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as many waggons, as to each of which I predicted in my own mind some fatal catastrophe. But they were all driven on to the boat in the dark, the horses mixing in through each other in a chaos which would have altogether incapacitated any English coachman. And then the vessel laboured across the flood, going sideways, and hardly keeping her own against the stream. But we did get over, and were all driven out again, up to the railway station in safety. On reaching the Mississippi about the middle of the next day, we found it frozen over, or rather covered from side to side with blocks of ice which had forced
down the river, so that the steam ferry could not reach its proper landing. I do not think that we in England would have attempted the feat of carrying over horses and carriages under stress of such circumstances. But it was done here. Huge plankings were laid down over the ice, and omnibuses and waggons were driven on. In getting out again, these vehicles, each with four horses, had to be twisted about, and driven in and across the vessel, and turned in spaces to look at which would have broken the heart of an English coachman. And then with a spring they were driven up a bank as steep as a ladder! Ah me! under what mistaken illusions have I not laboured all the days of my youth, in supposing that no man could drive four horses well but an English stage-coachman? I have seen performances in America, -and in Italy and France also, but above all in America, which would have made the hair of any English professional driver stand on end.
And in this way I entered St. Louis.
MISSOURI is a slave State lying to the west of the Mississippi and to the north of Arkansas. It forms a portion of the territory ceded by France to the United States in 1803. Indeed, it is difficult to say how large a portion of the continent of North America is supposed to be included in that territory. It contains the States of Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas, as also the present Indian territory; but it also is said to have contained all the land lying back from them to the Rocky Mountains, Utah, Nebraska, and Dacotah, and forms no doubt the widest dominion ever ceded by one nationality to another.
Missouri lies exactly north of the old Missouri compromise line, that is, 36-30 north. When the Missouri compromise was made it was arranged that Missouri should be a slave State, but that no other State north of the 36.30 line should ever become slave soil, Kentucky and Virginia, as also of course Maryland and Delaware, four of the old slave States, were already north of that line; but the compromise was intended to prevent the advance of slavery in the north-west. The compromise has been since annulled, on the ground, I believe, that Congress had not constitutionally the power to declare that any soil should be free, or that any should be slave soil. That is a question to be decided by the States themselves, as each individual State may please. So the compromise was repealed. But slavery has not on that account advanced. The battle has been fought in Kansas, and after a long and terrible struggle, Kansas has come out of the fight as a free State. Kansas is in the same parallel of latitude as Virginia, and stretches west as far as the Rocky Mountains.
When the census of the population of Missouri was taken in 1860, the slaves amounted to 10 per cent. of the whole number. In the Gulf States the slave population is about 45 per cent of the whole. In the three border States of Kentucky, Virginia, and Maryland, the slaves amount to 30 per cent. of the whole population. From these figures it will be seen that Missouri, which is comparatively a new slave State, has not gone a-head with slavery as the old slave States have done, although from its position and climate, lying as far south as Virginia, it might seem to have had the same reasons for doing so. I think there is every reason to believe that slavery will die out in Missouri. The institution is not popular with the people generally; and as white labour becomes abundant-and before the war it was becoming abundant -men recognize the fact that the white man's labour is the more profitable. The heat in this State, in midsummer, is very great, especially in the valleys of the rivers. At St. Louis, on the Mississippi, it reaches commonly to 90, and very frequently goes above that. The nights moreover are nearly as hot as the days; but this great heat does not last for any very long period, and it seems that white men are able to work throughout the year. If correspondingly severe weather in winter affords any compensation to the white man for what of heat he endures during the summer, I can testify that such compensation is to be found in Missouri. When I was there we were afflicted with a combination of snow, sleet, frost, and wind, with a mixture of ice and mud, that makes me regard Missouri as the most inclement land into which I erer penetrated.
St. Louis, on the Mississippi, is the great town of Missouri, and is considered by the Missourians to be the star of the West. It is not to be beaten in population, wealth, or natural advantages by any other city so far west ; but it has not increased with such rapidity as Chicago, which is considerably to the north of it on Lake Michigan. Of the great western cities I regard Chicago as the most remarkable, seeing that St. Louis was a large town before Chicago had been founded.
The population of St. Louis is 170,000. Of this number only 2000 are slaves. I was told that a large proportion of the slaves of Missouri are employed near the Missouri river in breaking hemp. The growth of hemp is very profitably carried on in that valley, and the labour attached to it is one which white men do not like to encounter. Slaves are not generally employed in St. Louis for domestic service, as is done almost universally in the towns of Kentucky. This work is chiefly in the hands of Irish and Germans. Considerably above one-third of the population of the whole city is made up of these two nationalities. So much is confessed; but if I were to form an opinion from the language I heard
I in the streets of the town, I should say that nearly every man was either an Irishman or a German.
St. Louis has none of the aspects of a slave city. I cannot say that I found it an attractive place, but then I did not visit it at an attractive time. The war had disturbed everything, given a special colour of its own to men's thoughts and words, and destroyed all interest except that which might proceed from itself. The town is well built, with good shops, straight streets, never-ending rows of excellent houses, and every sign of commercial wealth and domestic comfort,-of commercial wealth and domestic comfort in the past, for there was no present appearance either of comfort or of wealth. The new hotel here was to be bigger than all the hotels of all other towns. It is built, and is an enormous pile, and would be handsome but for a terribly ambitious Grecian doorway. It is built, as far as the walls and roof are concerned, but in all other respects is unfinished. I was told that the shares of the original stockholders were now worth nothing. A shareholder, who so told me, seemed to regard this as the ordinary course of business.
The great glory of the town is the “levée," as it is called, or the long river beach up to which the steamers are brought with their bows to the shore. It is an esplanade looking on to the river, not built with quays or wharves, as would be the case with us, but with a sloping bank running down to the water. In the good days of peace a hundred vessels were to be seen here, each with its double funnels. The line of them seemed to be never ending even when I was there, but then a very large proportion of them were lying idle. They resemble huge wooden houses, apparently of frail architecture, floating upon the water. Each has its double row of balconies running round it, and the lower or ground floor is open throughout. The upper stories are propped and supported on ugly sticks and ricketty-looking beams; so that the first appearance does not convey any great idea of security to a stranger. They are always painted white and the paint is always very dirty. When they begin to move, they moan and groan in melancholy tones which are subversive of all comfort; and as they continue on their courses they puff and bluster, and are for ever threatening to burst and shatter themselves to pieces. There they lie in a continuous line nearly a mile in length along the levée of St. Louis, dirty, dingy, and now, alas, mute. They have ceased to groan and puff, and if this war be continued for six months longer, will become rotten and useless as they lie.
They boast at St. Louis that they command 46,000 miles of navigable river water, counting the great rivers up and down from that place. These rivers are chiefly the Mississippi, the Missouri and Ohio which fall into the Mississippi near St. Louis, the Platte and Kansas rivers—tributaries of the Missouri, the Illinois, and the Wisconsin. All these are open to steamers, and all of them traverse regions rich in corn, in coal, in metals, or in timber. These ready-made highways of the world centre, as it were, at St. Louis, and make it the depôt of the carrying trade of all that vast country. Minnesota is 1500 miles above New Orleans, but the wheat of Minnesota can be brought down the whole distance without change of the vessel in which it is first deposited. It would seem to be impossible that a country so blessed should not become rich. It must be remembered that these rivers flow through lands that have never yet been surpassed in natural fertility. Of all countries in the world one would say that the States of America should have been the last to curse themselves with a war; but now the curse has fallen upon them with a double vengeance. It would seem that they could never be great in war: their very institutions forbid it; their enormous distances forbid it; the price of labour forbids it; and it is forbidden also by the career of industry and expansion which has been given to them. But the curse of fighting has come upon them, and they are showing themselves to be as eager in the works of war as they have shown themselves capable in the works of peace. · Men and angels must weep as they behold the things that are being done, as they watch the ruin that has come and is still coming, as they look on commerce killed and agriculture suspended. No sight so sad has come upon the earth in our days. They were a great people ; feeding the world, adding daily to the mechanical appliances of mankind, increasing in population beyond all measures of such increase bitherto known, and extending education as fast as they extended their numbers. Poverty had as yet found no place among them, and hunger was an evil of which they had read, but were themselves ignorant. Each man among their crowds had a right to be proud of his manhood. To read and write,-I am speaking here of the North,-was as common as to eat and drink. To work was no disgrace, and the wages of work were plentiful. To live without work was the lot of none. What blessing above these blessings was needed to make a people great and happy? And now a stranger visiting them would declare that they are wallowing in a very slough of despond. The only trade open is the trade of war. The axe of the woodsman is at rest; the plough is idle; the artificer has closed his shop. The roar of the foundry is still heard because cannon are needed, and the river of molten iron comes out as an implement of death. The stone-cutter's hammer and the mason's trowel are never heard. The gold of the country is hiding itself as though it had returned to its mother earth, and the infancy of a paper currency has been commenced. Sick soldiers, who have never seen a battle-field, are dying by hundreds in the squalid dirt of their unaccustomed camps.
Men and women talk of war, and of war only. Newspapers full of the war are alone read. A contract for war stores-too often a dishonest contract -is the one path open for commercial enterprise. The young man must go to the war or he is disgraced. The war swallows everything, and as yet has failed to produce even such bitter fruits as victory or glory. Must it not be said that a curse has fallen upon the land
And yet I still hope that it may ultimately be for good. Through water and fire must a nation be cleansed of its faults. It has been so with all nations, though the phases of their trials have been different. It did not seem to be well with us in Cromwell's early days; nor was it well with us afterwards in those disgraceful years of the later Stuarts. We know how France was bathed in blood in her effort to rid herself of her painted sepulchre of an ancient throne; how Germany was made desolate, in order that Prussia might become a nation. Ireland was poor and wretched, till her famine came. Men said it was a curse, but that curse