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]^EW AMERICA.



BY



WILLIAM HEPWORTH DIXON,

EDITOR or THE ^ A T H E N ,B U M," AND AUTHOR OF '-THE UOLJ LAND,'
"WILLIAM PENN," ETC.



Wililx jnustrjttions );iiom Orjiginal photo||i[ajjhs.




COMPLETE IN ONE VOidUMi,



PHILADELPHIA :

J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO.
1867.






TO

CHARLES WENTWORTH DILKE, Esq.

OP

TRINITY HALL, CAMBRIDGE,
MY FELLOW-TRAVELLER IN THE GREAT WEST,

i^his Uolumf_

IS AFFECTIOXATELY IXSCEIBED.

(iii)



ILLUSTRATIONS.



Main Street, Salt Lake City . . . Frontispiece.
Robert Wilson, Sheriff of Denver . . Page 101

Brigham Young ... . . . . . 146

Bible Communiiits. Prophet and Family . . 387

The Four Races 254

New Capitol, Washington 295



Civ)



PREFACE.



Some studies of past times, which have long occupied
my pen, led me last summer to the James River and to
Plymouth Rock. I went out in search of an old world,
and found a new one. East, west, north, and south, I
met with new ideas, new purposes, new methods ; in
short, with a New America.

The men who planted these Free States — doing the
noblest work that England has achieved in history —
were spurred into their course by two great passions : a
large love of Liberty; a deep sense of Religion; and, in
our Great Plantation, liberty and religion exercise a
power over the forms of social and domestic life unknoAvn
at home. In the heart of solid societies and conservative
churches, we find the most singular doctrines, the most
audacious expei*iments ; and it is only after seeing what
kind of foj'ces are at work within them, that we can
adequately admire the strength of these societies and
churches.

What I saw of the changes now being wrought in the
actual life of man and woman on the American soil,
under the power of these master passions, is pictured in
these pages.

6 St. James' Terrace,

New Year's Day, 1867.

(V)



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER PAGE

I. THE WESTERN COUNTRY 9

II. BLEEDING KANSAS 18

III. OVERLAND MAIL 2T

IV. THE PRAIRIES 36

V. PRAIRIE INDIANS 45

VI. THE RED MAN ...... 51

VII. INDIAN LIFE 60

VIIL CARRYING THE MAIL 69

IX. RED COMMUNITIES tt

X. THE INDIAN QUESTION 84

XI. CITY OF THE PLAINS . ^ . . . .92

XII. PRAIRIE JUSTICE 101

XIII. SIERRA MADRE 101

XIV. BITTER CREEK Ill

XV. DESCENT OF THE MOUNTAINS . . . .126

XVL THE NEW JERUSALEM 133

XVII. THE MORMON THEATRE 141

XVIII. THE TEMPLE 149

XIX. THE TWO SEERS 155

XX. FLIGHT FROM BONDAGE . . . . 162

XXI. SETTLEMENT IN UTAH 167

(vi)



CONTENTS. vii

CHAPTER PAOE

XXII. WORK AND FAITH 1*13

XXIII. MISSIONARY LABOR . . . . .118

XXIV. MORMON LIGHT 184

XXV. SECULAR NOTES 189

XX VL HIGH POLITICS 195

XXVII. MARRIAGE IN UTAH 201

XXVIII. POLYGAMOUS SOCIETY .... 207
XXIX. THE DOCTRINE OF PLURALITIES . . .212

XXX. THE GREAT SCHISM 220

XXXI. SEALING 226

XXXII. WOMAN AT SALT LAKE . . . . 232

XXXIIL THE REPUBLICAN PLATFORM .... 241

XXXIV. UNCLE SAM'S ESTATE 248

XXXV. THE FOUR RACES 254

XXXVI. SEX AND SEX 261

xxxvn. LADIES 269

XXXVIII. SQUATTER WOMEN 214

XXXIX. FEMININE POLITICS 280

XL. HUSBANDS AND WIVES .... 288

XLL DOMESTIC LAW 293

XLIL MOUNT LEBANON 301

XLIII. A SHAKER HOUSE 308

XLIV. SHAKER UNION 316

XLV. MOTHER ANN 323

XLVI. RESURRECTION ORDEE. . . . . 331

XLVIL SPIRITUAL CYCLES 339

XLVIII. SPIRITUALISM 347

XLIX. FEMALE SEERS ...... 358

L. EQUAL RIGHTS ..... 364



viii CONTENTS.

CHAPTER PAGE

LI. THE HARMLESS PEOPLE 370

LIT. THE REVOLT OF WOMAN . . . . 378

LIII. ONEIDA CREEK 387

LIV. HOLINESS 394

LV. A BIBLE FAMILY 402

LVI. NEW FOUNDATIONS 411

LVIL PANT AGAMY 418

LVin. YOUNG AMERICA . . . . . . 424

LIX. MANNERS ........ 430

LX. LIBERTIES 438

LXI. LAW AND JUSTICE 444

LXII. POLITICS 449

LXIII. NORTH AND SOUTH 457

LXIV. COLOR 465

LXV. RECONSTRUCTION 474

LXVI. UNION 484



NEW AMERICA.



CHAPTER I.

THE WESTERN COUNTRY.

" Guess these Yanks must look alive on this side
the River, unless they should happen to enjoy having
their eye-teeth drawn — eh, Judge?"

The man to whom this appeal is made as judge lifts
up his chin from a dish of hominy and corned beef,
glances first at myself, then at my fellow-traveler, and
after winking an eye to the right and left, says slowly,
" Guess you are right there. Sheriff."

Spoken, as it is, across the table of a tiny hotel in
the City of Atchison — the only wonder about which
hotel is, how a place so diminutive can hold so much
dirt and feed so much vermin — this passage of legal
wit may need a few words of explanation.

The Yanks now warned by the Sheriff that they
must look alive, under penalty of having their eye-
teeth drawn, are my friend Charles W. Dilke and my-
self; two men of undeniable English birth and blood.
English faces are not seen every day in the State of
Kansas ; and these Western boys (every man living
beyond the Missouri is a Boy, just as every woman is
a Lady — in her own right), these Western boys, having
dim notions of ethnology and accent, set down every
man who crosses the River, with a white face and with-
out a bowie-knife, as a Yankee — a traveler from the

(9)



10 NEW AMERICA.

Xow England States in quest of gold dust, reserva-
tions, and corner lots. "The River" means the Mis-
souri ; here flowing between the settled State of that
name and the wild unpeopled region, known in maps
as Kansas, in poetry and fiction as Bleeding Kansas.
To a Western boy, the Missouri is the Thames, the
Rhine, and the Seine; his stream of commerce, beauty,
luxury, and art; and every man and woman, that is to
say, every boy and lady, living in the western uplands,
beyond this margin of blufl and forest, talks to you
about going down to the River just as a Pieardie peas-
ant boasts of going up to Paris, as a Marylebone grocer
speaks of running down to Brighton and the Isle of
Wight. The River divides him, as he says, from the
East, from the States; and the current jest, everj-where
to be heard from Atchison to Salt Lake, says, that a
man who means to cross the Missouri is going on a
trip to America. Dressed in his high boots, his slouch
hat, his belt, his buftalo-skin, his bowie-knife, and his
six-shooter, a Western boy feels for the unarmed,
sober, unadventurous men dwelling on the opposite
bank of the River, the sort of proud contempt which
an Arab beyond Jordan cherishes for the settlers in
Galilee, spiced with the fierce hatred which a Spanish
hidalgo dwelling east of the Ducro feels for the Por-
tuguese peddlers crawling on the western bank.

Xow, that question of drawing the eye-teeth is one
about which I hold to an extreme opinion. Five or
six years ago, when calling on my old friend Landor
in his Florentine house, and expressing my joy at find-
ing him so liale and bright (he was then eighty-four),
I heard in reply to my congratulations, these noticea-
ble words: "My dear fellow, say no more about it; I
have lost four of my teeth." When I smiled, the vet-
eran added, " Do not lauo-h at me ; I would rather



THE WESTERN COUNTRY. \\

have lost al-l my intellect than one of my teeth." On
the whole, I should hardly go Laudor's length, though
the threat of having your " eye-teeth " drawn for you,
willy nilly, is certainly one to disturb a saint. But we
have crossed our Jordan, and on this side the River we
must take our chance.

Early yesterday, a sultry August morning, we left
St. Louis ; a bright and busy city, full of a fierce and
tameless life, half Saxon, half Latin; a city which has
been smitten to the heart by panic, such as will some-
times fall upon Cairo and Aleppo in a time of plague.
For a month of burning heat — the heat of a great
plain, lying low down in the drain of a great conti-
nent, three hundred miles from the nearest hills, eight
hundred miles from a mountain range — cholera has
been sweeping off her countless victims from those
quays on which the poor L'ish labor, from those slums
in which the improvident negroes lodge.

Ko Howard Society sprang up this year to assist the
poor, as on a former visitation of the pest, when fif-
teen hundred of the young, rich, able men of the city
had put their hearts into the helping work. Nothing
had been done to meet a calamity which is always
threatening such a city as St. Louis, built on one of
the deepest sewers in the world. With a lack of wis-
dom hardly to be matched beyond the walls of
Gotham, the council had ceased to make daily returns
of the dead, the number of which could only be
guessed from the march of funerals through the
streets, and from the register of interments in the ten
or twelve busiest graveyards. The rate of deaths ran
high, and it was grossly extended by the arithmetic of
fear. Fires were burning in ever}' street; lime was
being forced into every gutter; no one dared to enter
a public conveyance; horrible tales, the offspring of a



12 NI^W AMERICA.

Southern brain, were whispered iir^your ears at table,
where you heard that every officer had flown from the
cemeteries, even the felons and murderers who had
been promised their pardon on condition of interring
the victims of cholei^ ; that the unburied corpses were
heaped together in the island ; that coffins and sear-
cloths had been set on fire by the runaways ; that a
thousand nameless horrors had been committed in the
dead-houses and in the graveyards. The death-bells
were tolling day and night.

We left tlie city early. Noon saw us at Macon,
picking grapes and sucking melons; midnight brought
us to St. Joseph (afi'ectiouately called St. Joe), on the
Missouri River, some dozen miles above Atchison, and
of course on the eastern bank. At two o'clock, in the
night, we came to the end of our iron-track, when the
car in which we rode emptied itself into a field, at no
place in particular, but in a patch of waste land over-
grown by stinkweed, and in a situation generally sup-
posed to be occupied by a ferry-boat.

When we came alongside the last plank of the rail-
way, the night being bleak and cliilly, it was sweet to
hear the cry of the hotel-runner (a tout is here called
a runner), "Any one for Planter's House ?" Yes : we
were all for Planter's House; and away we huddled,
with our sacks and sticks, our wraps and overcoats,
into an omnibus, which stood ready by the plank to
swallow us up. Ugh ! what monster is lying among
our feet? Something like a huge black dog was sleep-
ing on the floor ; which, the moment we pushed into
the doorway, began to snort and kick. It seemed too
big for a dog; perhaps it was a bull, that, finding the
omnibus open, had crept in from the Missouri chills.
Presently, it began to swear ; such oaths as Uncle
Toby heard in Flanders ; and on waking into con-



THE WESTERN COUNTRY. 13

sciousness, the strange beast proved to be the driver,
coiled up, concealed, and snoring in a buiFalo's hide.
Getting into our seats, with a dozen sleepless wretches
like ourselves, we cried, "All right," and bade the
driver "go ahead."

" Guess you'll wait for the ferry," said he, with a
vollej^ of adjectives and objurgations, such as ladies
and clergymen would consider somewhat high in
flavor.

"When will the ferry-boat come over?" some one
asked.

"Well, I guess about seven o'clock."

It was now two ; the night raw and cold ; the omni-
bus choked with passengers ; and we were lying out
in an open field. Shaking the hotel-runner from a
doze — both he and the driver had again tumbled off
into sleep, in the cosiest corner of our coach — we
learned that the river might be crossed, at that point,
even in the night, if we liked to venture upon it in
a small rowing-boat. Venture upon it ! Away we
trudged, through the stinkweed, lugging our traps,
which no one could be got to carry for us to the river
side ; feeling our feet down the bank, listening to the
lap of the stream, and crying for help to the opposite
bluflt's. The bank was steep and soft, the black loam
slipping beneath our shoes, while a dense yellow fog
lay heavily on the swift and whirling flood. On the
opposite heights we could trace the outlines of a little
town ; a few white houses scattered here and there ;
below these ran the dark outline of the river bank.
But where was the rowing-boat ? Not on our side of
the river ; for Bill, the waterman, lodged in his wife-
less cabin on the Kansas side; and a "Yep, yep" — a
war-whoop raised by the runner, which ought to have

2



14 NEW AMERICA.

roused the seven sleepers from their trance — came
back to us only in echoes from the Kansas bluffs. ISTo
boat came over with it; and after hanging by the
waterside for an hour, seeing the fog grow thicker, and
fancying the stream grow wider, we turned away from
the muddy bank, not wholly displeased at our war-cry
having failed to disturb the boatman's rest.

Going back to the omnibus, we found the driver
snorting in his nook. We shall never forget the vol-
leys of oaiths and growls which he fired off during the
next four hours ; neither shall we forget the rude and
ready kindness with which he thrust upon us one of his
blankets and his buffalo-hide. My friend lay do^Ti
and slept; sleep comes to you easily in 3'outh ; for
myself, I walked on the plank ; made a second trip to
the river; watched the stars pale out; railed against
the stinkweed ; smoked a cigar.

At seven the ferry-boat came steaming over; at
eight we are seated at table in the Planter's House,
in the midst of these rough aristocrats of Kansas ; a
jolly set of dogs, each dog with a bowie-knife in his
pocket, a six-shooter in his bell.

" Can you tell me, sir, at what hour the Overland
Mail leaves Atchison for Salt Lake ?" is the simple in-
quiry to which the Sheriff answers, as above, with that
suggestion about our eye-teeth being hardly safe in
Kansas. oSTot taking the reply so quickly as might be,
I look the man steadily in the face, and repeat my
question ; this time with extreme deliberation ; on
which the company break into a pleasant burst of
Satanic laughter. Then we hear from the Judge that
the Overland Mail (to travel by which, on our way to
Denver and Salt Lake, we have come from St. Louis
to Atchison, its starting-point) has ceased to run by
the Platte route, and that the oificers and stages have



THE WESTERN COUNTRY. 15

been sent down the river to Leavenworth, whence the
mail is in future to be sent across the Plains by an
easier and shorter line.

Mail, mail-agent, stock, mules, wagons, all have
been sent down the river to Leavenworth, and we
have no choice left us but to take up our traps and
follow in their wake. These folks make merry at our
expense, with a brutal kind of good nature; for a
transfer of the Overland Mail from Atchison to Leav-
enworth is a big blow to their town, such as people
who have put their money in it, and who are bound
either to stand by it or fall with it, may be forgiven for
not seeing in the light of a joke. Being regarded as
companions in their misery, it is expected in the town
that we shall consider ourselves generally as victims of
a plot, and as having had one at least of our eye-teeth
drawn.

In a hundred phrases w^e are told that the mail is
leaving the best route through the prairies for the
worst. The Platte route, we hear, is safe and easy ; a
good road, well stocked and stationed ; the military
posts on which are strong, the Indians all through
which are friendly to white men. In a word, it is the
route. The new route is called the Smoky Hill route,
from a rolling mist which runs along it for a hundred
miles.

"Well, gentlemen," says the Sheriff, "you will see
it, and then you will judge. Perhaps you like having
your remaining eye-teeth drawn ?"

One of these citizens takes from his pocket a gazette
of the current date, in which there is news from the
Smoky Hill country ; showing that Black Kettle,
Roman ISTose, Spotted Dog, and some other worthies
of the red race, are out on the war-path ; telling how
this and that lonely ranch has been plundered and



16 NEW AMERICA.

iired bj the Oheyennes; and giving lists of white men
who have been killed by these savages. By the same
gazette we learn that in the North the state of affairs
is rather worse than better. A party of white men,
coming down the Missouri, has been attacked by
Blackfeet Indians, who exchanged shots with them,
and swam after them, but were distanced by the rapid-
ity with which the white men plied their boats. The
party thus escaping from the tomahawk report that
seven white men, coming in a boat down the same
river, have been captured and killed by Crows, an In-
dian tribe who have recently made a treaty of peace
with the Government ; but in consequence of some
slight, as they allege, have burned their treaty, put on
ochre and vermilion, and gone out, like their brethren
the Cheyeunes and Sioux, on the war-path.

A tall, swashing fellow, bickering with rifle, bowie-
knife, and six-shooter, lounges into the room, and is
introduced to us as Captain Walker; "the famous
Captain Jem Walker, sir, who has crossed the plains
seven-and-twenty times ; after whom Walker's Creek
is named " — a creek of which we blush to think that
we know nothing, not even the famous name. Cap-
tain Walker is of opinion that we shall be fools if we
trust our scalps along the Smoky Hill route. The
Platte road is the only safe one. When we object that,
as the mail no longer runs along that safer path, we
can hardly travel by it, he opines that we shall do well
to stay a few days in Atchison, during which he will
put us up to the ropes, and fix us generally in prairie
politics. If we don't know what is best for ourselves,
he has no objection to our being damned, as we cer-
tainly shall be after making unpleasant acquaintance
with a Cheyenne knife.

It is clear that these men of Atchison have but a



THE WESTERN COUNTRY. 17

poor opinion of the Leavenworth route when com-
pared against their own.

Hearing that a small steamer is going down the
river to Leavenworth in the afternoon, we send for our
bills, and have our boxes put on board. It is now nine
in the morning, and as we have nothin'g to do, our
new friends think proper to stay and help us ; a cour-
tesy on their side to which we should offer no objec-
tion if it were not for their frequent and sardonic allu-
sions to the fact of our having been taken in. About
noon an accident raises us in their good opinion to a
height yet higher than that from which we had evi-
dently fallen ; enabling us to quit the town, morally
sj)eaking, sword in hand and with flying colors.

Sauntering down the street, enjoying our gossip and
cigar, we note the word post-office on a shop-front, and
on going inside we find there is one letter with my
name on the cover, written in an unknown hand, on
which three cents are due. Paying the money, and
breaking the seal, I find the letter is not for me ; on
which I fold and restore it to the postmaster, saying it
is not mine, and should be kept for the owner, to
whom it is perhaps of moment. Eyeing me in a
queer way, the postmaster takes the letter, and gives
me back my change of three cents. "Do you see?"
says the Sherifl:" to his nearest friend ; " damned smart
that — read his letter and got his money back ! Hang
me if I think they are Yanks, after all."

One touch of roguery, it would seem, is enough to
make the whole world kin !



2*



18 NEW AMERICA.



CHAPTER n.

BLEEDING KANSAS.

"Well, Sam," say I to a blithe young negro of
tliirty-five years, a boy with quick eye and delicate
razor-hand, as he powders my face and dabs the rose-
water on my hair, in the shaving-room of Planter's
House, Leavenworth, "where were you raised ?"

" Me riz in Missouri, sar."

" You were born a slave, then ?"

"Yes, sar, me slave in Weston; very bad boss;
always drunk and kicking poor nigger boy."

"And how did you get your freedom, Sam — did you
go and fight?"

"No, sar; me no fight; tink fighting big sin; me
swim."

" Swim ! Oh, yes ; you mean you swam across the
Missouri into Kansas, from a slave State into a free
State?"

" Dat true, sar. One bery dark night, me slip away
from Weston ; run through the wood along river
bank, down stream ; get into de water by dem trees,
and push oberto de mud bank " (pointing to the great
ridge of slime which festers in front of Leavenworth
when the water runs low) ; " there wait till morning,
looking at de stars ob heaven and de lights in dese
houses all about ; and when daylight come, creep out
of de rushes and wade ober to the levde."

" Then you were free ?" Sam answers with a smile.

"Had yon any help, in your escape, from men on this



BLEEDING KANSAS. 19

side the river ?" — the slaves had always good friends iu
Kansas.

" ISTo, sar ; me got no help to 'scape ; for me neber
tell no one; 'cause me neber know afore the moment
when me slip away. The Lord put it in my head.
Me Methodist, sar; most nigger boy in Missouri,
Methodist; me just come home from chapel, tinking
of de wonderful ways of de Lord, when some one say,
close in my ear, ' Rise up, Sam ; run away and be a
man.' It was de voice of de Lord; I know it well.
At first, I not see what to do ; me tink it quite wrong
to run away and steal myself from boss — twelve hun-
dred dollars. Den me tink, it must be right to obey
de voice of de Lord, for me belong more to de Lord
than to boss, and den I slip away into de w^oods."

" Of course you were followed ?"

"Yes, sar," says Sam, putting the last of his fine
flourishes upon my face; "boss come ober into Leav-
enworth, where he find me in de street. ' Come
here, you damned nigger,' he say, pulling out his re-
volver, and catching me by de neck. He got a boat
all ready ; den some people come up. ' You let dat
nigger go alone,' say one ; ' Put a knife into de damned
nigger,' say another. Den come a big row ; dey fight
for me all day ; and my side win."

The date of this little history was six short years
ago. Missouri, the fertile State beyond the river, the
forests of which I have before me as I write, was then
a slave State, with a sparse but fiery population of
slave-breeders and slave-dealers. Nine years before
that time — that is to say, so late as 1851, when the
world was gathering for its jubilee of progress in Hyde
Park — all this wide region, lying westward of the Mis-
souri, from this river bank to the Rocky Mountains,
was without a name. A host of wild Indian tribes.



20 ^^^W AMERICA.

Kansas, Cheyennes, Arappahoes, hunted over the great
l^lains; following the elk, the buftalo, the antelope, to
their secret haunts. Two great lines of travel had
been cut through the prairies ; one leading southward
to Santa F^ in New Mexico, the other running west-
ward, by the Platte River, toward Salt Lake and San
Francisco ; but the country was still an Indian hunt-
ing-ground, in which the white man could not lawfull}'-
reside. Half a dozen forts had been thrown up by the
Government in this Indian country — Fort Bent, Fort
Laramie, Fort Leavenworth, Fort Calhoun, Old Fort
— but rather with a view to guarding the red man's
rights than to helping the white traveler and trader in
their need. But wdiile the people of all nations were
assembling in Hyde Park, and wondering at the mag-
nificent country which had even then to be represented
by an empty space, a swarm of settlers crossed the
Missouri on rafts and in canoes, seized upon the bluifi
between Fort Calhoun and Fort Leavenworth, threw
up camps of log-huts, staked out the finest patches o"^
land, especially those on the banks of creeks and
pools, and so laid the foundation of what are now the
populous and flourishing towns of Omaha, Nebraska,
Atchison, and Leavenworth — cities of the free Terri-
tory of Nebraska, of the free State of Kansas.

Then commenced along the whole line of the Mis-
souri River, that fitful, sanguinary strife, which earned
for this region the mourning epithet of Bleeding Kan-
sas. It lasted six years, and was a prelude to the Civil
War.

Lawrence and Leavenworth were the results of this
battle, of which Sam's little story may be taken as a
sample.

Every one is aware that in the great feud between
the free-soilers and the slaveholders of America, a



BLEEDING KANSAS. 21

truce had been made in 1820, which is known in his-
tory as the Missouri Compromise ; by which act it was
arranged between the parties tliat slavery should never
be introduced into any western region lying beyond
36° 30' of north latitude, excepting into such portion
of Missouri as happened to stand above that line. For
thirty years that truce held good, and even when the



Online LibraryWilliam Hepworth DixonNew America → online text (page 1 of 35)