Art. V. — Wisconsin: Its Resources, Condition, and Prospects.
Few, if any, of the younger States, have made a more favorable impression upon the mind of the American public, than Wisconsin. From the time when her mineral treasures first attracted the attention of Western adventurers, to that, when her voice was heard at the doors of our National Legislature, asking to be confederated in a State capacity with the Union, and ever since, the report which rumor and travel have borne thence, has been not only favorable in the aggregate, but also uniformly consistent; not one day uttering enormous improbable tales of Arcadian beauty and fertility, and the next, equally extravagant and ridiculous stories of Saharaan sterility, and marshes fraught with ten thousand agues and fevers. In this respect of reputation, Wisconsin has been conspicuously fortunate, for it is certainly preferable to enjoy a certain definite character, even though it underrate one's merit, than to be puffed and defamed, (if the words are not become synonyms,) in alternate breaths. Wisconsin made her debut, so to speak, at a fortunate epoch — after the fanaticism of Western emigration was over, and the edge of laud speculation had become somewhat blunted — when railroads were just opening up to the world the demonstrations of the spendid problems in political economy, to which they had given rise — when it had become nothing strange for as fine a country to be found one or two thousand miles west of the Atlantic coast, as one or two hundred, and when each new member admitted to the family of Uncle Sam, was no longer, as a matter of course, a prodigy of salubrity and fecundity.
In the few years since her settlement began, Wisconsin has made greater progress in developing her resources, perfecting the fabric of society, the organization and efficiency of civil government, the establishment on a permanent basis of Commerce and exchange, than any other State in the Union at a corresponding political age. The connection which she now sustains with the East is intimate, and her relations with citizens of other States are multiform and numerous in the way of commercial and money exchanges, as well as in the interchange of friendship and the courtesies of social life. We have, accordingly, thought that an article containing a notice of the prominent general characteristics of the country, and the circumstances under which her growth has been, and is taking place, might be interesting to many of our readers — it can hardly fail of being so to the numerous class
445who sustain family and friendly relations with the inhabitants of Wisconsin. We do not propose to be very methodical in our treatment of the subject, and shall not subdivide into minute topics, making but one or two heads; and first —
There is at present, a strong upward tendency in real estate, which is natural and healthy, being the ongoing of a sometime suspended movement, which seems to have accumulated energy during its quiescence. A few years since, the tide of emigration, which was setting steadily and full into the West, was suddenly diverted Californiaward, and the States of the West were left to wait, in a state of "suspended animation," for the reflowing of that tide. Contemporaneous with this was the failure (for one or two consecutive years,) of the wheat crop, and the temporary confusion consequent thereon in agricultural and commercial operations. These two circumstances, in connection with a great scarcity of money and the absence of a reliable paper currency, co-operated to form an era still fresh in the minds of all, which fully merited the unequivocal name "hard times." But the recent almost simultaneous disappearance of each of these obstacles to civil progress, has enabled the State to resume a career happily begun, and now being pursued with vigor, under most auspicious circumstances.
Real estate, as we before said, is again exhibiting an upward tendency; farms which, a year or two ago, might have been bought for about the cost of the improvements thereon, are no longer for sale. A feeling of contentment and security has taken the place of a desire to sell, and the uncertainty, which for a while attended the wheat crop, taught the farmers that other crops, or stock raising, were even more profitable than the cultivation of wheat. No soil produces more abundant harvests of spring grains, than that of Wisconsin, and several circumstances conspire to adapt it peculiarly to wool growing, stock raising, dairying, & c. The amount of capital required to purchase a farm here is, say about one-tenth as great as in New York, for instance, and upon ten times the area of soil, at least five times the amount of stock can be kept. But, instead of a definite amount of land, laboriously kept fenced and guarded against intrusion and extrusion, the Wisconsin farmer, in common with a few neighbors, enjoys the range of a prairie, three, five, or seven miles broad, skirted with "openings," and covered with a most luxurious growth of vegetation provided by nature for the immediate sustenance of cattle, while upon the lower parts or bottom land, are meadows ready seeded and leveled for the scythe.
The usually open winters, and the fine clear weather of the country, (rains having always a "definite beginning and end,") contribute to adapt the State peculiarly to wool-growing, as well as to raising other stock. Wool is fast becoming one of the staples, and several importations have lately taken place of full-blood French Merino and other valuable breeds of sheep. Certainly, if wool-growing is profitable on farms worth from $20 to $50 per acre, it must, in an equally advantagous climate, with not more than two or three per cent difference in market price, on farms worth from two to five dollars per acre.
The character of the soil of Wisconsin is indicated to some extent, by its geological features. The limestone underlying the coal-fields of Illinois, forms the immediate basis of the alluvion of Southern Wisconsin. This geological district, with that portion of the State which lies southerly of the valley
446of the Wisconsin River, comprises the whole of the slope toward Lake Michigan. In many portions of this district the lime rock disappears, and the out-cropping sandstone furnishes a fine material for building. The lead bearing rock of the mineral region is a porous limestone, prevailing throughout Grant, La Fayette, and Iowa counties, comprising four-fifths of the "Lead District" of the Upper Mississippi — the remaining one-fifth being in the States of Illinois and Iowa. Deposits of iron ore, water limestone, and beds of gypsum, together with other varieties of minerals, are found in localities more or less numerous throughout the limestone region. All of that section of the State which lies between Lake Superior on the north, and the Falls of St. Anthony on the Mississippi, and the falls of other rivers flowing southerly, is primitive in its prevailing geological character, and it is within this primitive region, that the copper mines of Lake Superior are found probably the richest in the world, and apparently inexhaustible.
In all that portion of the State lying between the primitive region just described, and the limestone formation of the South and East, the transition sandstone prevails, interspersed with limestone, and more sparsely with rock of a primitive character. This formation comprises that section of country drained by the Wisconsin and other rivers tributary to the Upper Mississippi, below the falls of those streams. Within tins geological district are found quarries of white marble, which promises to be abundant and valuable. The limestone district of the State is overspread by a soil and subsoil, similar to that which prevails in other portions of the great valley, and is unsurpassed by any in fertility. It is the distinction of the mineral region of Wisconsin, that it is overspread by a surface of the very finest agricultural qualities, contrary to the general fact that a mining district is worthless for agricultural purposes. Proceeding northerly and westwardly of the dividing ridge, between the waters of Lake Michigan and those that flow into the Upper Mississippi, the soil will be observed to become more sandy and porous, a character which prevails throughout the sandstone region above described. The soil of this portion of the State is easily cultivated, warm, highly productive, and the growth luxuriant. (Vide pamphlet "Wisconsin")
Within these various districts are successfully cultivated, wheat, corn, oats, barley, flax, peas, beans, potatoes, hops, and all grains which can be grown in the same latitude elsewhere. Fruit received early attention from settlers, and many fine bearing orchards may be found, while almost every farm has A nursery or young orchard of apple, plum, cherry, and other fruit-bearing trees; grapes and strawberries flourish remarkably well, and peach trees are cultivated with some considerable success.
The largest portion of the State, exclusive of that lying north of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers, consists of alternating prairie and opening, in about equal proportions. The prairies are universally small, from two to ten or fifteen miles in diameter, and are skirted round by openings of oak, interspersed with maple and hickory. Settlers usually "enter" a farm part prairie and part opening, thus securing a forest lot and an ample "clearing." The soil, enriched by the burning upon it yearly of a large mass of most luxuriant vegetation, is composed of a sort of impalpable powder, formed of the elements of organic matter, and its richness would seem marvelous were the causes unknown. The country lacks but a thick over-sprinkling of farmhouses and church spires, to completely deceive the eye of the traveler, so much do its oak groves resemble orchards and forest lots, and its prairies cultivated fields. This "old-farm" aspect of things so invariably remarked by
447travelers, contributes a home feeling to the settler, and reminds him by agreeable comparison, rather than by painful contrast, of the fields and groves with which in other days he has been familiar. Nor is this wholly a matter of seeming and imagination. A year or two of occupancy, the erection of a house and barn, suffices to make the first illusion a subsequent fact. Ripening fields of grain, undisfigured by stumps to show that a forest lately occupied and will not at once resign its "nine-tenth" claim to the soil, wave around the new settler, as they waved in fields, which successive generations have reaped. Green meadows stretch away beneath his eye, leveled to perfect smoothness, as if the fire that once annually swept over them, had been an agent commissioned to keep them enriched and smoothed for the scythe of oncoming agriculture.
This facility, with which prairie and opening can be converted into old farms, both in appearance and practical reality, has done much to augment the increase of population, which, for the decade of years ending 1850, was 890 per cent; an increase unparalleled in the history of States, even in America, where civilization seems to have acquired such wonderful momentum, as will be seen by the following comparison: —
|The greatest ratio of increase of||Ohio was from||1800 to 1810||409 per cent|
|" " "||Indiana "||1810 1820||506 "|
|" " "||Illinois "||1810 1820||350 "|
|" " "||Michigan "||1830 1840||570 "|
|" " "||Wisconsin "||1840 1850||890 "|
|" " "||Iowa "||1840 1850||345 "|
The mineral resources of Wisconsin attracted the attention of the first settlers, and, although this fact retarded the progress of agriculture, by drawing a larger proportion of the earlier emigrants to the more exciting life of the miner, yet it must, at the same time, have created a home market of some extent, and thus given an impulse to agriculture. As in all new States, the want of a market most prolongs the state of incipiency in agriculture, so this need was but slightly alleviated by the market which the mining and lumbering districts afforded. Add to these the fact common to all new States, that the first occupants are either speculators, or else men of limited means but vast energies, and you have an idea of the circumstances under which Wisconsin began her civil career.
There are in Wisconsin, as in some other Western States, settlements of Norwegians, who, impelled by a sort of national fraternity, "locate" in neighborhoods, and sometimes form the principal population of one or two conterminous townships. They are a hardy, industrious race, prudent and economical in the extreme, and disregarding external appearances, are accumulating large fortunes, and extending and multiplying their farms so as to widen rapidly the area of cultivated soil. They are thus doing the State a great service, and counteracting, to some extent, the evil tendency of speculation and land granting to corporations. There is also an admixture of Germans in the population, and those only who are acquainted with their characteristics and know the rigid apprenticeship system, both in arts and education, which is enforced in their native land, will set a sufficiently high value upon this constituent in the elements which go to make up the general character of a State.
Within the borders of Wisconsin is springing up a cis-Atlantic Germany for the sons of trans-Atlantic "Fatherland." The language of the Rhine there almost rivals the English in universality of use, and mingles with it in
448the great anthem of earnest life, which ascends from the marts of trade, the saloons of pleasure and fashion, the halls of debate and legislation, and the walls dedicated to the free worship of God. The waters of the Mississippi, as they meet and mingle with the waters of the Rhine in the deep bosom of the Atlantic, can tell of a new fatherland in the far off clime from whence they flow. Here, where no kingly fiat can trammel the soul — where no omnipresent police can bear fire-side converse and secret thoughts to the quick ear of tyranny — where brighter than European skies, are arched above the heads of freer than European men — where a soil, instinct with freedom, clothed in verdure, and decked with flower-gems, has never felt the tread of tyrant or slave — where esto perpetua has been inscribed upon a glorious charter of human rights — here are being laid the foundations of a home, where the Celt, the Teutonic, and the Scandinavian shall fraternize, and the shamroc and thistle, the lily and the pine, shall mingle their leaves and flowers to symbolize the unity of races and the brotherhood of man.
This interfusion and commingling of races is, no doubt, the preparation for a higher state of life than has before been reached. It produces an eclecticism of customs and institutions — it transfuses the swift life tide and nervous energy of the new world, into the veins and body of the old; and reciprocally leavens the moral constitution of the too progressive, too reformatory "Young America," with wholesome conservatism. Thus, at the same time, liberalizing and conservating thought and feeling — multiplying varieties of human character, and presenting new and curious phases of social, intellectual, and moral life — widening the range of observation, enlarging the scope of thought, and enriching language itself, this commixture of nations is widening the realm of the possible for humanity, and aiding to originate influences, universal as the race and potent as truth. It is as if some social alchemist had discovered in the Anglo-Saxon race, a philosopher's stone, and was bringing all other races in contact with it, that they might be transmuted, by the touch, to something finer and more precious.
But perhaps all this is not exactly pertinent to our topic, agriculture. There is no inferiority in the character of implements and machines, or in professional knowledge, among the inhabitants of "Wisconsin, as compared with older States. A State Agricultural Society has been in existence several years, and its annual fairs have, invariably, exceeded the anticipations of all interested. At Janesville, is published a monthly magazine devoted to agriculture and the kindred arts, and another at Racine, of the same character. Many of the best New York and New England agricultural journals are numerously subscribed for by the farmers of Wisconsin, who, in intellectual capacity and habits of thought, (the American portion) are superior to the average of the same class in the Middle and Eastern States. Nor is it strange. Bursting out by the force of native enterprise, or driven by stern necessity from the orbit of which the parental roof and village circle was the controlling center, they began to obey self-constituted centripetal and centrifugal forces, and to revolve in a more extended orbit, marked out by a farther range of thought. Nothing seems wanting but access to market, to give Wisconsin the eminence in agriculture which her soil deserves. It is generally considered that a bushel of wheat sold in Wisconsin for four shillings, pays quite as good a profit, as if sold in central New York for one dollar, and so of other grains. The diminished expense of cultivation, the entire absence of waste land, the magnitude of the yield, and the smallness of the capital invested, combine to make a plain reason for this result. How wonderfully,
449there, will agriculture be benefited by the construction of railroads — every heart-throb of the commercial emporium will be felt there, when these nerves of iron shall have extended their filaments, and formed their ganglia throughout the State. The projection of railroads has given Wisconsin farmers a glimpse of a golden future for them, a future full of promise and rich in remunerations for the disappointments of former years.
Probably there has never been, in the history of the State, any epoch more favorable for real estate investments, than the present. All uncertainty is at an end, and, with ordinary judgment, it is perfectly easy to make purchases which will pay from 12 to 50 per cent per annum on the capital invested, by simple rise in value, if no improvements are made. The connection which two or three years, at the farthest, will make, between every important point in the State and the Eastern world, will bring its farmers in direct competition with those of the Middle States; and any one familiar with the soils of the countries respectively, can predict the result with the certainty of destiny. For ten years to come, stock of all kinds can be raised for about one-fourth the cost of raising in New York, and grain for about one-half. The transportation will never exceed 20 per cent, rarely 15 per cent, and on wool and similar articles will not exceed 3 to 5 per cent. Should the Pacific Railroad become a reality — we will not enter upon the subject — there would be such an inversion of present positions, as is unparalleled in the history of Commerce.
A barely comfortable subsistence, is all that can be obtained from an eastern farm of one hundred acres, worth $50 per acre; and a young man without money capital, can never become a land owner there, by the savings of agriculture alone. In Wisconsin, on the other hand, there are large tracts of land, (such as have made the fortunes of our Wadsworths,) in the oldest and best settled counties of the State, parts of Congress grants for State University and school funds, which are for sale at their appraised value, from $2 to $5 per acre ; ten per cent of the purchase money clown, and the balance payable in ten years, (those belonging to the school fund thirty years,) with 7 per cent interest. The amount now for sale at the State offices at Madison the capital, is about one-and-a-half millions acres. These tracts are of the best land in the State, having been located, at an early day, by gentlemen of knowledge and experience in such matters.
An emigration agency has been established in the city of New York, for the purpose of affording accurate and reliable information to persons emigrating westward, and for smoothing and rendering plain the path of the foreigner to that land of promise. The better classes of German and Norwegian population are beginning to find their way hither, bringing with them such capital, knowledge, and refinement, as will raise, vastly, the general character of the foreign population. Finer than telegraphic wires are stretched across the ocean, and a subtler than electric fluid plays along its lines.
All these circumstances combine to give real estate a buoyancy, and a strong upward tendency, which, unlike the inflations of land manias and speculators' bubbles, will end in general prosperity, instead of in an absorbing "crisis," and an inclusive "smash."
But we must pass to another point of observation. Intimately connected, of necessity, with agriculture is trade, and we have already adverted to it somewhat, in speaking of the former.
A simple inspection of the geographical situation of Wisconsin, shows an advantageous natural position for trade. Washed along its entire eastern border by Lake Michigan, the coast indentations forming several excellent harbors, and along the western boundary by the Mississippi River, it is thereby put in direct communication with New York and New Orleans — the East and the South. Beside these, the Fox River flowing north-east into Green Bay, and the Wisconsin river south-west into the Mississippi, and separated from each other at the nearest point, by a portage of only one and-a-half miles, and have been connected by a canal; thus forming a direct water communication between the basin of the St. Lawrence and the valley of the Mississippi. The proceeds of the sales of certain lands granted by Congress for the purpose, are being administered by the State, for the construction of a "steamboat communication" between those points, along the channel of the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers. When this project is completed, as it will be, though just now overshadowed by the more imperative necessity for railroads, it will form an important channel, not only for the trade of Wisconsin, but of the United States. All heavy freight will seek this route, in transits, from St. Louis and the South-West, as well as from Wisconsin, Iowa, and other States which may be formed, to the sea coast.
The importance of these natural channels will appear still more conspicuously, when we consider the immense lumber and lead trade which passes through them. There is a vast pinery, or evergreen district, along the upper Wisconsin River and its branches, and several other large pineries on the Wolf, (north branch of Fox,) the La Crosse, Black, Chippewa, and St. Croix rivers. These constitute the lumber district, an important feature of the State. The amount of lumber manufactured along the Wisconsin River, above the portage, in the year 1851, was 43,500,000 feet; and on the Fox, including the Wolf and other affluent, 30,000,000 feet. The amount of lead shipped from the State at Galena, has averaged during the eleven years ending 1851, 41,727,023 pounds, at a value ($4 00 per cwt,) of $1,669,980 92.
We are aware that in these days, when mountains are tunneled, and rivers made to flow in new channels, when the "everlasting hills" are "yoked together in bands of cyclopean architecture, and bear over their summits the caravans of Commerce," natural position is said to avail little. But, ceteris paribus, with the same energy, foresight, enterprise, natural position is worth just as much as ever; but an inactive reliance thereon, with no effort to super add the advantages of art, will result in a very insignificant progress. The commercial history of New York and Boston contains a lesson or two on this subject. No apathy, however, exists in Wisconsin, the railroad chapter in her history will be a compendious one. Charters have been already granted for 1,500 miles of railroad, and a beginning has been made upon nearly all the roads. There is more danger that too many roads will be built, than too few; but when we consider the comparatively trifling cost of a road in that country, (about $20,000 per mile,) we need not fear but that they will pay; and, that being once established, every advantage arises from their competition and contiguity. During a part of the year, heavy freight will always go by the Lakes, but during the cold season, railroads will be the sole reliance of importers and exporters. The railroad communication is now complete from New York, and the Eastern cities, to Chicago, which is destined to be the commercial emporium of the Great West; and connecting railroads, will soon be run to all parts of Wisconsin. From three to four days will be consumed on the route. The Beloit and Madison Railroad,
451connecting at Beloit with the Chicago and Galena Railroad, (which last is now in operation,) will form the first direct land communication between central Wisconsin and the East, via Chicago. It will be running to Madison on or before January 1, 1854.
The banking law of the State, submitted to the people last fall for ratification, went into operation January 1, 1853, and is pronounced most excellent by all acquainted with currency matters. Allowing the use of railroad mortgage bonds as a banking basis, it has facilitated loans, to railroad companies. It has, by easing the money market, prevented the sacrifice of partially improved farms, for the want of a few hundred dollars, which, a year or two since, could be borrowed only at a ruinous rate of interest. It is also sweeping out of the country the flood of issue upon personal security alone — "shinplasters" — which, like the vermin in the days of obdurate Pharaoh, have "come up" all over the land. There are those who are opposed, in principle, to this or any other banking law; but all feel perfect security in the currency of the Wisconsin Banks, knowing that every safeguard has been used that experience and wisdom could devise, and that they will not soon be from under the supervision of men of the most approved capacity, and the most sterling integrity. Banks have been organized at Madison, Milwaukee, Janesville, Fon-du-Lac, and Beloit.
It will not be expected that many extensive manufactories are to be found in Wisconsin, if we except lumber and flouring mills. It is a well known fact, that of the corps of carpenters and masons, not more than one-tenth are regularly educated mechanics, the others are "men of genius" — Yankees. The demand for master workers in all the departments of house building, cabinet ware, carriage making, & c. , is earnest and importunate. Good workmen in all the mechanic arts, receive higher wages there than in the East, while the cost of living is reduced one half. More flouring mills will soon be required, oil mills are being built, woolen factories will soon be erected, for there is little doubt that wool-growing will form an important feature in Wisconsin agriculture. Cotton Mills, drawing their supply of raw material through the easy and direct route of the Mississippi River, will soon be creating Western Lowells and Chicopees. The field thus opened for artisans, especially for millwrights, is vast, and cannot soon be occupied. The shores of Lake Michigan, by their easy access to the vast lumber region, afford unsurpassed facilities for shipbuilding, and we do not believe that the West will long be dependent upon the East, for the productions of machine shops and foundries. Water powers are numerous almost all over the State — a thousand streams which now spend their strength in play of eddies, and in cresting the rocks along their beds with foam, if once caught and harnessed, would accomplish a higher destiny than is now theirs, and utter, in their ceaseless ripple, no less of poetry and more of utilitarianism.
The principal trading towns are, on the lake side, Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, Oyaukee, Manitowac, Sheboygan, and Green Bay; and on the Mississippi border, Potosi, Prairie du Chien, Prairie La Crosse, and Willow River; in the lead district, Mineral Point and Platteville; in the basin of the Fox and Lower Wisconsin, Fort Winnebago, Portage City, Oshkosh, Fond-du-Lac, and Menasha; on the banks of the Rock River, Watertown, Janesville, and Beloit; between the Rock and Lake Michigan, Whitewater and Waukesha. These towns, the most prominent of today, may soon be eclipsed by the rising splendors of some village not embraced in the present catalogue.
All these towns are of a growth like enchantment. Milwaukee, which in
4521835 was an Indian wilderness, is now a fashionable and wealthy city, with a population of 26,000. The fact, that in new States the largest part of the inhabitants are men, and that the business is mostly in the hands of young men, (ancient maiden ladies "please find, and when found make note of,") explains the wonderful earnestness of life, which characterizes young, rapidly growing towns. It explains also, why Eastern has come to be almost synonymous with metropolitan, in manners.
Madison, the capital of the State, deserves for its natural and picturesque beauty, a more extended notice than present limits allow. It is situated on an elevated isthmus, three-fourths of a mile broad, between two of a group, or chain of four beautiful little lakes, the largest of which is six by nine, and the smallest three by two miles in diameter. The water of these lakes is cold and clear, the shores are composed of a fine gravel shingle, and the bottoms of white sand. Their banks are, with few exceptions, bold, and present many situations similar, and hardly inferior, to those along the Hudson. The lower parts of the village are about fifty feet above the level of the lakes, while the eminence on which the Capitol stands, (in a park of fourteen acres, filled with trees of native growth,) is 30 feet higher. College Hill, the magnificent site of the State University, which has now been in operation several years, is another eminence, eighty feet above lake level, one mile distant from the State House. In no place has nature been more profuse in bestowing the natural elements of beauty, or more admirable in their collection. Rising from out the midst of an inland sea, with an outline graceful as the swell of an ocean wave, contrasting its mingled colors with the bright waters of the circumambient lakes, and the green woods and fields beyond, or, casting its long evening shadows far out over the waters, as if laying itself to rest in their deep bosom, Madison stands, the nonpareil of Western towns, the embodiment of ideal beauty. Hon. D. S. Curtiss, in a volume entitled "Western Portraiture," thus speaks of it: — " At some time in our travels or observations, all of us have met with some location that was at once, and indelibly, impressed upon the fancy, as the paragon of all out-door loveliness and beauty. With many persons, Madison is that paragon of landscape scenery. As the brilliant diamond, chased around with changing borders, which sparkles on the swelling vestment of some queenly woman, so this picturesque village, with its varied scenery, sits, the coronal gem, on the broad and rolling bosom of this rich and blooming State." In its horoscope, lie commingled the results which will flow from its position as the capital — as one of the largest inland trade depots, and as a place whose natural beauty will make it a favorite "summer resort," and surround it with the country seats of wealthy and refined gentlemen.
We have said little of the superficial beauty of Wisconsin, and can say but a word, He who graduates his ideas thereof by his knowledge of the States adjacent, or by preconceived notions of prairies and Western country, will find himself entirely mistaken in his ideas of Wisconsin scenery. It is not Alpine, indeed, nor does it need be, in order to be beautiful and even magnificent. There are no level prairies, and none, we believe, so large that forests are lost sight of in crossing them. The best description of the hillyness (to make a word) is found in the fact that "brakes" are universally used on stage-coaches, throughout the State: and they are not, like the Esq. at the end of an address, or the curl of a pig's caudal appendage, "more for ornament than use."
Nor is the State liable to the imputation which often rests upon new States,
453particularly in the West, of unhealthiness. The census returns show that the State of Wisconsin enjoys the healthiest climate in the United States, for one of such vast extent: and the fact is concurrent with rumor, agues, and the long catalogue of western fevers, so called, are much rarer than in New York even — the bright skies, definite weather, and pure air, are inimical to the whole family of febrile disorders.
We must not close, without a remark or two on the educational and kindred interests of the State.
Beside numerous academies and high schools, and several colleges, there is a State University, created by the munificence of Congress, which granted to the State, in trust, over 46,000 acres of land as an endowment. Their sale will produce a fund of about $500,000, and it is provided that this shall furnish instruction gratuitously through the entire collegiate and professional courses. Congress also set apart the 16th section, (640 acres,) in every township, for the support of common schools, and has since increased this donation by a grant of 500,000 acres, and five per cent on all sales of government lands; thus laying broad and firm the foundation for an admirable system of common schools, and hastening the date of their existence.
Churches are not yet numerous, but, as is customary in all parts of the United States, the school-house is made a house of worship for a time; a fitting emblem of the fraternity of reason and revelation, of the mind and the heart, of natural science and divine truth. Church buildings will soon be erected, and if the moral and religious character of the community advances correspondingly, the future of Wisconsin will surely be brightened by the benediction of God.
In the links which are binding us faster and firmer to our Eastern fatherland, we see a promise, that in religion, as in arts and education, we shall become worthy our paternity. That was a capital idea which Dickens puts in the mouth of "Mr. Veller, Sen. ," who, speaking of a steam-engine, says : "The sendblest thing it does is, ven there is anything in the vay, it sets up that 'ere terrible scream vich seems to say, ‘Now 'ere's two hundred and forty passengers in the werry greatest possible extremity o' danger, and 'ere's their two hundred and forty screams in vun!’" It also tells that in distant lands, whence with winged steps it has come, men live and labor; that the greatest of victories and noblest of triumphs is being achieved there. It speaks of a far off land where gigantic forests are being hewn into stately cities, and the haunts of the buffalo and deer are becoming green pastures and golden grain fields.
"This sinking of the mountains and raising of the valleys," says a celebrated D. D. ," is, I doubt not, in the providence of God, a preparation for the onward movement of other chariot wheels, than those of blood-stained conquerors — those electric wires are compassing the earth, for the conveyance of other tidings than those of either Commerce or conquest.
Let Christianity irradiate the vast circumference of this beautiful West, as the sun now shines upon it, and a new brightness and glory will arise over its wide-spreading prairies, and through its deep forests. Its landscapes will smile in more winning loveliness, and its lakes ripple in sweeter music — flowers will bloom in brighter brightness, and verdure wave in greener green.