Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

CHICAGO was born into the world, commenced to cut out the trousers as a city, under a dark financial cloud. of a full-grown man before the city It hung not only over the babe, but had graduated from short clothes or over the parent State, threatening the State from knickerbockers. widespread havoc. Naturally, the The internal improvement act, fact had flown abroad that Chicago passed by the legislature of 1836–37, and Illinois, from their geographical was a cutting of this measure, propositions and their muscular men, viding, as it did, for an expenditure were destined to be the richest of the of over $10,000,000. This sum, of western empires and the metropolis course, was in addition to the expenof the far west. So that, although ditures upon the Illinois & Michigan land values were inflated beyond all Canal. The Illinois, Rock, Kaskasreason, the busiest and most vigorous kia and Little Wabash rivers were to brains of the country persisted in be improved. Railroads were to run, hatching out greater enterprises of at once, from Cairo to Galena, crossinternal improvement than any east ing the Illinois river at the terminaern resident could dream of.

tion of the Illinois & Michigan Canal; eral insanity seems to have possessed from Alton to the Indiana State line, every community in Illinois to test being the southern cross line of the the inflation, by adding a little more central road; and from Quincy to the swell to it, and see how much strain eastern boundary of Illinois, at Danthe balloon would bear without com ville, being the northern cross. An pletely collapsing. These enthusiasts appropriation of $200,000 was made of the early "thirties," likewise, were to those counties not provided with so puffed up with confidence in the promised canals or railroads, which future of their city and State that, to was to be applied to the building of the blind, they appeared insane. In roads, bridges and other public fact, we must reverse the aphorism works. their foresight was better than their The faith of the State was pledged hindsight. The trouble with them

to carry out all these enterprises, but was that they saw too far ahead, and the bulk of its credit was based upon

A gen

this very inflation, which the internal

grow to its canals and railroads and improvement act made more tremen municipal organizations. Both merdous. The State Bank of Illinois, chants and farmers left their legitiwith its branches, was so much a part mate occupations to swim in the of the commonwealth and its schemes, speculative current, and finally the that, to the mass of citizens, the dif booming of land values threatened to ference between the State bonds and even overtake the manufacture of the State bank bonds was one only in bank bills. This was a disgrace which name, not in substance.

All was

business men determined should be based on hope and faith. Then the wiped out by prompt action. Canal wild-cat currency which rushed out scrip was money; the bank bill was from Michigan, Indiana and native

money; and the private individual banks—that, also, was based upon the decided it was necessary, in order to confidence of the north-west in the keep the ball rolling until the future future, Confidence is a good thing, should realize the wildest dream, and prophets have their uses. But that he must take his turn at making sublime prophets may cause a com money. munity to make too heavy a draft "Nearly every man in Chicago doing upon the future.

business was issuing his individual Another point, also. In Michigan, scrip," says an observer of those in Indiana, in Illinois, there were ac times, "and the city abounded with tual maniacs and designing real es little tickets, such as ‘Good at our tate men who staked out towns in store for ten cents,' 'Good for a loaf swamps, and, seeing in them great

hem great of bread,' 'Good for a shave,' 'Good cities-either honestly or designedly for a drink,'etc., etc. When you went -made them thus appear upon thou out to trade, the trader would look sands of maps, which circulated with over your tickets and select such as he the wild-cat bills. Even Chicago citi. could use to the best advantage. The zens who had a basis of common

times, for a while, seemed very prossense to all their financial vagaries, perous. We had a currency that was who were some years ahead of the interchangeable; and for a time we times-even Chicagoans dabbled in suffered no inconvenience from it, exoutside ventures, buying tracts of cept when we wanted some specie to Michigan lands, mortgaging them pay for our postage. In those days and bringing back to their community it took twenty-five cents to send a letswollen bunches of wild-cat bills ter east, But after a while it was (resting, often, upon the fictitious found out that men were over-issuing. values of these paper cities), which The barber had outstanding too many were designed to tide them over to shaves; the baker too many loaves of those days when the country should

bread; the saloon-keeper too many

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Want of confidence became ing through the west-matter-of-fact general; each man became afraid to Philadelphians, disposed to laugh take the tickets of another. Some de- outright at the expectations of many clined to redeem their tickets in any people of the west-when they reached way, and some absconded.”

Chicago usually were forced to testify, The most acute observer and finan “Well, now, here is a set of people cier in the world cannot go into the who seem crazier than any other, but smallest community and say, “This they are the sanest of the lot.” I man first lost confidence in the exist- speak of Philadelphia, because Peck's ing state of affairs and brought hard Gazetteer and other publications to times upon his neighbors and the which emigrants mostly resorted for country.” Of a sudden the ripple has reliable information regarding the been made, and the circle of distrust west, issued from that staid old city has spread beyond recall. Whether -staid even in 1837; a correspondmen first demanded their actual ent of the Pennsylvania Inquirer, in shaves, their actual loaves of bread January of that year, during his tour and their actual drinks, or uneasy through the west, reaches Chicago, capitalists their interest in specie which is not yet a city, and exclaims: upon notes long overdue-perchance “Chicago is, without doubt, the the

very face of the notes—or impa- greatest wonder of this wonderful tient speculators begun first to sus country. Four years ago the savage pect that canals, railroads and other Indian there built his little wigwam; improvements could not be carried the noble stag there saw, undismayed, along much longer on confidence, and his own image, etc. Four years have that too many prying eyes had already rolled by, and how changed that pierced the delusive glories of the scene! The gallant stag, etc.; the paper towns, which were all to rival adventurous settler is now surrounded Chicago; whether it was one class of by luxury, etc.; a city, etc.; its spires men or another, or one man or some glitter in the morning sun; its wharves other man, who first boldly stepped and streets, etc.; the wand of the maforward and demanded from his gician, Aladdin's lamp, etc. But the debtor an accounting in the substan- growth of the town, extraordinary as tial things of life, certain it is that it is, bears no comparison with that 1837 was ushered in with forebodings, of its commerce. In 1833 there were and when the twelve months were over, but four arrivals, or about 700 tons; even Chicagoans recorded them as in 1836 there were 456 arrivals, or “the year of protested notes."

about 60,000 tons.

if

you And yet, be it ever remembered that can, to any place in this land whose Chicago never was, and never will be, trade has been increased in the like a paper town. Even foreigners travel- proportion. What has produced this

Point me,

great prosperity? I answer-its great town system, and were almost prenatural advantages and the untiring pared to be hatched into municipal enterprise of its citizens. Its situa creatures. The citizens discussed the tion is unsurpassed by any in our hard times seriously enough, but kept land."

right on planning for a city organizaIf that Philadelphian is still alive- tion. The charter, as proposed by and he may be, for he was young in the Town Board and representative 1837—what an artillery of adjectives citizens during the fall of 1836, had might he bring to bear upon the city been endorsed at a grand mass meetwhich, within about half a century, ing. In line, however, with the rehas lifted herself from the position of forming spirit of the times, the proa straggling, struggling, nearly bank posed corporation was authorized to rupt town of 4,000 people, through a run into debt only to the annual hurricane of fire, which well-nigh amount of $100,000. A large element swept her from the earth, to a plane of the townsmen favored unlimited above that of the Pennsylvania me power in this direction, but the sotropolis, which, when Chicago was bered majority held the check-reins born into the municipal domain, was on their prancing brethren. When over 200,000 inhabitants in the lead! the colts found that by kicking and Although Chicago city was born into rearing they would only punish themthe world under a dark financial cloud, selves, they subsided, with some such and faith in all kinds of values then snort as this, through the Chicago raging was sadly shaken, neither for American: “The interests of our town eigners nor natives believed that she

require a charter. The constant excould collapse.

ample of our eastern cities will justify The reader, perhaps, remembers us in altering it at every session, unhow the various departments-public til it meets the wants of a large comworks, health, fire, police, etc.-had mercial town.” H. G. CUTLER. been incubating in the heat of the

aber of th on Willard

Bu was pas barch at St Rev. Jose ast-mentio

ALONZO J. WILLARD.

as the firs

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

as

fine in th Its! this

It was in 1634 that the Willard of the famous “Old South Church' family tree took root in America. At of Boston, with which he was conthat date Major Simon Willard, an nected at the time of his death. He Englishman by birth, whose ancestral was for many years vice-president and home was at Horsmonden county, acting president of Harvard College Kent, landed in America, to become the -succeeding the learned and pious first settler in and founder of Con Dr. Increase Mather--and was also cord, Mass. For nearly twenty years an author of note. A quaint-looking he served as town clerk of Concord, old volume, to be found in some of and at a later date held the office of the great libraries of the country, and magistrate by appointment of the in the possession of some members of British Crown. He also represented Mr. Willard's family, entitled "A ComConcord in the colonial legislature pleat Body of Divinity, in Two Hunand served a major of militia dred and Fifty Lectures on the Asduring the fierce Indian wars of that sembly's Shorter Catechism,” was period and that region.

one of the more important published Of Simon Willard, Pemberton, the works of this eminent divine. historian wrote as follows: “He was a His son, Josiah Willard, was secresage patriot in Israel, whose wisdom tary of the colony of Massachusetts, assigned him to a seat at the council from 1717 until his death, being board and his military skill and mar known as the “Good Secretary." tial spirit entitled him to the chief Next in line, perhaps, of the displace in the field.”

tinguished members of this notable A son of the pilgrim Simon Wil family was Rev. Joseph Willard, who lard, was

one of the most distin graduated at Harvard College, in guished of the early New England · 1765, and became pastor of a Congreclergymen and educators.

This was

gational Church in Beverly, Mass., in Rev. Samuel Willard, who was or 1772, where he remained until 1781, dained a minister at Groton, in 1663, when he was elected president of after he had graduated from Harvard Harvard College, which position he College, who became the first settled held up to the date of his death in minister in what is now the State of 1804. Maine, and at a later date was pastor A somewhat less distinguished

wa

th

« AnteriorContinuar »