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[Read before a meeting of the Society, January 14, 1890.]

   There is very little doubt that the first school in the city of Omaha was held in the basement of the old brick church erected by the Congregational Society, in the winter of 1855 and 1850. The church stood on the lot which is now in the rear of the Y. M. C. A. building. A Mrs. Smith came from New York state, rented the northeast basement room, and there taught a little private school. Very soon after a Mrs. Purple, then a young lady, had a private school in the state house building, on Ninth and Farnam. Almost from the first there were more children in the city than could be accommodated in the schools. Many of the early settlers were people of education and culture and they organized classes among themselves for mutual improvement in different studies. One person after another would instruct. People who were able sent their children to St. Louis and other cities, but this involved an expensive and tedious trip. Facilities for travel in those days were limited and therefore this was not a popular method.
   Others employed teachers in their homes. The children of those days however speak well in their later development for the character of the instruction received. There still remained a large class of children who demanded the American right of education. Omaha was incorporated in 1857, was then divided into three wards, and a school director from each ward was elected, A. D. Jones, G. C. Monell, and Mr. Kellom, being first to fill the office.
   Mr. Monell had known Howard E. Kennedy in the East and his services as superintendent of education were engaged by these three directors. Mr. Kennedy arrived in 1858 and at once began his work. He found plenty to do. Not a building or a book could the city claim. Mr. Kennedy rented rooms in the state house and Nov. 1, 1859, after attending personally to every arrangement, opened three



schools. He, himself, taught in the state house assisted by Mrs. Nye. A little one story, one room frame building on Thirteenth street near Douglas, was in charge of Mrs. Rust, and a similar school on Cuming street near the old Military Bridge was taught by Mrs. Torry. For a year these teachers did most excellent work. The schools were crowded with pupils of all ages and attainments. Efforts to follow a system of grading, which Mr. Kennedy planned, were made, but in schools like these, this is almost impossible. The year of 1860 was an unlucky one for Omaha schools.
   The financial troubles of the approaching war affected Omaha greatly. Public school funds were exhausted. Classes formed at intervals by people, whose occupations afforded sufficient leisure, were again resorted to. Mr. Kennedy left for the east, expecting to return soon and resume his work, but changed his plans later, and did not return for several years.
   In 1860, Samuel D. Beals, a gentleman whose reputation was not unknown in Omaha, organized a private school, which he conducted for nine years. It was extensively advertised as the Omaha High School, and is mentioned by that name in the report of W. E. Harvey, Territorial Commissioner, in 1860. This report gives the number of pupils in all the schools as 267, or a fraction over 50 per cent. of the school population.
   From 1860 to 1863, there were no public schools, although a few efforts were made to establish them. In 1862, a Mr. McCarthy, school director from the 1st ward, made application to the city council for permission to erect a school building on Jefferson Square, and the permission was granted. Raising the funds for that building, however, was not easy, and sufficient money could not be obtained till 1869. Then the first school building ever owned by the city was erected on the southwest corner of Jefferson Square. It was a frame building of medium size containing at first only one room. This school was erected under the personal supervision of B. E. B. Kennedy, and was opened in September, 1863. It was crowded to excess from the first day. The unhappy teacher first engaged was utterly unable to control the crowd, and was dismissed at the end of the month. Another gentleman, whose methods of discipline appear to have been original at least, was employed. He fashioned a



wooden instrument, something like a small spade, with a long handle and with this he alternately spatted and punched disorderly pupils even at quite a distance from him. He too, stayed only a month, and was succeeded by Mrs. Cooper, under whose care the school flourished.
   In a very short time the room was divided, thereby accommodating a larger number of pupils, and Mr. Hutchinson was employed as principal. The following year ground was purchased on Cass street, between Fourteenth and Fifteenth, and the building moved over there, where it remained until 1878, when it was removed to Burt and Twenty-second streets, and is now used as a stable. From this second start, Omaha schools have progressed steadily.
   In 1863 Lincoln's decision that Omaha should be the terminus of the U. P. R. R., gave a great impetus to its growth, and what had before been a struggling western village became an ambitious town. School accommodations were limited, and in 1864, the Episcopal church organized a school for young ladies out on Saunders street, in what is now known as the Saratoga district. Its first pupil was Mrs. Flemon Drake.
   Pupils who could not be accommodated in the public schools, were thus afforded another chance for home education, which they were not slow to grasp. The school was removed to Sixteenth and Jones in 1867, and remained there in care of the Rev. J. H. Dougherty until 1880. A beautiful building was then erected on South Tenth street and the school removed there. It is under a board of fifteen directors, of whom the bishop of this diocese is president.
   Several small parochial schools were started about this same time, by the Catholic societies of the town.
   From 1864 to 1869, the schools were largely under the care of B. E. B. Kennedy, John Evans, Dr. Miller, J. M. Woolworth, John Rush, and many others, who are still residents of the city. The buildings were inferior, but the care bestowed upon their inmates was superior.
   Full records of these schools were kept and turned over by B. E. B. Kennedy to the board of education in 1872, but these records unfortunately, have every one been lost.
   In 1868, the Catholic residents of the city made a request for a portion of the public school money to be used in maintaining the



parochial schools. This the board of directors refused to pay, even after a vote to give them $1,000 had been passed by the legislature. To compromise the matter, the directors rented the building owned by the German Catholic church on Eighth street, near Harney, paying $1,000 rent.
   This wise arrangement averted all trouble at that time and the rooms were occupied until the church society was obliged to retain them for its own use. Since then there has been little or no effort in this direction. There are now about 1,800 pupils enrolled in the twelve Catholic schools, including nearly two hundred students of Creighton College. In 1868 the capitol building was vacated and the legislature of 1869 presented the grounds and building to Omaha for a high school. Six gentlemen, constituting the board of regents, organized by the legislature, held their first meeting in the office of one of the members, J. M. Woolworth. A Chicago architect, G. P. Randolph, by name, examined the building and pronounced it unfit for use. The treasurer of the board was qualified by law to receive the $38,840 due from the state. The regents. also thought that $12,500 were due from the board of school directors, and requested the payment of that sum. John Evans was then the treasurer of the directors, and after consultation with his colleagues, refused to pay it on the ground of illegality. After several efforts to obtain it, the board of regents resolved to sue the board of directors for $25,000. Early in 1870 the directors offered to pay the regents the sum of $20,000 on condition that the suit then pending should be withdrawn, that all pupils from the city schools who could pass examination should be admitted into the high school, and that there should be one general and harmonious system of grading throughout.
   These conditions were accepted. These directors, B. E. B. Kennedy, John Evans, and Mr. Simpson, made also another change, and one thoroughly in harmony with Nebraska enterprise and justice. They established, the custom of paying for the work itself, without regard to the sex of the teacher, Omaha being the first city in the United States to do so.
   Money matters being now adjusted, at the request of the board of regents and the. board of directors, Mr. S. D. Beals arranged a system of grading. Children are permittted (sic) to enter at five years of age. The child so entering is placed in the first or A class of the first



grade, each school year of forty weeks making a grade. Each year was divided into three terms named A, B, and C, A being the first and C the third and highest.
   Four years finished the primary grades, and four more years the grammar. The pupils of the 8th C who were able to pass the required examination were then admitted to the 9th grade, the lowest class of the high school. This course enables a pupil of average ability to finish his high school course at about the age of seventeen. It has proved a most satisfactory arrangement and is the basis of the school system now. Meanwhile architects and builders were engaged in erecting the high school building, but before it was completed the board of regents and the board of directors were disbanded by the legislature, and the entire control of the city system vested in a board of education. The city was enlarged by the addition of three districts at this time, so the first board of education numbered twelve members. The city council rooms were rented for their use and the first meeting was held May 11, 1872. No brick buildings were then owned, but three were building, the Pacific school being the first ready.
   A. F. Nightingale was elected city superintendent. Mr. Kellom was elected principal of the high school, J. B. Bruner principal of the Izard, Mr. Beals principal of the Pacific, and Mr. Snow principal of the Central or Pleasant school.
   Looking at the Izard school to-day, standing nearly in the centre of the city, it seems strange to think that less than twenty years ago the daily papers commented severely upon the folly of buying school property so far out in the country. These schools filled very rapidly, notwithstanding the newspapers. Mr. Nightingale in his first report complains of the crowded condition of the schools and suggests extra accommodations. in various directions. His complaints have been echoed and re-echoed in every superintendent's report since.
   Mr. Nightengale remained a year, successfully inaugurating Mr. Beals' system of grading. At the end of that time Mr. Beals was elected superintendent. The schools remaining under his charge for seven years, increased rapidly in numbers, and improved with almost equal rapidity. No one person perhaps has had so great an influence on these schools as Mr. Beals. He has been continuously connected with them for twenty-nine years. Associated with him



since 1872 have been Mr. Bruner, Miss Anna Foos, and Miss Jennie McKoon. These teachers have had charge of the largest and most important schools in the town. Theirs have been the brains and the hands to execute and supplement the work of the superintendents and boards. Omaha has been exceptionally fortunate in the people associated with the early days of its schools. At present the schools rank high among all cities, and this I believe is owing largely to the noble character and broad minds of those who laid their foundations.
   George B. Lane followed. Mr. Beals. He made no changes in the system, but brought about several changes in the books used. He remained in office two years and was succeeded by H. M. James, then assistant. superintendent of public instructions in Cleveland, Ohio. Mr. James found himself in charge of twelve buildings, attended by about four thousand pupils in the care of less than one hundred teachers. A striking feature of the schools of that time is the poor attendance. This is attributed to the poor condition of the streets, very few being paved or graded, and to some parental indifference to the advantages of regular attendance. In a list of a score of other cities of a similar size tabulated by Mr. James, Omaha stood at the foot of the list in the per cent. of attendance. Mr. James at once gave attention to this with gratifying results. The increase both in enrollment and attendance has been marvelous and has taxed the board beyond its ability to provide shelter for these crowds. Basements, hallways, and store rooms in school buildings have been hastily arranged and all sorts of buildings rented. Those buildings in fair condition have been enlarged and ten new houses, each seating from five hundred to eight hundred pupils, with about the same number of small buildings varying from one to six rooms, have been erected within the last five years. In 1882 Mr. Hines, the 4th principal of the high school accepted the position of State Superintendent of Connecticut and resigned his position in Omaha. Previous to 1882, Omaha had a smaller high school than any other city of its size. The preparatory high school class was taught only in the central school. This was not convenient for pupils living in the outskirts and to prevent these pupils from leaving school this grade was established in several of the larger buildings. H. P. Lewis was elected 5th principal. To-day the high school is among the largest schools in the United States, even comparing Omaha with many



cities larger than itself. This is proof that the care bestowed upon it by Mr. James, Mr. Lewis, and the board of education is recognized and appreciated in the town. The tremendous increase of 245 per cent. in the public school enrollment against the very moderate increase of 25 per cent. in private schools also attests their popularity. The Omaha Business College established by E. W. Rohrbough in 1878, and Brownell Hall are the only ones of any size, although many have made an effort to get a foothold here.
   The law of Nebraska does not forbid corporal punishment, and previous to 1881 each teacher inflicted such punishment as was deemed necessary. Mr. James disapproves of corporal punishment of any kind as being degrading to both teacher and pupil and it has therefore been abandoned.
   The efficiency of the school was increased first by the appointment of Miss Kate Ball as a special teacher of writing and drawing, then by Miss Lucia Rogers taking charge of music, and later by the appointment of H. M. Kummerow as teacher of calisthenics. The purchase of a quantity of supplementary reading matter was an improvement at this time and in accord with the most advanced educational theories.
   As another inducement to take the high school course, the experiment of adding a manual training school was begun in 1884. Mr. Albert Bauman, a graduate of the St. Louis Training School, was employed as teacher. This branch has proved a success and is still in active operation. A cooking school for girls was tried soon after, but did not prove the success its sponsors had hoped for, and was abandoned at the close of the year. To Omaha belongs the credit of having been the first city to establish a manual training school as a regular branch of the city school system. In 1884 the city changed from one of the first-class to a metropolitan city, and its board of education was again disbanded by the legislature and a new board of fifteen members elected by the city. The secretary, formerly a member chosen by vote of the rest of board, was no longer a member but was employed by the board.
   The legislature of 1883 passed a law requiring all teachers in this state to teach the effects of intoxicating drinks, and all stimulants and narcotics upon the human race, so that instruction in physiology and hygiene became a part of the work of all grades. Perhaps, however, the most important step the board of education have taken



was in 1885. All books to be used throughout the schools were henceforth to be supplied to the pupils by the city. The advantage of this arrangement are inestimable.
   Mr. James in 1885 made a change in grading. He divided the year's work into two parts instead of three, the highest class being since known as the B class.
   In 1888 a course of book keeping was added to the high school electives and has become very popular. Since then no changes have taken place.
   1890 finds Omaha with over twelve thousand pupils attending her schools and fifty-one school buildings in the care of two hundred and seventy teachers.



[Read before a meeting of the Society, January 14, 1890.]

   In the sixth volume of his collections of manuscript documents relating to America by M. Pierre Margey, the distinguished historical investigator of France, is given a brief synopsis of an account of a visit in the year 1739 to the territory now included in the state of Nebraska, which seems worthy of translation or paraphrase, and of a place in the records of the Historical Society of our state. It is entitled, "The Journey of the Mallet Brothers with Six Other Frenchmen from the River of the Panimahas in the Missouri Country to Santa Fe." To comprehend the full significance of the expedition it will be useful to recall to our minds the jealousies, the rivalries, the contests and treacheries, the massacres, the assassinations, the crimes of all sorts which the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries witnessed as the result of the discoveries by Columbus.
   Spain, reasonably secure in her possessions of the country west of the deserts beyond the Mississippi which the valor and prowess of Cortez had given her, laid claim also by virtue of the revelations of the Genoese navigator to the whole of Florida, under which attractive name was comprehended the entire region from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, and from the gulf to the north pole. France, grudging the glory and the wealth with which the new world had adorned the crown of Charles the Fifth, entrusted to Verrazzano the task of finding the opulent kingdom of Cathay, and as a result of his discoveries laid claim to the same extensive country. The hostility thus begun lasted for more than two centuries.
   The French complained with indignation that the Spaniards thought that the new world was created expressly for them, and that no other man living had a right to move or breathe therein. The bitterness engendered by these rival interests led to the atrocities of Menendez and Gourgues, the butcheries of Fort Caroline and St.



Augustine, at the narrative of which the blood still runs cold. That the slaughter was committed in the name of the founder of the religion of peace adds darker shadows to the sombre story of those days. One mild and gentle apostle addressed the king in these words: "It is lawful that your majesty, like a good shepherd appointed by the hand of the Eternal Father should tend and lead out your sheep, since the Holy Spirit has shown spreading pastures whereon are feeding lost sheep which have been snatched away by the dragoon, the demon. These pastures are the new world, wherein is comprised Florida, now in possession of the demon, and he makes himself adored and revealed. This is the land of promise possessed by idolaters, the Amorite, Amelekite, Moabite, Canaanite. This is the land promised by the Eternal Father to the faithful, since we are commanded by God in the holy scriptures to take it from them, being idolaters, and by reason of their idolatry and sin to put them to the knife, leaving no living thing except maidens and children, their cities robbed and sacked, their walls and houses levelled to the earth."
   For many long years the struggle between France and Spain for this fairest portion of the new world continued. Neither was destined to succeed. The pompous expeditions of both nations, their blasphemous proclamations, their costly settlements - all gave way in time to the simple beginnings on the banks of the James and the coast of New England. Still, for a long time after the Spaniards were confined to Mexico, and the French to Canada and the Mississippi valley, the same suspicions, jealousies, rivalries and antagonisms continued. If the French made a move in one quarter, the Spaniards endeavored to meet it by a counter stroke in another. If one nation established a trading post in the wilderness, the other sought to seduce its servants and to render the enterprise abortive. Spies and other emissaries abounded everywhere. With all ostentatious display of peace on both sides, there was constant suspicion and constant watchfulness. In a letter from Bieuville, governor of Louisiana, dated April 25, 1722, he says that he learns from the savages of the Missouri that the Spaniards meditated an establishment on the Kansas river, and that he has ordered Sieur de Boisbriant to prevent this by sending a detachment of twenty soldiers to build a little fort and to remain in garrison on that river.



   Such was the situation in the years 1739-40, when the expedition to which I invite a few minutes' attention started from what is now Nebraska to Santa Fe. What we know of this journey is meagre and fragmentary in a most provoking degree, consisting solely of an abridgement or synopsis of a journal kept by one of the travellers for the perusal of Governor de Bienville at New Orleans. The summary or table of its contents is as follows: "The brothers Mallet with six other Frenchmen, leaving the river of the Panimahas discover the river Platte, visit the villages of the Lalitane nation, and reach Santa Fe." The names of those who composed this adventurous band were Peter and Paul Mallet, Philip Robitaille, Louis Morin, or, as the name is sometimes written, Moreau, Michael Beslot, Joseph Bellecourt, Manuel Gallien, and Jean David. All except the last, who was from the mother country, were Canadians of French parentage. The ostensible object of their trip was to establish trade with the merchants of New Mexico. What secret instructions if any, they had, or what their real purpose was, is nowhere involved in their memorial, and will probably never be more than conjectured, but that the Spaniards were at least doubtful as to their character seems clear. About one hundred years later, and long after Louisiana had become the property of the United States, an expedition starting from Texas with the same pretense of amity and social intercourse, received but scant courtesy from the Mexicans, and it is not probable that the latter were less on their guard against their hereditary enemies, the French.
   The little band, at the time when the journal was introduced to them, had reached the nation of the Panimahas, with whom the French were on friendly terms, living on a river of the same name. It may be considered as a fact established by papers already published in the collection of this society, that the Panimahas were the tribe since known as the Pawnees, and the Panimaha river was the stream now called the Loup Fork.
   From a point on the Loup, not far from where Genoa is now situated, the Mallet brothers took their departure on the 29th day of May, 1739. Those who, prior to that time had essayed to make the same hazardous journey, had supposed that New Mexico was situated on the headwaters of the Missouri, and had therefore attempted to reach that country by following up the course of the last-mentioned



stream. But the Mallet brothers, upon the advice of some of their savage allies, determined to seek New Mexico by taking a southwesterly direction across the country. Accordingly, pursuing this course, they came on the third day to a wide and shallow river which (and here I follow the exact language of the original) they named the Platte. So far as I know or can ascertain this was the first time that our wandering stream had received an appellation in a Christian tongue. Other adventurous bushrangers thereafter translated other titles and L'Eau-qui-court, L'Eau-qui-pleure, the Papillion, the Chadron, the Loup, and others will long retain, it is to be hoped, the soft and musical nomenclature of the Gallic race. But who named them or when, are as yet as difficult to answer as the question what name Achilles assumed when he hid himself among women. This one fact has alone survived the century and a half that has elapsed since the daring enterprise of these Canadian French.
   They struck the Platte probably in the vicinity of Kearney. At any rate, at some point where the general course of the stream was toward the northeast or east, for we read that the explorers, finding that it did not deviate materially from the route they had chosen, followed it up for the distance of twenty-eight leagues, where they found that the river of the Padoucas emptied into it. This river was unquestionably the south fork of the Platte, and it is noteworthy that on one of Colton's maps of the United States, published in 1862, the stream is still called the Padouca. For three days afterwards the brothers Mallet ascended the north fork of the Platte, until on the 13th of June finding that its course was leading them to the northwest instead of the direction they had determined upon, they turned to the left, crossed the north fork, traversed the tongue of land made by the two branches, and encamped on the shores of a river which must have been the south fork.
   It is not easy to identify with absolute certainty the water course which in the next few days they seem to have crossed. From their journal has been eliminated all matters except such as would enable an engineer officer to direct the march of an army over the same course. It is manifest, however, that they crossed several affluents and the main current of the Republican, marching over a treeless country, which supplies barely wood enough for cooking purposes, and recording that these bare plains extended as far as the mountains



in the vicinity of Santa Fe. On the 20th they reached and crossed a deep and rapid river, losing in the operation seven horses laden with merchandise. This stream they say was the Kansas. Again they entered upon the prairies bare of trees, dependent upon buffalo chips for their fuel, encamping nearly every night by a watercourse, until on the 30th of June they pitched their tents upon the banks of the Arkansas river, where for the first time they came upon traces of Spanish occupancy.
   It is hardly necessary to follow their exact course from this point, or to speak of their encounter with an Indian tribe called Lalitanes, their success in procuring a guide or their first view of the Spanish mountains. On the 14th they reached the pueblo and mission of Pecos, so well known to all travelers on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railway. Here they were treated with kindness and consideration, and from here passing through Taos, they reached Santa Fe on the 22d of July. From hints in their journal and its accompanying documents, it is quite evident that while hospitably received they were sedulously guarded and watched. Communication with the City of Mexico could be had but once a year, and so after making known their wishes to establish commerce between the Spanish and French, they were obliged to submit to a delay of nine months before an answer could be returned. Probably this detention was not entirely irksome to them, as it enabled them to make sundry valuable observations for the governor of Louisiana. Their report contains suspicious sentences like the following: "Santa Fe is a city built of wood and without fortifications of any kind." * * *
   "There are only eighty soldiers in the garrison - an ill conditioned body of men, poorly equipped." * * * "There are valuable mines in the province, worked for the king of Spain, the silver from which is transmitted annually by caravan to Old Mexico." * * * "The few presents distributed among the Lalitanes have had an excellent effect, and the tribe will be entirely on our side if we have an establishment in the country."
   It is doubtful if our adventurers were much annoyed or disappointed by the response of the viceroy which consisted of an offer to engage them to discover a rich region three months' journey to the westward, where it was said there were populous cities whose dwellers were clothed in silks and lived in luxury. They preferred,



with a single exception, to return to their own country. One of them, Louis Moreau, had, during the visit succumbed to the charms of Mexican beauty and decided to tempt the desert no farther. Of the remaining seven, three returned to the land of the Pawnees on the Loup, and eventually reached the French settlement on the Illinois. The remaining four descended the Arkansas, not without hardships, risk, and suffering, finally abandoning their horses and constructing two bark canoes, in which frail vessels they floated down the last named river to its mouth, and the Mississippi to New Orleans, where, after one abortive attempt to retrace their steps, they pass from our sight.
   It may not be uninteresting in conclusion to present a translation of a certificate of good conduct given at Santa Fe to the seven who returned. I reproduce as well as I can the modest and unassuming tone of the original document:
   "Certificate given at Santa Fe to seven Frenchmen, by Jean Paez Hurtado, alcade, major and captain of war of this capital city of Santa Fe and its jurisdiction, lieutenant-governor and captain general of the realm of New Mexico and the province.
   "I certify so far as it is within my ability, to the captain, Dom Louis de Saint Denis, who commands the fort which is at the entrance of the Red river, to all other governors and captains, judges and justices of the most Christian king of France, and to all officers, military or civil, to whom these presents shall come, that on the 24th day of July, of the past year 1739, there came to this city of Santa Fe, eight Frenchmen named Peter and Paul Mallet, brothers, Philip Robitaille, Louis Morin, Michael Beslot, Joseph Bellecourt, and Manuel Gallien, creoles of Canada, in new France, and Jean David, of Europe, who were received in my presence by the Seigneur Dominique de Mendoza, lieutenant-colonel, governor and lieutenant-general of this realm, at the entrance of the palace, where the said Paul Mallet, having entered with the said Seigneur and Dom Saint Iago de Reibaldo, vicar of the realm, the said lord governor demanded of him whence they came and to what end. To which the said Paul answered that they were from New France, and that they had come for the purpose of establishing commerce with the Spaniards of this realm, by reason of the close alliance existing between the crowns of France and Spain. Upon which the said lord governors sent their



muskets to the body guard, and seeking where to lodge them, there being no room in the palace, I took them to my house, where I entertained them. A few days afterwards I sent to seek for their arms, ammunition, and luggage which they had saved when wrecked in crossing a river, where they lost nine horses laden with merchandise and clothing. So that according to their account they had had the intrepidity, though almost naked, to discover this realm and give to it communication with the colonies of New Orleans and Canada. And spurning all dangers and risks from hostile savages they have come to see the Spaniards, by whom they have been well received, having been invited by them to eat and lodge in their houses while awaiting the answer of Monseigneur, the archbishop viceroy of Mexico, Dom Jean Antoine Bizarou, a period of nine months during which time the brothers Mallet, who have been domiciled with me and eating at my table, have maintained a very correct and christian-like demeanor, and being about to return I have advised them, that in case they obtain a royal license for commerce with this kingdom, they bring on their return a certificate and passport from the governor, in default of which, their goods would be liable to confiscation as contraband.
   "In testimony whereof, etc. Given at Santa Fe this 30th day of April, 1740. JEAN PAEZ HURTADO."
   Such is the unsatisfactory and imperfect memorial of an expedition which at that period called for and displayed as much sagacity, heroic endurance and bravery as any more recent discoveries in the Arctic regions or the wilds of Africa. The names of its heroes, except for the accident of being pigeon-holed a century and a half ago, would have been in our day utterly forgotten. The Mallet brothers, the leaders of this little band,, have descendants still living in this country. Would it be out of place to suggest to the authorities of the Union Pacific, Burlington & Missouri, Northwestern, or other railways, and to others engaged In western enterprises who find it no easy task to select distinctive or appropriate appellations for the rapidly increasing towns of the western frontier, that those who gave its enduring name to our erratic river are entitled to have their own perpetuated in some flourishing station or village?



[Read before a meeting of the Society, January 14, 1890.]

   The causes leading to the organization of Nebraska territory date back of the adoption of the American constitution, and form a part of the history of that freedom which now distinguishes the people of the United States from all other governments. The federal union is, within itself, a compact of free and independent states, formed from those physical parts, and bounded by those natural and artificial lines which peculiarly fit each separate dominion to become a part of the whole, all within the belt of the temperate zone of the western hemisphere.
    The development of the free soil doctrine, which made it Nebraska, really began before it had a settler and before the American revolution had accomplished its great results, to understand which it is necessary to state a few facts in the history of African slavery. The African slave trade first introduced slavery into the province of Virginia in the year 1619, and by the year 1670 it is estimated that there were at least 2,000 slaves in that dominion. The first English slave ship fitted out in the colonies, sailed from Boston in 1646. The French admitted slavery to be established in their colonies in 1624. The whole "civilized" world engaged in the traffic for profit for more than a century afterward, and it became common in all American colonies.
    About the year 1775, with the development of the doctrines of popular liberty, the evil began gradually to contract in the dominion of Canada and the Northern American colonies, owing to the unprofitable condition of slave labor upon the one hand, and the development and the assertion of equal and universal rights upon the other, so that in 1784, Rhode Island had led the way in the interdiction of importing slaves into her territory, and in the year following



enacted a law for their gradual emancipation. When the census of 1840 was taken, she had but five slaves left within her borders. Massachusetts, by her bill of rights, abolished slavery in 1780, and the act went into full effect by the decision of her courts in 1783, and no slaves are shown by the census of 1790. In the same year Pennsylvania barred the further introduction of slaves, and also enacted a law for their gradual emancipation, and the census taken in 1840, found but sixty-four in servitude within her boundaries. In 1784, Connecticut followed her example, and in 1840 she had only 17 persons in involuntary servitude. Virginia prohibited the introduction of slaves from abroad in 1778, and North Carolina in 1786, Maryland in 1783, New Hampshire abolished slavery in 1793, and but few remained in the year 1800. In 1799 New York adopted gradual emancipation and had but few slaves left in the year 1840. New Jersey followed in the year 1820, but did not fairly rid herself of the evil prior to the first election of Abraham Lincoln. She had twenty slaves in the summer of 1860.
   Our country was, therefore, called upon to wrestle with popular slavery as a domestic institution during those years, and under those limitations and obstructions in her way when asserting her own independence and legislating for the establishment of her own popular liberty. The importation of slaves into her borders was not, therefore, forbidden by her general government until the year 1808.
   The census of 1790 kindly gives us 59,456 free colored persons in the United States, the great majority of whom were of pure African descent. The second census gives us 108,395, the third makes the figures to 186,466 the fourth raises the figures to 233,524, the fifth increases them to 319,599, in 1840 the whole number was 386,303, and in 1850 the census brought in 434,495, which was increased to about 500,000 in the year 1860. The slave population in 1790, was about 700,000, which increased to nearly 4,000,000 by the year 1860. The states were at this time half slave and half free, and slavery had so far receded that the territories north of 36o 30 min. were free soil, and but five slave states remained north of that line, which were afterwards designated border states. The growth and development of the free soil doctrine, therefore, had for its counterpart the history of that legislation, those common debates and discussions which had restricted and confined the American system of African slavery to



the southern part and parts of our common country. The history of this legislation begins with the year 1783.
   In 1790, two distinct and separate doctrines of civil government prevailed among the statesmen of our nation, the one the federal idea, which comprised the doctrines of a strong and centralized system, dominant over all local colonies, and into which the original thirteen states with ceded territory in their separate capacities should become merged in one common whole, constituting one strong and centralized power; and the other, the democratic theory, following strictly in its construction the preamble to that great charter known as the constitution of the states, and which refers all power of the governed to the people themselves. All discussions of importance on the bill of rights, the purchase of lands, their division into territories and their organization and government as such, their internal improvement, consequent development, and final admission into the union as states, have arisen from the public consideration of these political dogmas, as enunciated and applied by successive administrations. Each territory and state has partaken of these doctrines as successively brought forth and constituted, with the single exception of Kentucky, which was ceeded (sic) by Virginia and directly admitted upon her acceptance of the constitution, without becoming a ward of the general government under that political tutelage known as a territory, taking effect June 1, 1792.
   The federal idea had for its home the New England colonies, bound together by the ties of religion, kindred, community of interests in Indian wars, and early confederation in opposition to the mandates of the mother country. It also extended gradually westward with emigration, The remaining colonies were embraced in separate and distinct grants from the British government to the original proprietors and patentees, and were subdivided at an early day into great and broad baronies, vestiges of which still remained. The immunity shared by them from invasions, insurrections, and the general pacific relations with Indian tribes, had rendered a compact unnecesary (sic).
   Other reasons for the view may be had by considering the religion and character of the settlers of the southern colonies. Maryland was peculiarly Catholic, Virginia Episcopal, South Carolina Huguenot, and North Carolina was a refuge for all the distressed classes of



Britain. Nothing had occurred up to the year 1775 to create a community of interest in these southern colonies.
   At this time the colonies were possessed in their original grants by the general treaty with Britain, and owned vast tracts of territory over which they held jurisdiction and control. The boundaries were not always well defined, but the titles were unquestioned. In adjusting the indebtedness of the several states and of the general government, these vast tracts were ceded to the latter, and control assumed by the United States. These grants included all the unsettled country north of Florida and west of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the Carolinas. The organization of the territory northwest of the Ohio immediately followed, and a restriction imposed that there "should be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes whereof the parties shall be first duly convicted." The substance of this condition had been proposed in the Continental congress in the year 1784, and did not finally pass until about July 11, 1787.
   Vermont was disputed territory, and domestic slavery never found a foothold. She was always free soil. Kentucky inherited the institution from Virginia, and never had a voice either for or against its introduction. No one of the colonies had a voice, and the colonies were none of them responsible for its existence within their borders, so that negro slavery is to be wholly referred to the policy of another government, and the same that maintained control over our colonial affairs.
    North Carolina made a contribution of her Tennessee country on the 22d day of December, 1789, and conditioned her grant so that "One regulation made or to be made by congress shall tend to emancipate slaves." The financial. condition of the general government was very poor at that time, and standing in urgent need of the gift, she accepted it with the condition.
   Georgia at first resented the introduction of slavery, but its encroachments were so urgent that she first yielded, and afterward repealed her anti-slavery statute. Her grants of Alabama and Mississippi were made to the general government, with all the restrictions, conditions, and privileges made in favor of the northwest territory, save and except that article which forbids slavery. This gift was likewise accepted with the condition.



   About the year 1800, an attempt was made to extend the limitation of the act as to Ohio Territory, but Ohio was admitted a free state in the year 1802.
   Indiana Territory, also wrestled with the same question, then under the leadership of its governor, afterward President W. H. Harrison, and a petition from its legislature was presented in congress for the suspension of the Sixth Article for the period of ten years, so that slaves born within the United States, or from any one of the states, might be admitted. This necessarily resulted in the appointment of committees, the discussion of the subject matter and reports to the house involving these discussions. The extension was not considered expedient, and was hence the subject of refusal. Following slowly afterward came into the union the free states of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The latter was formed from the cession made by Great Britain to our government in 1796, and with like restriction.
   On the 20th of December, 1803, the government of the United States took possession of that extensive country lying north of Florida, and from the mouth of the Mississippi river to the British Possessions, and from thence across the Rocky mountains. This purchase had been at a venture of 60,000,000 francs from the First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte, of France, without reference to the extension of human slavery, and that portion constituting the present state of Louisiana was admitted into the union in 1812, under its pro-slavery state constitution.
   Upon the treaty of 1767, whereby France had ceded the northwest territory to the British government,. the French trappers and traders who resided in the Illinois country crossed over into Missouri, taking their slaves with them, and human slavery existed there at the time of purchase in 1803.
   In December, 1817, a delegate from Missouri appeared in congress, and was admitted to a seat. It was proposed during the following February, that Missouri be admitted into the Union, but a clause was desired by northern congressmen prohibiting the extension of slavery. This was the great entering wedge and resulted finally in the Missouri compromise of 1820. It was in this discussion that Mr. Cobb, of Georgia, declared that if the north persisted, the union would be dissolved, and remarked with warmth, addressing a con-



gressman from New York: "You have kindled a fire which all the water of. the ocean can not put out, which seas of blood only can extinguish." This first struggle resulted in the organization of the territory south of 36o 30 min. and north of Louisiana, into the Territory of Arkansas, with slavery unrestricted, but the admission of Missouri into the union of states on either basis, slave or free, was defeated.
   The second Missouri struggle commenced in December of the next session, and much new blood having been infused into the house, by reason of previous elections, the debates were long and the question was again fully discussed. Memorials were presented from legislatures of several states, including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, favoring the restriction of slavery. An elaborate memorial prepared by Daniel Webster, and signed by himself, George Blake, Josiah Quincy, and many others, desiring that measures be taken "to restrain the increase of slavery in new states to be admitted into the union," was presented December 3, 1819. This sentiment prevailed strongly in Boston, and throughout the New England states. The legislature of Kentucky passed a memorial by a unanimous vote against the desired restriction, and it was also presented to congress in January following. Upon the final vote the restriction was lost, and Missouri was admitted into the union with slavery on February 28, 1821. Maine was received a free state on the next day. This was according to an agreement, and all the territory north and west of the line of 36o 30 min., which was the south line of the state of Missouri, was declared by act of congress, at the same time, to be free territory, and that slavery should be forever excluded. It was at that time occupied only by Indians, a few trappers, and two detachments of the regular army.
   The Missouri state line on the west ran due north and south, crossing the river at Kansas City, at the mouth of the Kaw river. The territory comprising the six counties in the northwest part of the state was then an Indian reservation, and contains its most fertile soil. Senators Benton and Linn succeeded in securing an extension of this state line to the river, and this extension included these fine lands, the bill being approved by President Jackson on the 7th day of June, 1836. This extension of slave territory was so quietly done, notwithstanding the anti-slavery agitation of the times, and

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