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I will liken Chicago with its mingled lot of peace and strife, rest and unrest, its gloom of savage passions, and smile of glad content, to an Eastern scene, which is brought before us by an English Governor of Ceylon. “The wild and uncivilised trenches closely on the civilised here, for in an Englishman's home, near Kandy, a leopard from the forest above came down nightly, to drink at the fountain in the parterre.” So in Chicago-and here too the scene is changing fast; the garden of civilised life is yearly adding to itself parterres of flowers, of purer enterprise and softer graces: the waters of its fountains grow brighter with each philanthropic and earnest Christian help; the visits of the lawless leopards of a fading régime grow less frequent, and perchance some of them will in these purer haunts, be brought even to change their spots of dishonour for those of honour.
It is worth going a long way to see the corn-lands of Illinois, and its sister prairie States. Take all the wheat fields of Sutherland and Cambridge, of York and the Lothians, of Inverness and the Lincoln levels, and the sight will be as a tiny photograph, by the side of the great Illinois painting. Farming is a more simple operation than in Europe. There is no rotation of crops in the West. The soil is virgin. It will yield its increase for a quarter of a century without tilling. An unlearned man may farm. Plough and cast in seed when neighbors do; reap when harvest is ripe. So it comes to pass that emigrant farmers soon become men of substance, and their children-educated in the free schools, and trained in the fear of God-grow up to form the strength and glory of Western America.
Midway between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi is Springfield—the Springfield of honoured Lincoln. Many a stranger and many a patriot will stay to visit the grave of the martyred President.
Over the Mississippi, on the soil of Missouri, stands the queen city of St. Louis. Years ago it was the “Ultima Thule” of the explorer's desire. While Daniel Boone was a pioneer in Kentucky, and Audubon was searching the woods of Virginia, the region beyond the Mississippi was a veritable “ no man's land,” Here sprung up a city, and into it, as to a cave of Adullam, flocked the discontented, the unsettled, the lawless ones of the South and West. Now it is outstripped by Chicago, and is pressed hard in the race by its rival, young Omaha of Nebraska. Speaking of the marvellous progress of Western cities, a New York banker told me that the best banking-account they had, was from Omaha. Three young men, brothers, bad gone
from Ohio, to the small settlement at Council Bluffs, and now their transactions are of such magnitude, and their wealth is so great that they have sometimes a deposit of 600,000 dollars in the bank.
Just above St. Louis the rivers Missouri and Mississippi unite, the dark floods of the former bringing sand and mud into the clearer waters of the main-stream. Unfortunately for the St. Louis population, their supplies of drinking-water are drawn from a muddy Missouri, instead of from a clear Lake Michigan. A terrible leveller visits the city now and again, when cholera stalks through hundreds of homes, laying low its victims. There was in St. Louis a population burning with zeal for the Southern slavery cause, but now, ministers preach to the negroes, where a few short years ago, such an act would have imperilled their lives.
I would fain have journeyed further toward the setting
A true, devoted pilgrim is not weary,
To measure kingdoms with his feeble steps. I would bave visited Minncsota—«L'Etoile du Nord,', as its enterprising settlers call it-the most beautiful
Water State of the Union—where ba mlets and schools are fast filling up a region of meres and cascades, but time would not permit. Westward Ho! was not more the watch-cry of Drake and Raleigh than it is of the whole American people of to-day. In a corridor of the National Capitol is painted a fresco, and there within the narrow limits of a picture, you find the embodiment, the concentration of this trait of American character. 66 Westward the course of empire takes its sway,” is the motto, and this is the scene, -An Emigrant-train is crossing the Rocky Mountains : there are the cattle driven before the wagons; the pioneers of the band, felling trees ahead of the train; the Indian guide is pointing to the smoke of some prairie-camps below; every detail is complete, drawn as it were from the life, the women poorly and roughly clad, the sick sister pale as death, the rough men, the ardent, ragged boys. Love ossoms in the desert, for a stalwart youth is helping a young woman by hand up the rocks, and over all, on the highest crag, the captain has planted the United States flag. By the side is written,
The spirit grows with its allotted spaces,
But the whole boundless Continent is ours. These vast regions seem to invite the poor of every land. It is not profanity to say that the free empire of the West appeals to all who seek for home and freedom, in a material sense bidding every one who thirsts for the waters of liberty and competence to come and receive freely. We are told that we are yet to see another development of Anglo-Saxon beauty-a race flourishing amid the Caucasian mountains of the West. I once met in Paris a lady from the Old World Caucasus, and remember well her great personal beauty, and her fine
intellectual powers, but these and the like are to be outdone by a new Circassian race, dwelling in American Montana.
We can conceive for America a future, the magnitude of which, the mind cannot grasp or comprehend. We know no human power that can stay the wave of AngloSaxon empire. The Red Man was unable to work out a destiny for the great Continent through which he roamed, the ruins in Arizona and Nevada show that another race has gone down in the attempt, like the Aztecs of Mexico. The Spaniard thought that Providence intended the New World as a dowry for his ancient kingdom of Leon and Castile.* It is well for the human race that Northern America has never been subject to Spain, as Mexico, Peru, and South America once were; as Cuba is to-day.
To the Anglo-Saxon has come the call to “go in and possess the land." How thankful we ought to be that these fair domains of virgin land have not been given to Mahomedan or Hindoo ! The land is glowing with a people, who with all their faults are the children of freedom ; a people who hold in their hearts a knowledge, an understanding and a love, weak and imperfect though it be, of that higher law of holiness and peace, which shall some day “cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.” For good and not for evil, the tide of people rolls to the Western Continent, and on that Continent still westward, and the empires of earth are as powerless to alter its times and seasons, as was King Canute to hurl back the raging sea.
* The ashes of the Discoverer of America (enclosed in an urn of silver) repose in the Cathedral Church of Havana. Along with the royal arms of Spain, Columbus had certain insignia of golden islands, anchors, and azure billows on his quarterings. At Ševille there is a monument to him, with the inscription,
A Castilla y a Leon,
discomforts. I battled manfully against mosquitoes by day, but always on the losing side. It was still worse to endure privation by night; to rise in the morning unrefreshed; scarred with bites of blood-suckers, “creeping” and “flying." Such trials however are unworthy of mention, compared with the perils of a soldier's campaigning, Colonel E. S. Johnson, of Illinois, told me a story of real hardship, cheerfully endured for the Union cause.
At 19 years of age he joined the Volunteers as a private in the ranks. Government served out to its levies, muskets with antiquated fint-locks, for when the war commenced it had none other in its arsenals. Johnson and his fellows preferred weapons of precision to useless “ Brown Bess," so they equipped themselves with repeating carbines, at their own expense, also taking their own horses into the field. When Lincoln made his first call for volunteers, a little band were ready-men of Massachusetts—men of Illinois.
Western regiments were told off to the army of the West; the young soldier took service under its banner, and shared its varying fortunes and ultimate triumph. His brother was killed at his side, his comrades fell one by one around him. He seemed to bear a charmed life; never wounded, never quitting camp from sickness or