Excise act

At the close of the Revolution, a majority of the people cheerfully
trusted to the wisdom and integrity of those who led the way to a
country and conditions on which to found a republic. The patriots
who unfurled the Declaration of Independence were glorified in the
name of “United States of America.” And with thirteen stars, the red,
white, and blue came forth a government strong and vigorous, honored
and respected, amidst an epidemic of European wars. In the formation
of the republican government, so few precedents were at hand that
could be used as guides to the organization, the work was rendered
herculean in character. But with General Washington, John Adams,
Jonathan Dayton, Alexander Hamilton, and other patriotic Federalists,
at the head, the people had no fears for the accepted Constitution.
Still, the first President and his advisers were not blind to the
dangers that surrounded the new republic. The First Congress (1789-90)
assembled with but a small and uncertain majority favorable to the
Constitution as adopted; and the combination of disaffected and
opposing elements wore loud in their denunciations of the President
and “_that instrument_;” and it required great wisdom, moderation, and
concession to obtain the necessary contemplated amendments[23] and acts
of Congress necessary to carry on and regulate the working operations
of the several departments of the new government.

The citizens of the South, and those of the North were equally jealous
of their interests. New England demanded a protective tariff, and the
South “free-trade.” That which suited one locality was the policy not
desired in another. Consequently, some states felt they were treated
unfairly in _this_, and others in _that_, and a Congress failing
to legislate special benefits to all found denunciations common
with a disregard for law and order, occasionally amounting to open

At the very commencement of President Washington’s second term,
things became stormy and taxed the wisdom of the man who had crowned
a successful revolution, to manipulate the new machinery of a complex
government into satisfactory running order. The cabinet and both
branches of the legislative department were pretty evenly divided on
the distracting questions of the times. France and England were at
war–the French Republic expected reciprocal help from the United
States. The Secretary of State (Mr. Jefferson) and Mr. Randolph,
Attorney-General, contrary to the views of the President, espoused
the cause of France, and were suspected of aiding Genet, the French
minister, in issuing commissions to vessels of war to sail from
American ports and cruise against the enemies of France.

Notwithstanding this, and the violent opposition of both houses of
Congress, the President remained firm, that the people of the United
States, under the circumstances, should not become involved in a war
with Great Britain, and issued his neutrality proclamation, had the
French minister recalled and accepted the resignation of the Secretary
of State. Congress, however, persisted in doing all it could to
strengthen the opposition to the President and bring on a war with
England. When foiled in this, attempted by resolution to adopt the
substance of Mr. Jefferson’s final report–“to cut off all intercourse
with Great Britain, and as good _republicans_ or _democrats_, either
wear the ‘national cockade’ as evidence of opposition to _neutrality_
and _friendship_ for _France_.”

The resolution passed the House but was defeated in the Senate, by
the casting vote of Vice-President John Adams, and saved the nation
from disgrace. The common people had been partially persuaded by the
doctrines of Jefferson that federalism meant the establishment of a
limited monarchy, and want of confidence in the people. This was giving
the position of Washington and his followers a coloring much below
their patriotic conceptions. They held a government of laws must have
principle of energy and coercion; and it was the concentration of this
energy in a federal government which the convention gave, and which, to
carryout into perfection, induced the Washington policy.

Had it been otherwise, had Mr. Jefferson’s ideas of government been
placed in his own hands for organization, with his unlimited confidence
in the virtue of the people, and their capacity for self government
in the final experiment, the Constitution would have crumbled to
pieces in his own hands. At the end of eight years of Washington’s
administration, 1797, the nation was at peace at home and abroad–all
disputes had been settled amicably excepting that of France–the credit
of the government was never better–ample provision had been made for
the payment of the public debt–“commerce had experienced unexampled
prosperity–American tonnage had nearly doubled–the products of
agriculture had found a ready market–the exports had increased
from nineteen millions to more than fifty-six million dollars–and
the amount of revenues from imports exceeded the most sanguine
expectations, and the prosperity of the country was unparalleled,
notwithstanding great losses from belligerent depredations.” How
different the story when Mr. Jefferson turned the high office over to
Mr. Madison, March 4, 1809, as given in the report of a committee of
the legislature of Massachusetts, January previous to the close of Mr.
Jefferson’s administration.

“Our agriculture is discouraged, the fisheries abandoned, navigation
forbidden; our commerce at home and abroad restrained, if not
annihilated; our navy sold, dismantled, or degraded to the service of
cutters or gunboats; the revenue extinguished; the course of justice
interrupted, and the nation weakened by internal animosities and
divisions, at the moment when it is unnecessarily and improvidently
exposed to war with Great Britain, France and Spain.”

The most peculiar and damaging political view held by Mr. Jefferson
was that appropriations by the government for national internal
improvements were unconstitutional. This was enforced as a
cardinal principle of his “_Republican-Democratic_” party, and so
influenced his party successors, Madison and Monroe, that during
their administrations, appropriations and surveys were refused on
constitutional grounds. However good, influential and honest the actors
may have been, it is quite evident the political influences of those in
power, from the commencement of the administration of Thomas Jefferson
in 1801 to the end of Monroe’s in 1825, blocked the wheels of progress
in civilization under the pretext of reverence for the Constitution.

It was generally rumored in Ohio politics that the Jeffersonian party
were opposed to expenditures for national internal improvements, and
before entering the Union the state presented her influence with the
Eighth Congress for a national highway, from Cumberland, Maryland,
to the Ohio river at Wheeling, Virginia, and from Wheeling westward
across the proposed State of Ohio. The measure passed Congress and was
approved by President Jefferson as “a _war measure_ and bond of union,”
instead of an “_unconstitutional improvement_.”

This, however, was not considered, by Mr. Jefferson nor his party,
binding in policy as a precedent; but Ohio politicians thought
differently, and from necessity and importance of the subject kept
it agitated in and out of Congress. And in 1816, after an able and
full discussion of the constitutionality and expediency of a system
of internal improvements by the general government, both houses of
the Fourteenth Congress passed a bill appropriating the bonus which
the United States Bank was to pay the Government for the charter, to
purposes of internal improvement; but the bill was returned to Congress
by the President (Mr. Madison) with his veto involving constitutional
scruples, and the measure failed to become a law.

Notwithstanding both houses of Congress were at times favorable to
improvements, the majority was not often found conservative, and in
1822 killed a small appropriation to repair the Cumberland road, built
and controlled by the Government.

A small majority of the Eighteenth Congress, in 1823 and 1824, came
around partially to the grounds occupied by the Ohio people on the
subject of improvements, and made an appropriation of thirty thousand
dollars, authorizing the expenditure on surveys, plans and estimates
of such roads and canals as the President might deem of national

President Monroe, after mature deliberation, gave the bill his
approval. At that date, a portion of the New York and Erie Canal was in
operation, and as an orator was very convincing and converting. This
could not justly be called a “war measure,” nor a “bond of union;” and
was universally accepted as a second precedent in favor of “internal
improvements,” and ended the Jeffersonial dynasty as far south as the
City of Washington; and in 1829 Andrew Jackson, in direct opposition
to his supporters in the South, New England, and in New York, followed
the precedent of Ex-President J. Q. Adams, indorsing the action of
the Twentieth Congress, which declared the _constitutionality and
expediency_ of such improvements.

This fixed the policy of the Government for all future time, Ohio,
feeling proud in the active part she had taken, having the honor of
bringing about the first national internal improvement in the United

[Illustration: Spinning-Wheel.]

Although the Government had changed its policy, the political education
of the people had been such that many good citizens had little or no
desire for changes or improvements that might destroy or disregard the
sanctity of the constitution; nor could it be claimed they were much
in favor of improvements of any kind–things were good enough. They
did not expect to have every thing in the world, and were satisfied if
things would remain as they were; they did not want any thing better
than the easy routine in which they had spent much of their lives. The
New York Canal was talked of as a private enterprise; but for what
purpose above the cost of labor could not be stated, as there were no
_surplus productions_ in the country calling for a market, and so far
Ohio people were “high _protectionists_ of _home industries_,” and
did not favor the introduction of “_cheap foreign goods, nor imported
labor_.” They raised flax and wool, and, with the spinning-wheel and
loom, manufactured the wearing apparel and household goods, and so sure

“Man wants but little here below,
Nor wants that little long,”

the average citizen felt amply supplied with the necessaries of
life, and could not well ask for more. He plowed his little piece of
cleared ground with a “bull-plow,” having a wooden mold-board and
cast-iron share; harrowed in his wheat, rye, oats, and turnips with a
wooden-toothed harrow; dropped his corn by hand, and covered it with
the hoe. Every spring he made enough maple-sugar for home consumption,
and to exchange for tea, coffee, and salt; and if he had a few spare
bushels of grain, they were taken to some one of the many copper-stills
scattered over the country. And to him there was no encouragement
for the improvement in wealth of state by establishing a commerce or
trade that would sap the foundations of its home industries. And he
feared for the future prospects of the North-west should the existing
prohibitory tariff be removed between the East and West by cheap
transportation, believing it would destroy home manufactures, diminish
the price of labor, and produce “_panics_ and _paupers_” beyond state
ability and charity to maintain. The “flax-breaker’s” occupation would
be gone; carding-machines, spinning-wheels, and looms, would no longer
be manufactured or used, and the vast multitude of laborers carrying
on these “infant industries” would be thrown out of employment and be
“obliged to _steal_ or _starve_.” Even the young woman, who makes an
honest living by spinning sixteen “cuts” daily, at fifty cents a week
and boarded, would be thrown upon the cold embraces of the world, and
thousands of other honest poor would be ruined for want of _protection_
against such an influx of “pauper labor and foreign manufacture.” And
the man of _one idea_ considered the condition of “home industries,”
under contemplated internal improvements, as discouraging, as a
“prospective repeal of a protective tariff.”

As early as 1807, Jesse Hawley conceived the idea of a canal from
the Hudson river to Lake Erie–a distance of three hundred and fifty
miles–believing it would be a profitable investment for the state
and nation, that it would populate the North-west and establish
important commercial relations with western states. But the newspapers
pronounced Jesse “_a crank_,” and refused to make public his thoughts
upon the subject. But this did not change the opinions of practical
business men, whose talk of canals and intersecting canals did not meet
with much favor among legislators, which, perhaps, represented the
sentiments of their constituents. And it took nearly half as long as it
did the people of New York to build the Erie canal, for those of Ohio
to understand that a canal, commerce and free trade, would increase
labor and enrich a state. And for the timely commencement of the great
work the people of Ohio are much indebted to W. Steele, of Cincinnati,
for his trial surveys and intelligent letters upon the subject at an
early day, when few persons entertained the practicability of such an

The following extracts from a letter published in the Olive Branch,
February 27, 1821, on the “Project of a Canal,” is but a fair specimen
of the philanthropy of the times, and says:

“Nothing can be of more importance to the State of Ohio than the
making of a navigable canal from Lake Erie to the Ohio river. That
it is practicable to make such canal admits not of a doubt. Were
it made, and the Hudson and Erie canal finished, we should have an
easy and cheap highway on which to transport our surplus produce to
the New York market. I have had the level between the Scioto and
the Sandusky bay at Lower Sandusky. From the summit level on the
most favorable route for a canal that I am acquainted with, to Lower
Sandusky, the descent, agreeable to the report of Mr. Farrer, whom
I employed for the purpose of taking the levels, is 318 feet…. And
by the report of the engineers employed by the State of Virginia,
they make the Ohio river at the mouth of the Great Kanawha river
83 feet lower than Lake Erie. If those levels are to be relied on,
and we ascertain what is the amount of descent in the Ohio river
from the mouth of the Great Kanawha to the point where the canal
is intended to communicate with the Ohio, we will then know what
will be the whole amount of lockage required. If we allow 50 feet
for the descent, the lockage will be as follows: From Lake Erie to
the summit level, 318 feet; and from summit level to Ohio river,
433 feet; making the whole amount, 751 feet. I do not know how near
this estimate is to the truth, but I am satisfied in my own mind the
lockage would be between seven and eight hundred feet.

“The estimate of the commissioners for making the New York canal is
$13,800 per mile. Owing to the reduction in the price of labor it is
found it can be made for much less money. The ground for making a
canal across the State of Ohio is much more favorable than that over
which the New York canal is now making. Although there would be more
lockage on the Ohio canal than on the New York, yet it is believed
it can be made at less expense than an equal distance of the New
York canal. When we take into consideration the low price at which
labor can be had, and the advantage to be gained by the employment
of experienced engineers now employed on the New York canal, I think
I hazard but little in saying that a canal can be made across this
state for $12,000 a mile.”… “I am aware that some will say that
‘the State of Ohio is too young and too poor to undertake this mighty
project.’ But I deny that the State of Ohio is either young or poor.
She contains at this time more than 500,000 souls, and ranks fourth
or fifth state in the Union. Can a state with such a population (of
industrious people, too) be poor? It has been justly remarked, ‘_That
population is power_; and _industry is wealth_,’ so I contend that we
are both _powerful_ and _rich_.

“The inquiry of some will be, how is the money to be raised to dig
this ‘mighty ditch?’ Raise it in the same way New York does–borrow
it on the credit of the state. Many there are, I have no doubt, who
will _doubt_ whether money can be borrowed on the credit of the
state. To such I would say, go and try. If we stand at the base of a
hill and look up, without making an effort to ascend, we will never
reach its summit….

“Although it cost $2,400,000 (to make 200 miles), it might not be
necessary to borrow any thing like that sum. The distribution of
the sum required would go to the people of the state, and give more
relief from their present pecuniary embarrassments than can be had
from any laws enacted for that purpose. As the lands in the vicinity
of the canal belonging to the general government would be greatly
enhanced in value, I think it not improbable that Congress will make
a donation to the state of a body of land in the vicinity, so far as
it passes through their territory; if so, it would aid very much in
making it.

“A member of the House of Commons once asked an eminent engineer
for what purpose he apprehended ‘rivers were made.’ His answer was
‘to feed navigable canals.’ Such was the opinion of a great man,
and such indeed must have been the opinion of many others, for we
find canals in Great Britain in many places running parallel with
navigable rivers. Persons unacquainted with the cheapness at which
goods are transported on canals, are surprised when they learn that
a ton weight can be transported at the rate of one cent a mile. The
illustrious Fulton, but a short time previous to his death, gave it
as his opinion that goods could be transported on the New York canal,
when completed, at the rate of one cent a ton per mile. We find him
supported in this by Col. C. G. Haines, corresponding secretary to
the New York association for the promotion of internal improvement.

“Mr. Phillips, in the preface of his history of ‘Inland Navigation,’
says: ‘All canals may be considered as so many roads of a certain
kind on which one horse will draw as much as thirty horses do on
ordinary turnpike roads, and the public would be great gainers were
they to lay out upon making every mile of canal twenty times as much
as they expend upon making a mile of turnpike road.’ And Sutcliff, in
his treatise on canals, says: ‘That within the last twenty-five years
there has been expended on canals in England more than one hundred
and thirty million dollars.’ A country is never made poor by making
internal improvements, even if the people are taxed to make them. If
money be taken from the people, it is again paid out among them, and
kept in circulation.

“When the canals through Ohio and New York are finished, I have no
doubt but that two-thirds of the surplus produce of all the country
watered by the Ohio and its tributary streams above the falls, would
pass through them to the New York market. That it would be to the
interest of every shipper to give the preference to New York is
obvious…. The amount of produce that perishes on the way and at New
Orleans every fifteen years, would itself more than pay for building
a canal across the State of Ohio. During the spring tides, when the
principal part of the produce of the western country is carried to
New Orleans, that market is glutted, and the shipper is very often
pleased at being able to return home with half the money his cargo
cost him.

“If Mr. Fulton’s estimates as to the expenses at which goods can be
transported on canals be correct, the expenses of transporting a
barrel of flour to the City of New York (allowing ten barrels for a
ton), will be as follows:

From Ohio river to Lake Erie, 200 m. 20c
Down the lake, 260 m. 20c
New York canal, 353 m. 35c
Down the Hudson, 160 m. 15c

“Total nine hundred and seventy-three miles for ninety cents. To this
must be added the tollage of both canals. The lowest rate at which
flour at present is freighted to New Orleans from the falls is $1.25
per barrel. Nor is it probable that the price will be reduced, as the
boat which cost $100 to $150 is generally thrown away at New Orleans,
or sold for a sum not exceeding the tenth part of their cost.

“It will be recollected, that while our produce is carried to New
York at the cheap rate quoted above, that our foreign goods can be
brought through the same channel at the same rates, from sixty-seven
cents to one dollar and twelve cents per ton. More or less of these
goods the people will have, and the cheaper the rates at which they
can be furnished, the better for the country. And besides, it must
be recollected if they are brought across the mountains, by way of
Pittsburg, or from New Orleans by way of the Mississippi and Ohio,
that the expense of transportation is paid to citizens of other
states; if brought over the Ohio canal, the money saved in the state
thereby, would, in twenty five years, amount to more than the whole
cost of the canal.

“It must be admitted that the risk on the canal and lake is much less
than on the Ohio and Mississippi, and the time required to carry the
produce that way much less. By turning the trade from New Orleans
to New York, we would save thereby the lives of many of our most
enterprising and useful citizens, who would otherwise fall victims
to the diseases of the lower Mississippi. The State of Kentucky has
lost more of her citizens by the New Orleans trade within the last
fifteen years than she lost by the late war, and it is known she bled
at every pore.

“Lateral canals may be made from the main canals in many places, which
will serve to collect to the main canal the rich products of the
soil through which they pass, and at the same time afford means of
furnishing the country with many of the necessities of life at prices
greatly below what they now cost without the canal. I will only name
the article of salt, which by means of the canal may be furnished to
people in the interior of the state from the salines of New York at
a price but little, if any thing, exceeding fifty cents per bushel.
It is impossible to calculate the benefits that may be derived to the
people of this state by the making of the canal. In its progress
it will, no doubt, lay open rich beds of minerals. It will lay us,
as it were, alongside the Atlantic. It will, in short, _elevate the
character of the state, and put it half a century in advance of her
present situation_….

“It only remains for the legislature of Ohio to apply the means
within their reach to accomplish this desirable object. When
accomplished, there can be no doubt but that it will produce a
sufficient revenue to defray the expense’s of the state government.

_Cincinnati, Ohio, 1820._”

The arguments made for internal improvements were good; but to the
child of nature such talk became a source of alarm. To destroy the
forests would diminish the game supply, and he soon began to feel the
country was becoming too highly civilized for good and easy living;
that buckskin breeches and tow trowsers were already being discarded
for imported goods. And when the spirit of advancing civilization came
within sight, he who had no fence around his cabin, or little else
besides sunflowers or a peach tree to indicate manual labor near the
unbounded premises, sold his land at a small advance, and, with family
and dogs, moved out to “Ingianny.”

Previous to 1820 the inhabitants of the North-west had very little
prospect that agriculture would ever be the “road to affluence.” The
natural barriers to transportation were viewed as permanent obstacles.
A water-way was ridiculed by high authority, which pronounced it
little short of madness, and the newspapers in the East had shown the
impracticability; and the Western land-owner manifested but little
dissatisfaction. He found his way to this country in order to live,
and was happy in finding enough to make it easy. He anticipated but
little from agriculture as a source of profit. In the Eastern states
it had not given satisfaction. But with the population increasing and
foreign demand improving, and facilities for transportation better,
things showed they were undergoing a change in the older states; and
the markets were becoming better, with better management of farms and
farming, than at any period since colonial times.

In 1823 Charles A. Goodrich, of Hartford, Conn., wrote: “Until within
a few years agriculture, both as a science and art, is receiving
much of that attention which its acknowledged importance demands. It
is beginning to be regarded, as it should be, not only as the basis
of subsistence and population, but as the parent of individual and
national opulence.”

At this date corn was selling to feeders at six cents per bushel in
Ohio, and wheat at twenty-five cents. But a few years later agriculture
in the North-west was beginning to be regarded as the “basis of
subsistence and parent of individual and national opulence,” also.

The idea of a prospective market for the products of the soil, that
would well remunerate the labor of production, was already being felt,
and creating an enthusiasm and preparation for farming on a larger
scale. Labor was plenty and wages fair, and the work of destruction
of timber and increasing the acreage for cultivation went on rapidly.
Large areas were deadened to facilitate the removal, and the sunshine
in many places found its way to earth, where it had been excluded
for ages. And the common squirrel hunter soon underwent an expansion
of character that led on to eminence in agriculture, art, science,
commerce, courts, congress, and cabinet. The things said and done
caused the legislature, in 1822, to pass an act authorizing the
employment of engineers to examine and report the “practicability
of making a canal from Lake Erie to the Ohio river;” and in 1825,
after four years of the most arduous labor and discussion, the work
was determined upon, and Governor De Witt Clinton and others, among
whom were Solomon Van Rensselaer, of Albany, and United States Judge
Conkling and Mr. Lord, of New York, were invited to be present at the
commencement of the great work, which was to have its beginning three
miles west of Newark, July 4, 1825.

The people of the entire state were under high excitement at the new
era which seemed approaching so rapidly, and acted quite differently
from what they likely would at the present day on the commencement of
a public enterprise. Then many thousands assembled to see “The Father
of Internal Improvements,” and to hear what “the best-looking man the
nation had ever produced” had to say on the subject of which he was the
reputed father.

The time was near at hand, and on the arrival of the great Governor
of New York at Cleveland, the ovation was grand; he was welcomed by
Governor Morrow, state legislature, officials, military organizations,
and by the people. And flags, and guns, and noisy display were beyond
the power of description. And before the sun had risen, July 4, 1825,
every thoroughfare to Newark was crowded with all kinds of loaded
vehicles; men and women on horseback, and men, women, and children
on foot–many of whom had traveled all night in order to reach the
appointment on time. And the wonder was, where all the immense,
uncounted, and unaccountable mass of human-beings came from.

The day was fair and the air cool and balmy, as Ohio atmosphere is
after recent July showers. Newark at this time had less than one
thousand inhabitants, but the country surrounding was amply large to
accommodate the crowd which desired to pay their respects to the man
whose influence, energy, ability, and perseverance were able to advance
civilization, at once, half a century, by the magic wand of public
improvements. And when Governor Clinton’s carriage appeared on the
public square at Newark, thousands of voices rent the air with loud
and long huzzas of welcome; and to which was added, the firing of one
hundred guns. And the immense procession at once began moving for the
spot prepared for the ceremony of the “_spade_ and _barrow_,” three
miles in the country. Governor Clinton took the first spadeful amid the
enthusiastic shouts of thousands. The Ohio Governor, squirrel hunter,
statesman, and farmer, next sunk the implement its full depth. And so
from one to another the spade passed, until the wheel-barrow could hold
no more, and was taken to the designated dump by Captain Ned King, of
Chillicothe, amid one wild, indescribable, and continuous cheering.

Hon. Thomas Ewing was orator of the day, and when the Governor of New
York attempted his reply, the bursts of applause were so great he was
obliged to pause, “and being unaccustomed to such demonstrations and
tokens of respect, shed tears in the presence of his worshipers.”
After the addresses the entire audience, estimated at not less than
ten thousand, dined in the shade of the wide-spreading beech trees,
the underbrush having been cleared off from several acres for the
purpose, and seats arranged and tables spread with a sumptuous dinner
for all, furnished by the liberality of one man, Goetleib Steinman, of
Lancaster, Ohio.

The regular toasts were limited to thirteen, but the volunteers were
still going on when the editor of the Olive Branch retired late in the

1. General George Washington.

2. The President of the United States.

3. The Governor of Ohio.

4. The man who guided by the unerring light of science with vigorous
and firm mind, has led and now leads his countrymen in the splendid
career of “internal improvements”–our honored guest.

5. The great State of Ohio.

6. Legislature.

7. The Canal Commissioners.

8. Ohio Canal–The great artery of America, which will carry vitality
to all the extremities of the Union.

9. State of New York–She has given to the world a practical lesson
what freemen can do when determined to secure their own happiness.

10. Henry Clay–the able supporter of “internal improvements.”

11. General Bolivar–The Washington of South America.

12. The power of free government.

13. The fair sex of our country–In prosperity the partners of our
joys, and in adversity our greatest solace.


By De Witt Clinton–The Ohio Canal–A fountain of wealth, a chain of
union, a dispenser of glory.

By General Van Rensselaer–The memory of General Wayne–By his sword,
the way was cleared for the settlement of the country.

By I. Johnston–National Improvements–A fit subject for national pride.

By Wm. Lord–Thomas Jefferson–A man with one mistake.

[Illustration: Canal Era. 1825.]

The 4th of July, 1825, only a few months prior to the completion of
the New York Canal, machinery was put in motion to revolve until the
end of time. On this day the policy of the state government in favor
of internal improvements was permanently inaugurated. Even the few
opposing minds of those who had never seen the walls of China, but
wished to maintain the state secluded from the commercial world by
means of the high tariff (the barriers nature had vouchsafed to the
inhabitants), weakened in their ideas of “home protection,” or at
once became favorable to the doctrine of _reciprocity_, which at that
early date was the “soft” or synonym for _free trade_. And when it
became satisfactorily demonstrated that improvements would increase
the amount and price of labor, as well as the values of its products,
such individuals changed to vociferous advocates of a canal, saying:
“If the canal can secure such prices for the products of the soil, and
in return furnish foreign cheap supplies, we can afford to abandon
looms and spinning-wheels, and let supply and demand take care of
themselves.” And the energetic boards of construction were unanimously
supported by the people, and soon completed eight hundred miles of
canals and one thousand miles of toll-roads, with a disbursement of
over fifteen million dollars, borrowed money. The state, however,
suffered no inconvenience on this account; its credit was good, and all
that was necessary to obtain funds as fast as needed was to call upon
the Lord who came to Ohio with Governor Clinton at the opening.

[Illustration: Log-Cabin Luminary.]

Among the multitude of great men assembled on this occasion, no one did
more or was nearer and dearer in the hearts of the people than the man
who mastered mathematics, Greek, Latin, and law, while a “hireling”
at the Kanawha Salt Works; the man who did his reading at night by
the light of the furnace or a “log-cabin luminary,” a lard lamp; the
man who received the first collegiate degree of A.M. ever issued in
the North-west; the orator of the day, Hon. Thomas Ewing. No such
universal and intense enthusiasm was ever before, or again will be, so
overwhelmingly manifested in Ohio as that of the opening of the canals;
no other object for public demonstration is likely will ever approach
it in importance.

Governor Clinton and party were escorted from Newark to Columbus by
the state militia, legislature, county and state officers and eminent
citizens. And in reply to Governor Morrow’s reception, Governor Clinton

“I find myself at a loss for language to express my profound sense
of the distinguished notice taken of me by the excellent chief
magistrate of this powerful and flourishing state, and by our
numerous and respected fellow citizens assembled in this place, I
feel that my services have been greatly overrated, but I can assure
you that your kindness has not fallen on an ungrateful heart–that I
most cordially and sincerely reciprocate your friendly sentiments,
and that any agency I may have had in promoting the cardinal
interests to which you have been pleased to refer, has been as
sincere as it has been disinterested.

“When Ohio was an applicant for admission into the Union, it was my
good fortune to have it in my power, in co-operation with several
distinguished friends, most of whom are now no more, to promote her
views and to assist in elevating her from a territorial position
to the rank of an independent state. This was an act of justice to
her and duty of high obligation on our part. At that early period
I predicted, and indeed it required no extraordinary sagacity to
foresee, that Ohio would in due time be a star of the first magnitude
in the federal constellation; that she contains within her bosom the
elements of greatness and prosperity, and that her population would
be the second, if not the first, in the confederacy.

“The number of your inhabitants at the next census will probably
exceed a million. Cultivation of the soil has advanced with gigantic
strides–your fruitful country is teeming with plenty, and has a
vast surplus beyond your consumption of all the productions of
agriculture. Villages, towns and settlements are springing up
and extending in all directions, and the very ground on which we
stand, but a few years ago a dreary wilderness, is now a political
metropolis of the state, and the residence of knowledge, elegance and

“I have considered it my solemn duty in concurrence with your
worthy chief magistrate, your very able canal board of finance and
superintendence, and other patriotic and enlightened citizens of
this state, to furnish all the resources in my power in aid of the
great system of internal navigation so auspiciously commenced on the
fifteenth anniversary of our national independence.

“This is a cause in which every citizen and every state in our
country is deeply interested; for the work will be a great
centripetal power that will keep the states within their federal
orbits–and an adamantine chain that will bind the Union together
in the most intimate connection of interests and communication. It
therefore secures, not only the prosperity of Ohio, but the union of
the states and the consequent blessings of free government; and now
I think it my duty to declare that I have the utmost confidence in
the practicability of the undertaking, and the economy and ability
with which it will be executed. In five years it may, and will be
completed, in all probability, and I am clearly of the opinion, that
in two years after the construction of this work, it will produce
an annual revenue of at least a million dollars, and hope this
remark may now be noted, if any thing I say shall be deemed worthy
of particular notice, in order that its accuracy may be tested by

“I beg you, sir, to accept the assurance of my high respect for your
private and public services, and to feel persuaded that I consider
your approbation and the approbation of patriotic men an ample reward
for my service, that a benevolent Providence may have enabled me to
render to our common country.”[25]

From Columbus the party was escorted to Springfield, Dayton, Hamilton,
and Cincinnati, receiving public dinners and the most extravagant and
enthusiastic demonstrations of appreciation and respect by thousands
of citizens. At Cincinnati the party were invited guests to an
entertainment given in honor of Henry Clay.

While Governor Clinton was in Cincinnati, he yielded to the pressing
invitation to go to Louisville and render an opinion on the question
then in dispute between Kentucky and Indiana, as to which side of the
river was the better adapted for a canal around the falls. His decided
opinion was in favor of Kentucky, to which all parties assented, and
the canal was constructed accordingly.

On returning home, the Governor passed through Portsmouth, Piketon,
Chillicothe, Circleville, Lancaster, Summit, and Zanesville, via
Pittsburgh, receiving every-where the most distinguished attention.

All business for the time was suspended. He and his party were
every-where treated as Ohio’s invited guests; and the Governor was
attended by all the county officers, eminent citizens, and multitudes
to the next county line, where a like escort was in waiting with the
best livery the country could produce; halting at each county town,
for a grand reception, ornamented with speeches, toasts, flags, and

Thus the benefactor of the nation passed from one county to another,
across a great state, and as soon as the advance-guard came in sight of
any town, the bells of all the churches, public buildings, and hotels,
gave their long and merry peels of welcome–the cannon roared and a
vast crowd of waiting citizens of town and country marched forward with
huzzas and banners of “Welcome–welcome–to the Father of Internal

The following extract, written at the time by a cool-headed
representative of the state, is expressive without coloring or

“The grave and the gay, the man of gray hairs and the ruddy-faced
youth; matrons and maidens, and even lisping children, joined to
tell his worth, and on his virtues dwell; to hail his approach and
welcome his arrival. Every street, where he passed, was thronged with
multitudes, and the windows were filled with the beautiful ladies of
Ohio, waving their snowy white handkerchiefs, and casting flowers on
the pavement where he was to pass on it.”

No king, emperor, president, or statesman; no manufacturer of personal
or political enthusiasm, even of palace-car order, ever obtained that
intensity and spontaneous manifestation as was shown “The Father of
Internal Improvements,” on his passage through the state.

And it is yet a sorrowful reflection to memory, that such magnetism,
ability, and influence for good did not live to see the Lake Erie and
Ohio Canal completed; that his life’s sacrifices, in physical and
mental efforts for the advancement of civilization in the North-west,
have been so soon almost forgotten. But more; that his good works
should have been so cheaply recognized at his death by a state he had
enriched by making himself so poor. But it is never too late to be
just, nor too long to right a wrong.

About this time, an era of “_prosperity_” had already dawned in the
East, and was heralded from mouth to mouth–from the Ohio river to Lake
Michigan–that the “Erie Canal” was completed, and the first fleet of
boats left the Hudson, October 26, 1825, laden with emigrants for the

On the banners this fleet carried were the significant words, “The
Star of Empire Westward Takes its Way,” and the cannons were heard and
answered from Buffalo to New York City.

This canal proved a success even beyond the expectations of the
most sanguine; and a line of commerce was at once established from
tide-water to the western chain of lakes, and soon filled the new
states with population and their ports with merchandise. And the Ohio
protectionist, who had been so fearful of an influx of “pauper labor”
and the products of “_foreign industries_,” found his own state, while
discussing it, ready to disburse fifteen million dollars for day labor
in the construction of internal improvements. And the Squirrel Hunter,
whose life was one of education, development, power, and progress,
hailed with delight the opportunity to work on the Lake Erie canal,
twenty-six dry days of twelve hours each, for the sum of eight dollars.
It was the first privilege ever offered in Ohio to obtain so much money
in so short time, without encroachment upon his store of squirrel and
coon skins.

In 1824, the year before the completion of the Erie canal, prices of
produce still ranged low: twenty-five cents for wheat and six cents for
corn, with no market or demand excepting for making whisky with copper
stills. But when the Erie canal was finished and the Ohio and Lake
Erie under way, prices on all kinds of produce advanced more than two
hundred per cent, with such an unlimited demand that the improvements
converted every body into favor with public works. And times became
better in Ohio than ever before–corn advanced to forty and fifty cents
and wheat to seventy-five and one dollar per bushel; and with the state
distribution of millions of money, and her rich and productive soil,
she was lifted out of the groove of idle content into the bright
sunshine of prosperity and improvement.

It soon became manifest that internal improvements increased the demand
and prices of the products of the soil, with a diminution in value of
most all kinds of manufactured articles used in exchange. The salines
of New York killed the salt manufacture in Ohio as effectually as
free trade did the business of the wheelwright, the reelwright, the
manufacturer of looms, reeds, flyers, hackles, plows, nails, and other
“infant industries.” All were ended by the canal; and a man or boy who
desired a new hat had, no longer than 1825, to go to a “_hat shop_” and
have his head measured with a tape-line, and diagram registered, with
full directions of minor matters–material, color, and price–and then
wait the making.

By means of the New York canal, peddlers were offering for sale almost
every thing enjoyed in the East, “at unprecedented low prices;” and
even the meridian mark in the south doorway was of no use any longer,
except to regulate a Yankee clock. These Connecticut time-pieces were
distributed to nearly every resident landholder in the state at sixty
dollars or less, on a year’s credit, in the form of a note with six
per cent interest–a clock that cost the peddler two dollars and fifty
cents at a New England factory.

Traveling merchants of all kinds flocked into the North-west like
squirrels at moving time, and the epidemic struck Pennsylvania so
disastrously that the Hon. John Andrew Schultz, at the time governor
of that state, is reported as having memorialized the legislature for
a law preventing this class of non-residents from perambulating the
country, selling articles of no value, and often base counterfeits of
things of domestic use, saying that in his neighborhood, “They were
palming off counterfeit basswood nutmegs, when every body knows the
genuine are made of sassafrac.”

The opening of the canal trade gave interest and amusement to thousands
of persons. On the day appointed citizens came long distances to
witness the filling of the ditch with water, and the floating of
boats as they came along in the pride of the names they bore in
honor of favorite citizens living along the line, as “The James
Rowe,” “The Dr. Coats,” “The James Emmitt,” “The Sam Campbell,” “The
General Worthington,” etc., lettered in gold, all of which was purely
complimentary to the individual, and not thought of as an advertising
dodge, although it may have suggested afterwards its advantages in this
line to members of the Board of Public Works.

The remarkable advancement in the prosperity of the state resulting
from the canals exceeded the expectations of their best friends so
far that it will probably ever remain as the most notable era in the
history of the state. Increased prosperity and rising civilization
advanced step by step. From the pack-saddle to the freight-wagon,
stage-coach, canal-boat, steamboat and railroad, each served or is
serving a good purpose in the elevation of the social, intellectual and
moral faculties of American citizens.

[Illustration: Ohio Stage Coach.]

From the organization of the state until the introduction of canals
and railroads, inland transportation of merchandise and travel was
done by means of stage-coaches and freight-wagons. The coaches were
stoutly constructed, with leather suspensions for springs, with
inside dimensions for nine persons, and somewhat like a Chicago
street-car–enough room outside for all who were able to find a place
to “hang on.” At the rear each coach was provided with a capacious
boot for the accommodation of Saratoga trunks and U. S. mail-bags. The
driver had an elevated outside seat in front, and proudly pulled the
strings on four spirited horses, which were driven in relays of ten
miles, and under favorable circumstances would, in this way, make
eight miles an hour, including stops for changes, and times of arrival
and departure at the stations were very punctually made on good roads.

Often it became amusing to see how easy a good-hearted driver who loved
his team, as many drivers did, could favor it by letting the horses
walk up each little ascent, but when in sight of the change would blow
the horn and crack the whip, and go in flying, with a mark “behind
time” for the next driver and relay to make up. But the “make up”
seldom came, and it was nothing unusual in a distance of two hundred
miles to find the coaches fifteen to twenty hours behind the schedule

There were no improved roads north of Columbus for nearly fifty years,
and during the wet season, or thawing of the frozen road-bed, staging
became slow and laborious. If not mixed with pleasure, it was the only
means of inland intercourse of a public character the inhabitants could
look to.

Charles Dickens, on his way from Columbus, Ohio, to Buffalo, N. Y.,
_via_ Sandusky City, in 1842, accurately describes the roughness of
traveling by stage-coach and the jolting of the corduroy roads over
bogs and swamps, and says: “At length, between ten and eleven o’clock
at night, a few feeble lights appeared in the distance, and Upper
Sandusky, an Indian village, where we were to stay till morning, lay
before us. They were gone to bed at the log inn, which was the only
house of entertainment in the place, but soon answered our knocking,
and got some tea for us in a sort of kitchen or common room, tapestried
with old newspapers pasted against the wall.

“The bed-chamber to which my wife and I were shown was a large, low,
ghostly room, with a quantity of withered branches on the hearth, and
two doors without any fastening, opposite to each other, both opening
upon the black night and wild country, and so contrived that one of
them always blew the other open, a novelty in domestic architecture
which I do not remember to have seen before, and which I was somewhat
disconcerted to have forced on my attention after getting into bed,
as I had a considerable sum in gold for our traveling expenses in my
dressing case. Some of the luggage, however, piled against the panels,
soon settled this difficulty, and my sleep would not have been very
much affected that night, I believe, though it had failed to do so.

“My Boston friend climbed up to bed somewhere in the roof, where
another guest was already snoring hugely. But being bitten beyond his
power of endurance, he turned out again, and fled for shelter to the
coach, which was airing itself in front of the house. This was not a
very politic step as it turned out, for the pigs scenting him, and
looking upon the coach as a kind of pie with some manner of meat
inside, grunted around it so hideously that he was afraid to come out
again, and lay there shivering till morning. Nor was it possible to
warm him, when he did come out, by means of a glass of brandy, for in
Indian villages the legislature, with a very good and wise intention,
forbids the sale of spirits by tavern-keepers.”

For want of roads, traveling by coach was slow and laborious, in all
the north-western states. In 1840, the writer was treated to a five
cents per mile ride across the State of Michigan, from Detroit to New
Buffalo, now Benton Harbor, on Lake Michigan, a distance of two hundred
miles. It was mid-winter, but not frozen hard, and required nearly
three days and two nights of joltings and fatiguing monotony. The joys
felt on arriving in sight of steamboat navigation are still fresh in
the recollections of the past.

Stage coaches had their centers for distribution in Columbus, Cleveland
and Cincinnati, and were used in the principal mail lines over the
state. Here too, the African skin became a perplexing question. The
dictum of slavery had to be respected. If a colored person desired to
be carried to a given point, he could prepay to such–his money was
never refused on any account but for his color there was no time-table
of departure or arrival. If no objections were raised by a passenger,
he would at once be started on his way as an outside incumbrance.
But if at any time while on the route, at a station or “change,” a
passenger should be added who objected to riding in the same coach with
a “_free nigger_,” as was no unusual thing, the colored passenger would
be obliged to stop off and wait for a coach containing more liberal
sentiments, or take the road on foot. This treatment on all the coach
lines was witnessed so frequently that it ceased to call forth marks
of disapproval. The principle in a milder form appears to have been
transferred from the old stage-coach to the great railroad Cincinnati
built South, by ignoring the constitution of the state, and as some
thought at the time, subsidizing the Supreme Court. On this road the
American born citizen with African blood, however remote the descent,
or great the admixture, is refused admittance to coaches accorded to
all other nationalities. Why? it is not necessary to state.

The wagons for freight were large and strong, and, having a cover of
white canvas, gave them the name of “Prairie Schooners.” They were
usually drawn by six horses, and on long routes traveled in companies;
and trains could be seen moving slowly along in line, all laden with
merchandise of the East, or on their way East, carrying the products of
Ohio industry to an eastern market. The style of the “schooner” and the
wagons themselves have “been out of print” so long, not one appeared
on exhibition at the Centennial World’s Fair. They were all of the same
pattern, and as “near alike as peas;” differing in every respect from
the emigrant wagon of later date.

[Illustration: Prairie Schooner.]

The bed or body of the “schooner” was formed by a stout frame-work of
the best seasoned bent-wood, and put together as immovable and durable
as any railroad coach body of the present day. The shape, covering,
etc., is shown by annexed illustration. The teams were composed of
large draft-horses. The “near” wheel-horse carried a saddle, in
addition to his harness, for the accommodation of the driver. This
saddle-horse, with the near front animal, or “leader,” constituted the
managing horses of the whole team. All orders were given, as required,
to these; they were always wakeful, watchful, and obedient. A good
leader and a reliable near wheel-horse were boastful prizes of their
owners; and most teamsters in those days owned their entire outfits,
and were exceedingly kind to their animals.

What may seem peculiar, whether having four or six animals in the
team, the driver used only a single line–one string attached to the
“leader,” and to him, with the aid of the “saddle-horse,” safety and
correct actions of all the members of the team were assured.

Many were the thousands of tons these lines carried over the mountains.
But the tread of the caravan and the crack of the “black-snake”[26]
were no longer heard on the Alleghanies after the completion of the
Erie Canal (in 1825); and ceased entirely as a system of transportation
on the operation of the Ohio Canal (in 1832). The “schooners” and
“Branches of the United States Bank” wound up and quit business in Ohio
about the same time. It was an off year for political speculators.
President Jackson vetoed the bill to renew the charter of that monster
monopoly entitled “The United States Bank,” an institution owned and
controlled by a few wealthy foreign and American citizens, who were
receiving exclusive privileges, favors, and support from the government.

Ohio did not feel the suspension of this great monopoly with its
thirty-five millions so severely. Millions of money had just been
distributed over the state for labor in the construction of internal
improvements, and with canals, coaches, and steamboats, and agriculture
in a nourishing condition, the prosperity that seemed lost in the ruins
of speculation and bankruptcy, proved a small impediment in line of
progress or march of empire.

The people did not become idle or discouraged; farming interests were
increasing all the time, and more attention was directed to schools
and education than ever before; and civilization was manifestly and
permanently on the advance. Still the conditions of trade suffered
serious embarrassments connected with the unstable condition of the
currency or money of the country. Bank-notes of one state were at a
heavy discount in every other. This, with bank and individual failures,
caused much inconvenience for a time, but things soon grew better.
Population and aggregate wealth of the state increased, and in 1847
gave the greatest yield of produce ever previously harvested, and
which, owing to the “Irish famine,” was disposed of at speculation
prices, and the state went on to prosperity and comparative excellence
and influence.

The mass of descendants of pioneers in Ohio looked forward to
agriculture as the source of subsistence and independent competency.
“Millionaire,” in early days, was a word seldom used, and entirely
unknown in biography. The pioneer saw the necessity for the promotion
and advancement of true civilization, that every citizen should own
a home–a place he might call his own–a place to live and labor for
the good of himself and others. And not until the introduction of
the railroad president, private palace cars, trusts, combines, and
transformation of the public service into party machines for becoming
suddenly rich, did the more observing recognize the true estimate and
sound brotherhood existing with the gold bags of the nation. Nor did
the poor suspect that combined wealth would ever dream as did the
thirsting Turk at midnight hour–“that Liberty, her knee in suppliance
bent, should tremble at its power.”

The canal era proved so satisfactory that people took their steps more
rapidly than ever before, and began measuring the hours by dollars and
cents, and the value of life by the amount of labor performed. The
feeling that something should be done to increase time and diminish
space became universal, and not a few prospectors had their eyes open
for the “old stone” that turned all it touched to gold.

The application of steam as the coming motor power for transportation
and travel was pictured in the minds of many inventors in this country
and in Europe; and trials of engines and their working abilities became
the all-absorbing subject of the times, and as early as 1835 it could
be seen that provincialism was passing away and that the citizens
of Ohio felt that coaches, wagons and canal-boats were too slow and
insufficient for advanced civilization.

The opening of a road between Manchester and Liverpool, September
15, 1830, and one in South Carolina the following January, gave the
subject increased interest, although the efforts were exceedingly
crude, and often bordering on the ridiculous. It was, however, a
problem that had to be worked out, and every one having a mind for
construction became a model maker of locomotives and railroad tracks.
Even Peter Cooper built an engine and named it “Tom Thumb,” and in his
attempt to test its superiority over horse-power was beaten owing to
that “if” which always catches the rear contestant. It appears that
in 1830 the Baltimore & Ohio road had a double track finished from
Baltimore to Ellicott’s Mills, a distance of fifteen miles, and was
utilized by means of horse-power. Mr. Cooper, who had built a small
locomotive after his own mind to demonstrate to his own satisfaction
the possibilities of steam as a motor power on roads, after making a
number of successful trips to the mills and return, a race was proposed
between “Tom Thumb” and its light open car, and a car and one horse of
those run by the company occupying the road. The race was to start at
the Relay House and end in Baltimore, a distance of nine miles.

On the 28th day of August, 1830, just seventeen days before the
Manchester and Liverpool Exhibition, the start was made, and, as
reported at the time:

“At first the gray had the best of it, for his steam would be applied
to the greatest advantage on the instant, while the engine had to
wait until the rotation of the wheels set the blower to work. The
horse was perhaps a quarter of a mile ahead when the safety valve of
the engine lifted, and the thin blue vapor issuing from it showed an
excess of steam. The blower whistled, the steam blew off in vapory
clouds, the pace increased; the passengers shouted, the engine gained
on the horse; soon it lapped him; the silk was plied; the race was
‘neck-and-neck, nose-and-nose;’ then the engine passed the horse,
and a great hurrah hailed the victory. But it was not repeated, for
just at this time, when the gray’s master was about giving up, the
band which draws the pulley which moved the blower slipped from the
drum, the safety-valve ceased to scream, and the engine, for want of
breath, began to wheeze and pant. While Mr. Cooper, who was his own
engineer and fireman, lacerated his hands in vain attempts to replace
the band upon the wheel, the horse gained on the machine and passed
it, and although the band was presently replaced and steam again did
its best, the horse was too far ahead to be overtaken, and came in
the winner of the race.”

The numerous excursions, trial trips of engines, and public
demonstrations made in the interests of improvements, from 1830 to
1840, on roads chartered in 1825-26-27-28, did not inspire confidence
as good investments. They were looked upon chiefly as curiosities,
mixed with great discomfort and danger, and received huzzahs and new
patrons at each juncture, those making the trip one day surrendering
their places with admiration to others, much after the plan of those
who took in the curiosity show of the horse “having his tail where
his head ought to be.” A railroad excursion of governors, senators,
judges, lawyers, divines, doctors, and other good people–special
guests of several hundred–to ride on strap-iron rails, housed in
old coach bodies or on open platform boxes, with the bumping and
jerking of trucks attached to each other by abundance of slack chain,
a beer-bottle engine and pine knots to make steam, enables the
imagination to see the likeness of the unfortunate colored fireman
with respect, though a slave, for the exhibition of a sense of comfort
before, if not after, he “punched up the fire and closed down the lever
to the safety-valve and sat upon it to keep the steam and smoke out of
his eyes.”

While great enthusiasm existed in favor of railroads every-where during
the thirties, the moneyed man and the man who desired to travel with
comfort regardless of time did not take much stock in the enterprise.
And the gentleman who wrote the following in his diary was one of a
large class who viewed the present as complete, and that they could
not endure pleasantly any discomfort that might repay to others in the
future great pleasure:

“_July 22, 1835._–This morning at nine o’clock I took passage in a
railroad car (from Boston) for Providence. Five or six other cars
were attached to the locomotive, and uglier boxes I do not wish to
travel in. They were made to stow away some thirty human beings who
sit, cheek by jowl, as best they can. The poor fellows who were not
much in the habit of making their toilet squeezed me into a corner,
while the hot sun drew from their garments a villainous compound
of smells made up of salt fish, tar and molasses. By and by, just
twelve–only twelve–bouncing factory girls were introduced, who were
going on a party of pleasure to Newport. ‘Make room for the ladies!’
bawled out the superintendent. ‘Come, gentlemen, jump up on the top,
plenty of room there.’ ‘I’m afraid the bridge knocking my brains
out,’ said a passenger. Some made one excuse and some another. For my
part, I flatly told him that since I belonged to the Corps of Silver
Grays, I had lost my gallantry, and did not intend to move. The
whole twelve were, however, introduced, and soon made themselves at
home, sucking lemons and eating green apples. The rich and the poor,
the educated and the ignorant, the polite and the vulgar, all herd
together in this modern improvement in traveling. The consequence is
a complete amalgamation. Master and servant sleep heads and points on
the cabin floor of the steamer, feed at the same table, sit in each
other’s laps as it were in the cars; and all this for the sake of
doing very uncomfortably in two days what would be done delightfully
in eight or ten. Shall we be much longer kept by this toilsome
fashion of hurrying, hurrying, from starting (those who can afford
it) on a journey with our own horses, and moving slowly, surely
and profitably through the country, with the power of enjoying its
beauty, and be the means of creating good inns? Undoubtedly a line
of post-horses and post-chaises would long ago have been established
along our great roads had not steam monopolized every thing.

“Talk of _ladies_ on board a steamboat or in a railroad car–_there
are none_. I never feel like a gentlemen there, and I can not
perceive a semblance of gentility in any one who makes part of the
traveling mob. When I see women whom, in their drawing-rooms or
elsewhere, I have been accustomed to respect and treat with every
suitable deference–when I see them, I say, elbowing their way
through a crowd of dirty emigrants, or low-bred homespun fellows in
petticoats or breeches in our country, in order to reach a table
spread for a hundred or more, I lose sight of their pretentions
to gentility, and view them as belonging to the plebeian herd. To
restore herself to her caste, let a lady move in select company at
five miles an hour, and take her meals in comfort at a good inn,
where she may dine decently. After all the old-fashioned way of five
or six miles, with liberty to dine decently in a decent inn, and be
master of one’s movements, with the delight of seeing the country
and getting along rationally, is the mode to which I cling, and which
will be adopted again by the generations of after times.”[27]

Information in regard to railroading in its true sense, was
circumscribed to experiment, which retarded the progress of
improvement. The belief in lasting solidity, making the expense of
building the road-bed more than necessary, so much so that it was
estimated in the Eastern States, that about ten miles a year were all
one company could properly construct.

Most engineers at first fell into the same error–making heavy stone
walls for the road-bed. The blocks into which the wooden plugs were
driven for the spikes to hold the rails were frequently resting upon
solid masonry, four feet high and two and a half feet wide. After done,
it was discovered a mistake; that an inelastic road-bed and speed were
incompatible and disastrous to the machinery, and the intelligent State
of Massachusetts, from the time the first locomotive was put upon the
track (March, 1834) until 1841, had shown little advancement in the
proper application of steam, as well as construction of road-beds and

Robert Fulton expected his discovery would find its highest usefulness
as a motive-power on railroads, as it has done; but his brother-in-law
and partner did not deem the thing practicable as long as the
insuperable objections named existed, and all attempts were passed to
others, as the following letter shows, with day and date:

“ALBANY, March 1st, 1811,

“_Dear Sir_: I did not until yesterday receive yours of February
25th; where it has been loitering on the road I am at a loss to
say. I had before read of your very ingenious proposition as to
the railway communications. I fear, however, on mature reflection,
that they will be liable to serious objection, and ultimately more
expensive than a canal. They must be double, so as to prevent the
danger of two such bodies meeting. The walls on which they are to
be placed should at least be four feet below the surface and three
feet above, and must be clamped with iron, and even then would hardly
sustain so heavy a weight as you propose moving at the rate of four
miles an hour on wheels. As to wood, it would not last a week. They
must be covered with iron, and that, too, very thick and strong. The
means of stopping these heavy carriages without great shock, and of
preventing them from running on each other–for there would be many
running on the road at once–would be very difficult. In cases of
accidental stops to take wood and water, etc., many accidents would
happen. The carriage of condensing water would be very troublesome.
Upon the whole, I fear the expense would be much greater than that
of canals, without being so convenient.


Ordinary business men, and even accomplished engineers, manifested as
little knowledge in regard to the principles of science in railroading
as they did in regard to the telegraph. Both were new fields for
experiment, and both operators made many ridiculous mistakes.

When William D. Wesson announced he would demonstrate the
practicability of sending and receiving messages over his wires
stretched on poles from Chillicothe to Columbus, and _vice versa_,
many persons had business into the city on that day, but ostensibly to
witness the wonderful performance.

Early in the morning advertised for free messages, an honest patron of
science living on the line a short distance out of town went up one of
the poles and hung a letter on the wire, and secreted himself in view
of the missive and in vain watched it all day, that he might obtain the
secret of the process.

Another individual of inquiring mind on his way to the city boasted
he intended to know before he returned how the thing was done. On
his way home he was accosted by a neighbor who wished to know how
it was possible to send a message to Columbus with safety on one of
those little wires. The Squire said to _himself it was no longer a
mystery_–he was a justice of the peace, and above the average as a
lawyer–saying: “You see, they have a machine that rolls and compresses
a letter into a little bit of an oblong roll, which just fits into a
little brass cylinder, and when ready to send it is pushed up to a kind
of machine all full of cog-wheels and ticking clock-work, and the man
at the head says, ‘All ready–go’–and he touches a button, and the
electricity runs out on the wire, and strikes the head of the cylinder
in which the letter is placed, and it goes, _chebang_, to the other end
of the wire, and drops into a basket.”

All this was worked out by the mental process of the Squire, who
actually believed he had solved the process of telegraphing, as much as
the engineers did that of railroading when they constructed the track
of solid masonry.

In 1837, the horse-car running from Toledo to Adrian, Michigan, on
oak rails was remodeled, road-bed improved in grades, rails strapped,
an engine to take the place of horses, “and a beautiful new passenger
coach to supply that of the old coach bodies.” It was also advertised
the road would be “running regularly on and after October 1, 1837,” and
that the “speed would be greatly increased, and would be able to carry
passengers and the United States mail at the rate of fifteen miles an
hour, making the entire distance, thirty miles, in two hours.”

[Illustration: New Passenger Car on the Toledo & Adrian Ry. 1837.]

A fair likeness of the new passenger coach is here given, which, in
days of primitive railroading, was looked upon as a step in the
right direction. But this road was soon obliged to again suspend
operations, temporarily, for other changes–many discouragements stood
in the pathway to prosperity. Strap-iron rails on parallel timbers and
stonemasonry and solidity proved failures, and the locomotive added no
advantage over the horse, as existing conditions would not tolerate
great velocity, the very thing in chief that would insure supremacy
over a canal.

And England was twenty years in search of an adjustment of road and
machinery by which velocity could be increased without an increase of
danger. But the discouragements were so numerous, many hopeful workers
abandoned the field. Only six years previous to George Stephenson’s
locomotive, “Rocket,” making twenty-nine and a half miles in an hour,
a book was published on “Railways,” in which the author says: “That
nothing could do more harm toward the adoption of railways than the
promulgation of such nonsense, as that we shall see locomotive engines
traveling at the rate of twelve, sixteen, eighteen, and twenty miles an

This may have been intended for Americans as well as Mr. Stephenson,
for the “promulgation of such nonsense” did not cease, and power and
speed increased with the increase in size of the parts of the machinery
insured. So rapidly was this increase, that strong attempts were made
from time to time to fix a legal limit at some point below twenty
miles–in England.

In the United States, however, the faster the better, and from five
rose to fifty, and then began looking around for rails and road-bed
that would withstand the racket.

All the expense and experiments were not thrown away; true, investments
and results failed for many years to inspire that confidence which
opens the money vaults of the capitalists, but, not in the least
discouraged, artisans, scientists, and genius, under any and every
name, worked on and on, and when asked gave the coalminer’s answer
to the House of Commons: “I _can’t_ tell you _how_ I’ll do it, but
I _can_ tell you I _will_ do it.” The engineers, machinists, and
model-makers kept at work, and so many improvements had been suggested
to Peter Cooper’s locomotive that the first thing of the kind that
had ever been made in the United States became transformed from a
little competitor of the horse into a mammoth institution breathing
impatiently for a track on which might be tested its speed and wondrous

The locomotive came–the heavy iron rails were in sight–but no one had
yet suggested a satisfactory road-bed and rests for the rails. It had
baffled the attempts of engineers. At this critical juncture a voice
was heard from the wilderness–an axman, an Ohio “Squirrel Hunter”–one
who had constructed many miles of substantial wagon roads through new
sections of marshy country by means of “corduroys”–placing pieces of
split timber, or sections of a younger growth, sixteen feet long, in
close contact at right angles to the line of intended road-bed, then
pinning long pieces of split saplings on the upper surface near the
ends of the cross-ties on either side, and filling the interstices with
earth, gravel, rotten wood, or other material, making a substantial and
elastic track.

At a meeting of the president and directors of a section of
unsatisfactory strap-iron road, this man appeared before the board
with a model showing the relations of road-bed, cross-ties, and rails
as now in use, claiming the plans proposed would insure the desirable
essentials to safety, speed, cheapness, and durability, by giving
elasticity and securing an absolute gauge at high rates of speed.

Seeing the model, and hearing the common-sense arguments and
practicable philosophy of the “Squirrel Hunter,” all present clapped
their hands and cried–“Eureka!”

Before the close of the session, a resolution was adopted in favor
of “cross-ties and heavy iron rails.” With the correct idea for
construction, it required but little time to satisfy the most
credulous that velocity and power could be obtained with safety, and
_time_ saved; for _time_ was fast becoming an important factor in the
prosperity of the state. Charters were granted for roads in every
direction, and each important village had aspirations for “a railroad
center;” and capital, by millions, flowed into the state, and in a
short period Ohio found herself with eight thousand five hundred miles
of railroad, representing a capital of more than five hundred and fifty
million dollars.

The officers of the first railroads felt or seemed to feel and act like
ordinary people. This, however, was long before the procuration of a
prohibitory tax on foreign steel rails. On one occasion, in 1849, the
passengers on the line of coaches from the South, bound for Cleveland,
Ohio, found on arrival at Columbus that “a new and expeditious route”
had just been opened to Sandusky City, and thence to Cleveland,
Buffalo, and other points east and west.

This “new and expeditious line” consisted of stage-coaches from
Columbus to Mansfield, from Mansfield to Sandusky _by the new
railroad_, and thence by boat to all other points. The railroad was
part of the incomplete first through line from the lakes to the Ohio
river, and was completed from Sandusky to Mansfield, fifty miles. The
writer was one of the second installment of passengers sent over the
new route. Four coaches left Columbus at an early hour, loaded with
passengers and baggage, to make the connection at Mansfield, nearly
seventy miles, over rough mud roads.

All went well until the Delaware county corduroys were reached. Here
the leading coach got off the track and was down, with one wheel in the
mud up to the hub. Getting out of this difficulty caused the time-table
to be broken, and on reaching Mansfield in the evening we found the
train to Sandusky had just left–so recently that the smoke of the
motor was still visible in the direction of the lake.

The arrival of this caravan created no little excitement in the small
town of Mansfield (Secretary Sherman’s home). Thirty angry passengers
to be detained until the next day at a fifth-class hotel, destitute of
accommodations, was not considered in the storm of invectives that were
hurled in every direction, after taking in the situation. Accusations
were publicly made that the landlord and the directors of the railroad
were in partnership to rob the public by assertions enticing them into
this trap.

The party was in no mood to remain idle, and at once took possession
of the large room called “the parlor,” elected a chairman, adopted
resolutions, and made a report and placed it in the hands of the
printer, headed with familiar English epithets, warning the public
to shun this impious swindle–making the most imposing specimen of
literature, on large sheets, ever printed in that highly-intelligent

Before eleven o’clock that night the bill-posters had finished their
work, as no more space could be found on which to spread the attractive
sheets. About this time four good-looking, elderly gentlemen appeared
and announced that they represented the president and directors of the
road; that they were sorry the break of connection had occurred; that
such a thing would not occur again, and asked, if they should reimburse
all the fares paid at Columbus and give each a through ticket to place
of destination, and pay the hotel expenses while detained in Mansfield,
would the party surrender all the posters in their possession and call
it even?

This was agreed to–posters surrendered and fares adjusted, and the
whole party invited to a well-prepared but unexpected supper, which
wound up with a jolly good time, and the dissatisfied were sent on
their way next morning in full praise of the “new arrangement,” which
became the most popular and best-patronized through fare route of any
previous combination of the kind ever made in Ohio.

Railroads developed their importance rapidly, as did also the officers
and employes. The systematic training and experimental management of
roads have accomplished wonders in nationalizing the people of the
United States. And by the reports of the Commissioner of “Railroads
and Telegraph,” no necessity exists any longer for Ohio roads to
_compromise_ or give _drawbacks_ to patrons in order to hold their
influence and business. At least it would seem so, when the roads
within the state, in 1894, carried twenty-seven million, two hundred
and thirty-one thousand passengers, and fifty-nine millions, six
hundred and thirty-nine tons of freight–earning sixty million, one
hundred and forty thousand, eight hundred and thirty-one dollars;
giving employment to fifty-four thousand, seven hundred persons, whose
salaries amounted to a fraction less than thirty million, six hundred
thousand dollars in aggregate. All this great wealth and industry has
arisen from exceedingly small and crude beginnings.

Profitable private enterprises resulting from railroad investments
in the states, at the commencement of the fifties, awakened a dozing
Congress to the national importance of the subject, and in 1853,
the Government commenced a road at an estimated cost that would
have made the head of a Thomas Jefferson swim with constitutional
objections–involving an expenditure of one hundred and thirty
millions, with an additional five millions for engineering. It proved a
success; the expenditure of _labor_ enriched the people, and the road
helped save the United States as a nation.

With canals, railroads, turnpikes, large crops, quick and cheap
transportation, growing cities and increasing knowledge, wealth
and happiness, to Ohio the sky was clear overhead, and every thing
prosperous, West, East and North, until 1860. Something was transpiring
South–Northern men were returning from the slave states with the
belief the country was on the verge of a civil war–a gigantic
insurrection. Some, to whom such opinions were rendered, believed, but
most Northern men made light of the idea of the South seceding, as
there appeared no justifiable cause for secession or rebellion.

But there was that quarrel about the black spot on the face of the
Goddess of Liberty, which had grown large and was giving pain and
mortification to all her Northern friends. It was evident the disease
was destroying the life as it had the beauty, unless something was done
to remove or check its growth.

Consultation after consultation had from time to time been made by
the wise men of the nation, ending in disagreement in regard to the
etiology, pathology and treatment. Still it was evident, to both North
and South, that something must be done. And the South, claiming the
patient, assured the country the affection and disaffection could be
removed by the law of nature Samuel Hahnemann made–“_similia similibus
curantur_,” and retired with the intention to capture Washington before
the North could make resistance, and then proclaim the slave-power, the
true and lawful friend of Liberty, and insist upon a hasty recognition
of the Government of the United States, by the foreign ministers at
the federal capital and the leading powers of Europe. But the Southern
blood could not be restrained, and the premature overt acts defeated
the scheme, saved Washington, and led to the recovery of universal
freedom in the United States through a prolonged and bloody law.

General Sherman says in regard to the cause of the War of the
Rebellion, that “The Southern statesmen, accustomed to rule, began
to perceive that the country would not always submit to be ruled
by them;[29] and they believed slavery could not thrive in contact
with freedom; and they had come to regard slavery as essential to
their _political_ and _social existence_. Without a slave caste they
could have no aristocratic caste…. That the northern politicians,
accustomed to follow the lead of their southern associates generally,
believed that the defeat of Fremont, in 1856, as the Republican
candidate for the presidency, had insured the perpetuity of the Union;
the southern politicians, generally, believed that the date of its
dissolution was postponed during the next presidential term, and that
four years and a facile President were given them to prepare for it.
And they began to do so.

“Accordingly, during Mr. Buchanan’s administration, there was set
on foot throughout the Southern States a movement embodying the
reorganization of the militia, the establishment and enlargement of
state military academies, and the collection of arms, ammunition, and
warlike materials of all kinds.

“The Federal Secretary of War, Mr. Floyd, thoroughly in the interests
of the pro-slavery conspirators, aided them by sending to the arsenals
in the slave states large quantities of the national arms and military
supplies; the quotas of the Southern States under the militia laws were
anticipated in some cases by several years; and he caused large sales
of arms to be secretly made, at low prices, to the agents of those

“The pro-slavery leaders then began, quietly, to select and gather
around them the men whom they needed and upon whom they thought they
could rely.

“Among the men they fixed upon was Captain Sherman…. It was
explained to him that the object of establishing the State Military
Academy at Alexandria, was to aid in suppressing negro insurrections,
to enable the state to protect her borders, … and to form a nucleus
for defense in case of an attack by a foreign enemy.”

Captain Sherman did not remain long in his high salaried office before
he saw enough to convince an intelligent mind war was near at hand, and
on January 18, 1861, he sent in his resignation to the Governor, as

“SIR: As I occupy a quasi-military position under this state,
I deem it proper to acquaint you that I accepted such position
when Louisiana was a state in the Union, and when the motto of
the seminary, inserted in marble over the main door, was: ‘By the
liberality of the general Government of the United States–the
Union–_Esto Perpetua_.’ Recent events foreshadow a great change, and
it becomes all men to choose. If Louisiana withdraws from the Federal
Union, I prefer to maintain my allegiance to the old Constitution
as long as a fragment of it survives, and my longer stay here would
be wrong in every sense of the word. In that event, I beg you will
send or appoint some authorized agent to take charge of the arms and
munitions of war here, belonging to the state, or direct me what
disposition should be made of them.

“And furthermore, as president of the board of supervisors, I beg
you to take immediate steps to relieve me as superintendent the
moment the state determines to secede, for on no earthly account will
I do an act, or think any thought, hostile to or in defiance of the
old Government of the United States.”

Up to this date, Captain Sherman was not much known as a lawyer
or statesman, and as a military genius, the South found they had
mis-measured his patriotism and that which constituted his make-up.
Few, if any, had heard the reply of the little fatherless boy to
the minister who hesitated to give him the name of “a heathen,”
(_Tecumseh_,) in baptism.

“My father called me Tecumseh, and Tecumseh I’ll be called–If you
won’t, I’ll not have any of your baptism.”

This was the character of General Sherman, whose talents were as bright
as was his life, pure and courageous. At the commencement of the war he
was assailed on all sides, by the petty jealousies indigenous to public
life; but nothing could retard his progress to the front, any more
than it could his march to the sea–one of Ohio’s legitimate “Squirrel
Hunters” born with his hand on Esau’s heel.

The war came, and on the 12th day of April, 1861, the first gun
was fired. The Government was not alarmed, but was firm in the
determination to preserve the Union at all cost, and looked upon the
prospects of final success of secession as impossible against the will
of the vast population and resources of the North-western States, and
held to the truth of General Jackson’s answer to Calhoun: “Secession is
treason, and the penalty for treason is death.”

At the outbreak of the Rebellion, the State of Kentucky had a governor
named Beriah Magoffin. He had by some unknown means escaped the
familiar Kentucky military title, and was known simply as “Beriah
Magoffin, the Secessionist.” Beriah concocted a brilliant scheme, and
gave out a manifesto that “Kentucky will not sever connection from the
National Government, nor take up arms for either belligerent party, but
arm herself for the preservation of peace within her borders, and a
mediator to effect a just and honorable peace.”

But when the President of the United States called on Kentucky
for volunteers to defend the Union, he received the reply: “I say
emphatically that Kentucky will furnish no troops for the wicked
purpose of subduing her sister Southern States.” On hearing of the
reply of Governor Beriah Magoffin, the Governor of Ohio immediately
telegraphed the War Department, “If Kentucky will not fill her quota,
Ohio will fill it for her.” And within two days, two regiments were
on the road to the credit of Kentucky, and other regiments came in so
rapidly, that within a few days after the announcement of quotas, the
Adjutant-General stated the offers of troops from Ohio were enough to
fill the full quota of seventy-five thousand men allotted to the entire

The people of Ohio, and especially some in Cincinnati, became indignant
at the muddle in which Kentucky had placed herself, causing Cincinnati
to occupy an extra-hazardous position. The Governors of Ohio, Indiana
and Illinois foresaw the tempting prize Cincinnati would be to the
Confederates, and early urged the policy of seizing Louisville,
Paducah, Columbus, Covington, Newport and the railroads. But this wise
suggestion was postponed in its execution for want of troops, until the
opportunity became lost. Columbus was strongly garrisoned, Buckner had
committed his treason, Bowling Green was fortified, Tennessee was gone,
and Kentucky held back all the armies of the West until March, 1862.[31]

Still, for the kindness, Kentucky came near getting Ohio into trouble
during the second year of the war. And this, too, at a time when the
Union forces were scattered and disseminated by disasters, disease, and
desertions until the War Department showed an inability to maintain
many important positions, especially in the border states. Rebel raids
were moving in several directions. John Morgan, with his cavalry, found
the City of Cincinnati defenseless and virtually besieged. Rough
secession citizens were rioting, mobbing, and destroying property of
peaceable persons of African descent, requiring “one thousand” extra
policemen to save enough of the boodle to make an inducement for rebel
raiders to call that way.

The cultivated hatred and unlawful acts toward the colored race
prevailed to such a large extent by Cincinnati rebels and sympathizers,
that the sentiments of officials were so uncertain that, when danger
was in sight and the city came under the management of men who had
actually taken side with the Federal Government, the police were
required to take the oath of allegiance in a body as their official
certificate of loyalty.

The rebel element was disappointed that John Morgan and cavalry did
not attempt to take the city, which was joy and gladness to the Union
portion of the inhabitants. But new and more alarming trouble to the
loyal citizen was approaching. The Union forces had just met with
disaster at Richmond, and General Kirby Smith had entered Lexington
with Morgan and started an army for Cincinnati.

Bragg was just crossing the Kentucky line for Louisville, and no time
could be lost. Cincinnati was without preparation or means of defense,
and all was literally blue around recruiting offices; government troops
were powerless, for want of time, and the emergency was great, for the
rebels were near at hand.

If the Federal forces were ever at any time subject to despondency and
discouragements it would have been excusable during July and August
of 1862. General McClellan had been recalled from the Peninsula, Pope
driven back and forced to seek refuge in the defenses of Washington,
raids were menacing the borders of the free states, and many were
claiming the war “a failure.”

General Wallace had been placed in command for the protection of the
cities of Cincinnati, Covington, and Newport, and arrived in Cincinnati
at nine o’clock at night, September 1st. And after consultation with
Governor Tod and the mayors of the above-named cities, wrote his
proclamation of _martial_ law, and after midnight sent it to the city

While this was going on, the Governor was busily engaged at the
telegraph station. He knew the power and the loyalty of the “Squirrel
Hunters.” As one of their number, he asked them to come–to come
without delay, and to come armed–and then telegraphed to the Secretary
of War, that a large rebel force was moving against Cincinnati, “but
it would _be_ successfully met.” He had faith in the expected troops.
Though fresh from the rural districts, they all knew how to shoot; all
fellow “Squirrel Hunters,” never known to turn their backs to the
enemy with the trusty rifle in hand.

History tells the result. Whitelaw Reid says of the next morning:

“Before daybreak the advance of the men that were thenceforward to
be known in the history of the state as the ‘Squirrel Hunters’ were
filing through the streets.”

The citizens knew little or nothing of what had been transpiring
throughout the night, and when aroused by the tramp, tramp, tramp, and
as they gazed out upon the dimly-lighted streets, the greater their
wonderment grew. Armed men, with all shades, colors, and kinds of
uniforms! No one, awakening from sweet slumber, could say from what
country, place, or planet, such a vast multitude could have dropped
during the night. It could be seen the army was not _blue_ enough for
federals, nor _gray_ enough for rebels; and “good Lord, good devil,”
was about all that could be said.

In due time the morning papers came, announcing the city under martial
law and protected by the “Squirrel Hunters” of Ohio, and the excitement
became so great that many expressed themselves much after the fashion
of “the little woman who went to market all on a market day.”

For patriotism, executive ability, and business talents, Governor Tod
had few equals. With him the line of duty was always clear. Before
General Wallace had written his proclamation of martial law the
Governor was on his way to Cincinnati. From this point he at once
telegraphed to the people, press, and military committees, saying: “Our
southern border is threatened with invasion…. Gather up all the arms
and furnish yourselves with ammunition for the same…. The soil of
Ohio must not be invaded by the enemies of our glorious government. Do
not wait. _None but armed men will be received_.”

* * * * *

“From morning till night the streets resounded with the tramp of armed
men, marching to the defense of the city. From every quarter of the
state they came, in every form of organization, with various species of
arms. The ‘Squirrel Hunters,’ in their homespun, with powder-horn and
buckskin pouch, … all poured out from the railroad depots and down
toward the pontoon bridge. The ladies of the city furnished provisions
by the wagon load; the Fifth-street market-house was converted into
a vast free eating saloon for the ‘Squirrel Hunters.’ Halls and
warehouses were used as barracks.”

* * * * *

[Illustration: Pontoon Bridge, Ohio River.]

As soon as it was known the city was under martial law, the sounds of
hammers and saws came up from the river, and in a few hours a pontoon
bridge was stretched across to Covington, and streams of wagons loaded
with lumber and other materials for fortifications were passing over;
and on the 4th of September Governor Tod telegraphed to General Wright,
commander of the department: “I have now sent you for Kentucky twenty
regiments. I have twenty-one more in process of organization,” and the
next day said to the press:

“The response to my proclamation asking volunteers for the protection
of Cincinnati was most noble and generous. All may feel proud of the
gallantry of the people of Ohio. No more volunteers are required for
the protection of Cincinnati.”

The exertions of the city were, however, not abated. Judge Dickson
organized a colored brigade for labor on the fortifications. This
with the daily details of three thousand white citizens, composed
of judges, lawyers, merchant princes, clerks, day-laborers, artists,
ministers, editors, side by side, kept at work with the ax, spade,
pick, and shovel, and all promised the same wages–a dollar per
day–went on most enthusiastically.

The engineers had given shape to the fortifications. General Wallace
was vigilant night and day, as the rebel forces gradually moved up
as if intending an attack. The Squirrel Hunters were drilled during
the day and manned the trenches every night, and it was no longer a
possibility that the forces under General Kirby Smith could take the
city. But, owing to a few skirmishes, Major-General Wright, commander
of the department, thought it prudent to call for more “Squirrel
Hunters,” as it was believed a general engagement was near at hand. The
papers of the city, September 11th, announced that before they were
distributed the sound of artillery might be heard on the heights of
Covington, and advised their readers to keep cool, as the city was safe
beyond question.

It was under these circumstances Governor Tod sent the following
telegram to “The Press of Cleveland”–“To the several Military
Committees of Northern Ohio:

“COLUMBUS, _Sept._ 10, 1862.

“By telegram from Major-General Wright, commander-in-chief of Western
forces, received at two o’clock this morning, I am directed to send
all armed men that can be raised immediately to Cincinnati. You will
at once exert yourselves to execute this order. The men should be
armed, each furnished with a blanket and at least two days’ rations.
Railroad companies are requested to furnish transportation of troops
to the exclusion of all other business.”

The expected attack did not come. “General Wallace gradually pushed out
his advance a little, and the Rebel pickets fell back. By the 11th,
all felt that the danger was over. On the 12th, General Smith’s hasty
retreat was discovered. On the 13th, Governor Tod checked the movements
of the Squirrel Hunters, announced the safety of Cincinnati, and
expressed his congratulations.

“COLUMBUS, _September_ 13, 1862.
Eight o’clock A. M.

“_To the Press of Cleveland_:

“Copy of dispatch this moment received from Major-General Wright,
at Cincinnati: ‘The enemy is retreating. Until we know more of his
intention and position, do not send any more citizen-troops to
this city.’” And the Governor’s dispatch to the Cleveland Press,
accompanying the good news from Major-General Wright, says: “The
generous response from all parts of the state to the recent call, has
won additional renown for the people of Ohio. The news which reached
Cincinnati, that the patriotic men all over the state were rushing
to its defense, saved our soil from invasion, and hence all good
citizens will feel grateful to the patriotic men who promptly offered
their assistance.”

The clear-minded Governor Tod, without troops, guns or works of
defense, telegraphed the Secretary of War that a large Rebel force was
moving on Cincinnati, “_but it, would be successfully met_;” thirteen
days after wired the following:

“COLUMBUS, _September_ 13, 1862.

“_To Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War,
Washington, D. C_.

“The Squirrel Hunters responded gloriously to the call for the
defense of Cincinnati–thousands reached the city, and thousands
more were en route for it. The enemy having retreated, all have
been ordered back. This uprising of the people is the cause of the
retreat. You should acknowledge _publicly_ this gallant conduct.”

The entire North-west resounded with praises for Governor Tod and his
thoughtful and successful expedient. To the “Squirrel Hunters,” it was
not an entirely new thing; they had often heard of the times when their
fathers were the actors at Cleveland, Fort Meigs and the Miamies, and
bore their honors with a degree of modesty becoming their military
equipments. When Lewis Wallace, Major-General commanding, bid these
gallant men farewell, he said: “In coming time, strangers viewing the
works on the hills of Newport and Covington, will ask, ‘Who built
these intrenchments?’[32] You can answer–‘We built them.’ If they ask
‘Who guarded them?’ You can reply–‘We helped in thousands.’ If they
inquire the result, your answer will be–‘The enemy came and looked at
them, and stole away in the night.’ You have won much honor; keep your
organizations ready to win more. The people of Ohio appreciated this
noble act of the ‘Squirrel Hunters,’ in saving the City of Cincinnati,
by turning back the Rebel army and prevented the destruction of
property by a dissolute and desperate army.”

And the Ohio Legislature, at its next session adopted the following

“_Resolved_, By the Senate and House of Representatives of the
State of Ohio, That the Governor be and he is hereby authorized and
directed to appropriate out of his contingent fund a sufficient sum
to pay for printing and lithographing discharges for the patriotic
men of the state who responded to the call of the governor and went
to the southern border to repel the invader, who will be known in
history as ‘The Squirrel Hunters,’

_Speaker of the House of Representatives._
_President pro tem. of the Senate._
COLUMBUS, _March 11, 1863_.”

[Illustration: Governor’s Certificate of Honorable Membership.]

To this joint resolution of the legislature the governor responded with
a handsome souvenir entitled


[Illustration: Honorable Discharge.]

A year after the services were performed, fifteen thousand seven
hundred and sixty-six were issued to Squirrel Hunters, which, however,
did not embrace more than one-third of the number that responded to the
call and took part in the defense of Cincinnati and the Kentucky cities.

Those with certificates and those having none, but who responded to
the call, are no less “Squirrel Hunters,” descendants of the Spirit of
’76–a chosen people to maintain and perpetuate the model government of
the world.

From the Declaration of Independence to the present time the power
of this free people has been as manifestly directed by unseen forces
as ever was that of the favorite nation which came out from Egypt
under a cloud; and the influences which dictated the dedication of
the North-west to freedom will not likely permit the purpose to be
compromised or changed.

That which was considered a long duration of the war, with frequent
calls for troops, became exceedingly discouraging. And it was evident,
after two years, that the strength of the federal army was inadequate
for successful offensive operations. At the beginning of 1863, it
required nearly four hundred thousand recruits to fill the companies
and regiments then in service up to the standard enumeration. Death,
disaster, and desertion begat inactivity, with an apparent exhaustion
of former volunteer supplies; and secession was becoming more noisy
and defiant in all the loyal states. This condition of things brought
out the conscript act, and under it the Provost-Marshal General’s
Bureau was organized June 1, 1863, by James B. Fry, and early in 1864,
this efficient officer and his assistants had the loyal states well
canvassed, and thoroughly organized, to obtain all the men necessary
to put down the Rebellion. Each state was divided into districts; each
district was placed under the management of commissioned officers,
termed a Board of Enrollment, consisting of a provost-marshal,
commissioner, and surgeon, whose business it was to make a full and
exact enrollment of all persons liable to conscription under the law of
March 3, 1863, and its amendments, showing a complete exhibit of the
military resources in men over twenty and under forty-five years of
age, with the names alphabetically arranged, with description of person
and occupation in each sub-district.

The enrollment being cleared of persons having manifest disability
of a permanent character, each sub-district (township or ward) was
required to furnish its assigned quota under calls for men, whether
the able-bodied individuals enrolled continued to reside in that
sub-district or not. Unless it could be shown such person or persons
were correctly enrolled in another sub-district, were in the service
uncredited or credited to another sub-district, the removal of
residence could not relieve the obligation of the sub-district where
such person or persons were enrolled.

This new arrangement at first was exceedingly unpopular with rebel
sympathizers in the loyal states, but the bureau soon established a
business that impressed a belief in secession circles that it was an
energetic war measure that would soon end the _unpleasantness_. This
system of furnishing soldiers showed many advantages over that of
voluntary enlistments. Large demands for men could be met immediately,
and at the same time it made every citizen, whether loyal or disloyal,
equally interested in having the quotas filled by means of bounties in
order to avoid sub-district drafts.

And from an enrollment of two million two hundred and fifty-four
thousand persons liable to do military service, the bureau, in a brief
period, forwarded under calls of the government one million one hundred
and twenty thousand six hundred and twenty-one able-bodied soldiers,
and with these, and those already in the field, the would-be Southern
Confederacy crumbled before the federal power.

It cost the government for raising troops from the commencement of
the war until May 1, 1863, the date the recruiting service was turned
over to the Provost-Marshal General’s Bureau, forty-six million one
hundred and twenty-four thousand one hundred and sixty-two dollars,
or _thirty-four_ dollars for each man, exclusive of pay or bounty,
while putting soldiers in the service under the conscript act cost
the government nothing. The Provost-Marshal General neither asked nor
received an appropriation, but under the law he made the bureau pay all
attendant expenses, and after paying out sixteen million nine hundred
and seventy-six thousand two hundred and eleven dollars for recruiting
over one million men and capturing and forwarding seventy-six thousand
five hundred and twenty-six deserters (now wards), General Fry turned
into the Treasury of the United States, to the credit of the bureau,
nine million three hundred and ninety thousand one hundred and
five dollars, all of which proved a matter of great economy to the
government, while the recruiting of the army cost less than one third
as much as that adopted previous to the organization of the bureau, and
that without cost to the government.

The draft-wheel and its uses were not the most pleasant things to
contemplate, and to soften down the enactment Congress authorized
recruiting in Southern states, regardless of color or previous
condition, that by means of agents and liberal bounties very little
drafting would likely be necessary. And it was soon discovered that
blue suits and muskets were quite becoming to the colored man. “The
shape of the cranium, the length of the forearm, thinness of the
gastrocnemius muscles, and flatness of the feet,” all disappeared at
the War Office, and for which was substituted, “He can be made a
mechanical soldier to great perfection, skilled in the use of arms,
and the machinery of tactics; and, by reason of the obstinacy of his
disposition and the depth of his passions, may become most powerful in
a charge or in resisting the onset of an enemy.”

[Illustration: Draft Wheel–Twelfth District, Ohio.


CAPT. GEO. W. ROBY, Provost Marshal.
A. KAGY, Commissioner of Enrollment.
DR. N. E. JONES, Surgeon Board of Enrollment.


The race was tried and showed the better predictions true. Slavery
had woven prejudices around the name and color, until the government,
under Lincoln, Stanton, Chase, and a Congress of loyal states, could
find no place or mustering officer (previous to the operation of the
Provost Marshal General’s Bureau), short of Massachusetts, that could
make the man of color ready to obey orders and use a gun. Nothing in
history gives a clearer view of the height and depth of the degrading
influences of the institution upon those who were free than the
treatment of the loyal colored man and citizen during the efforts
of the government to save the Union. Through fear or cowardice his
proffered aid was rejected at government recruiting offices, while
Massachusetts was procuring colored credit from the loyal states at
unusually small bounties.

It may have been so ordered; the diet may have contained enough meat
to offend. Still, the colored troops got to the front before the war
was over, and did much in reinforcing the wasting armies and lifting
anxious sub-districts out of the draft, as well as covering their race
with glory by their bravery and efficiency.

Persons placed in the service by means of the draft-wheel generally
procured substitutes–persons not liable to draft–aliens and under-age
individuals, who, for three years’ service or during the war,
commanded one thousand dollars, while the bounty for enlistments of
those liable to draft varied from three to five hundred dollars. During
the war much of the territory of Ohio was unimproved woods, though
thickly settled with cabin civilization. These new settlements were
made by the descendants of original Squirrel Hunters–persons born in
the state, and with this legacy generally established homes in new
counties, in the woods, with like primitive beginnings to those of
their ancestors. At the announcement of secession they were ready to
serve their country, and it was from these newer and poorer sections
that Ohio obtained her volunteers–from a hardy and efficient class of
young men, accustomed to active life and the use of the gun.

The recruits from Ohio were chiefly volunteer enlistments. This
was manifestly so in the Twelfth district, in which the author was
personally and officially interested. The district was composed of
Ross, Pickaway, Fairfield, Hocking, Perry, and Pike counties, embracing
sixty miles in length of the fertile Scioto valley, containing in
1860 one hundred and thirty-nine thousand four hundred and fifty-six
inhabitants, with a corrected enrollment of eighteen thousand three
hundred and seventy-one persons liable to military service. Of this
enrollment, thirteen thousand six hundred and twenty-eight were
farmers, and the remaining four thousand seven hundred and forty-three
comprised persons of other occupations.

Taking this district as an average of the other districts in the state,
it shows the volunteers sent to the front from Ohio were chiefly young
men born in the state–hardy and well-developed _Squirrel Hunters_.
Of seventeen hundred and fifty-five volunteers forwarded by this
district, from July 4, 1864, to April 30, 1865, one thousand, two
hundred and twenty-nine were Ohio boys, with an average of 23.77
years–the remaining five hundred and twenty-six were from twenty-four
states and fifteen foreign countries, with an average of 27.13 years.
Notwithstanding the more favorable age of the latter group for physical
development, the measurements stand decidedly in favor of the Ohio
born, and if adding to the latter the nine hundred and eighty-seven
drafted men, natives of Ohio, the favorable difference becomes still
more apparent.

The Provost-Marshal General, in his report to the War Department,
states there was not a single district in all the loyal states in which
the board of enrollment was free from the annoyance of evil disposed
persons hostile to the Government, who were ever ready and willing
to embarrass its operation by stimulating resistance to the draft or
discouraging enlistments. It was when the disloyal element experienced
the firmness and earnestness of the boards, and felt the power behind
them for the enforcement of the law, that they became co-laborers and
most successful recruiting agents. This was exceedingly gratifying
to the Government, and caused the Provost-Marshal General to say to
the Secretary of War: “_I am confident there is no class of public
servants to whom the country is more indebted for valuable services
rendered than the District Provost-Marshals and their associates,
comprising the Boards of Enrollment, by whose efforts the army of the
Union, which suppressed the Rebellion, was mainly recruited._” Still,
Hon. Hoke Smith, ex-Rebel and Secretary of the Interior, published the
information that these recruiting officers are not pensionable under
the disability act of Congress, June 27, 1890, for the reason “_these
officers were not in the war_,” and so says the present Commissioner
of Pensions, Hon. Henry Clay Evens. Autocratic decisions are sometimes
quite at variance with sound sense as well as suggestive of one of
ex-President Lincoln’s best stories.

It can not be said that the Ohio Squirrel Hunters were not in the war,
for not a few of them were pensioned long before the ex-secretary
surrendered his arms of rebellion against the Government he now
fosters. The oppressors of slavery in their wicked attempts to destroy
the Union, induced a war that brought with it incalculable sorrow and
suffering–a war that words and figures fail to give an approximate
realization of its magnitude. Dollars can be measured by millions,
but the tears, heart aches and loss of two hundred and eighty-seven
thousand, seven hundred and eighty-nine loyal men who gave their lives
for liberty, and are historically represented by head-stones that
whiten the national cemeteries, can no more be estimated than can the
good that must forever flow to the United States in wiping out the
iniquitous chattel slavery.

Some persons are inclined to look upon the evils following the
war–dissolute legislation, moral turpitude, and political party
profligacy, as neutralizing much if not the entire national benefits
acquired at the enormous cost of the Rebellion. While it is possible,
the corruption following in the wake of protracted wars with large
armies may more than counterbalance the good accomplished by successful
military achievements, it is to be hoped that the subjugation of
southern rebels, giving freedom to millions of slaves, and showing to
credulous monarchs the ability of a republic to coerce obedience to the
constitution and laws, may ever for good outweigh the evils following
the war that accomplished such everlasting benefits. That the laxity
complained of has greatly increased within the last three decades can
scarcely be questioned. Every department of the government has been
more or less criticised for want of faithful performance. No department
has perhaps suffered more in the confidence of the people than that
political plum styled “The interior.”

The just and honorable cause for pensioning disabled soldiers soon
became merged into politics, and from head to foot the distance was
made short from fact to fraud. Noah’s Ark did not exceed in variety
with all the species of beasts, birds, and creeping things, that of
the contents of the Pension Building with a single species of ex parte
creation. Applications of all kinds, shapes, and forms. This has never
appeared unsatisfactory to that unscrupulous, unmentionable, who is
paid per head by the bureau for the art of filing claims. He knows by
experience the wonderful ability of the institution and its consulting
politicians to overcome objection and get the most angular cases
through the hole that leads to the public treasury.

If stated, it would scarcely be believed that absolute fraud could
find unrequited favor in an office devoted to the most deserving of
the nation–cases as groundless as the following: After enlisting, a
_soldier_ changed his mind, and when called upon to report forwarded
a joint affidavit of himself and physician, in which was stated said
soldier had before and at the date of enlistment permanent disabilities
(naming them), which disqualified him for military service, and that
he should have been rejected. (Soldiers at that date were sent forward
without regulation examination.) Soldier received a discharge on the
affidavit and was happy.

In due time an application was made under the arrears act, giving the
diseases named in the joint affidavit as having “occurred in the
service in line of duty.” In days of honest administration, in looking
up the history of the applicant in the War Office, the affidavit was
found and placed with the file in the Pension Office.

This ended the case, and under several administrations it slept with
attempts at fraud. Perseverance is said to be the road to success, and
by the stimulant of contingent fees intercession was secured, and by
management of _good_ legal advice the case was placed in the hands of
a “special examiner,” and went through without the loss of a dollar,
securing a small fortune in _arrears_, but claiming the rating too low,
and making immediate application for _increase_.

It would seem improbable for the heads of the bureau not to know and
fully understand some of the many instances of perjury and fraud that
passed current through the office. It is the old rejected or suspended
cases with large arrears that are attractive and are _thoroughly
investigated_ for new evidence. In this attempt parties generally
receive the courteous assistance of those officially connected with the
office. Even a medical referee has been known to show great interest
in barefaced fraud, and give tips to aid in getting such through the
bureau successfully. General Phil Sheridan, who was well informed
in regard to the contents of the great Pension Office, was told the
contents were safe, as the building was fire-proof, and could never
burn down, replied: “That would be my serious objection to it.”

Notwithstanding reports of corruption, fraud, avarice, and greed for
public plunder, which may slow the advancing pace of civilization,
there are enough common people to preserve the nation–people who
worship not at the feet of the God of Aaron; poor people; people who
pay legal tribute to the government; honest, stalwart standard-bearers
of morality, intelligence, and patriotism; supporters of common-schools
and churches; people who are ever watchful of the interests of the
nation, protect the sanctity of the ballot-box, and direct the legal
machinery for the protection of virtue and suppression of vice,
possessing _salt_ with the savor of moral honesty that passes current
in business and social life.

The expressed will of the people is the law of the land. It has made
and amended constitutions; by it black has become white; the bond free;
slaves, citizens. It has erected monuments; built towns and cities; and
in war and times of peace has accomplished much for the good of all.
It has muzzled many of the national vices, and given civilization long
strides in the right direction. And the spirit of the age should by law
hasten the end of growing political struggles for place regardless of

It has become a matter of common report, and one that is generally
believed, that successful applicants for office by the suffrage of
the people are but seldom as much interested in the welfare of their
constituents as they are in their own sycophantic obedience to selfish
bosses, who, under party cover, willingly contribute of their wealth to
perpetuate a party power that assures the gratification of their own
greed for ill-gotten gain.

Qualification is recognized as essential by law, and lies at the
foundation of civil and military service. State laws require that
teachers of common schools furnish legal evidence of qualification
for the position. The commander of an army must have a military
education and qualification; so, too, every appointment made through
the civil departments of the government, for a short distance up the
base, requires of the applicant a certificate from a qualified board
of censors, stating that said applicant is in all respects fitted to
perform the duties of the position applied for. This is termed _Civil
and Military Service_, and has been declared constitutional.

If so, why may not the people demand more? If a little civil service
meted out to those filling subordinate positions is a benefit, why may
not the like treatment be accorded to all candidates seeking national
positions, by appointment or directly from the people? It is admitted
that civil service is a matter of safety and efficiency in subordinate
civil positions. If so, it is not unreasonable to suppose the salutary
effects would be infinitely greater if applied to the more responsible
positions. Education and qualification for all positions is the law
of military government; and most certainly similar requirements
might be made equally advantageous to the civil government. Military
government could not long sustain existence without the service of
prescribed regulations. The commanding general of the army obtains the
high honor of the position from his education and certified ability,
and efficiency as master of the science of war. The President of
the United States, being over all as commander-in-chief, should be
thoroughly versed in the civil and military, as _Master of the Science
of Government_, not only of our own, but that of every nation on earth.

There does not appear to be any sufficient reason why a government
civil service should not exist and be as open to the election of coming
generations as that of law, medicine, literary or other pursuits;
and it is not saying a word too much to urge the necessity for an
institution adapted to the civil as West Point is to the military
power, where persons having taken the degree of A.M. may matriculate
and qualify themselves for the civil service, and obtain a certificate
of such qualification from the institution, having a prescribed
curriculum, requiring four years of study to entitle one to examination
for the honors of graduation.

Individuals highly educated in the science of government and the art of
governing, fitted for a field exclusively their own, would promote an
agreement upon the complex questions that now agitate and endanger the
peace of society by keeping at fever heat party differences that are
magnified by designing politicians.

The high authority of the teachings of the court of instructions, would
define the policy and give stability to the Government, and would
remove party press for office by incompetency. It would also determine
the exact relations between the several departments of the Government,
especially how far the President has power to involve the country
in war against the will of Congress by recognizing belligerency or
independence in cases in which Congress refused such recognition.

As the nation increases in population and number of states, it requires
increased wisdom and knowledge to rule and make the people prosperous
and happy. The great central region lying between the Ohio river, Lakes
and Mississippi will ever be the _heart_ of the Republic. Within it are
the life springs of three-fourths of our country’s whole area. Nowhere
in the United States is there a basin of such vast extent, capable
of feeding so great a population. “_Hence its destiny is to hold the
balance of power between East and West, hence it is truly regal._”[33]

When the first-born of the states of this great basin came into the
Union (Ohio), it brought with its baptism the inauguration of _National
Internal Improvements_–a policy _that has enriched the nation by
liberality_ of expenditures, improving harbors, water-ways and roads,
in building custom-houses, post-offices, and in assisting the states
in many laudable undertakings, while like the miser, in all its vast
wealth has been wearing old, unbecoming, unfashionable clothes and
doing the business of the nation in rented and other ill-begotten
shops, located here and there, as best suited real-estate sharks
and speculators in a sickly city.[34] But the dawn of day is coming
by which the people of the North-west now see it is high time the
Government should make for itself a permanent home–a place of security
for all the valuable records of the nation. A spot for the Government
_alone_, called “_The Capitol of the United States_,” near the center
of population controlling representation, free from private property.
A capital with capacious senatorial, representative and judicial
halls, contiguous to the several departments, with state dwellings
for senators and representatives of the several states, and other
necessary buildings, all to be owned and controlled by the Government,
each constructed with reference to the intended uses, large enough to
accommodate an ordinary peaceable assemblage of American citizens, with
room to spare.

The most celebrated speaker now living in America, on reciting a
visit to the present capital during the sitting of Congress, states:
“Another thing that impressed me was, that the hall of the House of
Representatives was built in defiance of all laws of acoustics. There
are more echoes than can be counted to play havoc with a speech, and
turn the finest oratory into a senseless gabble.” A capital situated on
the border of an inland sea, with large grounds, parks, lakes, lagoons,
gardens, and fountains, in beauty all that art and nature is able to
make one place on this continent fitly dedicated to the keeping of the
charter of the best government on earth. And, then, if the crowned
heads of the world have a desire to see the majesty of a _Republic_,
owned and preserved by the people, let them come and look upon “The
Capital of the United States”–where just laws are made and interpreted
alike for _all the people_.

A capital with the architectural requirements of so great a nation,
bristling with “peacemakers” and a _floating_ navy in sight, would
increase American pride and attachment, and do more to advance the
arts, sciences, and sound civilization than all other national
improvements combined. It would “copy the Monroe Doctrine into
international law,” and secure peace over the entire world.

The Squirrel Hunters
Ohio and North-west will do it.
Good Night.