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- Minnesota and Dacotah - 6/37 -
"Are there any other churches in the place?"
"Yes, up there, where they are building."
"What denomination is that?"
"I don't know," he responded. "I only came into the place yesterday."
I thought he was doing well to begin to build churches so soon after his arrival. And from his countenance, I have no doubt he will do well, and become a useful citizen of the state. Hastings has its democratic press-- the Dakota Journal, edited by J. C. Dow, a talented young man from New Hampshire. The population of the town is about two thousand. It is thirty-two miles below St. Paul, on the west side of the river. There is nothing of especial interest between the two places.
The great panorama which time paints is but a species of dissolving views. It is but as yesterday since the present sites of towns and cities on the shores just referred to showed only the rude huts of Indian tribes. To-day, the only vestige left there of the Indian are his burying-grounds. Hereafter the rudeness of pioneer life shall be exchanged for a more genial civilization, and the present, then the past, will be looked back to as trivial by men still yearning for the future.
CITY OF ST. PAUL.
First settlement of St. Paul-- Population-- Appearance of the city-- Fuller House-- Visitors-- Roads-- Minneapolis-- St. Anthony-- Suspension Bridge.
FULLER HOUSE, ST. PAUL, October, 1856.
THE circumstance of finding a good spring of water first led to the settlement of Boston. It would not be unreasonable to suppose that a similar advantage induced the first settler of St. Paul to locate here; for I do not suppose its pioneers for a long while dreamed of its becoming a place even of its present importance. And here let me mention that St. Paul is not on the west side of the Mississippi, but on the east. Though it is rather too elevated and rough in its natural state to have been coveted for a farm, it is yet just such a spot as a pioneer would like to plant himself upon, that he might stand in his door and have a broad and beautiful view towards the south and west. And when the speculator came he saw that it was at the head of navigation of what be thought was the Upper Mississippi, but which in reality is only the Middle Mississippi. Then stores were put up, small and rude, and trade began to increase with settlers and hunters of furs. Then came the organization of the territory, and the location of the capital here, so that St. Paul began to thrive still more from the crumbs which fell from the government table, as also by that flood of emigration which nothing except the Rocky Mountains has ever stayed from entering a new territory. And now it has passed its doubtful era. It has passed from its wooden to its brick age. Before men are certain of the success of a town, they erect one story pine shops; but when its success appears certain, they build high blocks of brick or granite stores. So now it is common to see four and five story brick or stone buildings going up in St. Paul.
I believe this city numbers at present about 10,000 population. It is destined to increase for a few years still more rapidly than it has heretofore. But that it will be a second Chicago is what I do not expect. It would certainly seem that the high prices demanded for building lots must retard the progress of the place; but I am told the prices have always been as high in proportion to the business and number of population. $500 and upwards is asked for a decent building lot in remote parts of the town.
I have had an agreeable stroll down upon the bluff, south-east from the city, and near the elegant mansion of Mr. Dayton. The first engraving of St. Paul was made from a view taken at that point. As I stood looking at the city, I recalled the picture in Mr. Bond's work, and contrasted its present with the appearance it had three or four years ago. What a change! Three or four steamers were lying at the levee; steam and smoke were shooting forth from the chimneys of numerous manufactories; a ferry was plying the Mississippi, transporting teams and people; church steeples and domes and great warehouses stood in places which were vacant as if but yesterday; busy streets had been built and peopled; rows of splendid dwellings and villas, adorned with delightful terraces and gardens, had been erected. I went out on Sunday morning too, and the view was none the less pleasant. Business was silent; but the church bells were ringing out their sweet and solemn melody, and the mellow sunlight of autumn glittered on the bright roofs and walls in the city. The whole scene revealed the glorious image of that ever advancing civilization which springs from well rewarded labor and general intelligence.
Like all new and growing places in the west, St. Paul has its whiskey shops, its dusty and dirty streets, its up and down sidewalks, and its never-ceasing whirl of business. Yet it has its churches, well filled; its spacious school-houses; its daily newspapers; and well-adorned mansions. There are many cottages and gardens situated on the most elevated part of the city, north and west, which would not suffer by a comparison with those cheerful and elegant residences so numerous for six to ten miles around Boston. From the parlors of these homes one may look down upon the city and upon the smooth bosom of the river. In the streets, too, you see much evidence of opulence and luxury, in the shape of handsome carriages, which are set out to advantage by a first-rate quality of horses.
One element of the success of this city is the public spirit of its leading business men. They have put their hands deep into their pockets to improve and advance the place. In all their rivalry there is an amicable feeling and boundless liberality. They help him that tries to help himself, and help each other in a way that will help them all together; and such kind of enterprises produces grand results. Why, here is a new hotel (the Fuller House) at which I stop, which is surpassed but by very few hotels in the country. It is a first-class house, built of brick, five stories high, and of much architectural beauty. The building itself cost upwards of $100,000, and its furniture over $30,000. Its proprietor is Mr. Long, who has already had good success in this sort of business. One can well imagine the comfort of finding such a house at the end of a long and tedious journey in a new country.
It is estimated that 28,000 people have visited and left St. Paul during the present season. During July and August the travel diminishes, but as soon as autumn sets in it comes on again in daily floods. It is really a novel and interesting state of things one finds on his arrival at the hotel. There are so many people from so many different places! Then everybody is a stranger to almost everybody, and therefore quite willing to get acquainted with somebody. Everybody wants a bit of information on some point. Everybody is going to some place where he thinks somebody has been or is going, and so a great many new acquaintances are made without ceremony or delay; and old acquaintances are revived. I find people who have come from all sections of the country-- from the east and the west, and from the south-- not adventurers merely, but men of substance and means, who seek a healthier climate and a pleasant home. Nor can I here omit to mention the meeting of my friend, Col. A. J. Whitney, who is one of the pioneers of Minnesota, and with whom I had two years before travelled over the western prairies. A. H. Marshall, Esq., of Concord, N. H., well known as a popular speaker, is also here on a visit.
But what are the roads leading from St. Paul, and what are the facilities of travel to places beyond? These are questions which I suppose some would like to have answered. There is a road to Stillwater, and a stage, which I believe runs daily. That is the route now often taken to Lake Superior. This morning three men came in on that stage from Superior, who have been a week on the journey. The great highway of the territory extends as far as Crow Wing, 130 miles north of here. It passes St. Anthony and several important towns on the eastern bank of the Mississippi. In a day or two I intend to take a journey as far as Crow Wing, and I can then write with more knowledge on the subject.
A very pretty drive out of St. Paul is by the cave. This is an object worth visiting, and is about two miles out of the city. Three or four miles beyond are the beautiful falls of Minnehaha, or laughing water. The drive also takes in Fort Snelling. St. Anthony is on the east side of the Mississippi; Minneapolis is opposite, on the west side. Both places are now large and populous. The main street of St. Anthony is over a mile in length. One of the finest water powers in the Union is an element of growth to both towns. The lumber which is sawed there is immense. A company is undertaking to remove the obstructions to navigation in the river between St. Paul and St. Anthony. $20,000 were raised for the purpose; one-half by the Steamboat Company, and the other half by the people of St. Anthony. The suspension bridge which connects Minneapolis with St. Anthony is familiar to all. It is a fit type of the enterprise of the people. I forget the exact sum I paid as toll when I walked across the bridge-- perhaps it was a dime; at any rate I was struck with the answer given by the young man who took the toll, in reply to my inquiry as I returned, if my coming back wasn't included in the toll paid going over? " No," said he, in a very good-natured way, "we don't know anything about coming back; it's all go ahead in this country."
Character of the Minnesota bar-- Effect of connecting land business with practice-- Courts-- Recent legislation of Congress as to the territorial judiciary-- The code of practice-- Practice in land cases-- Chances for lawyers in the West-- Charles O'Connor-- Requisite qualifications of a lawyer-- The power and usefulness of a great lawyer-- Talfourd's character of Sir William Follett-- Blending law with politics-- Services of lawyers in deliberative assemblies
ST. PAUL, October, 1856.
I HAVE not yet been inside of a court of justice, nor seen a case tried, since I have been in the territory. But it has been my pleasure to meet one of the judges of the supreme court and several prominent members of the bar. My impression is, that in point of skill and professional ability the Minnesota bar is a little above the average of territorial bars. Here, as in the West generally, the practice is common for lawyers to mix with their profession considerable miscellaneous business, such as the buying and selling of land. The law is too jealous a mistress to permit any divided love, and therefore it cannot be expected that really good lawyers will be found in the ranks of general business agents and speculators. In other words, a broker's office is not a lawyer's office. There are some lawyers here who have attended strictly to the profession, who are ornaments of it, and who have met with good success. The idea has been common, and as fatal as common, that success in legal practice could be easily attained in the West with a small amount of skill and
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