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Taylor, Jacob N; Crooks, M. O. Sketch Book of St. Louis: Containing a Series of Sketches of the Early Settlement, Public Buildings, Hotels, Railroads, Steamboats, Foundry and Machine Shops, Mercantile Houses, Grocers, Manufacturing Houses, Etc . St. Louis: George Knapp and Co, 1858. [format: book], [genre: guidebook; narrative]. Permission: Tulane University
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Chapter III. History Continued to Present Time.

The charter under which we are now existing is liberal, although sometimes indefinite. It is true that some of the powers are not very clearly defined, and that several "coaches and six" may drive through gaps; yet it for the present serves its purpose, and, with some little amendment, may be set down as a mighty good carte blanche to do as we please.

In 1851 when this charter was adopted and approved, St. Louis had grown up to a fine healthy lad. It included "all that district of country contained within the following limits, to wit: Beginning at a point in the middle of the main channel of the Mississippi river, due east, to the south-east corner of St. George, in St. Louis county; thence due west, to the west line of Second Carondelet avenue; thence north, with the said west line of said avenue, to the north line of Chouteau avenue; thence northwardly, in a direct line to the mouth of Stony creek; thence due east, to the middle of the main channel of the Mississippi river; thence southwardly, with the middle of the main channel of the Mississippi river, to the place of beginning." Which district was divided into six wards. She was then allowed to maintain, for her protection and clearance, a Hospital, Poor-house and Work-house. The City Council, now increased to twenty-four members, with two boards with officers, as we now find them. The stated sessions, and all the powers, of which we shall elsewhere have occasion to speak,

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were set down; their right to appropriate was limited, and they were generally held to check in their doings. In like manner, the particular duties of the Mayor and the ministerial officers, heretofore or now created, were laid down, and the election of the lot provided for. So additional powers were granted as to the improvement of streets, the maintenance of a police force, and so on, generally, to the last chapter.

But experience, frequently, if not oftener, taught the good citizens that they had not yet reached perfection. A slip was found here and a rent there, and so we find constant appeals made to the Legislature for more legislation. Some companies were not taxed, and a remedy was ordained March 5, 1855. Provision was not fully made for the payment of costs of street improvements, and so on the same day was approved an act to set aside this source of loss to the "Mayor, Aldermen and other citizens." At the same session provision was made, thus far with but little labor for him to perform in that line, for a fund commissioner, to reduce the city debt. A House of Refuge became, if not a necessity, at least a labor of love, and an act was procured establishing that institution. Fires became frequent and cisterns were allowed.

Again the people felt their efforts were pent up in too narrow limits, and December 5th, 1855, was approved "an act to extend the limits of the city of St. Louis, and for other purposes." Then she attained to the magnificent proportions which to-day astonish the visitor. What had been "out of town," became simply "uptown." The Boards of Delegates and Aldermen swelled to twenty each, and what is now called the "extended new limits" came in, on a hard fought polling, under the privileges we enjoyed, with at the same time a right to help us pay the taxes of our joint affairs.

So much for the advance in chartered rights. It is needless

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for us at this time to discuss the merits of our "calf-skins." The subject has been before the City Council for some twelve months, has been subjected to the scrutiny of certain lawyers of the Boards, who have sat on the egg so long without hatching a scheme of improvement, that we can well afford to leave our opinions unexpressed until some unpleasant stop occurs to clog the worthy patriarchs of our city, in some administration scheme, when we may say with more effect our say.

Next in order of importance to the liberality of the charter under which we exist, as a municipality, is the mode and method of our government. The effect of a proper administration of the affairs of a growing community upon its prosperity is beyond calculation. The agitation of politics, and the introduction of sectional measures into legislation, upon the condition of a city, being the abuse of a temporary power, can not but materially affect its well-being and check its growth. Should this or that portion of such a city be paved or cleaned to the neglect of another, it must prevent the general growth, force an unnatural strength upon a small space, and cause disease in the less respected districts. We are thankful that, thus far, these abuses have been somewhat prevented by the size of our Councils; that, by equal strength in ward representations, we have a city flourishing through its entire extent, and only working to exceeding advantage in such spots as a greater amount of trade, or more eligible sites for residences of the opulent, warrant.

Our city's history as a municipal government has been already briefly sketched; how from a village she rose to the dignity of a town, and then commenced the adequate fulfillment of her destiny by applying for and receiving a civic organization, we have seen. Let us now look to those who have governed her, and how they did it — with what aids, by what means, and to what effect.

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The first charter bears date, already mentioned, December 9th, 1822; since that time the succession of Mayors has been as follows:

1823 to 1829 Wm. Carr Lane.
1829 to 1833 Daniel D. Page.
1833 to 1835 John W. Johnston.
1835 to 1838 John F. Darby.
1838 to 1840 Wm. Carr Lane.
1840 John F. Darby.
1841 John D. Daggett.
1842 George Maguire.
1843 John M. Wimer.
1844 to 1846 Bernard Pratte.
1846 Peter G. Camden.
1847 Bryan Mullanphy.
1848 John M. Krum.
1849 James G. Barry.
1850 to 1853 Luther M. Kennett.
1853 to 1855 John How.
1855 Washington King.
1856 John How.
1857 John M. Wimer.

The appreciation of the people of the services of these men is amply shown by the frequent re-election of many of the occupants of the Mayoralty chair.


Every improvement that is made in the conduct and government of the Police Department is one step gained for the better order of our citizens, and for the greater protection of our lives and property. Some such improvements have of late been made, and although it may be that some men of strong passions and hardened hearts have sacrificed to their lusts and criminal

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intents the lives of others within a few weeks past, we must not place the blame to the Police Department, but weigh well the chances, and see whether the deeds could have been prevented; and if not prevented, how the murderer might best have been caught.

The prevention of the capital crime is beyond the power of human ingenuity. When the passions that are sternest and least to be influenced injjthe human heart are aroused, there is no earthly power that can subdue the longings for blood. The idea of revenge for wrongs, real or imaginary, is so firmly rooted in a vicious temperament, that the experience of thousands of years has taught us that the vigorous rule of blood for blood does not even serve to appal the murderer, or to save the victim. How then can officials, unaware of the thoughts of erring humanity, prevent it? Who can stay the hand uplifted to seek a brother's life? The prevention of homicide is in the law, as its punishment is in the hands of the servants of that law.

The Police force at present consists of Major Rawlings, the City Marshal, two Captains, four Assistant Captains, ten Sergeants, one hundred and ten night watchmen and ninety-five day men, all of whom,are immediately responsible to the Mayor. The first is appointed under the new ordinance, with a salary of $3000 for one year. The remaining officers hold their positions for the same period, and receive pay as follows: Captains $1000, Assistant Captains $800, Sergeants $650 and Policemen $600. Little enough pay when we remember how nearly the pay came up to these present prices years ago, when food and clothing was procurable at rates at least fifteen per cent, cheaper than now.

This jurisdiction extends more immediately over the city, including a population of 126,276 — of whom 2,822, being

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negroes and mulattoes, are under special laws — all residing and doing business in 14,260 buildings. The extended limits of the city give us a superficial extent of nearly sixteen miles, divided into blocks, with alleys and intersections. To carry out the calculations, allowing that there are 20,000, and the odd number living beyond the old limits or the more closely guarded portion of the city, that gives for the night watch to keep ward over the conduct of 1100 persons per ward, to examine the doors and shutters, and note the peculiarities existing around 167 buildings, not enumerating the care of sundry coal and lumber yards, docks and steamboats, covering for each man a beat averaging one-fifth of a mile, cut up into blocks with alleys, intersecting streets and other obstacles.

The difficulty is further increased by a necessary order that each patrol shall visit each portion of his beat at least once in each half hour, entailing the necessity of a walk of fifty miles during each term of duty. This does not allow anything for sickness in the department, although it is a fair presumption that a thousand days' services are lost in the course of a year, i. e., that at least three men are on an average on the sick list.

The appropriations (not including for overdrafts) for and expenditures of the department since 1850 are as follows:

1850-1 $27,800 00 $27,638 94
1851-2 26,50000 26,49978
1852-3 33,50022 33,44159
1853-4 41,21710 54,54118
1854-5 53,67592 58,44431
1855-6 56,64362 64,48754
1856-7 94,000 00 93,36682

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Taylor, Jacob N; Crooks, M. O. Sketch Book of St. Louis: Containing a Series of Sketches of the Early Settlement, Public Buildings, Hotels, Railroads, Steamboats, Foundry and Machine Shops, Mercantile Houses, Grocers, Manufacturing Houses, Etc . St. Louis: George Knapp and Co, 1858. [format: book], [genre: guidebook; narrative]. Permission: Tulane University
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