Reading Library

  • The Government Class Book: State Governments, Executive Department

    Chapter XII

    Executive Department. Governor and Lieutenant-Governor.

    §1. The chief executive power of a state is, by the constitution, vested in a governor. The governor is chosen by the people at the general election; in South Carolina by the legislature. The term of office is not the same in all the states. In the six New England states, the governors are chosen annually; in the other states, for the different terms of two, three, and four years.

  • The Government Class Book: State Governments, Power of the Purse

    Chapter XXI

    Assessment and Collection of Taxes.

    §1. Every government must have the power of providing means for its support. The money which is needed to pay the expenses of administering the government, if the state has no permanent source of revenue, or income, must be raised by taxation. A _tax_ is a rate or sum of money assessed upon the person or property of a citizen for the use of the state. When assessed upon the person, it is called a _poll-tax_, or _capitation tax_, being a certain sum on every poll, or head. But as persons ought generally to contribute to the public expenses according to their ability, taxes are more just and equal when laid upon the property of the citizens. Few poll-taxes are levied in this country.

  • The Government Class Book: State Governments, State Legislatures

    Chapter IX

    State Legislatures--how constituted.

    §1. The legislature of every state in the union is composed of two houses--a senate and a house of representatives. The latter, or, as it is sometimes called, the lower house, in the states of New York, Wisconsin, and California, is called the assembly; in Maryland and Virginia, the house of delegates; in North Carolina, the house of commons; and in New Jersey, the general assembly. In most of the states, the two houses together are called _general assembly_.

  • The Government Class Book: State Governments, The Judicial system

    Chapter XVII

    Judicial Department. Justices' Courts.

    §1. Having seen how the legislative and executive departments of a state government are constituted, and how the laws are made and executed, the manner in which the local affairs of counties and towns are conducted, and the powers and duties of their respective officers; we proceed to describe the _judicial_ department, the powers and duties of judicial officers, and the manner in which justice is administered.

  • The Government Class Book: State Governments, The Militia

    Chapter XXV

    The Militia.

    §1. It is the practice of governments to keep their respective countries prepared to defend themselves against foreign enemies. For this purpose all men liable to do military duty are enrolled, and are required to meet on certain days every year for instruction in the art of war, in order to be ready for actual service whenever it shall be required. The body of soldiers thus enrolled are called the _militia_. There are other words which are sometimes applied to bodies of soldiers; as _infantry_, which means the soldiers or troops who serve on foot; _cavalry_, the troops on horses; _artillery_, those who manage the cannon and other heavy weapons of war. But all troops are comprehended in the general term, _militia_.

  • The Imitation Desperado

    The counterfeit bad man, in so far as he has a place in literature, was largely produced by Western consumptives for Eastern consumption. Sometimes he was in person manufactured in the East and sent West. It is easy to see the philosophical difference between the actual bad man of the West and the imitation article. The bad man was an evolution; the imitation bad man was an instantaneous creation, a supply arising full panoplied to fill a popular demand.

  • The Journals of Lewis and Clark 1804-1806

    Image of Lewis and Clark Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

    By Meriwether Lewis and and William Clark 1804-1806

    Transcriber's Note: These Journals are from May 14, 1804, the day the
    expedition left the Mississippi River, to September 26, 1806, a day or
    two after they arrived back in St. Louis. It includes all possible
    Journal entries of Lewis and Clark. Most of the "courses and distances"
    and "celestial observations" have been omitted. The notes and most of
    the corrections of past editors have been removed. There are a few OCR
    errors, but most of the misspellings are almost 200 years old. The dates
    with the names in the brackets are a little redundant. They are included
    to provide the correct date in a consistent format.

    PG Editor's Note: Misspellings, inventive punctuation and lack of
    punctuation along with variable capitalization, and not entirely clear
    abbreviations have been left as is. DW


    Source: Project Gutenberg



  • The Land of the Desperado

    There was once a vast empire, almost unknown, west of the Missouri river. The white civilization of this continent was three hundred years in reaching it. We had won our independence and taken our place among the nations of the world before our hardiest men had learned anything whatever of this Western empire. We had bought this vast region and were paying for it before we knew what we had purchased. The wise men of the East, leading men in Congress, said that it would be criminal to add this territory to our already huge domain, because it could never be settled. It was not dreamed that civilization would ever really subdue it.

  • The Northwest Ordinance (1787)

    An Ordinance for the government of the Territory of the United States northwest of the River Ohio.

    Section 1. Be it ordained by the United States in Congress assembled, That the said territory, for the purposes of temporary government, be one district, subject, however, to be divided into two districts, as future circumstances may, in the opinion of Congress, make it expedient.

  • The Old Santa Fe Trail: The Story Of A Great Highway

    By Colonel Henry Inman

    Late Assistant Quartermaster, United States Army
    With a Preface by W. F. "BUFFALO BILL" CODY

    Original publication date unknown

  • The Prairie, by J. Fenimore Cooper

    "The Prairie" was the third in order of Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales. Its first appearance was in the year 1827. The idea of the story had suggested itself to him, we are told, before he had finished its immediate forerunner, "The Last of the Mohicans." He chose entirely new scenes for it, "resolved to cross the Mississippi and wander over the desolate wastes of the remote Western prairies." He had been taking every chance that came of making a personal acquaintance with the Indian chiefs of the western tribes who were to be encountered about this period on their way in the frequent Indian embassies to Washington. "He saw much to command his admiration," says Mrs. Cooper, "in these wild braves... It was a matter of course that in drawing Indian character he should dwell on the better traits of the picture, rather than on the coarser and more revolting though more common points. Like West, he could see the Apollo in the young Mohawk."


    Source: The Prairie By J. Fenimore Cooper, available at Preject Gutenberg

  • The Price of the Prairie, A Story of Kansas

    This is the book by Margaret Hill McCarter is a little love story of the prairies is dedicated to all who believe that the defense of the helpless is heroism; that the protection of the home is splendid achievement; and, that the storm, and stress, and patient endurance of the day will bring us at last to the peace of the purple twilight.

    Source: The Price of the Prairie,A Story of Kansas by Margaret Hill McCarter. Available at Project Gutenberg

  • The Price of the Prairie: Chapter 1: Springvale By The Neosho

    Sweeter to me than the salt sea spray, the fragrance of summer rains; Nearer my heart than the mighty hills are the wind-swept Kansas plains. Dearer the sight of a shy wild rose by the road-side's dusty way,

  • The Price of the Prairie: Chapter 10: O'mie's Choice

    And how can man die better Than facing fearful odds For the ashes of his fathers And the temples of his gods? --Macaulay

    There was only one church bell in Springvale for many years. It called to prayers, or other public service. It sounded the alarm of fire, and tolled for the dead. It was our school-bell and wedding-bell. It clanged in terror when the Cheyennes raided eastward in '67, and it pealed out solemnly for the death of Abraham Lincoln. It chimed on Christmas Eve and rang in each New Year. Its two sad notes that were tolled for the years of the little Judson baby had hardly ceased their vibrations when it broke forth into a ringing, joyous resonance for the finding of O'mie alive.

  • The Price of the Prairie: Chapter 11: Golden Days

    There are days that are kind As a mother to man, showing pathways that wind Out and in, like a dream, by some stream of delight; Never hinting of aught that they hold to affright; Only luring us on, since the way must be trod, Over meadows of green with their velvety sod, To the steeps, that are harder to climb, far before. There are nights so enchanting, they seem to restore The original beauty of Eden; so tender, They woo every soul to a willing surrender Of feverish longing; so holy withal, That a broad benediction seems sweetly to fall On the world.

  • The Price of the Prairie: Chapter 12: A Man's Estate

    When I became a man I put away childish things.

    The next day was the Sabbath. I was twenty-one that day. Marjie and I sang in the choir, and most of the solo work fell to us. Dave Mead was our tenor, and Bess Anderson at the organ sang alto. Dave was away that day. His girl sweetheart up on Red Range was in her last illness then, and Dave was at her bedside. Poor Dave! he left Springvale that Fall, and he never came back. And although he has been honored and courted of women, I have been told that in his luxurious bachelor apartments in Hong Kong there is only one woman's picture, an old-fashioned daguerreotype of a sweet girlish face, in an ebony frame.

  • The Price of the Prairie: Chapter 13: The Topeka Rally

    And men may say what things they please, and none dare stay their tongue. But who has spoken out for these--the women and the young? --Kipling

    Henceforth I had one controlling purpose. Mine was now the task to prove myself a man with power to create and defend the little kingdom whose throne is builded on the hearthstone. I put into my work all the energy of my youth and love and hope.

  • The Price of the Prairie: Chapter 14: Deepening Gloom

    A yellow moon in splendor drooping, A tired queen with her state oppressed, Low by rushes and sword-grass stooping, Lies she soft on the waves at rest. The desert heavens have felt her sadness; The earth will weep her some dewy tears; The wild beck ends her tune of gladness, And goeth stilly, as soul that fears. --Jean Ingelow

    The easiest mental act I ever performed was the act of forgetting the existence of Rachel Melrose. Before the stage had reached the divide beyond the Wakarusa on its southward journey, I was thinking only of Springvale and of what would be written in the letter that I knew was waiting for me in our "Rockport." Oh, I was a fond and foolish lover. I was only twenty-one and Judson may have been right about my being callow. But I was satisfied with myself, as youth and inexperience will be.

  • The Price of the Prairie: Chapter 15: Rockport And "Rockport"

    Glitters the dew, and shines the river, Up comes the lily and dries her bell; But two are walking apart forever, And wave their hands in a mute farewell. --Jean Ingelow

    The Melrose family was of old time on terms of intimacy with the house of Baronet. It was a family with a proud lineage, wealth, and culture to its credit. Rachel had an inherited sense of superiority. Too much staying between the White Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean is narrowing to the mental scope. The West to her was but a wilderness whereto the best things of life never found their way. She took everything in Massachusetts as hers by due right, much more did it seem that Kansas should give its best to her; and withal she was a woman who delighted in conquest.

  • The Price of the Prairie: Chapter 16: Beginning Again

    It matters not what fruit the hand may gather, If God approves, and says, "This is the best." It matters not how far the feet may wander, If He says, "Go, and leave to Me the rest." --Albert Macy

    I stood in the August twilight by the railway station in the little frontier town of Salina, where the Union Pacific train had abandoned me to my fate. Turning toward the unmapped, limitless Northwest, I suddenly realized that I was at the edge of the earth now. Behind me were civilization and safety. Beyond me was only a waste of gray nothingness. Yet this was the world I had come hither to conquer. Here were the spaces wherein I should find peace. I set my face with grim determination to work now, out of the thing before me, a purpose that controlled me.

  • The Price of the Prairie: Chapter 17: In The Valley Of The Arickaree

    A blush as of roses Where rose never grew! Great drops on the bunch grass. But not of the dew! A taint in the sweet air For wild bees to shun! A stain that shall never Bleach out in the sun! --Whittier

    Stillwell was right. Sharp Grover knew, as well as the boy knew, that we were trapped, that before us now were the awful chances of unequal Plains warfare. A mere handful of us had been hurrying after a host, whose numbers the broad beaten road told us was legion. There was no mirth in that little camp that night in mid-September, and I thought of other things besides my strange vision at the gorge.

  • The Price of the Prairie: Chapter 18: The Sunlight On Old Glory

    The little green tent is made of sod, And it is not long, and it is not broad, But the soldiers have lots of room. And the sod is a part of the land they saved, When the flag of the enemy darkly waved, A symbol of dole and gloom. --Walt Mason

    "Baronet, we must have that spade we left over there this morning. Are you the man to get it?" Sharp Grover said to me just after dusk. "We've got to have water or die, and Burke here can't dig a well with his toe nails, though he can come about as near to it as anybody." Burke was an industrious Irishman who had already found water for us. "And then we must take care of these." He motioned toward a still form at my feet, and his tone was reverent.

  • The Price of the Prairie: Chapter 19: A Man's Business

    Mankind was my business; the common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were all my business; the dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business. --Dickens

    Every little community has its customs peculiar to itself. With the people of Springvale the general visiting-time was on Sunday between the afternoon Sabbath-school and the evening service. The dishes that were prepared on Saturday for the next day's supper excelled the warm Sunday dinner.

  • The Price of the Prairie: Chapter 2: Jean Pahusca

     In even savage bosoms There are longings, yearnings, strivings For the good they comprehend not. --Longfellow

    The frontier broke all lines of caste. There was no aristocrat, autocrat, nor plutocrat in Springvale; but the purest democracy was among the children. Life was before us; we loved companionship, and the same dangers threatened us all. The first time I saw Marjie she asked, "Are you afraid of Indians?" They were the terror of her life. Even to-day the mere press despatch of an Indian uprising in Oklahoma or Arizona will set the blood bounding through my veins and my first thought is of her.

  • The Price of the Prairie: Chapter 20: The Cleft In The Rock

    And yet I know past all doubting truly, A knowledge greater than grief can dim, I know as he loved, he will love me duly, Yea, better, e'en better, than I love him. --Jean Ingelow

    While O'mie and Lettie were acting out their little drama in the store that afternoon, Judson was up in Mrs. Whately's parlor driving home matters of business with a hasty and masterful hand. Marjie had slipped away at his coming, and for the second time since I had left Springvale she took the steep way up to our "Rockport." Had she known what was going on at home she might have stayed there in spite of her prejudices.

  • The Price of the Prairie: Chapter 21: The Call To Service

    We go to rear a wall of men on Freedom's Southern line, And plant beside the cotton-tree the rugged Northern pine! --Whittier

    "Phil Baronet, you thon of a horthe-thief, where have you been keeping yourthelf? We've been waiting here thinthe Thummer before latht to meet you."

    That was Bud Anderson's greeting. Pink-cheeked, sturdy, and stubby as a five-year-old, he was standing in my path as I slipped from my horse in front of old Fort Hays one October day a fortnight after the rescue of Colonel Forsyth's little company.

  • The Price of the Prairie: Chapter 22: The Nineteenth Kansas Cavalry

    "The regiments of Kansas have glorified our State on a hundred battle fields, but none served her more faithfully, or endured more in her cause than the Nineteenth Kansas Cavalry." --Horace L. Moore

    When Camp Crawford was opened, northeast of town, between the Kaw River and the Shunganunga Creek, I went into training for regular cavalry service, thinking less of pretty girls and more of good horses with the passing days. I had plenty of material for both themes. Not only were there handsome young ladies in the capital city, but this call for military supplies had brought in superb cavalry mounts.

  • The Price of the Prairie: Chapter 23: In Jean's Land

    All these regiments made history and left records of unfading glory.

    While the Kansas volunteers had been floundering in the snow-heaped sand-dunes of the Cimarron country, General Sheridan's anxiety for our safety grew to gravest fears. General Custer's feeling was that of impatience mingled with anxiety. He knew the tribes were getting farther away with every twenty-four hours' delay, and he shaped his forces for a speedy movement southward.

  • The Price of the Prairie: Chapter 24: The Cry Of Womanhood

    The women have no voice to speak, but none can check your pen--Turn for a moment from your strife and plead their cause, O men! --Kipling

    After all, it was not Tillhurst, but Jim Conlow, who had a Topeka story to tell when he went back to Springvale; and it was Lettie who edited and published her brother's story. Lettie had taken on a new degree of social importance with her elevation to a clerkship in Judson's store, and she was quick to take advantage of it.

  • The Price of the Prairie: Chapter 25: Judson Summoned

    Though the mills of the gods grind slowly, Yet they grind exceeding small.--Friedrich Von Logan

    Half an hour later Amos Judson was hurrying toward the courthouse with a lively strut in his gait, answering a summons from Judge Baronet asking his immediate presence in the Judge's office.

  • The Price of the Prairie: Chapter 27: Sunset By The Sweetwater

    And we count men brave who on land and wave fear not to die; but still, Still first on the rolls of the world's great souls are the men who have feared to kill. --Edmund Vance Cooke

    Jean Pahusca turned at the sound of O'mie's step on the stone. The red sun had blinded his eyes and he could not see clearly at first. When he did see, O'mie's presence and the captive unbound and staggering to his feet, surprised the Indian and held him a moment longer. The confusion at the change in war's grim front passed quickly, however,--he was only half Indian,--and he was himself again.

  • The Price of the Prairie: Chapter 28: The Heritage

    It is morning here in Kansas, and the breakfast bell is rung! We are not yet fairly started on the work we mean to do; We have all the day before us, and the morning is but young, And there's hope in every zephyr, and the skies are bright and blue. --Walt Mason

    It was over at last, the long painful marching; the fight with the winter's blizzard, the struggle with starvation, the sunrise and sunset and starlight on wilderness ways--all ended after a while. Of the three boys who had gone out from Springvale and joined in the sacrifice for the frontier, Bud sleeps in that pleasant country at Fort Sill.

  • The Price of the Prairie: Chapter 3: The Hermit's Cave

    The secret which the mountains kept The river never told.

    The bluff was our continual delight. It was so difficult, so full of surprises, so enchanting in its dangers. All manner of creeping things in general, and centipedes and rattlesnakes in particular, made their homes in its crevices. Its footing was perilous to the climber, and its hiding-places had held outlaws and worse. Then it had its haunted spots, where tradition told of cruel tragedies in days long gone by; and of the unknown who had found here secret retreat, who came and went, leaving never a name to tell whom they were nor what their story might be. All these the old cliff had in its keeping for the sturdy boys and girls of parents who had come here to conquer the West.

  • The Price of the Prairie: Chapter 4: In The Prairie Twilight

    The spacious prairie is helper to a spacious life. Big thoughts are nurtured here, with little friction. --Quayle

    By the time I was fifteen I was almost as tall and broad-shouldered as my father. Boy-like, I was prodigal of my bounding vigor, which had not tempered down to the strength of my mature manhood. It was well for me that a sobering responsibility fell on me early, else I might have squandered my resources of endurance, and in place of this sturdy story-teller whose sixty years sit lightly on him, there would have been only a ripple in the sod of the curly mesquite on the Plains and a little heap of dead dust, turned to the inert earth again.

  • The Price of the Prairie: Chapter 6: In When The Heart Beats Young

    A patch of green sod 'neath the trees brown and bare, A smell of fresh mould on the mild southern air, A twitter of bird song, a flutter, a call, And though the clouds lower, and threaten and fall--There's Spring in my heart! --Berta Alexander Garvey

    When the prairies blossomed again, and the Kansas springtime was in its daintiest green, when a blur of pink was on the few young orchards in the Neosho Valley, and the cottonwoods in the draws were putting forth their glittering tender leaves--in that sweetest time of all the year, a new joy came to me. Most girls married at sixteen in those days, and were grandmothers at thirty-five.

  • The Price of the Prairie: Chapter 7: The Foreshadowing Of Peril

    O clear-eyed Faith, and Patience thou So calm and strong! Lend strength to weakness, teach us how The sleepless eyes of God look through This night of wrong!--Whittier

    While these May days were slipping by, strange history was making itself in Kansas. I marvel now, as I recall the slender bonds that stayed us from destruction, that we ever dared to do our part in that record-building day. And I rejoice that we did not know the whole peril that menaced us through those uncertain hours, else we should have lost all courage.

  • The Price of the Prairie: Chapter 8: The Cost Of Safety

    In the dark and trying hour, In the breaking forth of power, In the rush of steeds and men, His right hand will shield thee then. --Longfellow

    It was just half past one o'clock when the sweet-toned bell in the Presbyterian Church steeple began to ring. Dr. Hemingway was at the rope in the belfry. His part was to give us our signal. At the first peal the windows of every Union home blazed with light. The doors were flung wide open, and a song--one song--rose on the cool still night.

  • The Price of the Prairie: Chapter 9: The Search For The Missing

    Also Time runnin' into years--A thousand Places left be'ind; An' Men from both two 'emispheres Discussin' things of every kind; So much more near than I 'ad known, So much more great than I 'ad guessed--An' me, like all the rest, alone, But reachin' out to all the rest! --Kipling

    "Uncle Cam, where is O'mie? I haven't seen him yet," I broke in upon the older men in the council. "Could anything have happened to him?"

    The priest rose hurriedly.

  • The Railroad Builders: Building Along the Santa Fe Trail

    The Santa Fe Route, or the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, which has in modern times developed into one of the largest and most profitable railroad systems in this country, was projected long before the idea of a transcontinental line to the Pacific coast had taken full possession of men's minds.

  • The Rural Community

    No phase of the social progress of the Twentieth Century is more significant or promises a more far-reaching influence than the rediscovery of the _community_ as a fundamental social unit, and the beginnings of community consciousness throughout the United States. I say the "rediscovery" of the community, for ever since men forsook hunting and grazing as the chief means of subsistence and settled down to a permanent agriculture they have lived in communities.

  • The Settlement Of The West

    The Pathway Of The Waters

    It is pleasant to dwell upon the independent character of Western life, and to go back to the glories of that land and day when a man who had a rifle and a saddle-blanket was sure of a living, and need ask neither advice nor permission of any living soul. These days, vivid, adventurous, heroic, will have no counterpart upon the earth again. These early Americans, who raged and roared across the West, how unspeakably swift was the play in which they had their part!