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Entered according to Act of Congress in the year eighteen hundred and seventy-six,
BY CHARLES R. TUTTLE,
MADISOX, Wis.: STEREOTYPED AND PRINTED BY
ATWOOD & CULVER.
THE CENTENNIAL HISTORY OF THE NORTHWEST will stand or fall by its own merits, owing nothing save the incentive to an early completion to the great erent of this era, the exposition in Fairmount Park, which will shortly chal. lenge the attention of the whole world to the record of one hundred years of national growth under free institutions. When ascending the mountains, it is sometimes well to pause for a moment to realize the height that has been attained; so we invite our fellow citizens to consider what has been done, as well generally as particularly since the year 1776. One century ago the steam engine had not been applied to traveling; now it is the agent by which millions of our fellow citizens follow their avocations daily, in every part of the union. The Watt and Boulton works in London had been established nearly ten years for the manufacture of steam engines, but the first idea of making steam available for traveling was due to our countryman, John Fitch, who had ascertained during his captivity among Indian tribes the vast area of this continent which could be reached by river navigation, and wisely divined the important influence that steam could exert in developing our re sources. The country which stood upon the threshold of its greatness when he petitioned congress for assistance to complete his boat in 1785, had then a population of barely four millions; it has now fully fcrty millions of people included under its general government, enjoying the privileges of freedom in every essential, and it follows almost inevitably that the nation in its entirety has a history at once momentous and instructive, which during this centennial period may be studied with advantage. The Centennial Northwest is a contribution toward that great desideratum, and it deals in a Catho. lic spirit with all the incidents of our development as a great and free people, within the limits specified, from the days when the Indian was first dispossessed of his hold upon the hunting grounds once entirely enjoyed by the tribes, through all the vicissitudes of an incipient civilization to the present day, when steam travels our roads as well as our rivers with a completeness and dispatch of which neither Fitch nor Fulton dreamed, besides discharging ten thousand functions which seem marvelous even to the accustomed observer in our centennial year. The ground over which the historian travels ip the great northwest may be said to be virgin soil, and in that respect much freshness of tone has almost inevitably found its way into the style of the work; but in addition to that fact it is hoped that the phenomena of social life have been observed and recorded in the true spirit of history, grasping the perti. nent facts ofan era and a state and applying the principle therein contained to the solution of every problem that arose during the expansion of the first settlement into territorial organization, and eventually into the finished essence of republican rule, the condition of a state in the union.
The soil and the climate of every state in the northwest have been presented to the reader in their natural colors, as the writer would “nothing extenuate, nor set down aught in malice," and it would be manifestly unfair to say one unwarranted word of praise or the reverse, in a work which it is hoped will become an authority, not only in the region to which it relates, but among the millions in the eastern and northern states who either for them. selves or for their sons are scanning the aspects of this continent to ascertain the localities best adapted for their future home. There are some men so blessed by nature with herculean frames and nervous force that hardly any climatic changes affect them, and there are others to whom the very slightest meteorological changes are important; but to all men it is important that they should know something of the soil and fertility of the states in which they are likely to take up their abode. This work has aimed at precision in all such particulars, and the reader will find the information conveyed so systematized, as that it will be convenient for reference. The productions of a neighborhood may seem to be unimportant matters to other classes than those en. gaged in agriculture; but a second thought will convince the reasoning man, that the manufacturer and the merchant, the handicraftsman, and the lawyer, with all the other representatives of the several industries which make up the sum total of society are as deeply interested in all such matters as the farmer who is the immediate factor in procuring his and their subsistence from the earth. Where the agriculturist flourishes society may generally be found thriving and well employed, and where the primal labor of the husbandman fails of its reward, there can hardly be found anywhere an enduring prosperity for a people.
Various industries are on the other hand just as important to the tiller of the earth as his own. The teeming soil will give him its riches in vain, if when his harvests have been gathered in, there are no markets near at hand to accept his produce at fair valuation; because the mere cost of transport to distant centers of population, in ordinary seasons, will absorb nearly or quite all the profit which might properly have been reaped by his industry. It is hoped and believed that many vast cities will arise, where scattered hamlets are now planted, to become great depots of manufacturing energy for the more complete supply of American wants by American skilled labor and ingenui. ty, in locations where the fertile prairies are only waiting for a population willing to be fed, and where the finest water powers to be found in the world are only running to waste for want of energy rightly applied to turn them to fit uses. This work will contribute its mite toward bringing the right men to the right place for their own sakes and for the continuous growth of the union. The farmer is deeply interested in other fields of labor than his own,
because his stalwart sons and lovely daughters will not all continue in his walk of life. Within twenty years there have been so many and such vast improvments in agricultural implements, machinery and processes that onethird of the labor, once necessary for our present average of production has been liberated, and it is probable that the inventive skill and mechanical ingenuity of the next twenty years will be just as marked in their results, so that or necessity the young farmer will turn his attention to some one of the many pursuits for which his education and his talents fit him to help build up the wealth which is being diffuser through all ranks. The cnormous value or the machinery and implements now in use upon the farms in this union amounting to a total of $300,000,000, will show at the first glance an outlet for superabundant energy, which must go on increasing every year as every avocation except that of the lawyer, the legislator, and divine, comes to to be more and more aided by the skill of the machinist. War, manufactures, and even the arts are becoming arenas for the wondrous talents of inventors, and every day widens the range within which science creates new industries and extends the old activities, to increase the happiness of mankind. With advancing skill will be found generally associated better rewards for labor and an always multiplying capacity to appreciate and enjoy such productions as were once only offered to the few; consequently there reel be no fear that the mechanical aids which come to the service of the former will diminish the pay of his assistants, as indced, experience shows that while tre increase o mechanism has been so marked as to reduce the number of men employed by just one-third within twenty yerrs, the wages fund employed in that branch of industry hare almost doubled within the same term. History must deal with all such facts and allot them place as factors of human advancement; and in some degree it is hoped that the Centennial Northwest will be found to have adequately appreciated the situation. The important bearing of the great cen. tennial exposition upon our future as a people has been treated briefly from a purely national stand point, and such information has been embodied under that head as cannot fail to interest all readers.
It has not been attempted in dealing with an area of territory so vast as the Great Northwest, involving the history of nine states — Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska - to deal cxhaustively with one item, or one city; but wherever there arose in dealing with one or more citics a question of general interest, or where cities were in an especial sense metropolitan, it has been thought advisable to give especial prominence to the subject or the city in such a manner as would prevent the reluplication of details. Incidents, such as are found very interest. ing in the lucubrations of novelists, are not good history; the mythical apple that Mr. W. Tell did not shoot from his son's head has very materially affected the demand for the arvelous; but wherever Truth stranger than fic. tion has presented itself to be annotated, the writer had striven to discriminate between the germinal well attested fact and its fabulous surroundir.gs. The mysteries and wonders of real life are so many and various that it is not requi. site to draw upon pure imagination to make an interest for the pages which adequately narrate the movements of mankind. Could the essayist depict the
struggles through which Bigelow came to the realization of his several im
rovements of the loom, through which Whitney attained his eminence, or by virtue of which Goodyear perfected the process of vulcanization, he would present a story as full of human interest as any romance, and far more satisfactory than the maunderings of Rosicrucian dreamers. The multiplication of the means whereby life in health can be maintained is legitimate history, and everything tending in that direction is of interest to that class for which books are written. The means by which institutions are compacted, and the views of one generation crystallized into laws for the next, cannot fail to at. tract the notice of reformers, who are prudential enough to see, that by the cultivation of an enlightened public opinion, in a land where the press and the school have free scope, every incrustation of error will be thrown aside in due course, as the convalescent casts away his crutches and plasters, after the purpose which they were originally meant to serve has been attained. The various institutions of the several states of the great northwest will be found, not treated with wearisome detail, but louched lightly in all such par. ticulars as distinguish them from their surroundings. Schools and the sys. tems by which they are sustained and administered, the cases in which they fail, the benefits that spring from their operation, the consequences arising from their neglect, and the means which may tend towards their more com. plete success in the future of the union have been narrated and discussed with the deep earnestness which arises from a lifetime of effort in the cause of edu. cation. There is no question which more immediately concerns America today than that which arises upon this issue, considering that we are largely precluded from resorting to compulsion such as has been found so beneficial among the semi-despotic governments of Europe. The extent to which the education of every child becomes the duty as well as the interest of civil gov. ernment and of society generally cannot be overrated, and the mere money cost of administering our laws will be largely reduced by a more liberal rec. ognition of our duty in that particular. The advantages which must result from the wider diffusion of mental culture cannot be adequately stated in a cursory preface, but some attempts have been made to grapple with that subject in the text.
The relative strengths of the several forms of government is a question so complex that it might well be allowed to rest untouched at such a time as the present, but so much has been said at various times as to the executive weakness of Republican institutions, the government of the people, by the people, for the people, that it is necessary to inquire what other nation in the world could have solved the slavery problem so effectively in a space of time so brief? The ukase of the Czar of all the Russias, announced to the world, rather than to the serfs themselves, their liberation, and social growth has hardly yet realized the change which the law assumed to have operated in. stantly. In America the man who was a slave is free, with all the responsi. bilities of free labor upon his shoulders, entitled to be a witness in court, and a voter at elections, to procure an education for his children, and to enjoy such civil rights as were once supposed to be the exclusive privilege of the white race. The revolution is stupendous, and the successive steps by