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government when coupled with such ignominous conditions, and let this very same land grant die on their hands years and years ago, rather than submit to the degradation of a direct communication by railroad with the piney woods of the St. Croix; and I knew that what the enterprising inhabitants of those giant young cities would refuse to take, would have few charms for others, whatever their necessities or cupidity might be.
Hence, as I have said, sir, I was utterly at a loss to determine where the terminus of this great and indispensable road should be, until I accidentally overheard some gentleman the other day mention the name of “ Duluth."
“Duluth!” The word fell upon my ear with a peculiar and indescribable charm, like the gentle murmur of a low fountain stealing forth in the midst of roses; or the soft, sweet accents of an angel's whisper in the bright joyous dream of sleeping innocence.
“Duluth!” 'Twas the name for which my soul had panted for years, as the hart panteth for the water-brooks.
But where was “Duluth ?"
Never in all my limited reading, had my vision been gladdened by seeing the celestial word in print. And I felt a profound humiliation in my ignorance that its dulcet syllables had never before ravished my delighted ear.
I was certain the draughtsman in this bill had never heard of it, or it would have been designated as one of the termini of this road. I asked my friends about it, but they knew nothing of it. I rushed to the library, and examined all the maps I could find. I discovered in one of them a delicate hair-like line, diverging from the Mississippi near a place marked Prescott, which, I supposed, was intended to represent the river St. Croix, but could nowhere find " Duluth."
Nevertheless, I was confident it existed somewhere, and that its discovery would constitute the crowning glory of the present century, if not of all modern times. I knew it was bound to exist in the very nature of things; that the symmetry and perfection of our planetary system would be incomplete without it. That the elements of maternal nature would since have resolved themselves back into original chaos, if there had been such a hiatus in creation as would have resulted from leaving out “ Duluth!”
In fact, sir, I was overwhelmed with the conviction that Duluth ” not only existed somewhere, but that wherever it was it was a great and glorious place. I was convinced that the greatest calamity that ever befell the benighted nations of the ancient world was in their having passed away without a knowledge of the actual existence of “ Duluth ; that their fabled Atlantis, never seen save by the hallowed vision of the inspired poesy, was in fact but another name for “Duluth ;" that the golden orchard of the Hesperides was but a poetical synonym for the beer-gardens in the vicinity of “Duluth.” I was certain that Herodotus had died a miserable death, because in all his travels and with all his geographical research he had never heard of “Duluth.”
I knew that if the immortal spirit of Homer could look down from another heaven than that created by his own celestial genius upon the long lines of Pilgrims from every nation of the earth, to the gushing fountain of poesy, opened by the touch of his magic wand, if he could be permitted to behold the vast assemblage of grand and glorious productions of the lyric art, called into being by his own inspired strains, he would weep tears of bitter anguish, that, instead of lavishing all the stores of his mighty genius upon the fall of Ilion, it had not been his more blessed lot to crystallize in deathless song the rising glories of “ Duluth."
Yes, sir, had it not been for this map, kindly furnished me by the legislature of Minnesota, I might have gone down to my obscure and humble grave in an agony of despair, because I could nowhere find “Duluth." Had such been my melancholy fate, I have no doubt that with the last feeble pulsation of my breaking heart, with the last faint .exhalation of my fleeting breath, I should have whispered, “Where is Duluth'?"
But, thanks to the beneficence of that band of ministering angels who have their bright abodes in the far-off capitol of Minnesota, just as the agony of my anxiety was about to culminate in the frenzy of despair, this blessed map was placed in my hands; and, as I unfolded it, a resplendent scene of ineffable glory opened before me, such as I imagined burst upon the enraptured vision of the wandering peri through the opening gates of Paradise.
There, there, for the first time, my enchanted eye rested upon the ravishing word, “Duluth!” This map, sir, is intended, as it appears from its title, to illustrate the position of “Duluth” in the United States; but if the gentlemen will examine it I think they will concur with me in the opinion that it is far too modest in its pretensions. It not only illustrates the position of “ Duluth” in the United States, but exhibits its relations with all created things. It even goes further than this. It hits the shadowy vale of futurity, and affords us a view of the golden prospects of " Duluth," far along the dim vista of ages yet to come.
If the gentlemen will examine it they will find " Duluth " not only in the centre of the map but represented in the centre of a series of concentric circles one hundred miles apart and some of them as much as four thousand miles in diameter, embracing alike in their tremendous sweep the fragrant savannas, the sunlit south, and the eternal solitudes of snow that mantle the icebound north. How these circles were produced is perhaps one of those primordial mysteries that the most skilled paleologist will never be able to explain. But the fact is, sir, “Duluth” is pre-eminently a central point, for I am told by gentlemen who have been 80 reckless of their own personal safety as to venture away into those awful regions where “ Duluth” is supposed to be, that it is so exactly in the centre of the visible universe that the sky comes down at precisely the same distance all around it.
I find by reference to this map that " Duluth” is situated somewhere near the western end of Lake Superior, but as there is no dot or other mark indicating its exact location I am unable to say whether it is actually confined to any particular spot or whether“ it is just lying around there loose.”
I really cannot tell whether it is one of those ethereal creations of intellectual frostwork, more intangible than the rosetinted clouds of a summer sunset; one of those airy exhalations of the speculator's brain which, I am told, are very fitting in the form of towns and cities along those lines of railroad, built with government subsidies, luring the unwary settler, as the mirage of the desert lures the famishing traveller on, until it fades away in the darkening horizon; or whether it is real bona fide, substantial city, all“ staked off, " with the lcts marked with their owners' names, like that proud commercial metropolis recently discovered on the desirable shores of San Domingo. But however that may be I am satisfied “Duluth” is there, or thereabouts, for I see it stated here on the map that it is exactly thirty-nine hundred and ninety miles from Liverpool, though I have no doubt, for the sake of convenience, it will be moved back ten miles, so as to make the distance an even four thousand.
Then, sir, there is the climate of " Duluth," unquestionably the most salubrious and delightful to be found anywhere on the Lord's earth. Now I have always been under the impression, as I presume other gentlemen have, that in the region around Lake Superior it was cold enough for at least nine months of the year to freeze the smokestack off a locomotive.
But I see it represented on this map that“ Duluth” is situated exactly half way between the latitudes of Paris and Venice, so that gentlemen who have inhaled the exhilarating air of the one or basked in the golden sunlight of the other may see at a glance that “ Duluth” must be the place of untold delight, a terrestrial paradise, fanned by the balmy zephyrs of an eternal spring, clothed in the gorgeous sheen of ever-blooming flowers and vocal with the silvery melody of nature's choicest songsters.
In fact, sir, since I have seen this map I have no doubt that Byron was vainly endeavoring to convey some faint conception of the delicious charms of " Duluth” when his poetic soul gushed forth in the rippling strains of that beautiful rhapsody“
“ Know ye the land of the cedar and the vine,
Whence the flowers ever blossom, the beams ever shine;
As to the commercial resources of " Duluth," sir, they are simply illimitable and inexhaustible, as is shown by this map.