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a team and two men could do the labor of fifty slaves, the old way was pursued, by having each slave carry his load of heavy cane across the fields one or two miles wide-a labor that in the three or four years made invalids of the hardiest. No! Create any question and get up a sectional jealousy on it; then farewell to all its moral aspects. The section on its defence, whether the question be rum, piracy, smuggling, slavery, polygamy, or what not, will fight to the bitter end. Passion blinds to all sense of right. You may as well try to reason with a mob as with a jealous section, and if the least seeming interest is at stake, so much the worse. Pennsylvania will fight for her tariff, Utah for polygamy, as South Carolina did for slavery. Tobacco and hemp require more hard labor to-day, tha
and Nebraska could have made as much of slave labor, as any other state, and more, for her healthy air would bave kept the race healthy. As to cold, we find the blacks endure it as well as do the whites. In truth they live here in such open houses the winter long, as hardly any whites would tolerate.
One evening a crowd of Poncas stopped with us, en route for Washington.
While I was talking to their interpreter, a young chief, who had been out, was let into the house, which had a weather door and entrance, a ball and side door. After he had lain down a few moments, he talked to the others stretched around on the floor. Suddenly they all rose up, talking and in a great hubbub, appealing to the interpreter. He replied to them in a talk of two or three minutes, when they all lay down in quiet. “What was it?" I asked. He laughed and said, that young man told them, that at the first house they stopped at, white man used a cloth hanging for a door, just as do Indians in tents; that at the next town was a door (Indians untaught are inexpert at opening doors); and at the next town, the man had two doors; at the last town there were three doors; and here were four. “Now he said, by the time we get to Washington, the big man there will have thousands and thousands of doors and we can never one of us get out.” This created the great hubbub and alarm. The interpreter quieted them by saying, “You will see, you will see before you get there, that it is not so. I don't think a wild Indian could open two doors in succession and enter them—he will pull and slam everything but the right one.
The first settlers saw and heard things, that can hardly be imagined
now. One night at Ft. Calhoun, in October, will give an idea of our experiences. The change from bot mid-summer to perfect Indian summer came in one day about the last of September, 1856, with all the suddenness of a Texas norther—the mercury falling from 95 ° in the shade, to several degrees below freezing, from four o'clock p. m. till sun down, and by morning there was considerable ice. The grass was dry as powder. From that lovely plateau of the old fort, at least a hundred feet above the Missouri bottom, surrounded by an amphitheatre of hills, and in the centre of the whole district the great Missouri winding, there is an unbroken view towards the east of forty or fifty miles up the Bouyer Valley of Iowa; and in other directions some fourteen miles away, the bluffs of the great river valley loom high in various shapes like pinnacles, mounds and far reaching hills. Often in those days the air was so clear, strangers would assert a view of ten miles, could not exceed two or three. Those beautiful high table lands are peculiar to the region north of the Platte; and of them all, that at the old fort, was the most beautiful. Cultivation has so changed the landscape, that only a few years ago, I could hardly recognize it as the same. Immediately following the change of weather, came all the, to us, novel signs of the Autumn, heralded by flocks of cranes circling all day long high in the air; then followed pelicans, swans trumpeting, ducks, brant screaming, and the overwhelming clangor of millions of wild geese. Never since has there been such a gathering of the clans of the air. They seemed as thick as locusts. The wolves too came nearer and began their night carnivals. Often a few hundred Indians would make, on these nights, a temporary encampment. One Indian summer night, while the warm southwest wind was roaring, all the world seemed on fire from the burning prairies, and all the highest peaks and bluffs far off, and the vast extent of the Bouyer Valley, with its heights and table lands, were ablaze. What with the howling of wolves, the singing and yelling of several bands of Indians, the screams and clanging of wild birds, and their rush by the myraids through the air, it seemed, as though the end of all things had come. I have looked from a high point, over a burning city, where rioting and murder led the way, but the noise, the uproar was nothing to that. It was a scene of splendor, ,
, sublimity, and awfulness, such as can not often be witnessed. The Indians and wolves have disappeared; the wild birds come only in
the sky and in scattered lines, while prairie fires are controlled and limited, orchards, farms, and houses have cut up and closed in the once vast illimitable views.
In those days, it was quite an adventure to go west forty or fifty miles from the Missouri among the buffalo. Those who went out on hunts that far were looked upon as men of mettle and spirit. And in truth no one could tell just what the Indians might do. Luckily they never disturbed us; but we knew that a few bottles of whiskey and a revengeful spirit might stir them up to do mischief, in case any white man had done them harm. My short experience with Indians has taught me, that some white man always begins the trouble. Seeing Henry Fontenelle's letter reminds me, that he told me the very same facts as are contained therein, as to the origin of the name, Omaha, in the summer of 1856, at Fort Calhoun, while be and several Indians were lying out on the prairie, which had been then staked out as a town-site, near Steven's Hotel, a double log cabin. Some of us took a trip out to the town of Fontanelle, and were surprised at its size. It must have had twenty cabins or shanties, some of which were large enough, to have two rooms and were quite aristocratic, as we thought. One of the most glorious views in the world, was to stand at the edge of the table land on which the town stood, and look far off over the expanses of the Elkhorn and Platte Valleys, and of the other streams that came winding thither. “I believe I will just run down to the stream there, and dip my hands in, just to say I have been in the Elkhorn,” said one of our party about 3 o'clock p. m. A citizen looked at him in surprise and said, “You won't get back before night.” “Why?” “Well, how far do you think it is to that point?” “Oh, perhaps a quarter mile.” “It's three miles at least.” I do not know the distance, but I am sure appearances are very deceiving.
AN INTRODUCTION TO THE HISTORY OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN NEBRASKA, AND A BRIEF ACCOUNT
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA.
By H. W. CALDWELL.
[Read before a meeting of the Society, January 8, 1889.]
The Kansas-Nebraska bill, under which Nebraska was organized as a territory, became a law on the twenty-seventh of May, 1854. Settlement began immediately, and in less than a year,-on January 16, 1855,--its first territorial legislature was convened. The Hon. T. B. Cuming was at that time acting governor.
In his first message he calls attention to the necessity of making careful provision for education, at the same time expressing the hope that Nebraska might profit by the experiences of the older states. This part of his message was referred to the committee on schools, a committee as we shall see later exceedingly prolific in charters for universities. The fitness and wisdom of its course however may well be questioned. During this first session charters were granted to Nebraska University located at Fontenelle; to Simpson University, a school to be founded at Omaha City; to the Nebraska City Collegiate and Preparatory Institute. The character and aims of these universities will be discussed later in this paper; at present it is enough to remark that they were like the Hydra of old; when Hercules smote off one head three more were ready to grow in its place. The proof of this is found in the next session of the legislature. In the session of 1855–56, not only does Simpson University ask for a renewal of its charter, but it is now supported by the Nemaha University at Archer, by Washington College at Cuming City, by the Plattsmouth Preparatory and Collegiate Institute, and by the Western University at Cassville, Cass county. A joint resolution also passed the territorial
legislature asking Congress for a land grant for Nebraska University.
But to show that the demands for higher education were insatiable it is only necessary to notice that the legislature meeting January 5, 1857, added to the above list, the Brownville College and Lyceum, the Salem Collegiate Institute (a name that we recognize by this time, the Rock Bluffs Academy (notice the modesty of the title,) the University of Saratoga, Dakota Collegiate Institute, Nebraska University at Wyoming, the Omadi Collegiate Institute, St. Mary's Female Academy, the University of St. John, the Omaha Medical University, and finally an act amending the charter of the Western University. In the fall session, in the same year, 1857, a few more universities and institutes were added to our already pretty complete list. The University of Nebraska, Wyoming College, DeWitt Collegiate Institute, Falls City College, the Literary Association of the Elkhorn, the Dodge County Lyceum and Literary Association, and finally, last but not least, the Nebraska Historical Society, were incorporated during this session. The supply seems nearly to have equalled the demand in 1858, as the territorial legislative records show only two new universities incorporated in this year:—the Dempster Biblical Institute, and the Lewis and Clark College. The great demand from this time on was to secure land endowments. Joint resolutions were sent to Congress asking for 15,000 acres of land for Simpson University, and 20,000 acres for the University at Fontenelle, and the Marine Hospital at Bellevue—with its branch at Nebraska City. Two marine hospitals for the sailors on the Missouri—just think of it!
From the number of charters granted during these three years, one might suppose that the legislators had little time for other work, until he learns that they had one form of charter for all applicants; that the only labor necessary to perform, was to substitute a new name in the formula, when the charter was ready for action. The genesis of this patent charter has thus far eluded discovery; however it has some provisions that may well engage our attention for a moment. In general these early universities were joint stock companies. Several of them seem to have been undertaken as financial ventures on the part of their incorporators; others to advertise the towns where they were located. The charter provided for a certain number of trustees—from five to twenty-under whom was placed