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been successful; and to the questions: "Can Nebraska ever be settled up? Can she ever sustain any considerable population?" the joyous fields of golden grain nodded an indisputable affirmative, and gracefully beckoned the weary emigrant to a home of healthfulness and abundance. The glad tidings of our success in agriculture were heralded far and near through the medium of our pioneer press, and a new impetus was thus given the emigration of that fall and the following spring. But here came also a spirit of evil among us, a spirit of reckless speculation, and a seeking for some new method to acquire wealth, some method which required neither mental nor manual labor.

The legislative assembly in January, 1856, deeming it necessary to have more money in the country, had, very unwisely, concluded that the creation of banks of issue, by special charter, would accomplish that much desired object. And so six banks were created, or one bank for every 500 men in the Territory, and each bank had power to issue as many dollars of indebtedness as the circumstances of its individual stock-holders demanded for their own pecuniary necessities or ambitions. And what were the consequences? Rag money was plenty, everybody had credit, and it was no heavy undertaking to secure discounts. Town property, though very plenty, as many, very many thousands of acres of land had been planted with small oak stakes, were not so amazingly abundant as Fontenelle, Nemaha Valley & Western Exchange bank bills, and, as is always the case in commercial matters, the scarcer article went up in price, and the plentier went down; that is to say, money was plentier than town lots, and consequently cheaper. And now indeed did the unsophisticated and enthusiastic believe that the method of making without either mental or manual labor had most certainly been invented and patented in and for the Territory of Nebraska. So far did this idea diffuse itself throughout the community, that it reached and took entire possession of the executive head of the Territory, insomuch, that in a message to the Legislative Assembly of the Territory, Governor Izard mentioned, as an evidence of our flush prosperity, the fact that town lots had advanced in price, in a few months, from $300 to $3,000, apiece.

Unfortunately for the wise constructors of those patent mills for money making, there was no reality or soundness in the prosperity of that day. It did not arise, as all wealth and true capital must arise, from that great substratum of prosperity which underlies and supports the whole civilized world, and is called agricultural development.

Yet the popular mind was apparently satisfied, and lulled itself into the belief that the honest art of industry and economy belonged to a former generation, and that here indeed they were certainly useless and obsolete. Who would bend the back, nerve the arm to labor, and sweat the brow in cultivating the soil, when by the aid of a lithographer and the flatulent adulation of some ephemeral newspaper, a half section of land could be made to yield three thousand town lots, at an average value, prospectively, of one hundred dollars each? Whom could we expect to desert the elegant and accomplished avocation of city founder and dealer in real estate, for the arduous and homely duties of the farmer? We acquired great velocity and speed, in fact became a surpassingly "fast" people. We aspired at once to all the luxuries and refinements of older and better regulated communities in the East. We emerged suddenly from a few rough hewn squatters, arrayed in buck-skin and red flannel, to a young nation of exquisite land sharks and fancy speculators dressed in broad cloths.

The greater portion of the summer of 1856 was consumed in talking and meditating upon the prospective value of city property.

Young Chicagos, increscent New Yorks, precocious Philadelphias, and infant Londons, were duly staked out, lithographed, divided into shares and puffed with becoming unction and complaisance. The mere mention of using such valuable lands for the purpose of agriculture, was considered an evidence of verdancy wholly unpardonable, and entirely sufficient to convict a person of old fogyism in the first degree.

Farms were sadly neglected in the summer of 1856, and there were not as many acres planted that season, in proportion to the population, as there were the year before, but the crop of town plats, town shares, town lots, and Nebraska bank notes, was most astonishingly abundant. We were then very gay people; we carried a great number of very large gold watches and ponderous fob chains; sported more fancy turn-outs, in the way of elegant carriages and buggies; could point to more lucky and shrewd fellow citizens who had made a hundred thousand dollars in a very short time; could afford to drink more champagne, and talk and feel larger, more of consequence, and by all odds richer than any yearling settlement that ever flourished in this vast and fast country of ours. We all felt as they used to print in large letters on every new town plat, that we were "located adjacent to the very finest groves of timber, surrounded by a very rich agricultural

country, in prospective, abundantly supplied with building rock of the finest description, beautifully watered, and possessing very fine indications of lead, iron, coal, and salt in great abundance." In my opinion we felt richer, better, more millionairish than any poor deluded mortals ever did before, on the same amount of moonshine and pluck.

But the seasons were prompt in their returns, and the autumn winds came then as they are coming now, and the ripening sunbeams descended upon the earth as they do today; but the fields of grain that they wandered and glistened among were neither as many nor as well tilled as they should have been.

The fall of 1856 came and passed, and not enough had been raised to half supply our home wants. Town lots we could neither eat nor export; they were at once too expensive for food and too delicate for a foreign market. All that we had in the world to forward to the Eastern marts was a general assortment of town shares, ferry charters, and propositions for receiving money and land warrants to invest or locate on time. The balance of trade was largely against us.

We were now, more than ever, a nation of boarders, eating everything eatable, buying everything consumable, but producing absolutely nothing.

The winter of 1856 and '57 came, and the first and second days of December were most admonitory and fearful harbingers of suffering; they came like messengers of wrath to rebuke the people for the folly, the thriftlessness, and extravagance of the summer that had passed unheeded and unimproved. The storm that lashed those two days through and ushered in the terrible life-taking winter of that year, will never be forgotten by those of us who were here and experienced it.

The legislative assembly commenced in January, 1857, and again were the wisdom and sagacity of Solon and Lycurgus called into active service. A grand rally was had for the purpose of raising more means and more money by legislative legerdemain. New towns were incorporated and new shares issued; insurance companies were chartered with nothing to insure and nothing to insure with; and, finally, another nest of wild cat banks was set for hatching, it having been deliberately decided that the easiest way to make money was through the agency of paper mills, engravers, and the autographs of fancy financiers. Not less than fifteen new banks were contemplated and projected. Preparations were thus coolly and deliberately made for issuing evidence of debt, amounting, in the aggregate,

to millions of dollars, and a confiding and generous public were expected to receive them as money. Fortunately for you, for the Territory, for your reputation for sanity, the great infliction was escaped, and out of the entire number, De Soto, and the never to be forgotten Tekama, were all that ever saw the light; thus this second attempt to legislate prosperity into the country by the manufacture of an irresponsible and worthless currency failed most signally. Its only fruits have been seen in the thousands of worthless pictures which have the impress of the Tekama bank, and have finally exploded in the pockets of the merchants, mechanics, and farmers of this territory, and thereby defrauded them of some hundred thousands of dollars worth of capital and labor.

In the mid-summer of 1857, while credulous men were buying town lots at enormous prices, and sapient speculators were anxiously looking up enough unoccupied prairie land to uphold a few more unnamed cities, while the very shrewd and crafty operators in real estate were counting themselves worth as many thousand dollars as they owned town lots-while enthusiastic seers observed with prophetic eye city upon city arise, and peopled with teeming thousands, while the public pulse was at fever heat-when the old fogies themselves were beginning to believe in the new way of making money without labor, the financial horizon began to darken. At once hope whispered that it was only a passing cloud, but judgment predicted a full grown storm. And one pleasant day, when lots were high and town shares numerous and marketable, the news came that one Thompson, John Thompson, had failed, and also that the hitherto invulnerable Ohio Life & Trust Company had departed its pecunious and opulent existence.

The streets in cities thereabout were occupied by knots and groups of wise and anxious men; the matter was fully and thoroughly discussed and it was generally conceded that, though it did sprinkle some, it probably would rain very little, if any. But again and again came the thunderbolts, and the crash of banks, and the wreck of merchants, and the fall of insurance companies, the decline of railroad stocks, the depreciation of even state stocks, and finally the depletion of the National Treasury. The quaking of the credit of all the monied institutions, in fact, of the governments themselves, of both the old and the new world, demonstrated beyond a doubt, that the storm had indeed begun, and furthermore, that it was a searching and testing storm.

Just as in your own farm yards, when a sudden storm of

rain, lightning and tempest has broken out from a sky almost all sunshine, you have seen the denizens of the pig-sty, the stables and the poultry coops, run, jump, squeal, cackle, neigh, and bellow in their stampede for shelter; so vamosed the city builders, speculators, bank directors and patent cash makers of Nebraska, while the terrible financial tornado of 1857 swept over the world of commerce.

The last day of the summer of 1857 had died out and was numbered upon the dial plate of the irrevocable past. The September sun had come, glittered, warmed and ripened and the time of harvest had gone by. November, cold, cheerless and stormy, came on apace and whispered in chilling accents of the approach of winter.

It became the duty of every man to look to his pecuniary condition and to prepare well for the season of cold; and the examinations then made by you and all of us, proved this: they proved that the season of planting in 1857, like that of the year previous, had slipped by almost unnoticed, and unimproved by a great many of the people of Nebraska. We had not raised enough even to eat; and as for clothing, it looked as though nakedness itself would stalk abroad in the land.

If the great states of Illinois and Wisconsin found themselves, that fall, in an almost hopeless bankruptcy, what then must have been our condition?

The irrepealable law of commerce which declares that, "whenever the supply of any article is greater than the demand, that article must decline in market value," was most clearly proven in Nebraska. The supply of town lots, after the monstrous monetary panic of 1857, was as large as ever. There was at least one million of town lots, in towns along the Missouri River, between the Kansas line and the L'Eau-qui-Court; but where was the demand? It had ceased! It had blown away in the great storm, or been crushed out in the great pressure. We had nothing else to offer for sale, except real estate, and even that of very doubtful character. We were yet a colony of consumers; we were worse off than ever; we were a nation of boarders, and had nothing to pay board with, and very little valuable baggage to pawn for the same. The greater number of our banks had exploded, and the individual liability of stockholders, as marked on each bill, proved to mean that the bill holders themselves were individually responsible for whatever amount they might find on hand after the crisis.

I think we were the poorest community the sun ever looked down upon; that the history of new countries can

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