The City of St. Louis
ST. LOUIS is an immense surprise to visitors from the Eastern States, particularly to those who come round to it from furious and thundering Chicago. It has stolen into greatness without our knowing much about it. If Chicago may be styled the New York, St. Louis is the serene and comfortable Philadelphia, of the West. Having passed through its wooden period to that of solid brick and stone, it has a refined and finished appearance, and there is something in the aspect of the place which indicates that people there find time to live, as well as accumulate the means of living. Chicago amuses, amazes, bewilders, and exhausts the traveller; St. Louis rests and restores him.
The railroad ride of two hundred and eighty miles from Chicago does not promise much for the city at the end of it. At Springfield, the capital of Illinois, the train bleeds civilization at every pore. Away goes the lawyer who has been solacing himself with Mr. Bancroft's last volume, and away goes every one else almost who appears to be capable of a similar feat. After Springfield, the cars fill with another kind of people, — rough, candid, roundfaced simpletons, the sport of politicians, who, on one side of an imaginary line, make them elect Democrats to Congress, and, on the other, fight to destroy their country. What is this we hear ? “ Give Pemberton as many men as Grant had, and he’d whip him before breakfast.” And again, “That Stonewall Jackson of yours was a mighty smart fellow.” To which the flattered Southern brother modestly replies, as if to waive the compliment, “ He was a very pious man.”
It is a strange state of things in a country, when a day’s ride transports us to a region which reveres what we laugh at, and loathes what we adore. It is strange to travel in one morning, without change of cars, from the nineteenth century to the eighteenth. It is strange to be at 9 A M. at Abraham Lincoln’s tomb and see pilgrims approach it with uncovered head, and at 12 M. to find yourself surrounded by people who affect to hold in contempt all that he represented, without having the slightest understanding of it. Nor less startling is it, after a long ride over unpeopled prairies, attired in the dismal hue of November, to be shot out upon the shore of the Mississippi, in view of a scene so full of novelty and wonder as that which St. Louis presents on the opposite bank. The three railroads which connect St. Louis with the Northern, Southern, and Eastern States, as well as the short lines which run back a few miles to the mines that supply the city with coal, all terminate here ; so that the river severs the city from all the noise and litter of the railroads. The bridge, however, will soon send the trains screaming through the town. At present, it requires seven hundred horses, two or three hundred men, and a dozen large and powerful ferry-boats, to convey across this half-mile of swift and turbid water the passengers and merchandise brought to the eastern bank by the railroads.
There is no Brooklyn here. Except a few shanties, there are no signs of human residence in “East St. Louis,” as the newer maps term it, or “ Illinois Town,” as the people name it. There is nothing to be seen there but railroad tracks raised high above the possible swelling of the river, with pools of water between the embankments ; a long, tidy station - house of painted wood ; and the broad, roughly paved “Levee,” steeply slanting to the river. The Mississippi, like Shakespeare, Niagara Falls, the Pyramids, the unteachable ignorance of an original Secessionist, and many other stupendous things in nature and art, does not reveal its greatness all at once. When, however, the stranger is informed, and sees himself the evidence of the fact, that the river, which now appears so insignificant, sometimes creeps up that steep, wide Levee, and fills all that broad “ American Bottom” miles back to the “bluffs,” he begins to suspect that the Father of Waters may, after all, be equal to its reputation. Such ferries, as those by which we cross the Hudson and the Delaware are impossible upon a river so swift and so capricious as this. The ferry-boat is built like other steamboats, except that it is wider and stronger. With its head up the stream, it lies alongside of a barge to receive its enormous freight of coal-wagons, omnibuses, express-wagons, mail-wagons, carts, and loose mules enough to fill the interstices. Being let go, the boat, always headed to the impetuous flood, swings across, — the engine merely keeping the huge mass from being carried away down the stream.
Seen from the top of the ferry-boat, St. Louis is a curved line of steamboats, a mile and a half long, without a single mast or sail among them. The whole number of steamboats plying between this city and other river towns is two hundred and sixty-five, of which one hundred may frequently be seen in port at once, ranged along the Levee in close order, with their sterns slanting down the stream, and their bows thrust against the treacherous sand of the shore, each boat presenting a scene of the third act of “ The Octoroon.” Any one who has witnessed Mr. Bourcicault’s excellent play of that name has only to imagine the steamboat scene stretched out a mile and a half, and throw in a few hundred mules and colored men, — the latter driving the former by means of the voice and whip,— and he will have before him a correct view of the St. Louis Levee. Chicago smiles at the necessity under which St. Louis labors of carrying its merchandise up and down that very wide, rough, and steep bank, and contemplates with fine complacency its own convenient river, which brings the grain, the cattle, the boards, and every box and bale to the precise spot where it is wanted, from which it is hoisted to the warehouse without the agency of human muscle. Chicago laughs at the idea of such a town competing for the trade of the prairies with a city of seventeen elevators. But let Chicago take note : St. Louis, which for many years supposed an elevator impossible on the banks of the Mississippi, now has an elevator in most successful operation. The difficulty caused by the ever-changing height of the river is overcome in the simplest manner. When the river is low, the huge spout which connects the elevator with the boat is lengthened, and as the river rises it is shortened. Such success had the elevator, that, during the first forty days of its existence, it received six hundred thousand bushels of grain. It only needs a few more Yankees along the St. Louis Levee to apply similar devices to the “handling” of other merchandise, and abolish the mules and their noisy drivers.
Twenty-five years ago, Charles Dickens landed upon this Levee, and was driven up to the summit of it into the oldest part of the city, which he thus described : —
“ In the old French portion of the town, the thoroughfares are narrow and crooked, and some of the houses are very quaint and picturesque, — being built of wood, with tumble-down galleries before the windows, approachable by stairs, or rather ladders, from the street. There are queer little barbers’ shops, and drinking-houses too, in this quarter ; and abundance of crazy old tenements with blinking casements, such as may be seen in Flanders. Some of these ancient habitations, with high garret gable-windows perking into the roofs, have a kind of French shrug about them ; and, being lop-sided with age, appear to hold their heads askew, besides, as if they were grimacing in astonishment at the American improvements.”
There is nothing of this now to be seen in St. Louis, except that the ancient streets along the river are narrower than the rest. All is modern, American, Philadelphian, — especially Philadelphian. No daughter is more like her mother than St. Louis is like Philadelphia. From 1775 to 1800, Philadelphia was the chief city of the country, to which all eyes were directed, and to which the leaders of the nation annually repaired. So dazzling was this plain and staid metropolis to the eyes of Western members and merchants, that, in laying out the cities of the West, they could not but copy Philadelphia, even in the minutest particulars. The streets of Philadelphia running parallel to the river are numbered ; so are those of St. Louis, Cincinnati, and other Western towns. The cross-streets of Philadelphia were named after the trees, plants, and bushes that grew upon its site, such as Sycamore, Vine, Cherry, Walnut, Chestnut, Pine, and Spruce. Accident changed some of these appellations in the course of years, so that we find such names as “Race” and “ Arch ” mingled with those of the trees. So infatuated were the Western men of the early day with the charms of Philadelphia, a visit to which must have been the great event of their lives, that they not only named their streets at home Sycamore and Chestnut, but used also the accidental ones, such as Race and Arch. Nearly every street in Nashville has a Philadelphia name. Half the streets of Cincinnati have Philadelphia names. In St. Louis, too, we are reminded of the Quaker City at every turn, both in the names and the aspect of the streets. Those old - fashioned, square, roomy brick mansions, — the habit of tipping and pointingeverything with marble,— the brick pavements, — the chastened splendor of the newer residences, — the absence of any principal thoroughfare, such as Broadway, — the prodigious extent of the city for its population,— the general quiet and neatness, — all call to mind comfortable Philadelphia. They have even adopted, of late, the mode of numbering the houses practised in the Quaker City, — the system which makes a person live at 1418 Washington Street, merely because his house is the eighteenth above the cor ner of Fourteenth Street.
St. Louis enjoys the tranquillity which strikes every stranger with so much surprise, because nature has placed no obstacle in the way of its growth in any direction, and therefore there is no crowded thoroughfare, no intense business centre, no crammed square mile. New York is cramped in a long, narrow island, between two wide and rapid rivers, as yet unbridged Cincinnati a mile and a half from the Ohio encounters an almost precipitous hill, four hundred and sixty feet high. Chicago had to be raised bodily in the air, while twelve feet of earth was thrown under it to keep it there. Boston cannot grow without making ground to grow upon. But fair St. Louis, the future capital of the United States, and of the civilization of the Western Continent, can extend itself in every direction back from the Mississippi, without meeting any formidable obstacle. The ground is high enough to lift the city above the highest floods of the river, but nowhere so high as to require expensive grading. The prairie behind the city is neither level nor inconveniently undulating. North of the city there are some bluffs of slight elevation, which have been turned to excellent account as the sites of the two chief cemeteries. The highest hill, however, which we remember about the city, is that lofty Mound on the bank of the river, supposed to have been thrown up for a look-out station by the Indians, ages ago, from which St. Louis derives its name of the “Mound City.” It was with a cutting pang of regret that we observed the partial destruction of this most curious monument of the past, and heard of the supposed necessity for its removal. We could not see the necessity. Though St. Louis should grow to be a greater and more imperial city than Rome (which it will), the time will never come when that Mound, if perfectly preserved, would not be one of its most interesting objects. It was originally, and could easily be again, a well-shaped mound, about as high and about as large as the State-House in Boston.
There being no hindrance to the natural growth of the city, it has arranged itself in a natural manner. Along the river, as far back as Third Street, the wholesale business of the town is done. Here are rows ot tall brick stores and warehouses, here are the post-office, the exchange, the court-house; here are the mills and the factories, which must be near the river. All the bustle and clatter of the place are confined to these three or four streets nearest the water, and to the streets crossing them, — a strip of the town three miles long and a quarter of a mile wide. Fourth Street contains the principal retail stores, many of which are on the scale of Broadway. Here the ladies of St. Louis replenish at once and exhibit their charms, flitting from store to store. Fifth Street is also a street of retail business ; but beyond that line the city presents little but a vast extent of residences, churches, public institutions and vacant lots ; these last being so numerous that the town could double its population without taking in much more of the prairie. From the cupola of the court-house, the city appears an illimitable expanse of brick houses, covered always with a light smoke from forty thousand fires of bituminous coal. The two principal hotels are the largest in the United States, and among the best. The nearness of the city to the wilderness and the uninhabited prairie fills the markets with game. Venison is cheaper than mutton, wild turkeys, than tame. The markets of St. Louis probably furnish a greater vatiety and profusion of delicious food than any others in the world, and the art of cookery seems never to have been lost there.
The resemblance of this highly favored city to Philadelphia is only external. It has a character of its own, to which many elements have contributed, and which many influences have modified. The ball-clubs, playing in the fields on Sunday afternoons, the billiard-rooms open on Sunday, the great number of assemblies, balls, and parties, the existence of five elegant and expensively sustained theatres in a town of two hundred and twenty thousand inhabitants, the closing of all the stores by sunset in winter, and before sunset in summer, and an indefinable something in the tone and air of the people, notify the stranger that he is in a place which was not the work exclusively of the Puritan, nor even of the Protestant. It is, indeed, a town of highly composite character. The old and wealthy families, descendants of the original French settlers, still speaking the French language and maintaining French customs, give to the place something of the style of New Orleans. As the chief city of a State that shared, and deliberately chose to share, the curse of slavery, it has much of the languor and carelessness induced by the habit of being served by slaves. The negro, too. has imparted his accent to the tongue of the people. Nearly one half of the population being Catholic, and the Catholic Church being by far the wealthiest denomination of the place, and much the most active, enterprising, and wise, the civilization of the town is essentially Catholic ; and even the imitative negroes turn out on Sundays and play matches of base-ball in costume. The city being midway between the Northern Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico, and offering opportunities to men of enterprise, has attracted a few thousands of Northern people, who have been, and are now, a powerful propelling force in St. Louis and in the wondrous State of Missouri. Add to these various elements sixty thousand Germans, whom the Secessionists of St. Louis compliment with the title of the “Damned Dutch," — uttering the words with that ferocious emphasis which they usually reserve exclusively for the “ Damned Yankees. Our placid and good-natured German friends are not apt to excite the ire of their fellow-citizens ; but at St. Louis they have contrived to make themselves most intensely abhorred by the “aristocracy ” of the place, nine in ten of whom were Secessionists. Reason: It was the loyal and democratic Germans who, in 1861, saved the city from falling into the hands of the Rebels, and it is the Germans who, to-day, constitute the strength of the United States in the State of Missouri. Let us drink, at all future Union banquets, in foaming lager, to the “ Damned Dutch of St. Louis," for truly we owe them honor and gratitude.
The many evidences which meet the eye, in this city, of solid and ancient wealth, are a constant marvel to visitors accustomed to the recentness of other Western cities. How was the moneygained which built those hundred-thousand-dollar residences, these numerous and spacious churches, colleges, convents, hospitals, and filled them with pictures, books, and apparatus ? The capital which has created, renewed, and adorned this city was gained here, upon the spot, by her own people ; not borrowed from abroad.
St. Louis is just one hundred and four years old. In the summer of 1763, Pierre Laclede Liguest, a vigorous and enterprising Frenchman, led from New Orleans a large party of French trappers and traders, for the purpose of founding at the junction of the Mississippi and Missouri a depot for the furs of the vast region watered by those rivers. In December, after five months of toil, he saw the mouth of the muddy Missouri, but preferred for the site of his settlement the fine bend of the Mississippi, twenty miles below, which he had observed on his way up. Landing there, he marked the spot by “ blazing " some of the trees, and, in the following February, sent, from his winter quarters below, a party of thirtyyoung fellows to build sheds and cabins for the settlement. The 15th of February, 1764, the day on which this little band landed, was the birthday of St. Louis. In the course of the year, the main body of adventurers arrived, the Indians were conciliated, cabins of upright poles were built, a little corn was planted, trade was begun, and the settlement fairly established.
A Frenchman was a popular personage with the Indians in those days. He had no conscientious scruples against taking a squaw; and his religion had much in it that was imposing to the savage mind. There was usually a fiddle in French settlements, and it was not idle on festive days. The Frenchman of that day had not familiarized his mind with the history of Joshua, and it did not give him much concern to know that the Indians were heathen. He took the business of settling the new country lightly, and accommodated himself to the wild life of the prairie and the river, instead of attempting to subdue them, and found upon them a Christian state, “ to the glory of God." He did not even take the trouble to build a good solid loghouse, such as the men of our race built, but was content to stick poles in the ground, and cover the roof with bark and skins, — a slight improvement upon the wigwam. Never, never would those gay and pleasant Frenchmen have conquered the continent from savage man and savage nature ; but they got along very peaceably with the Indians, had a dance on Sunday afternoons, and made the best of their lot. It is quite true, as the good people of St. Louis often say, that, if the English had settled St. Louis, there would have been massacres and wars without end. Yes ; the white men who do not hate and exterminate Indians, the white men who can find solace in the arms of squaws, and build wigwams instead of houses, may possess delightful qualities of head and heart, but they are not the men who found empires.
European politics, strange to say, had a powerful influence upon this little settlement of fur-traders. The peace of 1763 gave all the country east of the Mississippi to the English. As soon as tidings of this dreadful event reached the Frenchmen who had settled upon the Illinois, they made haste to remove to St. Louis, so as to avoid the infamy of living under the rule of their “ natural enemy.” No sooner had they arrived, than news still more terrible reached them : Louis XV. had ceded all his possessions west of the Mississippi to Spain ! For the next thirty years the village was an outpost of Spanish Louisiana, in whose broad extent no one could own land who was not a Catholic. The Frenchmen submitted to the easy sway of the Spanish commandant, and the settlement slowly increased in numbers and wealth. To go to New Orleans and return was a voyage of ten months. Furs, lead, and salt were sent down the river in barges ; which, returning in the following year, brought back the beads, tomahawks, and trash coveted by the Indians, as well as the few articles required by the settlers. As the village grew, the range of its business extended, and parties of trappers and of traders ascended the Missouri, and laid its upper waters under contribution. From the Mississippi to the Pacific, there was a territory two thousand miles broad, all alive with Indians, with buffalo, beaver, deer, bears, and every kind of game. From 1764 down to the year 1815, when the first steamboat ascended the river, St. Louis gained the chief part of its livelihood by hunting, trapping, and trading over that wondrous, illimitable park, of which it was the principal entrance. There was no fur-producing region, between the river and the Rocky Mountains, which was not embraced in the system of which St. Louis was the controlling power. St. Louis was the metropolis of the hunting-shirt.
Slow is the growth of cities which have no civilized population behind them. The following table shows the population of St. Louis at different periods: —
1764 ..... 120
1780 ..... 687
1785 ..... 897
1788 ..... 1,197
1799 ..... 925
1811 ..... 1,400
1820 ..... 4,928
1828 ..... 5,000
1830 ..... 5,852
1833 .... 6,397
1835 .... 8,316
1837 .... 12,040
1840 .... 16,469
1844 .... 34,140
1850 .... 74,439
1852 .... 94,000
1856 .... 125,200
1859 .... 185,587
1866 .... 204,327
1867 .... 220,000
The great event in the history of St. Louis was its transfer, with all that was once called Louisiana, to the United States. This occurred in 1804, forty years after Pierre Laclede Liguest had blazed the trees on the site of St. Louis. The entire province of “ Upper Louisiana ” then contained nine thousand and twenty whites and one thousand three hundred and twenty blacks. St. Louis consisted of one hundred and eighty houses, nearly all of which were one-story cabins made of upright hewn logs, roofed with shingles. Many of the inhabitants had married squaws, and some of the trappers had an Indian wife in the town, and another in the hunting-grounds. On one occasion, a Frenchman and his Indian wife presented their eight children for baptism all at once. The old records contain various indications that, in this French village of St. Louis, neither the wife nor the community saw anything very censurable in a married man having illegitimate children. There is a joint will, for example, in the archives, in which husband and wife express the utmost fondness for one another, and beg to be buried as near one another as possible. The clause following these affectionate expressions bequeaths five thousand francs to an illegitimate daughter of the fond and beloved husband. There was one Catholic church in the place, built of logs ; of course, no other than a Catholic church would have been permitted by the Spanish bigots who ruled the province. The people were gay, good-humored, and polite, but totally destitute ot the force, the spirit, the ambition, the enterprise, which made the people of cold and barren New England fish for cod off Newfoundland, and open a profitable commerce with the West Indies, while they were still warring with the Indians. A St. Louis merchant of 1790 was a man who, in a corner of his cabin, had a large chest which contained a few pounds of powder and shot, a few knives and hatchets, a little red paint, two or three rifles, some hunting-shirts of buckskin, a few tin cups and iron pots, and perhaps a little tea, coffee, sugar, and spice. There was no postoffice, no ferry over the river, no newspaper. No one could post a bill in the town for a lost horse without a permit from the Governor ; no Protestant could own a lot. But, as we have before observed, the people enjoyed existence in their way. There was a pleasant, social life in the place. On occasions of festivity, each family brought its quota of provisions, paid its share of the fiddler’s fee, came to gether in some convenient place, and danced till the sun went down. And thus they would have lived and danced to the present hour, but for the cession of the province to the United States.
That glorious event changed everything. See how the system of freedom works when it supplants the system of restriction. The post-office was, of course, immediately established. The laws forbidding Protestant worship, and requiring owners of land to profess the Catholic faith, being abolished, vigorous men (not many, but enough for propelling force) moved in from the East and South, and began the work of creating what we now call St. Louis. In 1808, there was a newspaper. In 1809, there were fire-companies. In 1810, there were road masters, who had power to compel the requisite labor on the highways. In 1811, there were two schools in the town, one French and one English. In the same year a market was built ; and already the streets had changed their names from La Rite Principale, La Rue Royale,I .a Rue des Granges, to such as Walnut and Chestnut and La Place had also becouse plain Centre Square.
In 1812, by the formation of the great Missouri Fur Company, the power of combined capital and labor was brought to bear upon the hitherto wild, precarious business of collecting furs, and expeditions were sent out upon a scale and with resources that insured success. The trappers and hunters were organized, disciplined, and directed by able men, who could stay at home and form part of a stable community. The lead mines began to be worked to better advantage on a larger scale. Above all, agriculture, which the French settlers had only regarded as a means of obtaining food, assumed increasing importance. In 1815, the era of the steamboat began.
But though there was enough vigorous brain in the town, after the cession, to give it impetus and organization, there was not enough to prevent its falling into an error that retarded its progress for forty-five years. In 1820, after a long and most animated discussion, St. Louis cast its vote for slavery, and led Missouri to the same decision. The population then was 4,928. In 1830, it had increased to 5,852 ! An increase of 924 inhabitants in ten years ! If Missouri had chosen the better part in 1820, St. Louis would at this moment be a city of a million inhabitants, and Missouri a State of four millions.
The rapid growth of St. Louis dates from 1833, when the prairie world began to attract the attention of emigrants. Every family that settled upon the banks of the Missouri, the Mississippi, or upon their tributaries, contributed its quota of business to a city which is the natural capital of the Mississippi Valley, and which is the natural centre of the great steamboat interest of all that wonderful system of rivers. From 1830 to 1860, the population of St. Louis trebled every ten years, and, from being the narrow and ill-favored town described by Charles Dickens, expanded into the spacious, elegant, tranquil, and solid metropolis we find it now.
Who can deser be be Louis expiated, during the Rebellion the mistake of 1820 ? The wealth, the social influence, the planting interest, and much of the cultivated brain of the city and the State, were in the fullest sympathy with the Secessionists. The Governor of the State was a Secessionist, and nearly every other man whose official position would render him important in a crisis. In all Missouri, there were in 1860 about 20,000 Republicans, but nowhere in the State was there any considerable body of them in one place, except at St. Louis among the “ Damned Dutch." The United States Arsenal in the city, filled with arms and ammunition, was commanded by an officer bound to the South by every tie that usually influences men. And yet the arsenal and the city were promptly saved from the clutch of treason.
We talk of erecting monuments to the saviours of the country, but we shall never erect a monument to its real saviours, — the Secessionists themselves, whose madness came so often to the rescue of the gasping Union. If they had only been, at critical moments, a little less foolish, a hide less blindly arrogant, ignorant, cruel, or ridiculous, — just a little, —how could we, with so many enemies among us, and with every power in Christendom except one on their side, — how could we have put them down ? They lost St. Louis by their headlong, precipitation. When Frank Blair and his friends returned from nominating Mr. Lincoln at the Chicago Convention oi 1860, a ratification meeting was held at St. Louis, which was assailed and broken up by a mob of “ Democrats." Some of the speakers were struck with stones, all were insulted by blasphemous yells and hellish imprecations. That riot saved St. Louis, for it led to the formation of the Wide-Awake Club, which issued, in due time, in sixty-six regiments of loyal Missouri volunteers. Readers remember the Wide-Awakes of 1860. With us, they were only the decoration of the “ campaign,”—the material of which its torchlight processions were composed ; but at St. Louis they were necessary for the maintenance of freedom and order. They attended every Republican meeting, armed with a loaded club and a flaming lamp of camphene, and assailed disturbers of the peace with club and fire. Disbanded after the election, they reorganized in the following February, when traitors began to cast inquiring eyes upon the arsenal ; but now they appeared in another guise, as regiments of militia, armed through the exertions of Frank Blair, and led, at length, by that alert and valiant soldier, Nathaniel Lyon. These were the men who saved the arsenal, broke up the traitors’ camp in the suburbs, and kept the enemy’s troops always a hundred miles from the city.
We in the North can but faintly realize the desolation and misery of the war in Missouri and St Louis. The blockade of the river reduced the whole business of the city to about one third its former amount ; and yet nothing could prevent refugees from the seat of war from seeking safety and sustenance in the impoverished town. Families were terribly divided. Children witnessed daily the horrid spectacle of their parents fiercely quarrelling over the news of the morning, each denouncing what the other held sacred, and vaunting what the other despised. In the back counties, whole regions were absolutely depopulated. “ No quarter," was the word on both sides. “ In counties,” says a well-informed writer, “where the Rebels had control, no Union man dared to remain ; in counties where Union men were dominant, no Rebel was permitted to reside. As the wave of war flowed or ebbed across the State, it carried on its surface the Inhabitants in one direction or the other. As the Rebel armies advanced, Union citizens retired, taking with them their families and household goods ; when the enemy retrograded, followed up by the Federal armies, the Union men returned and the Rebel families receded. The whole population was at war. There was no neutrality, and could be none. In this way those sections of the State which were debatable ground became uninhabitable, were depopulated, and turned into a wilderness.”
During the last two years of the war, the prodigious expenditures of the government in the Southwest enriched many citizens of St. Louis, and employed some thousands of them. It is, nevertheless, a decisive proof of the solidity of the business men of the city, that they bore the long stagnation so well, and came out of the war generally prepared to resume business at the point and on the scale at which the interruption occurred. St. Louis is, in every sense, herself again, with the absence of the black incubus that weighed her down. All is hopefulness and energy there now. It is but two years since the war ended, and yet the city did more business in 1866 than in any other year of its existence. The article of corn may be considered as representative in those Western cities. In 1860, St Louis received and disposed of a little less than four and a quarter millions of bushels of corn. In 1863, the quantity was less than one million and a half of bushels In 1865, it was a little more than three millions. In 1866, the quantity mounted to the unprecedented number of 7,233,671 bushels ! An examination of Mr. George H. Morgan’s “ Statement of the Trade and Commerce of St. Louis,” for 1866, will show that there is scarcely any branch which did not do a larger amount of business in 1866 than in any other year since the foundation of the city.
The war inflicted wounds which are not so easily healed. We heard much in St. Louts of the ill-temper of the defeated Secessionists; but they seemed to us more sad than bitter, more anxious than resentful. If, in their intercourse with strangers, they were reserved, it appeared to be because the only topic upon which they have been accustomed to converse is utterly exhausted. And really, after thirty years of talk, and four of war, they may well pause, fatigued, and try a little meditation. In mingling with those polite and reticent men, we could feel for them nothing but good-will. We could not but remember that for thirty years they had been severed, intellectually and morally, from the rest of the human race, and had not shared in the new light and better feeling of recent times. We could not but remember, that, during the War, they were as sure that they were right as we were sure that we were right. We could not but remember, that they dared more, sacrificed more, suffered more than we did.
And then these Southern brethren of ours are, in all intellectual matters, such children,, that it is impossible, while you are among them, to feel otherwise than tenderly towards them. Judging from the Southern literature that may be found in great variety on the counters of St. Louis bookstores, we should say that the reading people of the South are still subsisting upon the novels and poems of Sir Walter Scott. They appear to have taken Scott seriously, as though Sir Walter had really thought Ivanhoe was a more admirable personage than James Watt, and wanted people to stop making steam-engines and go back to chivalry ! Let the middle-aged reader recall the time when he read Scott’s novels with the passion so proper and natural to youth, then let him endeavor to imagine what sort of person he would now be if he had read nothing else since ; and he will be able to form a conception of the kind of people who litter the bookstores of St. Louis with “Cavalier” newspapers and “Southern Lyrics.” Nothing is so amusing as the gravity, nay, the solemnity, with which they treat the most trivial topics. While we were at St. Louis, a band of negro minstrels performed a burlesque of a “ tournament ” which had been recently held in the city. One of these amiable writers discoursed on this topic in a manner to draw tears.
“This sooty band of harmonists, who have stolen their complexion from the negro and their character from the same individual, — if, indeed, they have any, — are engaged just now in entertaining the public with a burlesque of the Tournament lately held at the Fair Grounds. These mountebanks, emboldened by the laugh of the crowd, and having no knowledge of the proprieties of social life to restrain them, have presumed to push their insolence beyond all limit of reason or decency, and to present the actions of private persons in scenes of the broadest caricature upon the stage. They have gone further, and made, as well, the incidents and personages of the social gathering that followed that event the subject of their noisy mirth and coarse buffoonery.”
Imagine two columns of this eloquence,— all on the subject of a little piece of harmless fun by a “ sooty band of harmonists.” A heap of such clippings lies before us, cut from all sorts of periodicals ; but in the heap there are one or two that contain a gleam of sense. The following is more than a gleam : it is a burst of light : it solves the whole problem of reconstruction. The conversation is supposed to have taken place on board of a Red River steamboat, among a group of Arkansas planters : —
" First Planter. I have made up my mind to sell half of my farm, and I shall sell it to a Yankee.
“ Second Planter. You are joking. You could n't endure a Yankee neighbor.
" First Planter. No, I am not joking ; I swear I am in earnest. I want an enterprising Yankee neighbor. I think he can teach me a good many things, and that I can teach him a good many things, and that together we can double the value of my lands, and improve the condition of my county. We have n't a school in the county, — not one. We have good water power, but no machinery. Our lands are as rich as the, banks of the Nile, but they will not bring to-day twenty-five dollars an acre, and we are head over ears in debt. Gentlemen, we need a Yankee element to develop Arkansas.
“ Second Planter. But his politics.
“First Planter. Damn politics ! We have followed abstractions until we are wellnigh ruined.”
We greatly fear that this conversation originated in the inventive mind of a Yankee ; but its publication in a Southern newspaper was something. Would that it could be “ cut out ” and stuck up in every Southern post-office ! At present the Yankee is usually spoken of in the South as per specimen, copied from the opening lines of “The Saints' jubilee, a Satire,” published recently at St. Louis : —
Old Fan'il Hall, that glorious spot,
Where saints so oft blow cold and hot,
And launch abroad their wordy thunder
To fill th’ astonished world with wonder ;
The ‘ cradle ’ this of revolution,
From whence doth spring such wild confusion,
That saints are sometimes in a pother,
To know if this is that or t'other."
Consider the feelings of a people saturated with Scott, and regarding Hudibras as a classic model, at being “conquered,” as they delight to term it, by the saints of Fancuil Flail.
One of the many surprises of StLouis is the smallness of the negro population, — not more than three thousand in all. At Chicago and other Northern cities, the waiters at the hotels are generally colored men; at St. Louis, generally white. Most of the coachmen, grooms, porters, and female servants are white. Along the Levee there is a fringe of negroes, loading and unloading the steamboats, and negroes are employed in other rough work ; but they play as unconspicuous a part in the life of the city, as in that of Boston or New York. There is a vast difference between a Chicago negro and a St. Louis negro. At St. Louis the shadow of slavery rests still upon their countenances, and cows their souls. So imitative and Sympathetic is man, that the negroes will never believe much in themselves, until white men believe a little in them ; and the Southern portion of the St. Louis people are still very far from this. How impossible to convey to the Northern mind the faintest idea of the wild, incredulous, speechless amazement of the Southern woman on being informed that negroes were to vote ! It was as though a Northern lady were to read in a newspaper, that rats and mice were to be counted in the election of the next President. But these traits of immaturity will disappear — are disappearing — now that no artificial obstacle exists to the free growth of the Southern mind. We doubt if to-day one hundred disinterested votes could be obtained in St. Louis for the re-establishment of slavery in Missouri. The Southern editors, however, flatter their readers by publishing paragraphs like the following: —
“ The time was when the honest old darky got up and went to work at break of day, with a full stomach, good comfortable clothing on his back, good shoes on his feet, a heart as light and happy as the lark, and making the welkin ring with his merry songs. When the day’s work was over, he ‘laid down the shovel and the hoe,’ went to his comfortable log-cabin, ate the wholesome supper furnished him by his kind old master, and then lighted his pipe, took down his banjo, and played, sung, and danced until the bell rang for him to go to bed. Good, kind old master furnished him with everything necessary for his comfort, and, as he had no cares, he could sleep soundly. ‘ Alas ! he cannot sing and dance with the same zest’ now. He has no old master to furnish him with food and raiment. No kind mistress to take care of him when he gets sick. No comfortable cabin to live in. No thick clothing to shield him from the storms. No banjo to pick, and his heart is so heavy he cannot sing and dance. Candidly, we have not heard of a real old-fashioned negro frolic since the poor darky was set free.”
Very likely: people are never so merry as when they are extremely uncomfortable and know they cannot help it. Southern editors delight to print this kind of sentimental lie, but there is hardly one of them who is foolish enough to be taken in by it.
Has the reader ever taken the trouble to observe what a remarkable piece of this earth’s surface the State of Missouri is ? Surface, indeed ! We beg pardon; Missouri goes far enough under the surface to furnish mankind with one hundred million tons of coal a year for thirteen hundred years ! Think of 26,887 square miles of coalbeds, — nearly half the State, — and some of the beds fifteen feet thick. With regard to iron, it is not necessary to penetrate the surface for that. They have iron in Missouri by the mountain. Pilot Knob, 581 feet high, and containing 360 acres, is a mass of iron ; and Iron Mountain, six miles distant from it, is 228 feet high, covers 500 acres, and contains 230,000,000 tons of ore, without counting the inexhaustible supply that may reasonably be supposed to exist below the level. There is enough iron lying about loose in that region for a double track of railroad across the continent. The lead districts of Missouri include more than 6,000 square miles, and at least five hundred “ points ” where it is known that lead can be profitably worked. In fifteen counties there is copper, and in seven of these counties there is copper enough to pay for working the mines. There are large deposits of zinc in the State. There is gold, also, which does not yet attract much attention because of the dazzling stores of the precious metal farther west. In short, within one hundred miles of St. Louis, the following metals and minerals are found in quantities that will repay working: gold, iron, lead, zinc, copper, tin, silver, platina, nickel, emery, cobalt, coal, limestone, granite, pipe-clay, fire-clay, marble, metallic paints, and salt. The State contains forty-five million acres of land. Eight millions of these acres have: the rich soil that is peculiarly suited to the raising of hemp. There are five millions of acres among the best in the world for the grape. Twenty million acres are good farming lands, adapted to the ordinary crops of the Northern farmer. Two million acres are mining lands. Unlike some of the prairie States, Missouri possesses a sufficiency of timber land, and most of her prairies are of the rolling variety.
We have often tried to decide the great question, which of the States of the Union is the fittest and richest dwelling-place for man. It is easy to come to a conclusion on the subject, but difficult to adhere to it. Often, while sailing on the broad and brimming Hudson, and thinking of the various charms and advantages of the State through which it flows, we have been quite certain that New York is the fairest and noblest province of the earth. In this opinion we remain fixed, until we find ourselves surveying the outward beauty, and contemplating the hidden wealth, of Pennsylvania. Then we throw New York over, and assign to its great neighbor the palm of superiority. But, anon, we are lost in wonder at the unknown but inexhaustible resources of Virginia, its happy situation, its favorable climate, the tranquil picturesqueness of its winding streams, its romantic and accessible mountains. Then we give Pennsylvania the go-by, and yield our allegiance to Virginia. In the same way we have found our unstable affections straying off to noble Ohio, beautiful Iowa, bountiful Illinois, delightful Tennessee, various Minnesota, — each of which, when the other dear charmers are forgotten, seems the unique and unapproachably lovely. At the present moment, great Missouri has our profoundest homage. There is nothing which man needs, and there are few things which it is rational for him to desire, that this imperial State does not furnish in rich abundance. There is grain for his sustenance, tobacco for his solace, gold for his decoration, iron for his use, wine for his exhilaration, cotton and wool for his garments, and hemp for his morals. Held back for forty years by slavery, desolated for four years by civil war, it has gone forward since the return of peace by strides and bounds. Governor Fletcher, in his recent Message, mentions that the taxable property of the State, which was something less than two hundred millions of dollars in 1863, was four hundred millions of dollars at the close of 1866. Missouri bonds, depressed during the suspended existence of the State, promise to be above par before these lines can see the light.
If St. Louis were nothing more than the chief city of such a State, it would be a place of all but the first importance. But it is far more than that; it is the centre and natural metropolis of the Valley of the Mississippi. Above it, the great river is navigable for 800 miles ; below it, for 1,345 miles. Twenty miles above the city, the Missouri pours in its turbid flood, navigable to a point nearly three thousand miles from St. Louis. Two hundred miles below the city is the mouth of the Ohio, which gives St. Louis river communication with Pittsburg, twelve hundred miles distant, and with the oil and coal regions of Pennsylvania, above Pittsburg. The navigable tributaries of the Mississippi and Missouri, eleven thousand miles in length, place within reach of the city every town of much importance in a valley of twelve hundred thousand square miles, destined to contain a population of two hundred millions of people. Those ship canals which Chicago is so set upon speedily creating, will give St. Louis also access to the Great Lakes and a short cut to the Atlantic Ocean. A thousand miles of railroad in the State connect the city with the Western system of roads, chief among which is the railroad to the Pacific. When that greatest work of man is finished, in 1870, St. Louis —which is l,o6o miles from New York and 2,300 miles from San Francisco — will be as manifestly the natural capital of the United States as it now is of the richest portion of it. It will not be, in a geographical sense, the central city; but considering the superior importance to us of Europe over Asia, and other obvious facts, it will be central in every sense except the geographical one, —it will be the centre of politics, of business, and of distribution.
There is always a certain agreeable freshness, heartiness, and simplicity in a community which deals chiefly in the natural products of the earth ; and this is one reason why it is so pleasant to a Northern traveller to reside for a while in the Southern States. He feels like a lawyer out in the hay-fields, or like city children in the country. Agriculture is there conducted on a scale which invests it with a dignity not so easily discerned in a region of little farms, each worked by one poor, anxious, overtasked man, assisted by one poor, anxious, overtasked woman. St. Louis, from the time when it laid the foundation of its fortune in the fur trade, has always been a depot and market for grain, flour, hemp, and tobacco ; and, although the manufactures of the city are important and increasing, St. Louis still gains the chief part of its livelihood by dealing in natural products. The great Exchange room, where the twenty-five hundred ruling business men of the place daily meet for an hour and a half, is a refreshing scene to the worn slave of the desk who may chance to witness it. Here, along the sides of the long room, are tables covered with little tin pans, containing samples of corn, wheat of all grades and colors, flour, meal, oats, barley, beans, bran, seeds, apples, dried apples, salt ; on other tables are hams, samples of hemp, wool, and cotton, bottles of coal oil, lard, lard oil, lubricating oil. currying oil, specimens of rope, and many other such commodities. What fine, fresh, hearty-looking men ! Here are the millers, with their ruddy faces and lightcolored clothes, who superintended the grinding of those 820,ooo barrels of flour in 1866, and whose honesty and good sense have made the St. Louis brands the favorites in all the flour marts of the country. Here are the buyers of grain, each in his accustomed place, to whom come sellers bearing pans of wheat, which the buyer runs his hand through, asks the price and the quantity, and indicates, by a shake or a nod of the head, whether he takes or declines it. These men of the St. Louis Exchange do not know as much, do not think and read as much, do not push and advertise and vaunt as much, as those who frequent the Exchange of Chicago ; but they have that something about them which makes the charm of the farmer and the country gentleman. Evidently they take life more easily than their rivals farther north. Much, cf their talk is in an unknown tongue. When they are speaking of tobacco, they describe the varieties of that article in such terms as the following: “ scraps,” “ lugs,” “ factory lugs,” “planters’ lugs,” “medium shipping leaf,” " choice manufacturing,” “ dark fillers,” “ bright fillers,” “ black wrappers,” “ fancy leaf.” We must not omit to record that the standard of commercial honor has always been high at St. Louis, and that its merchants have rather inclined to an excess of caution than to an excess of enterprise. As the brand of “St. Louis” upon a barrel of flour adds to its commercial value, so the name of St. Louis upon a merchant's card facilitates his way to confidence and credit in other cities.
What, then, of the reckless steamboating? St. Louis has at least the candor to publish every year a catalogue of all the steamers and barges sunk, burnt, and exploded on the rivers. During the year 1866 the explosions were seven in number ; twentytwo steamboats were burnt ; forty-nine were sunk and lost; twelve were sunk and raised; twenty-nine barges were Sunk : — one hundred and nineteen casualties in all. Judging from our intercourse with the manly and agreeable fellows who command and pilot the St. Louis steamboats, we should not suppose that they had any very decided taste for being blown a hundred feet in the air, nor any marked inclination to have their property and credit submerged in the thick waters of the Mississippi. Such is the competition among owners for competent pilots, that the best pilots now command seven hundred dollars a month, and each boat must have two. For the explosions there is no excuse ; for the conflagrations, there is some; for the sinkings, there is enough. A Western steamboat is as combustible as a theatre ; there is in the midst of it a raging volcano; and the whole mass of fire and fuel is rushing through the air at the rate of fifteen miles an hour. One stray spark, unobserved for ten minutes, suffices to kindle a blaze which nothing can quench but the river s rolling flood. These fires can be prevented only by a systematic and sleepless vigilance, which the Southwestern man does not take to easily. But learn it they must and will.
Recently, they have introduced upon the great rivers of the West the towboat and barge system, as we have it upon the Hudson. Tow-boats of immense power, which carry no freight, draw after them and around them, like a duck surrounded by her family, five, ten, or fifteen spacious barges, loaded with grain, cotton, and passengers. On arriving at a town, the fleet stops only long enough to let go one barge, and take on another. Nor is there any stopping for fuel, for the tow-boat is large enough to contain a supply for the voyage. Such is the saving of time, by avoiding hours’ delay at each of the principal landings and the frequent stoppings for fuel, that the towboats, with ten loaded barges attached to them, make the trip from St. Louis to New Orleans in six days, which is just the time usually taken by the fastest passenger boats. In this way such commodities as grain can be conveyed in bulk,-—a great economy, — and the voyage on the Mississippi is rendered almost as safe as upon the Delaware. It is the tow-boat, in the van of the floating mass, that incurs most of the perils of the river, and all those of the boiler. The system is a prodigious economy. One of those large passenger boats on the Mississippi is run at an expense of a thousand dollars a day, and it wastes half its time in waiting for freight. A tow-boat capable of towing ten barges expends but two hundred dollars a day, and wastes fewer hours than a passenger boat wastes days.
That Mississippi River, dull and harmless as it usually looks, is one of the most unmanageable things in nature, and supplies the towns upon its banks with that element of peril that is a universal concomitant of human life.
It never knows its own mind two years together, and rolls about in its soft bed like a sick hippopotamus. One year it floods a town, or slices off a few acres of it; the next, it threatens to leave it and seek another channel. Even St. Louis, though safe from floods, has been obliged to use considerable compulsion to keep the river from floundering over toward the Illinois shore, and leaving the Levee a dry joke to the Chicagonese forever. Every ten or fifteen years, too, the river rises high enough to pour in at the front doors of the stores at the top of the Levee, which are needlessly near the channel. The elders of the town remember the time when the flood was threatening, and Edwin Forrest was acting, both on the same evening ; and, as often as the curtain went down, the men would rush out of doors to hear the last news from the river, and when the play was over, the entire audience hurried pellmell to the Levee to see for themselves whose cellars were flooded, and into whose second-story windows the water was pouring.
The ice, too, is a thing of terror at St. Louis. It does no harm while it is forming, nor as long as it remains firm. On the contrary, it furnishes a convenient bridge, over which, for a month sometimes, the heaviest loads are safely drawn. It is the breaking up that does the mischief. Along the gently curving edge of the Levee, a hundred steamboats have their noses in the sand, and their hulls fixed aslant in the thickest ice. Ropes and cables fasten some to the shore ; others, for experiment’s sake, are held by light ropes, or by none. In the middle of the river a few boats are anchored, — also as an experiment,—and others line the opposite shore. The ice gives no warning of the coming change, and, by degrees, the vigilance of the thousands who have reason to contemplate its breaking up with dread is relaxed. Suddenly, when no one is thinking of the river, a voice is heard crying, “ IT MOVES ! ”
All eyes are turned to the ice. It is a horrid circumstance of the breaking up, that, when the ice begins to go, it moves in an entire mass, so slowly and so silently that, for several minutes, no inexperienced person can discern the motion. The boy that first noticed the movement of the ice in 1866 was scolded by the by-standers for making a false alarm. As soon as it becomes certain that the ice has started, the fire-bells ring, and all the city hurries to the Levee, to prevent or witness the destruction of the steamboats. The broad sheet of icc, two or three feet thick, as it glides along, soon begins to bring a fearful strain upon the line of boats. Something must give way. Nothing can stop the motion of the ice, that has hundreds of miles of ice behind it, pressing it on. Suddenly the silence is broken ; the ice cracks ; fissures yawn ; some boats are crushed like paper; others are drawn bodily under the sheet ; others are thrown violently against one another; some are forced partly upon the ice. Meanwhile the owners and officers of the boats, aided by the firemen and citizens, are making desperate exertions to save their property, and the whole Levee, as far as the eye can reach, is a scene of excitement and consternation. At the breaking up of the ice in 1866, seventeen steamboats were crushed and sunk in a few minutes. It is within the compass of human ability to provide a remedy for this annual danger. St. Louis must put on its thinkingcap and consider it.
If there is any one who regards the Roman Catholic Church as an institution that has nearly played its part in this world, a short residence at St. Louis will dispel the delusion. The Catholics, French, German, and Irish, are nearly one half the population ; and the property of the Church, in buildings and lands, is estimated at fifteen millions of dollars. From the single tent in which the mass was first celebrated on the site of the city one hundred years ago, succeeded soon by a small church of logs, the number of places of worship has increased, until now there are twenty-nine Catholic churches and chapels, while no other sect has more than nine. Nor have the Catholics there wasted their resources in the erection of churches prematurely splendid. The force of the church in St. Louis is expended in the education of youth, in the care of the sick, in reclaiming the fallen, in providing refuge for the unfortunate. The following catalogue of the Roman Catholic institutions of the city tells a story that may well excite reflection in the Protestant mind.
St. Louis University. 25 professors ; 322 students ; libraries, 21,000 volumes.
Convent and Academy of the Sacred Heart. Community, 52 ; number of pupils, 140 ; pupils in the parish school, 140.
Convent and Academy of the Visitation. Community, 64 ; number of boarders in Academy. 107.
Ursuline Convent and Academy. Community, 42 ; candidates, 5 ; number of boarders, 70.
Mother House and Academy of Sisters of St. Joseph. Community, 66; pupils, 135.
Convent and Academy of Sisters of St. Joseph. Pupils, 250 ; number in schools for colored pupils, 50.
College of the Christian brothers. 40 brothers ; 500 pupils.
St. Louis Hospital, conducted by the Sisters of Charity. Number in community, 28 ; 400 patients.
Orphan Asylum of St. Philomena, conducted by the Sisters of Charity. Community, 11 ; orphans, 85.
St. Mary’s Female Orphan Asylum, conducted by the Sisters of Charity. Community, 12 ; orphans, 150.
Biddle Infant Asylum and Lying-in Hospital, conducted by the Sisters of Charity. Community, 13; women in asylum, 20 ; infants, 70.
Widows’ House. Number of widows, 30.
St. Vincent's Institute for the Insane, conducted by the Sisters of Charity. 100 patients.
House of the Angel Guardian for Females, conducted by the Sisters of Charity. 83 girls.
Mulanphy Orphan Asylum for Females, conducted by the Ladies of the Sacred Heart. Orphans, 24.
Male Orphan Asylum, conducted by the Sisters of St. Joseph. Orphans, 350.
St. Vincent’s German Male and Female Orphan Asylum, conducted by the Sisters of St. Joseph. 100 orphans.
St. Bridget’s Half-Orphan Asylum, conducted by the Sisters of St. Joseph. 125 orphans.
Female School of St. Vincent, conducted by the Sisters of Charity. 13 in community ; 100 pupils.
House of the Good Shepherd, St. Louis, to which is attached the House of the Third Order of St. Theresa, for penitents. 100 penitents ; 36 Magdalens ; 43 in community.
St. Joseph’s Convent. 8 professed; 5 novices ; 2 postulants ; 4 lay sisters.
House of Protection (40 inmates), and Free School, 150 children, conducted by Sisters of Mercy.
La Salle Institute, Reformatory for Boys, conducted by the Christian Brothers. 7 brothers ; 30 pupils.
Convent of the Carmelite Nuns.
Deaf and Dumb Asylum, conducted by the Sisters of St. Joseph.
Add to these, seventeen parish schools, of which the smallest has 165 pupils, and the largest, 1,000.
This does not look like exhaustion. A very large number of the pupils in the convent schools — fully one third, it is thought—are children of Protestant parents ; and an impression is made upon their minds in those pleasant and serene abodes, under that still, but effective discipline, and in the total absence of the repellent Sabbatarian spirit, which often ends in their “conversion.” We shall not soon forget a delightful hour spent in one of the great convent schools of St. Louis. How clean, how bright, how tranquil the place ! We Protestants, who only see nuns passing along the streets, with their ugly bonnets, their black dresses, and their downcast eyes, are apt to conclude that a nun must be a forlorn and melancholy being. They do not appear such in their convent homes. We found the Sisters of the “Visitation” witty, high-bred, well-informed ladies, full of pleasant badinage and innocent fun. How could they, indeed, be other than very happy women, with their future secure, with an arduous, noble employment, and with that tide of young and joyous life streaming in every morning at the doors of their abode ? The Catholic priests, too,.— they really do not appear to be the terrible creatures that some of us think them to be.
But come, reader, let us visit one of them together. It will do us good who never before spoke with a Catholic priest, still less entered a Catholic parsonage. The house is not as large nor as elegantly furnished as the residences of the Protestant preachers ; but it is sufficiently comfortable. A robust and middle-aged housekeeper shows us into a library arranged for work rather than enjoyment. We notice all the familiar books, and there is nothing in the room peculiar, except a crucifix before the writing-desk and a few engravings of a Catholic cast. And what is this yellow-covered pamphlet on the table ? Can it be? It is the last number of the Westminster Review ! Enter, a stout, handsome, healthy-looking gentleman, in the house attire of a priest, evidently a gentleman and man of the world. The yellow-covered Review is a convenient subject of conversation, and we soon discover that the “ Church ” reciprocates the friendly feeling of the “ Rationalists,” and is duly sensible of the fairness and candor of the Westminster when it treats of the Catholic Church. Extremes meet. The intelligent and thinking portion of the Catholic clergy appear to be of opinion that there are but two consistent persons in the world : namely, the Roman Catholic who surrenders his reason, and the Rationalist who uses it. They are perfectly aware, also, of the immense advantage which the Catholic Church derives from the restraints imposed by the narrower Protestants upon the enjoyment of such innocent pleasures as dancing and the drama. Here again extremes meet. This excellent priest remarked upon the demoralizing influence of ascetic Protestantism and of the “ moral strait-jacket ” of the Evangelical school, just as Theodore Parker did in Boston, and as Robert Collyer does at Chicago.
“ Does the Catholic Church expect again to rule Christendom, and absorb at length all the sects, and the Westminster Review as well ?"
“ The Catholic Church will never cease to claim that she is the sole divinely appointed and infallible teacher of God’s will to men.”
“But these Western men will never surrender their understandings.”
“Nor will I mine. The Church says, Use your reason so far as to examine her credentials. Nor then does she require blind submission. The Church gives a reason for all that she demands, and leaves nothing unexplained, except the unexplainable. In the teachings of the Catholic Church I find nothing contrary to my reason, though I find much that is above and beyond my reason ; nor can I see any halting-place between the Catholic faith and utter unbelief."
A long and most instructive conversation with this gifted and genial clergyman confirmed us in the impression that certain Protestant practices and beliefs are giving the Catholics a considerable advantage in the Western country. The great free West, however, will never be Catholic ; since the incredible doctrines of that Church neutralize the power of its exquisite organization, and its organization is so interwoven with its doctrines that the Church cannot revise its creed without destroying itself. The Western man will never abdicate his right to think. The priest may indeed convert the howling dervishes of the camp-meeting into orderly worshippers, and may allure the negro by the splendor of his vestments and the pomp of his ceremonies. But the intelligent and ruling minds of the West will be forever beyond his reach.
The basis of the civilization of St. Louis, then, is Catholic. But the progressive and propelling institutions are well rooted there, and no one need fear for the future of the city. The publicschool system is in vigorous operation, and is sustained by the public opinion of the State. Governor Fletcher, who presides with so much ability over the interests of Missouri, is its devoted friend. The Washington University, founded on the principle of absolute and entire toleration, has already a considerable endowment, a handsome edifice, and a most enlightened and patriotic corps of professors. It is destined to play a leading part in the higher education of the .Southwest. One of the largest and most respectable of the Protestant churches in St. Louis is the Unitarian, the pastor of which, Dr. William G. Eliot, is the ally and champion of everything that makes for the good of the Southwest. For many years there has been a Mercantile Library in the city, which has now nearly thirty thousand volumes. Its principal room, which is more a gallery than a library, contains sixty-eight works of art, all of which are interesting, and many excellent. It was at St. Louis that Harriet Hosraer found her most liberal patron, Mr. Wayman Crow, under whose auspices she studied and practised her art in the city ; and it is in this Library that the largest collection of her works is to be found. St. Louis is proud of Miss Hosmer, and claims a kind of property in her fame. The chief newspapers of the city are the “Missouri Democrat,” of Republican politics, and the “ Missouri Republican,” of Democratic politics, both conducted with much spirit and at great expense. The Democrat is fighting the fight of the Union in the Southwest ably and gallantly, and in circumstances which entitle it to the special favor of Northern advertisers. To Unionize the South, all we need is a wise, kind, moderate, but thorough-going Union daily newspaper in each of the large towns. The medical profession, in which many of the calomelists still linger in all the Western cities, is undergoing at St. Louis that revolution to common sense which has been progressing all over the civilized world during the last twenty years. The leader of the new school is that brilliant young surgeon, William Tod Helmuth, who, from his habit of enlivening the banquet with humorous poems, is sometimes styled the Oliver Wendell Holmes of St. Louis. It is comforting to know that so powerful an enemy of drugs has the largest practice west of the Alleghany Mountains, and that under his patronage a Medical School for the inculcation of anti-calomel principles has been founded.
How interesting the spectacle of those rising cities of the West! How cheering to discover that the ruling minds in them all are alive to the fact that posterity, to the remotest ages, will be affected by what the men do who control the cities that they are now forming ! Why this rage to visit the Old World ? Since we are assured that good Americans when they die go to Paris, why not defer Paris till then, and see in this life the seats of future empire in the West ? Nothing could so cheer and expand an American citizen.