A-Rafting on the Mississip'

By Charles Edward Russell | Go to book overview

Chapter III
THE PINE-TREE ELDORADO

WITH amusement or with concern, as the case may be, the philosopher is now to note that as the tide of this great business mounted, the two extremes of crime met in the pine-woods to work for it side by side.

Half-savage vagrant men cut down the trees and occasionally fought, robbed, maimed, or murdered one another in a region without law or other restraint. Cultured and respectable business men sat in carpeted offices and directed what was in cold truth a gigantic plunder of their fellow-citizens. To picture the uncouth lumberjack of the woods and the suave dweller in some city mansion as arcades ambo would have jarred in those days even the man in the street, but historically would have been no more than a statement of fact.

When the lumber trade of the Mississippi began, most of the land that stored all this dazzling wealth and most of the wealth upon it belongéd to the people of the United States. Deemed among the most intelligent of earth’s inhabitants, they daundered by, blank-eyed as so many seal or sheep, and saw themselves despoiled.

An area of their land larger than the whole of New England, with New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia added, being in all 242,614 square miles, was filched from them by tricks

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