MINNESOTA AND DACOTAH:
Letters descriptive of a Tour through the North-West,
IN THE AUTUMN OF 1856.
INFORMATION RELATIVE TO PUBLIC LANDS,
A TABLE OF STATISTICS.
By C. C. ANDREWS,
COUNSELOR AT LAW; EDITOR OF THE OFFICIAL OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEYS GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES.
"From the forests and the prairies, From the great lakes of the Northland, From the land of the Ojibways, From the land of the Dacotahs."
SECOND EDITION. W A S H I N G T O N: ROBERT FARNHAM 1857
Entered, according to act of Congress, in the year 1857, by
C. C. ANDREWS,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, in and for the District of Columbia.
STEREOTYPED BY E. B. MEARS.
PRINTED BY C. SHERMAN & SON.
"Trivial Fond Records"
YOUNG MEN OF MINNESOTA.
THE object of publishing these letters can be very briefly stated.
During the last autumn I made a tour into Minnesota, upwards of a hundred and thirty miles north-west of St. Paul, to satisfy myself as to the character and prospects of the territory. All I could learn from personal observation, and otherwise, concerning its society and its ample means of greatness, impressed me so favorably as to the advantages still open to the settler, that I put down in the form of letters such facts as I thought would be of general interest. Since their publication— in the Boston, Post— a few requests, which I could not comply with, were made for copies of them all. I was led to believe, therefore, that if I revised them and added information relative to unoccupied lands, the method of preemption, and the business interests of the territory, they would be worthy of publication in a more permanent form. Conscious that what I have written is an inadequate description of that splendid domain, I shall be happy indeed to have contributed, in ever so small a degree, to advance its growth and welfare.
Here I desire to acknowledge the aid which has been readily extended to my undertaking by the Delegate from Minnesota— Hon. HENRY M. RICE— whose faithful and unwearied services— I will take the liberty to add— in behalf of the territory, merit the highest praise. I am also indebted for valuable information to EARL S. GOODRICH, Esq., editor of the Daily Pioneer (St. Paul) and Democrat.
In another place I give a list of the works which I have had occasion to consult or refer to.
C. C. ANDREWS.
Washington, January 1, 1857.
LIST OF WORKS WHICH HAVE BEEN CONSULTED OR REFERRED TO IN THE PREPARATION OF THIS WORK.
Expedition to the Sources of the Mississippi, by Major Z. M. PIKE vol. Philadelphia; 1807.
Travels to the Source of the Missouri River, by Captains LEWIS and CLARKE. 3 vols. London: 1815.
Expedition to the Source of the St. Peter's River, Lake Winnepek, &c., under command of Major STEPHEN H. LONG 2 vols. Philadelphia: 1824.
British Dominions in North America. By JOSEPH BOUCHETTE, Esq. 3 vols. London: 1832.
History of the Colonies of the British Empire. By R. M. MARTIN, Esq. London; 1843.
Report on the Hydrographical Basin of the Upper Mississippi, by J. N. NICOLLET. Senate Document 237, 2d Session, 26th Congress. Washington: 1843.
Report, of an Exploration of the Territory of Minnesota, by Brevet Captain JOHN POPE, Corps Topographical Engineers. Senate Document 42, 1st Session, 31st Congress. Washington: 1850.
Sketches of Minnesota. By E. S. SEYMOUR. New York: 1850.
Report on Colonial and Lake Trade, by ISRAEL D. ANDREWS, Consul General of the United States for the British Provinces. Executive Document 112, 1st Session, 32d Congress. Washington: 1852.
History of the Discovery and Exploration of the Mississippi River. By J. G. SHEA. New York: 1852.
Minnesota and its Resources. By J. WESLEY BOND. New York: 1853.
Discovery of the Sources of the Mississippi River. By HENRY R. SCHOOLCRAFT. Philadelphia: 1855.
Exploration and Surveys for a Railroad Route from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, made under the direction of the Secretary of War in 1853-4, (including Reports of Gov. Stevens and others.) Washington: 1855.
The Emigrant's Guide to Minnesota By an Old Resident. 1 vol. St. Anthony: 1856.
LETTER I. BALTIMORE TO CHICAGO.
Anecdote of a preacher— Monopoly of seats in the cars— Detention in the night— Mountain scenery on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad— Voting in the cars— Railroad refreshments— Political excitement— The Virginian and the Fremonters— A walk in Columbus— Indianapolis— Lafayette— Michigan City— Chicago
LETTER II. CHICAGO TO ST. PAUL.
Railroads to the Mississippi— Securing passage on the steamboat— The Lady Franklin— Scenery of the Mississippi— Hastings— Growth of settlements
LETTER III. CITY OF ST. PAUL.
First settlement of St. Paul— Population— Appearance of the city— Fuller House— Visitors— Roads— Minneapolis— St. Anthony— Suspension Bridge
LETTER IV. THE BAR.
Character of the Minnesota bar— Effect of connecting land business with practice— Courts— Recent Legislation of Congress as to the territorial judiciary— The code of practice— Practice in land cases— Chances for lawyers in the West— Charles O'Connor— Requisite qualifications of a lawyer— The power and usefulness of a great lawyer— Talfourd's character of Sir William Follett— Blending law with politics— Services of lawyers in deliberative assemblies
LETTER V. ST. PAUL TO CROW WING IN TWO DAYS.
Stages— Roads— Rum River— Indian treaty— Itasca— Sauk Rapids— Watab at midnight— Lodging under difficulties— Little Rock River— Character of Minnesota streams— Dinner at Swan River— Little Falls— Fort Ripley— Arrival at Crow Wing
LETTER VI. THE TOWN OF CROW WING.
Scenery— First Settlement of Crow Wing— Red Lake Indians— Mr. Morrison— Prospects of the town— Upper navigation— Mr. Beaulieu— Washington's theory as to Norfolk— Observations on the growth of towns
LETTER VII. CHIPPEWA INDIANS— HOLE-IN-THE-DAY.
Description of the Chippewa tribes— Their habits and customs— Mission at Gull Lake— Progress in farming— Visit to Hole-in-the-day— His enlightened character— Reflections on Indian character, and the practicability of their civilization— Their education— Mr. Manypenny's exertions
LETTER VIII. LUMBERING INTERESTS.
Lumber as an element of wealth— Quality of Minnesota lumber— Locality of its growth— The great pineries— Trespasses on government land— How the lumbermen elude the government— Value of lumber— Character of the practical lumberman— Transportation of lumber on rafts
LETTER IX. SHORES OF LAKE SUPERIOR.
Description of the country around Lake Superior— Minerals— Locality of a commercial city— New land districts— Buchanan— Ojibeway— Explorations to the sources of the Mississippi— Henry R. Schoolcraft— M. Nicollet's report— Resources of the country above Crow Wing
LETTER X. VALLEY OF THE RED RIVER OF THE NORTH.
Climate of Minnesota— The settlement at Pembina— St. Joseph— Col. Smith's expedition— Red River of the North— Fur trade— Red River Settlement— The Hudson's Bay Company— Ex-Gov. Ramsey's observations— Dacotah
LETTER XI. THE TRUE PIONEER.
Energy of the pioneer— Frontier life— Spirit of emigration— Advantages to the farmer in moving West— Advice in regard to making preemption claims— Abstract of the preemption law— Hints to the settler— Character and services of the pioneer
LETTER XII. SPECULATION AND BUSINESS.
Opportunities to select farms— Otter Tail Lake— Advantages of the actual settler over the speculator— Policy of new states as to taxing non-residents— Opportunities to make money— Anecdote of Col. Perkins— Mercantile business— Price of money— Intemperance— Education— The free school
LETTER XIII. CROW WING TO ST. CLOUD.
Pleasant drive in the stage— Scenery— The past— Fort Ripley Ferry— Delay at the Post Office— Belle Prairie— A Catholic priest— Dinner at Swan River— Potatoes— Arrival at Watab— St. Cloud
LETTER XIV. ST. CLOUD— THE PACIFIC TRAIL.
Agreeable visit at St. Cloud— Description of the place— Causes of the rapid growth of towns— Gen. Lowry— The back country— Gov. Stevens's report— Mr. Lambert's views— Interesting account of Mr. A. W. Tinkham's exploration
LETTER XV. ST. CLOUD TO ST. PAUL.
Importance of starting early— Judge Story's theory of early rising— Rustic scenery— Horses and mules— Surveyors— Humboldt— Baked fish— Getting off the track— Burning of hay stacks— Supper at St. Anthony— Arrival at the Fuller House
LETTER XVI. PROGRESS.
Rapid growth of the North-West— Projected railroads— Territorial system of the United States— Inquiry into the cause of Western progress— Influence of just laws and institutions— Lord Bacon's remark
THE PROPOSED NEW TERRITORY OF DACOTAH.
Organization of Minnesota as a state— Suggestions as to its division— Views of Captain Pope— Character and resources of the new territory to be left adjoining— Its occupation by the Dacotah Indians— Its organization and name
POST OFFICES AND POSTMASTERS
LAND OFFICES AND LAND OFFICERS
NEWSPAPERS PUBLISHED IN MINNESOTA
TABLE OF DISTANCES
PRE-EMPTION FOR CITY OR TOWN SITES
LETTERS ON MINNESOTA.
MINNESOTA AND DACOTAH.
BALTIMORE TO CHICAGO.
Anecdote of a preacher— Monopoly of seats in the cars— Detention in the night— Mountain scenery on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad— Voting in the cars— Railroad refreshments— Political excitement— The Virginian and the Fremonters— A walk in Columbus— Indianapolis— Lafayette— Michigan City— Chicago.
CHICAGO, October, 1856.
I SIT down at the first place where a pen can be used, to give you some account of my trip to Minnesota. And if any one should complain that this is a dull letter, let me retain his good-will by the assurance that the things I expect to describe in my next will be of more novelty and interest. And here I am reminded of a good little anecdote which I am afraid I shall not have a better chance to tell. An eminent minister of the Gospel was preaching in a new place one Sunday, and about half through his sermon when two or three dissatisfied hearers got up to leave, "My friends," said he, "I have one small favor to ask. As an attempt has been made to prejudice my reputation in this vicinity, I beg you to be candid enough, if any one asks how you liked my sermon, to say you didn't stop to hear me through."
Stepping into the cars on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad a few evenings ago— for I am not going to say anything of my trip further east— I saw as great an exhibition of selfishness as one often meets in travelling. This was in the rear car, the others being all crowded. The seats were spacious, and had high backs for night travelling. A gentleman entered the car and proposed to sit in a seat in which was only one child, but he was informed by a feminine voice in the rear that the whole seat was taken— so he advanced to the next seat, which was occupied by another child, a boy about eight years old— again the same voice, confirmed by one of the other sex, informed him in very decided terms that that also was wholly occupied. The gentleman of course did not attempt to take a seat with this lady, but advancing still further, in a seat behind her he saw another child the only occupant. His success here was no better. The fact was, here was a family of a husband, wife, and three children occupying five entire seats. The traveller politely asked if it would not be convenient for two of the children to sit together. "No," said the lady and her husband (and they spoke together, though they didn't sit together), "the children want all the room so as to sleep." The traveller betrayed no feeling until the husband aforesaid pointed out for him a seat next to a colored woman who sat alone near the door of the car, some little distance off. It was quite apparent, and it was the fact, that this colored woman was the servant of the family; and the traveller appeared to think that, although as an "original question" he might not object to the proffered seat, yet it was not civil for a man to offer him what he would not use himself. The scene closed by the traveller's taking a seat with another gentleman, I mention this incident because it is getting to be too common for people to claim much more room than belongs to them, and because I have seen persons who are modest and unused to travelling subjected to considerable annoyance in consequence. Moreover, conductors are oftentimes fishing so much after popularity, that they wink at misconduct in high life.
Somewhere about midnight, along the banks of the Potomac, and, if I remember right, near the town of Hancock, the cars were detained for three hours. A collision had occurred twelve hours before, causing an extensive destruction of cars and freight, and heavy fragments of both lay scattered over the track. Had it not been for the skilful use of a steam-engine in dragging off the ruins, we must have waited till the sun was up. Two or three large fires were kindled with the ruins, so that the scene of the disaster was entirely visible. And the light shining in the midst of the thick darkness, near the river, with the crowd of people standing around, was not very romantic, perhaps not picturesque— but it was quite novel; and the novelty of the scene enabled us to bear with greater patience the gloomy delay.
The mountain scenery in plain sight of the traveller over the Baltimore and Ohio road is more extensive and protracted, and I think as beautiful, as on any road in the United States. There are as wild places seen on the road across Tennessee from Nashville, and as picturesque scenes on the Pennsylvania Central road— perhaps the White Mountains as seen from the Atlantic and St. Lawrence road present a more sublime view— but I think on the road I speak of, there is more gorgeous mountain scenery than on any other. On such routes one passes through a rude civilization. The settlements are small and scattered, exhibiting here and there instances of thrift and contentment, but generally the fields are small and the houses in proportion. The habits of the people are perhaps more original than primitive. It was along the route that I saw farmers gathering their corn on sleds. The cheerful scene is often witnessed of the whole family— father, mother, and children— at work gathering the crops. These pictures of cottage life in the mountain glens, with the beautiful variegated foliage of October for groundwork, are objects which neither weary nor satiate our sight.
The practice of taking a vote for presidential candidates in the cars has been run into the ground. By this I mean that it has been carried to a ridiculous excess. So far I have had occasion to vote several times. A man may be indifferent as to expressing his vote when out of his state; but a man's curiosity must have reached a high pitch when he travels through a train of cars to inquire how the passengers vote. It is not uncommon, I find, for people to carry out the joke by voting with their real opponents. Various devices are resorted to to get a unanimous vote. For example, a man will say, "All who are in favor of Buchanan take off their boots; all in favor of Fremont keep them on." Again, when there are several passengers on a stage-coach out west, and they are passing under the limbs of a tree, or low bridge, as they are called, it is not unusual far a Fremont man to say, "All in favor of Fremont bow their heads."
I have a word to say about refreshments on railroad routes. It is, perhaps, well known that the price for a meal anywhere on a railroad in the United States is fifty cents. That is the uniform price. Would that the meals were as uniform! But alas! a man might as well get a quid of tobacco with his money, for he seldom gets a quid pro quo. Once in a couple of days' travel you may perhaps get a wholesome meal, but as a general thing what you get (when you get out of New England) isn't worth over a dime. You stop at a place, say for breakfast, after having rode all night. The conductor calls out, "Twenty minutes for breakfast." There is a great crowd and a great rush, of course. Well, the proprietor expects there will be a crowd, and ought to be prepared. But how is it? Perhaps you are lucky enough to get a seat at the table. Then your chance to get something to eat is as one to thirteen: for as there is nothing of any consequence on the table, your luck depends on your securing the services of a waiter who at the same time is being called on by about thirteen others as hungry as yourself. Then suppose you succeed! First comes a cup of black coffee, strong of water; then a piece of tough fried beef steak, some fried potatoes, a heavy biscuit— a little sour (and in fact everything is sour but the pickles). You get up when you have finished eating— it would be a mockery to say when you have satisfied your appetite— and at the door stand two muscular men (significantly the proprietor is aware of the need of such) with bank bills drawn through their fingers, who are prepared to receive your 50c. It is not unusual to hear a great deal of indignation expressed by travellers on such occasions. No man has a right to grumble at the fare which hospitality sets before him. But when he buys a dinner at a liberal price, in a country where provisions are abundant, he has a right to expect something which will sustain life and health. Those individuals who have the privilege of furnishing meals to railroad travellers probably find security in the reflection that their patronage does not depend on the will of their patrons. But the evil can be remedied by the proprietors and superintendents of the roads, and the public will look for a reformation in dinners and suppers at their hands.
I might say that from Benwood, near Wheeling— where I arrived at about four in the afternoon, having been nearly twenty-four hours coming 875 miles— I passed on to Zanesville to spend the night; thinking it more convenient, as it surely was, to go to bed at eleven at night and start the next morning at eight, than to go to bed at Wheeling at nine, or when I chose, and start again at two in the morning. The ride that evening was pleasant. The cars were filled with lusty yeomen, all gabbling politics. There was an overwhelming majority for Fremont. Under such circumstances it was a virtue for a Buchanan man to show his colors. There was a solid old Virginian aboard; and his open and intelligent countenance— peculiar, it seems to me, to Virginia— denoted that he was a good-hearted man. I was glad to see him defend his side of politics with so much zeal against the Fremonters. He argued against half a dozen of them with great spirit and sense. In spite of the fervor of his opponents, however, they treated him with proper respect and kindness. It was between eleven and twelve when I arrived at Zanesville. I hastened to the Stacy House with my friend, J. E B. (a young gentleman on his way to Iowa, whose acquaintance I regard it as good luck to have made). The Stacy House could give us lodgings, but not a mouthful of refreshments. As the next best thing, we descended to a restaurant, which seemed to be in a very drowsy condition, where we soon got some oyster and broiled chicken, not however without paying for it an exorbitant price. I rather think, however, I shall go to the Stacy House again when next I visit Zanesville, for, on the whole, I have no fault to find with it. Starting at eight the next morning, we were four hours making the distance (59 miles) from Zanesville to Columbus. The road passes through a country of unsurpassed loveliness. Harvest fields, the most luxuriant, were everywhere in view. At nearly every stopping-place the boys besieged us with delicious apples and grapes, too tempting to be resisted. We had an hour to spend at Columbus, which, after booking our names at the Neil House for dinner— and which is a capital house— we partly spent in a walk about the city. It is the capital of the state, delightfully situated on the Scioto river, and has a population in the neighborhood of 20,000. The new Capitol there is being built on a scale of great magnificence. Though the heat beat down intensely, and the streets were dusty, we were "bent on seeing the town." We— my friend B. and myself— had walked nearly half a mile down one of the fashionable streets for dwellings, when we came to a line which was drawn across the sidewalk in front of a residence, which, from the appearance, might have belonged to one of the upper-ten. The line was in charge of two or three little girls, the eldest of whom was not over twelve. She was a bright-eyed little miss, and had in her face a good share of that metal which the vulgar think is indispensable to young lawyers. We came to a gradual pause at sight of this novel obstruction. "Buchanan, Fillmore, or Fremont?" said she, in a tone of dogmatical interrogatory. B. was a fervid Fremonter— he probably thought she was— so he exclaimed, "Vermont for ever!" I awaited the sequel in silence. "Then you may go round," said the little female politician. "You may go round," and round we went, not a little amused at such an exhibition of enthusiasm. I remember very well the excitement during the campaign of 1840; and I did my share with the New Hampshire boys in getting up decoy cider barrels to humbug the Whigs as they passed in their barouches to attend some great convention or hear Daniel Webster. But it seems to me there is much more political excitement during this campaign than there was in 1840. Flagstaffs and banners abound in the greatest profusion in every village. Every farm-house has some token of its polities spread to the breeze.
At twenty minutes past one— less or more— we left Columbus, and after travelling 158 miles, via Dayton, we came to Indianapolis, the great "Railroad City," as it is called, of the west. It was half past nine when we arrived there. I did not have time to go up to the Bates House, where I once had the pleasure of stopping, but concluded to get supper at a hotel near the depot, where there was abundant time to go through the ceremony of eating. It strikes me that Indianapolis would be an agreeable place to reside in. There are some cities a man feels at home in as soon as he gets into them; there are others which make him homesick; just as one will meet faces which in a moment make a good impression on him, or which leave a dubious or disagreeable impression. That city has 16,000 people. Its streets are wide, and its walks convenient. All things denote enterprise, liberality, and comfort. It is 210 miles from Indianapolis to this city, via Lafayette and Michigan City. We ought to have made the time in less than twelve hours, and, but for protracted detentions at Lafayette and Michigan City, we would have done so. We reached the latter place at daylight, and there waited about the depot in dull impatience for the Detroit and Chicago train. It is the principal lake harbor in Indiana.
It is about two years since I was last in Chicago; and as I have walked about its streets my casual observation confirms the universal account of its growth and prosperity. I have noticed some new and splendid iron and marble buildings in the course of completion. Chicago is a great place to find old acquaintances. For its busy population comprises citizens from every section of the United States, and from every quarter of the globe. The number of its inhabitants is now estimated at 100,000. Everybody that can move is active. It is a city of activity. Human thoughts are all turned towards wealth. All seem to he contending in the race for riches: some swift and daring on the open course; some covertly lying low for a by-path. You go along the streets by jerks: down three feet to the street here; then up four slippery steps to the sidewalk there. Here a perfect crowd and commotion— almost a mob— because the drawbridge is up. You would think there was a wonderful celebration coming off at twelve, and that everybody was hurrying through his work to be in season for it. Last year 20,000,000 bushels of grain were brought into Chicago. Five years ago there were not a hundred miles of railroad in the state of Illinois. Now there are more than two thousand. Illinois has all the elements of empire. Long may its great metropolis prosper!
CHICAGO TO ST. PAUL.
Railroads to the Mississippi— Securing passage on the steamboat— The Lady Franklin— Scenery of the Mississippi— Hastings— Growth of settlements
ST. PAUL, October, 1856.
HOW short a time it is since a railroad to the Mississippi was thought a wonder! And now within the state of Illinois four terminate on its banks. Of course I started on one of these roads from Chicago to get to Dunleith. I think it is called the Galena and Chicago Union Road. A good many people have supposed Galena to be situated on the Mississippi river, and indeed railroad map makers have had it so located as long as it suited their convenience— (for they have a remarkable facility in annihilating distance and in making crooked ways straight)— yet the town is some twelve miles from the great river on a narrow but navigable stream. The extent and importance of Rockford, Galena, and Dunleith cannot fail to make a strong impression on the traveller. They are towns of recent growth, and well illustrate that steam-engine sort of progress peculiar now-a-days in the west. Approaching Galena we leave the region of level prairie and enter a mineral country of naked bluffs or knolls, where are seen extensive operations in the lead mines. The trip from Chicago to Dunleith at the speed used on most other roads would be performed in six hours, but ten hours are usually occupied, for what reason I cannot imagine. However, the train is immense, having on board about six or seven hundred first class passengers, and two-thirds as many of the second class. Travelling in the cars out west is not exactly what it is between Philadelphia and New York, or New York and Boston, in this respect: that in the West more families are found, in the cars, and consequently more babies and carpet bags.
It may not be proper to judge of the health of a community by the appearance of people who are seen standing about a railroad station; yet I have often noticed, when travelling through Illinois, that this class had pale and sickly countenances, showing too clearly the traces of fever and ague.
But I wish to speak about leaving the cars at Dunleith and taking the steamboat for St. Paul. There is a tremendous rush for the boats in order to secure state-rooms. Agents of different boats approach the traveller, informing him all about their line of boats, and depreciating the opposition boats. For instance, an agent, or, if you please, a runner of a boat called Lucy— not Long— made the assertion on the levee with great zeal and perfect impunity that no other boat but the said Lucy would leave for St. Paul within twenty-four hours; when it must have been known to him that another boat on the mail line would start that same evening, as was actually the fact. But the activity of the runners was needless; for each boat had more passengers than it could well accommodate. I myself went aboard the " Lady Franklin," one of the mail boats, and was accommodated with a state-room. But what a scene is witnessed for the first two hours after the passengers begin to come aboard! The cabin is almost filled, and a dense crowd surrounds the clerk's office, just as the ticket office of a theatre is crowded on a benefit night. Of course not more than half can get state-rooms and the rest must sleep on the cabin floor. Over two hundred cabin passengers came up on the Lady Franklin. The beds which are made on the floor are tolerably comfortable, as each boat is supplied with an extra number of single mattresses. The Lady Franklin is an old boat, and this is said to be its last season.1 Two years ago it was one of the excursion fleet to St. Paul, and was then in its prime. But steamboats are short lived. We had three tables set, and those who couldn't get a seat at the first or second sat at the third. There was a choice you may believe, for such was the havoc made with the provisions at the first table that the second and third were not the most inviting. It was amusing to see gentlemen seat themselves in range of the plates as soon as they were laid, and an hour before the table was ready. But the officers were polite— as is generally the case on steamboats till you get down to the second mate— and in the course of a day or two, when the passengers begin to be acquainted, the time wears away pleasantly. We were nearly four days in making the trip. The line of boats of which the Lady Franklin is one, carries the mail at fifty dollars a trip. During the boating season I believe the fare varies from seven to ten dollars to St. Paul.2 This season there have been two lines of boats running to Minnesota. All of them have made money fast; and next season many more boats will run. The "Northern Belle" is the best boat this season, and usually makes the trip up in two days. The advertised time is thirty hours.
[1 Three weeks after this trip the Lady Franklin was snagged, and became a total toss.]
[2 The following is a table of distances from Galena to St. Paul:
Prairie du Chien,
Foot of Lake Pepin,
The scenery on the upper Mississippi is reputed to be beautiful. So it is. Yet all river scenery is generally monotonous. One gets tired of looking at high rocky ridges quite as quickly as at more tame and tranquil scenery. The bluffs on either side of the Mississippi, for most of the way between Dunleith and St. Anthony's Falls, constitute some of the most beautiful river scenery in the world. It is seldom that they rise over two hundred feet from the water level, and their height is quite uniform, so that from a distant point of view their summit resembles a huge fortification. Nor, as a general thing, do they present a bold or rocky front. The rise from the river is gradual. Sometimes they rise to a sharp peak, towards the top of which crops out in half circles heavy ridges of limestone. The ravines which seem to divide them into separate elevations, are more thickly wooded, and appear to have been grooved out by the rolling down of deep waters. The most attractive feature of these bluffs— or miniature mountains, as they might be called— is their smooth grassy surface, thinly covered over with shade trees of various kinds. Whoever has seen a large orchard on a hill side can imagine how the sides of these bluffs look. At this season of the year the variegated foliage of the trees gives them a brilliant appearance. It is quite rare to see a bluff which rises gradually enough to admit of its being a good town site. Hence it is that settlements on the banks of the river will never be very numerous. Nature has here interposed against that civilization which adorns the lower Mississippi. It appears to me that all the available points for town sites on the river are taken up as far as the bluffs extend; and some of these will require a great amount of excavation before they can grow to importance.
But there are several thrifty and pleasant villages in Minnesota, on the river, before reaching St. Paul. The first one of importance is Brownsville, where, for some time, was a United States land office. It is 168 miles above Dunleith. Winona, 58 miles farther up, is a larger town. It is said to contain 5000 population. There is a land office there also. But the town stands on land which, in very high water, will run too much risk of inundation. Passing by several other landings and germs of towns, we come to Wacouta, ninety-eight miles above; which is a successful lumber depot. Six miles further on is Red Wing, a place which delighted me on account of its cheerful location. It is growing quite fast, and is the seat of a large Methodist seminary. But the town of Hastings, thirty-two miles above, eclipses everything but St. Paul. It is finely located on rising ground, and the river is there narrow and deep. The boat stopped here an hour, and I had a good opportunity to look about the place. The town appears to have considerable trade with the back country. Its streets are laid out with regularity; its stores and buildings are spacious, durable, and neat. I heard that over $2000 were asked for several of the building lots. A little way into the interior of the town I saw men at work on a stone church; and approaching the spot, I determined to make some inquiries of a boy who was briskly planing boards. First, I asked how much the church was going to cost? About $3000, he replied.
"Are there any other churches in the place?"
"Yes, up there, where they are building."
"What denomination is that?"
"I don't know," he responded. "I only came into the place yesterday."
I thought he was doing well to begin to build churches so soon after his arrival. And from his countenance, I have no doubt he will do well, and become a useful citizen of the state. Hastings has its democratic press— the Dakota Journal, edited by J. C. Dow, a talented young man from New Hampshire. The population of the town is about two thousand. It is thirty-two miles below St. Paul, on the west side of the river. There is nothing of especial interest between the two places.
The great panorama which time paints is but a species of dissolving views. It is but as yesterday since the present sites of towns and cities on the shores just referred to showed only the rude huts of Indian tribes. To-day, the only vestige left there of the Indian are his burying-grounds. Hereafter the rudeness of pioneer life shall be exchanged for a more genial civilization, and the present, then the past, will be looked back to as trivial by men still yearning for the future.
CITY OF ST. PAUL.
First settlement of St. Paul— Population— Appearance of the city— Fuller House— Visitors— Roads— Minneapolis— St. Anthony— Suspension Bridge.
FULLER HOUSE, ST. PAUL, October, 1856.
THE circumstance of finding a good spring of water first led to the settlement of Boston. It would not be unreasonable to suppose that a similar advantage induced the first settler of St. Paul to locate here; for I do not suppose its pioneers for a long while dreamed of its becoming a place even of its present importance. And here let me mention that St. Paul is not on the west side of the Mississippi, but on the east. Though it is rather too elevated and rough in its natural state to have been coveted for a farm, it is yet just such a spot as a pioneer would like to plant himself upon, that he might stand in his door and have a broad and beautiful view towards the south and west. And when the speculator came he saw that it was at the head of navigation of what be thought was the Upper Mississippi, but which in reality is only the Middle Mississippi. Then stores were put up, small and rude, and trade began to increase with settlers and hunters of furs. Then came the organization of the territory, and the location of the capital here, so that St. Paul began to thrive still more from the crumbs which fell from the government table, as also by that flood of emigration which nothing except the Rocky Mountains has ever stayed from entering a new territory. And now it has passed its doubtful era. It has passed from its wooden to its brick age. Before men are certain of the success of a town, they erect one story pine shops; but when its success appears certain, they build high blocks of brick or granite stores. So now it is common to see four and five story brick or stone buildings going up in St. Paul.
I believe this city numbers at present about 10,000 population. It is destined to increase for a few years still more rapidly than it has heretofore. But that it will be a second Chicago is what I do not expect. It would certainly seem that the high prices demanded for building lots must retard the progress of the place; but I am told the prices have always been as high in proportion to the business and number of population. $500 and upwards is asked for a decent building lot in remote parts of the town.
I have had an agreeable stroll down upon the bluff, south-east from the city, and near the elegant mansion of Mr. Dayton. The first engraving of St. Paul was made from a view taken at that point. As I stood looking at the city, I recalled the picture in Mr. Bond's work, and contrasted its present with the appearance it had three or four years ago. What a change! Three or four steamers were lying at the levee; steam and smoke were shooting forth from the chimneys of numerous manufactories; a ferry was plying the Mississippi, transporting teams and people; church steeples and domes and great warehouses stood in places which were vacant as if but yesterday; busy streets had been built and peopled; rows of splendid dwellings and villas, adorned with delightful terraces and gardens, had been erected. I went out on Sunday morning too, and the view was none the less pleasant. Business was silent; but the church bells were ringing out their sweet and solemn melody, and the mellow sunlight of autumn glittered on the bright roofs and walls in the city. The whole scene revealed the glorious image of that ever advancing civilization which springs from well rewarded labor and general intelligence.
Like all new and growing places in the west, St. Paul has its whiskey shops, its dusty and dirty streets, its up and down sidewalks, and its never-ceasing whirl of business. Yet it has its churches, well filled; its spacious school-houses; its daily newspapers; and well-adorned mansions. There are many cottages and gardens situated on the most elevated part of the city, north and west, which would not suffer by a comparison with those cheerful and elegant residences so numerous for six to ten miles around Boston. From the parlors of these homes one may look down upon the city and upon the smooth bosom of the river. In the streets, too, you see much evidence of opulence and luxury, in the shape of handsome carriages, which are set out to advantage by a first-rate quality of horses.
One element of the success of this city is the public spirit of its leading business men. They have put their hands deep into their pockets to improve and advance the place. In all their rivalry there is an amicable feeling and boundless liberality. They help him that tries to help himself, and help each other in a way that will help them all together; and such kind of enterprises produces grand results. Why, here is a new hotel (the Fuller House) at which I stop, which is surpassed but by very few hotels in the country. It is a first-class house, built of brick, five stories high, and of much architectural beauty. The building itself cost upwards of $100,000, and its furniture over $30,000. Its proprietor is Mr. Long, who has already had good success in this sort of business. One can well imagine the comfort of finding such a house at the end of a long and tedious journey in a new country.
It is estimated that 28,000 people have visited and left St. Paul during the present season. During July and August the travel diminishes, but as soon as autumn sets in it comes on again in daily floods. It is really a novel and interesting state of things one finds on his arrival at the hotel. There are so many people from so many different places! Then everybody is a stranger to almost everybody, and therefore quite willing to get acquainted with somebody. Everybody wants a bit of information on some point. Everybody is going to some place where he thinks somebody has been or is going, and so a great many new acquaintances are made without ceremony or delay; and old acquaintances are revived. I find people who have come from all sections of the country— from the east and the west, and from the south— not adventurers merely, but men of substance and means, who seek a healthier climate and a pleasant home. Nor can I here omit to mention the meeting of my friend, Col. A. J. Whitney, who is one of the pioneers of Minnesota, and with whom I had two years before travelled over the western prairies. A. H. Marshall, Esq., of Concord, N. H., well known as a popular speaker, is also here on a visit.
But what are the roads leading from St. Paul, and what are the facilities of travel to places beyond? These are questions which I suppose some would like to have answered. There is a road to Stillwater, and a stage, which I believe runs daily. That is the route now often taken to Lake Superior. This morning three men came in on that stage from Superior, who have been a week on the journey. The great highway of the territory extends as far as Crow Wing, 130 miles north of here. It passes St. Anthony and several important towns on the eastern bank of the Mississippi. In a day or two I intend to take a journey as far as Crow Wing, and I can then write with more knowledge on the subject.
A very pretty drive out of St. Paul is by the cave. This is an object worth visiting, and is about two miles out of the city. Three or four miles beyond are the beautiful falls of Minnehaha, or laughing water. The drive also takes in Fort Snelling. St. Anthony is on the east side of the Mississippi; Minneapolis is opposite, on the west side. Both places are now large and populous. The main street of St. Anthony is over a mile in length. One of the finest water powers in the Union is an element of growth to both towns. The lumber which is sawed there is immense. A company is undertaking to remove the obstructions to navigation in the river between St. Paul and St. Anthony. $20,000 were raised for the purpose; one-half by the Steamboat Company, and the other half by the people of St. Anthony. The suspension bridge which connects Minneapolis with St. Anthony is familiar to all. It is a fit type of the enterprise of the people. I forget the exact sum I paid as toll when I walked across the bridge— perhaps it was a dime; at any rate I was struck with the answer given by the young man who took the toll, in reply to my inquiry as I returned, if my coming back wasn't included in the toll paid going over? " No," said he, in a very good-natured way, "we don't know anything about coming back; it's all go ahead in this country."
Character of the Minnesota bar— Effect of connecting land business with practice— Courts— Recent legislation of Congress as to the territorial judiciary— The code of practice— Practice in land cases— Chances for lawyers in the West— Charles O'Connor— Requisite qualifications of a lawyer— The power and usefulness of a great lawyer— Talfourd's character of Sir William Follett— Blending law with politics— Services of lawyers in deliberative assemblies
ST. PAUL, October, 1856.
I HAVE not yet been inside of a court of justice, nor seen a case tried, since I have been in the territory. But it has been my pleasure to meet one of the judges of the supreme court and several prominent members of the bar. My impression is, that in point of skill and professional ability the Minnesota bar is a little above the average of territorial bars. Here, as in the West generally, the practice is common for lawyers to mix with their profession considerable miscellaneous business, such as the buying and selling of land. The law is too jealous a mistress to permit any divided love, and therefore it cannot be expected that really good lawyers will be found in the ranks of general business agents and speculators. In other words, a broker's office is not a lawyer's office. There are some lawyers here who have attended strictly to the profession, who are ornaments of it, and who have met with good success. The idea has been common, and as fatal as common, that success in legal practice could be easily attained in the West with a small amount of skill and learning. It is true that a poor lawyer aided by some good qualities will sometimes rise to affluence and eminence, though such cases are exceptions. There are able layers in the West, and, though practice may be less formal and subtle than in older communities, ability and skill find their relative advancement and reward, while ignorance and incapacity have their downward tendency just as they do everywhere else. The fees for professional services are liberal, being higher than in the East. Before an attorney can be admitted to practise he must have an examination by, or under the direction of, one of the judges of the supreme court. The provisions of the territorial statutes are quite strict in their tendency to maintain upright practice.
An act of the present congress has created a revolution in the courts of the territory. The organic act, SS 9, provided that the territory should be divided into three judicial districts; "and a district court shall be held in each of said districts by one of the justices of the supreme court, at such times and places as may be prescribed by law." This meant, I suppose, at such times and places as the territorial legislature should prescribe. Accordingly, as population increased and extended, and as counties were established, the territorial legislature increased the places in each district for holding the district court. Either on account of the expense or for some other cause congress has just stepped aside from the doctrine of non-intervention (ch. 124, sec. 5), and abrogated the territorial legislation so far as to provide that there shall be but one place in each of the three districts for holding a district court. The act applies to all territories. In a territory of five or six hundred miles in extent it is of course inconvenient to have but three places for holding courts. The Minnesotians complain that it is an interference with popular sovereignty. It is possible the legislature might have gone to an extreme in creating places for holding courts; and I suppose the judges were kept on the march a good deal of the time. It also looks as if the remedy by congress was extreme. The people say it is a coercive measure to drive them into a state organization.
The administration of justice is secured by a system which is now common to all the territories, with the exception of Kansas. The supreme court consists of the three district judges in full bench. They hold nisi prius terms in their respective districts, which are called district courts. The judges have a salary of $2000 each, and are appointed for a term of four years, subject to removal by the President. The district courts have chancery jurisdiction in matters where there is not a plain, adequate, and complete remedy at law. (Stat. of Min. ch. 94, sec. 1.) There are also probate courts. Each county has two justices of the peace, who are elected by the people. And I cannot but remark how much better the practice is to elect or appoint a few justices of the peace rather than to allow the office to be degraded by wholesale appointments, as a matter of compliment, according to the usage too common in some Eastern States. The justices of the peace have jurisdiction in civil cases where the amount in question does not exceed $100; and when the amount at issue is over $20 either party may demand a jury of six men to try the case. But there would be little demand for juries if all magistrates were as competent as our enlightened friend Judge Russell.
Special pleading never flourished much in the West. It was never "a favorite with the court" out this way; while the regard which the lawyers have cherished for it has been "distant and respectful." It has been laid on the shelf about as effectually as bleeding in the practice of medicine. The science of special pleading, as it is known in these days— and that in some of the older states— exists in a mitigated form from what it did in the days of Coke and Hale. The opportunities to amend, and the various barriers against admitting a multiplicity of pleas, have rendered the system so much more rational than it once was, that it is doubtful if some of the old English worthies could now identify it. Once a defendant could plead to an action of assumpsit just as many defences as he chose; first, he could deny the whole by pleading the general issue; then he could plead the statute of limitations, infancy, accord and satisfaction, and a dozen other pleas, by which the plaintiff would be deprived of any clue to the real defence. I suppose it was this practice of formal lying which has given rise to the popular error that a lawyer is in the habit of lying, or is obliged to lie, in his arguments. Many people do not know the difference between pleading— which is a process in writing to bring the parties to an issue— and the oral arguments of counsel in courts. It is ridiculous to suppose that it is easy or profitable for lawyers to make false statements in their arguments. The opposing counsel is ready to catch at anything of the kind; and if he misstates the evidence, the jury are aware of it; while if he states what is not law, the court generally knows it. So there is no opportunity for lying even if a lawyer should be so disposed. The practice in civil actions as provided by the statutes of Minnesota is similar— if not actually the same— to the New York code of practice. There is but one form of action, called an action of contract. The only pleading on the part of the plaintiff is, 1st, the complaint; 2d, the reply. On the part of the defendant, 1st, demurrer; or 2d, the answer. (Stats. ch. 70, sec. 58.) The complaint must contain, 1st, the title of the cause, specifying the name of the court in which the action is brought and the names of the parties to the action, plaintiff and defendant; 2d, a statement of the facts constituting the cause of action in ordinary and concise language, without repetition, and in such a manner as to enable a person of common understanding to know what is intended; 3d, a demand of the relief to which the plaintiff supposes himself entitled. If the recovery of money be demanded the amount must be stated. (Ibid. sec. 59.)
While testifying my approval of this code of practice as a whole, I cannot resist saying that in many respects it is not so systematic as the Massachusetts code, which was devised by Messrs. Curtis (now Mr. Justice), Lord, and Chapman. That code is one of the best in the world. And if I may be allowed one word more about special pleading, I would say that there is no branch of law which will better reward study. Without mentioning the practice in the U. S. courts, which requires, certainly, a knowledge of special pleading, no one can read the old English reports and text books with much profit, who is ignorant of the principles of that science.
A class of business peculiar to new territories and states arises from the land laws. A great many pre-emption cases are contested before the land officers, in which the services of lawyers are required. This fact will partly explain why there are, generally, so many lawyers located in the vicinity of a land office. In a community that is newly settled the title to property must often be in dispute; and however much averse people may be to going to law, they find it frequently indispensable, if they wish to have their rights settled on a firm basis.
The opinion prevails almost universally in the East that a lawyer can do best in the West. In some respects he can. If he cannot do a good deal better, he is not compensated for going. I had the pleasure of a conversation last summer with one of the most eminent members of the New York bar (Mr. O'Connor), on this very subject. It was his opinion that western lawyers begin sooner to enjoy their reputation than the lawyers in the eastern cities. This is true; and results from there being less competition in newer communities. "A lawyer among us," said Mr. O'Connor, "seldom acquires eminence till he begins to turn gray." Nevertheless, there is no field so great and so certain in the long run, in which one may become really a great lawyer, as in some of our large commercial cities, whether of the East or the West. To admit of the highest professional eminence there must be a large and varied business; and a lawyer must devote himself almost exclusively to law. And then, when this great reputation is acquired, what does it amount to? Something now, but not much hereafter. The great lawyer lives a life of toil and excitement. Often does it seem to "break on the fragments of a reviving dream." His nerves are worn by the troubles of others; for the exercise of the profession, as has been said by a brilliant lawyer, "involves intimate participation with the interests, hopes, fears, passions, affections, and vicissitudes of many lives." And yet merely as a lawyer, he seldom leaves any durable vestige of his fame behind him— hardly a fortune. But if his fame is transient and mortal, there is some equivalent in the pleasure of triumph and the consciousness of power. There is no man so powerful as the great lawyer. The wealth and the character of his fellow men often depend upon him. His clients are sometimes powerful corporations, or cities, or states. Crowded courts listen to his eloquence year after year; and no one has greater freedom of speech than he. The orator and politician may be wafted into a conspicuous place for a brief period, and fall again when popular favor has cooled; yet the lawyer is rising still higher, nor can the rise and fall of parties shake him from his high pedestal; for the tenure of his power is not limited. He is, too, one of the most serviceable protectors of the liberties of his country. It was as a lawyer that Otis thundered against writs of assistance. The fearless zeal of Somers, in defence of the seven bishops, fanned the torch of liberty at the beginning of the great English revolution. Erskine and Brougham did more as lawyers to promote freedom of the press, than as Statesmen.
I cannot refrain from inserting here Mr. Justice Talfourd's interesting analysis of the professional abilities of Follett: "It may be well, while the materials for investigation remain, to inquire into the causes of success, so brilliant and so fairly attained by powers which have left so little traces of their progress. Erskine was never more decidedly at the head of the common law bar than Follett; compared with Follett he was insignificant in the house of commons; his career was chequered by vanities and weaknesses from which that of Follett was free; and yet even if he had not been associated with the greatest constitutional questions of his time and their triumphant solution, his fame would live by the mere force and beauty of his forensic eloquence as long as our language. But no collection of the speeches of Follett has been made; none will ever be attempted; no speech he delivered is read, except perchance as part of an interesting trial, and essential to its story, and then the language is felt to be poor, the cadences without music, and the composition vapid and spiritless; although, if studied with a view to the secrets of forensic success, with a 'learned spirit of human dealing,' in connexion with the facts developed and the difficulties encountered, will supply abundant materials for admiration of that unerring skill which induced the repetition of fortunate topics, the dexterous suppression of the most stubborn things when capable of oblivion, and the light evasive touch with which the speaker fulfilled his promise of not forgetting others which could not be passed over, but which, if deeply considered, might he fatal. If, however, there was no principle of duration in his forensic achievements, there can be doubt of the esteem in which they were held or the eagerness with which they were sought. His supremacy in the minds of clients was more like the rage of a passion for a youthful Roscius or an extraordinary preacher, than the result of deliberate consideration; and yet it prevailed, in questions not of an evening's amusement, but of penury or riches, honor or shame. Suitors were content, not only to make large sacrifices for the assured advantage of his advocacy, but for the bare chance— the distant hope— of having some little part (like that which Phormio desires to retain in Thais) of his faculties, with the certainty of preventing their opposition. There was no just ground, in his case, for the complaint that he received large fees for services he did not render; for the chances were understood by those who adventured in his lottery; in which after all there were comparatively few blanks. His name was 'a tower of strength,' which it was delightful to know that the adverse faction wanted, and which inspired confidence even on the back of the brief of his forsaken junior, who bore the burden and heat of the day for a fifth of the fee which secured that name. Will posterity ask what were the powers thus sought, thus prized, thus rewarded, and thus transient? They will be truly told that he was endowed, in a remarkable degree, with some moral qualities which smoothed his course and charmed away opposition, and with some physical advantages which happily set off his intellectual gifts; that he was blessed with a temper at once gentle and even; with a gracious manner and a social temperament; that he was without jealousy of the solid or showy talents of others, and willingly gave them the amplest meed of praise; that he spoke with all the grace of modesty, yet with the assurance of perfect mastery over his subject, his powers, and his audience; and yet they will scarcely recognise in these excellencies sufficient reasons for his extraordinary success. To me, the true secret of his peculiar strength appeared to lie in the possession of two powers which rarely co-exist in the same mind— extraordinary subtlety of perception and as remarkable simplicity of execution. In the first of these faculties— in the intuitive power of common sense, which is the finest essence of experience, whereby it attains 'to something of prophetic strain'— he excelled all his contemporaries except Lord Abinger, with whom it was more liable to be swayed by prejudice or modified by taste, as it was adorned with happier graces. The perfection of this faculty was remarkably exemplified in the fleeting visits he often paid to the trials of causes which he had left to the conduct of his juniors; a few words, sometimes a glance, sufficed to convey to his mind the exact position of complicated affairs, and enabled him to decide what should be done or avoided; and where the interference of any other moral advocate would have been dangerous, he often rendered good service, and, which was more extraordinary, never did harm. So his unrivalled aptitude for legal reasoning, enabled him to deal with authorities as he dealt with facts; if unprepared for an argument, he could find its links in the chaos of an index, and make an imposing show of learning out of a page of Harrison; and with the aid of the interruptions of the bench, which he could as dexterously provoke as parry, could find the right clue and conduct a luminous train of reasoning to a triumphant close. His most elaborate arguments, though not comparable in essence with those of his chief opponent, Lord Campbell— which, in comprehensive outline, exact logic, felicitous illustration, and harmonious structure, excelled all others I have heard— were delivered in tones so nicely adapted to the minds and ears of the judges, with an earnestness so winning, and a confidence so contagious, that they made a judgment on his side not only a necessity, but a pleasure.
"The other faculty, to which, in combination with his subtlety of understanding, the excellence of his advocacy may be attributed, is one more rarely possessed— and scarcely ever in such association— the entire singleness of a mind equally present in every part of a cause. If the promotion of the interest of the client were an advocate's highest duty, it would be another name for the exactest virtue; and inasmuch as that interest is not, like the objects of zeal, fixed in character, but liable to frequent change, the faculty of directing the whole power of the understanding to each shifting aspect of the cause in its minutest shadowings without the guidance of an inflexible law, is far more wonderful, if far less noble, than a singleness of devotion to right. It has an integrity of its own, which bears some affinity to that honesty which Baillie Nichol Jarvie attributes to his Highland kinsman. Such honesty— that is, the entire devotion of all the faculties to the object for which it was retained, without the lapse of a moment's vanity or indolence, with unlimited vision and unceasing activity— was Follett's beyond all other advocates of our time. To the presentment of truth, or sophism, as the cause might require, he gave his entire mind with as perfect oblivion of self as the most heroic sufferer for principle. The faculty which in Gladstone, the statesman, applied to realities and inspired only by the desire to discover the truth and to clothe it in language, assumes, in the minds of superficial observers, the air of casuistry from the nicety of its distinctions and the earnest desire of the speaker to present truth in its finest shades— in Follett, the advocate, applied indiscriminately to the development of the specious shows of things as of their essences, wore all the semblance of sincerity; and, in one sense, deserved it. No fears, no doubts, no scruples shook him. Of the license which advocacy draws from sympathy with the feelings of those it represents, he made full use, with unhesitating power; for his reason, of 'large discourse,' was as pliable as the affections of the most sensitive nature. Nor was he diverted from his aim by any figure or fancy: if he neither exalted his subject by imagination, nor illustrated it by wit, nor softened its details by pathos, he never made it the subject of vain attempts at the exhibition of either. He went into the arena, stripped of all encumbrance, to win, and contended studious only and always of victory. His presence of mind was not merely the absence of external distraction, nor the capacity of calling up all energies on an emergency, but the continued application of them equally to the duty of each moment. There are few speakers, even of fervid sincerity and zeal, whose thoughts do not frequently run before or beside the moment's purpose; whose wits do not sometimes wander on to some other part of the case than that they are instantly discussing; who do not anticipate some future effect, or dally with some apprehension of future peril, while they should consider only the next word or sentence. This momentary desertion of the exact purpose never occurred to Follett; he fitted the thought to its place; the word to the thought; and allowed the action only to take care of itself, as it always will with an earnest speaker. His, therefore, was rather the artlessness than the art of advocacy— its second nature— justly appreciated by those to whose interests it was devoted; but not fully understood even by the spectator of its exertion; dying with the causes in which it was engaged, and leaving no vestiges except in their success. Hence the blank which is substituted for the space he filled in human affairs. The modest assurance, the happy boldness, the extemporaneous logic, all that 'led but to the grave,' exist, like the images of departed actors, only in the recollection of those who witnessed them, till memory shall fade into tradition, and tradition dwindle down to a name." (Supplement to Vacation Rambles, p. 115.) The eagerness with which the talents of Sir William Follett were sought, forcibly illustrates the truth of a remark, made to me in the course of some friendly advice, by one who may be ranked among the most brilliant advocates who have adorned the American Bar (now in the highest office in the nation), that to attain the highest rank in the legal profession, a lawyer must have such abilities and character as will "compel" patronage.
He, however, who enters the profession here or elsewhere merely as a stepping stone to political preferment, need not expect great success, even though he may acquire some temporary advancement. The day is past when lawyers could monopolize every high place in the state. The habit of public speaking is not now confined to the learned professions. Our peculiar system of education has trained up a legion of orators and politicians outside of the bar. Now-a-days a man must have other qualifications besides the faculty of speech-making to win the prize in politics. He must be a man of comprehensive ability, and thoroughly identified with the interests of the people, before he can secure much popular favor, or else he must be possessed of such shining talents and character that his fellow men will take a pride in advancing him to conspicuous and responsible trusts. Let a man have a part or all of these qualifications, however, and with them the experience and tact of a lawyer, and he will of course make a more valuable public servant, especially if he is placed in a deliberative body. The British cabinets have always relied vastly on the support afforded them in the house of commons by their attorneys and solicitors general, whether it consisted in the severe and solemn logic of Romilly, in the cool and ready arguments of Scarlett, or the acute and irresistible oratory of Sir William Follett. The education of a lawyer;— his experience as a manager; his art of covering up weak points, his ready and adroit style of speaking;— all serve to make him peculiarly valuable to his own party, and dangerous to an opposition in a deliberative body. But the fact that a man is a lawyer does not advance him in politics so much as it once did. Fortunate it is so! For though learning will always have its advantages, yet no profession ought to have exclusive privileges. Nor need the lawyer repine that it is so, inasmuch as it is for his benefit, if he desires success in the profession, to discard the career of politics. The race is not to the swift, and he can afford to wait for the legitimate honors of the bar. I will conclude by saying that I regard Minnesota as a good field for an upright, industrious, and competent lawyer. For those of an opposite class, I have never yet heard of a very promising field.
ST. PAUL TO CROW WING IN TWO DAYS.
Stages— Roads— Rum River— Indian treaty— Itasca— Sauk Rapids— Watab at midnight— Lodging under difficulties,— Little Rock River— Character of Minnesota streams— Dinner at Swan River— Little Falls— Fort Ripley— Arrival at Crow Wing.
CROW WING, October, 1856.
HERE I am, after two days drive in a stage, at the town of Crow Wing, one hundred and thirty miles, a little west of north, from St. Paul. I will defer, however, any remarks on Crow Wing, or the many objects of interest hereabout, till I have mentioned a few things which I saw coming up. Between St. Paul and this place is a tri-weekly line of stages. The coaches are of Concord manufacture, spacious and comfortable; and the entire equipage is well adapted to the convenience of travellers. Next season, the enterprising proprietors, Messrs. Chase and Allen, who carry the mail, intend establishing a daily line. I left the Fuller House in the stage at about five in the morning. There was only a convenient number of passengers till we arrived at St. Anthony, where we breakfasted; but then our load was more than doubled, and we drove out with nine inside and about seven outside, with any quantity of baggage. The road is very level and smooth; and with the exception of encountering a few small stamps where the track has been diverted for some temporary impediment, and also excepting a few places where it is exceedingly sandy, it is an uncommonly superior road. It is on the eastern bank of the Mississippi, and was laid out very straight. But let me remark that everybody who travels it seems conscious that it is a government road. There are several bridges, and they are often driven over at a rapid rate, much to their damage. When Minnesota shall have a state government, and her towns or counties become liable for the condition of the roads, people will doubtless be more economical of the bridges, even though the traveller be not admonished to walk his horse, or to "keep to the right," &c.
Emerging from St. Anthony, the undulating aspect of the country ceases, and we enter upon an almost unbroken plain. A leading characteristic of the scenery is the thin forests of oak, commonly called oak openings. The soil appears to be rich.
Seven miles from St. Anthony is a tidy settlement called Manomin, near the mouth of Rice river. But the first place of importance which we reached is Anoka, a large and handsome village situated on Rum river. It is twenty-five miles from St. Paul. The river is a large and beautiful stream and affords good water-power, in the development of which Anoka appears to thrive. A vast number of pine logs are annually floated down the river and sawed into lumber at the Anoka mills. The settlers are principally from Maine. By the treaty of 22d February, 1855, with three bands of the Chippewa Indians, an appropriation of $5000 was set apart for the construction of a road from the mouth of Rum river to Mille Lac. The road is half completed.
We took an early dinner at Itasca, having come thirty-two miles. Itasca is quite an unassuming place, and not so pretty as its name. But I shall always cherish a good-will for the spot, inasmuch as I got a first-rate dinner there. It was all put upon the table before we sat down, so that each one could help himself; and as it consisted of very palatable edibles, each one did help himself quite liberally. We started on soon afterwards, with a new driver and the third set of horses; but with the disagreeable consciousness that we had still before us the largest part of the day's journey. In about three hours we came to Big Lake, or, as it is sometimes called, Humboldt. The lake is anything but a big lake, being the size of a common New England pond. But then all such sheets of water are called lakes in this part of the country. It is a clear body of water, abounding with fine fish, and has a beautiful shore of pebbles. Several similar sheets of water are passed on the journey, the shores of which present a naked appearance. There is neither the trace of a stream leading from or to them, nor, with few exceptions, even a swamp in their vicinity.
Sauk Rapids is 44 miles from Itasca, and it was late when we reached there. But, late as it was, we found a large collection of people at the post office waiting for the mail. They appeared to have had a caucus, and were discussing politics with much animation. There is at Sauk Rapids a local land office. That is of more advantage to a place than being the county seat. In a short time, however, some of the land offices will be removed further west for the convenience of settlers. The village is finely situated on rising ground, and contains some handsome residences.
It was midnight when we arrived at Watab, where we were to lodge. The weather had been delightful during the day, but after nightfall a high wind rose and filled the air with dust. I descended from the stage— for I had rode upon the outside— with self-satisfied emotions of having come eighty-two miles since morning. The stage-house was crowded. It is a two-story building, the rooms of which are small. I went to bed, I was about to say, without any supper. But that was not so. I didn't get any supper, it is true, neither did I get a bed; for they were all occupied. The spare room on the floor was also taken. The proprietor, however, was accommodating, and gave me a sort of a lounge in rather a small room where three or four other men, and a dog, were sleeping on the floor. I fixed the door ajar for ventilation, and with my overcoat snugly buttoned around me, though it was not cold, addressed myself to sleep. In the morning I found that one of the occupants was an ex-alderman from the fifth ward of New York; and that in the room over me slept no less a personage than Parker H. French. I say I ascertained these facts in the morning. Mr. French came to Watab a few weeks ago with a company of mechanics, and has been rushing the place ahead with great zeal. He appears to make a good impression on the people of the town.
A heavy rain had fallen during the night; the stage was but moderately loaded, and I started out from Watab, after breakfast the next morning, in bright spirits. Still the road is level, and at a slow trot the team makes better time than a casual observer is conscious of. Soon we came to Little Rock River, which is one of the crookedest streams that was ever known of. We are obliged to cross it twice within a short space. Twelve miles this side we cross the beautiful Platte River. It would make this letter much more monotonous than it is, I fear, were I to name all the rivers we pass. They are very numerous: and as they increase the delight of the traveller, so are they also a delight and a convenience to the settler. Like the rivers of New England, they are clear and rapid, and furnish abundant means for water-power. The view which we catch of the Mississippi is frequent, but brief, as the road crosses its curves in the most direct manner. Much of the best land on either side of the road is in the hands of speculators, who purchased it at public sale, or afterwards plastered it over with land warrants. There is evidence of this on the entire route; for, although we pass populous villages, and a great many splendid farms, the greater part of the land is still unoccupied. The soil is dark colored, but in some places quite mealy; everywhere free from stones, and susceptible of easy cultivation.
We arrived at Swan River at about one o'clock, where we dined on wild ducks. That is a village also of considerable importance; but it is not so large as Little Falls, which is three miles this side. At that place the Mississippi furnishes a good water power. It has a spacious and tidy hotel, several stores, mechanics' shops, a saw-mill, &c. At Belle Prairie we begin to see something of the Chippewas. The half-breeds have there some good farms, and the school-house and the church denote the progress of civilization. It was near sunset when we reached Fort Ripley. The garrison stands on the west bank of the Mississippi, but the reservation extends several miles on both sides. The stage crosses the river on the ferry to leave the mail and then returns. The great flag was still flying from the high staff, and had an inspiring influence. Like most of our inland military posts, Port Ripley has no stone fortifications. It is neatly laid out in a square, and surrounded by a high protective fence. Three or four field-pieces stand upon the bank of the river fronting it, and at some distance present a warlike attitude. The rest of the trip, being about five miles, was over the reservation, on which, till we come to Crow Wing, are no settlements. Here I gladly alighted from the coach, and found most comfortable and agreeable entertainment at a house which stands on the immediate bank of the river.
THE TOWN OF CROW WING.
Scenery— First settlement of Crow Wing— Red Lake Indians— Mr. Morrison— Prospects of the town— Upper navigation— Mr. Beaulieu— Washington's theory as to Norfolk— Observations on the growth of towns.
CROW WING, October, 1856.
I AM highly gratified with the appearance of this place. Mr. Burke says— " In order that we should love our country, our country should first be lovely," and there is much wisdom in the remark. Nature has done so much for this locality that one could be contented to live here on quite a moderate income. The land is somewhat elevated, near the bank of the Mississippi, affording a pleasant view over upon the western side, both above and below the two graceful mouths of the Crow Wing River. Towards the east and north, after a few miles, the view is intercepted by a higher ridge of land covered with timber; or, by the banks of the Mississippi itself, as from this point we begin to ascend it in a northeasterly course.
Crow Wing was selected as a trading post upwards of twenty years ago. Mr. McDonnald, who still resides here, was, I believe, the first white settler. Till within a recent period it was the headquarters of the Mississippi tribe of Chippewas, and the principal trading depot with the Chippewas generally. Here they brought their furs, the fruits of their buffalo and their winter hunts, and their handicraft of beads and baskets, to exchange for clothing and for food. Thus the place was located and settled on long before there was a prospect of its becoming a populous town. Mr. Rice, the delegate in congress, if I mistake not, once had a branch store here with several men in his employ. The principal traders at present are Mr. Abbee and Mr. Beaulieu, who have large and well selected stocks of goods. The present population of white persons probably numbers a hundred souls. The place now has a more populous appearance on account of the presence of a caravan of Red Lake Indians, who have come down about four hundred miles to trade. They are encamped round about in tents or birch bark lodges, as it may happen to be. In passing some of them, I saw the squaws busily at work on the grass outside of the lodge in manufacturing flag carpets. The former Indian residents are now removed to their reservation in the fork of the Mississippi and Crow Wing rivers, where their agency is now established.
The houses here are very respectable in size, and furnished in metropolitan style and elegance. The farms are highly productive, and the grazing for stock unequalled. There is a good ferry at the upper end of the town, at a point where the river is quite narrow and deep. You can be taken over with a horse for twenty-five cents; with a carriage, I suppose, the tariff is higher.
Perhaps one cause of my favorable impression of Crow Wing is the excellent and home-like hotel accommodations which I have found. The proprietor hardly assumes to keep a public-house, and yet provides his guests with very good entertainment; and I cannot refrain from saying that there is no public-house this side of St. Paul where the traveller will be better treated. Mr. Morrison— for that is the proprietor's name— came here fifteen years ago, having first come into this region in the service of John Jacob Astor. He married one of the handsomest of the Chippewa maidens, who is now his faithful wife and housekeeper, and the mother of several interesting and amiable children. Mr. M. is the postmaster. He has been a member of the territorial legislature, and his name has been given to a large and beautiful county. I judge that society has been congenial in the town. The little church, standing on an eminence, indicates some union of sentiment at least, and a regard for the higher objects of life. Spring and summer and autumn must be delightful seasons here, and bring with them the sweetest tranquillity. Nor are the people shut out from the world in winter; for then there is travel and intercourse and traffic. So are there pleasures and recreation peculiar to the season.
But the serene and quiet age of the settlement is near its close. Enterprise and speculation, with their bustle and turmoil, have laid hold of it. The clank of the hammer, the whistle of steamboats, the rattling of carts, heaps of lumber and of bricks, excavations and gratings, short corners and rough unshapen walks, will usurp the quiet and the regularity of the place. Indeed a man ought to make a fortune to compensate for residing in a town during the first years of its rapid building. The streets appear, on the map, to be well laid out. A number of purchasers of lots are preparing to build; and a few new buildings are already going up. As near as I am able to learn, the things which conduce to its availability as a business place are these— First, it is the beginning of the Upper Mississippi navigation. From this point steamboats can go from two to three hundred miles. But they cannot pass below, on account of the obstructions near Fort Ripley, at Little Falls, and at Sauk Rapids. This of course is a great element in its future success, as the country above in the valley of the river is destined to be thickly settled, and boats will run between this point and the settlements along the river. It will also be a large lumber market, for the pine forests begin here and extend along the river banks for hundreds of miles, while the facility of getting the logs down is unexceptionable. The territory north of Crow Wing is now open for settlers to a great distance, the Indian title having been extinguished. Two land districts have also been established, which will be an inducement for fresh emigration. There is no other place but this to supply these settlements; at least none so convenient. A great deal of timber will also come down the Crow Wing River, which is a large stream, navigable three months in the year. Arrangements are complete for building a steamboat the ensuing winter, at this very place, to begin running in the spring as far up as Ojibeway. Next season there will be a daily line of stages between this and St. Paul. I understand also that it is intended next summer to connect Crow Wing with the flourishing town of Superior by stage. It will require considerable energy to do this thing; but if it can be done, it will be a great blessing to the traveller as well as a profit to the town. The journey from St. Paul to Lake Superior via Crow Wing can then be performed in three days, while on the usual route it now occupies a week. Such are some of the favorable circumstances which corroborate the expectation of the growth of this place. The southern or lower portion of the town is included within the Fort Ripley reserve, and though several residences are situated on it, no other buildings can be put up without a license from the commanding officer; nor can any lots be sold from that portion until the reserve is cut down. With the upper part of the town it is different. Mr. C. H. Beaulieu, long a resident of the place, is the proprietor of that part, and has already, I am informed, made some extensive sales of lots. He is one of those lucky individuals, who have sagacity to locate on an available spot, and patience to wait the opening of a splendid fortune.
[1 Since this letter was written, Mr. Thomas Cathcart has purchased a valuable claim opposite Crow Wing at the mouth of the river, which I should think was an available town site.]
My observation and experience in regard to town sites have taught me an important fact: that as much depends on the public spirit, unity of action, and zeal of the early proprietors, as upon the locality itself. The one is useless without these helps. General Washington wrote an able essay to prove the availability of Norfolk, Va., as the great commercial metropolis of the country. He speculated upon its being the great market for the West. His imagination pictured out some such place as New York now is, as its future. The unequalled harbor of Norfolk, and the resources of the country all around it, extending as far, almost, as thought could reach, might well have encouraged the theory of Washington. But munificence and energy and labor have built up many cities since then, which had not half the natural advantages of Norfolk, while Norfolk is far behind. A little lack of enterprise, a little lack of harmony and liberality, may, in the early days of a town, divert business and improvements from a good location, till in a short time an unheard-of and inferior place totally eclipses it. Knowing this to be the case, I have been careful in my previous letters not to give too much importance to many of the town sites which have been commended to me along my journey. I do not discover any of these retarding circumstances about Crow Wing. I must conclude at this paragraph, however, in order to take a horseback ride to the Chippewa agency. In my next I intend to say something about the Indians, pine timber, and the country above here in general.
CHIPPEWA INDIANS.— HOLE-IN-THE-DAY.
Description of the Chippewa tribes— Their habits and customs— Mission at Gull Late— Progress in farming— Visit to Hole-in-the-day— His enlightened character— Reflections on Indian character, and the practicability of their civilization— Their education— Mr. Manypenny's exertions.
CROW WING, October, 1856.
I CONSIDER myself exceedingly fortunate in having had a good opportunity for observing the condition of the Chippewa Indians. Sometime ago I saw enough of the Indians in another part of the country to gratify my curiosity as to their appearance and habits; and as I have always felt a peculiar interest in their destiny, my present observations have been with a view to derive information as to the best means for their improvement. The whole number of Chippewas in Minnesota is not much over 2200. They are divided into several bands, each band being located a considerable distance from the other. The Mississippi band live on their reservation, which begins a few miles above here across the river, while the Pillagor and Lake Winnibigoshish bands are some three hundred miles further north. The agency of the Chippewas is on the reservation referred to, a little north of the Crow Wing River, and six miles distant from this town. To come down more to particulars, however, and adopt words which people here would use, I might say that the agency is on Gull River, a very clear and pretty stream, which flows from a lake of that name, into the Crow Wing. I passed the agency yesterday, and two miles beyond, in order to visit Pug-o-na-ke-shick, or Hole-in-the-day, the principal and hereditary chief of the Chippewas. Mr. Herriman, the agent, resides at the agency, in compliance with the regulation of the Indian bureau, which requires agents to reside among the Indians. I strongly suspect there are many people who would think it unsafe to travel alone among the Chippewas. But people who live about here would ridicule the idea of being afraid of violence or the slightest molestation from them, unless indeed the fellows were intoxicated. For my part, a walk on Boston common on a summer morning could not seem more quiet and safe than a ramble on horseback among the homes of these Indians. I spoke to a good many. Though naturally reserved and silent, they return a friendly salutation with a pleasant smile.
Their old costume is still retained as a general thing. The blanket is still worn instead of coats. Sometimes the men wear leggins, but often go with their legs naked. A band is generally worn upon the head with some ornament upon it. A feather of the war eagle worn in the head-band of a brave, denotes that he has taken the scalp of an enemy or performed some rare feat of daring. An Indian does not consider himself in full dress without his war hatchet or weapons. I meet many with long-stemmed pipes, which are also regarded as an ornamental part of dress. They appear pleased to have anything worn about them attract attention. They are of good size, taller than the Winnebagoes, and of much lighter complexion than tribes living five hundred miles further south. Herein the philosopher on the cooking of men is confirmed. Their hair is black, long, and straight; and some are really good-looking. There are but few who still paint. Those in mourning paint their faces black. What I have seen of their houses raises high hopes of their advancement in civilization. We can now begin to lay aside the word lodge and say house. Over a year ago, Mr. Herriman promised every one a good cooking stove who would build himself a comfortable house. This promise had a good effect, for several houses were built. But the want of windows and several other conveniences, which are proper fixtures, gives their dwellings a desolate appearance to one who looks to a higher standard of comfort. Of course I saw a few of the men at the store (for there is a store at the agency), spending their time, as too many white men do in country villages. Eight miles beyond the agency, on Gull Lake, is a mission. It has been under the charge of Rev. J. L. Breck, a gentleman of high culture, and whose enlightened and humane exertions in behalf of the Indians have received much commendation both from the agent and Gov. Gorman, the Superintendent. He has been at the mission four years. While he had the benefit of the school-fund, he had in his school, under his own roof, 35 pupils; since that was withheld, the number of pupils has been 22. Mr. Breck will soon remove to Leech Lake, and will be succeeded by a gentleman who comes well recommended from a theological institution in Wisconsin. I desired very much to go as far as the mission, but from Crow Wing and back it would have been thirty miles, and it was otherwise inconvenient on account of the rain. The Indians are beginning to farm a little. They begin with gardens. Their support is chiefly from the annuities paid by the United States, which are principally received in some sort of dry goods. The goods are furnished by contract, and the price paid for them is about enough, if all stories are true. They also derive some support from their fur hunts and by fishing. Buffaloes are still hunted successfully beyond the Red River of the North. They bring home the furs, and also the best parts of the meat. The meat is preserved by being partially cooked in buffalo fat, cut into small pieces, and sewed up very tight in the hide of the animal. It is called pemmican, and sells here for twenty-five cents a pound. It is broken to pieces like pork scraps, and the Indians regard it as a great luxury.