Imatges de pàgina
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“Enter the earth and bring its riches forth,

For pearls explore the sea.'
He brought from East and West, and South and North,

All treasures back to me!

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THE French possessors of the West

Cape May; we sail in Boston Harbor ; country

we go upon moonlight excursions, atthe Beautiful River; and they might tended by a cotillon band ; we spend well think it beautiful who came into a day at the fishing banks ; we go up it from the flat-shored, mountainous the Erie Railroad for a week's troutMississippi, and found themselves fishing; we own a share in a small winding about among lofty, steep, and schooner ; we have yacht clubs and picturesque hills, covered with foliage, boat races ; we build villas which comand fringed at the bottom with a strip mand a water view. There is little of of brilliant grass.

But travellers from this in the Western country ; for the the Atlantic States, accustomed as they rivers are not very inviting, and the are to the clear, sparkling waters and great lakes are dangerous. They tried to the brimming fulness of such rivers yachting at Chicago a few years ago, as the James, the Delaware, and the but on the experimental trip a squall Hudson, do not at once perceive the capsized the vessel, and the crew had fitness of the old French name, La Belle the ignominy of spending several hours Rivière. The water of the Ohio is upon the keel, from which a passing yellow, and there is usually a wide craft rescued them. Then, as to exslope of yellow earth on each side of cursions, there is upon the lakes the the stream, from which the water has deadly peril of sea-sickness; upon the receded, and over which it will flow rivers there is no great relief from the again at the next “rise.” It is always heat; and upon neither are there conrising or falling As at the South the venient places to visit. All you can item of most interest in the newspapers do is, to go a certain distance, turn is the price of cotton, and in New round, and come back; which is a flat, York the price of gold, so in the uncheering, pointless sort of thing. West the special duty of the news- Upon the whole, therefore, the Westgatherer is to keep the public advised ern waters contribute little to the reof the depth of the rivers. The Ohio, lief and enjoyment of the people who during the rainy seasons, is forty feet live near them. We noticed at the deeper than it is during the dry. Be- large town of Erie, some years ago, tween the notch which marks the low- that not one house had been placed so est point to which the river has ever as to afford its inmates a view of the fallen at Cincinnati and that which lake, though the shores offered most records the point of its highest rise, convenient sites; nor did the people the distance is sixty-four feet. If our ever come down to see the lake, apEastern rivers were capable of such parently, as there was no path worn vacillation as this, our large cities would upon the grassy bluff overlooking it. go under once or twice a year.

The Ohio River has another inconIn truth, those great and famous venience. The bottom-land, as it is Western rivers are ditches dug by called, between the water's edge and Nature as part of the drainage system the hills, is generally low and narrow. of the continent, mere means of car- Nowhere is there room for a large rying off the surplus water when it city; nor can the hills be dug away rains. At the East, the water plays a except by paring down a great part of part in the life, in the pleasures, in the Ohio and Kentucky. When the travimagination and memories of the peo- eller has climbed to the top of those ple. We go down to Coney Island of winding mountains, he has only reached a hot afternoon; we take a trip to the average summit of the country; for it is not the banks of the river that are his fort, he fell in with a pair of brilliant high, but the river itself which is low. black eyes, – the property of one of It is an error to say that the Ohio is a the settler's wives. He paid such asriver with lofty banks. Those continu- siduous court to the lady, that her husous hills, around which this river winds band deemed it best to remove his famand curls and bends and loops, are ily to another settlement, and pitched simply the hills of the country through upon Cincinnati. The major then bewhich the river had to find its way. gan to doubt whether, after all, North We were astonished, in getting to the Bend was the proper place for a militatop of Cincinnati, after a panting walk ry work, and deemed it best to examine up a zigzag road, to discover that we Cincinnati first. He was delighted with had only mounted to the summit of Cincinnati. He removed the troops one billow in an ocean of hills.

thither, built a fort, and thus rendered There is always a reason why a city the neighborhood the safest spot below is just where it is. Nothing is more Pittsburg This event was decisive : controlled by law than the planting, the Cincinnati took the lead of the Ohio growth, and the decline of cities. Even

towns, and kept it. the particular site is not a thing of In all the history of Cincinnati, this chance, as we can see in the sites of is the only incident we have found that Paris, London, Constantinople, and savors of the romantic. every other great city of the world. A Those black eyes lured Major Doughtown exists by supplying to the country ty to the only site on the Ohio upon about it the commodities which the which one hundred thousand people country cannot procure for itself. In could conveniently live without climbthe infancy of the Ohio settlements, ing a very steep and high hill. It is when it was still to be determined also about midway between the source which of them would take the lead, the of the river and its mouth ; the Ohio commodity most in request and hard- being nine hundred and fifty-nine miles est to be obtained was safety; and it long, and Cincinnati five hundred and was Cincinnati that was soonest able to one miles from the Mississippi. The supply this most universal object of de- city is nearly the centre of the great valsire. In December, 1788, fifteen or ley of the Ohio; it is, indeed, exactly twenty men floated down the Ohio where it should be, and exactly where among the masses of moving ice, and, the metropolis of the valley might have landing upon the site of Cincinnati, been even if Major Doughty had not built cabins, and marked ou a town. been susceptible to the charms of lovely Matthias Denman of New Jersey had

It is superfluous to say that bought eight hundred acres of land Cincinnati is situated on a “bend” of there, at fifteen-pence an acre, and this the Ohio, since the Ohio is nothing but party of adventurers planted themselves bends, and anything that is situated upon it with his assistance and in his

upon it must be upon a bend. This interest. Jerseymen and Pennsylva- river employs itself continually in writnians were finding their way down the ing the letter $ upon the surface of the Ohio, and founding settlements here earth. At Cincinnati, the hills recede and there, whenever a sufficient num- from the shore on each side of the ber of pioneers could be gathered to river about a mile and a half, leaving defend themselves against the Indians. space enough for a large town, but not President Washington sent a few com- for the great city of two hundred and panies of troops for their protection, fifty thousand inhabitants to which it and the great question was where has grown. those troops should be posted. The Cincinnati is an odd name for a major in command was at first disposed town, whether we regard it as a genjto establish them at North Bend; but tive singular, or as a nominative plural. while he was selecting a place there for The story goes, that the first settlers


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appointed a committee of one to name redundant population of Pennsylvania the place. The gentleman selected for and New Jersey, and consequently the this duty had been a schoolmaster, and first twenty thousand inhabitants of he brought to bear upon the task all Cincinnati were chiefly from those the learning appertaining to his former States, - honest, plodding, saving Protvocation. He desired to express in the estants, with less knowledge and less name of the future city the fact that it public spirit than the people of New was situated opposite the mouth of England. The Swedes, the Danes, the the Licking River. He was aware that Germans, the Protestant Irish, who ville was French for “ city," that os was poured into Pennsylvania and New Latin for “mouth”; that anti in compo- Jersey in Franklin's time, attracted by sition could mean “opposite to”; and the perfect toleration established by that the first letter of Licking was L William Penn, were excellent people ; By combining these various fragments of but they had not the activity of mind knowledge, be produced at length the nor the spiritual life of the English word LOSANTIVILLE, which his com- Puritans. Shrewd calculators and of rades accepted as the name of their indomitable industry, they were more little cluster of log huts, and by this able to accumulate property than disname it appears on some of the earliest posed to risk it in bold, far-reaching maps of the Ohio. But the glory of the enterprises, and took more pride in schoolmaster was short-lived. When possessing than in displaying wealth, the village had attained the respectable in having a large barn than an attractage of fifteen months, General St. Clair ive residence. They were more cervisited it on a tour of inspection, and tain to build a church than a schoollaughed the name to scorn. Having house, and few of them wanted anylaid out a county of which this village thing of the book-pedler except an alwas the only inhabited spot, he named manac. The descendants of such men the county Hamilton, and insisted up- founded Cincinnati, and made it a thrivon calling the village Cincinnati, after ing, bustling, dull, unintellectual place. V the society of which both himself and Then came in a spice of Yankees to Colonel Hamilton were members. In enliven the mass, to introduce some that summer of 1790 Cincinnati con- quickening heresies, to promote schools, sisted of forty log cabins, two small to found libraries, to establish new frame houses, and a fort garrisoned by manufactures and stimulate public ima company or two of troops.

provements. That wondrous tide of We sometimes speak of “the West- Germans followed that has made in ern cities," as though the word “ West- each of the cities of the West a popuern ” was sufficiently descriptive, and lous German quarter, -a town within as though the cities west of the Alle- a town. Meanwhile, young men from ghany Mountains were all alike. This the Southern States, in considerable is far from being the case. Every city numbers, settled in Cincinnati, between in the Western country, as well as ev- whom and the daughters of the rich ery State, county, and neighborhood, "Hunkers” of the town marriages were

has a character of its own, derived chief- frequent, and the families thus created į ly from the people who settled it. Ber- were, from 1830 to 1861, the reigning

lin is not more different from Vienna, power in the city. Lyons is not more different from Mar- Perhaps there was no town of its size seilles, Birmingham is not more differ- and wealth in Christendom which had ent from Liverpool, than Cincinnati is less of the higher intellectual life and from Chicago or St. Louis ; and all less of an enlightened public spirit these differences date back to the origin than Cincinnati before the war. It had of those cities. The Ohio, formed by become exceedingly rich. Early in its the junction of two Pennsylvania riv. career the great difficulty and expense ers, is the natural western outlet for the of transporting goods across the moun

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tains and down the winding Ohio had Hunkerism, - that horrid blending of forced the people into manufacturing, vanity and avarice which made the and Cincinnati became the great work. Northern people equal sharers in the shop, as well as the exchange, of the guilt of slavery, while taking the lion's vast and populous valley of the Ohio. share of the profit. It was at CincinIts wealth was legitimately earned. It nati, in 1836, that a mob of most rewas Cincinnati which originated and spectable citizens, having first “reperfected the system which packs fif- solved” in public meeting that “Aboteen bushels of corn into a pig, and lition papers " should neither be "pubpacks that pig into a barrel, and sends lished nor distributed” in the town, him over the mountains and over the broke into the office of James G. Birocean to feed mankind. Cincinnati ney's “Philanthropist," and scattered imported or made nearly all that the the types, and threw the press into the people of three or four States could river. It was at Cincinnati, in 1841, afford to buy, and received from them that the authorities were compelled to nearly all that they could spare in re- • fill the prisons with negroes to protect turn, and made a profit on both trans- them from massacre. Similar scenes actions. This business, upon the whole, have occurred in other cities, but viowas done honestly and well. Im- lence of this kind meant more at Cinmense fortunes were made. Nicho- cinnati than in most places, for the las Longworth died worth twelve mil people here have always been noted

lions, and there are now in that young for their orderly habits and their regard V city sixty-four persons whose estate is for law.

rated at a million dollars or more. But, The war regenerated Cincinnati. We with all this wealth and this talent do not say began to regenerate it, befor business, the people of Cincinnati cause the word “regeneration” means displayed little of that spirit of im- but the beginning of a new life. There provement which has converted Chi- were few of the leading families which cago, in thirty years, from a quagmire did not furnish to the Rebellion one adinto a beautiful city, and made it ac- herent, and all men, of whatever class, cessible to all the people of the prai- were compelled to choose between their ries. There was too much ballast, as country and its foes. The great mass it were, for so little sail. People were of the people knew not a moment of intent on their own affairs, and were hesitation, and a tide of patriotic feelsatisfied if their own business pros- ing set in which silenced, expelled, or pered. Such a thing even as a popular converted the adherents of the Rebellecture was rare, and a well-sustained lion. The old business relations with course of lectures was felt to be out of the South, so profitable and so corruptthe question. Books of the higher ing, were broken up, and Cincinnati kind were in little demand (that is, lit- found better occupation in supplying tle, considering the size and great wealth the government with gunboats and of the place); there was little taste for military stores. The prestige of the art ; few concerts were given, and there old "aristocracy” was lost; its power was no drama fit to entertain intellect- was broken; it no longer controlled ual persons.

Cincinnati was the Old elections, nor monopolized offices, nor Hunkers' paradise. Separated from a lowered the tone of public feeling. Slave State only by a river one third Cincinnati was born again, — began a of a mile wide, with her leading fami- life. There is now prevalent lies connected by marriage with those among the rulers of the city that noof Virginia, Kentucky, and Maryland, blest trait of freemen, that supreme and her business men having impor- virtue of the citizen, PUBLIC SPIRIT; tant relations with the South, there was the blessed fruits of which are already no city — not even Baltimore -- that apparent, and which is about to render was more saturated with the spirit of the city a true metropolis to the valley


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