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Edwards, Richard; Hopewell, M.; Ashley, William; Barry, James G.; Belt and Priest; Casey, John; Hall, W.; Labaum, Louis A.; Leduc, Mary Philip; Lisa, Manuel; O'Fallon, Benjamin; Piernas; Port Folio; Risley, W.; Stoddard, Amos; Williams, Henry W.; Yore, John E. Edwards's Great West and Her Commercial Metropolis, Embracing a General View of the West, and a Complete History of St. Louis, from the Landing of Ligueste, in 1764, to the Present Time; with Portraits and Biographies of Some of the Old Settlers, and Many of the Most Prominent Buisiness Men . St. Louis: Office of Edwards's Monthly, A Journal of Progress, 1860. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; letter; narrative]. Permission: St. Louis Mercantile Library
WHEN the Province of Louisiana was ceded to the United States, Major Amos Stoddard was appointed governor of Upper Louisiana, with all the power of a Spanish commandant. He lived in what was known as the Government House, on the corner of Main and Walnut and south of the public square, La Place d'Armes. He was an officer of much ability, an accomplished scholar, and for the short period he was governor of Louisiana, fulfilled with satisfaction his duties.
On the 26th of March, 1804, by an act of Congress, the province of Louisiana was divided into two parts the territory of Orleans and the district of Louisiana and all north of the thirty-third parallel of latitude was included in the latter. The district was placed under the domination of the territory of Indiana, with ample powers to regulate its civil and military government. Not a year elapsed before another act of Congress declared that the district of Louisiana should be changed into the territory of Louisiana, and should have a governor appointed by the president, and the legislative power should vest in the governor and three territorial judges. The first governor of the territory was general Wilkinson. It was in August of that year that one of the expeditions under Lieutenant Pike left their encampment near St. Louis for the St. Peter's. The governor resided in the old Government House, and in the early part of autumn, 1805, was visited by Aaron Burr, when that remarkable man, tormented by the furies of a complaining conscience for the death of Hamilton, in his restless excitement, was projecting schemes to gratify his overreaching ambition, even though they tended to the severance of the Union. He was betrayed by Wilkinson, whom he thought his friend, and was arrested before his schemes had matured. (See Errata 12)
In September, 1806, the little town of St. Louis was again excited by the return of Lewis and Clark, who had traced the turbid Missouri to its source, passed through a defile of the Rocky Mountains, nor desisted until they followed the Columbia to the Pacific Ocean. They had been absent on their perilous journey for two years and a half, and their arrival at St. Louis, on their return to Washington, was an important event, which gave new excitement and set in brisker motion the quiet currents
of the infant city. The chiefs of the expedition were feted by the chief inhabitants of the city, and the attendants received their due share of attention from other of the citizens, who, though not so high in authority as the rulers and the more wealthy, were equally as hospitable, and as anxious to receive with the most cordial warmth the heroic men who had accomplished so perilous an undertaking. The daring adventure became the theme of universal conversation in the town, and they who had traced the wild Missouri to its source; who had smoked the calumet with the most distant and ferocious tribes of Indians; who had forced their way through the dismal solitudes of the Rocky Mountains, and dauntlessly pursued their journey until they stood in view of the saline breakers of the Pacific washing the western borders of our Union became the lions of the town and "the observed of all observers." So much did they like the inhabitants of St. Louis, that both Lewis and Clark became residents of the town, and filled the highest offices of the country. Even the negro, York, who was the body-servant of Clark, despite his ebony complexion, was looked upon with decided partiality, and received his share of adulation. It is said that York was much given to romance, and under the excitement of frequent spirituous potations, with which his kind friends furnished him in abundance, would relate the most thrilling incidents which befell him and the party during long voyages through the wilderness, and which would not have been discreditable to the imagination of the author of Baron Munchausen, when in his happiest flights of erratic fancy.
Under the administration of the United States government, the population of St. Louis increased rapidly. Immigration poured rapidly in the borders of Missouri, and enterprising traders from the eastern cities took up their abode in the town and commenced successful business. The new buildings that were put up became more tasteful in their structure; a new vitality appeared to quicken the sluggish channels of business; and every thing gave indication of surrounding thrift and comfort. A ferry was established across the Mississippi, kept by a man by the name of Adams, and it became so lucrative, that in a few months after another was put in operation there being a continual line of immigrant wagons crossing from the east to the west of the Mississippi. (See Errata 13) Some of them were kept sometimes for days on the east side, waiting for their turns to be ferried over. A post-office was also established in St. Louis soon after the establishment of the United States government.  In July, 1808, the first newspaper was established in St. Louis: it was started by Joseph Charless, a gentleman of fine business capabilities and some editorial talent, and was called the Missouri Gazette. The sheet was not larger than a royal octavo page, yet it was the infant growth of the gigantic sheet now known as the Missouri Republican. It was the first journal west of the Mississippi, and is now one of the most popular and ably conducted sheets in the Union.
It was in August, 1808, that one Sauk and two Iowa Indians were tried before the Court of Oyer and Terminer for murder. Messrs. Lucas and Shrader were the presiding judges. There was much excitement in the town of St. Louis, and the streets literally swarmed with Indian warriors, who had come to be present at the trial. There was much prejudice against the Indians at the time, as several mysterious murders had been
recently committed, which were charged upon some of the marauding bands, and the wishes of the people were that those who were known to be guilty, should suffer the highest penalty of the law. However, their trial was conducted in the most impartial manner. A place was set apart in the court-house which was the main building occupied by the Spanish garrison, near what is now the corner of Fourth and Walnut for their friends to witness their trial, and good counsel was assigned them. The crime was clearly proved upon them, and they were convicted of murder, and sentence of death was pronounced against the Sauk: for some legal informality a new trial was granted to the Iowas. However, none of them were executed; for by legal finesse it was discovered there was a want of jurisdiction in the case, and the savages escaped the doom which they well merited.
As has been before observed, the Delawares and Shawnees had been invited west of the Mississippi by the Spanish authorities, and a large portion of land assigned them in the neighborhood of Cape Girardeau. They were induced to settle there, that they might repel the assaults of the Osages, who kept the Spanish villages in continual terror of their invasion.
The Delawares and Shawnees built several villages in the neighborhood of Cape Girardeau; and after the establishment of the United States government, so sensible were they of the good results of its working, that they determined to fashion a government as near like it as their knowledge and circumstances admitted, and resolved to adopt the habits of civilization. They gave up the chase, buried the tomahawk, and devoted themselves for a little season to the pursuits of agriculture. In their first criminal court, three men were convicted of murder, and without any time for repentance they were taken back of one of the villages, there tomahawked, their bodies burnt upon a pile, and the ashes scattered to the winds. The efforts of the Indians to cast off their barbarous instincts and to acquire the quiet and useful lessons of civilization, proved unsuccessful. They could not change their nature, and quickly threw off the irksome trammels of Caucasian life with which they had fettered themselves for the purpose of increasing their worldly thrift and, relapsing into their old habits, followed the fate of the other tribes, who had sickened and dwindled before the influence of civilization; and now, of the Shawnee and Delaware tribes, once so numerous and powerful, but few are left.
The first execution that ever took place in the territory of Louisiana, was on September, 16th, 1808, when a young man in the prime of youth was hung for the murder of his stepfather. He had deliberately shot him, and it being the first foul and premeditated murder that had ever taken place in the territory, though every effort was made by his friends to avert his doom, he was offered as a victim to the offended laws of his country. In those days, hanging was conducted on very simple principles. Two posts were planted a short distance apart, with a fork at the uppermost ends, and on the forks a stout beam rested, over which was swung a rope. The convict was driven to the gallows in a cart, seated in a chair, upon which he stood when the rope was adjusted to his neck. When all was ready, the cart was driven away, and the unfortunate aggressor was left strangling and struggling in the agonies of death. It frequently happened that the victim, for the purpose of releasing himself
from agonizing suspense, would, the moment that the cord was adjusted to his neck, kick away the chair and launch himself into eternity.
In the first part of autumn, 1809, an event took place which caused a universal gloom among the inhabitants, and many a weeping eye in St. Louis distilled drops of anguish for the death of a magistrate, friend, and stateman. For many months Governor Meriwether Lewis had been subject to mental depression, without having any visible cause for his melancholy. His friends viewed the marked change in his conduct with disquietude, and bestowed upon him those thousand little attentions which respect and warm friendship will suggest, and all in vain. While on a journey, Governor Lewis deliberately ended his life with his pistol.  He was a man of energy, probity and ambition; had received the most marked tokens of his country's approbation, and was universally beloved. What was the fountain source of that melancholy madness, which induced him to perform such a shuddering deed, is a myth at the present day. His disposition from a youth was pensive inclined to be "moody from his earliest day." He was mourned as his worth and virtues deserved, and there were published many elegies as tributes to his memory. He was the companion of Clark in the expedition to the head-waters of the Missouri and Columbia, and was one of the leading spirits in the times in which he lived.
The municipal government of St. Louis was at that time under the control of a board of trustees, vested with nearly the same powers as now incidental to the common council and mayor. On February 10th, 1809, they issued a proclamation, requiring the citizens to form themselves into fire companies, and enacted the laws regulating their government. Among other things, they required that each inhabitant who owned a building should have the chimneys of the same swept once a month at least; and if a chimney caught fire, the presumption was that the chimney had not been swept according to law, and the occupier was fined ten dollars, unless he could prove that his chimney had been swept within a month. One of the ordinances provided that each occupier of a house should provide two buckets, to be kept in a convenient place, for the contingency of a fire. This year, by an act of the legislature, the limits of the city were adjusted.
The roads and bridges were made and repaired in a manner totally different from what they are at the present day. There were two assessors appointed, who assessed in their district so much labor, and the time for its performance, on every property holder or lessee of property. This labor had to be performed either in person or by deputy, who was required to be an able-bodied person, and all were under the direction of an overseer.
Even as late as 1810, the post-office arrangements for St. Louis and some of the chief villages in the territory, were very inferior. The mail started from St. Louis to Cahokia once a week; from St. Louis to Herculaneum, and Mine à Breton to St. Genevieve, once in two weeks. Though the place had considerably improved under the business enterprise of the Anglo-Saxon race, and under the genial influence of our laws, yet business was still conducted on so moderate a scale, that it was not deemed imperative to have more frequent mails. According to a statement made by a writer, dated March 21st, 1811, the town contained 1,400 inhabitants. It contained also one printing-office and twelve
stores. The writer then goes on to say that both population and business had been on a comparative stand for two years, but both were on the increase; and mentions the fact that every house was taken, rents on the increase, and the prospects of the town were brightening. Among other things, he states that six or seven buildings were put up during the last season (1810), and this season (1811) there would probably be twice the number. He also mentions the fact, that there were two schools in the place a French and English one. The value of the merchandise and imports of the town was about two hundred and fifty thousand dollars annually. Small a sum as this appears to be, it was principally owing to the fact that St. Louis was the fitting-out point for the military and trading establishments on the Mississippi and Missouri.
Even up to this date (1811), peltry, lead and whiskey made a large portion of the currency, and the branches of business were not at all fixed and definite. We find the following advertisements of some of the business at that time:
"Cheap Goods. The subscriber has just opened a quantity of bleached country linen, cotton cloth, cotton and wool cards, German steel, smoothing irons, ladies' silk bonnets, artificial flowers, linen check, muslins, white thread, wool and cotton; a handsome new gig, with plated harness; cable and cordelle ropes, with a number of articles which suit this country, which he will sell on very low terms.
"He will take in pay, furs, hides, whiskey, country made sugar and beeswax.
"P. S. A negro girl, eighteen years of age, is also for sale. She is a good house servant."
"Notice. C. F. Schewe will continue to give lessons in the French language, as well at his own lodgings as at the dwellings of those who may favor him with their employment. He flatters himself, that having heretofore enjoyed the patronage of the citizens of St. Louis, by which his talents have been made known, that he will be equally encouraged in future.
"He gives notice to the public at large, that he has a quantity of candles, moulded from the best deers' tallow, on hand, which he will sell cheap for cash.
"St. Louis, January 3d, 1810."
Most of the advertisements approximating that period are in the same strain, and even the editor and proprietor of the only journal west of the Mississippi advertises in his sheet that he will keep a house of entertainment for strangers, where they will find every accommodation except whiskey. He would also take care of eight or ten horses.
It was in January, 1811, that the board of trustees offered proposals for building a market on Centre Square,  the name which had been given to the public square which had been called, during the French and Spanish dominations, La Place d'Armes. This square was between Market
and Walnut streets, and Main and the river. The market was erected during the spring, and was not larger than a respectable barrack. Upon its site stands the present Merchants' Exchange. About this time also was passed an ordinance regulating the prices which boats had to pay which came to the wharf: and every boat of five tons' burden, within the territory of Louisiana, had to pay a duty of two dollars. There was also passed that year, "an ordinance for levying and collecting a tax within the limits of the town of St. Louis."
It was in November, 1811, that a bill was laid before the Senate and House of Representatives for the government of the territory of Louisiana, so as to form the second grade of territorial government, which gave more power to the people, and somewhat unloosed them from their dependence upon the general government at Washington. In February, 1812, the Missouri Fur Company, with which so much of the important history of St. Louis is connected, was established. It was organized by General William Clark, Manuel Lisa, and Sylvestre Labadie, who were individual members of the St. Louis Missouri Fur Company, which commenced its existence in 1808, and was dissolved and somewhat merged in the new company. The laws regulating the government of the company were drawn up with lucidity and accuracy, and were well calculated to preserve the affairs of a company from confusion, and to keep the constituent parts in their proper orbits without danger of interference.
It will not be digressing from this narrative, if at this place we should give a succinct account of the working of the elements which formed the fur companies on which, at that time, the very existence of St. Louis depended; for had she been deprived of her peltry trade, the chief nurture of her commerce was gone, and instead of increasing in strength and magnitude, she at once would have commenced a premature decline.
The first care of a company was to select a quantity of Indian goods, suitable to the trade with the various savage tribes in whose country they designed to execute their operations. There had to be much judgment displayed in the selection of these goods; for, if the blankets were of a color different, or a fraction larger or smaller, or of a different shape from those to which they had been previously accustomed, and which they had adopted as the standard of taste, they would have been rejected by the fastidious savages, and would have been unsalable lumber upon the hands of the company. It was the same with the tomahawks and the rifles, which had to be of a certain shape and length, or they would have been refused by certain of the swarthy sons of the forest, who, extravagant in their offers for every thing which suited their wayward fancy, could not be prevailed upon to receive, even as a gift, what their custom had not recognized as congenial to taste. From these peculiarities of the different tribes, it was very important that the selection of goods should be made by some one perfectly familiar with the customs and tastes of the Indians where it was the intention of the company to trade.
The next care of the company, after laying in a suitable quantity of goods of the proper kind, was to collect a number of skilful hunters and trappers, for principally upon them the success of the expedition depended as the Indians did not supply a moiety of the peltry which a fur company calculated on collecting. The savage is always improvident, and hunts simply to supply his necessities, and never his avarice; hence the
quantity of furs and skins supplied by the Indians was always inadequate to the wants of a company.
The hunters and trappers, who in 1812 formed a considerable part of the population of St. Louis, were chiefly half-breed Indians, and white men who, from continual mingling in savage life, had lost all taste for civilized life, and loved the forest and prairie solitudes, the wild excitement of the chase, and the sovereign independence of the swarthy Indian, better than the wholesome restraints which are necessary to the government of a properly regulated society.
These hunters and trappers carried into the wilderness all of the vices of civilization, with which they inoculated the simple savage, and when they returned for a season to civilized haunts, it was to bring back with them the same vices, with probably an increased love of strife, torture, and fiendish cruelty, which are so predominant in the Indian character. They had but two redeeming traits courage and honesty. Their life was a series of dangers, and it may be said that danger was their element; and they would scrupulously pay to the trader any overdraw they may have made, which was a frequent habit among them, when on a frolic.
In the possession of the rifle and the knife, the hunter and the trapper had a Potosi in their possession, which supplied them with all the riches they required or desired, and a protection which, in their habits of self-reliance, they valued more than forts and bulwarks, with their bristling pieces of ordnance. With constitutions that were impregnable to external influences, and muscles and sinews which no fatigue could weaken or relax, they would pursue their hazardous vocation unaffected by the vicissitudes of climate, undaunted by the prospect of travelling hundreds of miles in their precarious pursuit, and through regions, probably, where some hostile all their might descry them, and with savages wile, lay some trap to take scalp-locks.
The usual dress of these hunters appeared somewhat in keeping with their character, and the wild attire showed the mongrel blending of civilization and barbarism. Short leather breeches with moccasins covered their feet and legs; a leather flap dropped from their waist to their thighs; and a shirt, sometimes of thick flannel or cloth, and sometimes of deer skin, with a cap made from the fur of some animal, and often nothing on the head, made the complete costumes of les couriers des bois, as they were significantly called. Some of them had wives in the village, whom they sometimes visited annually, and sometimes in several years who were left to their own shifts and the charity of their neighbors; and what was most singular, these women, despite this indifferent treatment, and frequently with the knowledge that their truant husbands had not been true to the marital relations, and had solaced themselves while in the wilderness by cohabiting with some of the swarthy beauties of those regions would on their return, meet them with the warmest demonstrations of affection, and would endeavor to surround them with every comfort in their power during their short sojourn among the whites; and would mourn their departure with heart-felt sorrow. The hunters and trappers were an important portion of the population of St. Louis, and their services were always in demand by the rival fur-companies, and by many enterprising traders who individually carried on the fur-trade with the savages, which, at that time was the chief avenue to pecuniary success.
After obtaining the goods and hunters, the next look-out of a fur-company was for a trader, who had to be a person skilled in the knowledge of Indian goods, and a good judge of all the variety of skins and furs; besides having experience with the Indians, and a complete insight into their customs, habits and character. A trader with these qualifications was invaluable, and could command almost a fabulous amount for his services; but so rarely was a person to be found with the proper combination of suitable qualities, that it usually was the custom of some member of the fur-company to take charge of the expedition, and besides his just proportion arising from the expedition, would receive in addition a salary equivalent to the risks and hardships he had to encounter.
The most important personage connected with expeditions of this kind was the interpreter. This was usually a half-breed, and was fashioned into existence somewhat after the following manner: some French hunter, in his vagabond life among savage tribes, would become enamored of some swarthy beauty, and persuade her to leave her tribe and become a resident in some little town or village on the outskirts of civilization, where these worthies usually made their rendezvous, when they had become satiated with the wilderness, and, for change or business, would visit for a brief season the abode of the white man. The progeny created by this strange alliance would learn in their infancy, as a matter of course, their mother's tongue, and likewise circulating among the whites, would become acquainted with their language. When the boys could shoulder the rifle, and were able to endure the hardships of the chase, they would accompany their father in his tramps through the wilderness, would visit their mother's tribe and other Indians, and probably would dwell with their relations for a time, and then return to the settlements. They were usually a desperate set of vagabonds, who thought the wilderness, the chase, and whiskey, a trinity, alone worthy of their worship. However morally worthless, and mentally depraved and ignorant, to the fur-companies they were talismans of power and wealth, and were petted, flattered and cared for with officious attention. They were the channels of communication, and without them it was impossible to carry on any trade with the Indians. Most of them lived with the Indians altogether, adapting tout à fait their customs and habits; and from their superior knowledge, resulting from constant intercourse with the whites, had great influence with the tribes.
Mr. Joseph Philibert, who was long engaged in the fur-trade in the early part of the present century, and who is now in the eighty-ninth year of his age, has related to us some of his thrilling adventures when pursuing his arduous and venturesome vocation in the wild solitudes of the Rocky Mountains. We will give a succinct history of some of them, as they will interest the readers and give them an idea of the trials and hardships incident to the life of a fur-trader, and the daring courage they had to possess to surmount them.
As has been before observed, St. Louis, New Orleans, and Mackinaw were the markets for all the goods of the traders; the latter having the preference and receiving the largest amount of trade.
Mr. Philibert thus speaks of his experience as a fur-trader: "I always made it a rule, when I intended to sojourn any time with any tribe, to make the principal chief my friend. This I could always do by a few insignificant presents; a piece of vermilion, a pocket looking-glass, some
flashy looking beads, and a knife, would effect completely my purpose and make him as a puppet in my hands. I could move him as I wished; and his protection and friendship were of almost omnipotent importance to me while hunting, trading, and trapping in the country.
"As singular as it may appear, the trader had principally to depend on his own trappers for a supply of the skins of those animals which are taken by bait and covert, for the Indians are only hunters, and previous to the advent of the white men, were wholly unacquainted with trapping. Particularly the skins of the beaver at that time were in the greatest demand, and having the friendship of the principal chief would prevent the tribe from robbing the traps, and from other molestations which would certainly take place if that necessary precaution had not been taken.
"On one occasion I went to one of the villages in the Crow country, and though most of the Indians have a penchant for stealing, yet the Crows have this weakness to a greater extent and excel all of the tribes by their superior dexterity. As was my custom, I sought out the principal chief and at once won his heart by carrying to his wigwam a supply of scarlet cloth, beads, and a few charges of powder and ball. In my possession at the time I had a horse of rare beauty and endurance which I prized very highly. Now the Crows are great lovers of horse-flesh, and despite the friendship and protection of the chief, my horse so excited the cupidity of two of them, who were the most noted horse-thieves of their tribe, that one night he was taken, nor could his whereabouts be discovered, though search was made for many miles around. I felt confident that he was stolen, and thought it best to offer some reward in the way of trinkets, that would cause him to be returned. This was done with the advice of the chief. The offer of reward proved fruitless; the horse was not forthcoming. I again went to the chief and told him of my unsuccess. He looked surprised and made me relate again how much reward I had offered, and after attentively weighing the same, by a cautious calculation, he said that it was sufficient to bring the horse, and now he would make them bring it back.
"I anxiously waited to know the expedient to which the chief would resort to have my horse returned. I was not kept long in suspense. He arrayed himself in his most fanciful attire, and, mounting his horse, he rode around the village speaking aloud to his people. After he had made the circuit, he told me not to be uneasy, and that on the following morning I would find my horse at my encampment. This was most comfortable information, for the horse was of great value and I had become much attached to him. I arose at daylight next morning and was ready to reciprocate a greeting with my restored steed, who knew me, and by a joyful neigh would evince his gladness at my approach. I was disappointed. My horse had not been returned. I immediately went to the wigwam of my friend, the chief, and related to him my disappointment. I could see by the convulsive twitch of the muscles of his mouth, and his flashing eye, that his temper was becoming disturbed. Without making a remark he again mounted his horse, and as he made the circuit of the village, closer to the wigwams than before, he spoke in a louder and more imperious voice, and in a manner expressive of the greatest disapprobation. After he had concluded, he told me that my horse would now be certainly returned to me on the following morning. I felt assured
by his positive manner; but again I was doomed to disappointment there was no appearance of my horse. Again I went to the chief, and when I told him that my horse had not been restored, he threw off all the stoicism of the savage and gave vent to the most terrible demonstrations of rage. He mounted his horse, and this time rode at a most furious rate among the wigwams, to the great danger of warriors, squaws, and papooses, who took shelter within their huts, and were anxious to be out of the reach of their chief, who was in such a fury. In his mad career through the village he spoke in a voice heaving and straining with rage, at the same time using the most violent gesticulations. He then told me he had given them a lesson of what would come if they would not restore the horse, and that I could rest content, for as soon as the following morning would break I would find the horse. In the last case his prophecy became true, for I found my horse, on the breaking of the following day, hitched close by our rendezvous."
To the same gentleman we are indebted for other interesting and instructive anecdotes, and as they are illustrative of the kind of life led by a large portion of the inhabitants of St. Louis, and, though real, are vested with the brilliant and attractive hues of romance, we will insert them as a relief to the more sober colorings of other parts of this history.
"At the time I traded up the Missouri," said Mr. Philibert, "very little was known of the Rocky Mountains; and it was a matter of the greatest importance, in attempting to cross, to secure a competent guide, particularly during the inclement parts of the year, when the mountains were covered with snow, which concealed the landmarks of the passes, and which could only be discovered by those who were familiar with their intricate windings, and from experience could trace them, as if by a clew, through their labyrinthical mazes. I had a number of horses, with which I wanted to cross the mountains, and failing to secure a good guide, had to depend upon the little knowledge I possessed of the passes, and that of my companion who was assisting me in leading the horses. It was the last of autumn; but the Rocky Mountains form the natural throne of winter, and in autumn the snow-storms are abundant. We took what we supposed the right road leading through a small defile of the mountains, which for many miles we travelled with every assurance of being upon the right path. At length the defile commenced getting narrower and deeper, and the snow lay so thick that our horses could no longer advance. I thought it only a temporary barrier, and commenced to shovel away the snow, which in some places was more than fifty feet in depth. For three days we were engaged in this manner, making but little advance, and scarcely daring to reflect upon our situation, which was most critical. If we had been disposed to return we could not; for the snow had drifted and filled up the defile where we had passed. Our only salvation was in pushing forward and gaining the other side of the mountains, where we could winter in some of the valleys, which would furnish provender for the horses in the luxuriant growth of cotton-wood, and the grass, which was always fresh beneath the heavy coatings of its dried particles, which protected it from the winter. For three days and three nights we worked incessantly, and at last, accidentally, came upon the right passage and soon crossed the Rocky Mountains, where we thought, though we did not express our feelings to each other till afterward, that
we should find our sepulchres. When we arrived at the base of the mountain, we discovered a temporary wigwam which had been built by some wandering party of Indians for protection during some hunting expedition. We took a great quantity of dried grass which had been used for their horses, and, placing it into a large heap, set it on fire and commenced thawing ourselves out, and as the grateful heat penetrated our flesh, shrivelled and shrunk from cold and hunger, we experienced the most delicious sensation. Our horses stood around the fire, and appeared to enjoy the warmth as much as ourselves. We wintered in that spot, faring most sumptuously. The big-horn, a mountain goat, was abundant, and we would range off to a good distance, where we found plenty of elk, and providing ourselves with the choicest parts of the animals we would shoot, would return to our wigwam and feast ourselves until the supply was exhausted. To be sure we had neither salt, pepper, bread, nor any thing that would supply the place of these articles, yet we had been accustomed to these shifts, and there is something in the cold, piercing air of those regions which creates appetite and lends more vigor to the vital functions. Spending the winter in this manner I actually became more fleshy and healthful than ever I was when sojourning amid the comforts of civilization."
Mr. Philibert informed us, that from 1800 to 1816 St. Louis was the rendezvous of many hunters and trappers, who were ready to let themselves to any individual or company who might require their services. They were a careless, brave, and improvident set of persons, who would frequently form attachments during their intercourse with different tribes; and for the tawny beauties of the forest would consent to build their wigwams among a savage people and adopt their habits and customs. The interpreters connected with the traders and fur-companies were usually the issue of these renegado Frenchmen and the squaws they had taken as wives.
The white men who thus amalgamated with the Indians, were always hailed as a valuable acquisition by the tribes of that early period, from the effectual assistance they could render them in their wars against other savage nations, having a perfect knowledge of the destructive weapons used in civilized warfare, which but few of the Indians could possess, from the immense price demanded by the traders for rifles and guns of every description, owing to the great cost of transportation to so great a distance during the tedious navigation of that period.
The same gentleman informed us that the only victory the Snake Indians a miserable and cowardly tribe ever obtained over the Blackfeet, was when eight reckless white men, from a spirit of revengeful retaliation, from some injury they had received from the Blackfeet, joined their warriors and led them against a band of that fearful and warlike tribe.
The white men were all well armed with rifles and adepts in their use, and soon forty of the terrible Blackfeet were stretched on the battlefield.
When the Snake Indians returned to their village there was a universal jubilee. The fattest dogs were killed to regale the warriors, and the forty reeking scalps taken upon that occasion became one of the legendary records of the tribe.
Mr. Philibert, on one occasion, in his zeal for the chase, and his desire to discover new trading points, wandered into the Mexican territory, was taken prisoner, and carried to Santa Fe. He was detained there for eighteen months, having the limits of the city, but not being permitted to leave it. He was afterward released by the interference of government, and M. De Mun, for whom he was trading, recovered a large indemnification from the Mexican government for the goods which his agent had in his possession at the time of his capture, and which were confiscated.
Immediately after his liberation, Mr. Philibert again joined M. De Mun's company, and as they were on the way home they were set upon by a troop of three hundred savages, and the forty white men who composed the party, after a contest of some hours, using their wagons for a baricade, succeeded in repulsing them.
A fur-company, destined for the Missouri, in 1812, had many more difficulties to overcome and dangers to encounter, than a fur-company of the present day. There was no steam, with its gigantic power, to drive a boat through the wild waters of the rushing Missouri; but its rapid current had to be overcome by the appliances of oars pulled by the sinewy arms of man. An expedition starting from St. Louis in April would not reach the mouth of the Yellow Stone until the first or second month in autumn, so long and difficult was the voyage. The whole country, with the exception of a few small towns, then, from the mouth of the Missouri to the Pacific Ocean, was under the perfect control of savage and powerful tribes of Indians, who had it in their power, at every moment, to destroy every expedition in their country, without any immediate danger of retribution from our government; and many a daring trapper and adventurous hunter, confident in his own prowess, has fallen by the hands of savages in those wild solitudes, and the bodies left mangled and unburied, to fester by the gradual advance of decomposition, or to have the desecrating sepulture afforded by the wolves or the buzzards.
As has been before observed, there were many traders in St. Louis who carried on the fur-trade in their individual capacity, and with frequently but two or three attendants, would go into the wild regions of the Sioux, the Pawnees, the Crows, and the Blackfeet, to carry on trade with those warlike tribes; and it is something remarkable that, despite the hardships and privations incident to the fur-trade at that time, all who connected themselves with the expeditions became more robust in health, and appeared to gather from the pure atmosphere, in which they were compelled by necessity to live in an almost unsheltered state, new sources of vitality for the system, which enabled it longer to resist the infirmities of age and the approach of death.
By the articles of association of the Missouri Fur Company, the capital stock was limited to fifty thousand dollars, and the leading citizens of St. Louis became connected with it; but, like the St. Louis Missouri Fur Company, it did not meet the expectation that was formed at its commencement, and in a few years languished and died. The company has since been renewed, and at a proper time we will again allude to it.
Manuel Lisa, one of the chief directors of the St. Louis Missouri Fur Company, and also of the Missouri Fur Company, was a Spaniard, who came from New Orleans to St. Louis a few years previous to the transfer of the province of Louisiana to the United States. His sole occupation
was trading with the Indians, and he appeared to have been formed by nature with a predisposition to the pursuit; for he loved the venturesome life incident to the vocation, and was well versed in all the strange and strategic elements which compose the Indian character. He was a thorough business man, and possessed an ample share of that peculiar cunning characteristic of the Spanish trader. There was also a dash of wild romance about his life. His first wife had been long a prisoner, with her child, among the Indians, until her release was procured by General Harrison. Her husband had been killed at the time she was taken captive. Manuel Lisa saw her and her child after she had regained her freedom, and pitying her misfortunes and destitution for the charm of beauty had all fled he married her, gave a luxurious home to herself and daughter, and treated both in the most affectionate manner until their death.
Manuel Lisa had no children, though twice married. The house in which he first lived is still standing, a small portion of the northern part only being removed. It is situated in Second street, on the west side, near the corner of Spruce, and may be known by the extended portico in front, and a kind of pigeon-house roof. The house when built was looked upon by the inhabitants of St. Louis as almost a palatial residence, and was built and occupied by one of the merchant princes of the growing town. Manuel Lisa died near St. Louis, where the Sulphur Springs are, and his property went to the children of his brother. We will again speak of this enterprising merchant in another place.
It was in the year 1812 that so many earthquakes occurred in the Southern and Western country, causing villages to tumble in ruins, an entire change in the face of the country, and a vast destruction of property. In New Madrid particularly, one of those dreadful phenomena of nature occurred, which was distinctly felt in St. Louis, and caused much alarm to its inhabitants. This earthquake is thus graphically described by Dr. Hildreth of Ohio:
"The centre of its violence was thought to be near the Little Prairie twenty-five or thirty miles below New Madrid the vibrations from which were felt all over the valley of the Ohio, as high up as Pittsburgh. * * * New Madrid having suffered more than any other town on the Mississippi, from its effects, was considered as situated near the focus from whence the undulations proceeded. From an eye-witness, who was then about forty miles below that town, in a flat-boat, on his way to New Orleans, with a load of produce, and who narrated the scene to me, the agitation which convulsed the earth, and the waters of the mighty Mississippi, filled every living creature with horror. The first shock took place in the night (December 16, 1811), while the boat was lying at the shore in company with several others. At tins period there was danger apprehended from the Southern Indians, it being soon after the battle of Tippecanoe, and for safety, several boats kept in company, for mutual defence, in case of an attack. In the middle of the night there was a terrible shock and jarring of the boats, so that the crews were all awakened and hurried on deck with their weapons of defence in their hands, thinking the Indians were rushing on board. The ducks, geese, swans, and various other aquatic birds, whose numberless flocks were quietly resting in the eddies of the river, were thrown into the greatest tumult, and, with loud
screams expressed their alarm in accents of terror. The noise and commotion soon became hushed, and nothing could be discovered to excite apprehension; so that the boatmen concluded that the shock was occasioned by the falling in of a large mass of the bank of the river near them. As soon as there was light enough to distinguish objects, the crews were all up making ready to depart. Directly a loud roaring and hissing was heard, like the escape of steam from a boiler, accompanied by the most violent agitation of the shores, and tremendous boiling up of the waters of the Mississippi in huge swells, rolling the water below back on the descending stream, and tossing about so violently, that the men could with difficulty keep their feet. The sand-bars and points of the islands gave way, swallowed up in the tumultuous bosom of the river, carrying down with them cotton-wood trees, cracking and crashing, tossing their arms to and fro, as if sensible of their danger, while they disappeared beneath the flood. The water of the river, which the day before was tolerably clear, being rather low, changed to a reddish hue and became thick with mud thrown up from its bottom; while the surface, lashed violently by the agitation of the earth beneath, was covered with foam, which, gathering into masses the size of a barrel, floated along on the trembling surface. The earth on the shores opened in wide fissures, and closing again, threw the water, sand, and mud, in huge jets, higher than the tops of the trees. The atmosphere was filled with a thick vapor, or gas, to which the light imparted a purple tinge altogether different in appearance from the autumnal haze of the Indian summer, or that of smoke. From the temporary check to the current, by the heaving up of the bottom, the sinking of the banks and sand-bars into the bed of the stream, the river rose in a few minutes five or six feet, and, impatient of the restraint, again rushed forward with redoubled impetuosity, hurrying along the boats, now let loose by the horror-struck boatmen, as in less danger in the water than at the shore, where the banks threatened every moment to destroy them by the falling earth, or carry them down in the vortices of the sinking masses. Many boats were overwhelmed in this manner, and their crews perished with them. It required the utmost exertions of the men to keep the boat of which my informant was the owner, in the middle of the river, as far from the shores, sand-bars, and islands as they could. Numerous boats were wrecked on the snags and old trees thrown up from the bottom of the Mississippi, where they had quietly rested for ages; while others were sunk or stranded on the sand-bars and islands. At New Madrid, several boats were carried, by the reflux of the current, into a small stream that puts into the river just above the town, and left on the ground by the returning waters, a considerable distance from the Missisipppi. * * * The sulphureted gases that were discharged during the shocks, tainted the air with the noxious effluvia, and so, strongly impregnated the waters of the river to the distance of one hundred and fifty miles below, that it could hardly be used for any purpose for several days. New Madrid, which stood upon a bluff fifteen or twenty feet above the summer floods, sank so low, that the next rise covered it to the depth of five feet. The bottoms of several fine lakes in the vicinity were elevated so as to become dry land, and have since been planted with corn."
These earthquakes being of unusual occurrence, set in motion the superstitious elements which so largely make up the character of the Indians
and all barbarous nations. Some sixty miles below St. Louis, as has been before stated, the Shawnees and Delawares had, by the invitation of the Spanish government, built some villages and formed a settlement. These Indians could feel the shock of the earthquake which was so severe in the neighborhood of New Madrid, very sensibly; and as they felt the earth straining and heaving, as if in convulsions, according to their superstitious creed they thought that the Great Spirit was offended, and in this way was manifesting his displeasure as a warning and precursor of something still more dreadful emanating from his wrath if hasty propitiation were not made. A writer of that period thus describes the manner in which they attempted to conciliate their Deity:
"After a general hunt had taken place, to kill deer enough for the undertaking, a small hut was built to represent a temple or place for offering a sacrifice.
"The ceremony was introduced by a general cleansing of the body and the face, the novelty of the occasion rendering it unusually awful and interesting. After neatly skinning their deer, they suspended them by the fore-feet, so that the heads might be directed to the heavens, before the temple, as an offering to the Great Spirit. This propitiatory solemnity usually continued three days, and all of the interval was devoted to such penance as consists in absolute fasting. At night they lay on their backs upon fresh deer-skins, turning their thoughts exclusively to the happy prospect of immediate protection, that they might conceive dreams to that effect, the only vehicle of intercourse between them and the Great Spirit.
"During this occasion, the old and young men observed the most rigorous abstinence from cohabitation with the women, under a solemn persuasion that for a failure thereof, instant death and condemnation awaited; and they gravely, and with much apparent piety, implored the attention of the Great Spirit to their unprotected and helpless condition, acknowledging their absolute dependence upon him, entreating his regard for their wives and children, their total disability to master their game, arising from a dread of his anger, and concluding by asserting their full assurance that their prayers were heard, and that for the future there would be a cessation of terrors, and game would again be in plenty, and they would have the strength to overcome it.
"These strange proceedings continued for three days, and they then believed that the propitiation was complete, and that they would no more feel the effects of the wrath of the offended Deity. They then commenced to congratulate each other, related their dreams, and finally, in the enjoyment of a feast, which three days' abstinence had made them capable of appreciating, they concluded their strange and superstitious rites."
It was in May, 1812, that the chiefs of the Great and Little Osage, the Sacs, Renards, the Shawnees and Delawares, met at St. Louis in order to accompany General William Clark to Washington city. It is proper here to mention that General William Clark was the brother of General George Rodgers Clark, the hero of the West during the Revolution. He was also the compeer of Lewis during the celebrated expedition to the sources of the Missouri and Columbia, and was remarkable for the singular power he had over the Indians, who both loved and feared him. He had well studied their character in his constant communication with them, and almost by intuition could read their secret thoughts. He would discover
cover their most subtle plans, however wily they may have laid them, and was looked upon by them as a Great Medicine. He was their powerful friend on all occasions, and often kept them from impositions and wrongs which were ready at all times to be practised upon them by unprincipled white men.
It was a curious sight to witness these chiefs of the most powerful tribes coming together, each preserving in their features and attire, some peculiarity and custom of their tribe.
The representatives of these tribes, by the advice of General Clark, concluded a peace among themselves, and agreed to bury the hatchet. They appeared to be moody and taciturn, distantly repelling all familiarity on the part of the citizens, who, excited by curiosity, or more friendly feelings, endeavored to enter into conversation. With that cold, impassive stoicism, for which the Indians in their palmy days, when undegraded by constant association with the white men, were remarkable, they heeded no inquiry; and if pressed too closely by questions, would lift their straight forms still more lofty, and wrapping their blankets closer around them, would stride contemptuously away. An eye-witness to the scene has related these facts to us.
On the 5th of May General Clark departed with these chiefs to the federal city, for the purpose of some negotiation with the general government, and also that they might witness the wealth and power of the United States, and make them the more anxious to cultivate friendly relations.
The Indians at all times, were objects of disquietude and alarm; for both east and west of the Mississippi, all efforts to conciliate them by presents or kindness, or to subdue them by arms, were found to be abortive in producing any continued and permanent peace. They would profess friendship, but only for the purpose of throwing the inhabitants off their guard, and then the settlements would become alarmed by the news of some horrible murders by bands of armed savages.
Governor Howard, who filled the executive chair in the territory of Louisiana was kept continually agitated by these alarms, and may be said to have spent nearly the whole term of his office in efforts for protecting the territory from the incursions of the Indians, and notwithstanding his vigilance and energy, massacres were continually committed. He and Governor Ninian Edwards of Illinois, acted in concert to protect the inhabitants of the two territories, and kept constantly in employ large and well organized bands of militia, which kept the savages at bay, and almost effectually restrained their power of committing evil. Tecumseh, and his brother the Prophet, endeavored to sow defection among all the savage tribes east and west of the Mississippi, and even endeavored to form them into a league for the purpose of preventing the further encroachments of the whites, and force them east of the Alleghanies.
Since the days of Pontiac, Tecumseh was the most talented chieftain ever born in the American wilds, and, animated by the patriotic desire of protecting his race and preserving its existence as a people, he or his brother the Prophet, visited most of the distant tribes, making eloquent appeals to their passions, by telling them of the magnitude of their ancient possessions, the broad expanse of their hunting-grounds, and of the happiness of the red man when he worshipped the Great Spirit after the custom
of their ancestors. After thus looking into the past to excite their pride, they drew before them their present state to excite their vengeance. They showed them, since the advent of the white man, how their lands had been encroached upon, their fame and power diminished, and how they were forced gradually to the setting sun from the forests where their fathers hunted, and from the graves where their mothers lay. They then brought before them the daring deeds of the great warriors of the red men, whose spiritual forms were then chasing the chamois and the buffalo in the happy hunting-fields, and asked them to emulate their glory, retrieve the lustre of their name, and all the red men raising the tomahawk together, should tread with quick step the war-path, and with the fires of vengeance burning and seething through their veins, should visit with dire wrath the invaders of their land, and the curse and bane of their race.
Under the harangues of these celebrated chieftains, the infectious spirit of discontent was spread among all the tribes, from the Alleghanies to the Upper Missouri, and the bold pioneers with their families, tar in the wilderness, fell beneath the fury of the excited savages, and their little cabins, after the work of human slaughter had been completed, were burned to the ground.
In Illinois and Indiana, the savages succeeded in organizing in an effectual manner, and only by the fall of Tecumseh at the battle of the Thames, was the country relieved from a fearful coalition. In Missouri, there were many isolated murders, but there was no coalition of sufficient importance to fear any regular invasion. Especially in Missouri, so well was the Indian character understood, that there would have been very little trouble, had not the English, on the declaration of war in 1812, according to their custom sent their emissaries into the country of the savage, and used every artful and mercenary motive to incite them against the Americans. Yet, on the Missouri, their efforts were nearly fruitless, only some of the reckless belonging to some of the tribes, consenting to take part in the English cause. This was owing in a great measure to the fact that the whole of the trade of the Missouri, was under the control of merchants in St. Louis, and the supplies furnished by them which served at first as a gratification of luxury, by habitual continuance became a necessary. The Indians could no longer do without their powder, ball, guns, blankets, vermilion, etc., since they had been furnished so long with these articles, that their natures appeared to have undergone a change, had adapted themselves to their uses, and demanded a continuance. They were careful, then, not to commit themselves by any approved act of hostility toward the American government, and were not to be moved by the artful persuasions and presents of the British emissaries. Whenever it was known that any of the tribe had committed murder among the whites, they were immediately given up to the ruling chiefs, and this summary mode of expressing their disapprobation, intimidated the young warriors, who were anxious on every pretext to sound the war-whoop, and enter on the war-path. 
The war with England in 1812, except in exciting disaffection among the Indians, had very little effect upon St. Louis. She could hear the
storm in the distance, but she was too far removed from the sea-coast to be affected, and the thunder and lightning of British warfare hurtled in the distant part of the country, and were there exhausted. The contest, however, was one of lively interest to the people of St. Louis, and the printing-office of the Missouri Gazette and Illinois Advertiser, the name which the present Missouri Republican bore during the war, was continually crowded with anxious citizens to hear the news from the East, and, as almost every week brought some triumph of American arms on sea or land, there was much congratulation among the inhabitants that the terrors of the English lion were of little avail, and that it was at length bowed and conquered.
When peace was declared, and on terms so honorable to the United States, there was universal rejoicing; for the pride of England was humbled, which was a source of considerable satisfaction, and the trade of Mackinaw would again be opened, which was more important to the people of St Louis as a trading post, than was New Orleans, though situated on the great Mississippi River.
In September, 1814, we saw three advertisements in the journal we have just noticed that are significant memorials of the times, and serve as beacon-lights to guide us safely to its history. One of the advertisements was as follows:
"SLEIGHT OF HAND. John Eugene Leistendorfer (See Errata 14), will exhibit on the eve of the 24th inst., and on every succeeding Saturday evening during the season, at the same house where he performed last year, a number of sleight-of-hand tricks, for the amusement of the ladies and gentlemen of this town and vicinity among which he will perform the following:
"Any person of the company may cut off the head of a living chicken, and then he will immediately restore it to life with its head on.
"He will cause a shawl or handkerchief to be cut in two pieces. One of the halves will be burnt, the other cut into small pieces, and he will return it entire.
"A new way of proving good whiskey, by putting a penknife or any other light article in a tumbler, and in pouring the whiskey on it; if there is any water in the whiskey, the penknife will move only, but if the whiskey is good, the penknife will jump of itself out of the water.
"He will catch between his teeth a ball discharged from a pistol, actually loaded and fired by one of the visitors, and after having performed a great many more tricks, too long to be enumerated, he will conclude by eating live coals of fire.
"The Prophet Habdula Rakmany, of Egypt, an automaton figure, will perform several extraordinary and curious feats.
"Constrained by misfortune thus to call upon the good people of this territory for their assistance, he begs leave to observe that he is the same Colonel Leistendorfer who served under General Eaton, in the capacity of guide, adjutant, inspector-general, and chief engineer in passing the desert of Lybia.
"Certificates from several gentlemen high in office in this government, testify to his character and service.
"Performance to commence precisely at seven o'clock, P. M. Admittance, fifty cents. Children, half price."
This advertisement of the wizard goes to show that the people of St. Louis in 1814 were not a jot different from the people of the towns and villages of the present day. They were fond of amusement, but as yet no building had been erected suitable for any exhibition of dramatic performance, and some stable-loft, or untenantable building, was usually fitted up to answer the purpose of these itinerant exhibitors who came to the city.
It is said that Colonel Leistendorfer had no cause to regret his visit to St. Louis, and when he departed, after a protracted stay of three months, his pockets were well filled with the pure Mexican coin, and he enjoyed the reputation of either being Old Nick himself, who by some device had escaped from his fiery regions, or else he was on terms of the closest intimacy with that individual, so astonishing were the wonders he performed. He afterward settled in Carondelet. (See Errata 14)
In the journal of the same date we see a notice of a sale of land by the heirs of Madame Chouteau, then deceased. It was the sale of the lot on which she had resided, situated between Second and Main, and Chesnut and Market, on which Laclede Liguest had built, and donated to Madame Chouteau and her children; she having only the usufructuary title, the fee-simple vesting in her children, as we have stated in another portion of this history. So as to sell the land to the best advantage, the lot was divided into four portions; for land in that portion of the town was in great demand. In this manner we find out the time when this piece of property was divided, which was so strong a testimonial of the generosity of the founder of St. Louis.
At the same date, also, we see a public notice given, that on the 15th of December, subscription books would be open at St. Louis, St. Charles, Herculaneum, Mine à Breton and St. Genevieve, Missouri Territory, and at Kaskaskia and Cahokia, Illinois Territory, for the purpose of taking stock in the new-established bank at St. Louis. The business of St. Louis had so much increased, that it was found necessary to create a bank to supply its wants and conveniences. The bank was incorporated August 21st, 1816. The commissioners of that bank consisted of the following-named gentlemen: Auguste Chouteau, John B. C. Lucas, Clement B. Penrose, Moses Austin, Bernard Pratte, Manuel Lisa, Thomas Brady, Bartholomew Berthold, Samuel Hammond, Rufus Easton, Robert Simpson, Christian Wilt, and Risdon H. Price. The commissioners called a meeting of the stockholders, on the 2d of September, 1816, and the following thirteen gentlemen were elected directors: Samuel Hammond, William Rector, Bernard Pratte, Risdon H. Price, Moses Austin, E. B. Clempson, Theodore Hunt, Justus Post, Robert Simpson, Charles N. Hunter, Walter Wilkinson, Theophilus W. Smith, and Elias Bates. The directors then met on the 20th of September, for the purpose of electing bank officers, and Colonel Samuel Hammond was elected president, and John B. N. Smith, cashier.
All felt that a bank was a necessity, and some of the leading citizens of the town became connected with the new institution. For a time the little town felt the benefit of a banking-house, and the current of business swelled in volume and moved with increased vitality, from the flood of money that was poured upon all its channels. It is the law of nature that the greater the flood the greater the ebb, and the tide of business, when
it swells and inflates to an excessive magnitude, will have its hour of collapse, and shrink into contracted boundaries. The sudden influx of money poured out by the new bank gave an unnatural expansion to commercial affairs, created a spirit of speculation and extravagance, and jeopardized every thing by the dangerous momentum which it gave.
The bank had not been in operation for more than two years before the public felt convinced that something was wrong in the financial fountain which at first distilled so largely its supplies, and afterward became so meagre and exsiccated that business commenced to languish for the want of its usual support and nurture.
The directors felt convinced that the cashier of the bank had exceeded his powers and loaned at too much hazard the money of the bank. At a meeting which took place on the 11th of February, 1818, Theophilus W. Smith was elected cashier, in the place of John B. N. Smith, the former officer, which election, being displeasing to some of the directors, a portion of them resigned, and, feeling that the business of the bank was not carried on in a legitimate and prudent manner, they took the keys of the bank, vi et armis, and it was some time before they could be prevailed upon to give them up again to the proper officers.
Then the business of the bank was in so deranged a state, that it was impossible that it would ever recover from its difficulties, and an honorable policy demanded that it should be wound up; but this seizure of the keys created a sympathy in its favor, and as the officers pleaded the part of injured innocence, they found many friends among the people. They asked for a little while to arrange and ameliorate their affairs, which they acknowledged were somewhat embarrassed on account of a large Kentucky loan made by the former cashier. After several months occupied in putting their business on a proper footing, the bank again opened its doors, but only for a short period. It had been tottering for more than a year, and fell at last, dragging in its fall the fortunes and prospects of many individuals, and ruining the reputation of others, who were strongly suspected of sacrificing their moral principle to cupidity. The ruin of the bank was followed by many vexatious lawsuits, which were productive of but little pecuniary benefit of, except to the legal gentlemen who conducted them through all the lengthened chain of nisi prius and appellate process.
A little while after the establishment of the Bank of St. Louis, the Missouri Bank came into existence, and was incorporated February 1st, 1817. The commissioners who were appointed by the stockholders to receive subscriptions, were Charles Gratiot, William Smith, John McKnight, Jean B. Cabanné, and Matthew Kerr; and these gentlemen were mainly instrumental in bringing the bank into existence. The first cashier was Lilburn W. Boggs, and the first president Auguste Chouteau.
It will give the reader an insight of the leading citizens by giving the names of the stockholders and the amount of stock for which they subscribed. The shares were one hundred dollars each.
All of these names were either residents of St. Louis or its vicinity, and it was their intention to establish a bank on a more extended basis than the Bank of St. Louis, which was at that time (in September, 1817), in its golden age of prosperity. Their bright hopes were doomed to disappointment. The first days were the days of their innocence and their promise. Both indulged to some extent in the gambling spirit of speculation; both sinned by violating the legitimate laws of banking, and in a few years, with their prospects all blasted, ended their existence in ruin and disgrace.
The Bank of Missouri had a capital of $250,000, and was one of the banks of deposit of the public moneys. It entered into being with the perfect confidence of the public; but, like most banking institutions, it hazarded its money in the hands of the speculator, whose every move on the checker-board of life is at random, and at variance with that calculation and foresight which give certainty and success to business pursuits. It paid but little attention to the limited wants of the industrious, who, by each day's labor in a proper vocation, were adding to the general wealth. It listened to the gorgeous schemes of the speculator, who
lives a drone, useless and unprofitable, continually disturbing the harmonious orbits of business life, until all the witchery of the visionary's projects seduced its directors from that business caution which alone gives security to financial operations. Though the fall of the Bank of St. Louis should have been fraught with instruction, yet it followed in the same course, was drawn into the same vortex, and was at length swallowed up in the same maelstrom of wild speculation. Like its predecessor, it deranged to a great extent the channels of business, and crippled in its fall many deserving and industrious citizens, who faithfully tried to sustain the "falling ruins."
On Tuesday, June 6th, 1816, Manuel Lisa arrived in St. Louis, accompanied by forty-three chiefs of the different nations on the Missouri. They came to St. Louis for the purpose of seeing Governor Clark, whom they always esteemed their friend, that he would signify to the president of the United States their wish to assist him in his contemplated chastisement of the Sacs and other nations of the Upper Mississippi who were hostile to our government. Among the number was Big Elk, the Omaha chief, whom Mr. Catlin, in his Indian history, has so long dwelt upon and eulogized, and Partisan, the Teton chief, who made an unsuccessful effort to stop Messrs. Lewis and Clark in their journey to the Pacific ocean. There were also chiefs of the Oncas, the Sioux and the Yanctons.
The next day after their arrival, when they were all assembled in council, they addressed Governor Clarke in language which, being translated, was in substance as follows.
"My Father: We have come a long way to see you, to receive information. The white people call the Indians dogs; they are so, but we are inoffensive dogs who traverse the plains in search of food. The hands of the Sioux are clean; they never have been stained with the blood of the whites. We are not like those nations who receive your presents, and put them under their blankets, and then turn their backs to you. Put something sharp in our hands, that we may help ourselves, and by so doing, help you. The sky is clear, and the great Father of the world hears what we say."
After the Sioux chief had taken his seat, Big Elk, the great chief of the Omahas, rose up in the assembly. He had a towering form, and his countenance wore the expression of loftiness and intelligence. A tastefully dressed buffalo-skin hung from his shoulders to his heels, on which were painted bloody and black hands intermingled with red stripes, and the course of the Missouri from its mouth to their village. The waters of the Missouri were of a red color.
The Omaha chief, when he rose in the assembly, took his robe from his broad and muscular shoulders, and holding it toward Governor Clark, thus explained to him the symbols that were upon it. He told him to look upon the red hands that they were Americans, and the black hands were Indians, and the bloody stripes were inflicted by the Americans and hostile Indians. He closed with telling him that the whites had killed an Omaha chief, and that the Missouri was red with his blood.
At this charge against the whites, Governor Clark was much surprised; but when he succeeded in ascertaining the time, he learned that some time during the Spanish domination, a trader from St. Louis had killed an Omaha Indian, which had been remembered to this time. Governor
Clark explained to the chief the change of government, and that the United States could not be held responsible for the offence. The chief listened, with some surprise at the explanation, and was apparently satisfied.
Manuel Lisa understood the Protean phases of the Indian character; and met all of their wiles and strategic lore with a masterly power which surprised and subdued them. He was of great service to the United States in defeating the arts of the British emissaries, who were ever on the alert to prejudice and excite them to hostility against our government. His success as a trader created some envy, and reports became circulated in St. Louis that he had appropriated goods and moneys belonging to government to his own purposes. The charges were slanderous and unfounded; for, though as a trader he was an adept in the legitimate license of bargaining, yet, in his extrinsic connections, he was liberal and honorable. We here append a letter which he wrote to Governor Clark, denying the charges which had been rumored against him, and resigning the office of Indian agent, which he had held for three years.
"St. Louis, July 1st, 1817.
"TO HIS EXCELLENCY GOVERNOR CLARK:
"Sir: I have the honor to remit to you the commission of sub agent, which you were pleased to bestow upon me in the summer of 1814, for the Indian nations who inhabit the Missouri River, above the mouth of the Kansas, and to pray you to accept my resignation of that appointment."
"The circumstances under which I do this demand of me some exposition of the actual state of these Indians, and of my own conduct during the time of my subagency."
"Whether I deserve well or ill of the government depends upon the solution of these questions: 1st. Are the Indians of the Missouri more or less friendly to the United States than at the time of my appointment? 2d. Are they altered, better or worse, in their own condition, during this time?"
"To the first proposition I have to say, that I received this appointment when war was raging between the United States and Great Britain, and when the activity of British emissaries had armed against the republic all the tribes of the Upper Mississippi and of the northern lakes. Had the Missouri Indians been overlooked by British agents? No. Your excellency will remember that more than a year before the war broke out I gave you intelligence that the wampum was carrying by British influence along the banks of the Missouri, and that all the nations of this great river were excited to join the universal confederacy then setting on foot, of which the profit was the instrument, and the British traders the soul. The Indians of the Missouri are to those of the Upper Mississippi as four are to one. Their weight would be great, if thrown into the scale against us. They did not arm against the republic; on the contrary, they armed against Great Britain, and struck the Iowas, the allies of that power. When peace was proclaimed, more than forty chiefs had intelligence with me; and together we were to carry an expedition of several thousand warriors against the tribes of the Upper Mississippi, and silence them at once. These things are known to your excellency."
"To the end of the war, therefore, the Indians of the Missouri continued of the United States. How are they to-day, when I come to lay down my appointment? Still friends, hunting in peace upon their own grounds, and we trading with them in security, while the Indians of the Upper Mississippi, silenced but not satisfied, give signs of enmity, and require the presence of a military force: and thus the first question resolves itself to my advantage."
"To the second question I thus reply: Before I ascended the Missouri as subagent, your excellency remembers what was accustomed to take place. The Indians of that river killed, robbed and pillaged the traders; these practices are now no more. Not to mention others, my own establishments furnish the example of destruction then, of safety now. I have one among the Omahas, more than six hundred miles up the Missouri, another at the Sioux, more than six hundred miles further still. I have from one to two hundred men in my employment, quantities of horses, of horned cattle, of hogs, of domestic fowls. Not one is touched by an Indian; for I count as nothing some solitary thefts, at the instigation of white men, my enemies; nor as an act of hostility, the death of Pedro Antonio, one of my people, shot this spring, as a man is sometimes shot amongst us, without being stripped or mutilated. And thus the morals of these Indians are altered for the better, and the second question equally results to my advantage."
"I have had some success as a trader; and this success gives rise to many reports."
"‘Manuel Lisa must cheat the government, and Manuel Lisa must cheat the Indians; otherwise he could not bring down every summer many boats loaded with rich furs.’"
"Good. My account with government will show whether I receive anything out of which to cheat it. A poor five hundred dollars, as subagent salary, does not buy the tobacco which I annually give to those who call me father."
"‘Cheat the Indians.’ The respect and friendship which they have for me, the security of my possessions in the heart of their country, respond to this charge, and declare, with voices louder than the tongues of men, that it cannot be true: but Manuel Lisa gets so much rich fur! Well, I will explain how I get it. First, I put into my operations great activity. I go a great distance, while some are considering whether they will start to-day or to-morrow. I impose upon myself great privations. Ten months in the year I am buried in the depths of the forest, at a vast distance from my own house. I appear as the benefactor, not as the pillager of the Indian. I carried among them the seed of the large pumpkin, from which I have seen in their possession fruit weighing one hundred and sixty pounds; also the large bean, the potato, the turnip; and these vegetables will make a comfortable part of their subsistence; and this year I have promised to carry the plough. Beside, my blacksmiths work incessantly for them, charging nothing. I lend them traps, only demanding a preference in their trade. My establishments are the refuge of the weak, and of the old men no longer able to follow their lodges; and by these means I have acquired the confidence and friendship of the natives and the consequent choice of their trade."
"These things have I done, and I propose to do more. The Ricarees
and the Mandans, the Gros-Ventres and the Assinniboins, find themselves near the establishment of Lord Selkirk, upon the Red River. They can communicate with it in two or three days. The evils of such a communication will strike the minds of all persons, and it is for those who can handle the power to dilate upon them."
"For me, I go to form another establishment, to counteract the one in question, and shall labor to draw upon us the esteem of these natives, to prevent their commerce from passing into the hands of foreigners.
"I regret to have troubled your excellency with this exposition. It is right for you to hear what is said of a public agent, and also to weigh it, and consider the source whence it comes. In ceasing to be in the employ of the United States I shall not be less devoted to its interest. I have suffered enough in person and in property, under a different government, to know how to appreciate the one under which I now live.
"I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, your excellency's obedient servant,
"St. Louis, July 2d, 1817.
"Sir: Last year I arrived from the Missouri the 22d of June, and learned that scandalous reports were circulated against me. I wrote and published an article in the Gazette of this town. The calumny was refuted, and the authors refused to unmask themselves. On the first of September, I re-entered the Missouri, and ascended it to my upper establishment, a distance of twelve hundred miles. Returning to this place on the 14th instant, I learned from you the day before yesterday, that certain scandalous reports were again on foot to my prejudice.
"1. That I had disposed of the merchandise of government to my own account.
"2. That I had not brought down the Panis to treat with the commissioners at St. Louis, upon their requisition.
"3. That I had prevented the Omahas from revenging upon the Sioux the murder of Pedro Antonio.
"4. That I had misapplied the provisions given to me last year, for the Sioux and Omahas returning home.
"5. That I sold whiskey to the Indians.
"I owe it to you, sir, from whom I received the appointment of sub-agent, to exculpate myself from these charges, which I propose to do in a few words.
"1. I received your order the 24th of August, 1814, to receive from Mr. Sibley, $1,335 of merchandise, prices of St. Louis, to be distributed among the Indians of the Missouri, to engage them in offensive operations against the enemies of the United States. The 20th of August, the same year, General Howard, in his official letter, wrote to me, saying, ‘I hope you will be able to raise the Sioux against the other Indians of the Mississippi. If you succeed in exciting them to war, it is important, at least, that one of the principal chiefs of each band should come to St. Louis.’
"I distributed the merchandise. I raised the war parties. The presents were made among the Omahas and the Yanctons. The former made some scalps, which were brought to St. Louis, in February, 1815. I gave a rendezvous to the Yanctons, at the entry of the river à Jacques, where
there met me about nine hundred warriors, and went and took twenty-seven scalps from the allies of Great Britain, the Iowas of the Upper Mississippi; and completed the request of General Howard, by bringing down to St. Louis forty-seven warrior chiefs. This is all of the merchandise I have received from government; it has all been distributed, and the objects of the distribution have all been accomplished.
"2. The Panis were not brought down. That is true. I did not bring them because the official letter of Mr. Sibley prevented me from doing it. I wrote to you on the 29th of June past, and enclosed this letter, and consider no other details necessary to my justification; as I could not doubt the official statement of an accredited Indian agent, that the treaty was closed, and that it was not the wish of the commissioners that any more Indians should be brought down.
"3. I did prevent the Omahas from revenging on the Sioux the murder of Pedro Antonio. The case was this: Antonio, a Spaniard in my service, was killed nine miles from my establishment. His comrades fled, and gave me intelligence. I took one hundred and ninety-two warriors of the Omaha tribe, and went to the spot. Those who did the mischief had fled. The Omahas, impatient for blood, were eager to follow. I stopped them with my own presents and my own influence, and I take honor to myself for having done it. The body of Antonio was not mutilated; it was covered with a blanket, and his face with a hat; his comrades might have been killed they were not hurt. The death of Antonio, then, was a case of simple murder, and not an act of national hostility on the part of the Sioux. For one guilty act, must I turn loose two hundred warriors upon the innocent? Forget all moral principle, and turn barbarian myself, because in a country called savage? Beside, I had among the Sioux at my upper establishment, two Americans and a Creole, who must have felt the tomahawk if I had revenged upon the innocent, the death of Pedro Antonio. I rejoice that the stupid calumniators have made this charge. In attempting to render such conduct criminal, they show the business of which they are capable, and the crimes they are ready to commit to injure me.
"4. I had a contract for a certain sum, $1,100, and a certain quantity of provisions, to conduct the Omahas and the Sioux, the last fall, to their respective homes. There were forty-seven men of them, and the voyage was of three months. I received from the clerk of the commissioner, Mr. Wash, the order for the provisions, and the papers of his office will show the quantity. It will, then, be easy to calculate that barely enough was allowed to conduct the chiefs to their homes, and they were conducted there; and thus there is no room for misapplication of a surplus which did not exist.
"5. That I have sold whiskey to the Indians.
"If this charge be true, it is capable of being proved. There are in this town, at present, many persons who have been in my employment, characters of the first respectability; also five nations with whom I have traded; among them can be found witnesses to attest the fact, if it be true. On the contrary, I appeal to the whole of them, and pronounce it a vile falsehood. At the same time, it is an act of hospitality indispensable in his intercourse with the Indians, for the trader to treat his hunters with small presents of liquor. They look for it, and are dissatisfied if they
do not receive it. The permanent trader makes such presents with discretion. I have made them, and urged the necessity of them to your excellency.
"Thus much I have been induced to write and publish, to refute the slanders against me, because I have but just arrived, and my affairs will require me soon to depart again, and I cannot be here to contradict them in person.
"I have the honor to be, with respect and consideration, &c.,
"HIS EXCELLENCY WM. CLARK."
We give a list of the St. Louis retail prices current, of November 23d, 1816, which will afford a pretty correct idea of the market of the territorial city at that period.
It now becomes our duty to relate an event which created at the time much excitement, and by its tragical termination brought anguish and desolation into the parental household, and mourning by the hearthstone of friendship. The circumstance alluded to is the death of Charles Lucas, who was attorney of the United States of Missouri Territory, in a duel with Thomas H. Benton. We do not wish to kindle again the ashes of the past, and shall only relate the facts which are required by this history, without making any comments upon them.
The commencement of the controversy took place in a court-house, when the two legal gentlemen were engaged in a cause on opposite sides. In the zeal for their clients they both forgot the courtesy which was due to each other, the court, and their brother members, and indulged in harsh and vituperative language.
Colonel Benton, chafing at what he considered an insult, sent Mr. Lucas a challenge, which Mr. Lucas declined accepting, on the ground that his professional statements to a jury should not be the basis of a quarrel sufficient to cause him to jeopardize his own life or that of another. The poisoned arrow of vengeance had touched the sensitive organization of both, and it caused, on a future occasion, a very little pretext to make the wounds rankle and the blood to boil like a seething cauldron.
They were opposed in politics, and were looked upon as the leaders of their respective parties. At a political meeting, both of the young champions became excited on some topic of controversy, and Mr. Lucas
sent a challenge to Colonel Beriton, which was accepted. The parties met at Bloody Island, opposite St. Louis, on the morning of the 12th of August, 1817, with pistols, to decide their difference. They took their stations at ten paces, and fired simultaneously the ball of Colonel Benton inflicting a severe wound upon the neck of Mr. Lucas, whose ball, striking the ground a few feet from Colonel Benton, bounced from some object it struck, and came in contact with his knee, causing a slight contusion.
The wound of Mr. Lucas caused a great effusion of blood, and his surgeon withdrew him from the field after it had been agreed upon by the seconds that the parties should have another meeting when Mr. Lucas's wound should permit. The difference between the two young men was in a few days afterward adjusted by mutual friends, and the matter was temporarily settled. It was, however, only temporary; for thousands of reports came into circulation, having no foundation in truth, and calculated to arouse again the dormant fires of hostility. Some of these reports so reflected upon the conduct of Colonel Benton, and proceeding, as he thought, either from the friends of Mr. Lucas or himself, that he sent Mr. Lucas word that he held him to the promise subsisting between them at the termination of the former encounter, that there should be another meeting. They met, and Mr. Lucas fell.
Colonel Benton lived for many years a faithful servant, and an honor to his country. As a patriot and a statesman, he makes a part of the constellation of great men, who have shed lustre upon the annals of their country, and whose name will be identified with the history of our Union. His adversary, young Lucas, was cut off in the spring of life, when bright hopes were flowering and blossoming around him, pregnant, it is believed, with the germs of future greatness. He died on the 27th of September, 1817, aged twenty-five years and three days.
As it will be of interest to the reader, we here give
TERRITORY OF MISSOURI,
I, Mary Philip Leduc, clerk of the circuit court within and for the county aforesaid do certify the foregoing to be a true statement of the receipts and expenditures of the county of St. Louis, for the year ending the third day of November, 1817.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and affixed the seal of my office at St Louis this thirteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord (L. S.) one thousand eight hundred and seventeen, and of the American Independence, the forty-second.
M. P. LEDUC, Clk., by
In 1817, the pernicious system of lotteries, which is nothing less than a species of gambling, as destructive to morals and as fraught with ruin as any other that is protested against by the law, was established. It was first authorized by the legislature, so as to create a fund for building an academy at Potosi, and then for purchasing fire-engines for the town of St. Louis, and also for the erection of a Masonic Hall. Lottery offices
to this day are legalized in this state, and are a reproach to the morals and wisdom of our legislature.
In this year there was an act to incorporate a board of trustees for superintending the schools in the town of St. Louis. These first trustees were William Clarke, William C. Carr, Thomas H. Benton, Bernard Pratte, Auguste Chouteau, Alexander McNair, and John P. Cabanne; and this was the commencement of the common-school system which has been brought to so much perfection in St. Louis, and has been fraught with untold blessings to future generations.
On the 15th of December, 1818, a meeting of the most respectable inhabitants of the town of St. Louis took place, which the following clause connected with their proceedings will explain: "Impressed with the importance of a general circulation of the Sacred Scriptures, we, the undersigned, agree to form ourselves into a society designated by the name of the ‘Missouri Auxiliary Bible Society.’"
At this meeting a constitution was drafted, and at a subsequent meeting on the 22d, the following gentlemen were chosen acting officers of the society: Nathaniel B. Tucker, president; Stephen Hempstead, Alexander McNair, and Rev. James E. Welsh, vice-presidents. The directors were Colonel Rufus Easton, Rufus Pettibone, Rev. John M. Peck, John Jacoby, Charles W. Hunter, John Simons, and Thomas Jones. Colonel Samuel Hammond was appointed treasurer, and Rev. S. Giddings secretary. This society continued in existence for many years, and became the parent of many other societies, formed by those who were influenced by a spirit of religion and philanthropy.
It was in St. Louis, on the first of April, 1818, that the first sale of lots of the town of Hannibal took place, which had been just laid out. The proprietors of the newly-laid-out town were Stephen Rector, Thompson Baird, Thomas Rector, William V. Rector, Richard Gentry, and M. D. Bates. The location was well suited for a town, and Hannibal is now one of the most thriving cities in North-eastern Missouri. The hopes of its proprietors have been more than realized.
In 1818, Missouri applied for admission into the Union, having all the requisites required by the constitution for admission. It was then that the slavery question, which was commencing to be agitated, became the great subject of interest, and the field of political strife. Whether Missouri should be admitted as a slave state into the Union was an inquiry so important in its results that it threatened for a time the rupture of the Union. The North was strenuously opposed to the extension of slavery, while the members from the South contended that Missouri should be admitted without restriction. It was the most exciting contest ever known in the houses of Congress, and both parties stood their ground in so hostile an attitude that the patriots of the day became alarmed, and to preserve the noble fabric of our government, as a temporary resort, proposed a compromise, which is known as the celebrated "Missouri Compromise." It was, in effect, that slavery should not extend in any new-formed state north of thirty-six degrees forty minutes, north latitude, except in the case of Missouri, in which it was agreed to permit the inhabitants to frame their own constitution, leaving it with them to permit slavery in its limits or to abolish it.
It is not the province of the present work to inquire into the wisdom
of the compromise measure, or to expose its unconstitutional tendencies. Let it suffice that it answered the intended purpose, and for a time quieted sectional rancor, and took from unprincipled politicians all grounds for disturbing the peace of the Union, and advancing their unworthy ends. It may be of interest to the reader here to give the names of THE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS FROM NON-SLAVEHOLDING STATES WHO VOTED IN FAVOR OF ADMITTING MISSOURI WITHOUT RESTRICTION.
"To them, if my feeble voice can effect it, shall be erected an imperishable monument of everlasting fame." Mr. Harbour's speech.
The following is a list of their names:
From Rhode Island Mr. Hunter.
From Massachusetts Messrs. Holmes, Shaw, Hill, and Mason.
"United as a Spartan band, standing for forty days in the pass of Thermopylae, defending the People of Missouri, the Treaty of Cession, and the Constitution of the Republic."
The following is a list of their names:
From Maryland Messrs. Lloyd and Pinkney.
From Maryland Messrs. Archer, Bayly, Culbreth, Kent, Little, Neale, Ringgold, Smith, and Warfield.
An able writer of that period thus pays a merited tribute to those representatives of non-slaveholding states, who, uninfluenced by sectional prejudice, religious fanaticism, or mistaken philanthropy, voted for the admission of Missouri into the Union without restriction:
"In all, eight senators and fifteen representatives, who have offered themselves as sacrifices upon the altar of public good, to save the union of the states, and to prevent the degradation of Missouri. Their generous conduct deserves a nation's gratitude; and let a grateful people deliver it to them. Let public honors wait upon their steps, and public blessings thicken round their heads. Let Fame, with her brazen trumpet, from the summit of the Alleghany, proclaim, their honored names throughout the vast regions of the South and West."
When the news came to St. Louis that Congress had determined that the people of Missouri should frame their own constitution, and decide for themselves "slavery" or its rejection, the minds of the people became fearfully agitated on the very subject which threatened such serious consequences at Washington. It appeared that the political storm had not spent its fury, and had passed from the east to rage with violence nearer the western horizon. The same question which had distracted Congress, when removed to Missouri lost none of its exciting qualities. In St. Louis, from its being the largest town in the state, and consequently the main stage where the political drama would be played, the inhabitants divided themselves into two great factions one in opposition to slavery, and the other in advocating it. Both parties selected their most influential members to form a ticket to be elected by the people to represent St. Louis county, in the convention that was to form the constitution of the state. The following-named gentlemen were announced as candidates representing St. Louis county, and were for the admission of Missouri as a slave state.
T. F. Riddick,
Judge John B. C. Lucas,
The ticket elected July 19th, 1820, for representing St. Louis county, were all gentlemen, strong proslavery men. Not one of the antislavery candidates was elected. To represent St. Louis county when the convention was called to from the constitution, the choice of the people rested upon the following gentlemen, viz.: Edward Bates, Colonel Alexander M'Nair, John C. Sullivan, Pierre Chouteau, junior, Bernard Pratte and Thomas F. Riddick; and in the framing of the constitution all power was taken from the legislature to abolish slavery, unless with the consent of the slaveholding citizens, or a full remuneration for the slaves.
During the years 1820-1823, St. Louis suffered much by the derangement of her currency. The banks which had been established were broken, and the loan office, which came into existence under the sanction of state authority, whose representatives had exceeded their powers, soon lost the public confidence, and its paper became almost a drug in the market. It proved but of little good to the community when it did answer the purpose of purchasing property or cancelling debts, and in its uncertain value, became a prey to ravenous speculators, who did all they could to diminish its value, that they might purchase it at a greater discount.
The stay laws or relief laws which were introduced at that time, so as to restrain the oppression of creditors toward debtors, while they protected them for two years and a half from a distraint upon their property, had, on the other hand, the injurious tendency of preventing just debts from being collected in a reasonable time, thereby crippling the resources of the creditor, who, oft from his necessities, would frequently compromise or sell, at a large discount, his claim, which had so long to run before conversion into money. These drawbacks operated somewhat upon the growing prosperity of the town, and retarded its progress; yet still business flourished, and population increased.
In 1821 there was a little directory published in St. Louis, and as it gives correct and useful information of the town at that period, we will make some copious extracts.
"It is but about forty years since the now flourishing, but yet more promising state of Missouri was but a vast wilderness, many of the inhabitants of this country yet remembering the time when they met together to kill the buffalo at the same place where Mr. Philipson's ox saw and flour mill is now erected, and on Mill Creek, near to where Mr. Chouteau's mill now stands. What a prodigious change has been operated! St. Louis is now ornamented with a great number of brick buildings, and both the scholar and the courtier could move in a circle suiting their choice and taste.
"By the exertions of the Eight Reverend Bishop Louis William Du
Bourg, the inhabitants have seen a fine brick cathedral rise at the same spot where stood formerly an old log church, then sufficient, but which now would scarcely be able to contain the tenth part of the Catholic congregation. This elegant building was commenced in 1818, under the superintendence of Mr. Gabriel Paul, the architect, and is only in part completed. As it now stands it is forty feet front by one hundred and thirty-five in depth, and forty feet in height. When completed it will have a wing on each side, running its whole length, twenty-two and a half feet wide and twenty-five in height, giving it a front of eighty-five feet. It will have a steeple the same height as the depth of the building, which will be provided with several large bells expected from France. The lot on which the church, college and other buildings are erected, embraces a complete square, a part of which is used as a burial ground. The cathedral of St. Louis can boast of having no rival in the United States, for the magnificence, the value and elegance of her sacred vases, ornaments and paintings, and indeed few churches in Europe possess any thing superior to it. It is a truly delightful sight to an American of taste, to find in one of the remotest towns of the Union a church decorated with the original paintings of Rubens, Raphael, Guido, Paul Veronese, and a number of others by the first modern masters of the Italian, French and Flemish schools. The ancient and precious gold embroideries which the St. Louis cathedral possesses would certainly decorate any museum in the world. All this is due to the liberality of the Catholics of Europe, who presented these rich articles to Bishop Du Bourg, on his last tour through France, Italy, Sicily, and the Netherlands. Among the liberal benefactors could be named many princes and princesses, but we will only insert the names of Louis XVIII., the present king of France, and that of the Baroness Le Candele de Ghyseghem, a Flemish lady, to whose munificence the cathedral is particularly indebted, and who, even lately, has sent it a fine, large and elegant organ, fit to correspond with the rest of the decorations. The bishop possesses, beside, a very elegant and valuable library, containing about 8,000 volumes, and which is, without doubt, the most complete scientific and literary repertory of the western country, if not of the western world. Though it is not public, there is no doubt but the man of science, the antiquary and the linguist, will obtain a ready access to it, and find the bishop a man endowed at once with the elegance and politeness of the courtier, the piety and zeal of the apostle, and the learning of a Father of the Church. Connected with this establishment is the St. Louis College, under the direction of Bishop du Bourg. It is a two-story brick building, and has about sixty-five students, who are taught the Greek, Latin, French, English, Spanish and Italian languages, mathematics, elementary and transcendent, drawing, &c. There are several teachers. Connected with the college is an ecclesiastical seminary, at the Barrens, in St. Genevieve county, where divinity, the oriental languages and philosophy are taught.
"St. Louis likewise contains ten common schools, a brick Baptist church, forty feet by sixty, built in 1818, and an Episcopal church of wood. The Methodist congregation hold their meetings in the old court-house, and the Presbyterians in the circuit court room. In St. Louis are the following mercantile, professional, mechanical, &c., establishments, viz.: forty-six mercantile establishments, which carry on an extensive
trade with the most distant parts of the republic in merchandise, produce, furs and peltry; three auctioneers, who do considerable business: each pays $200 per annum to the state for a license to sell, and on all personal property sold is a state duty of three per cent., on real estate one and a half per cent., and their commission of five per cent; three weekly newspapers, viz., the St. Louis Inquirer, Missouri Gazette and St. Louis Register, and as many printing offices; one book store; two binderies; three large inns, together with a number of smaller taverns and boarding-houses; six livery stables; fifty-seven grocers and bottlers; twenty-seven attorneys and counsellors-at-law; thirteen physicians; three druggists and apothecaries; three midwives; one portrait painter, who would do credit to any country; five clock and watch makers, silversmiths and jewelers; one silver plater; one engraver; one brewery, where are manufactured beer, ale and porter of a quality equal to any in the western country; one tannery; three soap and candle factories; two brick yards; three stonecutters; fourteen bricklayers and plasterers; twenty-eight carpenters; nine blacksmiths; three gunsmiths; two copper and tinware manufacturers; six cabinetmakers; four coachmakers and wheelwrights; seven turners and chairmakers; three saddle and harness manufacturers; three hatters; twelve tailors; thirteen boot and shoe manufacturers; ten ornamental sign and house painters and glaziers; one nail factory; four hair dressers and perfumers; two confectioners and cordial distillers; four coopers, block, pump and mast makers; four bakers; one comb factory; one bellman; five billiard tables, which pay an annual tax of $100 each to the state, and the same sum to the corporation; several hacks, or pleasure carriages, and a considerable number of drays and carts; several professional musicians, who play at the balls, which are very frequent and well attended by the inhabitants, more particularly the French, who, in general, are remarkably graceful performers, and much attached to so rational, healthy and improving an amusement; two potteries are within a few miles, and there are several promising gardens in and near to the town.
"By an enumeration taken by the editor of this work in May, 1821, it appears that the town contains the following number of dwelling-houses, viz.: 154 of brick and stone and 196 of wood in the north part of the town, and 78 of brick and stone and 223 of wood in the south part; making 232 brick, &c., and 419 of wood, and a total of 651. There are, beside the dwelling-houses, a number of brick, stone and wooden warehouses, stables, shops and out-houses. Most of the houses are furnished with gardens, some of which are large and under good cultivation. The large old-fashioned dwellings erected by the French inhabitants are surrounded by a piazza, which renders them very pleasant, particularly during the heat of summer. The steamboat warehouse built by Mr. Josiah Bright, is a large brick building, and would do credit to any of the eastern cities. The market-house is well supplied with fish and fowl, good meat and vegetables, fruit in its season, and in short every thing that the country affords, in abundance, at reasonable prices.
"St. Louis was incorporated by the Court of Common Pleas, at their November term, 1809, when the country was known as the Territory of Louisiana, under the following limits, viz.: ‘Beginning at Roy's Mill, on the bank of the Mississippi river, thence running sixty arpens west,
thence south on said line of sixty arpens in the rear, until the same comes to the Barriere de Noyer, thence due south until it comes to the Sugar Loaf, thence due east to the Mississippi, from thence by the Mississippi, along low-water mark, to the place first mentioned.’ The bounds of the town, as it respects the taxing of the inhabitants, is confined to the following bounds, viz.: commencing at the mouth of Mill creek (where it enters the Mississippi river), thence with the said creek to the mill-dam, thence with the north arm of Mill creek to the head of the same, thence by a line running parallel with the Mississippi river, until it intersects the north boundary of the corporation.
"The town is governed by five trustees, who are elected on the 6th December annually, by the inhabitants. There is also a register, whose duty it is to see that the ordinances are enforced, an assessor, and an inspector of lumber.
"The Board of Trustees has passed a number of very wholesome ordinances for the establishment and support of order, all of which can be seen in the ordinance book, in the office of the corporation, South B. street, above Main street, which is open every morning, Sundays excepted, from ten to twelve o'clock.
"The assessed amount of taxable property in the corporation of St. Louis, for 1821, is about $940,926, which gives about $3,763, tax.
"Eight streets run parallel with the river, and are intersected by twenty-three others at right angles; three of the preceding are in the lower part of the town, and the five others in the upper part. The streets in the lower part of the town are narrow, being from thirty-two to thirty-eight and a half feet in width; those streets on ‘the Hill,’ or upper part, are much wider. ‘The Hill’ is much the most pleasant and salubrious, and will no doubt become the most improved. The lower end of Market street is well paved, and the trustees of the town have passed an ordinance for paving the sidewalks of Main street, being the second from and parallel to the river, and the principal one for business. This is a very wholesome regulation of the trustees, and is the more necessary as this and many other streets are sometimes so extremely muddy as to be rendered almost impassable. It is hoped that the trustees will next pave the middle of Main street, and that they will proceed gradually to improve the other streets, which will contribute to make the town more healthy, add to the value of property, and make it a desirable place of residence. On the Hill, in the centre of the town, is a public square, two hundred and forty by three hundred feet, on which it is intended to build an elegant court-house. The various courts are held at present in buildings adjacent to the public square. A new stone jail of two stories, seventy feet front by thirty deep, stands west of the site for the court-house. 
"Market street is in the middle of the town, and is the line dividing the north part from the south. Those streets running north from Market street have the addition of North to their names, and those running in the opposite direction, South. For example: North Main street,
South Main street, North A. &c., street, South A. street. The houses were first numbered by the publisher of this directory, in May, 1821.
"The fortifications, erected in early times for the defence of the place, stand principally on ‘the Hill.’ They consist of several circular stone towers, about fifteen feet in height and twenty in diameter, a wooden block-house, and a large stone bastion, the interior of which is used as a garden by Captain A. Wetmore, of the United States army. 
"Just above the town are several Indian mounds and remains of antiquity, which afford an extensive and most charming view of the town and beautiful surrounding country, situated in the two states of Missouri and Illinois, which are separated by the majestic Mississippi, and which is likewise observed in the scene as ho glides along in all his greatness. Adjacent to the large mound nearest to the town, is the Mound Garden, belonging to Colonel Elias Rector, and kept by Mr. James Gray, as a place of entertainment and recreation. The proprietor has displayed considerable taste in laying it out in beds and walks, and in ornamenting it with flowers and shrubbery. In short, it affords a delightful and pleasant retreat from the noise, heat and dust of a busy town.
"There is a Masonic hall, in which the Grand Lodge of the state of Missouri, the Royal Arch and the Master Masons' Lodges are held. Connected with this excellent institution is a burying-ground, where poor Masons are interred at the expense of the fraternity. The council chamber of Governor William Clark, where he gives audience to the chiefs of the various tribes of Indians who visit St. Louis, contains probably the most complete museum of Indian curiosities to be met with anywhere in the United States; and the governor is so polite as to permit its being visited by any person of respectability at any time.
"There are two fire engines, with properly organized companies; one of which is in the north part of the town and the other in the south. Every dwelling and store has to be provided with good leather fire buckets.
"Mr. Samuel Wiggins is the proprietor of two elegant and substantial steam ferry-boats, that ply regularly and alternately from the bottom of North H. street, near the steamboat warehouse, to the opposite shore. The great public utility of this mode of conveying persons and property across the Mississippi needs no comment, but gives the enterprising owner of them a high claim to the patronage of his fellow-citizens. The river at the ferry is one and an eighth mile in width. Opposite the upper part of the town and above the ferry is an island about one mile and a half in
length, containing upwards of one thousand acres. It belongs to Mr. Samuel Wiggins. A considerable sandbar has been formed in the river, adjoining the lower part of the town, which extends far out, and has thrown the main channel over on the Illinois side; when the water is low it is entirely dry, and is covered with an immense quantity of drift-wood, nearly sufficient to supply the town with fuel, and only costs the trouble of cutting and hauling. This is of great consequence to the inhabitants of St. Louis, particularly as the growth of wood is small in the immediate neighborhood on this side of the river. Wood is likewise brought down the river in large quantities for disposal.
"Population in 1810, 1,000; in 1818, 3,500; and at this time (1821), about 5,500. The town and county contain 9,732. The population is much mixed; consisting principally of Americans from every part of the Union; the original and other French, of whom there are one hundred and fifty-five families; and foreigners of various nations; consequently the society is much diversified, and has no general fixed character. This, the reader will perceive, arises from the situation of the country, in itself new, flourishing and changing; still that class who compose the respectable part of the community are hospitable, polite and well-informed. And here I must take occasion, in justice to the town and country, to protest against the many calumnies circulated abroad to the prejudice of St. Louis, respecting the manners and the disposition of the inhabitants. Persons meet here with dissimilar habits, produced by a different education, and possessing various peculiarities. It is not therefore surprising that, in a place composed of such discordant materials, there should be occasional differences and difficulties. But the reader may be assured that old-established inhabitants have little participation in transactions which have, so far, so much injured the town.
"St. Louis has grown very rapidly. There is not, however, so much improvement going on at this time, owing to the check caused by the general and universal pressure that pervades the country. This state of things can only be temporary here, for it possesses such permanent advantages from its local and geographical situation, that it must ere some distant day, become a place of great importance, being more central with regard to the whole territory belonging to the United States than any other considerable town, and uniting the advantages of the three great rivers Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois, of the trade of which it is the emporium.
"The Missouri Fur Company was formed by several gentlemen of St. Louis, in 1819, for the purpose of trading on the Missouri river and its waters. The principal establishment of the company is at Council Bluffs, yet they have several others of minor consequence several hundred miles above, and it is expected that the establishment will be extended shortly up as high as the Mandan villages. The actual capital invested in the trade is supposed to amount at this time to about $70,000. They have in their employ, exclusive of their partners on the river, twenty-five clerks and interpreters and seventy laboring men.
"It is estimated that the annual value of the Indian trade of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers is $600,000. The annual amount of imports to this town is stated at upwards of $2,000,000. The commerce by water is carried on by a great number of steamboats, barges and keel boats.
These centre here, after performing the greatest inland voyages known in the world. The principal articles of trade are fur, peltry and lead. The agricultural productions are Indian corn, wheat, rye, barley, oats, buckwheat, tobacco and other articles common to the western country. Excellent mill-stones are found and made in this county; stone coal is abundant, and saltpetre and common salt have been made within a few miles. Within three or four miles are several springs of good water, and seven miles southwest is a sulphur spring. In the vicinity are two natural caverns, in limestone rocks. Two miles above town, at North St. Louis, is a steam sawmill, and several common mills are on the neighboring streams. The roads leading from St. Louis are very good, and it is expected that the great national turnpike leading from Washington will strike this place, as the commissioners for the United States have reported in favor of it."
Baptist Church, south-west corner Market and Third. 
Bastion, north of Bennet's Hotel.
Cathedral, Roman Church, south-west corner Church and Market.
Clerks' Offices for the various courts, near the Public Square.
Constables' Office, north Fourth above North C. street.
Court Rooms, near the Public Square.
Episcopal Church, South Church, below South A. street. 
Green-Tree Inn, 85 South Church.
Indian Council Chamber, or Museum of Indian Curiosities, belonging to Governor Clark, 101 North Main.
Jones' Row, north side of Market street, above Third. 
Land Office, United States, west of and near to Bennet's Hotel.
Mansion House, Bennet's, north-east corner of North Third and E. streets.
Market House, south side of Market street, near the river.
Market street runs west from the river, between North and South A. streets. It is the line which divides the northern part of the town from the southern.
Masonic Hall, in which the Grand, Chapter and Master's Lodges are held, north side South B. street, above Main.
Methodist Meeting, south-west corner South Third and South D. streets.
Missouri Bank, 6 North Main street.
Missouri Hotel, south-west corner of North Main and North H. streets.
Mound Public Garden, a pleasant retreat kept by Mr. Gray, near the Indian Mound.
Such was St. Louis in 1821, just before the season of emerging from a town to a city existence. In the place of batteaux and unwieldy barges, the Mississippi and other western waters have become freighted with steamboats, which at once superseded the oar and the cordelle. This new improvement bringing distant points in close connection, and facilitating every avenue of trade, to St. Louis, steamboats, from the hour of their advent, became invaluable, and so great was their acquisition to the commerce, that in despite of the breaking of the banks, the depreciation of loan-office money, the general derangement of the currency, and the injurious operation of the "Stop laws," they gave a vitality to the business current, which had otherwise stagnated from the opposing obstacles and barriers.
Agriculture, after Missouri had become admitted as a state, began to receive considerable attention; and still farther to increase the interest, a meeting was held in the town of St. Louis, in May, 1822, for the purpose of organizing an agricultural society. At this meeting a committee was appointed to draw up a constitution for the government of the society, which consisted of the following respectable citizens, viz.: Wm. C. Carr, Richard Graham, Robert Simpson, Joseph C. Brown and Henry Watson. The society remained in existence many years, and did much for the improvement of agriculture.
It is worthy of remark that the health of St. Louis at this early period, if the number of deaths be a criterion, would compare very favorably with that of the present day, when the city is subject to sanitary laws, and, from cultivation of the soil, many marshes and ponds have been removed which then exhaled poisonous miasma. The number of interments, from the 17th of March, 1822, to the 29th of October of the same year, was one hundred and three. The population of the town at that time was four thousand and eight hundred souls.
1822 On the ninth of December, 1822, an act was passed by the Legislature of Missouri, to incorporate the inhabitants of the town of St. Louis, and in April, 1823, an election took place to elect the mayor and nine aldermen in whom the act specified should vest the corporate powers of the city, with the following results: Wm. Carr Lane was elected mayor, and Thomas McKnight, James Kennerley, Philip Rocheblane, Archibald Gamble, Wm. H. Savage, Robert Nash, James Loper, Henry Von Phuland James Lacknan were elected aldermen. These men were the first corporate officers of the city of St. Louis. The city was then divided into wards, and the mayor and aldermen issued an ordinance for the graduating of Main street, and compelling the inhabitants to pave the streets in front of their lots. The trustees of the town, previous to the incorporation of the city, had made two or three futile attempts to have Main street paved in some part of it, but the inhabitants, with but few exceptions, neglected to comply with the decree, and it was not until the town became incorporated a city that any regular system of paving the streets was effectually commenced. One of the citizens, just at the time of incorporation of the new city, writes to a friend in another state who had some intention of coining to St. Louis, not to come, if he did not wish to live "the life of a frog or tortoise in the unfathomable mud of St. Louis."
The administration of Wm. Carr Lane, from the commencement, was an able one. Though his salary was only three hundred dollars per annum
he applied himself earnestly to the duties of his office, manifested a zeal and judgment which are inseparable from his character, and soon the city was under proper municipal regulations. It was divided into wards; the boundaries of the streets were properly established; assessors and health officers appointed; and the graduating of a large portion of Main street effected, and the paving of it by the inhabitants rigidly enforced, or, if done by the commissioners, the cost was charged to those in front of whose property the paving was laid.
Edwards, Richard; Hopewell, M.; Ashley, William; Barry, James G.; Belt and Priest; Casey, John; Hall, W.; Labaum, Louis A.; Leduc, Mary Philip; Lisa, Manuel; O'Fallon, Benjamin; Piernas; Port Folio; Risley, W.; Stoddard, Amos; Williams, Henry W.; Yore, John E. Edwards's Great West and Her Commercial Metropolis, Embracing a General View of the West, and a Complete History of St. Louis, from the Landing of Ligueste, in 1764, to the Present Time; with Portraits and Biographies of Some of the Old Settlers, and Many of the Most Prominent Buisiness Men . St. Louis: Office of Edwards's Monthly, A Journal of Progress, 1860. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; letter; narrative]. Permission: St. Louis Mercantile Library
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=edwards.html