!" said the Colonel pleasantly, yet with a touch of annoyance in his voice, "so you are going poaching on my land again? There will soon be no deer left."

        "Yas, Cunnel," said the fellow, impudently shifting his long rifle from his right to his left shoulder. "I reckon ef I see any deer I's gwine to go for 'em, sho;" then, putting spurs to his steed, he galloped off.

        There was no redress, and the Colonel was compelled to submit anew to the plundering of his preserves.

        Driving homeward with my artist companion, the Colonel having left us to return to his fight with the levées, we were struck with the picturesque clusters of negro cabins by the wayside. Nowhere else in the agricultural regions of the South had we perceived such a tendency to an artistic grouping of buildings. Along the road, which was now so covered with water that we could hardly pick our way, a few uproarious negroes, with whiskey bottles protruding from their pockets, were picking their dubious way. As we approached they saluted us, touching their hats with sudden dignity. Everywhere in this lowland region we found the negro courteous more from habit than from desire. Even when he fell into the sullen silence which marks his supremest dissent, he was deferential and polite to a degree which made that silence all the more exasperating. I have never in my life seen a more gracious and civil personage than the weather-stained and tattered old negro who stood on a shelving bank by the lake-side, and carefully pointed out to us the best spots in the submerged road, as we drove through the little village of which he was an inhabitant.

        

Illustration

A Cotton-Steamer.

        The local river packets, which depend mainly upon the commerce of the cotton plantations between Vicksburg and New Orleans, are the only means which the planters possess of communication with the outer world. The arrivals of the "Robert E. Lee," or of the "Natchez," at the plantation landings, always furnish picturesque and interesting scenes. We had occasion to journey from Natchez to Vicksburg, departing from the former town late at night. The negro hackman who was to transport us from the upper town to Natchez-under-the-Hill for the moderate sum of three dollars, bade us remain quietly in our rooms until "de Lee whistled." So, toward midnight, hearing the three hoarse yells from the colossal steam-pipes of the Robert E. Lee, we


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were hurried down to the great wharf-boat, where we found a motley crowd of negro men and women, of sickly, ague-stricken, poor whites, and smartly-dressed planters, whose immaculate linen and rich garments betrayed but little of the poverty and anxiety now afflicting the whole section.

        Presently, out of the gloom which shrouded the great river, a giant shape seemed slowly approaching, and while we were endeavoring to discover what it might be, flaring pine torches sent forth an intense light which disclosed the great packet, with her forward deck crowded with negro roustabouts, whose faces shone as the flame was reflected upon them. The tall pipes sent out sparks and smoke, and the river-monster, which seemed stealthily drawing near to us to devour us, winked its fiery eyes and sleepily drew up at the wharf, where, with infinite trouble, it was made fast with many stout ropes, while the mates screamed and cursed as only Mississippi boatmen can.

        The cabin of one of these steamers presents quite a different aspect from those of the Northern packets which come from St. Louis and Cincinnati. The bar is a conspicuous object as one enters, and around it cluster eager groups busily discussing the latest phase of the Kellogg usurpation, or, in such times of depression and disaster as during my visit, lamenting their fate with a philosophic air doubtless somewhat enhanced by the soothing nature of the liquids imbibed.

        As the traveler goes to register his name and purchase his ticket, the obliging clerk hands him the latest file of the New Orleans papers, of which hundreds of copies are given away at all the ports where the packets stop. No planter along the line thinks of buying a newspaper, but depends on the clerk of the steamer, who willingly furnishes him the news of the day.

        About the card-tables men are busily absorbed in the intricacies of "poker" and "seven-up," and the talk is of cotton and of corn, of the rise and fall of the river, and reminiscences of adventures in forest and on stream during the "waw." On the "Robert E. Lee" I found a number of prominent young cotton-planters, all of whom were complaining of the effects of the inundation. Many of these planters were educated gentlemen, familiar with life at the North, and with the best society. None of them were especially bitter or partisan in their views; their material interests seemed to command their immediate attention, and they, as others throughout the cotton country of the South, complained of the seeming impossibility of reorganizing labor upon a fair and proper basis. All were unanimous in their testimony as to the superiority of free over slave labor, but all asserted that it was attended with so many drawbacks and vexations that they feared it would end in the promotion of much distress, and in the ruin of hundreds of planters. They, however, were by no means confronted with the worst aspects of the labor question, since labor was flowing to them, and not receding from them, as from the planters in Central Alabama, and in certain portions of Mississippi.

        Mr. Robert Somers, in his excellent observations on the labor question, as viewed in Alabama, made during a journey throughout the Southern States in 1870-71, hits upon some truths with regard to the relations of the planter and freedman, in the following manner:


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        "What the planters are disposed to complain of is, that while they have lost their slaves, they have not got free laborers in any sense common either in the Northern States or in Europe. One cannot but think that the New England manufacturer and the Old England farmer must be equally astonished at a recital of the relations of land, capital and labor, as they exist on the cotton plantations of the Southern States. The wages of the negroes, if such a term can be applied to a mode of remuneration so unusual and anomalous, consist, as I have often indicated, of one-half the crop of corn and cotton, the only crops in reality produced.

        "The negro on the semi-communistic basis thus established finds his own rations; but, as these are supplied to him by the planter or the planter's notes of credit on the merchants, and as much more sometimes as he thinks he needs by the merchants on his own credit, from the 1st of January onward throughout the year, in anticipation of crops which are not marketable until the end of December, he can lose nothing by the failures or deficient outcome of the crops, and is always sure of his subsistence. As a permanent economic relation, this would be startling anywhere betwixt any classes of men brought together in the business of life. Applied to agriculture, in any other part of the world, it would be deemed outrageously absurd, but this is only a part of the 'privileges' (a much more accurate term than 'wages') of the negro field-hand. In addition to half the crops, he has a free cottage of the kind he seems to like, and the windows of which he or his wife persistently nail up; he has abundance of wood from the planter's estate for fuel, and for building his corn-cribs and other out-houses, with teams to draw it from the forest. He is allowed to keep hogs and milch cows and young cattle, which roam and feed with the same right of pasture as the hogs and cattle of the planter, free of all charge. Though entitled to one-half the crops, he is not required to contribute any portion of the seed, nor is he called upon to pay any part of the taxes on the plantation. The only direct tax on the negroes is a poll tax." Mr. Somers declares that he found this tax "everywhere in arrear, and, in some places, in a helpless chaos of non-payment. Yet," he adds, "while thus freed from the burden of taxation, the negro has, up to this period of reconstruction, enjoyed the monopoly of representation, and has had all legislative and executive power moulded to his will by Governors, Senators and Deputies, who have been either his tools, or of whom he himself has been the dupe. For five years," he concludes, "the negroes have been kings, lords and commoners, and something more, in the Southern States."

        "But to come back," continues Mr. Somers, "to the economic condition of the plantations, the negro field-hand, with his right of half-crop and privileges as described, who works with ordinary diligence, looking only to his own pocket, and gets his crops forward and gathered in due time, is at liberty to go to other plantations and pick cotton, in doing which he may make from two to two and a-half dollars a day. For every piece of work outside the crop that he does even on his own plantation, he must be paid a dollar a day. While the land owner is busy keeping account betwixt himself and his negro hands, ginning their cotton


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for them, doing all the marketing of produce and supplies, of which they have the lion's share, and has hardly a day he can call his own, the hands may be earning a dollar a day from him for work which is quite as much theirs as his. Yet the negroes, with all their superabounding privilege on the cotton-field, make little of it. A ploughman or a herd in the Old World would not exchange his lot for theirs, as it stands and as it appears in all external circumstances."

        I have quoted these excellent remarks, as they afford a glimpse into some of the causes of the discouragement which prevails among large numbers of cotton-planters.

        Nothing can be more beautiful than the appearance of a cotton-field, extending over many hundreds of acres, when the snowy globes of wool are ready for

Illustration

Scene on a Cotton Plantation.

picking, and the swart laborers, with sacks suspended from their shoulders, wander between the rows of plants, culling the fleeces. The cotton-plant is beautiful from the moment when the minute leaflets appear above the moist earth until the time when it is gathered in. In June, when it is in bloom and when the blossoms change their color day by day, a cotton plantation looks like an immense flower garden. In the morning the blooms of upland cotton are often of a pale straw color; at noon of a pure white; in the afternoon perhaps faint pink, and the next morning perfect pink. It is noticed, however, that the blossom of the sea-island cotton always remains a pale yellow. When the flowers fall away, and the young bolls begin to grow, the careful negroes watch for the insidious approach of the cotton-worms, terrible enemies to plantation prosperity. There are many kinds of these worms; they multiply with astonishing
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rapidity, and sometimes cut off the entire crop of whole districts. Their presence cannot be accounted for, although elaborate investigations into the cause of their appearance have been undertaken ever since 1800, when they first appeared in the South. There is a popular belief that they come at intervals of three years in the same districts, and that their greatest ravages occur after intervals of twenty-one years. Their appetites are exclusively confined to cotton, of which they devour both the long and the short staples greedily.

        The planters build fires in the fields when they perceive that the insects are about to visit their crops, hoping to attract and destroy the moths which are the parents of the worms; but in many cases this proves insufficient. When the cotton-worm appears early in the season there are usually three broods. If the fires are built exactly at the time of the appearance of the first moths, then their speedy destruction, preventing the appearance of the second and third broods, aids in limiting the ravages; but the remedies are rarely undertaken in time. The ally of this vicious destroyer of the planter's fondest hopes is the boll-worm moth, a tawny creature who in the summer and autumn evenings hovers over the cotton-blooms and deposits a single egg in each flower. In three or four days this egg is hatched, and out of it comes a worm who voraciously eats his way into the centre of the boll, and then, ere it falls to the ground, seeks another, in which he in like manner buries himself. In Central Alabama, in 1873, we were told that plantations were so devastated by worms that they seemed as if lightning had passed over them and scathed them. The bolls were, in many cases, cut down for entire acres as completely as if the reaper's sickle had been thrust into them.

        During picking season in the States of North and South Carolina, Georgia, Northern Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi, the southern half of Arkansas and the eastern half of Texas, plantation life is busy and merry. If the planter has made a good crop, he calls in multitudes of negroes from the surrounding country to help him pick. These laborers sometimes wander from plantation to plantation, like the hop-pickers in the West; but where labor is not scarce, an extra force for a few days is all that is required.

        By the middle of October the season is at its height. Each person is expected to pick two or three hundred pounds of cotton daily, and as fast as the fleeces are picked they are carried either in wagons or in baskets, on the heads of negroes, to the gin-house. There, if the cotton is damp, it is dried in the sun, and then the fibre is separated from the seed, to which it is quite firmly attached.

        Nothing can be simpler or more effective than the machinery of the ordinary Whitney cotton-gin. Its main cylinder, upon which is set a series of circular saws, is brought into contact with a mass of cotton separated from the cylinder by steel bars or gratings. The teeth of the saws, playing between these bars, catch the cotton and draw it through, leaving the seeds behind. Underneath the saws a set of stiff brushes, revolving on another cylinder moving in an opposite direction, brushes off from the saw-teeth the lint which was taken from the seed, and a revolving fan, producing a rapid current of air, throws the light lint to a


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convenient distance from the gin. The ginning of sea-island cotton is practiced in South Carolina and Georgia, and requires the use of two fluted rollers, commonly made of wood, but sometimes of vulcanized rubber or steel, placed parallel in a frame which keeps them almost in contact. These rollers revolve in opposite directions, and draw the cotton between them, while the seeds, owing to the lack of space, do not pass through.

        Horse power is ordinarily used on small plantations in ginning cotton, while the great planters employ steam. But now a host of enterprising individuals have set up gin-houses in neighborhoods central to many plantations, and to them flock the many whites and blacks who cultivate one or two acres in cotton. The gins in these houses are usually run by steam, and many a man has made a small fortune in two or three years since the war by preparing the cotton brought to him from the country round about. Fires are frequent in these gin-houses,

Illustration

Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

and sometimes the freedmen revenge themselves upon their ex-masters by sending their expensive machinery heavenward in a blaze. Such malice as this, however, is not common, although there are some instances of planters who have lost many thousands of dollars by the torch of the incendiary.

        After the cotton leaves the gin it passes to the press, where it is packed into bales. On small plantations these presses are worked by hand or by horse power, while on the great and finer ones hydraulic presses are common. On well-ordered lands the picking is, of course, over before Christmas, and the planters and laborers alike give themselves up to the jollity of holidays; but, as I have already mentioned, the sight of acres of unpicked cotton in January and February in some parts of the South is not at all uncommon. It is the most effectual proof of the complete disorganization of the labor system.

        One of the peculiar vexations which the planter suffers is the constant stealing of cotton by the negroes during picking time. They manage to abstract it in petty quantities; and after having accumulated a little stock, they take it, if


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they live in the vicinity of a city, to what is known as a "dead fall house," where a clever "fence," or receiver of stolen goods, buys unquestioningly whatever they bring. If they live in some remote section, they boldly carry the cotton to the local merchant, who receives it in barter, very likely before the eyes of the planter from whom it was stolen, and who knows that he has no practical redress. Most of the negroes on the plantations have not the strong sense of honor which should lead them to consider their employers' interests as their own, and many of the merchants encourage them in their thievish propensities.

        Sixty-five miles below Natchez the Red river empties into the Mississippi. The recent improvements made by the General Government upon this river,

Illustration

The Red River Raft as it Was.

under the direction of the Board of Engineers, in the removal of the raft of drift-wood, have given it new commercial possibilities. The raft, which was thirty miles long, had, for many years, rendered navigation north of Shreveport impossible. The sketch, which the kindness of one of the engineers who had been employed in the removal of obstructions placed at the disposal of our artist, will serve to show what the Red river raft was. The river runs through one of the finest cotton regions in the country, and, in its ample and fertile valley, immense quantities of cotton and sugar, grain and tobacco will, in future, be produced. Not only Louisiana, but Arkansas and Texas, have been directly benefited by the improvement of the stream.


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XXXII.

MISSISSIPPI--ITS TOWNS--FINANCES--SCHOOLS. PLANTATION DIFFICULTIES.

        MISSISSIPPI and Alabama together form a mighty domain; many an empire has been founded upon a less extent of territory than either contains. Both States have suffered a good deal from evils incident to reconstruction; both, I believe, are destined to a recuperation soon to come, and to a wealth and position such as neither, in the palmy days of slavery, dreamed of. Alabama, with her million of inhabitants, and Mississippi, with her nine hundred thousand, seem, to an European or Northern visitor, almost uninhabited. In each State there is still an immense tract of native forest. The railway lines, almost as numerous in Mississippi as in Alabama, run for scores of miles through woods and uncleared or unreclaimed lands. The slave-holders naturally sought out the best land to mass their negroes upon, and now the freedmen are settled there, rudely trying to work out the problem of self-government, a problem extremely difficult for the wisest community to solve, and, of course, utterly beyond the scope of a horde of newly emancipated negroes. There has been a marvelous widening and heightening of sentiment in each State, and something of national feeling is now manifested in both. A little money and consequent independence would enable the capable people to do a great deal, despite the encumbrance of the incapables. Mississippi has no minerals from which to predict a future growth; but her splendid soil grows cotton superbly, and Indian corn, tobacco, hemp, flax, silk, as well as all kinds of grains and grasses. At one end of the State the apple flourishes; at the other, one may luxuriate in orange groves and under the shade of the fig-tree. The sixty counties in Mississippi contain farms and plantations whose cash value, in 1870, was nearly $100,000,000. The rivers run south-west, to pay tribute to the mighty stream from which the State takes its name--save a few in the eastern section, which flow into the Alabama rivers, and thence reach the Gulf of Mexico. Property has fallen ruinously in both Alabama and Mississippi; the former boasted, in 1860, a valuation in real estate and personal property, of nearly $450,000,000; in 1870, $155,000,000. Mississippi, at the outbreak of the war, had a valuation of $509,472,912; and in 1870, $154,535,527. The cotton production of Mississippi fell from 1,202,507 bales in 1860, to 564,938 bales in 1870; and the wealthy planter vanished before the storm of revolution.

        Corinth, in Mississippi, with its memories of terrible battles, is at the junction of the Memphis and Charleston railroad with the Mobile and Ohio. There Beauregard once sat haughtily entrenched until Halleck's persistence in assault

Illustration

MAP SHOWING THE COTTON REGION OF THE UNITED STATES.

Illustration

SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, FLORIDA AND ALABAMA.


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drove him away; and there occurred that ghastly encounter between Rosecrans and Van Dorn, which looms up, like a hideous vision, through the battle-smoke of our recent history. The land was as thoroughly camped upon as any in Virginia, and to-day the tracks of the contending armies are still visible, in the devastated timber and waste lands. There is good soil thereabouts. Located on so important a line as the Memphis and Charleston, Corinth is gradually gaining, and a few thousand bales of cotton annually go to market from its vicinity. A cotton and woolen manufacturing company, an extensive enterprise, with large capital, has been started near by. Pushing down the Mobile and Ohio railroad to Meridian, past renaissant Okalona, which received such a terrible shattering during the war; past tiny towns and villages where cotton bales, small wooden houses, and the depot, are the principal features; along the rich prairie lands, world-famous; over the pine slopes--one comes upon the rich woodlands which fringe the country in which Meridian stands. From Okalona a branch line runs off to the new and thriving town of Aberdeen; from both towns and their neighborhood large quantities of cotton are annually sent to market.

        Meridian, Mississippi, a new town in the woods, yet pretty withal, is the southern terminus of the Alabama and Chattanooga railroad, which runs through Birmingham, in Alabama, to Chattanooga, in Eastern Tennessee. At the time of my journey along the line from Birmingham northward, the road was in the anomalous condition into which Southern railways sometimes get; a condition in which no one knows, or scarcely considers it worth while to inquire, who owns it, so hopeless is the embarrassment. No tickets were to be had at the depot; I was informed that it was uncertain whether there would be any train that night. "Reckoned the conductor ('captain,' my informant called him) was running the train, and making what he could of it." But the line is a remarkably fine one, and as soon as population comes in to support it, will be one of the great routes of the South. It passes, on its way north-ward, through Eutaw, Alabama, pretty in its bowers of shade trees; along the fertile prairies, with their underlayers of limestone; and crosses the Tombigbee river at a point where the whitish limestone bluffs are ranged in rows, forming high banks, as picturesque and imposing as the walls of an ancient temple. Here once was great wealth, and here toiled thousands of slaves. Now they have vanished; so has the wealth, and the planter is left behind to worry along as best he can. Tuscaloosa, named after a valiant Indian chief of Alabama's early history, was for many years the capital of the State, and is the site of the State Lunatic Asylum, a United States land office, and many flourishing schools. The State University, already alluded to, has a group of handsome buildings on a commanding eminence not far from the banks of the Black Warrior river. Few students frequent it now, though there is some hope that it may be revivified as Alabama grows prosperous once more. Situated on the borders of both the agricultural and mineral region of the State, Tuscaloosa has always been interested in the mining of both the iron and the coal abundant near by, and the Kennedale cotton-mill, near the town, has been in prosperous


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operation since 1868. The Black Warrior*

        *Tusca-loosee--meaning Black Warrior--was the Choctaw term for the river, and the town took its name from it.


is a fine stream, and serves as a highway for the transportation of coal and iron to Demopolis, and thence via the Tombigbee toward the Gulf. Demopolis was settled in 1818 by a colony of French imperialists whose devotion to Napoleon the First had compelled them to fly from France. Among them were many noted soldiers and ladies of the fallen Emperor's court. Many afterward returned to France, and but few of their descendants at present remain in Alabama.

        Scattered over the fifty-five thousand square miles which make up the State of Mississippi, there are but half-a-dozen towns of considerable size. It can readily support on its thirty-five millions of acres a dozen millions of people. Vicksburg, Natchez, Jackson, and Columbus are the principal towns; the rest are villages, into which the trade created by the surrounding country has crowded.

Illustration

The Mississippi State Capitol at Jackson.

All the good lands are very accessible; railroads run in every direction through the State. The Vicksburg and Meridian route runs from Meridian through Jackson to the Mississippi river; the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern gives the capital easy communication with New Orleans and via the Mississippi Central, which runs from Jackson to Grenada, and from Grenada through Holly Springs and Oxford to the Tennessee line, sends a current of Northern trade and travel through the State. Columbus, Mississippi, is an enterprising town on the Tombigbee river, in the centre of a rich planting region, and depends mainly for its support upon the shipment of cotton to Mobile. Vicksburg and Natchez have already been described in their relations to the Mississippi river and the
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country which contributes to their trade; it remains, therefore, to give some idea of Jackson, the capital of Mississippi.

        First of all, Jackson is very pretty--a quiet, unambitious village of five or six thousand inhabitants, on the banks of the Pearl river, a charming stream, which makes its erratic way through lovely forests and thickets, and whose current is strewn with the drift-wood torn from them. At Jackson one begins to feel the ripeness and perfection of the far South; he is only twelve hours from New Orleans, and sees in the gardens the same lustrous magnificence of blossom which so charmed his eye in the Louisiana metropolis. The evenings are wonderfully beautiful, silent, impressive. Reaching Jackson from Vicksburg at dark, I strolled along the half-mile of street between the hotel and the business centre of the town; there was no stir--no sound; one might as well have been in a wood. At last, encountering a mule-car, whose only occupant was the negro driver, I returned in it to the hotel, where I found that every one but the watchful clerk had retired.

        The State Capitol, a solid and not unhandsome building, the Penitentiary, the Insane Asylum, the Land Office, a fine Governor's residence, and the Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb and Blind, compose Jackson's public buildings, all well built and commodious. At the proper seasons, one sees in the long main street of the town, lines of emigrant wagons, filled with hard-featured men and women bound for Texas or "Arkansaw." These Ishmaels are not looked upon with any especial love by the inhabitants who intend to remain in their native State, and are often the subjects of much satire, which they bear good-humoredly. Hebrew names appeared to predominate on the signs; the Jews monopolize most of the trade; negroes lounge everywhere, and there are large numbers of smartly

Illustration

"At the proper seasons, one sees in the long main street of the town, lines of emigrant wagons."

dressed mulattoes, or sometimes full blacks, who flit here and there with that conscious air which distinguishes the freedman. I wish here to avow, however, that those of the negroes in office, with whom I came in contact in Mississippi
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impressed me much more powerfully as worthy, intelligent, and likely to progress, than many whom I saw elsewhere in the South. There are some who are exceedingly capable, and none of those immediately attached to the Government at Jackson are incapable. In the Legislature there are now and then negroes who are ignorant; but of late both branches have been freer from this curse than have those of Louisiana or South Carolina.

        A visit to the Capitol showed me that the negroes, who form considerably more than half the population of Mississippi, had certainly secured a fair share of the offices. Colored men act as officials or assistants in the offices of the Auditor, the Secretary of State, the Public Library, the Commissioner of Emigration, and the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The Secretary of State, who has some negro blood in his veins, is the natural son of a well-known Mississippian of the old régime, formerly engaged in the politics of his State; and the Speaker of the House of Representatives at the last session was a black man. The blacks who went and came from the Governor's office seemed very intelligent, and some of them entered into general conversation in an interesting manner.

        The present Governor, ex-United States Senator Adelbert Ames, was four years Military Governor of Mississippi, and knows the temper of both whites and blacks in the State very well. To his military régime succeeded the Government of Mr. Alcorn, now United States Senator from Mississippi, and when Mr. Alcorn was sent to the Senate, Lieutenant-Governor Powers took his place. Alcorn, returning from the Senate last year, contested the Governor's chair with Ames, but, not succeeding in a re-election, returned to Washington. At the outset of Governor Ames' civil administration, which began recently, he affirmed his determination to redeem the Republican party in that section from the charge of corruption, and the Legislature has taken measures to second his laudable resolve.

        Mississippi's State debt is but little--some three millions; she was fortunate enough not to have any credit in the markets of the world when reconstruction began, and therefore escaped a good many financial dangers. Her repudiation of her honest indebtedness, years ago, did her infinite harm, and it would be wise to take up that debt, and pay it in future. Part of the money at present owed by the State is due the schools. The State tax is not large; it is the city and county taxation which is oppressive, but that is mainly because of the straitened circumstances of the people.

        The vicious system of issuing State warrants has been for some time pursued, but a bill was passed at the last legislative session, funding all these warrants; which had the effect of bringing them up at once from sixty to eighty cents. A new law also requires that all taxes be paid in greenbacks. The State paper has, at times since reconstruction, been sold on the street in Jackson at forty per cent. below par. The return to a cash basis will, it is estimated, save twenty-five per cent. in the cost of government alone. A general movement in favor of "retrenchment and reform" on the part of the dominant party is manifest, the natural result of which will be the restoration of the State's credit. Governor Ames is firm in his measures, and is not surrounded, to judge from a brief look at them, with men who are inclined to misuse their opportunities.


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        The State Superintendent of Education informed me that there are about 75,000 children now in attendance upon the State schools, fully 50,000 of whom are colored. He believed that there was at the time of my visit $1,000,000 worth of school property owned in the State, which proved a great advance since the war. In counties mainly Democratic in sentiment, there is formidable opposition to anything like a public school system, but in those where Republican or negro officials dominate, schools are readily kept open and fully attended. The Superintendent said that he had in only one case endeavored to insist upon mixed schools, and that was in a county where the white teachers had refused to teach negro scholars. He had found it necessary to inform those teachers that, in that case, they must not attempt to keep the black children from the white schools, since he was determined that they should receive instruction.

        The school fund is quite large; there are normal schools at Holly Springs and Tougaloo; and the blacks have founded a university named after Ex-Governor and Senator Alcorn. It occupies the site of the old Oakland College near Rodney, on the Mississippi river, and receives an annual appropriation of $50,000.

        A successful university has also been in operation in Tougaloo for several years. First-class teachers for the public schools are very much needed. Large numbers of very good private schools are maintained in the State by those citizens who still disbelieve in free public tuition.

        The University of Mississippi,*

        * Both this and Alcorn University have agricultural departments.


at Oxford, an old and well managed institution, exclusively patronized by whites, receives, as does Alcorn University, an annual subsidy of $50,000 from the State, and its average attendance is fully equal to that before the war. It has been properly fostered and nourished by the Republican Government, and the motley adventurers in South Carolina might learn a lesson in justice and impartiality from the party in power in Mississippi.

        As soon as the funds devoted by the State to educational purposes are paid in greenbacks, or, in other words, when the evil system of "warrants" is thoroughly extinct, Mississippi will make sterling progress in education, and, in proportion, will grow in thrift, wealth and importance.

        Jackson has two flourishing newspapers, The Pilot being the Republican, and The Clarion the Democratic organ. Socially, the town has always been one of high rank in the South, although some of the rougher Mississippian element has at times been manifest in that section. The residence once occupied by Mr. Yerger, who killed the military Mayor of Jackson, shortly after the close of the war, because that Mayor had insisted upon the collection of certain taxes, is still pointed out to visitors. There are many charming drives in the town; a little beyond it, the roads are rough and the country is wild. A garrison is maintained at Jackson, and now and then the intervention of United States authority is necessary to quell disturbances in interior districts.

        The State has made efforts to secure immigration, but, like many other Southern commonwealths, finds it impossible to compete with the North-west,


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and becomes discouraged in presence of the objections made by white laborers to settling within its boundaries. The south-western portion presents really fine inducements for the cultivation of cotton, corn, tobacco, sugar-cane, peaches, pears, apples, and grapes. In several of these south-western counties the yield of sugar has been one thousand pounds to the acre. The average yield of cotton is a bale to the acre. Fruit culture could be made a paying specialty throughout that part of the State.

        The rich stores of pine, pecan, hickory, oak, walnut, elm, ash, and cypress timber form also an element of future wealth. Those lands fronting upon the Gulf of Mexico offer, in orange orchards and the miraculous oyster-beds along the shores, rare prizes for the emigrants who will go and take them. The counties a little remote from the coast are rich in a luxuriant growth of pine, and there too, the culture of sugar and the grape has already been successful.

        The stock-grazier, also, can find his paradise there; and there the ample water power of the Pearl, the Wolf, the Pascagoula, the Escalaufa, the Leaf and the Chickasawha rivers can turn the largest mills. The average price of lands in the State, accepting the testimony of the Government immigration agent, is five dollars per acre.

        Life and property are probably as safe at present as in any other State in the South. The reputation of Southern Mississippi has not heretofore been of the best in respect to law and order; but the State seems to be now entering upon an epoch of peace and confirmed decency. Mississippi has, undoubtedly, suffered immensely, in a material point of view, since the close of the war, but is now on the road to an upbuilding, and would spring into astonishing growth if the vexed labor question could only be settled in some manner.

        An immigration to the Mississippi sea-board, where there is so much magnificent timber, would be peculiarly advantageous to young men possessed of small capital. Pascagoula river and its tributaries give a water line thirteen hundred miles in extent through a dense timber region. Millions of feet of good lumber are now shipped from this section. The improvement of the harbor and the deepening of the channel at Pascagoula, and the elevation of that place and of Bay St. Louis into ports of entry, would greatly increase the trade of Mississippi in that direction.

        The people of the State have also long desired the connection of the Gulf coast with the central interior, by a railway line, and will demand it soon. Until it is accomplished Mississippi will, perforce, pour streams of commerce into Mobile and New Orleans, while her own grand harbors remain unimproved and empty. Meantime, the completion of the network gradually covering the State goes on; and the Memphis and Selma, the Mobile and North-western, the Vicksburg and Memphis, the Vicksburg and Nashville, the Prentice and Bogue Phalia, and the Natchez, Jackson and Columbus roads are projected, and, in some cases, the routes have been partially graded.

        The Vicksburg and Nashville road has no very powerful reason for existence, as its projected line is intersected at equidistant intervals by three rich and


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powerful lines in successful operation; and there has been a good deal of opposition to the surrendering to that road of the trust funds known as the three per cents., and the agricultural land scrip, amounting in all to some $320,000.

        Along the line of rail from Jackson to New Orleans there is much growth of substantial character. Mr. H. E. McComb, of Wilmington, Delaware, has built up a flourishing town not far from the Louisiana line, and named it McComb City. But the country is still mainly in a wild state, and one cannot help feeling, while

Illustration

"The negroes migrate to Louisiana and Texas in search of paying labor."

borne along in the palace-car through forests and tangled thickets, that he is gradually leaving the civilized world behind. He imagining each village which he sees, like an island in the ocean of foliage, to be the last, and experiences a profound astonishment when he comes upon the cultivated and European surroundings of New Orleans. Northward, along the railway lines, it is much the same.

        All one day we traversed the line from Jackson to Memphis, coming to but two towns of any mentionable size in the whole distance. The others were merely groupings of a few unpainted houses built against the hill-sides, among the trees, and on the open plains.

        Plantation life is much the same in all sections of the State, although the methods of culture and the amount of results may differ. The white man and the negro are alike indifferent to a safe and steady provision for the future by growing their own supplies.

        The planters are nearly all poor, and very much in need of ready money, for which they have to pay exorbitant rates of interest. At the end of a year of pretty hard work,--for the cotton planter by no means rests upon a bed of roses,--both whites and blacks find themselves little better off than when they began, and feel sore and discouraged. The negroes migrate to Louisiana and Texas in search of paying labor, while the planters complain very generally of the scarcity of help.


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XXXIII.

MOBILE, THE CHIEF CITY OF ALABAMA.

        THERE was a delicious after-glow over sky and land and water as I left New Orleans for Mobile one warm evening in March, the month which, in the South, is so radiant of sunshine and prodigal of flowers.

        Nothing in lowland scenery could be more picturesque than that afforded by the ride from New Orleans to Mobile, over the Mobile and Texas railroad, which stretches along the Gulf line of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. It runs through savannahs and brakes, skirts the borders of grand forests, offers here a glimpse of a lake and there a peep at the blue waters of the noble Gulf; now clambers over miles of trestle-work, as at Bay St. Louis, Biloxi (the old fortress of Bienville's time) and Pascagoula; and now plunges into the very heart of pine woods, where the foresters are busily building little towns and felling giant trees, and where the revivifying aroma of the forest is mingled with the fresh breezes from the sea.

        The wonderful charm of the after-glow grew and strengthened as the train was whirled rapidly forward. We came to a point from which I saw the broad expanse of water beneath the draw-bridge over the Rigolets, and the white sails

Illustration

On the Bay Road, near Mobile, Alabama. [Page 321.]

hovering far away, like monster sea-gulls, on either side, the railroad. The illusion was almost perfect; I seemed at sea. Along the channel I could see the schooners, and now and then a steamer, coming from the deep canals that run
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from New Orleans to Lake Pontchartrain, and communicate with Lake Borgne. At a little pine-built village, completely shrouded in foliage, and seemingly lulled to sleep by the murmurous song of the birds and drowsy hum of the insects, a party of roystering negro men and women, carrying banjos and guitars on their shoulders, left the forward car. Suddenly my next neighbor said:

        "Did you see that white man thar, 'mong the niggers, with a beaver on,' long o' that big black wench?"

        "Do you really think he was a white man?"

        "Yes, d--n him; p'r'aps his heart's black, though. Looks like that big nigger was his wife."

        Then the voice grumbled itself away into silence.

        This somewhat deadened the romance with which I was beginning to invest the journey--for the mystical twilight creeping on, the strange panorama of vegetation flitting before my eyes, the sudden transition from forest to Gulf shore, and the sombre calm of the horizon where blue wave seemed mutely kissing bluer sky, all combined to throw one into delightful musings. I retired to the platform of the Pullman car, and was once more giving way to the spell of the sunset, when a sharp voice behind me said:

        

Illustration

"Mobile bay lay spread out before me." [Page 321.]

        "Cap'n, can't you set inside,'n let us shet the do'? The mosquitoes is gitting so they bite powerful sharp."

        Then darkness came treacherously and suddenly, as it does in that strange Southern land; and we rolled rapidly through the edge of Mississippi; past the pretty Gulfside towns, whither beauty and fashion fly in spring and summer; past inlet, across river, and turned landward to Mobile.

        The lovely bay on which the chief city of Alabama is located extends thirty miles inland to the mouth of the Alabama river. One of the most charming promenades near Mobile lies on the bay shore. Bowling merrily over the shell road one superb March day, I was impressed with the tranquil beauty of the


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spot. There was a light haze; Mobile bay lay spread out before me, a dimly seen vision, the foreground dotted with masses of drift-wood brought in by the tide, and with the long piers running out to pretty bathing-houses.

        There was a strange and sleepy air of quiet about the place; a tropical luxuriance of sunlight and blossom, so curiously at variance with one's preconceived

Illustration

"A negro woman fished silently in a little pool."

notions of March, that it was a perpetual puzzle! A gentle breeze blew steadily inland; it seemed perfume-laden. The tide was coming in. Here and there we had glimpses of long beaches as fine in their rounded sweep as Castellamare, and massive magnolias, sixty or seventy feet high, threw noble shadows over the sheeny water, from which the haze gradually lifted. Vines, water oaks, and pines tall enough for the masts of Vikings' ships, bordered the way. Neat residences peered from rose-smothered gardens; a negro woman fished silently in a little pool made by the tide, never catching any fish, and seemingly content to regard the reflections of her own ebony face in the water; a swart farmer lazily followed the mule-drawn plough afield; urchins tumbled among the snags and drift-wood hauled up to dry; and goats and kids lingered and skipped distrustfully on the knolls by the roadside.

        Here was a garden filled with arbors and benches in cozy nooks; in its centre, a latticed café, whose proprietor was opening soda bottles, and, barearmed, dispensing cooling drinks to customers sprawling on seats, with their faces raised to catch the inspiring breath of the sea. There was no whir of gilded equipages; the long avenue seemed all my own; I could almost fancy that the coast was mine, the islands and the light-houses were mine, and that the two negro hunters, loitering by with guns on their shoulders, were my gamekeepers, come to attend me to the chase. The delicate hint of infinity on the mingled wave and haze-horizon; the memories of siege and battle awakened by the sight of the dim line of Blakely coast; the penetrating perfume wafted from magnolias and pines; the soul-clarifying radiance of the sunshine, which industriously drove away the light mist, all conspired to surround me with an enchantment not dispelled until I had once more gained the streets of the town.

        We are indebted to Bienville, that prince of colonial guardians, for Mobile, as well as for New Orleans. He it was who, in 1711, built the defense called Fort


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Condé, on the present site of the town, and who gave the name of Mobile to the bay, because the Indians inhabiting that section called themselves Mobilians. On the west side of the bay he at one time erected a fort called "St. Louis de la Mobile." For half a century the present city was only a frontier military post, carrying on a small trade with the Indians. It was French in character and sentiment, and although but few of the Gallic characteristics are now perceptible in the manners of any of its inhabitants, there are hints of the departed French in the architecture and arrangement of the town. It fell into British hands in 1763, by the treaty of Paris between Great Britain and France, and was too remote from the other colonies to succeed in doing anything against British rule during the American Revolution.

        After the British came the Spaniards, who drove out the former, and partially burned Mobile during the siege. In due time, as tract after tract was wrested from the Indians, the territory of Mississippi was formed, with Winthrop Sargent of Massachusetts as Governor, and to this Government Mobile and its tributary country were accountable, after the departure of the Spaniards, until the thorough subjugation of the savage, and his expulsion from the Tennessee valley, and from his hunting grounds on the Chattahoochee, had opened the whole domain to the white man, and a portion of Mississippi territory was organized in March of 1817, under the name of "Alabama." By 1819, white settlers had flocked into the country in such numbers that Alabama was admitted to the Union.

        Mobile is to-day a pretty town of 35,000 inhabitants, tranquil and free from commercial bustle, for it has not been as prosperous as many of its southern seaport sisters. Government street, its principal residence avenue, has many fine

Illustration

The Custom-House--Mobile, Alabama.

mansions situated upon it; the gardens are luxuriant, and give evidence of a highly cultivated taste. Superb oak-trees shade that noble street, as well as the public square between Dauphin and St. Francis streets. The streets and shops are large, and many are elegant; but there is no activity; the town is as still as one of those ancient fishing villages on the Massachusetts coast when the fishermen are away. Yet there is a large movement of cotton through Mobile yearly. A cotton exchange has grown up there within the last two years, and when I visited it, already had 100 members. Mobile annually receives and dispatches from 325,000 to 350,000 bales of cotton, most of which comes from Mississippi, much of whose carrying trade she controls. Some of the cotton brought to Mobile goes eastward, but the mass of it goes to the foreign shipping in the
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"lower bay." The port needs many improvements, and the Government has for some time been engaged in a kind of desultory dredging out there, but has not yet succeeded in affording a sufficient depth of water to allow large vessels to come directly to the wharves; and the lines of artificial obstruction, built across the channel of the bay during the war, to impede the passage of vessels, have not yet been removed.

        In due time, with a revival of commerce and the development of the immense resources in cotton, coal and iron in the State, the channel through the bay will be properly deepened, and Mobile will have a wharf line along its whole front. At present, however, it seems that foreign captains rather prefer to have their ships loaded from small crafts which come twenty or twenty-five miles down the bay with the cotton, as they thus avoid port dues and the danger of desertion of sailors. It costs but twenty cents per bale to convey the cotton down the

Illustration

Bank of Mobile and Odd Fellows' Hall--Mobile, Alabama.

harbor, and the captains, anxious to get their lading and depart, have none of the customary port delays and exactions to complain of. In 1867-68, Mobile exported 358,745 bales; in 1868-69, but 247,348; in 1869-70, sent away 298,523; in 1870-71, the number rose to 417,508; but in 1871-72, fell again to 295,629; and in 1872-73 was over 300,000. Of this cotton the greater portion was sent directly to Liverpool, the amount going northward yearly varying from 80,000 to 160,000 bales. Down the Alabama river, from the rich but lately unfortunate country around Montgomery and Selma, come thousands of bales on the light-draft steamers; and the river banks form one continuous line of cotton plantations. Nearly 400 vessels, employing 7,500 sailors, and having a tonnage of 275,000 tons, are annually employed in direct commerce with the port. This cotton movement does not, however, make Mobile either especially rich or active as a town, inasmuch as, aside from a few manufactories of minor importance, it constitutes the sole business.

        The railroad connections of the city are excellent, and her citizens are anxious to improve them still farther. The New Orleans, Mobile and Texas line gives direct communication with New Orleans and Brashear City, the point of departure of the Morgan steamships for Texas; the Mobile and Ohio road connects Mobile with Columbus in Mississippi; the Mobile and Montgomery gives it a highway to the State capital, and thence via the South and North Alabama road through the wonderful mineral region, to Decatur and Nashville. It is intended to create a road from Mobile to Tallahassee in Florida, in due time, and the city


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already has connection with Pensacola, the most important of the northern Florida ports. All that section of the "land of flowers" contiguous to Alabama will doubtless be annexed sooner or later; there is a growing sentiment in both

Illustration

The Marine and City Hospitals--Mobile, Alabama.

States in favor of annexation. The present route to Pensacola from Mobile is roundabout; one has to make a triangular detour from Mobile to Pollard, on the Montgomery road, and thence return coastward on the Pensacola and Louisville route. At present the only connection which Pensacola has with Eastern Florida is via steamers to St. Mark's, and thence by rail across the peninsula to Jacksonville. Pensacola has one of the most remarkable harbors in the world; it is thirty miles long, from six to eight wide, and nearly thirty-five feet deep. The average depth on the bar at the harbor entrance is twenty-four feet. Any ship, however heavily loaded, can readily approach Pensacola at any season of the year, and can reach the open sea in a couple of hours. The harbor is safe--differing in that respect from many of the Florida ports, and is amply defended by three

Illustration

Trinity Church--Mobile, Alabama.

forts in good condition. A naval station, and boasting a marine hospital and a custom-house, Pensacola, with its four thousand inhabitants, already talks grandly of its great future. The immense quantities of fine timber which grow in lower Alabama and upper Florida furnish the city with an extensive lumber trade. The completion of the North and South railroad gives it also almost an air line to Nashville and Louisville, and promises to make it in future one of the outlets, like Brunswick on the South Atlantic coast, for the trade of the West.*

        * In 1872, eight hundred foreign ships entered Pensacola harbor, and probably a thousand come there yearly. Few come save in ballast, their object being to procure outward freights of cotton and lumber.


        The Mobile and Montgomery road has done much for Mobile, placing the town upon one of the main lines of travel across the country. Two excellent bridges span the Mobile and Tensaw rivers; the old and tedious transfer


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by boats is done away; and to-day a stream of freight and travel passes through the city from North to South, bringing with it visitors and investors. The projected "Grand Trunk" railroad has not yet made much progress. It is intended to give an additional route from Mobile to the mineral regions, and its completion would develop a large section of valuable country. It will stretch four hundred miles into the interior, making new trade for Mobile, but it is not likely to be built at once. It has been completed to Jackson, fifty-nine miles from Mobile.

        

Illustration

In the City Park, Mobile--"Ebony nurse-maids flirt with their lovers."

        Mobile does not rank as high, as a commercial city, as in the palmy days gone by; but the peculiar advantages of her location, and the vast resources of the State whose chief seaport she is, can but bring her a good future. At present her banking capital is small, hardly aggregating a million and three-quarters, and outside rates for money are ruinously high. There is a large and increasing capital concentrated in fire and life insurance companies; the manufactories are all of minor importance, except the Creole and the Mobile cotton-seed oil works. Alabama produces nearly three hundred thousand tons of cotton-seed annually, of which fully one-half can be spared for sale. There is a similar prosperous factory at Selma. This industry may attain large proportions. Mobile has made active efforts to become one of the principal coffee markets of the Union, and claims that direct importation from Rio to Mobile is easier, less expensive, and more direct than to New Orleans. The retail trade of the city has been greatly injured by the establishment throughout the State of a vast number of new stores, where the freedmen on the adjacent plantations now purchase the supplies which they once bought in bulk in Mobile. There is some hope that the city may become the coaling station for the steam navigation of the Gulf. The Cedar Keys and Florida railroad is the medium of shipping much cotton and other produce directly to New York from Mobile, which would have been diverted elsewhere were it not for this advantageous route.

        The construction of the proposed ship canal across Florida would be very beneficial to Mobile, in affording her a cheap water-way, while the South Atlantic ports must necessarily be restricted in growth by expensive railroad transportation.

        My visit to Mobile was in spring-time, when the whole land was covered with blossoms. The City park is filled with noble trees, in whose shade ebony nurse-maids


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flirt with their lovers and squirrels frolic with the children. The drive along the quiet and secluded by-way to "Spring Hill" reminded one of the rich bloom and greenness of England, save that here and there were semi-tropical

Illustration

In the City Park, Mobile--"Squirrels frolic with the children."

blossoms. Climbing to the roof of the Jesuit college on Spring Hill, I looked out over a lovely plain, once studded with beautiful homes, many of which have now fallen sadly into decay. A dense growth of forest still shrouds much of the surrounding country; in the distance the faint line of the Gulf seemed a silver thread. Along the hills, over which I wandered, flourished all the trees peculiar to the far South, and the Scuppernong grape grew magnificently in the college vineyards. The fresh and aromatic atmosphere of the woods, mingled with the delicate breath from the sea, made it difficult for one to fancy that pestilence could ever spread its wings above Mobile. Yet there, as elsewhere, from time to time the death angel inaugurates his terrible campaign, and the citizens are compelled to flee to the mountains.

        Mobile bay is replete with historic interest. One may perhaps think, in looking out over its placid waters, of Iberville's colonists coming, in 1799, a motley and sea-stained gang, to land on Dauphin's Island, and finding there so many

Illustration

Barton Academy--Mobile, Alabama.

human bones, that they called it Massacre Island; but one cannot forget the mighty naval battle when grim old Commander Farragut forced his way past the fire of Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines, whose Confederate guns were at all hazards to be silenced. One cannot remember, without a thrill, how one day the squadron, which had hung steadfastly at the mouth of the bay during three long years of war, transformed itself into a fiery antagonist--a war-fleet, breathing forth fire and destruction; nor how, after the admiral had fought his way with his fleet past the forts into the harbor, the giant ram, the "Tennessee," the pride
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and glory of the Alabamians who built her, stood out to meet her formidable foes, although she had seen the decks of all her other Confederate consorts transformed into slaughter-pens. One cannot forget how, even after the harbor was taken, and closed against the blockade-runners, the little city held valiantly out another twelve months, until the attack by Canby on the defenses along the eastern shore was crowned with victory, until the Spanish Fort and Blakely, Batteries Hager and Tracy were invested, besieged and taken.

        Mobile is the home of some Southern celebrities; among them are Admiral Semmes, who lives peaceably and handsomely, following the profession of law; Madame Octavia Walton Le Vert, Augusta J. Evans, authoress of "Beulah" and one or two other ultra-scholastic novels, and General John Forsyth, ex-diplomat, and one of the ablest journalists

Illustration

Christ Church--Mobile, Alabama.

in the country. The Register, which General Forsyth edits, is sometimes a little bitter in partisan politics, but altogether highly creditable to Mobile. The city is also famous for having inaugurated the masked secret societies, which have lately become such a feature of the Southern carnival, and which for several years held the field with the "Cowbellions" and the "Strikers," whose representations were always looked forward to with pleasure by the citizens of the Gulf coast. The Cowbellions, the Strikers, and the "T. D. A's," are New Year's Eve societies; and among the Mardi-Gras companies are the "Order of Myths," and the "H. S. S." Not even the war and the depression of commerce have been able to deaden the jollity of the genial maskers.

        The home of many lovely women, Mobile has a thoroughly good society, cultivated and frank, and the assemblages of its citizens are as brilliant gatherings as are to be found in the country. There are no public buildings of special beauty; the Custom-House, the Odd Fellows' and Temperance Halls, the Catholic Cathedral, the First Presbyterian and Christ Churches, Mobile College, the Academy, the Bank of Mobile, are all pleasing structures, but devoid of any remarkable features. Both Catholics and Protestants have well-conducted orphan asylums; in the numerous public schools the white and black children are pretty well provided for, education making progress as gratifying in the city as it is meagre and discouraging in the country. Immigration and manufactures would make of Mobile one of the most attractive of Southern towns; it needs but a little aid to establish itself firmly and handsomely. The cemetery is somewhat dilapidated, yet filled with pretty monuments and those sweetest memorials of the dead--a profusion of delicious flowers.


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XXXIV.

THE RESOURCES OF ALABAMA--VISITS TO MONTGOMERY AND SELMA.

        THAT which chiefly astonishes the stranger in visiting Alabama is that the superb material resources of the State should have remained undeveloped so long. He is told that, in a little less than a century, Alabama expended two hundred millions of dollars in the purchase of slaves; had she spent it in developing her elements of wealth, she would have been to-day one of the richest commonwealths in the world. The extraordinary extent and nature of her mineral stores, the fertility of her fields for cotton, the cereals and fruits, the grandeur of her forests, the length of her streams, and her lovely climate, will render her, after the dreary transition period is past, one of the most opulent of the Southern States.

        The expedition of De Soto through Alabama, three centuries and a-half ago, was among the most remarkable of his time. This brave Spaniard, with his little band, while pushing across the new and hostile country to the harbor at Pensacola, where ships with supplies from Havana awaited him, was attacked by swarms of warriors under the chief Tuscaloosa, at an Indian town, said to have been near the present site of Selma, and there fought one of the bloodiest battles of early American history. Turning his face northward and westward once more, he fought his way, step by step, to the Mississippi river, leaving the savages some ghastly memorials of Spanish pluck and valor, but having done nothing toward the colonization of the great territory later known as Alabama.

        One hundred and sixty-two years thereafter, another European expedition appeared at Pensacola, but finding the Spaniards in possession there, cast anchor at Ship Island, and finally at Biloxi. Iberville, who had been commissioned by France to found settlements on the Mississippi, planted the seed of the colonies, which Bienville brought to such abundant harvest. Slaves were introduced into Alabama, then a part of Louisiana, under the régime of John Law's great Mississippi Company, and rice and tobacco and indigo were successfully cultivated. A little more than a century after the first French occupation, Alabama had nearly 200,000 whites, and 117,000 blacks within her borders, and seemed springing more rapidly into development than most of the other States of the Union.

        The area of Alabama is 50,722 square miles, of which the cotton and timber regions comprise about 10,000, and the mineral section 15,000 square miles. The cotton-fields have been the basis of the State's wealth, and will continue


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one of her chief supports; but to her minerals and manufactures must she look for that development of large manufacturing towns and wonderful increase of population which has marked the growth of other States, uniting, as she does, a superabundance of agricultural and mineral resources. It is supposed that not more than half the available cotton lands are at present under cultivation. From the rich Tennessee valley to the fertile Gulf coast there is such a combination of natural treasures as no country in Europe can boast. Alabama can produce all the grains and esculents of the Northern States, yet to-day whole sections of the State are dependent on the North-west for bread, because the foolish "all cotton" policy is continued from slave times.

        Lying at the foot of the Alleghany mountains, which, in the north-western portion of the State, bow their giant heads stupidly, and lean lazily toward the level earth, she possesses grand mineral beds, similar to those which crop out at intervals along the range through Pennsylvania, Virginia and Tennessee. Her river system is one of the noblest on the continent. It comprehends the Tennessee, which courses through eight northern counties, and affords a fertile, although somewhat exhausted, cotton valley; the Alabama and her tributaries; and the Tombigbee, the Black Warrior and the Coosa. These are all navigable. The Chattahoochee river is the boundary line between Georgia and Alabama; and in the lower part of the State several of the rivers flowing through Florida to the Gulf furnish navigation to the border counties.

        The improvement of the Coosa and the Cahawba rivers, so that they shall be navigable all the way from the mineral fields to their junction with the Alabama, is considered of the utmost importance. Some of the richest iron mines and coal-fields in the State are on the Upper Coosa, beyond its navigable portion. Surveys have been provided for under the reconstruction governments, but as yet little has been accomplished. The upper portion of the Black Warrior river drains the Warrior coal-field, and could be made of vast service in future.

        The opening of the Coosa river would give to the markets of Montgomery and Mobile the produce of a section of Alabama which now finds its outlet in Georgia, and it would furnish the cotton belt of the State with cheap grain--a most important consideration; while, at the same time, it will afford fine water power for manufactures. Mobile is anxious to become a grain depot, like New Orleans, for the corn trade of the West with Europe. The improvement of the Coosa river and of Mobile harbor would accomplish this.

        The needed opening of the Tennessee river, which I have alluded to elsewhere, would be of the greatest value to Northern Alabama; and a canal from the Tennessee to the Coosa, cut through at a point where the streams are not more than forty miles apart, would give a continuous water line from the north-west to Mobile bay.*

        *"Alabama Manuals."


This would become one of the most popular and economical of national highways, and would be lined, throughout Alabama, with manufacturing towns.

        The timber region of Alabama comprises a belt extending entirely across the lower portion of the State, bordering on Florida and the Gulf. It is rich in


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forests of long-leaved pine, and on the river lowlands grow white, black and Spanish oaks, and the black cypress. Cotton can be produced in the light, sandy soil of this section, but the gathering of naval stores is a more productive industry in these border counties. Between Mobile and Pascagoula bays many settlements are springing up, and enterprising young men from the North and West are sending millions of feet of lumber to the New Orleans market. The lands can be purchased for a trifle; and there are many small bays and estuaries where vessels for any port in the world might load directly at the saw-mill.

        In the cotton belt, which also extends across Alabama, from the Mississippi to the Georgia line, there are many large towns which would, in happier times, be flourishing, and whose appearance testifies to a long reign of wealth, elegance, and culture within their limits. Montgomery, Selma, Demopolis, Livingston, Eutaw, Greensboro, Marion, are all inhabited or surrounded by planters who are, or have once been wealthy, and who have gathered about them fine private schools, libraries and churches.

        South-eastward through the cotton country, from the capital, runs the Montgomery, Eufaula and Brunswick railroad, intended as part of a gigantic line some day to be completed from Brunswick, Georgia, on the Atlantic coast, to Vicksburg, on the Mississippi; and other lines are here and there projected. It often occurs to one that Alabama is indulging in an "overcrop" of railways, considering the abundance of her superb water-courses.

        The soil of the Alabama cotton belt is inexhaustibly rich. This is the testimony of all observers, native and foreign. That it has in some sections been forced, so as to be, for a time, less productive than usual, there can be no doubt; but with anything like decent care it will grow cotton as long as will the soil of Egypt. But there has been a terrible fall in prices, and hundreds, perhaps thousands, of planters have been utterly ruined. Good lands there once commanded $50 per acre; those same lands now command possibly $10, in some instances $5. The enormous fertility of this section is shown by the fact that in 1860, just before the slave system was broken up, it produced 997,978, almost 1,000,000 bales of cotton, or one-fifth of the whole crop of the United States for that year. The planters there, as elsewhere, would prefer the free labor which they now employ, rather than slaves, if the free labor could be relied on to work with a view to getting as good results for his employer as the slave did for his owner.

        There are, of course, great multitudes of negroes on these cotton lands, who, as a rule, labored well, in spite of the savage reverses experienced by the whole planting interest of Alabama for some years, until the continuous disaster discouraged them, and they took refuge either in emigration or a precarious dependence upon the charity of others but little richer than themselves. But whatever may be the condition of large planters, or of the freedmen, who are, of course, more or less ignorant and irresponsible, there is no doubt that industrious and capable immigrants, settling in the cotton belt, and carefully cultivating from forty to fifty acres of land, with ten in cotton and an equal number in grain and


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provisions, could become wealthy. The main suffering, which has been great in Alabama, has occurred because the people raised but little food. Relying entirely upon cotton, when that failed they found themselves penniless and starving. This suffering does not come, however, save when the crops are absolutely destroyed by caterpillars or by rains. If the Alabama planters could succeed for a few years, they might have money to invest in the much needed local manufactures, but at present they have none, and foreign capital does not flow to them.

        Going from Opelika, by rail, to Montgomery, I found in the cars the usual number of rough but honest folk bound for Texas; a sprinkling of commercial Hebrews, who bitterly bewailed the misfortunes attendant on the failure of the cotton crop during two successive years; and some very intelligent colored men journeying to the Legislature, then in session.

        People generally complained of a desperate condition of affairs, consequent upon the crop failures, and spoke with bitterness of the poverty which had overtaken both whites and blacks. The lands around Montgomery were, every one admitted, wonderfully rich, but the caterpillar had devastated the fields as fast as the planter had planted them; and the consequence was that many persons were not only overwhelmed with debt, but hardly knew where they were to get anything to eat. My visit to Montgomery fully demonstrated to me that these statements were in no wise exaggerated.

        Montgomery county, in which the capital of the State is situated, once comprehended a large portion of Central Alabama, but now includes only eight hundred square miles. There are nearly three times as many blacks as whites within its limits. It has usually been considered first on the list of the agricultural counties of the State, and in the first rank in wealth. No section of the South, not even the wonderfully rich Mississippi delta, offers better soil for the growing of cotton and corn. The undulating prairie and the fertile alluvial afford every chance for the amassing of riches. Five great railways run through the town and the county, and the river navigation is excellent.

        It was difficult to conceive how this marvelous section had fallen into such decay that the market-place of Montgomery was filled with auctioneers presiding over sheriffs' sales, and that there was a general complaint of poverty, much destitution, and, in some cases, despair. The citizens explained that the failure of the "crops" (the crops meaning cotton) during two years, and the arrival of the panic, had completely worsted them. The negroes employed by planters were discharged by hundreds when the panic came, and having, as a mass, no means, constituted a "bread or blood" populace, whose presence in the country was in the highest degree embarrassing. The Mayor of the city gave these unfortunate people charity out of his own purse for a long time, until other cities and towns rallied and sent in help. Stealing was, of course, frequently resorted to by the freedmen as soon as they were idle, and the whole country round was pillaged. Owing to the ravages of the caterpillar, Montgomery's tributary crop, which usually amounts to 60,000 or 70,000 bales, had fallen to one-third that amount.

        Montgomery has a double historic interest as a capital, for it was there that the Confederacy first established its seat of government; there that its "provisional


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congress" assembled for two months; and the house occupied at that time by Jefferson Davis is still pointed out. The town is prettily situated on the Alabama river, and used to export 100,000 bales of cotton, much of which was floated down the current of the great stream. As a manufacturing centre, it would be very advantageous, but, although Alabama has exempted manufactures from taxation, no effort has, as yet, been made there to establish them. Montgomery, therefore, a town of fourteen thousand inhabitants, with fair transportation facilities, many elegant business blocks, fine churches, a good theatre, an elegant court-house, and a mammoth hotel, has a valuation of only $6,500,000, and its streets are filled with black and white idlers.

        If the negroes could be persuaded to show the same industry in manufacturing that they do in attending mortgage sales, the section would not lack capable workers. I was told in the market square that some of the negroes had come sixty miles--many from the mountains of Coosa county--to attend upon the sales, and on these expeditions were accustomed to be absent from their farms for days together. The plantations in all the adjacent belt were expected to go off at sheriffs' sales at the time of my visit. How many of them the original owners managed to retain in their possession, I know not, but I think the number must have been small.

        

Illustration

The Alabama State Capitol at Montgomery.

        The Capitol building, crowning a fine eminence, from which one could get a view of the town spread out over the undulating country, was surrounded with the usual number of negroes, old and young, who seemed to have no thought whatever for the morrow. A few gray-headed Africans were seated on the gateway steps as I went in, and moved lazily and grumblingly aside to let me pass. The colored legislators lounging about the lobbies, waiting for the session to begin, were of a rather higher type than those in South Carolina and Louisiana. There were a good many among them who were lightly tinctured with Caucasian blood, and all were smartly dressed and aggressive in their demeanor.

        When the "House" assembled, I went in, and found the honorable representatives engaged in a stirring battle over some measures which the Conservatives desired to pass before, and the Radicals to hinder, until the close of the session. The speaker, the Honorable Lewis E. Parsons, was the first provisional Governor under reconstruction, and remained in office until, under the new constitution, provision had been made for the election of a Governor and General Assembly in 1865. He is a good Republican and an honest man, and has done much in staying the tide of ignorance and oppression from overwhelming the State.


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        Alabama, even after she was supposed to be reconstructed, flatly refused to recognize the Fourteenth Amendment, and was consequently remanded to her provisional condition as a conquered province, and Robert M. Patton, the successor of Governor Parsons, found himself under the supervision of the Brigadier-General commanding the district, of which Alabama formed a part. A new constitutional convention was held; blacks carried over whites the adoption of a constitution in complete harmony with the requirements of Congress, and in the summer of 1868, William H. Smith became the Republican Governor of the State. Under his administration began the era of domination of the hybrid legislature, and it is not surprising that the State was shaken to its centre by the ensuing legislation. The Legislature was besieged by persons interested in railway schemes, and the State's credit was pledged in the most prodigal fashion. At the same time immigration to the State was hindered by the operations of the Ku-Klux and by the exaggerated bitterness of the white Alabamians, who did not seem willing to forgive the North for having forced negro suffrage upon them; and in the counties where the negroes were in the majority there was the mismanagement, turmoil, and tyranny which prevailed in other States of the South. In 1870, Robert B. Lindsay was elected Governor, but Governor Smith refused to vacate his office, on the ground that Lindsay had been fraudulently elected, and surrounded himself with Federal soldiers. Lindsay was, however, declared elected, and the State had two Governors and two Legislatures, until Governor Smith was ousted by a writ from the Circuit Court. Governor Lindsay was succeeded, in 1872, by David P. Lewis, who was in power at the time of my visit. The various railroad complications have somewhat impaired the State's credit, and Alabama has latterly found it very difficult to meet the interest upon bonds which she had endorsed for some of the new railroad enterprises. The Alabama and Chattanooga road, the Montgomery and Eufaula, the Selma and Gulf roads have all aided in the embarrassment in which Alabama is plunged to-day by the lamentable condition of her State indebtedness.

        In the House of Representatives the colored members appeared to have voluntarily taken seats on one side of the house, and the Conservatives, who were in like manner assembled on the other, were overwhelmed by a deafening chorus of "Mr. Speaker!" from the colored side, whenever they proposed any measure. Sometimes the colored opponents would show that they misapprehended the attitude of their white friends, and then long and wearisome explanations and discussions were entered upon, enlivened only by an occasional outburst of a dusky member, who fiercely disputed the floor with his ex-master, and whose gestures were only equaled in eccentricity by his language. The Senate was a more dignified body; in it there were some gentlemen of distinguished presence and considerable eloquence.

        But at Montgomery, as elsewhere throughout the reconstructed States, it was easy to see that ignorance and corruption had done much to injure the morale of the State. The worst feature observable was a kind of political stagnation in the minds of the white people--a mute consent to almost any misfortune which might happen. This was more dreadful and depressing than the negro ignorance.


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I do not mean to have it inferred that the whites in Alabama are all educated. The ignorance of the poorer white classes in the country is as dense as that of the blacks; and there is evidence of rough and reckless manners of living. Nothing but education and a thorough culture of the soil--a genuine

Illustration

The Market-place at Montgomery, Alabama.

farming--will ever build up the broken fortunes of this once wealthy section of Alabama. Coming down from the Capitol, one sunlit autumn morning, I was fairly amazed at the great congregation of idle negroes in the market square. They were squatted at corners; they leaned against walls, and cowered under the canvas of the huge country wagons; they chattered like magpies at the shop doors, and swarmed like flies around the cheap and villainous grog-shops which abounded. No one was at work; none had any thought for the morrow. Those with whom I stopped to converse "cursed their dull fate" in the mild, deprecatory manner peculiar to the African. Their descriptions of the caterpillar, who feeds upon the leaves of the cotton plant, and of its able assistant, the bollworm, who buries himself inside the cotton-boll, and feeds on it until it is entirely gone, were graphic and amusing, but it would require almost countless pages to translate them here.

        The strip of country extending between the cotton and mineral regions, and running from the north-east to the middle and eastern part of the State, is admirably adapted both to agriculture and manufactures. Opelika, Wetumpka, Centerville, Tuscaloosa, Scottsville, Prattsville, Tallassee, Autaugaville, and other flourishing towns, are located in it. It is traversed by the Selma and Rome, the Montgomery and West Point, the South and North, and the Alabama and Chattanooga railroads.

        Lying directly on the high road between New York and New Orleans, and traversed by rivers flowing from the mountains over many rocky barriers toward the lowlands,--thus forming innumerable falls suitable for manufacturing power,--it has already attracted much attention, and many factories are established within its limits. A number of prosperous factories were destroyed during the war; but the extensive cotton-mills at Tallassee, on the Tallapoosa river, the


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Granite factory in Coosa county, the mills in Prattsville, and the Bell factory near Huntsville, all demonstrate the success which might attend similar new enterprises.

        It is observed that, in spite of the cheapness of labor in England, Alabama manufacturers will soon be able to take cotton from adjacent plantations, spin it into yarn, and sell it in England at a greater profit than the English manufacturer, who buys American cotton in Liverpool and makes it into yarn in England, can ever obtain.*

        *There are now a dozen prosperous cotton factories in Alabama, in its middle and northern portions. The Tallassee mills have 18,000 spindles; two at Prattsville have 4,000 each; and others, averaging about the same, at Huntsville, Florence, Tuscaloosa, Autaugaville, and in Pickens county, are prosperous. These mills regularly pay large dividends; it is not uncommon for cotton-mills in the South to pay twenty per cent., and twelve to fifteen is the average. White labor exclusively is employed.


The advantage of the water power in such States as Alabama over the steam power necessarily employed in Great Britain is very large.

        The crying need of the State is capital; she is like so many of her neighbors, completely broken by the revolution, and unable to take the initiative in measures essential to her full development. With capital operating beneficently, Alabama could so bring her cheap cotton, cheap coal, cheap iron, and cheap living, to bear, as to seize and firmly retain a leading position among manufacturing States.

        North of the manufacturing region, and extending 160 miles from north-east to south-west, is the mineral region of the State. Railroads traverse it in all directions; the South and North binds it to Montgomery, and gives it an outlet toward Nashville and Louisville, via Decatur; the Alabama and Chattanooga gives it easy access to the rolling-mills of Chattanooga; the Selma, Rome and Dalton cuts through it to connect with the Kennesaw route to New York. It is as yet in many respects a wild country, sparsely populated, and rough in appearance. In one day's journey along the line of the North and South railroad, I saw hardly any town of considerable size; in the forest clearings there were assemblages of rough board houses, and brawny men and scrawny women looked from the doors; now and then we passed a coal-shoot, and now long piles of iron ore. There was little of interest save the material fact of the abundant riches of this favored section. The mountains were nowhere imposing; they were humpbacked and overgrown; but they held, it was easy to see, mighty secrets.

        There are three distinct coal-fields in the carboniferous formation, which, with the silurian, shares all but the south-east corner of this mineral region.

        The most extensive is the Warrior field, which has an area of three thousand square miles of a bituminous soft coal, lying in horizontal beds from one to four feet thick. It covers that portion of the State drained by the Black Warrior river and its tributaries, and extends quite into the north-eastern corner, between Lookout mountain and the Tennessee river. The field along the Cahawba river has beds from one to eight feet thick, extending over an area of 700 square miles. The Tennessee field, north of the Tennessee river, has large stores of bituminous coal, and the three together cover 4,000 square miles. Close beside them, from


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north-east to south-west, run beds of red and brown hematite, and limestone and sandstone are near at hand. The South and North railroad runs through the Warrior coal-field for more than fifty miles. It is surprising that, with such superb facilities for transportation, more has not been done toward the development of this section. Grand highways run in all the principal directions across iron-beds; a few branch tracks only being needed to cover every square mile with a network of communication.

        I made a journey to Birmingham, the four-year-old child of the mineral development, and was surprised to note how solidly it had grown up. The route, from Montgomery to within a few miles of Calera, where the Selma, Rome and Dalton road crosses the South and North, lay through forests of yellow pine. We saw few farms and but little cleared land. A little above Calera, we came into the Coosa river section. That stream runs to the eastward of the railroad, and for many miles offers excellent sites for the establishment of manufactures. Lime-kilns are to be seen scattered all through the country; one hundred and fifty thousand barrels of lime being annually made, it is said, at and near Calera. The blue limestone of the silurian formation, so abundant there, is especially valuable. The road also traverses the zone of the deposits of fibrous brown hematite, extending north-easterly from Tuscaloosa, where it is said to be a hundred feet thick. On this ore belt several prosperous furnaces--the Roup's Valley, the Briarfield, the Shelby, and the Oxford--are located. An able engineer, Mr. Hiram Haines, of Alabama, says that the cost of the reduction of this iron at these furnaces is about twenty dollars per ton.

        Crossing the Cahawba coal-field, and Red mountain, which forms the western boundary, I came into the valley of Shades creek, which presents a very advantageous position for the location of iron works. Here are the Red Mountain and Irondale Iron Works, whose furnaces can produce forty tons daily. The vast bed of fossiliferous ore which extends along the northern ridge of Red mountain runs from a point a score of miles east of Tuscaloosa to the north-eastern limit of the State. Where the railway crosses it, it is thirty feet in thickness. Like its famous compeer in Missouri, the "mountain" hardly merits its name, being simply an elevated ridge. The ore is everywhere easily accessible; I noted from point to point very successful excavations close to the railroad. The "mountain" is said to be one hundred miles in length, and it is estimated that it bears fifteen million tons of iron ore to the mile.

        The Pennsylvania iron-masters have not allowed this ore to go unnoticed, and the English have made it an especial study. A little beyond the gap which allows the railroad to leave the coal-field, the projected route of the Mobile Grand Trunk road crosses the South and North; and, a short distance farther on, at the intersection of the Alabama and Chattanooga with the South and North, the town of Birmingham has sprung into a praiseworthy activity. In eighteen months from the date of building the first house there was a permanent population of four thousand people. The town was handsomely laid out in streets lined with imposing brick blocks, and the two finely built railways running through it brought to it crowds of daily visitors. If the development of the


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South justifies the building of the proposed route from Atlanta, Georgia, through Birmingham to connect with the Southern Trans-Continental; of the connecting link from Opelika north-westerly through Birmingham to the Tennessee at Pittsburg Landing; of the Grand Trunk road, and the Ashley branch of the Selma, Rome and Dalton road, giving a short line from the coal and iron country to the Gulf--the new mineral capital will be indeed fortunate!

        Birmingham is very centrally located in the mineral region, which comprises most of Shelby, Jefferson, Bibb, Walker, Tuscaloosa, Blount, St. Clair, Calhoun, Talladega, Randolph, and Cherokee counties. Red mountain seems to have been pushed above the unattractive soil in these rude fields as a beacon, and a temptation to explorers. It looms up in Jones's valley, the site of Birmingham, as the creator and guardian of the little city's destinies, and offers its treasures freely to the miner, the iron being covered with but a thin coating of soil. The Red mountain ores have a usual yield of fifty to fifty-eight per cent; and this mountain stretches, a narrow strip, for miles and miles, between two of the most wonderful coal-beds on the continent!

        On my arrival at Birmingham, one afternoon, I found the good Mayor of the little city in bed, he, with other citizens, having been engaged all the previous night in quelling a negro riot, caused by the discontent and pressing necessities of the inhabitants of the back-country. An armed band of blacks had ridden into the town, and some fires had been started in a low quarter, evidently with the design of diverting attention to the conflagration while the provision stores were robbed. But the citzens succeeded in capturing the would-be robbers, and providing them with food and lodging in jail. This incident served to show the really hazardous position in which the negro is placed in some portions of the State. Untoward circumstances and outside financial pressure leave him absolutely without anything to eat; for he depends almost entirely on the outer world for his supplies.

        Birmingham lies in the centre of a charming valley about ten miles wide, and about eighty miles in length. It is, perhaps, six hundred feet above the sea-level, and the valley is supposed to be the result of a vast upheaval of the silurian rocks, which upheaval or convulsion was evidently instrumental in dividing what was one huge coal-field into several. Another result of the rupture is a range of hills running down the centre of the valley, and containing deposits of brown hematite. Along the slope of the Red mountain there is a notable outcrop of variegated marble and sulphate of barytes, and lead ores are scattered throughout the neighborhood. The hematites on the northeastern slope of the Red mountain are exposed for a thickness of from fifteen to twenty-five feet; and many believe that a complete examination will show deposits one hundred feet thick. Here is a supply of iron for centuries to come; but Birmingham does not depend on the Red mountain alone. To the west, the north-west, and the north, there are fine deposits of ore, situated close to coal unsurpassed in quality for the manufacture of iron. The Elyton Land Company, which owned extensive tracts in Jones's valley, took the initiative in building Birmingham, and succeeded so well that the little town is expected to


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have a cotton factory and extensive car shops, as well as to be girdled by a ring of iron-furnaces. In the vicinity there are already numerous furnaces. Pennsylvania iron-masters are developing Irondale; the Red Mountain Iron Works are undergoing revival, after a long sleep since the war; and the largest Southern and English firms interested in iron manufacture are investigating the resources of Alabama iron tracts. The coal interests are receiving equal attention, and shafts have been sunk in the Warrior and Cahawba fields. The Irondale and Ironton furnaces are undoubtedly the most extensive on Red mountain, the two together producing about forty tons of pig-iron daily, while the Alabama Iron Company, located seventeen miles above Birmingham, is yearly sending North great quantities of ore. All the way from Jefferson county, through St. Clair, until it loses itself in the Lookout range, the Red mountain carries abundant stores. In Cherokee, Calhoun and Talladega counties, within easy reach of the Selma, Rome and Dalton railroad, there are furnaces in operation. At the Shelby Iron Works, in Shelby county, there is an extensive foundry for working up the famous "brown ore." The Briarfield Iron Works, in Bibb county, are also famous, and in Clay county it is believed that there are sufficient indications of magnetic ore to justify the establishment of furnaces. It is evident that a large town is to arise at some point in this region, and Birmingham seems to have secured the precedence.

        The stores of copper and marl in Alabama are quite remarkable. In Randolph, Clay and Coosa counties, copper has been mined successfully, and lead has been found in Baker county. Gold has been mined from time to time since 1843, in Eastern Alabama, being found in small quantities. Silver shafts are said to have been sunk there by De Soto. The marble, granite and slate quarries of the State are rich, and will furnish cheap material for future cities, when the iron interest shall begin to build them. Of tin, plumbago, fire-clay, and kaolin and lime, there are abundant stores. The marls of Alabama are expected, in due time, to furnish a very important branch of industry. They contain properties of the highest fertilizing character when applied to worn-out lands, and offer the sections of the State which have been overworked under the old planting system a chance of renewal.

        It is certain that large manufacturing communities are to spring up within the next few years, in the mineral region of Northern and North-eastern Alabama. The facility with which iron, coal and limestone can be reached, mined, and sent to furnaces or to market; the cheapness of labor and land, and the facilities for intercommunication, both by rail and water, are great recommendations. The iron ores are so rich, and such fine steel can be readily made from them, that they are certain to tempt capitalists to unearth them. The manufactured iron can be produced at about the same price as that of the cheapest regions in England.

        The Alabama and Chattanooga railroad, consolidated from several lines, and purchased by a number of Boston capitalists, runs through the beautiful Wills' valley, near Chattanooga, and will, doubtless, draw much of the mineral interest of the Alabama district toward that city.


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XXXV.

NORTHERN ALABAMA--THE TENNESSEE VALLEY--TRAITS OF CHARACTER--EDUCATION.

        THERE is much of quiet beauty in Northern Alabama, much also that is bold, rugged, even grand. The Tennessee valley seems to combine the loveliest characteristics of a Northern, with all the fragrant luxuriance and voluptuousness of a Southern climate. Here and there arise grand mountains; one encounters rapids and noisy waterfalls; vast stretches of forest; huge areas covered by ill-kept and almost ruined plantations, where the victims of the revolution are struggling with the mysteries of the labor question, and the changing influences of the times. The Memphis and Charleston railway, which runs through this valley from Chattanooga, and which is the connecting link in the great through route from the Mississippi to the Atlantic ocean, has done much in developing the country, but does not seem to have increased population to any large degree. There are some handsome and thriving towns along its line; pretty Huntsville, Decatur, Tuscumbia with its miraculous spring, and Florence, Tuscumbia's near neighbor, at the present head of navigation on the Tennessee, with its cotton factory, are all indications of the beauty and vivacity which this section will boast when new people come in. At Stevenson, whither the Nashville and Chattanooga railroad comes in its search for a passage through the apparently impassable mountains, the beauty of the great ranges is indescribable. The red loam of the valley will produce the best of cotton and corn, rye and barley, and small farmers, in this favorable climate, and with some little capital to start upon, could once more give this section its old name of "the garden of the South." The large plantations are much neglected, in many cases ruined; the planters are discouraged, and the negroes perplexed and somewhat demoralized by the great changes of the past few years. There has undoubtedly been a large falling off in the amount of cotton production in this section of Alabama, since the close of the war; and as the trail of the armies through it was marked with blood and fire, it is, perhaps, not very astonishing that the delay in restoration has been so great. If any portion of the South needs a total renewal of its population, it is this one; and an influx of Northern or foreign farmers would build it up in a short time.

        Inasmuch as the Tennessee river passes through the entire breadth of North Alabama from east to west, the State is as much interested as Tennessee in the opening of navigation at Muscle Shoals, feeling convinced that the manufacturing interests at Florence would be revivified, that the valley would thus secure a cheap transportation route to market, and that the carrying of minerals, especially coal, would be made one of the great businesses of the section.


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        Huntsville has the honor of being the county seat of the richest agricultural county in the Tennessee valley, and is noted as the location of the convention that formed the State constitution, as the seat of the first Legislature of the commonwealth, and the place at which the first Alabama newspaper was issued. The city, which has some five thousand inhabitants, sits upon a low hill, from whose base gushes out a limestone spring, ample enough to supply the population with water. Through this country the weight of war was felt heavily; the people of Huntsville suffered much, and the devastation in the country, caused by both armies, was very great. Huntsville has some fine schools for young ladies; the Greene Academy, a resort of great numbers of the young men of Tennessee, was destroyed during the war by the Union troops.

        Decatur was nearly submerged when I saw it, so that I can hardly attempt a description. Rain poured heavily down; the Tennessee, on whose south bank the town lies, was rampant, and the railroad seemed running through a lake. From Decatur toward Nashville, Tennessee, the railway route leads through a wild, hilly country, where the land is not especially good. Tuscumbia also suffered greatly in war time. It is noted for a spring, like Huntsville, but that of Tuscumbia is of pure freestone water, and springing from the plain in which the town is built, discharges 17,000 cubic feet of water every minute. Florence is connected with Tuscumbia by a branch of the Memphis and Charleston road, and was once a formidable commercial rival to Nashville. It was hindered by the war from completing the fine manufacturing enterprises which it was inaugurating, but is now making new efforts to centralize cotton spinning there. The Wesleyan University and the Synodical Institute, flourishing institutions, are located at Florence.

        Farmers, and real farming,--not a loose planting and dependence on cotton,--are the principal needs of this section of the Tennessee valley.

        The people of Alabama are as varied as is the topography of their lovely State, but most of them distinguished for frankness and generosity of character. It is a land of beautiful women; one even now and then sees among the degraded poor whites, who "dip snuff" and talk the most outrageous dialect, some lovely creature, who looks as poetic as a heathen goddess, until one hears her speak, or she pulls from her pocket a pine stick, with an old rag saturated in snuff wrapped around it, and inserts it between her dainty lips.

        Here and there, in my journeys up and down the State, I saw the tall, long-haired, slender men who were so common a sight in the Alabama regiments during the war, and whose extraordinary height sometimes puzzled even the giants from Maine and Minnesota. The countrymen in the interior districts were much like those all through the cotton districts, bounded, prejudiced and ignorant of most things outside the limits of their State; difficult to drive into any conclusion, but easy to lead; generally conciliatory in their demeanor toward Northerners, but possessed of some little distrust of their alert and earnest ways. The gentlemen of means and culture whom I met were charming companions, and usually accomplished. They had the flavor of the country gentleman, and much of his repose, with the breeding and training of city life.


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        Of course I encountered many bitter people--men who were not at all friendly toward the North, and who declared that they were dissatisfied with the present condition of affairs; who cursed the negro, their own fate and the Federal Administration; but these were certainly the exceptions. The citizens of Alabama, as a mass, are as loyal to the idea of the Union to-day as are the citizens of New York, and have at times gone very far to welcome such reconstruction measures as are not instruments of oppression. In the sections where the lands are exhausted for the time being, or where crops have failed persistently, and the wolf of poverty is at the door, people have ceased to take any interest in State affairs, and are settling up their business and hastening to Texas. Now and then one sees a few tired and soiled men and women on the trains, and on inquiring their destination, finds they are on the return from Texas, which has not treated them as kindly as they anticipated; but, as a rule, those who go remain.

        Here and there ostracism shows itself. There is some bitterness in Mobile, but I doubt if ordinarily a Northern Republican, voting there conscientiously for the best men,--not installing ignorance and vice in power under the Republican colors,--would be criticised on account of his sentiments. In the back-country he would meet with more intolerance. The negro has such absolute freedom in Alabama that the whites have long ago given up any endeavor, save at election times, to check his extravagances. There is a law which prevents challenge at the polls, and gives the right to the challenged party to sue for damages. When a native Southerner turns and joins the Republicans, he is usually pretty thoroughly ostracised; and this was the case with the gentleman who was Mayor of Mobile when I visited that city. As soon as he had joined the dominant party, he was "cut" in all the social relations; his wife and children were badly treated, and no name was thought too harsh to apply to him, although he had once been considered a citizen of distinction.

        In some of the towns, as in Montgomery, and smaller communities in the region where the most distress prevails, the negroes seem to be absolutely dependent upon the charity of the white folks. Their lives are grossly immoral, and the women especially have but little conception of the true dignity of womanhood. One sees men and women, like Italian and Spanish beggars, slouching all day, from sun to shade, from shade to sun, living on garbage and the results of begging and predatory expeditions--a prey to any disease that comes along, and festering in ignorance. Some of them have been trying agriculture, and have given it up in disgust, because they do not understand farming, and there is no one to teach them. They have flocked into the towns, and there remain, seemingly nourishing a vague idea that something will turn up. It often struck me that the thousands of idle negroes I saw were in the attitude of waiting. Their expectant air was almost pathetic to witness. It was the same thing which we so often remark in animals--that quaint and curious, yet despairing look in the eyes and poise of the body, which seemed to say: "I would like to read the riddle of my relation to the universe, but I cannot." So they occupy themselves lazily in lounging about the sheriff's sales of mortgaged property,--always a prominent sight in the South now-a-days, alas!--or in begging of citizens and strangers


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with the greatest persistency. On the plantations they are the same as everywhere else in the cotton States: not always honest when they work for other people, and reckless and improvident when they work for themselves.

        That there is plenty of enterprise in the State, there can be no doubt--no more doubt than that there is no money to assist it. Indeed, it is safe to predict for Alabama a sudden upspringing sometimes into a marvelous growth, something like that of Texas, because the railroad communication is already so perfect, and the resources are so immense. As soon as a little money is accumulated, or foreign capital has gained courage to go in, we shall see an awakening in the beautiful commonwealth. It is rich in grand mountains, noble rivers, swelling prairies, mighty forests, lovely sea-coast, and everywhere there is a wealth of Southern blossom and perfume. The Northerner from America or Europe can readily accommodate himself to its climate, and can find any combination of resources that he may desire to develop.

        Something should be done to arrest the drainage toward Texas; it is dwarfing the development of the Alabamian towns, and leaving them in an unpleasant predicament. There is a very large discouraged class in the State--people who were willing enough at the close of the war to accept its main results, and to devote themselves to a rebuilding, but who have been so embarrassed and hindered by the anomalous condition of labor and politics, and are so destitute of means with which to carry on new enterprises, that they prefer to fly to newer States.

        The spirit of nationality among the people in those sections of Alabama which have suffered most, has been somewhat broken, yet, according to the statement made to me by one of the most distinguished of Alabama's citizens, these same people need but the return of a little prosperity to make them contented.

        The commonwealth labors under a dreadful burden of ignorance; the illiteracy in some sections is appalling. With a population of a little over 1,000,000, Alabama has more than 380,000 persons who can neither read nor write; and of these nearly 100,000 are whites. There are also large classes who can both read and write, but whose education goes no farther. Among the 175,000 voters in the State, there is a newspaper circulation of 40,000 only. The negro does not seem to care for the papers. A good public school system was inaugurated in Alabama in 1854, and three years later nearly 90,000 children were attending school in the State; but the advent of the war annulled the progress already made, and since reconstruction educational matters have been somewhat embroiled. The conduct of the schools is now in the hands of what is known as the State Board of Education, composed of the State Superintendent and two members from each Congressional district. This Board has full Legislative powers, the Legislature being only revisory of its acts. The school fund receives from $500,000 to $600,000 annually from the State, one-third of it being interest on the fund bestowed by the General Government, and the remainder being made up of one-fifth of the commonwealth's general revenue--all the poll tax, the licenses, and the tax on insurance companies. This fund is


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nominally apportioned impartially to the whites and blacks in each county, and the trustees in each township are informed what their share is. Under this system, the average attendance at the various schools opened throughout the State, has been 150,000; but in 1873 the schools were all closed (save those in the large cities) on account of the inability of the State to pay teachers! This cessation has been productive of much harm and disorganization. Efforts have, however, been made to resuscitate the State University at Tuscaloosa, which is not in a flourishing condition, and a normal college, for teachers of both sexes, has been started at Florence, in the northern part of the State. In Western Alabama, a colored university and normal college has been established at Marion, and a colored normal school is opened at Huntsville. The American Missionary Society also maintains a college for colored people at Talladega.

        

Illustration

The Cotton-Plant.


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XXXVI.

THE SAND-HILL REGION--AIKEN--AUGUSTA.

        AFTER many weeks of journeying in the South, through regions where hardly a house is to be seen, where the villages, looming up between patches of forest or canebrake, seem deserted and worm-eaten, and the people reckless and idle, the traveler is struck with astonishment and delight when he emerges into the busy belt extending from Aiken, in South Carolina, to Augusta, in Georgia. There he sees manufacturing villages, hears the whir of spindles, notes on every hand evidences of progressive industry, and wonders why it was

Illustration

A Street Scene in Augusta, Georgia.

not so years before. Alas! who can compute the sum of the lost opportunities of the Southern States?

        This "sand-hill region," extending from the north-eastern border of South Carolina to the south-eastern border of Georgia, has many noteworthy aspects. Its climate has wonderful life-renewing properties for the invalid worn down with the incessant fatigues and changes of severer latitudes, and its resources for the establishment of manufactures, and for the growth of some of the most remarkable and valuable fruits, are unrivaled.


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The upper limit of the sand-hills in South Carolina is very clearly defined. They are usually found close to the rivers, and are supposed to be ancient sand-banks once not far from the sea-shore. They pass through the State, half-way between the ocean and the Blue Ridge, and are most thoroughly developed near Aiken, Columbia, Camden, and Cheraw. They are usually clothed in aromatic pine forests.

        Down the slopes, in Georgia and South Carolina, run rivers, which in winter and spring are turbid with the washings from the red clay hills to the northward; and in the flat valleys scattered along these streams cotton and corn grow with remarkable luxuriance. In Georgia the hills run from the falls of the Savannah river at Augusta, south-west and north-east, as far as the Ogeechee river. The highest point in this curious range, at the United States Arsenal at Summerville, near Augusta, is hardly more than six hundred feet above the sea-level. The sand-hills are the home of the yellow and the "short-leaved" pine, the Spanish and water oak, the red maple, the sweet gum, the haw, the persimmon, the wild orange, and the China-tree; the lovely Kalmia Latifolia clothes the acclivities each spring in garments of pink and white; the flaming azalea, the honey-suckle, the white locust, the China burr and other evergreens, the iris, the phlox, the silk grass, flourish there.

        In the open air, in the gardens, japonicas grow ten feet high and blossom late in winter; and the "fringe-tree' and the Lagerstremia Indica dot the lawns with a dense array of blossoms. Although the unstimulated surface soil of all this section will not produce cotton and the cereals more than two years in succession, yet it is prolific of the peach, the apricot, the pomegranate, the fig, the pear, all kinds of berries, and the grape, which grows there with surprising luxuriance; and all vegetables practicable in a northern climate ripen there in the months of April and May.

        A pleasant land, one is forced to declare. But this productiveness is the least of its advantages. The kindly climate is the chief glory of the sand-hill country. Aiken has achieved a great reputation as a winter residence for pulmonary invalids. The mild and equable temperature, and the dryness of the air, which allows the patient to pass most of his winter under the open sky, inhaling the fragrance of the pine woods, have, year after year, drawn hundreds of exhausted Northerners thither. Before the war, the planter of the lowlands, and the merchants of New York and Boston alike, went to Aiken to recuperate; the planter occupying a pleasant cottage during the summer, and the Northerner arriving with the first hint of winter. But now the planter comes no more with the splendor and spendthrift profusion of old, and the Northerner has the little town very much to himself.

        The accommodations have, for several years since the war, been insufficient; but as the inhabitants creep back toward their old prosperity, they are giving Aiken the bright appearance of a Northern town, and the ill-looking, unpainted, rickety houses of the past are disappearing. Originally laid out by a railroad company, in 1833, as a future station of commercial importance, Aiken prospered until fire swallowed it up a few years later. When the war came, great numbers


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of refugees rushed into it, and the misery and distress there were great. The tide of battle never swept through the town, Kilpatrick contenting himself with a partially successful raid in that direction when Sherman was on the road to Columbia; and as soon as peace was declared the invalids flocked back again to haunt the springs and the pleasant woody paths, over which the jessamine day and night showers its delicious fragrance.

        Aiken is situated seventeen miles from the Savannah river and from Augusta, on the South Carolina railroad, which extends southward to Charleston. The inhabitants of the hill-country, a little remote from the towns, are decidedly primitive in their habits, and the sobriquet of "sand-hiller" is applied by South Carolinians to specimens of poor white trash, which nothing but a system of slave-aristocracy could ever have produced. The lean and scrawny women, without animation, their faces discolored by illness, and the lank and hungry men, have their counterparts nowhere among native Americans at the North; it is incapable of producing such a peasantry.

        The houses of the better class of this folk,--the prosperous farmers, as distinguished from the lazy and dissolute plebeians,--to whom the word "sand-hiller" is perhaps too indiscriminately given, are loosely built, as the climate demands little more than shelter. At night, immense logs burn in the fireplace, while the house door remains open. The diet is barbarous as elsewhere among the agricultural classes in the South--corn-bread, pork and "chick'n;" farmers rarely killing a cow for beef, or a sheep for mutton. Hot and bitter coffee smokes morning and night on the tables where purest spring water, or best of Scuppernong wine, might be daily placed--the latter with almost as little expense as the former.

        But the invalid visiting this region in search of health, and frequenting a town of reasonable size, encounters none of these miseries. At Augusta and at Aiken he can secure the comforts to which he is accustomed in the North, to which will be added a climate in which existence is a veritable joy. In the vicinity of Aiken many hundreds of acres are now planted with the grape; and 2,500 gallons of wine to the acre have been guaranteed in some cases, although the average production must, of course, fall very much below that.

        The development of the resources for manufacturing in the region extending between and including Aiken and Augusta merits especial mention, and shows what may be done by judicious enterprise in the South. The extensive cotton manufactories at Augusta and Graniteville employ many hundreds of hands. Scarcely a quarter of a century ago the Augusta cotton manufacturing enterprise was inaugurated with but a small capital. It was the outgrowth of a demand for labor for the surplus white population--labor whose results should accrue at once to the benefit of the State, and of that population. In due time the canal at Augusta was constructed.

        The Augusta cotton factory, which was not at first prosperous, now has a capital stock of $600,000, upon which a quarterly dividend of five per cent. is paid. Thousands of spindles and hundreds of looms are now busy along the banks of the noble canal, where, also, have sprung up fine flour-mills and


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tobacco factories. The cotton-mill is filled with the newest and finest machinery, and has received the high compliment, from Senator Sprague, of Rhode Island, of being "the best arranged one in the United States."

        At Graniteville, in South Carolina, two or three miles beyond the Savannah river, extensive mills have also been erected, and eight million yards of cotton are annually made there. The manufacturing village is as tidy and thrifty as any in the North, and there is none in the South which excels it in a general aspect of comfort, unless it be that of the Eagle and Phoænix Company at Columbus, Georgia. Six miles from Augusta there is an extensive kaolin factory.

        

Illustration

A Bell-Tower in Augusta, Georgia.

        Early on a bright summer morning, while the inhabitants were still asleep, I entered Augusta, and walked through the broad, beautifully shaded avenues of this lovely Southern city. The birds gossiped languidly in the dense foliage, through which the sun was just peering; here and there the sand of the streets was mottled with delicate light and shade; the omnipresent negro was fawning and yawning on door-steps, abandoning himself to his favorite attitude of slouch.

        I wandered to the banks of the Savannah, which sweeps, in a broad and sluggish current, between high banks, bordered at intervals with enormous mulberry trees. Clambering down among the giant boles of these sylvan monarchs, and stumbling from time to time over a somnolent negro fisherman, I could see the broad and fertile Carolina fields opposite, and scent the perfume which the slight breeze sent from the dense masses of trees in the town above me.

        Returning, an hour later, I found the place had awakened to a life and energy worthy of the brightest of Northern cities of its size. The superb Greene street, with its grand double rows of shade trees, whose broad boughs almost interlocked above, was filled with active pedestrians; the noise of wagons and drays was beginning; the cheery markets were thronged with gossiping negro women; and around the Cotton Exchange groups were already gathered busily discussing the previous day's receipts.

        Augusta's excellent railroad facilities, and her advantageous situation, have made her an extensive cotton market. The Georgia railroad is largely tributary to the town, although Savannah is of late years receiving much of the cotton which properly belongs to Augusta. The new railway stretching from Port Royal, in South Carolina, to Augusta, furnishes a convenient outlet, and the South Carolina and Central roads give communication with Charleston and Savannah.


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        The Cotton Exchange was founded in 1872. For the cotton years of 1872-73, Augusta received 180,789 bales. The cotton factories in the city consume 200 bales daily, and the Langley and the Hickman factories in South Carolina, and the Richmond mills in Georgia, are also supplied from this point. Cotton culture throughout all this section has greatly increased since the war. I was told that one man in Jackson county now grows a larger number of bales than the whole county produced previous to 1860.

        The use of fertilizers, once so utterly discarded, is now producing the most remarkable results. But the planters in all the surrounding country give but little attention to a rotation or diversity of crops, so that any year's failure of the cotton brings them to financial distress, as they depend entirely upon the outer world for their supplies; although, in some of the northern sections of the State they show an inclination to vary their course in this respect. Conversation with representative men from various parts of the State, who naturally flock into Augusta to inspect the market, showed, however, that there was a steady and genuine improvement in agriculture throughout Georgia. Lands which heretofore have been considered of superior quality for cotton-growing have, under the new régime, with careful fertilizing and culture, produced twice as much as during the epoch of slavery.

        According to universal testimony, the negro on these cotton-lands usually works well, "and when he does not," said a planter to me, "it is because he is poorly paid." Small farms seem to be increasing in Middle Georgia, and much of the cotton brought into Augusta is raised exclusively by white labor. The small farmers, who were before the war unable to produce a crop in competition with those who possessed a larger number of slaves, now find no difficulty in placing their crop in market, and securing good prices for it.

        Augusta, like Savannah, is a town built in the midst of a beautiful wood. The public buildings are embowered in foliage; the pretty City Hall, the Medical College, the Masonic and Odd Fellows' Halls peering out from knots of trees.

Illustration

A Confederate Soldier's Grave at Augusta, Georgia. [Page 349.]

Broad street, the main thoroughfare, is well lined with commodious stores and residences, and the streets leading from it are well kept and shaded. In front of the City Hall stands a simple but massive monument, erected to the memory of the Georgian signers of the Declaration of American Independence.

        Tall men, as well as tall and graceful trees, abound in the streets, for the Georgian is dowered with a generous height. The policemen are clad in an amicable mingling of gray and blue. On the road to Summerville,


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the pretty suburb on one of the sand-hills three miles away, one sees the powder-mill, now disused, which supplied the Confederates with ammunition for many a day; and in a lovely location, at the hill's top, is the extensive United States Arsenal, around which are grouped many workshops, built and occupied by the Confederates during the war.

        Nothing can exceed in quiet and reverent beauty the floral decoration of the principal cemetery of Augusta. Loving hands have lingered long over the Confederate soldiers' graves, and the white headstones, neatly surrounded with boxwood hedges, nearly all bear inscriptions like the following, which show that even as in the North, the young were the first to go, and first to fall:

        "JOE E. R--,
Co. E., 4 Tenn. Cav.

        Died Feb. 17, 1863,
Aged 19."


        Here and there tall posts have decorative mottoes worked in evergreen upon them, such as

        "The Sacred Trust of Heroes."

        "Our Boys in Grey."


        Augusta escaped the scourge of Invasion, but did not escape the ghost of Bereavement, who has claimed such a large space among the pleasant shadows for his own particular ground.

        The old town had a stormy revolutionary history. Named after one of the royal princesses of England by Oglethorpe, it was an Indian outpost after 1735, and in constant danger from the savages, until taken and retaken by Briton and American during the revolution. The churches and the institutions of learning in Augusta are numerous, and the extensive fair-ground of the Cotton States' Mechanical and Agricultural Association occupies many pleasant acres just outside the eastern limits of the city.


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XXXVII.

ATLANTA--GEORGIA POLITICS--THE FAILURE OF RECONSTRUCTION.

        FROM the ashes of the great penitential conflagration in which the exigencies of war enveloped Atlanta, from the ruins of the thousand dwellings, factories, workshops, and railroad establishments totally destroyed in the blaze of 1864, has sprung up a new, vigorous, awkwardly alert city, very similar in character to the mammoth groupings of brick and stone in the North-west. There is but little that is distinctively Southern in Atlanta; it is the antithesis of Savannah. There is nothing that reminds one of the North in the deliciously embowered chief city of Georgia, surrounded with its romantic moss-hung oaks, its rich lowlands, and its luxuriant gardens, where the magnolia, the bay, and the palmetto vie with one another in the exquisite inexplicable charm of their voluptuous beauty. Atlanta has an unfinished air; its business and residence streets are scattered along a range of pretty hills; but it is eminently modern and unromantic. The Western and Atlantic railway unites it with Chattanooga,

Illustration

Sunset over Atlanta, Georgia.

running through a country which was scourged in bitterest fashion by the war; the Georgia railroad connects it with Augusta; the Macon and Western with handsome and thriving Macon; the Atlanta and West Point road to the town of West Point, Alabama, gives a continuous line to Montgomery; and the new
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Piedmont Air Line, which has opened up the whole of Northern Georgia, gives it new and speedy communication with the North via Charlotte, in North Carolina. Great numbers of Northern people have flocked to Atlanta to live since the time when General Pope's will was law, and when the Bullock administration was just arising out of the chaos of the constitutional convention. The removal of the State capital from Milledgeville to Atlanta also gave the renaissant city a good start, and the wonderful manner in which it drew trade and capital to it from all sides made it the envy of its sister Georgian cities.

        A brief review of the progress of politics in the State since Atlanta became its capital will aid in arriving at an understanding of the present social and political condition of the commonwealth.

        When the reconstruction policy of the General Government began, a large number of the citizens of Georgia declared for it, and among them was Mr. Bullock, subsequently Governor of the State. In the political campaign which ensued, the opposite faction, which totally repudiated the reconstruction acts, condescended to much proscription and denunciation, and numbers of Union men were driven from the State. It was out of this campaign that the Ku-Klux conspiracy, as manifested in Georgia, is supposed to have grown. Prominent Republicans received lugubrious letters containing pictures of coffins, and acts of violence were not wanting. Native Georgians, who were leading Republican officials, were hunted down and assassinated; Republican meetings were dispersed, not without slaughter; and it was manifest from the outset that there was to be a decided upsetting of the attempt to enforce the policy inaugurated by the war. But the Republican party was organized, and its Legislature, in which there were many negroes, went into session.

        The first trouble that occurred was due to a discussion of the question whether or not men who had held office previous to the war, and then had taken part in the rebellion, were eligible for the Legislature. The debate upon this matter was heated and angry, and the final decision was in favor of extreme liberality toward all who had fought on the Confederate side. Many of these were admitted to the State councils, and after a time, getting control of the middle-men, they had the Legislature in their hands. Their first act was to oust all the colored members--some thirty-six--and to proceed on the basis that a white man's government was the only one for Georgia. The expulsion of the negroes was corrected by act of Congress; and in 1869 the colored element was readmitted to the Legislature. After this, Bullock, who was the first Governor chosen under the operation of the reconstruction laws, had full sway for about two years. Some good laws were passed during that time, but the railroad legislation was the occasion of veritable disaster to the progress of reconstruction in Georgia. Bullock was in due time compelled to depart from the State, to save himself from imprisonment; and the Democratic party, completely triumphant, now and then announces its convictions through the medium of Robert Toombs, who has been its leader, and, in some measure, its exponent for many years. It is not long since this gentleman, in a speech made at Atlanta in favor of a convention to revise the constitution of the State, made use of the following


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language: "Why, look at that miserable thing you call a constitution! It commits you to all the lies of the revolution against you. It says your allegiance is first due to the Federal Government before it is due to your own State? Do you believe that? When you can wrench that from the constitution, do it!"

        Under the administration of Governor Bullock, a system of internal improvement was inaugurated, theoretically granting State aid to naissant railroads in the proportion in which the companies building those roads aided themselves. But bonds were over-issued, and were negotiated by prominent bankers in New York city. The Brunswick and Albany railroad was the principal project. About $6,000,000 worth of bonds were actually issued during the two years, all of which went to the Brunswick and Albany railroad, with the exception of $600,000 granted to the Cartersville and Van West road. The party now in power has repudiated all the railroad bonds issued under Bullock's régime. The New York bankers have not suffered very much by this, but the repudiation will give the credit of the State a severe blow.

        The Governor, during these two years in which the reconstruction policy of Congress was upheld, seems to have had an agitated and miserable existence. He spent a great deal of time and money in Washington before he succeeded in procuring the legislation which restored the negroes to their places in the Legislature in 1869. It is alleged that when he took the reins of government in Georgia he was worth no money, but that, a little time after he had assumed the office, he paid his debts, and became reasonably prosperous. But he was surrounded by an atmosphere of corruption, and it is difficult to say that he was individually dishonest. In his defense, which gives a very clear idea of the immense obstacles which wily and subtle men placed in his path, it is evident that he required the shrewdness of an archangel to march without stumbling. It was for the interest of the Democratic party in the State to make reconstruction unsuccessful, and toward that end they unceasingly toiled.

        The material on which one was compelled to work, to maintain the power of the reconstruction government in those days, was unreliable. One never knew when he was to be betrayed by the weak-kneed or ignorant legislators who were his own friends. Prominent State officials were applied to to contribute money for "election purposes,"--i.e., for the purchase of votes. I was told by those who did not fear sincere contradiction, that as much as two thousand dollars was sometimes paid at that epoch for a single vote. Often in danger of losing his life, and always in danger of betrayal, the head of the newly organized party was haunted by horrors.

        The career of H. I. Kimball in Atlanta, and in various enterprises in the commonwealth, has not a little to do with the present condition of politics in Georgia. In 1865, Mr. Kimball made his appearance in the State, and began by perfecting arrangements for placing sleeping-cars on all the roads in the South. Atlanta was even then peering from beneath the ashes under which she had been buried, and was vaguely whispering prophecies of her future commercial greatness. The capital was likely to be removed from Milledgeville to that city as soon as a regular State government should be resumed, and Kimball,


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doubtless, saw that as readily as did any of the Atlantians. The Kimball-Ramsey-Pullman Sleeping-Car Company was the name of the organization with which he started; and he intended, it is said, to get rich out of it by means of $300,000 franchise stock, which he was to have. This venture was not successful, and many people who furnished the money to buy the necessary cars were sufferers. His next venture was the "Atlanta Opera House." The original

Illustration

The State-House--Atlanta, Georgia.

company which had contemplated erecting a mammoth block for an opera house, and for stores and public offices, had failed; the unfinished building was considered worth $115,000, but Mr. Kimball obtained possession of it for $33,000. This purchase gave him the means of raising money; he finished the Opera House, furnishing it as a legislative edifice. At that time the Legislature was in session in the City Hall in Atlanta. The city rented Kimball's new building, as soon as it was completed, for a State-House. Kimball had fitted it up with $55,000, advanced to him, it is said, by Governor Bullock from the State funds. The Legislature entered the new Capitol, and no sooner had they assembled than Mr. Kimball besought them to buy it. They at first refused, but subsequently purchased it for $300,000. As soon as this was decided on, the $55,000 loaned by the Governor to Kimball were returned, thus presumably securing Governor Bullock from impeachment.

        Having prospered so well in the Opera House project, the ingenious Kimball conceived the scheme of the Kimball House, at present the largest hotel in Atlanta, and one of the largest in the Southern States. A bill was passed by the Legislature allowing an advance to the Brunswick and Albany railroad--that is to say, two acts allowed Kimball, who was the contractor, to build the road, to draw respectively $12,000 and $15,000 per mile, before building each section of twenty miles. By this issue he obtained the funds with which to build the Kimball House. He constructed the first twenty miles of the Brunswick and Albany railroad in good faith, then gradually encroached, until there was no longer any semblance of adherence to the letter of the act, which naturally required him to build the road as fast as the money was advanced. Meantime the Democrats were vigorously attacking Governor Bullock, charging him with every kind of theft, and he was in a precarious situation, when he suddenly found that he had not a majority that he could count on in the Legislature. Then ensued a severe struggle on his part against the ousting which was threatened. Kimball continued to unfold superb schemes, and turn them to his private account. In the fall of 1871, Governor Bullock paid a visit to California, whence he was hurried home by the announcement that the Legislature was to


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meet in December. He returned; surveyed the political field; found that he was in imminent danger of being complicated and possibly impeached, and went North and resigned. Shortly after, Kimball disappeared from Atlanta and from his Southern field of operations, and the bubble burst.

        The State railroad, running from Atlanta northward to Chattanooga, had been leased under Bullock's administration. The Democrats, who now came into power, charged that the Governor was guilty of gross official misconduct in leasing the road, although it was done in obedience to an act of the Legislature, and they proceeded to prosecute every one who had been connected with the management of it under the Bullock régime. They based their charge against the Governor upon the theory that he was personally and pecuniarily interested in the road, as Kimball was one of the lessees, and the Governor was alleged to be Kimball's partner. This, however, the Governor expressly denies, showing that the road, which, for the twenty years from its building up to 1868, had been an expense to the State, and a fruitful source of political corruption, was made profitable under the lease system. The prosecutions by the Democratic party were characterized by