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´╗┐Title: Minnesota and Dacotah
Author: Andrews, C. C. (Christopher Columbus)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Minnesota and Dacotah" ***

                         MINNESOTA AND DACOTAH:


 Letters descriptive of a Tour through the North-West,








  "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

   Entered, according to act of Congress, in the year 1857, by


   In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, in and
   for the District of Columbia.





 "Trivial Fond Records"






    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.

                      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:

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

                    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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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




                          TABLE OF DISTANCES


                               PART I.

                        LETTERS ON MINNESOTA.

                        MINNESOTA AND DACOTAH.



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

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!



Railroads to the Mississippi-- Securing passage on the steamboat-- The
Lady Franklin-- Scenery of the Mississippi-- Hastings-- Growth of

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

[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:






Potosi Landing,






Buena Vista,


















Prairie du Chien,



Red House,



Johnson's Landing,












De Soto,






Badaxe City,



Warner's Landing,






La Crosse,


















Fountain City,



Mount Vernon,












Nelson's Landing,



Reed's Landing,



Foot of Lake Pepin,



North Pepin,






Lake City,



Central Point,






Maiden Rock,









Red Wing,



Thing's Landing,



Diamond bluff,






Point Douglass,






Grey Cloud,



Pine Bend,



Red Rock,






St. Paul,




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

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



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

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

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

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



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.



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

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]

[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.



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.

From the agency I hastened on to see Hole-in-the-day
(Pug-o-na-ke-shick, his Indian name, means, literally,
Hole-in-the-sky). He is a famous chief, having in his youth
distinguished himself for bold exploits and severe endurance. But what
most entitles him to attention is the very exemplary course he has
pursued in attempting to carry out the wishes of the government in
bringing his race to the habits of civilized life. It was principally
through his influence that a treaty was made between his tribe and the
United States, and after it went into effect he turned his attention
to farming. Previous to the treaty he was supported as chief by the
tribal revenue. He has succeeded well. Over a year ago the receipts of
what he sold from his farm, aside from what his household needed,
amounted to over two hundred dollars. At length, after riding a mile
and a half without passing a habitation, over a fertile prairie, I
came in sight of his house. He lives near a small lake, and north of
him is a large belt of heavy pine timber. He has an excellent farm,
well fenced and well cultivated. His house is in cottage style, and of
considerable length; spacious, neat, and well furnished. Arriving at
the door I dismounted, and inquired of his squaw if he was at home.
She sent her little girl out into the field to call him. There,
indeed, in his cornfield, was he at work. He met me very cordially;
and invited me into a room, where he had an interpretor. We held a
protracted and agreeable conversation on Indian matters. He invited me
to dine with him, and nothing but want of time prevented my accepting
his polite invitation. He was very neatly dressed, and is quite
prepossessing in his appearance. He is younger than I supposed before
seeing him. I judge him to be about thirty-four. He is a man of strong
sense, of great sagacity, and considerable ambition.

There is no reason why the Indians should not speedily become
civilized. Those who have longest lived amongst them, and who best
understand their character, tell me so. I fully believe it. The Indian
follows his wild habits because he has been educated to do so. The
education of habit, familiar from infancy, and the influence of
tradition, lead him to the hunt, and as much to despise manual labor.
He does what he has been taught to consider as noble and honorable,
and that is what the most enlightened do. Certainly his course of life
is the most severe and exposed; it is not for comfort that he adheres
to his wild habits. He regards it as noble to slay his hereditary foe.
Hence the troubles which occasionally break out between the Chippewas
and the Sioux. To gain the applause of their tribe they will incur
almost any danger, and undergo almost any privation. Thus, we see that
for those objects which their education has taught them to regard as
first and best, they will sacrifice all their comforts. They have
sense enough, and ambition enough, and fortitude enough. To those they
love they are affectionate almost to excess. Only direct their
ambition in the proper way, and they will at once rise. Teach them
that it is noble to produce something useful by their labor, and to
unite with the great family of man to expand arts and to improve the
immortal mind-- teach them that it is noble, that there is more
applause to be gained by it, as well as comfort, and they will change
in a generation. They will then apply themselves to civilization with
Spartan zeal and with Spartan virtues.

In a communication to the secretary of war by Gen. Cass in 1821,
relative to his expedition to the sources of the Mississippi, he makes
the following interesting extract from the journal of Mr. Doty, a
gentleman who accompanied the expedition:-- "The Indians of the upper
country consider those of the Fond-du-Lac as very stupid and dull,
being but little given to war. They count the Sioux their enemies, but
have heretofore made few war excursions.

"Having been frequently reprimanded by some of the more vigilant
Indians of the north, and charged with cowardice, and an utter
disregard for the event of the war, thirteen men of this tribe, last
season, determined to retrieve the character of their nation, by
making an excursion against the Sioux. Accordingly, without consulting
the other Indians, they secretly departed and penetrated far into the
Sioux country. Unexpectedly, at night, they came upon a party of the
Sioux, amounting to near one hundred men, and immediately began to
prepare for battle. They encamped a short distance from the Sioux, and
during the night dug holes in the ground into which they might retreat
and fight to the last extremity. They appointed one of their number
(the youngest) to take a station at a distance and witness the
struggle, and instructed him, when they were all slain, to make his
escape to their own land, and relate the circumstances under which
they had fallen.

"Early in the morning they attacked the Sioux in their camp, who,
immediately sallying out upon them, forced them back to the last place
of retreat they had resolved upon. They fought desperately. More than
twice their own number were killed before they had lost their lives.
Eight of them were tomahawked in the holes to which they had
retreated; the other four fell on the field. The thirteenth returned
home, according to the directions he had received, and related the
foregoing circumstances to his tribe. They mourned their death; but
delighted with the bravery of their friends, unexampled in modern
times, they were happy in their grief.

"This account I received of the very Indian who was of the party and
had escaped."-- [See Schoolcraft, p. 481.][1]

[1 Pride is a characteristic trait in Indian character. On a recent
occasion when several bands of the Chippewas were at Washington to
negotiate a treaty with the United States, they had an interview with
their Great Father the President. He received them in the spacious
East Room of the executive mansion, in the presence of a large
collection of gentlemen who had gathered to witness the occasion. Each
chief made a speech to the President, which was interpreted as they
spoke. When it came to the turn of Eshkibogikoj (Flat Mouth) that
venerable chief began with great dignity, saying: "Father! Two great
men have met!" Here he paused to let the sentence be interpreted. His
exordium amused not only the whites but the Indians.]

In the contest between the Athenians and the Dorians, an oracle had
declared that the side would triumph whose king should fall. Codrus
the Athenian king, to be more sure of sacrificing himself, assumed the
dress of a peasant, and was soon killed; and the event soon spread
dismay among the enemies of Athens. His patriotism was accounted so
great, that the Athenians declared that there was no man worthy to be
his successor, and so abolished the monarchy. I think the history of
the Indians would show instances of heroism as praiseworthy as can be
found in the annals of the ancients. Let it be remembered, too, that
the Spartans knew that an imperishable literature would hand down
their valor to the praise of the world through all the future. But the
Indian looked for the preservation of his exploits only in the songs
and the traditional stories of his tribe.

I allude to these traits because I think it will be agreed, that
whatever race possesses those elements of character which lead them to
pursue with zeal and courage things they have been taught to regard
most creditable, is capable of being civilized. We now pay the Indian
for his lands in agricultural tools, in muskets and powder, in
blankets and cheap calico-- and in education; but the smallest item is
education. If half the money which the government is liable to pay for
Indian troubles during the last year, could be appropriated to a
proper system of education, we should hear of no more serious Indian
wars. But I have not time to pursue the subject. I will say, however,
that the present commissioner of Indian affairs, Mr. Manypenny, is
doing a very good work in advancing their condition. The press ought
to bestow some attention on the subject. There are nearly 400,000
Indians within the United States and territories. If the philanthropy
of the age could spare the blacks for a little while, and help
civilize the Indians, it would be better for all parties. Here is an
enterprise for genuine humanity.



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

CROW WING, October 1856.

IT seems to have been more difficult for countries which abound in
precious metals to attain to great prosperity than for a rich man to
secure eternal felicity. Witness, for instance, the sluggish growth
and degenerate civilization of the South American states. But timber
is a fundamental element of colonial growth. The mines of Potosi
cannot compare with it in value. An abundance of timber and a
superabundance of it are two very different things. Some of the
Middle, and what were once Western States, were originally covered
with forests. So of the greater part of New England. In Ohio and in
Michigan timber has been an encumbrance; for there was great labor to
be performed by the settler in clearing the land and preparing it for
the plough; and at this day we see in travelling through each of those
states, as well as in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri, fields
planted amidst heavy timber trees which have been belted that they may
wither and die. By an abundance of timber I mean an ample supply not
only for domestic but foreign market; and with this understanding of
the word I will repeat what has often been said, and what I suppose is
well known, that Minnesota has an abundance of excellent timber.
Unlike the gorgeous forests in New Hampshire, which behind high cliffs
and mountain fastnesses defy the woodman, the timber of Minnesota
grows in the valleys of her great rivers and upon the banks of their
numerous tributaries. It is thus easily shipped to a distant market;
while the great body of the land, not encumbered with it, but naked,
is ready for the plough and for the seed. Most of the timber which
grows in the region below this point is hard wood, such as elm, maple,
oak, and ash.

There is considerable scrub oak also thinly scattered over large
portions of fertile prairie. To a casual observer these oaks, from
their stunted appearance, would be taken as evidence of poor soil. But
the soil is not the cause of their scrubby looks. It is the devouring
fires which annually sweep over the plains with brilliant though
terrific aspect, and which are fed by the luxuriant grass grown on
that same soil. If the oaks did not draw uncommon nourishment from the
soil, it must be difficult for them to survive such scorchings. It is
a consoling thought that these fires cease in proportion as the
country is settled up. The rock maple is indigenous to the soil; and
the Indians have long been in the habit of making sugar from its sap.
The timber most used for fences is tamarack. The pineries may be said
to begin at the mouth of the Crow Wing River; though there is a great
supply on the Rum River. For upwards of a hundred miles above here on
the Mississippi-- more or less dense, the pine forests extend. Captain
John Pope, in the interesting report of his expedition to the Red
River of the North, in 1849, says-- " The pineries of the upper
Mississippi are mostly upon its tributaries, and I think are not found
on the west side further south than the parallel of 46 degrees N.
latitude." (The latitude of this place is 46 degrees 16' 50".) "They
alternate, even where most abundant, with much larger tracts of
fertile country." Again he says-- "As might be expected from its
alluvial character, there is no pine timber in the valley of the Red
River, but the oak and elm there attain to a size which I do not think
I have ever seen elsewhere." In another place he remarks that "the
pineries along the Crow Wing River are among the most extensive and
valuable found on the tributaries of the Mississippi." Mr. Schoolcraft
says of this river, "the whole region is noted for its pine timber."
In speaking of the country on the St. Louis River, a few miles from
where it empties into Lake Superior, the same gentleman remarks: "The
growth of the forest is pines, hemlock, spruce, birch, oak, and
maple." I had heard considerable about Minnesota lumber, it is true,
but I was not prepared to see the pine timber so valuable and heavy as
it is above and about here. The trees are of large growth, straight
and smooth. They are not surpassed by
                      "The tallest pine,
 Hewn on Norwegian hills to be the mast
 Of some great admiral."

Cujus est solum ejus est usque ad caelum-- whose the soil, his to the
sky-- is a maxim in these pine regions of literal importance. There is
something besides utility also to be mentioned in this connection.
With the exception of swamps, which are few and far between, the
timber land has all the beauty of a sylvan grove. The entire absence
of underbrush and decayed logs lends ornament and attraction to the
woods. They are more like the groves around a mansion in their neat
and cheerful appearance; and awaken reflection on the Muses and the
dialogues of philosophers rather than apprehension of wild beasts and

The relative importance of the lumber business would hardly be
estimated by a stranger. It has been carried on for at least six
years; and considerable has found its way as far down as St. Louis. It
will be asked, I imagine, if all this timber land, especially the
pine, has been sold by the government; and if not, how it happens that
men cut it down and sell it? I will answer this. The great region of
pineries has not yet been surveyed, much less sold by the government.
But notwithstanding this, men have cut it in large quantities, sold it
into a greedy market, and made money, if not fortunes in the business.
As a sort of colorable excuse for cutting timber, those employed in
the business often make a preemption claim on land covered with it,
and many people suppose they have the right to cut as much as they
please after the incipient steps towards preemption. But this is not
so. All that a claimant can do in this respect is to cut wood enough
for his fuel, and timber enough for his own building purposes, until
he receives a patent from the government. Of course it is altogether
reasonable and proper that men should be precluded from doing so until
their title in the soil is complete. Because, until a preemption claim
is perfect, or, until the land has been acquired by some legal title,
it is not certain that the claimant will ultimately secure it or pay
any money to the government. But does not the government do anything
to prevent these trespasses? Yes, but all its attempts are baffled.

For example, last spring a large quantity of splendid lumber was
seized by the United States marshal and sold at public auction. It was
bid off by the lumbermen themselves, who had formed a combination to
prevent its falling into the hands of other purchasers. This
combination had no resistance as I am aware of in the public opinion
of the territory, and the timber was sold to those who had it cut at a
price so far below its value that it didn't pay the expense of the
legal proceedings on the part of the government. This is accounted for
in the fact of the exhaustless quantity of pine timber towards the
north; in the demand for it when sawed; and in the disposition to
protect enterprising men, though technically trespassers, who
penetrate into the forest in the winter at great expense, and whose
standing and credit are some guaranty of their ultimate responsibility
to the government, should they not perfect their titles. The business
of getting out the timber is carried on in the winter, and affords
employment for a large number of athletic young men. The price of
timber, I ascertained of Mr. P. D. Pratt, a dealer at St. Paul, is,
for the best, $30 per M.; for common, $20.

Most people have seen or been told something of the lumbermen of
Maine. Allowing this to be so, it will not be difficult to comprehend
the condition and character of the lumbermen of Minnesota and the
northwest. But if there is anybody who fancies them to be a set of
laborers, such as build our railroads and dig coal and minerals, he is
greatly mistaken. The difference is in birth and education; between
foreigners and native-born citizens. A difference not in rights and
merits, so much as in habits and character. Born on American soil,
they have attended our common schools, and have the bearing and
independence of sovereigns. None but very vigorous men can endure, or
at least attempt to endure, the exposure of living in the woods all
winter and swinging the axe; though by proper care of themselves, such
exercise is conducive to health and strength. Accordingly we find the
lumberman-- I mean of course the practical lumberman-- to be a
thick-set, muscular young man, with a bright eye and florid cheek; in
short, one whom we would call a double-fisted fellow. He is not one of
your California boys, but more affable and domestic, with a shorter
beard, and not so great a profusion of weapons. His dress is snug and
plain-- the regular pioneer costume of boots over the pants, and a
thick red shirt in lieu of a coat. His capital stock is his health and
his hands. When in employment he is economical and lays up his wages.
When out of employment and in town, his money generally goes freely.
As a class, the lumbermen are intelligent. They are strong talkers,
for they put in a good many of the larger sort of words; and from
their pungent satire and sledge-hammer style of reasoning, are by no
means very facile disputants. They are preeminently jokers. This is as
they appear on their way to the woods. During the season of their
active labor they usually spend the evening, after a day of hard work,
in storytelling or in a game of euchre. Their wages amount to about
two dollars a day, exclusive of board. They have good living in the
woods, the provisions, which are furnished on an ample scale, being
served by male cooks.

While on the subject of lumber, which may possibly interest some
people who wish to redeem the fortunes they have lately lost in Maine
lumber, I ought not to leave unmentioned the valuable cargoes of it
which are floated down the Mississippi. When coming up in the boat I
was astonished to see such stupendous rafts. Large logs are
transported by being made into rafts. At a landing where the boat
stopped, I on one occasion attempted to estimate the number of logs
comprised in one of these marine novelties, and found it to be about
eight hundred; the logs were large, and were worth from five to six
dollars each. Here then was a raft of timber worth at least $4000.
They are navigated by about a dozen men, with large paddles attached
at either end of the raft, which serve to propel and steer. Often, in
addition to the logs, the rafts are laden with valuable freights of
sawed lumber. Screens are built as a protection against wind, and a
caboose stands somewhere in the centre, or according to western
parlance it might be called a cabin. Sometimes the raft will be
running in a fine current; then only a couple of hands are on the
watch and at the helm. The rest are seen either loitering about
observing the country, or reclining, snugly wrapped up in their
blankets. Some of these rafts must cover as much as two acres. Birnam
Wood coming to Dunsinane was not a much greater phenomenon.



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.

CROW WING, October 7, 1856.

THERE is one very important section of this territory that I have not
yet alluded to. I mean that part which borders on Lake Superior. This
calls to mind that there is such a place as Superior City. But that is
in Wisconsin, not in Minnesota. From that city (so called, yet city in
earnest it is like to be) to the nearest point in this territory the
distance by water is twelve miles. The St. Louis River is the dividing
line for many miles between Minnesota and Wisconsin. The country round
about this greatest of inland seas is not the most fertile. It is
somewhat bleak, on the northern shore especially, but is nevertheless
fat in minerals. On the banks of the St. Louis River the soil is
described, by the earliest explorers as well as latest visiters, to be
good. The river itself, though it contains a large volume of water, is
not adapted to navigation, on account of its rapids.

Those who have sailed across Lake Superior to the neighborhood of
Fond-du-Lac appear to have been charmed by the scenery of its
magnificent islands and its rock-bound shores. Most people, I suppose,
have heard of its beautiful cluster of islands called the Twelve
Apostles. One peculiar phenomenon often mentioned is the boisterous
condition of its waters at the shore, which occurs when the lake
itself is perfectly calm. The water is said to foam and dash so
furiously as to make it almost perilous to land in a small boat. This
would seem to be produced by some movement of the waters similar to
the flow of the tide; and perhaps the dashing after all is not much
more tumultuous than is seen on a summer afternoon under the rocks of
Nahant, or along the serene coast at Phillips Beach.

The resources of that part of the territory bordering on the lake,
however, are sufficient to induce an extensive, if not a rapid,
settlement of the country. The copper mines afford occupation for
thousands of people now. I have known a young man to clear $40 a month
in getting out the ore. But the labor is hard. Somewhere near
Fond-du-Lac is destined to be a great commercial city. Whether it will
be at Superior, which has now got the start of all other places, or
whether it will be at some point within this territory, is more than
can be known at present. But a great town there is to be, sooner or
later; and for this reason, that the distance from Buffalo to
Fond-du-Lac by navigation is about the same as from Buffalo to
Chicago, affording, therefore, as good facilities for water
transportation of merchandise between Fond-du-Lac and the East, as
between Chicago and the East. Moreover, the development of this new
agricultural world will tend to that result. A railroad will then run
from that point directly west, crossing the upper Mississippi as also
the Red River of the North at the head of its navigation, which is at
the mouth of the Sioux Wood River.

During the last summer, congress established two new land districts in
the upper part of the territory, called the north-eastern and the
north-western. The former includes the country lying on Lake Superior,
and its land office has been located at Buchanan, a new place just
started on the shore of the lake. The land office for the
north-western district has been located at Ojibeway, a town site
situated sixty miles above here, on the Mississippi, near the mouth of
Muddy River. This district includes the head waters of the
Mississippi, and extends west as far as the Red River of the North.
The surveyors have been engaged in either district only a few weeks. I
don't expect there will be any land offered for sale in either
district till spring. While on the subject of land offices, let me
observe that the appointments in them are among the most lucrative
under the patronage of the general government. There is a register and
receiver for each office. They have, each, $500 per annum and fees;
the whole not to exceed $3000. Aside from the official fees, they get
much more for private services. They have more or less evidence to
reduce to writing in nearly every preemption case, for which the
general land office permits them to receive private compensation. It
is rather necessary that the local land officers should be lawyers, as
they have frequent occasion to decide on litigated land claims.

Many explorations have been made of the region around the head waters
of the Mississippi, the reports of which have conveyed to the world
attractive information of the country, but information which only
approximated to accuracy. In 1806, Lieut. Pike explored the river as
far as Turtle Lake, and returned, thinking, good easy man, full surely
he had discovered the real source of the river, and yet the source of
the river was more than a hundred miles off in another direction.
Lewis and Clarke had ascended the river previously. In 1820, General
Cass, accompanied by Mr. Schoolcraft, explored the river to Cass Lake;
being obliged to stop there on account of the low stage of water which
they heard existed a few days' journey beyond. Again, in 1832, Mr.
Schoolcraft, then superintendent of Indian affairs, made another
expedition, which resulted in his discovery of the true sources of the
river; it being a lake which he named Itasca. It has been said that he
manufactured this beautiful word out of the last syllables of veritas
and the first syllable of caput (the true head). But I have been told
that the word was suggested to his mind by an Indian word signifying
breast. Dr. Johnson says, that a traveller in order to bring back
knowledge should take knowledge with him. That is, that he should have
posted himself up to some extent on the country he visits. I hope it
will not require an affidavit for me to prove that I availed myself of
the suggestion. But I must say I have found great pleasure and profit
in perusing Mr. Schoolcraft's narratives of both his expeditions.
Though he had the encouragement of the government, his undertaking was
surrounded by many obstacles and some dangers. His account of the
whole country is pleasant and instructive to the reader, and shows
that all he saw produced on his mind a favorable impression. The
arduous services of this gentleman as an explorer have been of great
advantage to the country, and his fine literary talents have given his
adventures an historic fame. Not less deserving of applause either
have been his efforts to promote the welfare of the Indians. He now
lives in affluent circumstances at Washington, and, though suffering
under some bodily infirmities, appears (or did when I saw him) to
enjoy life with that serene and rational happiness which springs from
useful employment, and a consciousness that past opportunities have
been improved.

  "For he lives twice who can at once employ
   The present well and e'en the past enjoy."

There have been other explorations of this part of the country at
different times by Messrs. Long, Nicollet, and Pope. M. Nicollet was
accompanied and assisted by Mr. (then Lieutenant) Fremont. The reports
made of these explorations afford information which, if extensively
known among the people, would tend to direct a larger emigration into
the upper part of the territory. They often launch off into
exclamations as to the beautiful surface of the country; while their
account of native fruits and the bracing climate and fertile soil
picture to the imagination all the elements of a home.

M. Nicollet was a foreign gentleman who possessed superior scientific
knowledge and a rare zeal to prosecute researches. He made an
exploration through the valley of the St. Peter's and the Missouri;
and from thence to the sources of the Mississippi, in the year 1839.
The official report which he made is a valuable document, but
difficult to be obtained. I shall therefore make a few extracts from
it. I should here remark that M. Nicollet died before he had completed
the introduction to his report. "The Mississippi," he says, "holds its
own from its very origin; for it is not necessary to suppose, as has
been done, that Lake Itasca may be supplied with invisible sources, to
justify the character of a remarkable stream, which it assumes at its
issue from this lake. There are five creeks that fall into it, formed
by innumerable streamlets oozing from the clay-beds at the bases of
the hills, that consist of an accumulation of sand, gravel, and clay,
intermixed with erratic fragments; being a more prominent portion of
the great erratic deposit previously described, and which here is
known by the name of 'Hauteurs des Terres'-- heights of land.

"These elevations are commonly flat at top, varying in height from 85
to 100 feet above the level of the surrounding waters. They are
covered with thick forests, in which coniferous plants predominate.
South of Itasca Lake, they form a semicircular region with a boggy
bottom, extending to the south-west a distance of several miles;
thence these Hauteurs des Terres ascend to the north-west and north;
and then, stretching to the north-east and east, through the zone
between 47 degrees and 48 degrees of latitude, make the dividing ridge
between the waters that empty into Hudson's Bay and those which
discharge themselves into the Gulf of Mexico. The principal group of
these Hauteurs des Terres is subdivided into several ramifications,
varying in extent, elevation, and course, so as to determine the
hydrographical basins of all the innumerable lakes and rivers that so
peculiarly characterize this region of country.

"One of these ramifications extends in a southerly direction under the
name of Coteau du Grand Bois; and it is this which separates the
Mississippi streams from those of the Red River of the North.

"The waters supplied by the north flank of these heights of land--
still on the south side of Lake Itasca-- give origin to the five
creeks of which I have spoken above. These are the waters which I
consider to be the utmost sources of the Mississippi. Those that flow
from the southern side of the same heights, and empty themselves into
Elbow Lake, are the utmost sources of the Red River of the North; so
that the most remote feeders of Hudson's Bay and the Gulf of Mexico
are closely approximated to each other."

Of the country above Crow Wing, he makes the following observations,
which are not less interesting than instructive: "Over the whole route
which I traversed after leaving Crow Wing River, the country has a
different aspect from that which the banks of the Mississippi above
the falls present. The forests are denser and more varied; the soil,
which is alternately sandy, gravelly, clayey, and loamy, is, generally
speaking, lighter excepting on the shores of some of the larger lakes.
The uplands are covered with white and yellow pines, spruce and birch;
and the wet lowlands by the American larch and the willow. On the
slopes of sandy hills, the American aspen, the canoe birch (white
birch), with a species of birch of dwarfish growth, the alder, and
wild rose, extend to the very margin of the river. On the borders of
the larger lakes, where the soil is generally better, we find the
sugar maple, the black and bar oaks (also named overcup white oak, but
differing from the white oak), the elm, ash, lime tree, &c. Generally
speaking, however, this woodland does not extend back farther than a
mile from the lakes. The white cedar, the hemlock, spruce, pine, and
fir, are occasionally found; but the red cedar is scarce throughout
this region, and none, perhaps, are to be seen but on islands of those
lakes called by the Indians Red Cedar Lakes. The shrubbery consists
principally of the wild rose, hawthorn, and wild plum; and
raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and cranberries are abundant.

"The aspect of the country is greatly varied by hills, dales, copses,
small prairies, and a great number of lakes; the whole of which I do
not pretend to have laid down on my map. * * * * The lakes to which I
have just alluded are distributed in separate groups, or are arranged
in prolonged chains along the rivers, and not unfrequently attached to
each other by gentle rapids. It has seemed to me that they diminish in
extent on both sides of the Mississippi, as we proceed southwardly, as
far as 43 degrees of north latitude; and this observation extends to
the Arctic region, commencing at Bear's Lake; or Slave Lake, Winnipeg
Lake, &c. It may be further remarked that the basins of these lakes
have a sufficient depth to leave no doubt that they will remain
characteristic features of the country for a long time to come.
Several species of fish abound in them. The white fish (Corregonus
albus) is found in all the deep lakes west of the Mississippi-- and,
indeed, from Lake Erie to the Polar Sea. That which is taken in Leech
Lake is said by amateurs to be more highly flavored than even that of
Lake Superior, and weighs from three to ten pounds.* * * Of all the
Indian nations that I have visited, the Chippewas, inhabiting the
country about the sources of the Mississippi, are decidedly the most
favored. Besides their natural resources (to which I have already
referred) of fish, wild rice, and maple sugar, with the addition of an
abundance of game, the climate is found to be well adapted to the
culture of corn, wheat, barley, oats, and pulse. The potato is of
superior quality to that of the Middle States of the Union. In a
trading point of view, the hunt is very profitable. The bear, the deer
and elk, the wolf, the fox, the wolverine, the fisher raccoon,
muskrat, mink, otter, marten, weasel, and a few remaining beavers, are
the principal articles of this traffic." (pp. 58, 64.) To those who
are desirous of perusing this valuable report, and who have access to
the congressional documents, I would say that it may be found in
Senate Document 237, 2d Session of 26th Congress.



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.

CROW WING, October, 1856.

A CELEBRATED geographer of the first century wrote, "Germany is indeed
habitable, but is uninhabited on account of the cold." I am not so
certain, but some people have a similar idea of the upper portion of
Minnesota. If there are any, however, thus distrustful of its climate,
they probably live out of the territory. I have no means of knowing
what the climate is here in winter, except from hearsay and general
principles. It seems to be an approved theory, that the farther we
approach the west in a northern latitude the milder becomes the
winter. The stage-drivers tell me that the snow does not fall to such
a depth as in the northern part of New England; that the weather is
tolerably uniform; and that the roads are at all times kept open and
much travelled. After all, it is a great way before we come to the
home of the Esquimaux, and the desert of ice where Sir John Franklin

I will here subjoin the following extract from a letter addressed to
Gov. Stephens by the Hon. Henry M. Rice, the able delegate from
Minnesota. It is dated 3d June, 1854:

"Navigation of the Mississippi River closes from the 10th to the 25th
of November, and opens from the 1st to the 10th of April. That of the
Red River of the North closes from the 1st to 16th November, and opens
from 10th to 25th April. I have often travelled in the winter from St.
Paul to Crow Wing, a distance of one hundred and fifty miles, with a
single horse and sled, without a track, and have never found the snow
deep enough to impede my progress. I have also gone from Crow Wing,
beyond the head waters of the Mississippi, to the waters of the
Hudson's Bay, on foot and without snow-shoes. I spent one entire
winter travelling through that region, and never found the snow over
eighteen inches deep, and seldom over nine inches.

"For several years I had trading-posts extending from Lake Superior to
the Red River of the North, from 46 degrees to 49 degrees north
latitude, and never found the snow so deep as to prevent supplies
being transported from one post to another with horses. One winter,
north of Crow Wing, say 47 degrees north latitude, I wintered about
sixty head of horses and cattle without giving them food of any kind
except such as they could procure themselves under the snow. Between
the 45th and 49th degrees north latitude, the snow does not fall so
deep as it does between the 40th and 45th degrees; this is easily
accounted for upon the same principle that in the fall they have
frosts much earlier near the 40th than they do near the 45th degree. I
say this in reference to the country watered by the Mississippi River.
Owing to its altitude the atmosphere is dry beyond belief, which
accounts for the absence of frosts in the fall, and for the small
quantity of snow that falls in a country so far north. Voyageurs
traverse the territory from Lake Superior to the Missouri the entire
winter with horses and sleds, having to make their own roads, and yet
with heavy loads are not detained by snow. Lumbermen in great numbers
winter in the pine regions of Minnesota with their teams, and I have
never heard of their finding the snow too deep to prosecute their
labors. I have known several winters when the snow at no time was over
six inches deep."

The Hon. H. H. Sibley, ex-delegate from Minnesota, in a letter dated
at Mendota says: "As our country is for the most part composed of
prairie, it is of course much exposed to the action of the winds. It
is, however, a peculiarity of our climate, that calms prevail during
the cold weather of the winter months; consequently, the snow does not
drift to anything like the extent experienced in New England or
northern New York. I have never believed that railroad communication
in this territory would be seriously impeded by the depth or drift of
snow, unless, perhaps, in the extreme northern portion of it." (See
Explorations and Surveys for the Pacific Railroad, I., 400.)

A few facts in regard to the people who live four or five hundred
miles to the north, will best illustrate the nature of the climate and
its adaptedness to agriculture.

It is common to say that settlements have not extended beyond Crow
Wing. This is only technically true. There is a settlement at Pembina,
where the dividing line between British America and the United States
crosses the Red River of the North. It didn't extend there from our
frontier, sure enough. If it extended from anywhere it must have been
from the north, or along the confines of that mystic region called
Rainy Lake. Pembina is said to have about 600 inhabitants. It is
situated on the Pembina River. It is an Indian-French word meaning
cranberry. Men live there who were born there, and it is in fact an
old settlement. It was founded by British subjects, who thought they
had located on British soil. The greater part of its inhabitants are
half-breeds, who earn a comfortable livelihood in fur hunting and in
farming. It sends two representatives and a councillor to the
territorial legislature. It is 460 miles north-west of St. Paul, and
330 miles distant from this town. Notwithstanding the distance, there
is considerable communication between the places. West of Pembina,
about thirty miles, is a settlement called St. Joseph, situated N. of
a large mythological body of water called Miniwakan, or Devil's Lake;
and is one of the points where Col. Smith's expedition was intending
to stop. This expedition to which I refer, started out from Fort
Snelling in the summer, to explore the country on both sides of the
Red River of the North as far as Pembina, and to report to the war
department the best points for the establishment of a new military
post. It is expected that Col. Smith will return by the first of next
month; and it is probable he will advise the erection of a post at
Pembina. When that is done, if it is done, its effect will be to draw
emigrants from the Red River settlement into Minnesota.

Now let me say a word about this Red River of the North, for it is
beginning to be a great feature in this upper country. It runs north,
and empties into Lake Winnipeg, which connects with Hudson's Bay by
Nelson River. It is a muddy and sluggish stream, navigable to the
mouth of Sioux Wood River for vessels of three feet draught for four
months in the year. So that the extent of its navigation within the
territory alone (between Pembina and the mouth of Sioux Wood River) is
417 miles. Buffaloes still feed on its western banks. Its tributaries
are numerous and copious, abounding with the choicest kinds of game,
and skirted with a various and beautiful foliage. It cannot be many
years before this magnificent valley shall pour its products into our
markets, and be the theatre of a busy and genial life.

One of the first things which drew my attention to this river was a
sight of several teams travelling towards this vicinity from a
north-westerly direction. I observed that the complexion of those in
the caravan was a little darker than that of pure white Minnesotians,
and that the carts were a novelty. "Who are those people? and where
are they from?" I inquired of a friend. "They are Red River people,
just arrived-- they have come down to trade." Their carts are made to
be drawn by one animal, either an ox or a horse, and are put together
without the use of a particle of iron. They are excellently adapted to
prairie travelling. How strange it seems! Here are people who have
been from twenty to thirty days on their journey to the nearest
civilized community. This is their nearest market. Their average rate
of travelling is about fifteen miles a day, and they generally secure
game enough on the way for their living. I have had highly interesting
accounts of the Red River settlement since I have been here, both from
Mr. Ross and Mr. Marion, gentlemen recently from there. The settlement
is seventy miles north of Pembina, and lies on both sides of the
river. Its population is estimated at 10,000. It owes its origin and
growth to the enterprise and success of the Hudson's Bay Company. Many
of the settlers came from Scotland, but the most were from Canada.
They speak English and Canadian French. The English style of society
is well kept up, whether we regard the church with its bishop, the
trader with his wine cellar, the scholar with his library, the officer
with his sinecure, or their paper currency. I find they have
everything but a hotel, for I was particular on that point, though not
intending just yet to go there. Probably the arrivals do not justify
such an institution, but their cordial hospitality will make up for
any such lack, from all I hear. They have a judge who gets a good
house to live in, and L1000 sterling a year; but he has nothing of
consequence to do. He was formerly a leading lawyer in Canada.

The great business of the settlement, of course, is the fur traffic.
An immense amount of buffalo skins is taken in the summer and autumn,
while in the winter smaller but more valuable furs are procured. The
Indians also enlist in the hunts; and it is estimated that upwards of
$200,000 worth of furs are annually taken from our territory and sold
to the Hudson's Bay Company. It is high time indeed that a military
post should be established somewhere on the Red River by our
government. The Hudson's Bay Company is now a powerful monopoly. Not
so magnificent and potent as the East India Company, it is still a
powerful combination, showering opulence on its members, and
reflecting a peculiar feature in the strength and grandeur of the
British empire-- a power, which, to use the eloquent language of
Daniel Webster, "has dotted over the whole surface of the globe with
her possessions and military posts-- whose morning drum-beat,
following the sun, and keeping company with the hours, circles the
earth daily with one continuous and unbroken strain of martial music."
The company is growing richer every year, and its jurisdiction and its
lands will soon find an availability never dreamed of by its founders,
unless, as may possibly happen, popular sovereignty steps in to grasp
the fruits of its long apprenticeship. Some time ago I believe the
Canadas sought to annex this broad expanse to their own jurisdiction.
There are about two hundred members in the Hudson's Bay Company. The
charter gives them the power to legislate for the settlement. They
have many persons in their employ in England as well as in British
America. A clerk, after serving the company ten years, with a salary
of about $500 per annum, is considered qualified for membership, with
the right to vote in the deliberations of the company, and one share
in the profits. The profits of a share last year amounted to $10,000!
A factor of the company, after serving ten years, is entitled to
membership with the profits of two shares. The aristocracy of the
settlement consists principally of retired factors and other members
of the company, who possess large fortunes, dine on juicy roast beef,
with old port, ride in their carriages, and enjoy life in a very
comfortable manner. Two of the company's ships sail up into Hudson's
Bay every year to bring merchandise to the settlement and take away
furs. [1] But the greatest portion of the trade is done with
Minnesota. Farming is carried on in the neighborhood of the settlement
with cheerful ease and grand success. I was as much surprised to hear
of the nature of their agriculture as of anything else concerning the
settlement. The same kind of crops are raised as in Pennsylvania or
Maine; and this in a country, be it remembered, five hundred miles and
upwards north of St. Paul. Stock must be easily raised, as it would
appear from the fact that it is driven down here into the territory
and sold at a great profit. Since I have been here, a drove of
fine-looking cattle from that settlement passed to be sold in the
towns below, and a drove of horses is expected this fall. The stock
which comes from there is more hardy than can be got anywhere else,
and therefore is preferred by the Minnesotians.

[1 "The Hudson's Bay Company allows its servants, while making a
voyage, eight pounds of meat a day, and I am told the allowance is
none too much." (Lieutenant Howison's Report on Oregon, p. 7.)]

The following extract from Ex-Governor Ramsey's address, recently
delivered before the annual fair at Minneapolis, wherein he gives some
results of his observations of the Red River settlement during his
trip there in 1851, will be read with much interest:--

"Re-embarking in our canoes, we continued descending the river for
some fifteen miles further, through the French portion of the
settlement, lining mainly the west or left bank of the river, until we
arrived about the centre of the colony, at the mouth of the
Assinniboin tributary of Red River, where we landed and remained a few
days, viewing the colony and its improvements. I was at that time, and
am even now, when I look back upon it, lost in wonder at the phenomena
which that settlement exhibits to the world, considering its location
in an almost polar region of the North. Imagine a river flowing
sluggishly northward through a flat alluvial plain, and the west side
of it lined continuously for over thirty miles with cultivated farms,
each presenting those appearances of thrift around them which I
mentioned as surrounding the first farms seen by us; but each farm
with a narrow frontage on the river of only twenty-four rods in width,
but extending back for one or two miles, and each of these narrow
farms having their dwellings and the farm out-buildings spread only
along the river front, with lawns sloping to the water's edge, and
shrubbery and vines liberally trained around them, and trees
intermingled-- the whole presenting the appearance of a long suburban
village-- such as you might see near our eastern sea-board, or such as
you find exhibited in pictures of English country villages, with the
resemblance rendered more striking by the spires of several large
churches peeping above the foliage of the trees in the distance,
whitewashed school-houses glistening here and there amidst sunlight
and green; gentlemen's houses of pretentious dimensions and grassy
lawns and elaborate fencing, the seats of retired officers of the
Hudson's Bay Company occasionally interspersed; here an English
bishop's parsonage, with a boarding or high school near by; and over
there a Catholic bishop's massive cathedral, with a convent of Sisters
of Charity attached; whilst the two large stone forts, at which reside
the officers of the Hudson's Bay Company, or of the colony once called
Upper Fort Garry, and situated at the mouth of the Assinniboin, and
the other termini the Lower Fort Garry, which is twenty miles farther
down the river, helped to give additional picturesqueness to the
scene. I had almost forgotten to mention what is, after all, the most
prominent and peculiar feature of that singular landscape, singular
from its location-- and that is the numerous wind-mills, nearly twenty
in all, which on every point of land made by the turns and bends in
the river, stretched out their huge sails athwart the horizon, and
seemingly looked defiance at us as invading strangers, that were from
a land where steam or water mills monopolize their avocation of flour
making. One morning as we passed down the principal high road, on our
way to Lower Fort Garry, the wind, after a protracted calm, began to
blow a little; when presto! each mill veered around its sails to catch
the propitious breeze, and as the sails began to revolve, it was
curious to observe the numerous carts that shot out from nearly every
farm-house, and hurried along the road to these mills, to get ground
their grists of spring wheat, with which they were respectively

"Another incident during the same trip that struck us oddly, was
seeing two ladies driving by themselves a fine horse hitched to a
buggy of modern fashion, just as much at home apparently as if they
were driving through the streets of St. Paul, or St. Anthony, or
Minneapolis, instead of upon that remote highway towards the North
Pole; but this was not a whit more novel than to hear the pianoforte,
and played, too, with both taste and skill. While another 'lion' of
those parts that met our view was a topsail schooner lying in the
river at the lower fort, which made occasional trips into Great Lake
Winnepeg of the North, a hundred miles below.

"I took occasion during my visit to inquire what success the farmers
met with in securing good crops, and the profits of farmers generally.
As to wheat, I learned that the yield of the spring variety was quite
equal in quantity and quality to the crop of that grain on any more
southern farms; that in raising barley they could almost surpass the
world; and the cereals generally, and all the esculent roots, were
easily raised. Indian corn was not planted as a field crop, though it
was grown in their gardens. In a word, the capacity of their land to
produce almost everything plentifully and well, was established; but
for all this, farming did not afford much profit. for want of a
sufficient market; beyond a small demand by the Hudson's Bay Company,
there was no outlet for their superabundance; and to use an Austrian
phase in regard to Hungarians, the Selkirkers are metaphysically
'smothering in their own fat.' To remedy this state of things they
were beginning, when I was there, to turn their attention towards
raising cattle and horses, for which their country is well calculated;
and the first fruits of this new decision given to their farming
energies, we have already experienced in the droves of both which have
recently been driven from thence and sold in this vicinity."

I think the facts which I have herein hastily set downhill dispel any
apprehension as to the successful cultivation of the soil in the
northern part of the territory. It has a health-giving climate which
before long, I predict, will nourish as patriotic a race of men as
gave immortality to the noble plains of Helvetia. There is one thing I
would mention which seems to auspicate the speedy development of the
valley of the North Red River. Next year Minnesota will probably be
admitted as a state; and a new territory organized out of the broad
region embracing the valley aforesaid and the head waters of the
Mississippi. Or else it will be divided by a line north and south,
including the western valley of that river, and extending as far to
the west as the Missouri River. I understand it will be called
Dacotah, though I at first thought it would be called Pembina. There
is always a rush into new territories, and the proposed new territory
of Dacotah will present sufficient inducements for a large
immigration. When the valley of the North Red River shall be settled,
and splendid harvest fields adorn its banks; when great factories take
the place of wind-mills, and when railroads shall take the place of
Red River carts, then we will have new cause to exclaim,

            "Westward the course of empire takes its way!"



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.

CROW WING, October, 1856.

I DESIRE in this letter to say something about the pioneer, and life
on the frontier. And by pioneer I mean the true pioneer who comes into
the West to labor and to share the vicissitudes of new settlements;
not the adventurer, who would repine at toil, and gather where he has
not sown.

As I have looked abroad upon the vast domain of the West beyond the
dim Missouri, or in the immediate valley of the Mississippi, I have
wondered at the contrast presented between the comparatively small
number who penetrate to the frontier, and that great throng of men who
toil hard for a temporary livelihood in the populous towns and cities
of the Union. And I have thought if this latter class were at all
mindful of the opportunities for gain and independence which the new
territories afforded, they would soon abandon-- in a great measure at
least-- their crowded alleys in the city, and aspire to be cultivators
and owners of the soil. Why there has not been a greater emigration
from cities I cannot imagine, unless it is owing to a misapprehension
of Western life. Either it is this, or the pioneer is possessed of a
very superior degree of energy.

It has been said that the frontier man always keeps on the frontier;
that he continues to emigrate as fast as the country around him
becomes settled. There is a class that do so. Not, however, for the
cause which has been sometimes humorously assigned-- that civilization
was inconvenient to them-- but because good opportunities arise to
dispose of the farms they have already improved; and because a further
emigration secures them cheaper lands. The story of the pioneer who
was disturbed by society, when his nearest neighbor lived fifteen
miles off, even if it be true, fails to give the correct reason for
the migratory life of this class of men.

It almost always happens that wherever we go somebody else has
preceded us. Accident or enterprise has led some one to surpass us.
Many of the most useful pioneers of this country have been attracted
hither by the accounts given of its advantages by some one of their
friends who had previously located himself here. Ask a man why he
comes, and he says a neighbor of his, or a son, or a brother, has been
in the territory for so many months, and he likes it so well I
concluded to come also. A very respectable gentleman from Maine, a
shipowner and a man of wealth, who came up on the boat with me to St.
Paul, said his son-in-law was in the territory, and he had another son
at home who was bound to come, and if his wife was willing he believed
the whole family would come. Indeed the excellent state of society in
the territory is to be attributed very much to the fact that parents
have followed after their children.

It is pretty obvious too why men will leave poor farms in New England,
and good farms in Ohio, to try their fortunes here. The farmer in New
England, it may be in New Hampshire, hears that the soil of Minnesota
is rich and free from rocks, that there are other favorable resources,
and a salubrious climate such as he has been accustomed to. He
concludes that it is best to sell out the place he has, and try
ploughing where there are no rocks to obstruct him. The farmer of Ohio
does not expect to find better soil than he leaves; but his
inducements are that he can sell his land at forty or fifty dollars an
acre, and preempt as good in Minnesota for a dollar and a quarter an
acre. This operation leaves him a surplus fund, and he becomes a more
opulent man, with better means to adorn his farm and to educate his

Those who contemplate coming West to engage in agricultural employment
should leave their families, if families they have, behind till they
have selected a location and erected some kind of a habitation;
provided, however, they have no particular friend whose hospitality
they can avail themselves of till their preliminary arrangements are
effected. It will require three months, I judge, for a man to select a
good claim (a quarter section, being 160 acres), and fence and plough
a part of it and to erect thereon a cabin. There is never a want of
land to preempt in a new country. The settler can always get an
original claim, or buy out the claim of another very cheap, near some
other settlers. The liberal policy of our government in regard to the
disposal of public lands is peculiarly beneficial to the settler. The
latter has the first chance. He can go on to a quarter section which
may be worth fifteen dollars an acre, and preempt it before it is
surveyed, and finally obtain it for $1.25 an acre. Whereas the
speculator must wait till the land is surveyed and advertised for
sale; and then he can get only what has not been preempted, and at a
price which it brings at auction, not less than $1.25 an acre. Then
what land is not sold at public sale is open to private entry at $1.25
an acre. It is such land that bounty warrants are located on. Thus it
is seen the pioneer has the first choice. Why, I have walked over land
up here that would now bring from ten to twenty dollars an acre if it
was in the market, and which any settler can preempt and get for $1.25
an acre. I am strongly tempted to turn farmer myself, and go out and
build me a cabin. The speculation would be a good one. But to acquire
a title by preemption I must dwell on the soil, and prove that I have
erected a dwelling and made other improvements. In other words, before
a man (or any head of a family) can get a patent, he must satisfy the
land officers that he is a dweller in good faith on the soil. It is
often the case, indeed, that men get a title by preemption who never
intend to live on their quarter section. But they do it by fraud. They
have a sort of mental reservation, I suppose, when they take the
requisite oaths. In this way many valuable claims are taken up and
held along from month to month, or from year to year, by mock
improvements. A pretender will make just improvements enough to hinder
the actual settler from locating on the claim, or will sell out to him
at a good profit. A good deal of money is made by these fictitious
claimants. It is rather hard to prevent it, too, inasmuch as it is
difficult to disprove that a man intends some time to have a permanent
home, or, in fact, that his claim is not his legal residence, though
his usual abiding place is somewhere else. Nothing could be more
delightful than for a party of young men who desire to farm to come
out together early in the spring, and aid each other in preempting
land in the same neighborhood. The preemptor has to pay about five
dollars in the way of fees before he gets through the entire process
of securing a title. It is a popular error (much like the opinion that
a man cannot swear to what he sees through glass) that improvements of
a certain value, say fifty dollars, are required to be made, or that a
certain number of acres must be cultivated. All that is required,
however, is evidence that the party has built a house fit to live in,
and has in good faith proceeded to cultivate the soil. The law does
not permit a person to preempt 160 acres but once; yet this provision
is often disregarded, possibly from ignorance, I was about to say, but
that cannot be, since the applicant must make oath that he has not
before availed himself of the right of preemption.

I will insert at this place an abridgment of the preemption act of 4th
September, 1841, which I made two years ago; and which was extensively
published in the new states and territories. I am happy to find, also,
that it has been thought worth copying into one or more works on the

I. Lands subject to preemption. By sec. 10 of said act it is provided
that the public lands to which the Indian title had been extinguished
at the time of the settlement, and which had also been surveyed prior
thereto, shall be subject to preemption, and purchase at the rate of
one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre. And by the act of 22d July,
1854, sec. 12, the preemption of unsurveyed lands is recognised as
legal. Lands of the following description are excepted: such as are
included in any reservation, by any treaty, law, or proclamation of
the President of the United States, or reserved for salines or for
other purposes; lands included within the limits of any incorporated
town, or which have been selected as the site for a city or town;
lands actually settled and occupied for the purposes of trade and not
agriculture; and lands on which are situated any known salines or

II. The amount designated is any number of acres not exceeding one
hundred and sixty.

III. Who may preempt. "Every person being the head of a family, or
widow, or single man over the age of twenty-one years, and being a
citizen of the United States, or having filed his declaration of
intention to become a citizen, as required by the naturalization
laws." But no person shall be entitled to more than one preemptive
right, and no person who is the proprietor of three hundred and twenty
acres of land in any state or territory of the United States, and no
person who shall quit or abandon his residence on his own land to
reside on the public land in the same state or territory, shall
acquire any right of preemption.

IV. The method to perfect the right. The preemptor must make a
settlement on the land in person; inhabit and improve the same, and
erect thereon a dwelling. And when the land has been surveyed previous
to settlement the preemptor shall, within thirty days of the date of
the settlement, file with the register of the proper district a
written statement describing the land settled upon, and declaring the
intention of such person to claim the same under the provisions of the
preemption law. And within twelve months of the date of the settlement
such person shall make the requisite proof, affidavit, and payment.
When unsurveyed lands are prompted (act of 1854), notice of the
specific tracts claimed shall be filed with the surveyor general,
within three months after the survey has been made in the field. And
when two or more persons shall have settled on the same quarter
section, the right of preemption shall be in him or her who made the
first settlement; and questions arising between different settlers
shall be decided by the register and receiver of the district within
which the land is situated, subject to an appeal to and revision by
the Secretary of the Interior of the United States.

And the settler must make oath before the receiver or register that he
or she has never had the benefit of any right of preemption under the
preemption act: that he or she is not the owner of three hundred and
twenty acres of land in any state or territory of the United States,
nor hath he or she settled upon and improved said land to sell the
same on speculation, but in good faith to appropriate it to his or her
own exclusive use or benefit: and that he or she has not directly or
indirectly made any agreement or contract in any way or manner with
any person or persons whatsoever, by which the title which he or she
might acquire from the government of the United States should enure in
whole or in part to the benefit of any person except himself or
herself; and if any person talking such oath shall swear falsely in
the premises, he or she shall be subject to all the pains and
penalties of perjury, and shall forfeit the money which he or she may
have paid for such land, and all right and title to the same; and any
grant or conveyance which he or she may have made, except in the hands
of bona fide purchasers for a valuable consideration, shall be null
and void.

Proof of the requisite settlement and improvement shall be made by the
preemptor to the satisfaction of the register and receiver, in the
district in which the lands so claimed lie, who shall each be entitled
to receive fifty cents from each applicant for his services rendered.
as aforesaid; and all assignments and transfers of the right hereby
secured prior to the issuing of the patent, shall be null and void.
(See U. S. Stat. at Large, vol. 5, 453-458.)

But I was on the point of advising the settler what he should bring
with him into a new country and what leave behind. He should not bring
much furniture. It is very expensive and troublesome to have it
transported. Nor will he need much to begin with, or have room for it.
It will cost nearly as much to transport it seventy miles through the
territory as it will to bring it from whence he started within the
limits of the territory. Let him pack up in a small compass the most
precious part of his inanimate household, and leave it ready for an
agent to start it after he shall have found a domicil. This will save
expensive storage. Then let his goods be directed to the care of some
responsible forwarding merchant in a river town nearest to their final
destination, that they may be taken care of and not be left exposed on
the levee when they arrive. St. Paul is now a place of so much
mercantile importance and competition that one may buy provisions,
furniture, or agricultural tools cheaper there than he can himself
bring them from the East. The professional man, however, will do well
to bring his books with him.

Let us assume now that the settler has got his house up, either a
frame house or of logs, with a part of his farm fenced; and that be
has filed his application for preemption at the land office in the
district in which he resides. Let us suppose further, that he is
passing his first autumn here. His house, if he is a man of limited
means, has but two rooms, and they are both on the basement story. He
has just shelter enough for his stock, but none for his hay, which is
stacked near by. The probability is, that he lives in the vicinity of
some clear stream or copious spring, and has not, therefore, needed to
dig a well. The whole establishment, one would think, who was
accustomed to the Eastern style of living, betrayed downright poverty.

But let us stop a moment; this is the home of a pioneer. He has been
industrious, and everything about him exhibits forethought. There is a
cornfield all fenced in with tamarack poles. It is paved over with
pumpkins (for pumpkins flourish wonderfully in Minnesota), and
contains twenty acres of ripe corn, which, allowing thirty-five
bushels to an acre, is worth at ninety cents per bushel the sum of
$630. There are three acres of potatoes, of the very best quality,
containing three hundred bushels, which, at fifty cents a bushel, are
worth $150. Here then, off of two crops, he gets $780, and I make a
moderate estimate at that. Next year he will add to this a crop of
oats or wheat. The true pioneer is a model farmer. He lays out his
work two weeks in advance. Every evening finds him further ahead. If
there is a rainy day, he knows what to set himself about. Be lays his
plans in a systematic manner, and carries them into execution with
energy. He is a true pioneer, and therefore he is not an idle man, nor
a loafer, nor a weak addle-headed tippler. Go into his house, and
though you do not see elegance you can yet behold intelligence, and
neatness, and sweet domestic bliss. The life of the pioneer is not
exposed to such hardships and delays as retarded the fortunes of the
settlers in the older states. They had to clear forests; here the land
is ready for the plough. And though "there is society where none
intrude," yet he is not by any means beyond the boundaries of good
neighborhood. In many cases, however, he has left his dearest friends
far away in his native village, where his affections still linger. He
has to endure painful separations, and to forego those many comforts
which spring from frequent meetings under the parental roof, and
frequent converse with the most attractive scones of youth. But to
compensate for these things he can feel that the labor of the pioneer,
aside from its pecuniary advantage to himself, is of service to the
state, and a helpmate to succeeding generations.

  "There are, who, distant from their native soil,
   Still for their own and country's glory toil:
   While some, fast rooted to their parent spot,
   In life are useless, and in death forgot!"



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.

CROW WING, October, 1856.

IT is maintained by the reviewers, I believe, that the duller a writer
is, the more accurate he should be. In the outset of this letter, I
desire to testify my acquiescence in the justice of that dogma, for
if, like neighbor Dogberry, "I were as tedious as a king," I could not
find it in my heart to bestow it all without a measure of utility.

I shall try to answer some questions which I imagine might be put by
different classes of men who are interested in this part of the west.
My last letter had some hints to the farmer, and I can only add, in
addition, for his benefit, that the most available locations are now a
considerable distance above St. Paul. The valley of the St. Peter's is
pretty much taken up; and so of the valley of the Mississippi for a
distance of fifteen miles on either side to a point a hundred miles
above St. Paul. One of the land officers at Minneapolis informed me
that there were good preemption claims to be had fifteen miles west,
that being as far as the country was thickly settled. One of the
finest regions now unoccupied, that I know of, not to except even the
country on the Crow Wing River, is the land bordering on Otter Tail
Lake. For forty miles all round that lake the land is splendid. More
than a dozen disinterested eye-witnesses have described that region to
me in the most glowing terms. In beauty, in fertility, and in the
various collateral resources which make a farming country desirable,
it is not surpassed. It lies south of the picturesque highlands or
hauteurs des terres, and about midway between the sources of the Crow
Wing and North Red Rivers. From this town the distance to it is sixty
miles. The lake itself is forty miles long and five miles in width.
The water is clear and deep, and abounds with white fish that are
famous for their delicious flavor. The following description, which I
take from Captain Pope's official narrative of his exploration, is a
reliable description of this delightful spot, now fortunately on the
eve of being settled-- " To the west, north-west, and north-east, the
whole country is heavily timbered with oak, elm, ash, maple, birch,
bass, &c., &c. Of these the sugar maple is probably the most valuable,
and in the vicinity of Otter Tail Lake large quantities of maple sugar
are manufactured by the Indians. The wild rice, which exists in these
lakes in the most lavish profusion, constitutes a most necessary
article of food with the Indians, and is gathered in large quantities
in the months of September and October. To the east the banks of the
lake are fringed with heavy oak and elm timber to the width of one
mile. The whole region of country for fifty miles in all directions
around this lake is among the most beautiful and fertile in the world.
The fine scenery of lakes and open groves of oak timber, of winding
streams connecting them, and beautifully rolling country on all sides,
renders this portion of Minnesota the garden spot of the north-west.
It is impossible in a report of this character to describe the feeling
of admiration and astonishment with which we first beheld the charming
country in the vicinity of this lake; and were I to give expression to
my own feelings and opinions in reference to it, I fear they would be
considered the ravings of a visionary or an enthusiast."[1] But let me
say to the speculator that he need not covet any of these broad acres.
There is little chance for him. Before that land can be bought at
public sale or by mere purchasers at private sale, it will, I feel
sure, be entirely occupied by actual settlers. And so it ought to be.
The good of the territory is promoted by that beneficent policy of our
public land laws which gives the actual settler the first and best
chance to acquire a title by preemption.

[1 To illustrate the rapid progress which is going on constantly, I
would remark that in less than a month after leaving Crow Wing, I
received a letter from there informing me that Messrs. Crittenden,
Cathcart, and others had been to Otter Tail Lake and laid out a town
which they call Otter Tail City. The standing and means of the men
engaged in the enterprise, are a sure guaranty of its success.]

Speculators have located a great many land warrants in Minnesota. Some
have been located on lakes, some on swamps, some on excellent land. Of
course the owner, who, as a general thing, is a nonresident, leaves
his land idle for something to "turn up" to make it profitable. There
it stands doing no good, but on the contrary is an encumbrance to the
settler, who has to travel over and beyond it without meeting the face
of a neighbor in its vicinity. The policy of new states is to tax
non-resident landholders at a high rate. When the territory becomes a
state, and is obliged to raise a revenue, some of these fellows
outside, who, to use a phrase common up here, have plastered the
country over with land warrants, will have to keep a lookout for the
tax-gatherer. Now I do not mean to discourage moneyed men from
investing in Minnesota lands. I do not wish to raise any bugbears, but
simply to let them know that hoarding up large tracts of land without
making improvements, and leaving it to increase in value by the toil
and energy of the pioneer, is a way of doing things which is not
popular with the actual settler. But there is a great deal of money to
be made by judicious investments in land. Buying large tracts of land
I believe to be the least profitable speculation, unless indeed the
purchaser knows exactly what he is buying, and is on hand at the
public sale to get the benefit of a second choice. I say second
choice, because the preemptor has had the first choice long ago, and
it may be before the land was surveyed. What I would recommend to
speculators is to purchase in some good town sites. Buy in two or
three, and if one or two happen to prove failures, the profits on the
other will enable you to bear the loss. I know of a man who invested
$6000 at St. Paul six years ago. He has sold over $80,000 worth of the
land, and has as much more left. This is but an ordinary instance. The
advantage of buying lots in a town arises from the rapid rise of the
value of the land, the ready market, and withal the moderate prices at
which they can be procured during the early part of its history.

To such persons as have a desire to come West, and are not inclined to
be farmers, and who have not capital enough to engage in mercantile
business, there is sufficient employment. A new country always opens
avenues of successful business for every industrious man and woman;
more kinds even than I could well enumerate. Every branch of mechanics
needs workmen of all grades; from the boy who planes the rough boards
to the head workman. Teaming affords good employment for young men the
year round. The same may be said of the saw-mills. A great deal of
building is going on constantly; and those who have good trades get
$2.50 per day. I am speaking, of course, of the territory in general.
One of the most profitable kinds of miscellaneous business is
surveying. This art requires the services of large numbers; not only
to survey the public lands, but town sites and the lands of private
individuals. Labor is very high everywhere in the West, whether done
by men, women, or children;-- even the boys, not fourteen years old,
who clean the knives and forks on the steamboats, get $20 a month and
are found. But the best of it all is, that when a man earns a few
dollars he can easily invest it in a piece of land, and double his
money in three months, perhaps in one month. One of the merchant
princes of Boston, the late Col. T. H. Perkins, published a notice in
a Boston paper in 1789, he being then 25, that he would soon embark on
board the ship Astrea for Canton, and that if any one desired to
commit an "adventure" to him, they might be assured of his exertions
for their interests. The practice of sending " adventures" "beyond the
seas" is not so common as it was once; and instead thereof men invest
their funds in western prizes. But let me remark in regard to the fact
I relate, that it shows the true pioneer spirit. Col. Perkins was a
pioneer. His energy led him beyond his counting-room, and he reaped
the reward of his exertions in a great fortune.

I have now a young man in my mind who came to a town ten miles this
side of St. Paul, six months ago, with $500. He commenced trading, and
has already, by good investments and the profits of his business,
doubled his money. Everything that one can eat or wear brings a high
price, or as high as it does in any part of the West. The number of
visitors and emigrants is so large that the productions of the
territory are utterly inadequate to supply the market. Therefore large
quantities of provisions have to be brought up the river from the
lower towns. At Swan River, 100 miles this side of St. Paul, pork is
worth $85. Knowing that pork constitutes a great part of the
"victuals" up this way, though far from being partial to the article,
I tried it when I dined at Swan River to see if it was good, and found
it to be very excellent. Board for laboring men must be about four
dollars a week. For transient guests at Crow Wing it is one dollar a

I have heard it said that money is scarce. It is possible. It
certainly commands a high premium; but the reason is that there are
such splendid opportunities to make fortunes by building and buying
and selling city lots. A man intends that the rent of a house or store
shall pay for its construction in three years. The profits of
adventure justify a man in paying high interest. If a man has money
enough to buy a pair of horses and a wagon, he can defy the world.
These are illustrations to show why one is induced to pay interest. I
do not think, however, money is "tight." I never saw people so free
with their money, or appear to have it in so great abundance.

There is one drawback which this territory has in common with the
greater part of the West, and in fact of the civilized world. It is
not only a drawback, but a nuisance anywhere; I mean drinking or
whiskey shops. The greater proportion of the settlers are temperate
men, I am sure; but in almost every village there are places where the
meanest kind of intoxicating liquor is sold. There are some who sell
liquor to the Indians. But such business is universally considered as
the most degraded that a mean man can be guilty of. It is filthy to
see men staggering about under the influence of bad whiskey, or of any
kind of whiskey. He who sends a young husband to his new cabin home
intoxicated, to mortify and torment his family; or who sells liquor to
the uneducated Indians, that they may fight and murder, must have his
conscience-- if he has any at all-- cased over with sole leather. Mr.
Gough is needed in the West.

Minnesota is not behind in education. Ever since Governor Slade, of
Vermont, brought some bright young school mistresses up to St. Paul
(in 1849), common school education has been diffusing its precious
influences. The government wisely sets apart two sections of land--
the 16th and 36th-- in every township for school purposes. A township
is six miles square; and the two sections thus reserved in each
township comprise 1280 acres. Other territories have the same
provision. This affords a very good fund for educational uses, or
rather it is a great aid to the exertions of the people. There are
some nourishing institutions of learning in the territory. But the
greatest institution after all in the country-- the surest protection
of our liberties and our laws-- is the FREE SCHOOL.



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.

ST. CLOUD, October, 1856.

YESTERDAY morning at seven I took my departure, on the stage, from
Crow Wing. It was a most delightful morning, the air not damp, but
bracing; and the welcome rays of the sun shed a mellow lustre upon a
scene of "sylvan beauty." The first hour's ride was over a road I had
passed in the dark on my upward journey, and this was the first view I
had of the country immediately below Crow Wing. No settlements were to
be seen, because the regulations of military reservations preclude
their being made except for some purpose connected with the public
interests. A heavy shower the night before had effectually laid the
dust, and we bounded along on the easy coach in high spirits. The view
of the prairie stretching "in airy undulations far away," and of the
eddying current of the Mississippi, there as everywhere deep and
majestic, with its banks skirted with autumn-colored foliage, was
enough to commend the old fashioned system of stages to more general
use. Call it poetry or what you please, yet the man who can
contemplate with indifference the wonderful profusion of nature,
undeveloped by art-- inviting, yet never touched by the plough-- must
lack some one of the senses. Indeed, this picture, so characteristic
of the new lands of the West, seems to call into existence a new
sense. The view takes in a broad expanse which has never produced a
stock of grain; and which has been traversed for ages past by a race
whose greatest and most frequent calamity was hunger. If we turn to
its past there is no object to call back our thoughts. All is
oblivion. There are no ruins to awaken curious images of former life--
no vestige of humanity-- nothing but the present generation of nature.
And yet there are traces of the past generations of nature to be seen.
The depressions of the soil here and there to be observed, covered
with a thick meadow grass, are unmistakeable indications of lakes
which have now "vanished into thin air." That these gentle hollows
were once filled with water is the more certain from the appearance of
the shores of the present lakes, where the low water mark seems to
have grown lower and lower every year. But if the past is blank, these
scenes are suggestive of happy reflections as to the future. The long
perspective is radiant with busy life and cheerful husbandry. New
forms spring into being. Villages and towns spring up as if by magic,
along whose streets throngs of men are passing. And thus, as "coming
events cast their shadows before," does the mind wander from the real
to the probable. An hour and a half of this sort of revery, and we had
come to the Fort Ripley ferry, over which we were to go for the mail.
That ferry (and I have seen others on the river like it) is a
marvellous invention. It is a flat-boat which is quickly propelled
either way across the river by means of the resistance which it offers
to the current. Its machinery is so simple I will try to describe it.
In the first place a rope is stretched across the river from elevated
objects on either side. Each end of the boat is made fast to this line
by pullies, which can be taken up or let out at the fastenings on the
boat. All that is required to start the boat is to bring the bow, by
means of the pully, to an acute angle with the current. The after part
of the boat presents the principal resistance to the current by
sliding a thick board into the water from the upper side. As the water
strikes against this, the boat is constantly attempting to describe a
circle, which it is of course prevented from doing by the current, and
so keeps on-- for it must move somewhere-- in a direction where the
obstruction is less. It certainly belongs to the science of
hydraulics, for it is not such a boat as can be propelled by steam or
wind. I had occasion recently to cross the Mississippi on a similar
ferry, early in the morning, and before the ferryman was up. The
proprietor of it was with me; yet neither of us knew much of its
practical operation. I soon pulled the head of the boat towards the
current, but left down the resistance board, or whatever it is called,
at the bow as well as at the stern. This, of course, impeded our
progress; but we got over in a few minutes; and I felt so much
interested in this new kind of navigation, that I would have been glad
to try the voyage over again.

On arriving within the square of the garrison, I expected to find the
mail ready for delivery to the driver; but we had to wait half an
hour. The mail is only weekly, and there was nothing of any
consequence to change. We repaired to the post office, which was in a
remote corner of a store-room, where the postmaster was busy making up
his mail. Some of the officers had come in with documents which they
wished to have mailed. And while we stood waiting, corporals and
privates, servants of other officers brought in letters which
Lieutenant So-and-so "was particularly desirous of having mailed this
morning." The driver was magnanimous enough to submit to me whether we
should wait. We all felt accommodating-- the postmaster I saw was
particularly so-- and we concluded to wait till everything was in, and
perhaps we would have waited for some one to write a letter. I could
not but think it would be a week before another mail day; and still I
could not but think these unnecessary morning hindrances were throwing
a part of our journey into the night hours. Returning again to the
eastern bank of the river by our fine ferry, we soon passed the
spacious residence of Mr. Olmsted, a prominent citizen of the
territory. We made a formal halt at his door to see if there were any
passengers. Mr. Olmsted has a large farm under good cultivation, and
several intelligent young men in his service. In that neighborhood are
some other as handsome farms as I ever saw; but I think they are on
the reservation, and are cultivated under the patronage of the war
department. The winter grain was just up, and its fresh verdure
afforded an agreeable contrast with the many emblems of decaying
nature. It was in the middle of the forenoon that we reached Belle
Prairie, along which are many good farm houses occupied by
half-breeds. There is a church and a school-house. In the cemetery is
a large cross painted black and white, and from its imposing
appearance it cannot fail to make a solemn impression on minds which
revere any tangible object that is consigned sacred. A very
comfortable-looking house was pointed out to me as the residence of a
Catholic priest, who has lived for many years in that section,
spreading among the ignorant a knowledge of Christianity, and
ministering to their wants in the hour of death. And though I am no
Catholic, I could not but regard the superiority of that kind of
preaching-- for visiting the sick, consoling the afflicted, and
rebuking sin by daily admonitions, is the true preaching of the
Gospel-- over the pompous declamation which now too often usurps the

The dinner was smoking hot on the table when we drove up to the hotel
at Swan River; and so charming a drive in the pure air had given me a
keen appetite. The dinner (and I speak of these matters because they
are quite important to travellers) was in all respects worthy of the
appetite. The great staple article of Minnesota soil appears to be
potatoes, for they were never known to be better anywhere else--
Eastport not excepted-- and at our table d'hote they were a grand
collateral to the beef and pork. The dessert consisted of nice home
made apple pies served with generosity, and we had tea or milk or
water, as requested, for a beverage. After partaking of a dinner of
this kind, the rest of the day's journey was looked forward to with no
unpleasant emotions. The stage happened to be lightly loaded, and we
rolled along with steady pace, and amidst jovial talk, till we reached
the thriving, but to me not attractive, town of Watab. Three houses
had been put up within the short time since I had stopped there. We
got into Mr. Gilman's tavern at sundown. I was rejoiced to find a
horse and carriage waiting for me, which had been kindly sent by a
friend to bring me to St. Cloud. It is seven miles from Watab to this
town. It was a charming moonlight evening, and I immediately started
on with the faithful youth who had charge of the carriage, to enjoy my
supper and lodging under the roof of my hospitable friend at St.



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.

ST. CLOUD, October, 1856.

IF I follow the injunction of that most impartial and worthy critic,
Lord Jeffrey, which is, that tourists should describe those things
which make the pleasantest impression on their own minds, I should
begin with an account of the delightful entertainment which genuine
hospitality and courtesy have here favored me with. I passed
Blannerhasset's Island once, and from a view of the scenery, sought
something of that inspiration which, from reading Wirt's glowing
description of it, I thought would be excited; but the reality was far
below my anticipation. If applied to the banks of the Mississippi
River, however, at this place, where the Sauk Rapids terminate, that
charming description would be no more than an adequate picture. The
residence of my friend is a little above the limits of St. Cloud,
midway on the gradual rise from the river to the prairie. It is a neat
white two-story cottage, with a piazza in front. The yard extends to
the water's edge, and in it is a grove of handsome shade trees. Now
that the leaves have fallen, we can sit on the piazza and have a full
view of the river through the branches of the trees. The river is here
very clear and swift, with a hard bottom; and if it were unadorned
with its cheerful foliage-covered banks, the view of it would still
add a charm to a residence. There is a mild tranquillity, blended with
the romance of the scene, admirably calculated to raise in the mind
emotions the most agreeable and serene. For nature is a great
instructor and purifier. As Talfourd says in that charming little
volume of Vacation Rambles, "to commune with nature and grow familiar
with all her aspects, surely softens the manners as much, at the
least, as the study of the liberal arts."

St. Cloud is favorably located on the west bank of the river,
seventy-five miles above St. Paul. It is just enough elevated to have
good drainage facilities, should it become densely populous. For many
years it was the seat of a trading post among the Winnebagoes. But the
date of its start as a town is not more than six months ago; since
when it has been advancing with unsurpassed thrift, on a scale of
affluence and durability. Its main street is surely a street in other
respects than in the name; for it has on either side several neatly
built three-story blocks of stores, around which the gathering of
teams and of people denotes such an activity of business as to dispel
any idea that the place is got up under false pretences. The St. Cloud
advertisements in the St. Paul daily papers contain the cards of about
forty different firms or individuals, which is a sort of index to the
business of the place. A printing press is already in the town, and a
paper will in a few days be issued. There are now two hotels; one of
which (the Stearns House), it is said, cost $9000. A flourishing
saw-mill was destroyed by fire, and in a few weeks another one was
built in its place. An Episcopal church is being erected. The steamer
"H. M. Rice" runs between here and St. Anthony. It is sometimes said
that this is the head of the Upper Mississippi navigation, but such is
not the case. The Sauk Rapids which terminate here are an obstruction
to continuous navigation between St. Anthony and Crow Wing, but after
you get to the latter place (where the river is twenty feet deep)
there is good navigation for two hundred miles. There are several
roads laid out to intersect at St. Cloud, for the construction of
which, I believe, the government has made some appropriation. Town
lots are sold on reasonable terms to those who intend to make
improvements on them, which is the true policy for any town, but the
general market price ranges from $100 to $1000 a lot. The town is not
in the hands of capitalists, though moneyed men are interested in it.
General Lowry is a large proprietor. He lives at Arcadia, just above
the town limits, and has a farm consisting of three hundred acres of
the most splendid land, which is well stocked with cattle and durably
fenced. A better barn, or a neater farmyard than he has, cannot be
found between Boston and Worcester. And while speaking of barns I
would observe that the old New England custom of having good barns is
better observed in Minnesota than anywhere else in the West. General
Lowry has been engaged in mercantile business. He was formerly a
member of the territorial council, and is a very useful and valuable
citizen of the territory.

It would not be more surprising to have Eastern people doubt some of
the statements concerning the growth of Western towns, than it was for
the king of Siam to doubt that there was any part of the world where
water changed from liquid to a hard substance. His majesty knew
nothing about ice. Now, there are a good many handsome villages in the
East which hardly support one store. Not that people in such a village
do not consume as much or live in finer style; but the reason is that
they are old settlers who produce very much that they live on, and
who, by great travelling facilities, are able to scatter their trading
custom into some commercial metropolis. Suppose, however, one of your
large villages to be so newly settled that the people have had no
chance to raise anything from their gardens or their fields, and are
obliged to buy all they are to eat and all that is to furnish their
dwellings, or equip their shops, or stock their farms; then you have a
state of things which will support several stores, and a whole
catalogue of trades. It is a state of affairs which corresponds with
every new settlement in the West; or, indeed, which faintly compares
with the demand for everything merchantable, peculiar in such places.
Then again, besides the actual residents in a new place, who have
money enough in their pockets, but nothing in their cellars, there is
generally a large population in the back country of farmers and no
stores. Such people come to a place like this to trade, for fifteen or
twenty miles back, perhaps; and it being a county seat they have other
objects to bring them. At the same time there is an almost constant
flow of settlers through the place into the unoccupied country to find
preemption claims, who, of course, wish to take supplies with them.
The settler takes a day, perhaps, for his visit in town to trade. Time
is precious with him, and he cannot come often. So he buys, perhaps,
fifty or a hundred dollars worth of goods. These are circumstances
which account for activity of business in these river towns, and
which, though they are strikingly apparent here, are not peculiar to
this town. At first, I confess, it was a mystery to me what could
produce such startling and profitable trade in these new towns.

It was in the immediate vicinity of St. Cloud that Gov. Stevens left
the Mississippi on his exploration, in 1853, of a railroad route to
the Pacific. Several crossings of the river had been previously
examined, and it was found that one of the favorable points for a
railroad bridge over it was here. I might here say that the country
directly west lies in the valley of Sauk River, and from my own
observation I know it to be a good farming country; and I believe the
land is taken up by settlers as far back as twelve miles. It is a
little upwards of a hundred miles in a westerly direction from St.
Cloud to where the expedition first touched the Bois des Sioux (or
Sioux Wood River). Gov. Stevens says in his report-- " The plateau of
the Bois des Sioux will be a great centre of population and
communication. It connects with the valley of the Red River of the
North, navigable four hundred miles for steamers of three or four feet
draught, with forty-five thousand square miles of arable and timber
land; and with the valley of the Minnesota, also navigable at all
seasons when not obstructed by ice, one hundred miles for steamers,
and occasionally a hundred miles further. The head of navigation of
the Red River of the North is within one hundred and ten miles of the
navigable portion of the Mississippi, and is distant only forty miles
from the Minnesota. Eastward from these valleys to the great lakes,
the country on both sides of the Mississippi is rich, and much of it
heavily timbered."

I will also add another remark which he makes, inasmuch as the
character of the country in this latitude, as far as the Pacific
shore, must have great influence on this locality; and it is this: "
Probably four thousand square miles of tillable land is to be found
immediately on the eastern slopes of (the Rocky Mountains); and at the
bottoms of the different streams, retaining their fertility for some
distance after leaving the mountains, will considerably increase this
amount." Mr. John Lambert, the topographer of the exploration, divides
the country between the Mississippi and Columbia rivers, into three
grand divisions. The first includes the vast prairies between the
Mississippi and the base of the Rocky Mountains. The second is the
mountain division, embracing about five degrees of longitude. The
third division comprises the immense plains of the Columbia.

Of the first division-- from here to the foot of the Rocky Mountains--
let me quote what Mr. Lambert in his official report calls a "passing
glance." "Undulating and level prairies, skirted with woods of various
growth, and clothed everywhere with a rich verdure; frequent and rapid
streams, with innumerable small but limpid lakes, frequented by
multitudes of waterfowl, most conspicuous among which appears the
stately swan; these, in ever-recurring succession, make up the
panorama of this extensive district, which may be said to be
everywhere fertile, beautiful, and inviting. The most remarkable
features of this region are the intervals of level prairie, especially
that near the bend of Red River, where the horizon is as unbroken as
that of a calm sea. Nor are other points of resemblance wanting-- the
long grass, which in such places is unusually rank, bending gracefully
to the passing breeze as it sweeps along the plain, gives the idea of
waves (as indeed they are); and the solitary horseman on the horizon
is so indistinctly seen as to complete the picture by the suggestion
of a sail, raising the first feeling of novelty to a character of
wonder and delight. The following outlines of the rolling prairies are
broken only by the small lakes and patches of timber which relieve
them of monotony and enhance their beauty; and though marshes and
sloughs occur, they are of too small extent and too infrequent to
affect the generally attractive character of the country. The
elevation of the rolling prairies is generally so uniform, that even
the summits between streams flowing in opposite directions exhibit no
peculiar features to distinguish them from the ordinary character of
the valley slopes."

I think I cannot do a better service to the emigrant or settler than
to quote a part of the report made by Mr. A. W. Tinkham, descriptive
of his route from St. Paul to Fort Union. His exploration, under Gov.
Stevens, was made in the summer of 1853; and he has evidently given an
impartial account of the country. I begin with it where he crosses the
Mississippi in the vicinity of St. Cloud. The part quoted embraces the
route for a distance of two hundred and ninety-five miles; the first
seventy miles of which was due west-- the rest of the route being a
little north of west.

"June 9. Ferried across the Mississippi River, here some six hundred
to eight hundred feet wide-- boating the camp equipage, provisions,
&c., and swimming the animals; through rich and fertile prairies,
variegated with the wooded banks of Sauk River, a short distance on
the left, with the wooded hills on either side, the clustered growth
of elm, poplar, and oak, which the road occasionally touches;
following the 'Red River trail,' we camp at Cold Spring Brook, with
clear, cool water, good grass, and wood.

"June 10. Cold Spring Brook is a small brook about ten feet across,
flowing through a miry slough, which is very soft and deep, and
previous to the passage of the wagons, had, for about two hundred feet
distance, been bridged in advance by a causeway of round or split logs
of the poplar growth near by; between this and the crossing of Sauk
River are two other bad sloughs, over one of which are laid logs of
poplar, and over the other the wagons were hauled by hand, after first
removing the loads. Sauk River is crossed obliquely with a length of
ford some three hundred feet-- depth of water four-and-a-half to five
feet; goods must be boated or rafted over, the river woods affording
the means of building a raft; camped immediately after crossing; wood,
water, and grass good and abundant.

"June 11. Over rolling prairies, without wood on the trail, although
generally in sight on the right or left, with occasional small ponds
and several bad sloughs, across which the wagons were hauled over by
hand to Lake Henry-- a handsome, wooded lake; good wood and grass;
water from small pond; not very good.

"June 13. Passing over rolling prairies to a branch of Crow River, the
channel of which is only some twenty feet wide and four or five feet
deep; but the water makes back into the grass one hundred feet or more
from the channel as early in the season as when crossed by the train.
Goods boated over; wagons by hand and with ropes; no wood on the
stream; several small lakes, not wooded, are on either side of the
trail, with many ducks, geese, and plovers on them: encamp at
Lightning Lake, a small and pretty lake, sufficiently well wooded on
the borders for camping purposes; good water, wood, and grass, and
abounding with fish.

"June 18. Over rolling prairie with small pools and marshes, to a
swift running stream about twenty feet wide, three feet deep, a branch
of Chippewa River; heavily rolling ground with stony knolls and
granite boulders, to White Bear Lake, a large handsome lake, with
mingled open and woodland.

"Broken rolling ground to camp, a mile off the Red River trail, and
near a small wooded lake. Two small brooks have to be crossed in the
interval, and being somewhat deep and with abrupt sides, are
troublesome crossings.

"June 20. Rolling prairie country, with small marshes and ponds to a
tributary of South Branch. Swift running stream, gravelly bottom,
fifteen feet wide, three to four feet deep; with care in selection
good crossing was obtained for the wagons; a wooded lake is a short
distance to the right of trail.

"Small rivulet, whose banks are marshy and soft.

"Prairies, with small marshes and ponds to a swift running brook, six
feet wide.

"Prairie to Pike Lake and camp of St. Grover; a handsome lake of about
a mile in diameter, said to abound in pike; well wooded on its south
border; grass, water, and wood, for camping, abundant and good.

"Rolling prairie with knolls; several ponds and marshes, with an
intervening brook about six feet wide, and rather difficult of
passage, from the abruptness of its banks, to a small brook, the
outlet of a small and partially wooded lake or pond.

"Rolling prairie, with grassy, swelling knolls, small ponds and
marshes, to Chippeway River; camp of odometer wagon on edge of river;
water and grass good; no wood.

"June 24. Crossed Chippeway River, one hundred and twenty-four feet
wide, three to six feet deep; goods boated over, and the animals
swimming; wagon hauled through the water by a rope attached to the
tongue, and with the aid of the mules; camped on Elk Lake, a small and
pretty lake, well wooded, and with luxuriant grass; good water.

"June 25. Trail passes over prairies with a rich heavy grass (this is
a hundred miles west of the Mississippi River), about eighteen inches
high, winding between wooded lakes to a heavy ravine, with a small and
sluggish rivulet in its bottom; sides steep, and laborious for the
wagon train.

"Prairie sloping towards the western branch of the Chippeway River; a
stream when crossed, about one hundred and forty feet wide, three or
four feet deep, with a marked current and firm bottom; no wood.

"Camp on a small lake, fairly wooded, with luxuriant grass, and good

"June 27. Undulating prairie, rich soil, covered with a heavy growth
of grass, with small ponds and marshes; woods continue in sight a
short distance on the left of Elbow Lake, a well wooded lake, of form
indicated by its name.

"Rolling prairie, with two bad sloughs, to Rabbit River, which is
crossed with the wagon with but little difficulty, where it issues
from a small lake. It is a small stream, but spreads out from one
hundred to three hundred feet, with marshy borders; camp on the small
lake, with good grass, wood, and water.

"June 28. Rolling ground, with small ponds and marshes, to a small
brook twelve feet wide; the Bois des Sioux prairie, a smooth, flat
prairie, without knoll or undulation-- an immense plain, apparently
level, covered with a tall, coarse, dark-colored grass, and unrelieved
with the sight of a tree or shrub; firm bottom, but undoubtedly wet in
spring; small brook, when the train made a noon halt.

"Same smooth prairie as above to Bois des Sioux River, sometimes soft
and miry; camp on river bank; wood and grass good-- river water fair;
many catfish caught in the river.

"June 29. Cross Bois des Sioux River; seventy feet wide, four to seven
feet deep; muddy bottom; steep and miry banks; goods boated over;
wagons hauled through, light, with ropes; bad crossing, but passable;
smooth flat prairie, as on the east side of Bois des Sioux,
occasionally interrupted with open sloughs to Wild Rice River, and
camp with wood, water, and abundant grass.

"June 30. Wild Rice River, about forty feet wide and five and a half
feet deep, with muddy and miry bottom and sides, flowing in a
canal-like channel, some twenty feet below prairie level; river
skirted with elm-- bridged from the steep banks, being too miry to
sustain the animals, detaining the train but little more than
half-a-day; small brook without wood, flowing in a broad channel cut
out through the prairie; crossing miry, but made passable for the
wagon by strewing the bottom with mown grass.

"Firm prairie to camp on edge of above small stream; good grass and
water; no wood; elk killed by hunter.

"July 1. Smooth prairie extending to Shayenne River; sand knolls,
ponds, and marshes frequent as the river is approached. The marshes
were not miry-- firmer bottom; good wagon road; night encampment on
bank of river; sufficient grass for train; wood abundant; river water
good; many catfish caught in river.

"July 2. Shayenne River, sixty feet wide, fourteen feet deep; river
had been previously bridged by Red River train, from the poplars and
other trees growing on the river, and this bridge we made use of in
crossing our wagons; camp on the west bank of the river; water, wood,
and grass good.

"July 4. Prairie undulation, interrupted with marshes, small ponds and
occasional small rivulets, to Maple River, about twenty-five feet
wide, three and a half feet deep, firm bottom, and easily passed by
the wagons; river tolerably well wooded, and the camp on its edge is
furnished with water, wood, and good grass. The rich black soil of the
valley of this stream is noticeable.

"July 5. To a small stream thirty feet wide, two feet deep, clayey
bottom, easily crossed by the wagons; prairie high, firm, and almost
level for some thirteen miles, becoming more rolling and with small
ponds in the last seven miles of the march; on the edge of some of the
ponds are salt incrustations; camp on the river; water good; grass
good; no wood, and the bois de vache is used for fuel.

"July 6. Country wet and marshy; not a tree in sight; prairie with low
ridges and knolls, and great number of ponds and marshes; night's camp
by a small pond; no wood, but plenty of bois de vache; grass good.

"July 7. Approaching the Shayenne; country as yesterday for some half
dozen miles; bordering on the river the ground is broken with deep
coulees and ravines, and to keep away from them the train kept at some
distance from the river, encamping by a small marshy pond; no wood;
plenty of bois de vache; grass good; water tolerable; first buffalo
killed to-day.

"July 8. Prairie swelling with ridges; descend to the Shayenne, which
flows some one hundred and fifty to two hundred feet below the prairie
by a steep hill; camp in the bottom of the river; wood and water good;
grass rather poor; the bottom of the Shayenne, some half a mile wide,
is often soft and miry, but when crossed by the train firm and dry.

"July 9. Cross the Shayenne, fifty feet wide, three and a half feet
deep; immediate banks some ten feet high, and requiring some digging
to give passage to the wagons.

"Prairie with swelling ridges and occasional marshes to camp, to a
slough affording water and grass; no wood; buffalo very abundant.

"July 10. Prairie swelling into ridges and hills, with a frequency of
marshes, ponds, and sloughs; camp at a pretty lake, near Lake Jessie;
fairly wooded, with water slightly saline; grass scanty, having been
consumed by the buffalo. Prairies covered with buffalo."

I take this valuable sketch of the natural features of the country
from volume 1 of Explorations and Surveys for the Pacific Railroad
(page 353-356); for which I am indebted to the learned Secretary of



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.

ST. PAUL, October, 1856.

I WAS up by the gray dawn of the morning of yesterday, and after an
early but excellent breakfast, crossed the river from St. Cloud, in
order to meet the stage at Sauk Rapids. As we came up on the main
road, the sight of a freshly made rut, of stage-wheel size, caused
rather a disquieting apprehension that the stage had passed. But my
nerves were soon quieted by the assurance from an early hunter, who
was near by shooting prairie chickens while they were yet on the
roost, that the stage had not yet come. So we kept on to the spacious
store where the post office is kept; where I waited and waited for the
stage to come which was to bring me to St. Paul. It did not arrive
till eight o'clock. I thought if every one who had a part to perform
in starting off the stage from Watab (for it had started out from
there that morning), was obliged to make the entire journey of 80
miles to St. Paul in the stage, they would prefer to get up a little
earlier rather than have the last part of the trip extended into "the
dead waist and middle of the night." I remarked to the driver, who is
a very clever young man, that the stage which left St. Paul started as
early as five o'clock, and I could not see why it was not as necessary
to start as early in going down, inasmuch as the earlier we started
the less of the night darkness we had to travel in. He perfectly
agreed with me, and attributed his inability to start earlier to the
dilatory arrangements at the hotel. When jogging along at about eleven
at night between St. Anthony and the city, I could not help begrudging
every minute of fair daylight which had been wasted. The theory of
Judge Story, that it don't make much difference when a man gets up in
the morning, provided he is wide awake after he is up, will do very
well, perhaps, except when one is to start on a journey in the stage.

I took a seat by the driver's side, the weather being clear and mild,
and had an unobstructed and delightful view of every object, and there
seemed to be none but pleasant objects in range of the great highway.
Though there is, between every village, population enough to remind
one constantly that he is in a settled country, the broad extent yet
unoccupied proclaims that there is still room enough. Below Sauk
Rapids a good deal of the land on the road side is in the hands of
speculators. This, it is understood, is on the east side of the
Mississippi. On the west side there are more settlements. But yet
there are many farms, with tidy white cottages; and in some places are
to be seen well-arranged flower-gardens. The most attractive scenery
to me, however, was the ample corn-fields, which, set in a groundwork
of interminable virgin soil, are pictures which best reflect the true
destiny and usefulness of an agricultural region. We met numerous
teams heavily laden with furniture or provisions, destined for the
different settlements above. The teams are principally drawn by two
horses; and, as the road is extremely level and smooth, are capable of
taking on as much freight as under other circumstances could be drawn
by four horses. Mules do not appear to be appreciated up this way so
much as in Missouri or Kentucky. Nor was it unusual to meet light
carriages with a gentleman and lady, who, from the luggage, &c.,
aboard, appeared to have been on somewhat of an extensive shopping
expedition. And I might as well say here, if I havn't yet said it,
that the Minnesotians are supplied with uncommonly good horses. I do
not remember to have seen a mean horse in the territory. I suppose, as
considerable pains are taken in raising stock, poor horses are not
raised at all; and it will not pay to import poor ones. A company of
surveyors whom we met excited a curiosity which I was not able to
solve. It looked odd enough to see a dozen men walking by the side or
behind a small one-horse cart; the latter containing some sort of
baggage which was covered over, as it appeared, with camping fixtures.
It was more questionable whether the team belonged to the men than
that the men were connected with the team. The men were mostly young
and very intelligent-looking, dressed with woollen shirts as if for
out door service, and I almost guessed they were surveyors; yet still
thought they were a party of newcomers who had concluded to club
together to make their preemption claim. But surveyors they were.

The town of Humboldt is the county seat for Sherburne county. It lies
between the Mississippi and Snake rivers. The part of the town which I
saw was a very small part. Mr. Brown's residence, which is
delightfully situated on the shore of a lake, is at once the court
house and the post office, besides being the general emporium and
magnate of Humboldt business and society. Furthermore, it is the place
where the stage changes horses and where passengers on the down trip
stop to dine. It was here we stopped to dine; and as the place had
been a good deal applauded for its table-d'hote, a standard element of
which was said to be baked fish, right out of the big lake, I at least
had formed very luxurious expectations. Mr. Brown was away. We had met
his lively countenance on his way up to a democratic caucus. Perhaps
that accounted for our not having baked fish, for fish we certainly
did not have. The dinner was substantial, however, and yielded to
appetites which had been sharpened by a half day's inhalation of
serene October air. We had all become infused with a spirit of
despatch; and were all ready to start, and did start, in half an hour
from the time we arrived at the house.

We had not proceeded far after dinner before meeting the Monticello
stage, which runs between the thriving village of that name-- on the
west bank of the Mississippi-- and St. Paul. It carries a daily mail.
There were several passengers aboard.

One little incident in our afternoon travel I will mention, as it
appeared to afford more pleasure to the rest of the passengers than it
did to me. Where the stage was to stop for fifteen or twenty minutes,
either to change mail or horses, I had invariably walked on a mile, if
I could get as far, for the sake of variety and exercise. So when we
came to the pretty village of Anoka (at the mouth of Rum River), where
the mail was to be changed, I started on foot and alone. But
unfortunately and unconsciously I took the wrong road. I had walked a
mile I think-- for twenty minutes at least had expired since I
started-- and being in the outskirts of the town, in the midst of
farms and gardens, turned up to a garden-fence, on the other side of
which a gentleman of professional-- I rather thought clerical
appearance-- was feeding a cow on pumpkins. I had not seen pumpkins so
abundant since my earliest youth, when I used to do a similar thing. I
rather thought too that the gentleman whom I accosted was a Yankee,
and after talking a few minutes with him, so much did he exceed me in
asking questions, that I felt sure he was one. How thankful I ought to
be that he was one! for otherwise it is probable he would not have
ascertained where, and for what purpose, I was walking. He informed me
I was on the wrong road; that the stage took a road further west,
which was out of sight; and that I had better go on a little further
and then cross the open prairie. Then for the first time did I notice
that the road I had taken was but a street, not half so much worn as
the main road. I followed his friendly advice, and feeling some
despair I hastened on at a swift run, and as I advanced towards where
I thought the right road ought to be, though I could neither see it
nor the stage, "called so loud that all the hollow deep of"-- the
prairies might have resounded. At last, when quite out of breath and
hoarse with loud vociferation, I descried the stage rolling on at a
rapid rate. Then I renewed my calls, and brought it up standing. After
clambering over a few fences, sweating and florid, I got to the stage
and resumed my seat, amidst the pleasant merriment of the passengers.
The driver was kind enough to say that he began to suspect I had taken
the wrong road, and was about to turn round and come after me-- that
he certainly would not have left me behind, &c. I was happy,
nevertheless, that my mistake did not retard the stage. But I do not
intend to abandon the practice of walking on before the stage whenever
it stops to change horses.

Just in the edge of twilight, and when we were a little way this side
of Coon Creek, where we had changed horses again, we came in sight of
a large fire. It was too much in one spot to be a prairie fire; and as
we drove on the sad apprehension that it was a stack of hay was
confirmed. The flames rose up in wide sheets, and cast a steady glare
upon the landscape. It was a gorgeous yet a dismal sight. It always
seems worse to see grain destroyed by fire than ordinary merchandise.
Several stacks were burning. We saw that the usual precaution against
prairie fires had been taken. These consist in ploughing several
furrows around the stack, or by burning the grass around it to prevent
the flames from reaching it. It was therefore suspected that some
rascal had applied the torch to the hay; though for humanity's sake we
hoped it was not so. The terrible prairie fires, which every autumn
waste the western plains, are frequently started through the gross
carelessness of people who camp out, and leave their fires burning.

Some of us took supper at St. Anthony. I cannot say much of the hotel
de facto. The table was not as good as I found on the way at other
places above. There is a hotel now being built there out of stone,
which I am confident will exceed anything in the territory, if we
except the Fuller House. It is possible we all felt invigorated and
improved by the supper, for we rode the rest of the way in a very
crowded stage without suffering any exhibition of ill temper to speak
of, and got into St. Paul at last, when it was not far from eleven;
and after seventy-five miles of staging, the luxurious accommodations
of the Fuller House seemed more inviting than ever.



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

ST. PAUL, October, 1856.

THE progress which has characterized the settlement of the territory
of Minnesota, presents to the notice of the student of history and
political economy some important facts. The growth of a frontier
community, so orderly, so rapid, and having so much of the
conservative element in it, has rarely been instanced in the annals of
the world. In less time than it takes the government to build a custom
house we see an unsettled territory grown to the size of a respectable
state, in wealth, in population, in power. A territory, too, which ten
years ago seemed to be an incredible distance from the civilized
portions of the country; and which was thought by most people to be in
a latitude that would defeat the energy and the toil of man. Today it
could bring into the field a larger army than Washington took command
of at the beginning of our revolution!

In 1849, the year of its organization, the population of the territory
was 4780; now it is estimated to be nearly 200,000. In 1852 there were
42 post offices in the territory, now there are 253. The number of
acres of public land sold during the fiscal year ending 30th June,
1852, was 15,258. For the year ending 30th June, 1856, the number of
acres sold was 1,002,130.

When we contemplate the headlong progress of Western growth in its
innumerable evidences of energy, we admit the truth of what the Roman
poet said-- nil mortalibus ardum est-- that there is nothing too
difficult for man. In the narrative of his exploration to the
Mississippi in 1820, along with General Cass, Mr. Schoolcraft tells us
how Chicago then appeared. "We found," says he, "four or five families
living here." Four or five families was the extent of the population
of Chicago in 1820! In 1836 it had 4853 inhabitants. In 1855 its
population was 85,000. The history of many western towns that have
sprung up within ten years is characterized by much the same sort of
thrift. Unless some terrible scourge shall come to desolate the land,
or unless industry herself shall turn to sloth, a few more years will
present the magnificent spectacle of the entire domain stretching from
this frontier to the Pacific coast, transformed into a region of
culture, "full of life and splendor and joy."

At present there are no railroads in operation in Minnesota; but those
which are already projected indicate, as well as any statistics, the
progress which is taking place. The Chicago, St. Paul, and Fond-du-Lac
Railroad was commenced some two years ago at Chicago, and over 100
miles of it are completed. It is to run via Hudson in Wisconsin,
Stillwater, St. Paul, and St. Anthony in Minnesota to the western
boundary of the territory. Recently it has united with the Milwaukee
and La Cross Road, which secures several millions of acres of valuable
land, donated by congress, and which will enable the stockholders to
complete the road to St. Paul and St. Anthony within two years. A road
has been surveyed from the head of Lake Superior via St. Paul to the
southern line of the territory, and will soon be worked. The Milwaukee
and Mississippi Railroad Company will in a few weeks have their road
completed to Prairie du Chien, and are extending it on the east side
of the Mississippi to St. Paul. Another road is being built up the
valley of the Red Cedar River in Iowa to Minneapolis. The Keokuck road
is in operation over fifty miles, and will soon be under contract to
St. Paul. This road is to run via the valley of the Des Moines River,
through the rich coal fields of Iowa, and will supply the upper
Mississippi and Lake Superior region with coal.

The Green Bay and Minnesota Railroad Company has been organized and
the route selected. This road will soon be commenced. The active men
engaged in the enterprise reside in Green Bay and Stillwater. A
company has been formed and will soon commence a road from Winona to
the western line of the territory. The St. Anthony and St. Paul
Railroad Company will have their line under contract early the coming
season. The Milwaukee and La Cross Company propose continuing their
road west through the valley of Root River, through Minnesota to the
Missouri River. Another company has been formed for building a road
from the head of Lake Superior to the Red River of the North.[1] Such
are some of the railroad enterprises which are under way, and which
will contribute at an early day to develop the opulent resources of
the territory. A railroad through this part of the country to the
Pacific is among the probable events of the present generation.

[1 The following highly instructive article on navigation, I take from
The Pioneer and Democrat (St. Paul), of the 20th November:


-- About ten years after the first successful attempt at steamboat
navigation on the Ohio River, the first steamboat that ever ascended
the Upper Mississippi River to Fort Snelling, arrived at that post.
This was the 'Virginia,' a stern-wheel boat, which arrived at the Port
in the early part of May, 1823. From 1823 to 1844 there were but few
arrivals each year-- sometimes not more than two or three. The
steamers running on the Upper Mississippi, at that time, were used
altogether to transport supplies for the Indian traders and the troops
stationed at Fort Snelling. Previous to the arrival of the Virginia,
keel boats were used for this purpose, and sixty days' time, from St.
Louis to the Fort, was considered a good trip.

"By a reference to our files, we are enabled to present, at a glance,
the astonishing increase in steamboating business since 1844. The
first boat to arrive that year, was the Otter, commanded by Captain
Harris. The following table presents the number of arrivals since that


First Boat

No. of Arrivals

River Closed


April 6


Nov. 23


April 6


Nov. 26


March 31


Dec. 5


April 7


Nov. 29


April 7


Dec. 4


April 9


Dec. 7


April 9


Dec. 4


April 4


Nov. 28


April 16


Nov. 18


April 11


Nov. 30


April 8


Nov. 27


April 17


Nov. 20


April 18


Nov. 10

"In 1851, three boats went up the Minnesota River, and in 1852, one
boat ran regularly up that stream during the season. In 1853, the
business required an average of one boat per day. In 1854, the
business had largely increased, and in 1855, the arrivals of steamers
from the Minnesota, amounted to 119.

"The present season, on the Mississippi, has been a very prosperous
one, and the arrivals at St. Paul exhibit a gratifying increase over
any preceding year, notwithstanding the season of navigation has been
two weeks shorter than last season. Owing to the unusually early gorge
in the river at Hastings, upwards of fifty steamers bound for this
port, and heavily laden with merchandise and produce, were compelled
to discharge their cargoes at Hastings and Stillwater.

"Navigation this season opened on the 18th of April. The Lady Franklin
arrived on the evening of that day from Galena. Previous to her
arrival, there had been eighteen arrivals at our landing from the head
of Lake Pepin, and twelve arrivals at the foot of the lake, from
Galena and Dubuque.

"During the present season, seventy-eight different steamers have
arrived at our wharf, from the points mentioned in the following
table. This table we draw mainly from the books of the City Marshal,
and by reference to our files.

                           FROM ST. LOUIS.


No. of Trips.

Ben Coursin


A. G. Mason






Golden State








James Lyon




New York






Forest Rose


Ben Bolt


J. P. Tweed


Fire Canoe




Julia Dean






Thomas Scott




W. G. Woodside


York State


Mattie Wayne




Dan Convers






Minnesota Belle






Grace Darling




Fairy Queen


Saint Louis






Jacob Traber


White Bluffs






Lucie May


Badger State


Sam Young





Total arrivals from St. Louis,


                          FROM FULTON CITY.

Falls City




H. T. Yeatman


Time and Tide



Total from Fulton City,


                      FROM GALENA AND DUNLEITH.

Lady Franklin






Royal Arch


Northern Belle




War Eagle


City Belle


Golden Era


Ocean Wave


Granite State


Greek Slave



Total from Galena and Dunleith,


                            FROM DUBUQUE.



Kate Cassel






Fanny Harris







Total from Dubuque,


                        FROM MINNESOTA RIVER.

H. T. Yeatman








H. S. Allen


Time and Tide






Minnesota Valley





Total from Minnesota River,



Number of arrivals from

St. Louis


Fulton City


Galena and Dunleith




Minnesota River


head of Lake Pepin



Whole number of boats, 78.
Whole number of arrivals, 837

"It will be seen from the above, that ten more steamers have been
engaged in this trade during the present year than last; while in the
whole number of arrivals the increase has been two hundred and

"The business on the Minnesota has greatly increased this year. This
was to have been expected, considering the great increase in the
population of that flourishing portion of our Territory.

"A thriving trade has sprung up between the southern counties of
Minnesota, and Galena and Dubuque. During the greater portion of the
summer, the War Eagle and Tishimingo run regularly to Winona.

"On the Upper Mississippi there are now three steamers, the Gov.
Ramsay, H. M. Rice, and North Star (new). Daring the season these
boats ran between St. Anthony and Sauk Rapids."]

It may be well to pause here a moment and inquire into the causes
which contribute so wonderfully to build up empire in our
north-western domain. The territorial system of the United States has
some analogy, it is true, to the colonial system of Great Britain--
not the colonial system which existed in the days of the stamp act--
but that which a wiser statesmanship has more recently inaugurated.
The relation between the general government and our territories is
like that of guardian and ward-- the relation of a protector, not that
of a master. Nor can we find in the history of antiquity any such
relationship between colonies and the mother country, whether we
consider the system of Phoenicia, where first was exhibited the
doctrine of non-intervention, or the tribute-paying colonies of
Carthage. That system which was peculiar to Greece, "resting not on
state contrivances and economical theories, but on religious
sympathies and ancestral associations," came as near perhaps in spirit
to ours as any on record. The patronage which the government bestows
on new territories is one of the sources of their growth which ought
not to be overlooked. Instead of making the territory a dependency and
drawing from it a tax, the government pays its political expenses,
builds its roads, and gives it a fair start in the world.

Another cause of the successful growth of our territories in general,
and of Minnesota in particular, is the ready market which is found in
the limits of the territory for everything which can be raised from a
generous soil or wrought by industrious hands. The farmer has a ready
market for everything that is good to eat or to wear; the artisan is
driven by unceasing demands upon his skill. This arises from extensive
emigration. Another reason, also, for the rapid growth of the
territory, is, that the farmer is not delayed by forests, but finds,
outside of pleasant groves of woodland, a smooth, unencumbered soil,
ready for the plough the first day he arrives.

But if a salubrious climate, a fertile soil, clear and copious
streams, and other material elements, can be reckoned among its
physical resources, there are other elements of empire connected with
its moral and political welfare which are indispensable. Why is it
that Italy is not great? Why is it the South American republics are
rusting into abject decay? Is it because they have not enough physical
resources, or because their climate is not healthy? Certainly not. It
is because their political institutions are rotten and oppressive;
because ignorance prevents the growth of a wholesome public opinion.
It is the want of the right sort of men and institutions that there is

          "Sloth in the mart and schism within the temple."

"Let states that aim at greatness," says Lord Bacon, "take heed how
their nobility and gentlemen do multiply too fast; for that maketh the
common subject to be a peasant and base swain, driven out of heart,
and, in effect, but a gentleman's laborer." He who seeks for the true
cause of the greatness and thrift of our northwestern states will find
it not less in the influence of just laws and the education of all
classes of men, than in the existence of productive fields and in the
means of physical wealth.

      "What constitutes a state?
  Not high raised battlement, or labored mound,
       Thick wall, or moated gate;
  Not cities proud, with spires and turrets crowned;
       Not bays and broad armed ports,
  Where, laughing at the storm, proud navies ride;
       But men, high minded men.



FROM THE BOSOM OF OUR WESTERN WILDS."-- The President's Annual Message
for 1856.


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.

THE territory of Minnesota according to its present boundaries
embraces an area of 141,839 square miles exclusive of water;-- a
domain four times as large as the State of Ohio, and twelve times as
large as Holland, when her commerce was unrivalled and her fleets
ruled the sea. Its limits take in three of the largest rivers of North
America; the Mississippi, the Missouri, and the Red River of the
North. Though remote from the sea board, ships can go out from its
harbors to the ocean in two if not three different channels. Its
delightful scenery of lakes and water-falls, of prairie and woodland,
are not more alluring to the tourist, than are its invigorating
climate and its verdant fields attractive to the husbandman. It has
been organized seven years; and its resources have become so much
developed, and its population so large, there is a general disposition
among the people to have a state organization, and be admitted into
the Confederacy of the Union.[1] A measure of this kind is not now
premature: on the contrary, it is not for the interest of the general
government any longer to defray the expenses of the territory; and the
adoption of a state organization, throwing the taxes upon the people,
would give rise to a spirit of rivalry and emulation, a watchfulness
as to the system of public expenditures, and a more jealous regard for
the proper development of the physical resources of the state. The
legislature which meets in January (1857), will without doubt take the
subject into consideration, and provide for a convention to frame a

[1 On the 9th of December Mr. Rice, the delegate in congress from
Minnesota, gave notice to the house that he would in a few days
introduce a bill authorizing the people of the territory to hold a
convention for the purpose of forming a state constitution.]

This being the condition of things, the manner in which the territory
shall be divided-- for no one can expect the new state will embrace
the whole extent of the present territory-- becomes a very interesting
question. Some maintain, I believe, that the territory should be
divided by a line running east and west. That would include in its
limits the country bordering, for some distance, on the Missouri
River; possibly the head of navigation of the Red River of the North.
But it is hardly probable that a line of this description would give
Minnesota any part of Lake Superior. Others maintain that the
territory should be divided by a line running north and south; say,
for instance, along the valley of the Red River of the North. Such a
division would not give Minnesota any of the Missouri River. But it
would have the benefit of the eastern valley of the Red River of the
North; of the entire region surrounding the sources of the
Mississippi; and of the broad expanse which lies on Lake Superior. The
question is highly important, not only to Minnesota, but to the
territory which will be left outside of it; and it should be decided
with a due regard to the interests of both.[1]

[1 I take pleasure in inserting here a note which I have had the honor
to receive from Captain Pope, of the Corps of Topographical Engineers
I have before had occasion to quote from the able and instructive
report of his exploration of Minnesota.

WASHINGTON, D. C. Dec. 10, 1856.

DEAR SIR:-- Your note of the 6th instant is before me; and I will
premise my reply by saying that the suggestions I shall offer to your
inquiries are based upon my knowledge of the condition of the
territory in 1849, which circumstances beyond my acquaintance may have
materially modified since.

The important points to be secured for the new state to be erected in
the territory of Minnesota, seem to be:-- first a harbor on Lake
Superior, easily accessible from the West; second, the whole course of
the Mississippi to the Iowa line; and, third, the head of navigation
of the Red River of the North. It is unnecessary to point out the
advantages of securing these features to the new state; and to do so
without enclosing too many square miles of territory, I would suggest
the following boundaries, viz.:

Commencing on the 49th parallel of latitude, where it is intersected
by the Red River of the North, to follow the line of deepest water of
that river to the mouth of the Bois des Sioux (or Sioux Wood) River;
thence up the middle of that stream to the south-west point of Lake
Traverse; thence following a due south line to the northern boundary
of the state of Iowa (43 degrees 30' north latitude); thence along
this boundary line to the Mississippi River; thence up the middle of
the Mississippi River to the mouth of the St. Croix River; thence
along the western boundary line of the state of Wisconsin to its
intersection with the St. Louis River; thence down the middle of that
river to Lake Superior; thence following the coast of the lake to its
intersection with the boundary line between the United States and the
British possessions, and following this boundary to the place of

These boundaries will enclose an area of about 65,000 square miles of
the best agricultural and manufacturing region in the territory, and
will form a state of unrivalled advantages. That portion of the
territory set aside by the boundary line will be of little value for
many years to come. It presents features differing but little from the
region of prairie and table land west of the frontier of Missouri and
Arkansas. From this, of course, are to be excepted the western half of
the valley of the Red River and of the Big Sioux River, which are as
productive as any portion of the territory, which, with the region
enclosed between them, would contain arable land sufficient for
another state of smaller dimensions.

As you will find stated and fully explained in my report of February,
1850, the valley of the Red River of the North must find an outlet for
its productions towards the south, either through the great lakes or
by the Mississippi River. The necessity, therefore, of connecting the
head of its navigation with a harbor on Lake Superior, and a port on
the Mississippi, is sufficiently apparent. As each of these lines of
railroad will run through the most fertile and desirable portion of
the territory, they will have a value far beyond the mere object of
transporting the products of the Red River valley.

The construction of these roads-- in fact the mere location of them--
will secure a population along the routes at once, and will open a
country equal to any in the world.

As these views have been fully elaborated in my report of 1850, I
refer you to that paper for the detailed information upon which these
views and suggestions are based.

I am sir, respectfully, your obedient servant;

                                                            JNO. POPE.
                                                  C. C. ANDREWS, Esq.,
                                                    Washington, D. C.]

If the division last mentioned-- or one on that plan-- is made, there
will then be left west of the state of Minnesota an extent of country
embracing more than half of the territory as it now is; extending from
latitude 42 degrees 30' to the 49th degree; and embracing six degrees
of longitude-- 97th to 103d-- at its northern extreme. The Missouri
River would constitute nearly the whole of its western boundary. In
the northerly part the Mouse and Pembina Rivers are among its largest
streams; in the middle flows the large and finely wooded Shayenne,
"whose valley possesses a fertile soil and offers many inducements to
its settlement;" while towards the south it would have the Jacques,
the Big Sioux, the Vermillion, and the head waters of the St. Peter's.
In its supply of copious streams, nature seems there to have been
lavish. Of the Big Sioux River, M. Nicollet says, its Indian name
means that it is continuously lined with wood; that its length cannot
be less than three hundred and fifty miles. "It flows through a
beautiful and fertile country; amidst which the Dacotahs, inhabiting
the valleys of the St. Peter's and Missouri, have always kept up
summer establishments on the borders of the adjoining lakes, whilst
they hunted the river banks. Buffalo herds are confidently expected to
be met with here at all seasons of the year." The Jacques (the Indian
name of which is Tchan-sansan) "takes its rise on the plateau of the
Missouri beyond the parallel of 47 degrees north; and after pursuing
nearly a north and south course, empties into the Missouri River below
43 degrees. It is deemed navigable with small hunting canoes for
between five hundred and six hundred miles; but below Otuhuoja, it
will float much larger boats. The shores of the river are generally
tolerably well wooded, though only at intervals. Along those portions
where it widens into lakes, very eligible situations for farms would
be found." The same explorer says, the most important tributary of the
Jacques is the Elm River, which "might not deserve any special mention
as a navigable stream, but is very well worthy of notice on account of
the timber growing on its own banks and those of its forks." He
further observes (Report, p. 46) that "the basin of the river Jacques,
between the two coteaux and in the latitude of Otuhuoja, may be laid
down as having a breadth of eighty miles, sloping gradually down from
an elevation of seven hundred to seven hundred and fifty feet. These
dimensions, of course, vary in the different parts of the valley; but
what I have said will convey some idea of the immense prairie watered
by the Tchan-sansan, which has been deemed by all travellers to those
distant regions perhaps the most beautiful within the territory of the
United States."

The middle and northern part comprises an elevated plain, of average
fertility and tolerably wooded. Towards the south it is characterized
by bold undulations. The valley of the Missouri is narrow; and the
bluffs which border upon it are abrupt and high. The country is
adapted to agricultural pursuits, and though inferior as a general
thing to much of Minnesota, affords promise of thrift and properity in
its future. It is blessed with a salubrious climate. Dr. Suckley, who
accompanied the expedition of Gov. Stevens through that part of the
West, as far as Puget Sound, says in his official report: "On
reviewing the whole route, the unequalled and unparalleled good health
of the command during a march of over eighteen hundred miles appears
remarkable; especially when we consider the hardships and exposures
necessarily incident to such a trip. Not a case of ague or fever
occurred. Such a state of health could only be accounted for by the
great salubrity of the countries passed through, and their freedom
from malarious or other endemic disease."

Governor Stevens has some comprehensive remarks concerning that part
of the country in his report. "The Grand Plateau of the Bois des Sioux
and the Mouse River valley are the two keys of railroad communication
from the Mississippi River westward through the territory of
Minnesota. The Bois des Sioux is a river believed to be navigable for
steamers of light draught, flowing northward from Lake Traverse into
the Red River of the North, and the plateau of the Bois des Sioux may
be considered as extending from south of Lake Traverse to the south
bend of the Red River, and from the Rabbit River, some thirty miles
east of the Bois des Sioux River, to the Dead Colt hillock. This
plateau separates the rivers flowing into Hudson's Bay from those
flowing into the Mississippi River. The Mouse River valley, in the
western portion of Minnesota, is from ten to twenty miles broad; is
separated from the Missouri River by the Coteau du Missouri, some six
hundred feet high, and it is about the same level as the parallel
valley of the Missouri." (Report, ch. 4.)

M. Nicollet was a scientific or matter of fact man, who preferred to
talk about "erratic blocks" and "cretaceous formations" rather than to
indulge in poetic descriptions. The outline which follows, however, of
the western part of the territory is what he considers "a faint
description of this beautiful country." "The basin of the Upper
Mississippi is separated in a great part of its extent from that of
the Missouri, by an elevated plain; the appearance of which, seen from
the valley of the St. Peter's or that of the Jacques, looming as it
were a distant shore, has suggested for it the name of Coteau des
Prairies. Its more appropriate designation would be that of plateau,
which means something more than is conveyed to the mind by the
expression, a plain. Its northern extremity is in latitude 46 degrees,
extending to 43 degrees; after which it loses its distinctive
elevation above the surrounding plains, and passes into rolling
prairies. Its length is about two hundred miles, and its general
direction N. N. W. and S. S. E. Its northern termination (called Tete
du Couteau in consequence of its peculiar configuration) is not more
than fifteen to twenty miles across; its elevation above the level of
the Big Stone Lake is eight hundred and ninety feet, and above the
ocean one thousand nine hundred and sixteen feet. Starting from this
extremity (that is, the head of the Coteau), the surface of the
plateau is undulating, forming many dividing ridges which separate the
waters flowing into the St. Peter's and the Mississippi from those of
the Missouri. Under the 44th degree of latitude, the breadth of the
Coteau is about forty miles, and its mean elevation is here reduced to
one thousand four hundred and fifty feet above the sea. Within this
space its two slopes are rather abrupt, crowned with verdure, and
scolloped by deep ravines thickly shaded with bushes, forming the beds
of rivulets that water the subjacent plains.

The Coteau itself is isolated, in the midst of boundless and fertile
prairies, extending to the west, to the north, and into the valley of
the St. Peter's.

The plain at its northern extremity is a most beautiful tract of land
diversified by hills, dales, woodland, and lakes, the latter abounding
in fish. This region of country is probably the most elevated between
the Gulf of Mexico and Hudson's Bay. From its summit, proceeding from
its western to its eastern limits, grand views are afforded. At its
eastern border particularly, the prospect is magnificent beyond
description, extending over the immense green turf that forms the
basin of the Red River of the North, the forest-capped summits of the
haugeurs des terres that surround the sources of the Mississippi, the
granitic valley of the Upper St. Peter's, and the depressions in which
are Lake Traverse and the Big Stone Lake. There can be no doubt that
in future times this region will be the summer resort of the wealthy
of the land." (pp. 9, 10.)

I will pass over what he says of the "vast and magnificent valley of
the Red River of the North," having before given some account of that
region, and merely give his description of the largest lake which lies
in the northern part of the territory: "The greatest extension of
Devil's Lake is at least forty miles,-- but may be more, as we did
not, and could not, ascertain the end of the north-west bay, which I
left undefined on the map. It is bordered by hills that are pretty
well wooded on one side, but furrowed by ravines and coulees, that are
taken advantage of by warlike parties, both for attack and defence
according to circumstances. The lake itself is so filled up with
islands and promontories, that, in travelling along its shores, it is
only occasionally that one gets a glimpse of its expanse. This
description belongs only to its wooded side; for, on the opposite
side, the shores, though still bounded by hills, are destitute of
trees, so as to exhibit an embankment to the east from ten to twelve
miles long, upon an average breadth of three-quarters of a mile. The
average breadth of the lake may be laid down at fifteen miles. Its
waters appear to be the drainings of the surrounding hills. We
discovered no outlets in the whole extent of about three-quarters of
its contour we could explore. At all events, if there be any they do
not empty into the Red River of the North, since the lake is shut up
in that direction, and since we found its true geographical position
to be much more to the north than it is ordinarily laid down upon
maps. A single depression at its lower end would intimate that, in
times of high water, some discharge might possibly take place; but
then it would be into the Shayenne." (p. 50.)

Such are some of the geographical outlines of the extensive domain
which will be soon organized as a new territory.

What will it be called? If the practice hitherto followed of applying
to territories the names which they have been called by their
aboriginal inhabitants is still adhered to, this new territory will
have the name of Dacotah. It is the correct or Indian name of those
tribes whom we call the Sioux; the latter being an unmeaning
Indian-French word. Dacotah means "united people," and is the word
which the Indians apply to seven of their bands.[1] These tribes
formerly occupied the country south and south-west of Lake Superior;
from whence they were gradually driven towards the Missouri and the
Rocky Mountains by their powerful and dreaded enemies the Chippewas.
Since which time they have been the acknowledged occupants of the
broad region to which they have impressed a name. Several of the
tribes, however, have crossed the Missouri, between which and the
Rocky Mountains they still linger a barbaric life. We may now hope to
realize the truth of Hiawatha's words:--

  "After many years of warfare,
   Many years of strife and bloodshed,
   There is peace between the Ojibways
   And the tribe of the Dacotahs."

[1 The following description of the Dacotahs is based on observations
made in 1823. "The Dacotahs are a large and powerful nation of
Indians, distinct in their manners, language, habits, and opinions,
from the Chippewas, Sauks, Foxes, and Naheawak or Kilisteno, as well
as from all nations of the Algonquin stock. They are likewise unlike
the Pawnees and the Minnetarees or Gros Ventres. They inhabit a large
district of country which may be comprised within the following
limits:-- From Prairie du Chien, on the Mississippi, by a curved line
extending east of north and made to include all the eastern
tributaries of the Mississippi, to the first branch of Chippewa River;
the head waters of that stream being claimed by the Chippewa Indians;
thence by a line running west of north to the head of Spirit Lake;
thence by a westerly line to the Riveree de Corbeau; thence up that
river to its head, near Otter Tail Lake; thence by a westerly line to
Red River, and down that river to Pembina; thence by a south-westerly
line to the east bank of the Missouri near the Mandan villages; thence
down the Missouri to a point probably not far from Soldier's River;
thence by a line running east of north to Prairie du Chien.

This immense extent of country is inhabited by a nation calling
themselves, in their internal relations, the Dacotah, which means the
Allied; but who, in their external relations, style themselves the
Ochente Shakoan, which signifies the nation of seven (council) fires.
This refers to the following division which formerly prevailed among
them, viz.:--
  1. Mende-Wahkan-toan, or people of the Spirit Lake.
  2. Wahkpa-toan, or people of the leaves.
  3. Sisi-toan, or Miakechakesa.
  4. Yank-toan-an, or Fern leaves
  5. Yank-toan, or descended from the Fern leaves.
  6. Ti-toan, or Braggers.
  7. Wahkpako-toan, or the people that shoot at leaves.

-- Long's Expedition to Sources of St. Peter's River &c., vol. 1, pp.
376, 378.]

If it be asked what will be done with these tribes when the country
comes to be settled, I would observe, as I have said, that the present
policy of the government is to procure their settlement on
reservations. This limits them to smaller boundaries; and tends
favorably to their civilization. I might also say here, that the title
which the Indians have to the country they occupy is that of
occupancy. They have the natural right to occupy the land; but the
absolute and sovereign title is in the United States. The Indians can
dispose of their title to no party or power but the United States.
When, however, the government wishes to extinguish their title of
occupancy, it pays them a fair price for their lands according as may
be provided by treaty. The policy of our government towards the
Indians is eminently that of protection and preservation; not of
conquest and extermination.

Dacotah is the name now applied to the western part of Minnesota, and
I am assured by the best informed men of that section, that such will
be the name of the territory when organized.






I HAVE been furnished, at brief notice, with the following accurate
list of the Post Offices and Postmasters in Minnesota by my very
excellent friend, Mr. JOHN N. OLIVIER, of the Sixth Auditor's Office:


Post Office.



Belle Prairie

Calvin C. Hicks.

Big Lake

Joseph Brown.

Clear Lake

F. E. Baldwin.

Crow Wing

Allen Morrison.

Elk River

John Q. A. Nickerson.


John C. Bowers.

Little Falls

C. H. Churchill.


Rodolph's D. Kinney.

Sauk Rapids

C. B. Vanstest.

Swan River

James Warren.


David Gilman.



Isaac Allen.


Parsons K. Johnson.


Edward Brace.


Andrew Robertson.

South Bend

Matthew Thompson.

Winnebago Agency

Henry Foster.


New Ulm

Anton Kans.

Sioux Agency

Asa W. Daniels.



Joseph A. Sargent.


Timothy D. Smith.

La Belle

Isaac Berfield.


A. Bergquest.

San Francisco

James B. Cotton.

Young America

R. M. Kennedy.



Lorenzo A. Lowden.

Cedar Creek

Samuel Wyatt.


J. P. Gulding.

Chisago City

Henry S. Cluiger.


John Hanley.


George B. Folsom.

Sunrise City

George S. Frost.

Taylor's Falls

Peter E. Walker.


Jordan Egle.



Jacob Whittemore.


H. P. Sweet.

Empire City

Ralph P. Hamilton.


Noredon Amedon.

Fort Snelling

Franklin Steele.


James Archer.


John F. Marsh.


Samuel P. Baker.

Le Sueur

Kostum K. Peck.


Stephen N. Carey.


Hypolite Dupues.


Louis Loichot.


Frank Y. Hoffstott.


Andrew Keegan.


Leonard Aldrich.


Warren Atkinson.



Noah F. Berry.


George Townsend.


Goerge Hitchcock.


James M. Sumner.


John H. Shober.


Eli. P. Waterman.


Blue Earth City

George B. Kingsley.


Newell Dewey.



Wilson Bell.

Big Spring

William Walter.


Edwin B. Gere.


Wm. F. Strong.

Deer Creek

William S. Hill.


Jacob McQuillan.


John C. Cleghorn.


O. B. Bryant.


John G. Bouldin.


Robert Rea.


Forest Henry.


James M. Gilliss.


Chas. B. Wilford.

Looking Glass

Lemuel Jones.


Gabriel Gabrielson.


Jacob P. Kennedy.


Knud Peterson.

Pilot Mound

Daniel B. Smith.


L. Preston.


Wm. D. Vandoren.


Benjn. F. Tillotson.


Sylvester S. Stebbins.

Spring Valley

Condello Wilkins.


Daniel Crowell.


John M. West.


Albert Lea

Lorenzo Murray.


John Heath.

St. Nicholas

Saml. M. Thompson.

Shell Rock

Edward P. Skinner.


Burr Oak Springs

Henry Doyle.

Cannon River Falls

George McKenzie.

Central Point

Charles W. Hackett.

Pine Island

John Chance.

Poplar Grove

John Lee.

Red Wing

Henry C. Hoffman.


Hans Mattson.


George Post.


Evert Westervelt.



Reuben B. Gibson.


Henry M. Lyman.


John Baxter.

Eden Prairie

Jonas Staring.

Elm Creek

Charles Miles.


James A. Dunsmore.


Charles P. Smith.

Island City

William F. Russell.

Maple Plain

Irvin Shrewsbury.

Medicine Lake

Francis Hagot.


Alfred E. Ames.


Levi W. Eastman.


Warren Samson.


N. T. Perkins.


Alexander Moore.


W. H. Chapman.



Charles Brown.


Wm. J. McKee.


Charles Smith.

Hackett's Grove

Emery Hackett.


Edward Thompson.


Ole Knudson.


Edmund S. Lore.


Daniel Wilson.

La Crescent

William Gillett.

Mooney Creek

Cyrus B. Sinclair.


Alexr. Batcheller.


John Paddock.

Spring Grove

Embric Knudson.

San Jacinto

George Canon.


Benton Aldrich.


T. A. Pope.



Chas. B. Harbord.



Silas S. Munday.


Bartlet Y. Couch.


Henry Earl.


Samuel D. Drake.



Surman G. Simmons.


Lewis Harrington.


Forest City

Walter C. Bacon.


Little Falls

Orlando A. Churchill.



Alanson B. Vaughan.


Lewis Patchin.

High Forest

Thos. H. Armstrong.

Le Roy

Daniel Caswell.



Edwin Clark.


William Dupray.

Saint Peter

George Hezlep.

Travers des Sioux

William Huey.



Samuel Brink.


James A. Blair.


Samuel P. Hicks.

Pleasant Grove

Samuel Barrows.


Phineas H. Durfel.


Cyrus Holt.


Almon H. Smith.


Robert S. Latta.


Lucy Cobb.


Cap Lake

David B. Spencer.


Joseph Rolette.

Red Lake

Sela G. Wright.

Saint Joseph's

George A. Belcourt.


Fort Ridgeley

Benjn. H. Randall.



Herman Trott.

Mille Lac

Mark Leadbetter.



Arthur Davis.


Charles Pettin.


John Klerman.

Howard's Lake

John P. Howard.

Little Canada

Walter B. Boyd.


Joseph A. Willis.

Otter Lake

Ross Wilkinson.

Red Rock

Giles H. Fowler.

St. Anthony's Falls

Norton H. Hemiup.

St. Paul

Charles S. Cave.


Cannon City

C. Smith House.


Alexander Faribault.


Smith Johnson.


Walter Norris.


Calvin S. Short.


Joshua Tufts.

Union Lake

Henry M. Humphrey.


Joseph Richardson.


Falls of St. Louis

Joseph Y. Buckner.


Edmund F. Ely.

Twin Lakes

George W. Perry.


Belle Plaine

Nahum Stone.


Joseph R. Ashley.

Mount Pleasant

John Soules.

New Dublin

Dominick McDermott

Sand Creek

William Holmes.


Reuben M. Wright.



Henry Pochler.

Prairie Mound

Morgan Lacey.



John H. Linneman.


Henry B. Johnson.

Saint Cloud

Joseph Edelbrook.


Reuben M. Richardson.



Hiram Pitcher.


Charles Adsit.

Dodge City

John Coburn.


Wilber F. Fiske.


James Hanes.


Abram Fitzsimmons.


Samuel B. Smith.

St. Mary's

Horatio B. Morrison.


Andrew J. Bell.


David J. Jenkins.


Beaver Bay

Robert McLean.

French River

F. W. Watrous.

Grand Marias

Richard Godfrey.

Grand Portage

H. H. McCullough.



Rodman Benchard.


Seth L. McCarty.

Lake City

Harvey F. Williamson.


John E. Hyde.


Nathaniel F. Tifft.

Minnesota City

Samuel E. Cotton.

Mount Vernon

Stephen M. Burns.

Reed's Landing

Fordyce S. Richard.


J. F. Byrne.

West Newton

Austin R. Swan.


Fort Ripley

Solon W. Manney.


Cottage Grove

Stephen F. Douglass.

Lake Land

Freeman C. Tyler.

Marine Mills

Orange Walker.

Milton Mills

Lemuel Bolles.

Point Douglass

R. R. Henry.


Harley Curtis.



Nathan Brown.

Eagle Bluffs

William W. Bennett.


John A. Torrey.

New Boston

William H. Dwight.


Samuel C. Dick.


Joseph Cooper.

Saint Charles

Lewis H. Springer.


Thomas P. Dixon.


William C. Dodge.

Twin Grove

Oren Cavath.


John W. Bentley.


Eben B. Jewett.


John W. Downer.

White Water Falls

Miles Pease.



Charles W. Lambert


Amasa Ackley.

Clear Water

Simon Stevens.


M. Fox.


A. H. Kelly.


Joel Florida.

Silver Creek

Abram G. Descent.



                                                  GENERAL LAND OFFICE,

                                                     December 8, 1856.

SIR: Your two letters of the 6th instant, asking for a list of the
land offices in Minnesota Territory, with the names of the officers
connected therewith,-- also the number of acres sold and the amount of
fees received by such officers, during the fiscal year, ending 30th
June, 1856, have been received.

In reply, I herewith enclose a statement of the information desired,
save that the amount of fees for the fiscal year cannot be stated.

                          Very respectfully,

                                                  THOMAS A. HENDRICKS,





Name of Register

Name of Receiver.

Number of acres sold during the fiscal year ending 30th of June, 1856.

Amount of purchase-money received therefor.


Thos. M. Fullerton

Wm. Holcomb



Sauk Rapids

Geo. W. Sweet

Wm. H. Wood



Chatfield (late Brownsville)

John R. Bennet

Jno. H. McKenny




Marcus P. Olds

Roswell P. Russell




Diedrich Upman

Lorenzo D. Smith



Red Wing

Wm. P. Phelps

Chr. Graham





Since the 30th June, 1856, the following offices have been established
and officers appointed.


Saml. Clark

John Whipple


Saml. Plumer

Wm. Sawyer




St. Paul

Daily and Weekly


St. Paul

Daily and Weekly


St. Paul

Daily and Weekly


St. Paul









St. Anthony



St. Anthony






Sauk Rapids















St. Peter






Red Wing



Canon Falls

























St. Cloud






                         TABLE OF DISTANCES.



To St. Anthony

8 3/4

Rice Creek


15 3/4

St. Francis, or Rum River






Elk River



Big Lake



Big Meadow (Sturgis)



St. Cloud (Sauk Rapids)






Little Rock



Platte River



Swan River



Little Falls



Belle Prairie



Fort Ripley



Crow Wing River



Sandy Lake



Savannah Portage



Across the Portage



Down Savannah River to St. Louis River






Lake Superior



Crow Wing River


Otter Tail Lake



Rice River



Sand Hills River



Grand Fork, Red River






Sandy Lake


Leech Lake



Red Lake











Marine Mills



Falls St. Croix









Red Rock


Point Douglass


                  Red Wing

Winona's Rock, Lake Pepin






Prairie du Chien












Mouth of Fever River



Rock Island









St. Louis






New Orleans





Black Dog Village


Sixe's Village


Traverse des Sioux


Little Rock


Lac Qui Parle


Big Stone Lake


Fort Pierce, on Missouri



To Minneapolis


Superior City, on Brott and Wilson's Road


Traverse des Sioux




Fort Ridgley


Long Prairie


Otter Tail Lake


The Salt Springs


Fort Ripley


Mille Lac City



To Chippeway Mission




Superior City


Otter Tail City


St. Cloud





AT a late moment, and while the volume is in press, I am enabled to
present the following exposition of the Preemption Law, addressed to
the Secretary of the Interior by Mr. Attorney-General Cushing. (See
"Opinions of Attorneys General," vol. 7, 733-743-- in press.)


Portions of the public lands, to the amount of three hundred and
twenty acres, may be taken up by individuals or preemptioners for city
or town sites.

The same rules as to proof of occupation apply in the case of
municipal, as of agricultural, preemption.

The statute assumes that the purposes of a city or town have
preference over those of trade or of agriculture.

                                             ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE

                                                         July 2, 1856.

SIR: Your communication of the 20th May, transmitting papers regarding
Superior City (so called) in the State of Wisconsin, submits for
consideration three precise questions of law; two of them presenting
inquiry of the legal relations of locations for town sites on the
public domain, and the third presenting inquiry of another matter,
which, although pertinent to the case, yet is comprehended in a
perfectly distinct class of legal relations.

I propose, in this communication, to reply only upon the two first

The act of Congress of April 24, 1841, entitled "An act to appropriate
the proceeds of the sales of the public lands and to grant preemption
rights," contains, in section 10th, the following provisions: "no
lands reserved for the support of schools, nor lands acquired by
either of the two last treaties with the Miami tribe of Indians in the
State of Indiana, or which may be acquired of the Wyandot tribe of
Indians in the State of Ohio, or other Indian reservation to which the
title has been or may be extinguished by the United States at any time
during the operation of this act; no sections of lands reserved to the
United States alternate to other sections of land granted to any of
the States for the construction of any canal, railroad, or other
public improvement; no sections or fractions of sections included
within the limits of any incorporated town; no portions of the public
lands which have been selected for the site of a city or town; no
parcel of a lot of land actually settled or occupied for the purposes
of trade and not agriculture; and no lands on which are situated any
known salines or mines, shall be liable to entry under or by virtue of
this act." (v Stat. at Large, p. 456.)

An act passed May 28, 1844, entitled "An act for the relief of
citizens of towns upon the lands of the United States under certain
circumstances," provides as follows:

"That whenever any portion of the surveyed public lands has been or
shall be settled upon and occupied as a town site, and therefore not
subject to entry under the existing preemption laws, it shall be
lawful, in case such town or place shall be incorporated, for the
corporate authorities thereof, and if not incorporated, for the judges
of the county court for the county in which such town may be situated,
to enter at the proper land office, and at the minimum price, the land
so settled and occupied, in trust for the several use and benefit of
the several occupants thereof, according to their respective
interests; the execution of which trust, as to the disposal of the
lots in said town, and the proceeds of the sales thereof, to be
conducted under such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by the
legislative authority of the state or territory in which the same is
situated; Provided, that the entry of the land intended by this act be
made prior to the commencement of a public sale of the body of land in
which it is included, and that the entry shall include only such land
as is actually occupied by the town, and be made in conformity to the
legal subdivisions of the public lands authorized by the act of the
twenty-fourth of April, one thousand eight hundred and twenty, and
shall not in the whole exceed three hundred and twenty acres; and
Provided also, that the act of the said trustees, not made in
conformity to the rules and regulations herein alluded to, shall be
void and of none effect:" * * * (v Stat. at Large, p. 687.)

Upon which statutes you present the following questions of
construction: "1st. What is the legal signification to be given to the
words, 'portions of the public lands which have been selected as the
site for a city or town,' which occur in the preemption law of 1841,
and which portions of the public lands are by said act exempted from
its provisions? Do they authorize selections by individuals with a
view to the building thereon of a city or town, or do they contemplate
a selection made by authority of some special law?

"Do the words in the act of 23d May, 1844, 'and that the entry shall
include only such land as is actually occupied by the town,' restrict
the entry to those quarter quarter-sections, or forty acre
subdivisions, alone, on which houses have been erected as part of said
town, or do they mean, only, that the entry shall not embrace any land
not shown by the survey on the ground, or the plat of the town, to be
occupied thereby, and not to exceed 820 acres, which is to be taken by
legal subdivisions, according to the public survey, and to what
species of 'legal subdivisions' is reference made in said act of

These questions, as thus presented by you, are abstract questions of
law,-- namely, of the construction of statutes. They are distinctly
and clearly stated, so as not to require of me any investigation of
external facts to render them more intelligible. Nor do they require
of me to attempt to make application of them to any actual case,
conflict of right, or controversy either between private individuals
or such individuals and the Government.

It is true that, accompanying your communication, there is a great
mass of representations, depositions, arguments, and other papers,
which show that the questions propounded by you are not speculative
ones, and that, on the contrary, they bear, in some way, on matters of
interest, public or private, to be decided by the Department. But
those are matters for you, not for me, to determine. You have
requested my opinion of certain points of law, to be used by you, so
far as you see fit, in aid of such your own determination. I am thus
happily relieved of the task of examining and undertaking to analyze
the voluminous documents in the case: more especially as your
questions, while precise and complete in themselves, derive all
needful illustration from the very instructive report in the case of
the present Commissioner of Public Lands and the able brief on the
subject drawn up in your Department.

I. To return to the questions before me: the first is in substance
whether the words in the act of 1841,-- " portions of the public land
which have been selected as the site for a city or a town,"-- are to
be confined to cases of such selection in virtue of some special
authority, or by some official authority?

I think not, for the following reasons:

The statute does not by any words of legal intendment say so.

The next preceding clause of the act, which speaks of lands "included
within the limits of any incorporated town," implies the contrary, in
making separate provision for a township existing by special or public

The next succeeding clause, which speaks of land "actually settled or
occupied for the purposes of trade and not agriculture," leads to the
same conclusion; for why should selection for a town site require
special authority any more than occupation for the purposes of trade?

The general scope of the act has the same tendency. Its general object
is to regulate, in behalf of individuals, the acquisition of the
public domain by preemption, after voluntary occupation for a certain
period of time, and under other prescribed circumstances. In doing
this, it gives a preference preemption to certain other uses of the
public land, by excluding such land from liability to ordinary
preemption. Among the uses thus privileged, and to which precedence in
preemption is accorded, are, 1. "Sections, or fractions of sections
included within the limits of any incorporated town;" 2. "Portions of
the public land which have been selected for the site of a city or
town;" and, 3. "Land actually settled or occupied for the purposes of
trade, and not agriculture." Now, it is not easy to see any good
reason why, if individuals may thus take voluntarily for the purposes
of agriculture,-- they may not also take for the purposes of a city or
town. The statute assumes that the purposes of a city or town have
preference over those of trade, and still more over those of
agriculture. Yet individuals may take for either of the latter
objects: a fortiori they may take for a city or town.

Why should it be assumed that individual action in this respect is
prohibited for towns any more than for trade or agriculture? It does
not concern the Government whether two persons preempt one hundred and
sixty acres each for the purposes of agriculture, or for the purpose
of a town, except that the latter object will, incidentally, be more
beneficial to the Government. Nor is there any other consideration of
public policy to induce the Government to endeavor to discourage the
formation of towns. Why, then, object to individuals taking up a given
quantity of land in one case rather than in the other?

Finally, the act of 1844 definitively construes the act of 1841, and
proves that the "selection" for town sites there spoken of may be
either by public authority or by individuals:-- that the word is for
that reason designedly general, and without qualification, but must be
fixed by occupation. That act supposes public land to be "settled upon
and occupied as a town site," and "therefore" not subject to entry
under the existing preemption laws. This description identifies it
with the land "selected for the site of a city or town," in the
previous act. It limits the quantity so to be selected, that is,
settled or occupied, to three hundred and twenty acres, and otherwise
regulates the selection as hereinafter explained. It then provides how
such town site is to be entered and patented. If the town be
incorporated, then the entry is to be made by its corporate
authorities. If the town be not incorporated, then it may be entered
in the name of the judges of the county court of the county, in which
the projected town lies, "in trust for the several use and benefit of
the several occupants thereof, according to their respective
interests." Here we have express recognition of voluntary selection
and occupancy by individuals, and provision for means by which legal
title in their behalf may be acquired and patented.

I am aware that by numerous statutes anterior to the act of 1841,
provision is made for the authoritative selection of town sites in
special cases; but such provisions do by no means exclude or
contradict the later enactment of a general provision of law to
comprehend all cases of selections for town sites, whether
authoritative or voluntary. I think the act of 1841, construed in the
light of the complementary act of 1844, as it must be, provides
clearly for both contingencies or conditions of the subject. Among the
anterior acts, however, is one of great importance and significancy
upon this point, more especially as that act received exposition at
the time from the proper departments of the Government. I allude to
the act of June 22d, 1838, entitled "An act to grant preemption rights
to settlers on the public lands." This act, like that of 1841,
contains a provision reserving certain lands from ordinary preemption,
among which are:

"Any portions of public lands, surveyed or otherwise, which have been
actually selected as sites for cities or towns, lotted into smaller
quantities than eighty acres, and settled upon and occupied for the
purposes of trade, and not of agricultural cultivation and
improvement, or any land specially occupied or reserved for town lots,
or other purposes, by authority of the United States." (v Stat. at
Large, p. 251.)

Here the "selection" generally, and the "selection" by authority are
each provided for eo nomine. It is obvious that the provision in the
latter case is made for certainty only; since, by the general rules of
statute construction, no ordinary claim of preemption could attach to
reservations made by authority of the United States. The effective
provision in the enactment quoted, must be selections not made by the
authority of the United States.

In point of fact the provision was construed by the Department to
include all voluntary selections: lands, says the circular of the
General Land Office of July 8, 1838, "which settlers have selected
with a view of building thereon a village or city."

It seems to me that the same considerations which induced this
construction of the word "selection" in the act of 1838, dictate a
similar construction of the same word in the subsequent act. Besides
which, when a word or words of a statute, which were of uncertain
signification originally, but which have been construed by the proper
authority, are repented in a subsequent statute, that is understood as
being not a repetition merely of the word with the received
construction, but an implied legislative adoption even of such

II. The second question is of the construction of the act of 1844,
supplemental to that of 1841; and as the construction of the elder
derives aid from the language of the later one, so does that of the
latter from the former. The question is divisible into sub-questions.

1. Does the phrase "that the entry (for a town-site) shall include
only such land as is actually occupied by the town," restrict the
entry to those quarter quarter-sections, or forty acre subdivisions
alone, on which houses have been erected as part of said town?

2. What is the meaning of the phrase in the act "legal subdivisions of
the public lands," in "conformity" with which the entry must be made?

I put the two acts together and find that they provide for a system of
preemptions for, among other things, agricultural occupation,
commercial or mechanical occupation, and municipal occupation.

In regard to agricultural occupation, the laws provide that, in
certain cases and conditions, one person may preempt one hundred and
sixty acres, and that in regard to municipal occupation a plurality of
persons may, in certain cases and conditions, preempt three hundred
and twenty acres. In the latter contingency, there is no special
privilege as to quantity, but a disability rather; for two persons
together may preempt three hundred and twenty acres by agricultural
occupation, and afterwards convert the land into a town site, and four
persons together might in the same way secure six hundred and forty
acres, to be converted ultimately into the site of a town; while the
same four persons, selecting land for a town site, can take only three
hundred and twenty acres. In both forms the parties enter at the
minimum price of the public lands. The chief advantage which the
preemptors for municipal purposes enjoy, is, that they have by statute
a preference over agricultural preemptors, the land selected for a
town site being secured by statute against general and ordinary, that
is, agricultural preemption. In all other respects material to the
present inquiry, we may assume, for the argument's sake at least, that
the two classes stand on a footing of equality, as respects either the
convicting interests of third persons, or the rights of the

Now, the rights of an agricultural preemptor we understand. He is
entitled, if he shall "make a settlement in person on the public
lands," and "shall inhabit and improve the same, and shall erect a
dwelling thereon," to enter, "by legal subdivisions, any number of
acres not exceeding one hundred and sixty, or a quarter-section of
land, to include the residence of such claimant." (Act of 1841, s.
10.) And of two settlers on "the same quarter-section of land," the
earlier one is to have the preference. (Sec. 11.)

Now, was it ever imagined that such claimant must personally inhabit
every quarter quarter-section of his claim? That he must have under
cultivation every quarter quarter-section? That he must erect a
dwelling on every quarter quarter-section? And that, if he failed to
do this, any such quarter of his quarter-section might be preempted by
a later occupant?

There is no pretension that such is the condition of the ordinary
preemptor, and that he is thus held to inhabit, to cultivate, to dwell
on, every quarter quarter-section, under penalty of having it seized
by another preemptor, or entered in course by any public or private
purchaser. He is to provide, according to the regulations of the Land
Office or otherwise, indicia, by which the limits of his claim shall
be known,-- he must perform acts of possession or intended ownership
on the land, as notice to others; and that suffices to secure his
rights under the statute. It is not necessary for him to cultivate
every separate quarter of his quarter-section; it is not necessary for
him even to enclose each; it only needs that in good faith he take
possession, with intention of occupation and settlement, and proceed
in good faith to occupy and settle, in such time and in such manner,
as belong to the nature of agricultural occupation and settlement.

Why should there be a different rule in regard to occupants for
municipal preemption? The latter is, by the very tenor of the law, the
preferred object. Why should those interested in it be subject to
special disabilities of competing occupancy? I cannot conceive.

It is obvious that, in municipal settlement, as well as agricultural,
there must be space of time between the commencement and the
consummation of occupation. There will be a moment, when the equitable
right of the agricultural settler is fixed, although he have as yet
done nothing more in the way of inhabiting or improving than to cut a
tree or drive a stake into the earth. And it may be long before he
improves each one of all his quarter quarter-sections. So, in
principle, it is in the case of settlement for a town. We must deal
with such things according to their nature. Towns do not spring into
existence consummate and complete. Nor do they commence with eight
houses, systematically distributed, each in the centre of a forty-acre
lot. And in the case of a town settlement of three hundred and twenty
acres; as well as that of a farm site of one hundred and sixty acres,
all which can be lawfully requisite to communicate to the occupants
the right of preemption to the block of land, including every one of
its quarter quarter-sections,-- is improvement, or indication of the
improvement of the entire block,-- acts of possession or use regarding
it, consonant with the nature of the thing. That, in a farm, will be
the erection of a house and outhouses, cultivation, and use of
pasturage or woodland: in a town, it will be erecting houses or shops,
platting out the land, grading or opening streets, and the like signs
and marks of occupation or special destination.

The same considerations lead to the conclusion that it would not be
just to confine the proofs of occupation to facts existing at its very
incipiency. The inchoate or equitable right, as against all others,
begins from the beginning of the occupation: the ultimate sufficiency
of that occupation is to be determined in part by subsequent facts,
which consummate the occupation, and also demonstrate its bona fides.
If it were otherwise, there would be an end of all the advantage
expressly given by the statute to priority of occupation. Take the
case of agricultural preemptions for example. A settler enters in good
faith upon a quarter-section for preemption; his entry, at first,
attaches physically to no more than the rood of land on which he is
commencing to construct a habitation. Is that entry confined in effect
to a single quarter quarter? Can other settlers, the next day, enter
upon all the adjoining quarter quarters, and thus limit the first
settler to the single quarter quarter on which his dwelling is
commenced? Is all proof of occupation in his case, when he comes to
prove up his title, to be confined to acts anterior to the date of
conflict? Clearly not. The inchoate title of the first occupant ripens
into a complete one by the series of acts on his part subsequent to
the original occupation.

In the statement of the case prepared in your office, it is averred
that numerous precedents exist in the Land Office, not only of the
allowance of town preemptions as the voluntary selection of
individuals, but also of the application to such preemption claims of
the ordinary construction of the word "occupation" habitually applied
to agricultural preemption claims. That is to say, it has been the
practice of the Government, not to consider municipal occupation
"circumscribed by the forty-acre subdivisions actually built upon; * *
but that such occupation was (sufficiently) evidenced, either by an
actual survey, upon the ground, of said town into streets, alleys, and
blocks, or the publication of a plat of the same evidencing the
connection therewith of the public surveys, so as to give notice to
others of the extent of the town site:" all this, within the extreme
limits, of course, of the three hundred and twenty acres prescribed by
the statute.

I think the practice of the Land Office in this respect, as thus
reported, is lawful and proper: it being understood, of course, that
thus the acts of alleged selection, possession, and occupation are
performed in perfect good faith.

Something is hinted, in the report of the commissioner, as to the
speculation-character of the proposed town settlement,-- and, in the
official brief accompanying your letter, as to the
speculation-character of the proposed agricultural preemption. I
suppose it must be so, if the land in question has peculiar aptitude
for municipal uses. But how is that material? The object, in either
mode of attaining it, is a lawful one. Two persons may lawfully
preempt a certain quantity of land under the general law, and intend a
townsite without saying so; or they may preempt avowedly for a town
site. As between the two courses, both having the same ultimate
destination, it would not seem that there could be any cause of
objection to the more explicit one.

So much for the first branch of the second question. As to the second
branch of it, the same line of reasoning leads to equally satisfactory

The municipal preemptor, like the agricultural preemptor, is required
to take his land in conformity with "the legal subdivisions of the
public lands." I apprehend the import of the requirement is the same
in both cases. Neither class of pre-emptors is to break the legal
subdivisions as surveyed. The preemptor of either case may take
fractional sections if he will, but he is in every case to run his
extreme lines with the lines of the surveyed subdivisions. In fine, as
it seems to me, there is nothing of the present case, in so far as
appears by the questions presented, and the official reports and
statement by which they are explained, except a convict of claim to
two or three sectional subdivisions of land between different sets of
preemptors, one set being avowed municipal preemptors, and the other
professed agricultural preemptors, but both sets having in reality the
same ulterior purposes in regard to the use of the land. The
Government has no possible concern in the controversy, except to deal
impartially between the parties according to law. The agricultural
preemptors contend that different rules of right as to the power of
individual or private occupation, and as to the criteria of valid
occupation, apply to them, as against their adversaries. The municipal
preemptors contend that the same rules of equal right, inceptive and
progressive, in these respects, apply to both classes of preemptors. I
think that the latter view of the law is correct, according to its
letter, its spirit; and the settled practice of the Government.

The investigation of the facts of the case, and the application of the
law to the facts, are, of course, duties of your Department.

I leave here the first and second questions; and, proposing to reply
at an early day on the third question,

I have the honor to be, very respectfully,

                             C. CUSHING.


                      Secretary of the Interior.

                               THE END.


Edited by C. C. ANDREWS, Esq. VOLUME VII. (8 vo.) now ready.
Washington: Published by R. Farnham.

"In this series the proudest names of American law have found some
appropriate record of their labor and their wisdom. * * No student of
the law can find more valuable reading than in these opinions. We
would urge upon him to turn now and then from the common place reading
of the profession to the great studies which impart, to the law the
dignity of a science. If less immediate in the rewards they bring,
they are the only studies which can win for the legal aspirant the
true glory of a great lawyer."-- Monthly Law Reporter.

"Mr. Andrews is entitled to the thanks of his professional brethren
for the very satisfactory manner in which he has presented these
opinions."-- American Law Register.

"On such examination as I have been able to give it (Volume VI.), the
volume seems to me to be full of instruction; the argument most
clearly and fairly conducted; the researches thorough, and the
conclusions, in so far as I can form a judgment, just."-- Rufus

"But we should fail entirely in our object, of calling attention to
this work if we did not particularly commend it to the notice of the
statesman and the general reader. * * These volumes constitute a great
treatise on constitutional law; the work, not of one man, but of a
succession of able men from the age of Washington, who have examined
and revised each other. We regard it, therefore, as one of the most
valuable publications which has embellished our political and legal
literature."-- National Intelligencer.

vo. By C. C. ANDREWS, Esq. (Soon to be published by Little, Brown and
Company. See their list of new Law Books.)

C. ANDREWS, Esq. Boston: Crosby, Nichols and Company: 1853.

"The substance of the pamphlet appeared some time since in a monthly
journal, and the author has now revised it and published it in a more
permanent form. His views are sensible, and well deserve attention."--
Boston Daily Advertiser.

"This is an earnest and well written essay; designed to remedy what
the writer justly regards an important defect in the present system of
education-namely, the want of a proper degree of moral instruction.
His observations evince an enlightened mind, as well as a
philanthropic spirit; and they deserve to be considerately pondered by
all whom they may concern."-- Puritan Recorder.

"His practical remarks are of particular value, and show that the
author has devoted much thought to the topic of which he treats."--
Boston Daily Atlas.

"We have perused this publication with more than ordinary interest.
The object of the author is to suggest some remedies for the
acknowledged defects in the operation of our system of education. This
object is pursued by a masterly hand, in a lucid and comprehensive
manner."-- Evening Transcript.

"This contribution to the cause of common school education is highly
creditable to the author, and we have no doubt, if it can be
extensively circulated, will be productive of very beneficial
results."-- Christian Witness.

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