Wednesday, February 13, 2013

1869 - We Have it in Our Power

Replace the antiquated verbiage with today's language and the same issues are relevant.

Memphis Daily Appeal
June 11, 1869

Because we have not built as many houses in '66, '67, '68, and '69, as in '56, '57, '58, '59 and '60, many of us had come to regard Memphis as struck by the evil eye, conjured or hoo-dooed out of all the spirit that in the latter years characterized her.  We lost in 1865-6 a large floating surplus and vagabond population, and therefore deemed the glory had departed from Israel, and that thereafter we were to be a prey to misfortunes and decay.  Misfortunes did come, but, happily, were of short duration.  

In '67 we were utterly prostrate; bankruptcy was the order of the day, and an almost settled gloom pervaded the community.  Out of this we emerged on the cotton bales of 1868, the number and the price of which enabled us to fully recuperate and prepare to engage in a healthy contest with the city owned by the Louisville Courier-Journal, and with St. Louis, both of which have since the outset of the war occupied much of the territory once tributary to us, and enjoyed a trade upon which we formerly prided ourselves as a course of wealth.  The organization of a barge company, and the removal of the Marine Ways from Cairo are significant that we are about to engage in that contest, that our merchants are alive to its importance and extent and the results likely to follow to us by persistency and the right use of our forces of men and means. By the proper and successful management of the one our city will become more and more noted as a steamboat center and by the other will be enabled to embark, conjointly with New Orleans, in the grain trade, so promising of results for the Mississippi Valley.  

The establishment of an elevator would to a still greater degree indicate our determination, and we hope ere long to be able to announce such in process of construction.  With this our city, as a corporation, should initiate desirable improvements.  The Nicolson pavement should be extended, the park, in danger of being wrested from us, be farther improved and rendered accessible by a well constructed roadway; the water-works and a proper system of sewerage, should be immediately commenced, and a new, sightly city hall be built that would at once be creditable to our people, and worthily suggest our great future.  The more we beautify our city the more attractive it becomes, not alone to us but to visitors.  What we have of street improvements was the theme of much favorable comment by delegates to the late convention, and doubtless will be the means of introducing to us many good citizens,.  Double or quadruple these improvements and we double or quadruple the number who, with capital and credit, will make Memphis their headquarters and sphere of future commercial operations.  

We must not rest upon our oars, content with what we have done.  It is demanded of us that we must toil incessantly and unremittingly and in every conceivable way, taking advantage of everything at all likely to inure to our benefit.  We have it within our power to make Memphis all that we have ever dreamed.  The concentrated effort of all hands will do it.

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