December 21, 1865: A little of this and that.

Woman walking on frozen Mississippi
Woman on the ice at St. Louis, 1905

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A variety of items from the Dec. 21, 1865 Cape Girardeau Weekly Argus.

First, a note about the ice on the Mississippi breaking up at St. Louis. This may sound strange to us, but the Mississippi at St. Louis froze completely 10 times between 1831 and 1938. The Alton Dam above St. Louis now stops ice from coming downstream to form a full blockage, though with warming temperatures it’s pretty unlikely it would anyway.

Next, several states defeated moves to enfranchise black citizens, with the exception of Iowa.

A long article protests that the Republicans are “afraid of the people”, as various Reconstruction measures disenfranchise or bypass Confederate sympathizers. These measures disproportionately favored Republicans at the polls.

Finally, a snarky note about Massachusetts women shipped to Washington as brides. This did indeed happen, and it reminded me of that late 60s TV show “Here Come the Brides“. I’m pretty sure I could sing bits of the theme song even now, which just goes to show you what crap we can waste brain cells on. The writer seems to think that sending adult women to the other side of the country voluntarily to seek husbands is the equivalent of selling children away from their parents.

Great Destruction of Property

On Sunday at about three o’clock P.M., the ice gave way at St. Louis, and broke about twenty steamboats from their moorings, sinking two outright, and badly damaging many others. – The loss is estimated at a quarter of a million dollars. Some three hundred people were on the ice when it commenced moving, none of whom were drowned.

At Crawford’s Bar, fifteen miles above here, a number of boats are aground, and the river has fallen so as to leave one or more boats high and dry on a sand bar.

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The people of Minnesota have voted down negro suffrage by a majority of 2,500; Wisconsin ditto by a majority of 8,000; Connecticut ditto by a majority of 6,000; Colorado by a vote of ten to one. The only State which has sustained negro suffrage is Iowa.

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Why is it?

Why is it that the New Constitution partisans have such a horror of the people? Can any one tell us? Their cowardly distrust of the people is a feature that runs through their whole career. They can’t disguise, nor conceal it. It crops out every day.

When Judge Clover framed his famous, or rather infamous Vacating Ordinance, turning eight hundred faithful incumbents out of office, he didn’t provide that the vacancies should be filled in the usual manner, by a popular election. He provided for filling them by appointment of the Governor.

The New Constitution provides for the two new Judges of the Circuit Court of St. Louis County. How are they to be obtained? By an election by the people? No. But by the appointment of the Governor.

The Registry Bill provides for about one thousand Registrars in the State, who are to pass upon the qualifications of voters. They are not to be chosen by the people, but are to be appointed by the Governor.

The new Police Bill for St. Louis county provides for four Police Commissioners, vested with the extraordinary powers of taxing the people $325,000; of superintending all elections in the county, and of calling out the militia. Surely, in consideration of their paying the cost of these expensive functionaries, the people are permitted to choose them. Not at all. The commissioners are to be appointed by the Governor.

Thus, in all their measures, the New Constitution statesmen exhibit the same pusillanimous distrust of the people. Why is this? Why do they divest the masses of their ancient privilege of electing their own officers, and give the appointment of those officers to the Executive of the State? It is no answer to these questions that they are afraid of rebel votes; for their own beloved Constitution has disfranchised rebels. According to their own admissions, only loyal men are permitted to vote in Missouri.

The fact is the New Constitution partisans are afraid of loyal men. Indeed, they are afraid to trust their own party. — [St. Louis Dispatch

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The Chicago Times, alluding to the ship load of New England females about to sail for the pacific coast as emigrants gives the anti-slavery howlers the following dig in the ribs:

“The tears which have been shed in the North over the sundering of negro families, is sufficient to furnish perpetual water power, if collected, for the manufactories of all Massachusetts. Necessity, like a brutal slave-owner, has seized upon several hundred lovely young ladies of the Bay State, has torn them from their families, and will send them to the highest bidders in Washington Territory, thousands of miles away. Who will weep over this rude violation of the family circle? No one. Philanthropy gazes complacently on the transaction, and says nothing, because the matter has no vote.”

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